Monday, November 26, 2007
GREENPEACE PROTESTS "RAIN FOREST FUEL" IN FINLAND
Police put a stop to a demonstration against Neste Oil by Greenpeace activists at sea off Porvoo, Finland Sunday. A total of 33 activists from different countries were detained in the operation.
Lauri Myllyvirta, leader of the Greenpeace operation, told the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat on Sunday evening that those who were detained had reported that police had used pepper spray against them at sea and in the dark. Matti Liimatainen of Finnish Greenpeace called the use of the spray dangerous and unnecessary. He said that the boats were already returning to shore at the time.
The police say all of those arrested have now been released.
Greenpeace has launched a worldwide campaign against the use of palm oil as a raw material for bio-diesel, which is marketed as an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuel.
Greenpeace calls the oil a "rain forest fuel", and says that the production of its raw material, palm oil, increases greenhouse gas emissions, rather than reducing them.
"The production of palm oil is one of the greatest causes of deforestation in Southeast Asia. Neste Oil says that it imports the oil from Malaysia, but the company that they use plans to expand to Indonesia, where 80 per cent of deforestation stems from the production of palm oil," says Harri Lammi of the Finnish section of Greenpeace.
Indonesia, the biggest producer of the oil, releases 1.8 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases or 4 percent of the world total a year by burning its peatlands to grow palms, says John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace U.K.
Greenpeace says that widespread use of palm oil advances the destruction of rain forests in Southeast Asia as increasing amounts of forest are cleared away to make room for oil palm plantations.
Following earlier protests by Greenpeace, the Swedish filling station chain OKQ8 announced that it would cancel its plans to market biodiesel fuel produced by Neste Oil. The move is seen as a serious blow to Neste, which hopes to become the world's leading producer of second generation biodiesel fuel.
Neste Oil is an independent Finnish oil refining and marketing company producing mainly traffic fuels and other petroleum products.
The following is from News Room Finland.
Finnish police end Greenpeace palm oil protest
Finnish police detained in excess of 30 Greenpeace activists in Porvoo on Sunday.
Greenpeace had organised a protest near Neste Oil's Porvoo refinery, some 50km east of Helsinki, timed to coincide with the arrival of a tanker carrying about 10,000 tonnes of palm oil.
Police said those held included Danes, Finns, Germans and Swedes.
"The police and the Coast Guard intervened in the proceedings of the protest," said Juha Aromaa, a spokesman for the environmental organisation.
"Firstly, the police removed the fuel tanks from three of our boats on land. Then the Coast Guard towed one of our boats ashore. At that stage there were still two Greenpeace boats waiting to meet the palm oil shipment."
Greenpeace called off the protest once it learned that the majority of the activists had been taken to a police station. The police later took the remainder of the activists into custody.
Greenpeace said its fleet of six boats had not been deployed to obstruct the manoeuvring of the tanker.
The action against Neste is part of a global Greenpeace campaign aimed at stopping the destruction of southeast Asian rainforests.
Greenpeace wants Neste, the biggest producer of palm oil-based diesel fuel in the world, to stop using the raw material.
Greenpeace and other environmental organisations say the clearing of southeast Asian rainforest and peatland to make way for palm plantations served to accelerate climate change.
Neste says palm oil has great potential in reducing greenhouse gas emissions provided that cultivation is subject to due regulation, adding it was the first oil company to have joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.