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Palm oil is not equal to palm oil: Since plantations differ massively in environmental and social criteria, a general ban of palm oil in biofuels, as recently discussed by the European Union, would punish the wrong producers while having little impact on reducing deforestation.
Biofuels, including biodiesel, help to mitigate climate change by replacing fossil fuels. In the European Union (EU) the main raw material for biodiesel is rapeseed, followed by palm oil. Annually, the EU imports around seven million metric tonnes of palm oil from tropical countries, of which over 40% is used for biofuels.
April - European - Parliament - Use - Oil
In April 2017, the European Parliament voted to ban the use of palm oil in biofuels by 2020, ostensibly to limit the deforestation which has been blamed on the expansion of oil palm plantations. Norway has followed suit, with even tighter targets that ban the use of palm oil biofuels by public bodies by the end of 2017. The French environment minister has also pledged to stop "imported deforestation".
Many will welcome these policies, concerned as they are with the environmental damage attributed to palm oil production. Yet a simple ban ignores the complexity of issues that swirl around the oil palm debate. While environmental organizations have highlighted illegal and environmentally damaging activities by the oil palm industry in Southeast Asia, other palm oil producers risk being unfairly tarred with the same brush.
Colombia - Producers - Indonesia - Malaysia - Palm
Colombia, although far behind the main producers Indonesia and Malaysia, is the fourth-largest palm oil producer, with close to half a million hectares planted. Oil palm plantations in Colombia, and indeed in Latin America as a whole, have mostly been planted on land formerly cleared for cattle ranching. Of 155,100 hectares of new oil palm plantations established from 2002 to 2008, 51% were developed on former pastures, 29% on former croplands, and only 16% carved...
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