Last update : 28.10.2010
European policies towards palm oil: Sorting out some facts
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This paper analyses the role of palm oil and its sustainability from different perspectives. The role of palm oil is considered within the GHG context. The authors discuss the impact of palm oil on biodiversity and analyse how palm oil can contribute to economic growth and development in tropical countries. Finally, based on this analysis, the authors assess the current concerns about and politics towards palm oil with special focus on the EU. Palm oil is a low-energy and low-fertilizer crop that offers much higher yields per hectare than other oil crops. Furthermore, if the energy obtained by the residuals in the production process is used properly, the energy balance of palm oil production is much more favourable compared to other biofuels. Overall, palm oil turns out to be much more efficient than other oil crops and therefore offers significant advantages within the context of GHG savings. Contrary to some recent campaigns and the perception among European citizens, oil palm plantings are not a major contributor to deforestation in tropical countries. Deforestation associated with oil palm plantings is much less significant than postulated by some recent campaigns. Furthermore, biodiversity in oil palm plantations is much higher than in most monocultures in the EU. Palm oil is an important driver of economic development and growth in tropical countries and contributes to the reduction of poverty and hunger in the developing world.
Added on 19 May 2010
Europe :: International
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