Rainforest Action Network activists (photo above) protesting use of palm oil in breakfast cereal and other food products at the Minneapolis Headquarters of General Mills, Jan 2010. Yes, palm oil causes deforestation.
Why is this relevant in May 2012?
EPA is deciding whether or not palm oil should be included in the Renewable Fuel Standard, which mandates that American motorists use 36 billion gallons of biofuel in their cars and trucks by 2022. In order to qualify for inclusion, palm oil would have to cut greenhouse gas pollution by at least 20 percent compared to gasoline.
Of all the biofuels, palm oil causes by far the most pollution because much of it is grown by clearing and burning dense rainforests, many of them on carbon-rich peatland, to make room for plantations. That widespread deforestation has made Indonesia the world’s third biggest global warming polluter, just behind China and the United States.
this …. means that running a car on palm oil produces a lot more greenhouse gases than running it on Canadian tar sands.
There’s a lot at stake: Europe is looking closely at the EPA’s finding as a precedent for its determination on its own biofuels standard. That determination will decide the fate of approximately 69,000 square kilometers of forests and other ecosystems – an area bigger than the entire state of West Virginia. If they don’t get the decision right, it will produce the amount of carbon pollution equivalent to adding 12 to 26 million cars to the roads.—-Glenn Hurowitz, Guest Blogger, Think Progress
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