Forest-destroying palm oil powers cars in EU: report

May 31, 2016 by Marlowe Hood
Second only to rapeseed as a biofuel, overall palm oil use in EU countries jumped six-fold from 2010 to 2015, according to data obtained by Brussels-based NGO Transport & Environment

Palm oil produced on tropical plantations that drive deforestation has become a major biofuel for vehicles in the European Union, industry figures released Tuesday by an environmental group revealed.

In 2014, nearly half of the used in Europe wound up in the of cars and trucks, according to data compiled by the EU vegetable oil industry association Fediol, and obtained by Brussels-based NGO Transport & Environment.

Second only to rapeseed as a biofuel, overall palm oil use in EU countries jumped six-fold from 2010 to 2015, accounting for a 34 percent increase in biodiesel consumption during that period, the figures showed.

Palm oil is also found in food, animal feed and cosmetics, but use in these sectors has dropped in Europe, in part due to pressure from environmental groups on major corporations.

Up to now, how palm oil was distributed across products in the EU was not known.

"We now know why the industry is withholding these numbers," said Jos Dings, executive director of Transport & Environment.

"They show the ugly truth of Europe's biofuel policy, which drives tropical deforestation, increases transport emissions, and does nothing to help European farmers," he said in a statement.

Rules set in place in 2009 require that 10 percent of energy for transport in all EU countries comes from renewable sources by 2020

Rules set in place in 2009 require that 10 percent of energy for transport in all EU countries comes from renewable sources by 2020.

10 million litres a day

In practice, that has meant biofuels, since electric-powered vehicles account for a negligible percentage of energy in the transport sector.

Recent research, however, has shown that the climate impact of so-called "first generation" biofuels—mainly rapeseed, palm, sunflower and soy oil—is in fact greater than for fossil fuels, once deforestation is taken into account.

These biofuels also compete for ever-scarcer land needed to grow food.

Produced mostly in Malaysia and Indonesia, palm oil causes three times more greenhouse gas emissions per unit of energy than diesel fuel, according to a recent analysis.

Recognising that the continued use of these crops clash with goals for slashing greenhouse gas emissions, The EU last year imposed a cap—seven percent—on the biofuels produced from food crops.

Produced mostly in Malaysia and Indonesia, palm oil causes three times more greenhouse gas emissions per unit of energy than diesel fuel, according to a recent analysis

They have also established sustainability criteria for such fuels, and encouraged the development of so-called "advanced" biofuels made from municipal waste, recycled cooking oil or agricultural waste.

Transport & Environment and other green groups have called for the removal of food-based biofuels from the EU's energy mix after 2020.

The Fediol figures showed that 3.5 billion litres of palm oil were burned as fuel in 2014, some 10 million litres per day.

A Fediol staff member said director general Nathalie Lecocq was not available to comment, and an email sent to the industry group was not answered.

Deforestation from all sources is responsible for about 12 percent of the greenhouse gases that drive global warming.

Clear-cutting and burning to make way for palm oil plantations also cause health-wrecking pollution and destroy some of the planet's richest "hotspots" for biodiversity.

Explore further: Converting palm oil wastes into bio-protein

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greenonions
4.2 / 5 (5) May 31, 2016
It would be so much smarter to do something like this - http://greenwave.org/ The political decision making is so insane.
MR166
1.4 / 5 (5) May 31, 2016
It would be so much smarter to do something like this - http://greenwave.org/ The political decision making is so insane.


Oh right! So you are saying that the governments made this up all on their own and that there were no research papers which touted the greenness palm oil derived fuels and their carbon benefits. Next you will be claiming that corn ethanol is a boon to green energy..
Phys1
3.4 / 5 (5) May 31, 2016
It would be so much smarter to do something like this - http://greenwave.org/ The political decision making is so insane.


Oh right! So you are saying that the governments made this up all on their own and that there were no research papers which touted the greenness palm oil derived fuels and their carbon benefits. Next you will be claiming that corn ethanol is a boon to green energy..

Well, show us those hypothetical papers.
Colbourne
4 / 5 (4) Jun 01, 2016
"Produced mostly in Malaysia and Indonesia, palm oil causes three times more greenhouse gas emissions per unit of energy than diesel fuel, according to a recent analysis"

If this is even true , it does not need to be.
When the forest is cleared the valuable timber should have been put to other uses. The palm trees probably then will contain about as much carbon as the original forest. The palms can then be cropped each year to produce the oil.
One complaint is that these are single species plantations which are bad for wild life. By mixing in various other crops , such as bananas will help.
Remember once the plantations are sustainable, the oil produced should be nearly carbon neutral whilst the oil from the ground is 100% not.
I agree discretion should be used in choosing plantation locations to preserve old forests and their wildlife.
c0y0te
1 / 5 (2) Jun 01, 2016
Deleted post...
greenonions
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 01, 2016
MR166
Oh right! So you are saying that the governments made this up all on their own
Where did I say that? You continue to try to debate like someone who knows nothing (oh right - you know nothing.) There possibly were papers that touted the benefit of this process. Just as there were papers that touted the benefit of ethanol, and also told us that smoking does not cause cancer. It seems to me that often - the collusion between economic interests - and the government, causes the corruption of science. It does not help that our world is full of people like you - who know nothing - but are so proud of what they don't know. Education is the enemy of stupidity.
RichManJoe
4.2 / 5 (5) Jun 01, 2016
Using palm oil for fuel is stupid, absolutely stupid.
Eikka
3 / 5 (4) Jun 04, 2016
the palm trees probably then will contain about as much carbon as the original forest.


Tropical forests are a carbon sink because they grow fast enough that they physically bury decomposing plant matter into the ground. They form a kind of peat. When such forests are cleared and planted with palm trees, the carbon sequestering action stops.
my2cts
4 / 5 (4) Jun 04, 2016
@MR166
When can I expect proof that "there were ['no' removed] research papers which touted the greenness palm oil derived fuels and their carbon benefits" ?
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 04, 2016
Oh right! So you are saying that the governments made this up all on their own and that there were no research papers which touted the greenness palm oil derived fuels and their carbon benefits. Next you will be claiming that corn ethanol is a boon to green energy...
@MR
uhm... how is GO's posting of a "3D ocean column farming" link somehow indicative of "gov't made this up" and "there are no research papers"??

just wondering why you went off on that tangent...

after all, GO has a point when he said "The political decision making is so insane"... more often than not it represents money and business rather than the people, as demonstrated by the continued dragging of their feet WRT global warming etc

... but if that isn't enough, how about those cig's?

leaded gas?

Eikka
1 / 5 (2) Jun 04, 2016
To be fair, organizations like WWF supported "sustainable palm oil" as a next generation biofuel and still do.

Trouble was that "sustainable" was thrown out the window the moment anyone started paying any money for it, and that's a kind of common problem with biofuels and renewable energy in general. People like it and it's all well and good as long as it stays small and harmless - and consequentially completely irrelevant - but the moment it starts to scale up to something that makes a difference, it starts to make the wrong sort of difference and people start to object to it.

Things like; wind turbines are fine. Millions of wind turbines are not fine, because each turbine needs neodymium, which is a rare earth metal, which is found in deposits next to uranium and thorium, which end up being piled into literal mountains of radioactive waste all around the world to satisfy the demand for clean energy.

Which is ironic.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Jun 04, 2016
http://investorin...thorium/

Paraphrased:
There is, in fact, a close relationship between thorium and rare earths; they often come together. In fact, monazite, was first mined to produce thorium and rather than rare earths.

After representing the major source for the world's rare earth supply, nobody wanted to deal with monazite any longer, wondering what to do with the residual thorium.

this is where and when China sneaks past the 'Western" standards to begin its rare earths market dominance. China stepped in and took advantage, deciding that it would dominate the rare earth industry, which was understood to be critically important. Western companies that had mined monazite until that point, decided to abandon the industry. Mines were shut down simply for having thorium discharges in the tailings under pressure from environmental agencies and groups.
Eikka
1 / 5 (2) Jun 04, 2016
The above is a perfect example of the do-gooders causing more trouble than they're worth.

Environmentalists in the west protest against polluting REE mining, which causes the mining companies to close doors and shift production to China, which causes unemployment and economic woes, and the resulting social troubles and expenses which in part hamper the efforts to actually clean up the western energy infrastructure.

This however allows environmentalists in the west to believe that renewable technologies that absolute depend on a massive supply of REEs are cleaner and safer than things like, say, nuclear energy, because the actual waste is now someone else's problem: out of sight, out of mind.

The average environmentally concerned person from a middle class family doesn't feel the social issues personally, or can't make the cognitive leap from banning industry to losing jobs, so that's not a "real issue" to them either.
Eikka
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 04, 2016
The same issue is present with the EU 10% biofuel mandate.

When you tell the industry to do something they don't want to do, because it isn't economically sensible, they'll find the cheapest way to do it to minimise the loss - not out of malice but because it's possible. Individual people might be self-sacrificing saints - whole populations follow the path of least resistance.

So when you artifically create a demand for a thing like biodiesel, it's going to get produced the easiest cheapest way possible, and that's going to be done regardless of the environment. If it takes any extra effort to do it in a "sustainable" fashion, it's going to get done unsustainably, and you're going to end up playing world police in preventing that.

greenonions
5 / 5 (2) Jun 04, 2016
. American manufacturers in 2014 imported just $210 million worth of rare earths, or about 12,000 tons, just 8 percent of global production. (China's share of those imports was 75 percent, not 90-plus.) No American manufacturer or defense contractor — not even the Pentagon itself — has ever indicated supply problems. Moreover, more than half of rare earths are simply used as catalysts in petroleum refining; most of the rest go into cars, digital devices and lighting. And the rest of the world is happy to sell America as much oil, autos and gadgetry as it wants
But according to Eikka - it is the big bad renewable energy industry that is to blame - for a problem that does not exist. From - https://www.hcn.o...s-a-bust

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