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Palm Oil: Friend or Foe?
Two recent articles paint a contrasted picture of the effect of palm oil on the environment.
Once hailed as a major ecological improvement in the fight over global warming, the use of palm oil as a biofuel has become more and more controversial, especially because of the impact of oil palm plantations on forests. Malaysia and Indonesia have sacrificed large surfaces of rainforest to the new crop, raising fears that whatever decrease in CO2 emission being achieved by the use of "green fuel" is largely offset by the destruction of natural CO2 consuming trees. In addition to deforestation, the effects on biodiversity and social justice can also be disastrous, as described in this article in The Guardian.
However, others think that with greater regulation preventing oil palm cultivation on natural forest land, and ensuring that local communities benefit from revenues, a socially responsible and environmentally friendly palm oil industry is possible. See the article on Mongabay.com.
A good presentation of the issue can be found in this CNN article.
Posted By Anne-Sophie Samjee at 1:37pm on April 05, 2007
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