Vegetable oils in bio-fuel pose potential environmental hazard


oil
Palm oil is among the most popular choices for biofuel (/source)

Natalia Welzenbach-Marcu |July 3rd, 2018

In an effort to phase out palm oil–a commodity that has a large negative impact on both the earth and on ethical human labor–the European Union is looking to replace the bio-fuel ingredient. But proposed alternatives could come at an even higher cost.

Palm oil is easy to produce on small amounts of land, unlike other vegetable oils that require far larger plots to cultivate a proper plot. Though palm oil accounts for roughly 35% of all vegetable oil produced globally, the crop takes up only about 10% of all oil-dedicated farmland.

The expansion of palm oil use has faced criticism, as the ever-expanding farmland is a driving force in global deforestation. Despite palm oil being a problem, alternative oils, such as soy, would only serve to further damage forests and climates in new places, like South America, especially Argentina, where it’s already making a negative impact.

With better management of existing plots of land, the Union hopes that further deforestation and damage can be avoided.

 

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