Excessive use of palm oil as biofuel fueling environmental degradation

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Use of palm oil as a bio-fuel was initiated with many good reasons but all smashed up sooner than expected. Early and rapid adoption of sustainable energy made energy companies so enthusiastic that they designed generators that ran exclusively on oil. Studies made it clear that coaxing of electric plants to use bio-fuel was effecting the environment a lot. However rising demand for palm oil lead to the clearing of South Asian rain forests and overuse of chemical fertilizers. Huge amount of carbon emission started taking place because of draining and burning of peat land.

In Indonesia, the carbon emission is in excess accelerating global warming directly. The production of bio-fuels may sometimes result in more harmful emissions than from burning fossil fuels.

If bio-fuels are made properly, the greenhouse emission can be reduced which depends on the type, growth and processing of plants. There are many programs which are being developed to trace the origin of imported palm oil, to certify which operations produce oil in the responsible manner. Palm oil has caused much harm to Indonesia. It would be better to make bio-fuels from corn, sugar and sunflower oil, which are less harmful.

More research is to be done to determine whether various bio-fuels in different regions are produced in a non-polluting manner. If the emissions arising from the production of bio-fuels is counted as emission of the country where the fuel is used it will give the clear counting of environmental cost. In Europe, the demand for palm oil has soared in two decades for food, cosmetics and fuel. Here palm oil is used as a substitute for diesel and in Netherlands for electricity.

The increasing demand of palm oil in Netherlands has created damage far away. Large percentage of deforestation in Malaysia was caused by new palm oil plantation. Palm farming on peatland augments global warming. Peatland is 90% water but when drained the stored carbon gases are released into atmosphere and once dried it is often burned to clear grounds for plantation.
If the environmental costs were considered before starting the use of palm oil as a bio-fuel extensively, the results would have been different.

Via: New York Times

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