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Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Palm oil plantations are now 'forests,' says EU

The European Commission and some EU member states hope to redefine palm oil plantations as "forests," according to a leaked document from the EU executive. Rules governing the use of biofuels were supposed to be designed to sort out the sustainable versions of the technology from their dirtier cousins following a massive backlash against it in 2008. At the time, an avalanche of reports revealed that many forms of the fuel source both increase greenhouse gas emissions and put pressure on food prices. The production of palm oil was one of the most egregious examples of the problem. In the wake of the biofuels boom, there has been a rush to chop down rainforests to make way for palm oil plantations. The UN says that the growth in such plantations is now the main cause of rainforest destruction in Malaysia and Indonesia.  Worse still are the land grabs and human rights abuses resulting from the lucrative business. In Indonesia, when native communities complain about the loss of their lands, private security firms and police that collude with the oil companies crack down violently on protesters.

Source: EU Observer

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