Back in February, we commented on a ruling by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the suitability (or rather, in this case, the unsuitability) of palm oil as a biodiesel feedstock under new sustainability rules (read it here).
Since then the palm oil industry has launched a fight back. At the end of March, Malaysia and Indonesia, the two largest producers of the crop in the world, launched a ‘a joint mission to correct and update [the]United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report.
Some of the problem revolves around the EPA’s finding of a 17% GHG saving from palm oil biodiesel. Supporters of the palm industry say that other studies show the actual GHG reduction is higher, ranging between 38% and 60.4%. There are two other worries for the sector. Firstly, that the EPA decision, which only affects palm oil’s use as a biodiesel feedstock, could spill over into the lucritive food market. Second, the decision in the US adds further weight to the EU’s proposals under the RED, which the industry is also fighting.
However, there is a solution. According to a new report from WWF, ‘many firms who switched to producing sustainable palm oil – which is good for people and the environment – reaped significant return on their investments.’ When such initiatives are combined with new developments, such as the increasing use of biomass co-products from palm oil processing for energy generation will all help to increase efficiencies and reduce the overall GHG emissions.
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