Forums - Politics Discussion - EU Bans Subsidies on Palm Oil as a Biofuel

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davekeating/2019/03/14/eu-labels-biofuel-from-palm-oil-as-unsustainable-bans-subsidies/#a035a729c9da

I would like people's take on this. One one hand, Palm Oil has been the cause of huge amounts of deforestration in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia as well as destroyed habitats.

As someone who personally knows people who are within the industry, let me just say that they do not see it this way. When I asked them, they replied that while they find the destruction of animal habitat regrettable, Palm Oil trees (so they say) are much more efficient per area at turning CO2 into Oxygen than natural forests and that Palm Oil production is the livelihood of millions of people and that the destruction of the industry would cause poverty at a massive scale and that the ensuing poverty would do far more damage to the environment (as people without food tend to do desperate things) such as illegally log and poach and slash and burn forests to turn into arable land. And even if that wasn't the case, to sustain their economies would these third worlds instead push for more industrialization?

As a person who strongly believes in Climate Change and the need to protect the environment for future generations, I believe the the current methods employed by the Palm Oil industry in expanding their production is the main reason for the damage to the environment and perhaps stronger regulations would help curb the damage it is causing but the direction from environmental groups seems to be the destruction of the industry (due to pressure to altogether stop its use and not regulate its growth, not its regulation). IF such were the case, the economic outfall would be disastrous for countries like Malaysia and Indonesia.

I wanna know what people think on the matter.



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Any biofuel at this point means deforestation and a lot less agricultural lands dedicated to feeding people, and forest and food, as opposed to fuel, are necessary.
Also palm oil being used in everything from food to toothpaste is already a big issue. Biofuel isn't ecological to use either.



RenCutypoison said:
Any biofuel at this point means deforestation and a lot less agricultural lands dedicated to feeding people, and forest and food, as opposed to fuel, are necessary.
Also palm oil being used in everything from food to toothpaste is already a big issue. Biofuel isn't ecological to use either.

I think it's a matter of alternatives. Coal and fossil fuel is seen as much more destructive and at the very least biofuel crops like Palm oil soak up CO2.



My opinion on the Palm Oil industry.... their "get rich, from butchering the "rain forrest" people".
All these palm oils + fats in foods is unhealthy.

OP - Who cares about useing palm oil, as fuel anyways? Arnt there much better alternatives?
More effecient, and less polutent, that dont contribute to deforrestation, of the rain forrests.



DrDoomz said:
RenCutypoison said:
Any biofuel at this point means deforestation and a lot less agricultural lands dedicated to feeding people, and forest and food, as opposed to fuel, are necessary.
Also palm oil being used in everything from food to toothpaste is already a big issue. Biofuel isn't ecological to use either.

I think it's a matter of alternatives. Coal and fossil fuel is seen as much more destructive and at the very least biofuel crops like Palm oil soak up CO2.

But haveing rainforrest soaks up many times more CO2 than chopping it down, and then planting palm oil trees.
These people out of greed, have reduced the rainforrests so much already.

The future is electric or "fuel cell" technologies.
not bio fuels.

I cant imagine a future with mass adoption of cars running on Palm oil..... I suspect theres even better alternatives in bio fuels, than palm oils tbh.
But Electric or Fuel cell, is gonna win out in the end.

Last edited by JRPGfan - on 16 July 2019

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Everything is a double edge sword at this point. This is just another blind move by the EU, increasing the dependence on other "bad looking" energy sources. Europe has little to no native energy sources, what are we doing banning them and putting so many obstacles?

Fossil fuels? You are polluting the atmosphere by burning them.
Nuclear energy? Beware of the dangers of radiation.
Solar and wind energy? Not nearly reliable/affordable enough to be mass produced.
Biofuel? Not efficient enough, plus it needs to burn stuff that usually comes from the wild.
Thermal and tide energy? Wayyyy to regional to be applicable elsewhere.

Plus, it's always the countries that pollute the least already the ones that keep doing this stuff. I get that's the point, they pollute the least because they are the ones taking the hardest stances against contamination, but I can't help but be somewhat weary of that, especialy when China, India and a ton of developing countries need to develop their industry, and as long as they are the ones carrying with the bulk of industrial production in the world, nothing is going to change.



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JRPGfan said:
DrDoomz said:

I think it's a matter of alternatives. Coal and fossil fuel is seen as much more destructive and at the very least biofuel crops like Palm oil soak up CO2.

But haveing rainforrest soaks up many times more CO2 than chopping it down, and then planting palm oil trees.
These people out of greed, have reduced the rainforrests so much already.

The future is electric or "fuel cell" technologies.
not bio fuels.

I cant imagine a future with mass adoption of cars running on Palm oil..... I suspect theres even better alternatives in bio fuels, than palm oils tbh.
But Electric or Fuel cell, is gonna win out in the end.

I don't think it is all about greed. Again, I know people in the industry. The actual growers. Farmers who make their living growing Oil Palm to support and feed their families. It is like saying "hey, maybe you should find a better job" when you've been doing the same job for 20 years (and have managed to make a decent living from it). This is not greed, this is necessity. Most processing facilities (where the Palm Oil crop is taken and sold to) invest heavily in the planting and growing of the crop but the ownership/management of the land itself is left to the individual growers.

I personally know several growers (people I met thru my travels), they are not greedy people, they are simple people just trying to get by.

We're talking entire third world countries whose economies or large chunks of it are entirely dependent on this crop that the (until recently) first world economies encouraged them to stake their livelihoods on (essentially by buying and demanding the crop).



DrDoomz said:
RenCutypoison said:
Any biofuel at this point means deforestation and a lot less agricultural lands dedicated to feeding people, and forest and food, as opposed to fuel, are necessary.
Also palm oil being used in everything from food to toothpaste is already a big issue. Biofuel isn't ecological to use either.

I think it's a matter of alternatives. Coal and fossil fuel is seen as much more destructive and at the very least biofuel crops like Palm oil soak up CO2.

But they soak as much CO2 as the agricultural land and or forest that would have been there otherwise.



RenCutypoison said:
DrDoomz said:

I think it's a matter of alternatives. Coal and fossil fuel is seen as much more destructive and at the very least biofuel crops like Palm oil soak up CO2.

But they soak as much CO2 as the agricultural land and or forest that would have been there otherwise.

I agree. But not all land can be usable in food production. And like I said, while I dislike the industry for its impact on the environment, in comparison to coal and fossil fuels, it is far less harmful.



Darwinianevolution said:
Everything is a double edge sword at this point. This is just another blind move by the EU, increasing the dependence on other "bad looking" energy sources. Europe has little to no native energy sources, what are we doing banning them and putting so many obstacles?

Fossil fuels? You are polluting the atmosphere by burning them.
Nuclear energy? Beware of the dangers of radiation.
Solar and wind energy? Not nearly reliable/affordable enough to be mass produced.
Biofuel? Not efficient enough, plus it needs to burn stuff that usually comes from the wild.
Thermal and tide energy? Wayyyy to regional to be applicable elsewhere.

Plus, it's always the countries that pollute the least already the ones that keep doing this stuff. I get that's the point, they pollute the least because they are the ones taking the hardest stances against contamination, but I can't help but be somewhat weary of that, especialy when China, India and a ton of developing countries need to develop their industry, and as long as they are the ones carrying with the bulk of industrial production in the world, nothing is going to change.

Europe is producing tons of oils for Biofuels. Most Maize (corn) and Rapeseed (canola) plantations throughout Europe are for the sole purpose of fuels. Gas already has 20% of them, Diesel also above 10%.

Also, you're putting everything on the EU while the decisions to ban Fossil and nuclear came from the individual countries, not per EU directive. Also keep in mind that Europe is producing less power now simply because Europe needs less power than it did 10 years ago (electricity consumption peaked in 2008), hence why taking so many old power plants off the grid ain't too problematic and getting replaced with renewable energies. It's slowly going up again since 2015, possibly due to the rise of electric cars.

About the bolded part: Then why is it the single largest part of the European electricity production since 2014, replacing both coal/lignite and nuclear (it went from 3rd to 1st) on the top spot?

In 2016, 29% of the European electricity production is from renewable sources, followed by 26% from nuclear. And while some countries vowed to get out of nuclear energy after Fukushima, others didn't and actually are expanding their nuclear power capacities. France, Finland and Slovakia are building nuclear power plants, and most of the eastern European countries are planning to extend their capacity of nuclear power production at a later point should it become necessary. Italy was one of the countries where the electricity consumption was receding the most, so cutting their nuclear reactors was also about rebalancing their power consumption to avoid overloading the grid.

With cutting fossil more and more out of the mix, the amount of CO2 produced per kWh is also dropping nicely. In 1990, that value was at over 520 g/kWh, while in 2016, it was all the way down to 295 g/kWh, so almost half of the amount per kWh than 30 years prior.

And I guess that with thermal you actually meant geothermal. But yeah, those two, just like power generated from dams, are very dependent on location and thus don't have much room for improvement. But as I just explained, it doesn't have to.