Canadian Biomass Magazine

Tropical biofuels making matters worse?

January 22, 2012
By Scott Jamieson

palm_oil_for_biodiesel_worse_than_alternatives_for_carbon_footprintJan 22, 2012, Uxbridge, ON - Most biodiesel production is making climate change worse not better, according to an article in Ecology & Society. Biodiesel from palm oil plantations may be the world's dirtiest fuel - far worse than burning diesel made from oil when the entire production life cycle is considered.

Biodiesel made from the many palm oil plantations on Indonesia's
peatlands have a "carbon debt of 200 years", said Louis Verchot, a
research scientist at the Center for International Forestry

in Bogor, Indonesia.

This means it will take 200 years of continuous biodiesel production
from these palm oil plantations to pay off the "carbon debt" that
results from land conversion and indirect land use changes.

Verchot and colleagues' study is the first real-world look at the
climate impacts of biodiesel and was published last month in the
journal Ecology and Society. The study looked at biodiesel production
involving palm oil, jatropha and soy at 12 sites in six different

"Our study shows we have to eliminate a lot of what we're trying to
do in the name of protecting the atmosphere," he said.

More details can be found at the IPS news website.

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