EU: clear cutting rainforests for palm oil plantations OK

“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.  …

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.  …

But in a manoeuvre that has shocked environmental campaigners, a draft commission communication offering guidance to EU member states on the use of biofuels has classified palm oil plantations – the source of one of the most destructive forms of biofuels – as “forests.”

Essentially, the document argues that because palm oil plantations are tall enough and shady enough, they count as forests.  …

“This means, for example, that a change from forest to oil palm plantation would not per se constitute a breach of the [sustainability criteria]. ”

Green groups were outraged by the move. “Palm oil plantations are one of the very worst examples of the problems with biofuels. The spirit of the debate in 2008 was specifically to stop this sort of thing,” Adrian Bebb of Friends of the Earth Europe told this website.”  “Palm oil plantations are now ‘forests,’ says EU

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