Analytical Instrumentation

  • How Does Diesel Contribute to Deforestation?

How Does Diesel Contribute to Deforestation?

Oct 15 2020 Read 370 Times

New data from YouGov suggests more than half of Europeans are in favour of accelerating a ban on food-based biofuels to protect forests. The poll surveyed respondents from seven countries, including France, Germany and Italy. Overall, 34% of Europeans want to phase out the use of palm oil in diesel as soon as possible. More than 20% would like to see palm oil-based diesel phased out before 2030, the current deadline outlined by the EU. Just 8% of Europeans actively oppose the decision to remove palm oil from fuel products, suggesting that overall, the continent is an active supporter of sustainable forestry.  

France was one of the most eco-conscious countries, with 42% of respondents strongly in favour of phasing out palm oil from fuels. Around 35% of Germans agreed with the ban, followed by 34% of Italians and 30% of Belgians. Alongside palm oil, soy is another major contributor to global deforestation. More than 50% of Europeans actively support the phase out of soy oil in diesel fuels, with just 18% advocating for its ongoing use.

Burning palm and soy oil labelled “madness”

The new data reflects Europe’s growing environmental awareness and the strong public pressure on governments to phase out food-based biofuels. “The madness of burning food in cars should stop as soon as possible,” asserts Transport & Environment biofuels manager, Cristina Mestre. “This failed biofuels policy drives deforestation, worsening climate change, and threatens both indigenous communities and endangered species. EU leaders have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to phase out all food-based biofuels, including palm oil as of next year.”

Food-based biofuels an immediate threat to endangered species

As one of the biggest importers of palm oil in the world, Europe has an enormous footprint when it comes to deforestation. While palm oil is a controversial ingredient used in edibles such as chocolate, ice cream, bread, margarine, cookies and hazelnut spread, these types of products call for around 2.8 million tonnes of oil a year. In comparison, Europe burnt through a huge 4.5 million tonnes of palm oil through the use of biofuel products in 2019.

Much of the oil is imported from Indonesia and Malaysia, where palm oil plantations pose a major threat to native forests. Endangered species such as orangutans, elephants and tigers are rapidly losing their habitats, while the vast monoculture plantations are draining nutrients from the soil, accelerating erosion and pollution water sources. With the use of food-based biofuels gaining momentum, environmentalists warn governments need to act now protect forests and avoid irreversible damage.

As well as phasing out food-based biofuels, Europe is also transitioning away from petrol-powered engines and towards EVs. Find out more about the latest EV news in ‘The need for dedicated lubricants following heightened demand for electric vehicles.’

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