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Norway bans government purchasing of palm oil biofuel

Staff Writer | June 21, 2017
The Norwegian parliament voted to ban the public procurement and use of palm oil-based biofuel, purportedly becoming the first country to do so.
Norwegian parliament
Europe   Rainforest Foundation Norway
“The [Parliament] calls on the government to impose requirements through regulations to the Public Procurement Act that biofuel based on palm oil or by-products of palm oil shall not be used,” reads the government outline of the resolution.

Public procurement is a procedure by which governments purchase goods or services from companies.

The resolution further stipulates that the “regulatory amendment shall enter into force as soon as possible.”

The move comes on the heels of a report by the Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) that finds palm oil-based biofuel is worse for the climate than fossil fuels.

The report, written by low-carbon fuels policy expert Chris Malins, blames land cover change like deforestation and the draining of peatlands for palm oil’s harmful impacts.

“There is a large body of evidence that because of indirect land use change (ILUC), palm oil biodiesel is worse for the climate than the fossil fuel it replaces – perhaps several times worse,” the report concludes.

Palm oil is a controversial commodity found in products ranging from cookies and cosmetics to biodiesel and cooking fuel.

Once touted as a more sustainable alternativeto other food oils and fossil fuels because of its production efficiency and renewability (a hectare planted with oil palm trees yields about 10 times more oil than a hectare of soy), opinion on the industry has taken a turn over the years.

With oil palm plantations covering vast areas of once-rainforest of Southeast Asia – primarily Indonesia and Malaysia – and encroaching into other tropical countries around the world, many now see palm oil as a scourge rather than a savior.