At a glance, the good intention of European Union (EU) to question the emissions caused by Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) of oil palm in order to reduce global emissions seems very noble. Unfortunately, EU is only eager to blame palm oil emissions which in fact reducing the global emissions, whereas, emission caused by EU is actually included as the world’s top ten GHG emitters but they do not concern.
According to the data from International Energy Agency (IEA, 2016) EU emissions in 2014 reached 3.16 million tons CO2 eq (only from fossil energy consumption) which had placed EU as the third biggest emission contributor in the world after China and USA. If calculated, individual emission in EU is relatively big that is 6.22 tons CO2 eq per person in average. On the contrary, the average of individual emission in Indonesia is 1.72 ton CO2 eq per person. This means that the amount of emissions produced by a single person in EU is 4 times bigger than the amount of emissions produced by a single person in Indonesia.
Meanwhile, the amount of emissions caused by ILUC of oil palm is very small in comparison even if palm oil has been used as raw material for biodiesel to substitute some of fossil fuel. The net emission of palm oil is even negative or reducing global emissions.
There is a study conducted by International Food Policy Research Institute Eropean Comission (IFPRI-EC) that is actually part of the EU itself. In the research report entitled: Global Trade and Environmental Impact Study of the EU Biofuels Mandate, it is revealed that net emissions of palm oil were minus 18.25 grams of CO2 / MJ / year to minus 22.43 grams of CO2 / MJ / year. How come it can reduce emission? According to the research, it is because the productivity of palm oil is 6 to 10 times higher than other types of vegetable oil. It means that palm oil that is used for biodiesel does not add to the global emissions but it helps reduce it for 18 to 22 grams or 20 grams CO2 per year in average.
Palm oil is in fact more environmentally friendly for EU compared to the other types of vegetable oil such as rapeseed oil or sunflower oil. The study by IFPRI also mentioned that the use of rapeseed oil and sunflower oil even increase global emissions which is in contrast to palm oil.
The fact that net emission of palm oil is reducing global missions, the EU community should be thankful to Indonesia. Palm oil export for biodiesel to EU, as according to the study by IFPRI-EC, has provided significant solution to reduce global emissions and that includes reducing the large amount of emissions produced by EU.
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