The Main Source of Emission is from European Diet not Palm Oil

Empirical study has proven that the amount of emissions from palm oil consumption in Europe is very small.  The biggest source of emissions in the European society’s diet is due to high consumption of food with high-emission that is from its domestic agriculture.

European Union community is a society with high GDP per capita which is around 37000 USD or almost 10 times higher than Indonesian GDP per capita. As a society with high income, their food consumption is also considerably higher. EU’s consumption per capita of meat and milk reaches 80 to 240 Kg or around 200 percent of the world’s average consumption per capita (FAO, 2017). With this high food consumption, carbon emissions resulted from European diet is also expectedly high.

A study conducted by Sandstrom, et.al 2018: The Role of Trade in the GHG Footprint of EU Diets, stated that annual emission per capita from European diet reached an average of 1070 Kg CO2 eq, with a range of 610-1460 Kg CO2 eq. per capita. EU population is around 500 million of people; the total EU emissions from the diet alone reach 535 billion Kg of CO2 eq. per year. Among European Union member countries, the top five countries with significant amount of emissions resulted from their diets are Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Greece and Netherlands.

Interestingly, the study showed that the biggest contributor for emission in the European diet which contributed 83 percent of the total emission comes from meat, milk, and eggs. The rest come from the consumption of grains which is 4 percent. When the emission is further studied based on the origin of food, it is found that 64 percent of the emissions comes from domestic produced food (EU itself) and 25 percent comes from imported food that is from Latin America.

Even though approximately 70 percent of palm oil that is imported to EU annually is for food ingredient (edible oils), the contribution of palm oil in the emission produced from European diet is relatively small. This proves that EU’s argument related to the accusation of palm oil as the source of emission produced in the European consumption (embodied emission) using the parameter of LUCLUCF/ILUC is groundless. Scapegoating palm oil as the source of EU emissions is only to divert or cover up the issue of high emissions due to high food consumption sourced from domestic agricultural production.

If EU community wants to decrease emissions caused by their dietary, one of the solutions is to reduce the consumption of domestic vegetable oil such as rapeseed oil, sunflower oil and soybean oil or switch to palm oil.

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