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Biofuel: Why still against palm oil when you need it desperately, Zuraida asks EU

Publish date: Tue, 05 Jul 2022, 05:20 PM

THE Government finds it peculiar that the European Union (EU) has yet to change its stance over palm-oil and its produce despite biofuel being considered to replace crude oil, due to rising prices.  

“Even as the world gradually recognising the role of biofuel, the EU never ceases to amaze with is discriminatory protectionism policy with regards to palm oil even as biofuel are proven to offer strategic advantages for different sectors and stakeholders. 

“Interestingly, palm oil opponents themselves have also criticised the EU’s act for treating another vegetable oil – namely, soybean oil – as low risk.  

“They argue that soy cultivation can be as harmful for the environment and climate change, perhaps even more so than palm oil,” said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin, in a statement.  

In 2019, the European Commissioned approved measures to phase out, but not amounting to a ban, of palm oil-based biofuel by 2030.  

The decision means that EU nations will still be able to import and use palm oil-based biodiesel, but it will no longer be considered a renewable fuel or be eligible for the attendant subsidies. 

Touching in the matter, Zuraida said that the rising crude oil prices had renewed interest in biofuel, with India stepping up its ethanol-blending programme, using sugarcane-based and grain-based ethanol.  

As such, she added that there are a number of advantages in using palm oil for the production of biofuel. 

“Unlike fossil fuels, the combustion of palm oil biofuel does not increase carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere as the oil is merely returning carbon dioxide obtained earlier from the atmosphere through photosynthesis.  

“As such, biofuel can be regarded as carbon neutral. Since carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas responsible for global warming, the world benefits by the burning of biofuel instead of fossil fuel,” the Ampang MP mentioned.  

Environmentally friendly  

Zuraida also said that oil palm trees absorb a lot more carbon dioxide during photosynthesis to form biomass for the other parts of the plant. 

“And the tree continues to absorb carbon dioxide throughout its life span of 25 to 30 years. European palm biofuel consumers can take comfort in knowing that palm biofuel is very much carbon neutral,” she remarked.  

Zuraida remarked: “I recently delivered a speech in London to captains of industries there, about the immense benefits of palm oil, while countering false news about the commodity, in line with the ‘The Global Movement to Champion the Goodness of Palm Oil’ campaign. 

“The response has been overwhelming and I believe, given time, Malaysian palm oil will gain increased acceptance and may even be the dominant edible oil in non-traditional markets like Europe.” – July 5, 2022

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