Growing palm oil could speed up climate change, study says

Growing palm oil trees to make biofuels could be accelerating the effects of climate change, new research showed on Wednesday, adding further weight to claims the crop is not environmentally sustainable. In a paper published in Nature, an international team of scientists examined how the deforestation of peat swamps in Malaysia to make way for palm oil trees is releasing carbon which has been locked away for thousands of years.

Previous research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in January 2011 suggested that the carbon-rich peat-swamp forests that had been cleared in Peninsular Malaysia and on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra by the early 2000's released as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as the entire UK transport sector does in a year. 

Source: Reuters, January 30, 2013

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