Sunday, July 21, 2024

Europe’s new palm oil rules stir debate over environmental protection and jobs

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Europe’s ban on deforestation-linked imports puts Malaysia and Indonesia’s economic interests at risk.

Patricia Cohen reports for The New York Times.


In short:

  • The European Union mandates tracing for a wide array of products to combat deforestation, impacting 85% of the world’s palm oil supply from Malaysia and Indonesia.
  • Developing countries view the regulation as an economic threat, with allegations of “regulatory imperialism” from Indonesia’s economic minister.
  • Compliance challenges may disproportionately affect smallholders, further exacerbating environmental damage and poverty.

Key quote:

“We’re not questioning the need to fight deforestation. But it’s not fair when countries that have deforested their own land for centuries, or are responsible for much of our deforestation, can unilaterally impose conditions on us.”

— Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, Malaysia’s environment minister

Why this matters:

The EU’s deforestation law aims to protect forests and ecosystems and underscores the broader challenges of equitable climate action, especially for nations reliant on agricultural exports like palm oil.

Balancing palm oil and protected forests to conserve orangutans.

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