Understanding Palm Oil: The Pros and Cons of Palm Oil

“Palm oil may be a booming global commodity. But economists and environmentalists remain sharply divided over whether the oil helps slow global warming or is in fact a major climate killer.”


Pros:
  • Palm Oil generates 10 times the amount of energy that it consumes.
  • It is said that palm oil can help to reduce poverty since it generates returns of over $3,000 per hectare vs. $100 for conventional agriculture.
  • Researchers believe that the high antioxidant of red palm oil makes it a natural weapon against cancer.
  • Palm oil makes excellent cooking oil and doesn't lose valuable nutrients when it’s heated.
  • Palm oil is a source for biofuels and bio diesel used for power plants and other renewable energy purposes throughout the world.
  • Palm fruit is rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and other phytonutrients.


Cons:
  • Since palm oil is in such high demand, rainforests the size of 5 football fields disappear every minute.
  • Rain forests are being eroded to make way for palm oil plantations.
  • 83% of the world’s palm oil is produced in Indonesia and Malaysia meaning in 15 years 98% of their rainforests will disappear because of deforestation.
  • When palm oil forests are cleared large amounts of carbon dioxide is released making Indonesia the 3rd largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world.


It’s important for us to understand both sides of the ongoing situation before coming to a conclusion. Producing palm oil may have many pros but are those reasons worth the deforestation of our rainforests and increased carbon dioxide in our world? Or, can we afford to sacrifice some of our rainforests to reduce poverty and possibly prevent cancer?

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