Infographic on palm oil and climate change
Common vegetable oil’s link to climate change
Vegetable oil, tropical forests and climate change might seem unrelated, but they’re more closely linked than you may think.
A new infographic by the US's Tropical Forest and Climate Initiative at the Union of Concerned Scientists shows how palm oil, a common vegetable oil, causes deforestation that results in climate change. In fact, deforestation is responsible for about 10 percent of all climate emissions.
In addition to its use as cooking oil, palm oil can be found in many of the foods, cleaning agents and cosmetic products that people use daily, including cookies, toothpaste and lotions.
Palm oil plantations have almost tripled as the demand for palm oil intensifies. Tropical forests and carbon-rich peatlands are cleared to make way for these plantations, making palm oil a major driver of deforestation. When tropical areas are deforested, significant stores of carbon are released into the atmosphere, further contributing to climate change.
Emissions due just to oil palm cultivation in Indonesia accounted for an estimated 2 to 9 percent of all tropical land use emissions from 2000 to 2010. Moving food and personal care companies in the marketplace towards sourcing deforestation-free, peat-free palm oil is the best way to reduce deforestation and ultimately slow the rate of climate change. However, companies won’t act without pressure from consumers.
See our Palm Oil campaign which helps consumers to buy products that have the top-rated palm oil policies.