Most of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with palm oil biofuels result from clearing forested land to make way for oil palm plantations. This crop can only be grown in tropical countries, and oil palm plantations are currently displacing vast areas of rainforest in South America, Africa, and Africa – generating enormous emissions of greenhouse gases in the process. In fact, because of the carbon footprint of clearing forests, palm oil-based biofuels can actually be many times worse for the climate than ordinary gasoline. Some people argue that, if planted on land where there is currently no forest, oil palms can be grown without contributing to global warming. However, if palm oil is used for biofuels on a large scale, it is highly unlikely that the increased demand for this product could be met without converting huge areas of rainforest in new plantations. For this reason, biofules from palm oil will almost certainly hurt the planet more than they help.
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