The biggest problem with palm oil is that it can only been grown in tropical countries, where vast areas of rainforest are being cleared to make room for palm oil plantations. Because of the rate at which palm oil plantations are displacing rainforests and the millions of plant and animal species that depend on them, the palm oil industry has been called the single largest immediate threat to global biodiversity. Destroying rainforests to make room for these plantations also makes a significant contribution to global warming – so much so that biofuels made from palm oil can actually be more damaging to the climate than ordinary gasoline. Finally, many indigenous and traditional communities in tropical countries are having their traditional land taken away to give to palm oil companies. The problem is especially big in Indonesia and nearby countries in Southeast Asia, where palm oil is expanding particularly rapidly.
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