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Indonesia challenges U.S. palm-oil policy


14:19, May 05, 2012

JAKARTA, May 5 (Xinhua) -- Indonesia has formally challenged the recent greenhouse gas analysis of palm oil issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), saying that palm oil-based biofuel is qualified to join the renewable fuel program in the world's energy market, local media reported on Saturday.

According to the Indonesian Palm Oil Producers' Association ( Gapki), greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by palm oil-based biofuel by up to 50 percent, higher than the 20 percent required by the EPA.

Gapki's calculation, revealed on Friday, is quite similar to the previous estimate put forward by the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil Commission which, based on joint research with an international research agency, maintained that Indonesian palm oil- based biofuel could cut between 40 percent and 60 percent of greenhouse gasses based on the method in accordance with European Union (EU) rules.

In its recent regulatory filing, the EPA said that palm oil- based biofuel could cut greenhouse emissions by only 17 percent, falling short of the 20 percent threshold, to be included in US renewable-fuel standards.

In its formal response submitted on April 26, Gapki also mentioned that palm oil production was more efficient in terms of land use than any other vegetable oil, because as a perennial it could produce fruit for up to 25 years, and could not, therefore, be compared to other vegetable oils, such as soybean oil, used in the EPA's calculations, the Jakarta Post reported.

The EPA earlier said that its carbon accounting for palm-oil biofuel was based partly on the "incremental expansion" of oil palm plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia, which account for up to 90 percent of the world's palm-oil supply, producing a projected 1.5 million kiloliters of biofuel for the US by 2022.

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