France To Implement Palm Oil Tax To Protect The Rainforests And Orangutans In Indonesia

France's National Assembly is placing a new levy on palm oil imports from Indonesia and Malaysia, which would tax 30 euros per ton in 2017, rising to 90 euros per ton in 2020.

Credit: NationalGeographic

Credit: NationalGeographic

Once again, France is everybody’s favorite country. Not only did the progressive nation make it illegal for stores to purposefully waste food last year, it led the way in green reform by mandating that all new buildings must either have green gardens or solar panels on their roofs.

Now, France is seeking to implement a palm oil tax which will benefit the rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia while protecting the valuable wildlife.

In case you’re not aware, palm oil is a popular commodity used in a number of different products, including snacks, laundry detergent, cosmetics, and a myriad of other cheap items. Unfortunately, production of the oil is devastating to the environment and the Sumatran orangutan populations.

In the last 10 years, the orangutan population has decreased by 50% as the result of habitat loss. To put that into context, there are only around 6,3000 Sumatran orangutans left. Sadly, it’s not uncommon for the primates to be burned or slaughtered as workers clear the rainforest to make space for palm oil plantations.

In addition, clearing one hectare (about two square acres) of peat forest can release 6,000 tons of carbon dioxide. Obviously, the short-term gains derived from using palm oil are not worth it.

Thankfully, France is helping put an end to this atrocity.

One Green Planet reports that the National Assembly is placing a new levy on palm oil imports from Indonesia and Malaysia, which would tax 30 euros per ton in 2017, rising to 90 euros per ton in 2020.

While the Indonesian and Malaysian governments have raised protests (as they are the two largest palm oil producers in the world), France is moving forward with the legislation. The country did soften the tax, however, as it was initially introduced at 300 euros per ton.

While the legislation, which is part of a wider biodiversity bill, still needs to be reviewed by the Upper House, it is expected to go through in May or June. The Junior Minister for the environment in charge of biodiversity, Barbara Pompili, told the National Assembly:

“The introduction into France’s fiscal legislation of a tax on products whose impact on deforestation is recognized worldwide, gives a strong signal by France in terms of environmental protection.”

While consumers have the ability – and most certainly retain the obligation – to boycott products which contain palm oil, it is a responsibility for the government to take action, as well. By taxing the commodity, hopefully, a dramatic drop in usage and a rise in innovative solutions will result.

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