AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Scientists say rising demand for palm oil in Europe is creating an environmental nightmare in Southeast Asia.
The popularity of the oil, adopted by European energy companies as a sustainable energy source, has resulted in the loss of huge tracts of Southeast Asian rainforest and the overuse of chemical fertilizer on palm plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia, The New York Times reported.
A study released by researchers from Wetlands International and Delft Hydraulics in the Netherlands says the draining and burning of peatland to expand the palm plantations has sent huge amounts of carbon emissions into the atmosphere -- turning Indonesia into the world's third leading producer of carbon emissions after the United States and China.
Politicians in many countries are rethinking the billions of dollars in subsidies that have supported the spread of biofuel, the newspaper said.
The British environmental group Biofuelswatch says "biofuels should not automatically be classed as renewable energy."