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Bessou C.,CIRAD - Agricultural Research for Development | Chase L.D.C.,Independent Consultant in Tropical Agriculture | Henson I.E.,Independent Consultant in Tropical Agriculture | Abdul-Manan A.F.N.,Royal Dutch Shell | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Cleaner Production

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is a non-profit association promoting sustainable palm oil through a voluntary certification scheme. Two successive science-based working groups on greenhouse gas (GHG) were active in RSPO from 2009 to 2011, with the aim of identifying ways of achieving meaningful and verifiable reductions of GHG emissions. One of the outputs of the second group is PalmGHG, a GHG calculator using the life cycle assessment approach to quantify major sources of emissions and sequestration for individual palm oil mills and their supply base. A pilot study was carried out in 2011 with nine RSPO member companies that gave an average of 1.67 t CO2e/t crude palm oil (CPO), with a range of -0.02 to +8.32 t CO2e/t CPO. Previous land use and the area of peat soil used were the main causes of the variation. Further modifications to PalmGHG continue to be made in order to make the tool more flexible and comprehensive, to refine default values, and to render it more user-friendly. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

Chase L.D.C.,Independent Consultant in Tropical Agriculture | Henson I.E.,Independent Consultant in Tropical Agriculture
International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability

We have evaluated the global warming impact of palm oil production in a model that simulates the operations of a typical palm oil mill that processes fruit from a nucleus estate and outgrowers. It estimates carbon sequestration in the crop and in mill products and by-products, and balances this against the major sources of greenhouse gases (GHGs), all converted to carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2-e) over the 25-year lifespan of the crop. The model shows that most carbon sequestration occurs in the standing crop, with smaller amounts in mill products and by-products. Land-use conversion plays a dominant role in the GHG budget, with planting of oil palm after logged forest or rubber leading to a net loss of carbon, and to a net gain following grassland. In the default oil-palm-to-oil-palm case the carbon lost from cleared palms is balanced by sequestration in the current crop. Methane from mill effluent and nitrous oxide from N fertilizers are the next most important emission sources. The default replant case gives net emissions of 0.86t CO2-e per t crude palm oil, but these can be reduced to very low values, mainly through conversion of methane and surplus fuel in the mill to energy. © 2010 Earthscan. Source

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