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The environment

Europe’s hypocrisy over climate change

The rainforest in Gabon. Getty Images

Europe likes to tell developing countries how to manage their natural environment, says Muhammed Magassy in Foreign Policy. But their hypocrisy is staggering. Take Norway: last month it transferred $17m to Gabon to help protect the west African nation’s rainforest. Laudable though the project is, it doesn’t offset Europe’s hunger for resources. It is the second largest importer of Gabonese timber, after China ­­– that’s hardly going to reduce deforestation. Developing nations are in a bind: the rainforests “that protect billions of people from rising carbon emissions” can also be stripped for resources that “provide economic security for millions”. There’s no such dilemma for Norway, which has a $1.4 trillion sovereign wealth fund for a population of less than six million. Yet it’s still drilling for fossil fuels in the Arctic. 

The EU, meanwhile, is planning to ban imports of palm oil as a biofuel from Malaysia – a policy that would “devastate” the country’s economy. Europe is actively ignoring the “tremendous progress” Malaysia’s palm-oil sector has made towards sustainability. It’s certainly greener than EU-grown vegetable oils such rapeseed and soybean, which require more land, water and fertilizer to produce the same output. Beneath all its “greenwashing”, Europe is content to sit back and turn a profit while developing countries “bear the burden of stopping climate change”. 

Read the full article here (paywall).