Greenpeace - Greenpeace activists have this morning blocked the entrance to a refinery near Marseille where oil giant Total uses controversial palm oil to produce biofuel. Environmentalists say palm oil drives deforestation. About 50 Greenpeace activists, wearing orange, arrived outside Total's biorefinery in La Mede near Marseille at around 6 am.  They placed large two orange containers in front of the entrance and chained themselves to each container. The group said each container holds enough supplies for the activists to remain at the site for several days.

Greenpeace said that "The refinery at La Mede is a centre of deforestation imported into France, which imports 550,000 tonnes of palm oil per year, and corresponds to 64 percent of French consumption,". 

When launching the La Mede biorefinery earlier this year Total pledged it would process no more than 300,000 tonnes of palm oil per year -- less than half of the total volume of raw materials needed and that would be certified as being sustainable according to EU standards. It said the certification ensured there had been no deforestation to produce the oil and would result in at least a 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions compared to fossil fuels.

France's constitutional court earlier this month rejected a bid by Total to secure a tax break for using palm oil to create biofuel.


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