Destruction of Indonesia's peat forests and global climate
I've just found an excellent presentation on what the destruction of Indonesia's peat forests means for the global climate. See below. This explains that the emissions from peat destruction in Indonesia alone are the equivalent of 4.8 times the GLOBAL carbon savings from the Kyoto Protocol, if it was fully implemented by all the rich nations. The link between peat fires, forest destruction and the expansion of oil palm plantation has been well documented, including in a very detailed CIFOR study, and most recently by Greenpeace International, and also by scientists publishing in Nature. There is no single industry in no single country of the world which contributes as much to global warming as Indonesia's palm oil industry (yes, I know, that's difficult to believe, but it really is true). Now, if that is not a good reason for banning palm oil in a policy which at least pays lip-service to climate change mitigation, then I don't know what is a good reason! And if the WTO agreement is a barrier, then surely WWF and others should be joining all the NGOs already campaigning against WTO rules: saving our planet from possible runaway global warming and meltdown surely must take precedence over the defence of free trade. As for north-south relations: What about relations with the millions of Indonesian's impoverished, many evicted, many made ill because of oil palm expansion? The bad news from the EU Committee is that they don't call for a ban on soya and sugar cane from South America, and, closer to home, that they are wanting to abolish set-asides, which will consign many more bird, insect and plant species to oblivion. And, of course, if they are successful in banning ONLY palm oil whilst maintaining the 5.75% target, will they drive up the price of soya which will increase logging in the Amazon and other rainforests? Now, I'd say that's a reason for a moratorium on the directive until a really sensible policy is developed, NOT for using palm oil.
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