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  Yahoo News 8 Nov 07
Greenpeace urges Indonesia to stop burning forest

PlanetArk 9 Nov 07
Booming Palm Oil Demand Fuelling Climate Crisis
Jeremy Lovell

Business Times 9 Nov 07
Deforestation could detonate 'climate bomb'

Today Online 9 Nov 07
Greenpeace reports on what's 'cooking' the forests

ENVIRONMENTAL champions Greenpeace will propose a new funding mechanism to protect the world's remaining forests, at the Bali conference of world governments next month to discuss the new phase of the Kyoto Protocol.

In Singapore yesterday, Greenpeace launched a report How the Palm Oil Industry is Cooking the Climate about deforestation on the Sumatran island of Riau, where a quarter of Indonesian oil palm plantations are located.

Ms Emmy Hafild, executive director of Greenpeace South-east Asia, said: "The haze isn't the only problem that Singapore faces; it masks another problem: Deforestation and the encroachment of palm oil plantations onto peatland."

Peat partially decayed plant matter is rich in carbon and when burnt, not only smoulders for a long time, but also releases large amounts of carbon dioxide.

"The peatlands in Riau store 14.6 billion tonnes of carbon, or a year's worth of total greenhouse gas emissions," said Ms Hafild.

Greenpeace also noted flagrant violations by plantation owners who destroy protected peatland. Every year, 1.8 billion tonnes of emissions that's 4 per cent of global emissions are released through the destruction of forests and peatland.

If these practices are not stopped, it could set off a "climate bomb" said Ms Sue Connor, a Greenpeace International Forests Campaigner.

Greenpeace is hence calling for a moratorium on forest clearance.

And much more must be done by businesses and government to ensure that palm oil comes from sustainable practices, said Ms Connor.

This is where Singapore, a key trading hub with strong governance values, can play its part, Ms Hafild said.

And while she praised Singapore's pact with the Mauro Jambi province to tackle the haze issue through fire prevention, she added: "If we do not stop the destruction of peatlands, (the collaboration) does not help to tackle the bigger picture."

The Rainbow Warrior, Greenpeace's longest-serving campaign ship, is docked at the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. The public can view the ship today and tomorrow.

Yahoo News 8 Nov 07
Greenpeace urges Indonesia to stop burning forest

Greenpeace urged Indonesia on Thursday to stop its "reckless" destruction of rain forests to plant palm oil in the archipelago, which will host a global climate summit next month.

The environmental group also called on foreign food and cosmetics companies to shun "bad" palm oil produced as a result of deforestation in Indonesia.

"Indonesia's peatlands are some of the richest stores of carbon in the world, and their destruction is one of the most reckless and avoidable contributions to global warming," Greenpeace said in a statement released here.

Emmy Hafild, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, urged consumer goods producers such as Unilever, Nestle and Procter and Gamble to boycott palm oil produced by plantations involved in illegal forest clearing.

"Some of the best-known brands in the world are literally cooking the climate," Hafild said at the launch here of "Cooking The Climate," the group's new report on the palm oil industry, part of its preparations for the Bali summit.

The December 3-14 talks, expected to involve more than 100 government ministers, are aimed at securing an international agreement to negotiate a new regime to combat climate change when the current phase of the landmark Kyoto Protocol to fight global warming ends in 2012.

Greenpeace also urged Indonesia's two closest neighbours, Singapore and Malaysia, to press Jakarta to enforce laws banning the destruction of forests with peat layers deeper than three meters (9.9 feet).

Singapore and Malaysia are hit every year by choking haze from fires fuelled by the forests' rich peat content, and Greenpeace said forests with peat layers as deep as eight meters have been destroyed.

Greenpeace's Hafild also said additional demand from the transport sector for biofuel was contributing to a "gold mine mentality" toward palm oil production.

Demand for palm oil has been boosted by the growing popularity of biofuel to ease dependence on traditional fossil fuels blamed in large part for climate change.

But Greenpeace International forests campaigner Sue Connor said destroying forests to produce palm oil in order to replace fossil fuels as an energy source was like "throwing petrol at a fire to put it out."

PlanetArk 9 Nov 07
Booming Palm Oil Demand Fuelling Climate Crisis
Jeremy Lovell

LONDON - Booming world demand for palm oil from Indonesia for food and biofuels is posing multiple threats to the environment as forests are being cleared, peat wetlands exposed and carbon released, a report said on Thursday.

The massive forest clearance for palm plantations underway in Indonesia removes trees that capture carbon dioxide, and the draining and burning of the peat wetlands leads to massive release of the gas, said environment group Greenpeace in its report "Cooking the Climate".

On top of that, the booming demand for biofuels that include vegetable oils to replace mineral oil is in many cases actually generating more climate warming gases, the report said.

"Tropical deforestation accounts for about a fifth of all global emissions," said the report. "Indonesia now has the fastest deforestation rate of any major forested country, losing two percent of its remaining forest every year."

"Indonesia also holds the global record for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from deforestation, which puts it third behind the US and China in terms of total man-made GHG emissions," it added.

It said that on top of Indonesia's existing six million hectares of oil palms, the government had plans for another four million by 2015 just for biofuel production. Provincial governments had plans for up to 20 million hectares more.

The report is aimed directly at a meeting next month of UN environment ministers on the island of Bali which activists hope will agree on urgent talks to find a successor to the Kyoto Protocol on cutting carbon emissions which expires in 2012.


It said every year 1.8 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide -- the main climate change culprit -- are released by the degradation and burning of Indonesia's peatlands.

Once the peatlands are drained, they start to release CO2 as the soils oxidise. Burning to clear the land for plantations adds to the emissions.

The report said peatland emissions of CO2 are expected to rise by at least 50 percent by 2030 if the anticipated clearances for expansion of palm oil plantations goes ahead.

It cited a report by environmental NGO Wetlands International that said production of one tonne of palm oil from peatlands released up to 30 tonnes of CO2 from peat decomposition alone without accounting for carbon released during the production cycle.

Greenpeace also noted that the European Union's push to boost the use of biofuels as part of its plans to cut carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020 was a decisive factor in booming palm oil demand.

"This use alone equates to the harvest from 400,000 hectares or 4.5 percent of global palm oil production," it said.

"Meanwhile, palm oil use in food continues to increase, partly as food manufacturers shift to using palm oil instead of hydrogenated fats and partly as it replaces other edible oils being used for biodiesel," the report added.

Greenpeace called for a ban on peatland forest clearance, urged the palm oil trade not to buy and sell produce from degraded peatland areas and said governments should exclude palm oil from biofuel and biomass targets. (Editing by Sami Aboudi)

Business Times 9 Nov 07
Deforestation could detonate 'climate bomb'

(SINGAPORE) Industry-driven deforestation in Indonesia could 'detonate a climate bomb' if not brought under control, the environmental group Greenpeace said yesterday.

A report by Greenpeace, launched in Singapore, said that the burning of Indonesia's rainforests and peatlands to build palm oil plantations releases massive amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Every year 1.8 billion tons of emissions are released by the practice, accounting for 4 per cent of global emissions.

'Trade in palm oil by some of the world's food giants and commodity traders is helping to detonate a climate bomb in Indonesia's rainforests and peatlands,' the report said. 'Efforts to prevent dangerous climate change will not succeed unless this and other industries driving forest destruction are brought under control.' The report honed in on the Indonesian province of Sumatra, home to a quarter of the country's oil palm plantations. Some 3 million hectares of forest are set to be slashed and burned over the next decade.

The burning of Sumatra's peatlands - which store 14.6 billion tons of carbon - would result in the release of greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to a year's total around the globe, Greenpeace said.

The group named consumer products makers Unilever NV and Nestle, and US commodity trading giant Cargill as among many large corporations that are fuelling demand for palm oil from deforested land in Indonesia. AP

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