Top news: Indonesia’s president signed a moratorium on new deforestation permits in one of the world’s biggest forests; voices within Statoil general meeting disagree with oil sand extraction policy; Greenpeace pushes Polish government to improve its energy portfolio through renewables.

© Greenpeace / Oka Budhi

#Forests: After the announcement in February, Indonesia’s president signed a two year moratorium on new permits to cut down trees in the world’s second largest forest. This law is part of a $1bn agreement with Norway which could cut carbon dioxide emissions and slow down plantation expansion. Plantation and mining firms might be worried about the moratorium, which would be an obstacle to their expansion plans, but environmental organizations are stating that it is not enough to stop the Indonesian forest destruction. As Andreas Prasetiya - head of investor relations at Gozco Plantations – said, the moratorium will affect only 44% of his firm’s land bank, and the government will offer land in exchange for areas affected by the moratorium. He goes on to say, “Come on, let’s be realistic. Everybody is competing for land in Indonesia, who is going to give up their land?” Even the $1bn contribution from the Norwegian government isn’t enough to help Indonesia cut its emission by 26% by 2020. “Two or three years ago maybe it seemed like big money, but with crude palm oil prices now, $1 billion doesn't seem like big money" the Gozco executive told Reuters.

In February 2011, Greenpeace exposed how the moratorium areas planned by Indonesia’s government will fail to protect the vast majority of forests that provide habitats for orang-utans, tigers and other endangered species, and do little to protect forests that are not already off limits under Indonesia's existing laws.

#Oil: Greenpeace and WWF’s proposal to give up oil sands extraction has been rejected at Statoil’s general meeting. Bituminous sands are a major unconventional oil source that requires large amounts of energy, water and solvents in order to get good rates of production. This extraction procedure has damaging effects on the environment, due to chemicals deposited, water pollution, carbon dioxide emissions and deforestation. "The ecological consequences of oil sands are now greater than those of the oil spill in the Gulf Mexico. The difference is that they happen in slow motion," said Nina Jensen of WWF Norway.

However, long-term Statoil shareholders – such as the Norwegian Church and Folksam – supported the proposal to give up this activity, seeing that the “sand oil extraction is not and never will be sustainable”.

#Climate&Energy: Yesterday, The Polish Climate Coalition demanded that the Polish government become more focused on enhancing energy security through the development of renewable energy sources and improve energy efficiency. Development of renewable energy sources is one of the five points related to climate protection proposed to the Polish government by the Climate Coalition, before the country takes the EU Council presidency.