[ A forest is seen through smoke, days after being burnt down along the Kapuas
River in Indonesia. (Photographer: Natalie Behring.) ]
According to recent estimates Indonesia is the third largest greenhouse gas emitter after China and the United States, mainly due to the destruction of peatland forests. A lot of this clearing is being done to make way for palm oil plantations. Palm oil's one of those things that goes in to lots of snack products (KitKat, Pringels, that sort of thing).
The report we released today is getting quite a lot of attention all over the world - from Al Jazeera to the Washington Post, from the BBC to the Philippines Inquirer. Even food publications are picking it up. No doubt our team taking peaceful action in the forest against this destruction will be glad to hear the word is getting out.
There's also a feature story upon our site. But here are some quick factoids from our report...Indonesia holds the global record for GHG emissions through deforestation.During the last 50 years, over 74 million hectares of Indonesia’s forests have been destroyed – logged, burned, degraded, pulped – and its products shipped round the planet.The peat soils of this once heavily forested province of 9 million hectares have the highest concentration of carbon stored per hectare of anywhere in the world.Every year, 1.8 billion tonnes (Gt) of climate changing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are released by the degradation and burning of Indonesia’s peatlands – 4% of global GHG emissions from less than 0.1% of the land on earth.Unilever is a major player in the global palm oil trade. It uses palm oil in brands such as Flora margarine.Other leading brands including KitKat, Pringles, Philadelphia cream cheese and Cadbury’s Flake and leading companies including Gillette, Burger King and McCain are complicit in the expansion of palm oil at the expense of Indonesia’s peatlands.Biofuels - Substituting even 10 percent of worldwide demand for diesel fuel for road transport would require more than three-quarters of total current global soya, palm and rapeseed oil production.
Want more? Download the full report, Palm oil: Cooking the Climate (66 pages), or the summary. Greenpeace UK also has some palm oil background information and a palm oil FAQ.