Indonesia – 3rd largest greenhouse gas emitter.

forest fire

The Indonesian government has recently earmarked 6.5 million hectares of idle land for biofuel-related crops, including 3 million hectares for oil palm, 1.5 million each for jatropha and cassava, and 500,000 for sugarcane. Currently more than 25% of all palm oil produced in Malaysia and Indonesia is cultivated on peatlands.

Wetlands International, a non-profit group supported by Western governments and conservation groups, and the Dutch water-research institute Delft Hydraulics warned in a recent joint study that about 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide is released from each tonne of oil palm grown on peat.

Last month, Jakarta rolled out the red carpet for global biofuel investors and pulled in 58 new production agreements worth $12.4 billion. One major $5.2 billion deal will see China National Offshore Oil Corp, Indonesia’s Sinar Mas Group and Hong Kong Energy (Holdings) Ltd team up to develop bio-diesel from crude palm oil and bio-ethanol.

The report by Wetlands International and other scientific studies have prompted the EU to put its 2003 biofuel directive under review, and many in the industry believe some sort of sanctions or tax could soon be imposed on palm-oil-derived biofuels from Malaysia and Indonesia. If so, it would scupper what was rapidly emerging as one of Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing rural-based industries. Indonesia and Malaysia, which currently account for 85% of the world’s supply of crude palm oil, combined earn more than US$6 billion a year from the crop.

The full article

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4 Responses to Indonesia – 3rd largest greenhouse gas emitter.

  1. keithsc says:

    if indonesia is the third biggest greenhouse gas emitter who does it come after – USA, China, Russia? Which of these two? But it is frightening. How “idle” is this land currently?

  2. matt says:

    The claim that Indonesia is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases is made by the journalist of the article I link to in the post above.

    If we look at Carbon Dioxide Emissions from the Consumption and Flaring of Fossil Fuels, then we find that Indonesia doesn’t enter the top 10. See http://www.eia.doe.gov/iea/overview.html . It may well be that the journalist is taking into account the horrendous forest clearance fires carried out in the name of agriculture. Increasingly this will be done for biofuel crop planting such as palm oil, which has become the ludicrous answer to reducing fossil fuel use.

    I have no detail as to the reasons behind the ‘idle’ land not currently being used or indeed, how it is decided that certain land can be classified as such. Is it idle agricultural land or does idle land include for example ‘common’ land? I suspect the Indonesian government has in fact pointed to an underdeveloped forested area within their country in order to come up with their figure for crop development, so as to attract the larger companies & their big money to their shores.

    This does need further investigation but I will write on this separately in due course. I do know that there are a whole raft of organisations that have been deeply concerned for some time now at the wholesale destruction of tropical forest in this part of the world. It benefits certain wealthy political families and agri-businesses but not the local peoples or the wildlife.

  3. Hi, I work in the association Friends of the Earth France and for our campaign on palm oil we create at present we are looking for photos. Do you know who took the photo of the article : Indonesia – 3rd largest greenhouse gas emitter.

  4. matt says:

    The photo ‘properties’ show that it is from the University of Freiburg but, that may not be the original source ( http://www.uni-freiburg.de/index_en.php ). Good luck with your campaign. 🙂

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