Arkian Suryadarma, a forest campaigner at Greenpeace Indonesia, said it’s highly likely the biodiesel program will lead to deforestation. Palm oil is the most widely traded vegetable oil on the planet, according to a study published on NCBI. As mentioned above, developers often torch and bulldoze areas of biodiverse rainforests to create palm oil plantations. Sigit Hargiyanto, the head of the biofuel department at the energy ministry, played down concerns that the biodiesel program would run out of palm oil. According to the WWF, humans have clear-cut 17 percent of the Amazon rainforest over the past five decades. He also said deforestation fears were overblown, given that the palm oil used in biodiesel production must be certified sustainable, and that there’s a moratorium currently in place on issuing permits for new plantations. What was initially an oversupply will become a deficit.”. This results in deforestation, destroying habitats of wild animals native to rainforests — namely, orangutans (as well as other primates, rhinos, elephants and tigers, according to the BBC). Contributing to only 2.3% of global deforestation, palm oil as a crop is not the biggest driver. “The biodiesel program needs lands for new oil palm plantations which could lead to massive deforestation,” he said. But to do that, the total planted area of oil palms will have to be at least 22.7 million hectares (56 million acres), according to the new study by the University of Indonesia’s Institute for Economic and Social Research (LPEM UI). One of the primary organizations that certifies sustainable palm oil is the non-profit Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). The balance of about $55 million will come from biodiesel producers through an increase in export tariffs, effective May 1 next year. Palm Oil Deforestation Like GMO corn and soy, palm oil is produced on a massive scale of an estimated 50 million tons a year (about 30% of all vegetable oil), and has oozed its way into almost everything we use. Palm oil and deforestation. This year, the government was only able to replant 67,018 hectares (165,605 acres), or 37% of its target. “Even if we keep replanting [existing plantations], we need a total of 3.8 million hectares [9.4 million acres],” he said. Here’s Everything You Need to Know, Yes, You Can Rescue a Hypoallergenic Dog — 6 Tips for Adopting, Not Shopping, Eco-Friendly Gifts to Keep Things Zero Waste This Holiday Season, What Is Organic Farming? Ricky also suggested the government broaden its focus to developing and scaling up other forms of renewable energy. 1 cause of orangutan extinction. Palm trees grow best in humid, tropical climates, and the trees grown and cut down for palm oil primarily grow in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa. In Indonesia, rising demand for palm oil and timber has led to the clearing of tropical forest land in Indonesian national parks.According to a 2007 report published by UNEP, at the rate of deforestation at that time, an estimated 98 percent of Indonesian forest would be destroyed by 2022 due to legal and illegal logging, forest fires and the development of palm oil plantations. The program is currently at the B30 stage, which means the diesel sold at the pump contains a 30% blend of palm oil-derived biodiesel. Another study, by Traction Asia, warns that the low productivity of existing plantations and ambitious target of the biodiesel program could see demand outstrip supply by 2023. Now, huge swathes of oil palm trees dominate the tropical landscape of South-East Asia, especially Indonesia and Malaysia, which make up over 85% of the global supply of palm oil. Every day, Mongabay reporters bring you news from nature’s frontline. The program is meant to both ease Indonesia’s dependence on crude oil imports and make the shift to so-called biofuel, which the government touts as a cleaner alternative to conventional fossil-fuel diesel. Palm oil is the most commonly consumed vegetable oil in the world and can be found in around half of the packaged goods in supermarkets globally, ranging from staples (such as bread and noodles) via cosmetics (shampoo and lipsticks) to luxuries (ice cream and dessert). As the WWF explains, there are two types of palm oil: crude palm oil, which comes from squeezing the fleshy fruit; and palm kernel oil, which comes from crushing the kernel (aka stone) in the center of the fruit. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Deforestation is one of the major sustainability challenges for the agri- and aquaculture sector. According to Orangutan Foundation International, palm oil is the No. Variations in global market prices of palm oil are closely linked to deforestation in areas which are geo-climatically best suited for growing oil palm and they amplify the importance of the political cycle. It dated the clearing to between Jan. 11 and Feb. 24 this year. Yes — as mentioned above, palm oil typically comes from oil palm trees, known as Elaeis guineensis trees. Do your own research on the RSPO (and other sustainable palm oil certification groups) before trusting their advice, since everyone has different comfort levels when it comes to supporting controversial industries. Not all Mars’ palm oil suppliers are yet deforestation-free throughout their entire operations, said Parkin, but they must be looking to achieve this within “a couple of years”. 80 percent of that destruction is for cattle ranching (raising cows for meat and dairy), and the remaining 20 percent is to grow (and then cut down) trees to produce palm oil, paper products, wood, and more. Additionally, oil palm plays a crucial role in driving deforestation dynamics. The crash in oil prices earlier this year forced the government to allocate a $195 million stimulus for the biodiesel program from the state budget. The organization only certifies products that use palm oil that does not directly cause deforestation, fires, and child labor. That moratorium,  imposed by President Joko Widodo in September 2018, is due to expire in September 2021. “So in my opinion, it can be guaranteed that the palm oil produced to become fuel [is sustainable] because it has to go through the [certification] procedure,” Sigit said. If the government were to maintain the program at B30 through 2025, or even lower the blend to B20, the need for new oil palm plantations wouldn’t be as great — 338,880 to 5.25 million hectares (837,400 to 13 million acres) — but would still entail a significant amount of deforestation. From January to October 2019, it again doubled the replanted area, to 68,427 hectares (169,086 acres), but hit just 38% of its target. Eco-Anxiety Is Inspiring People to Make Changes in Their Lives, What Is the Paris Agreement? So do its elephants, Activists in Malaysia call on road planners to learn the lessons of history, Road-paving project threatens a wildlife-rich reserve in Indonesia’s Papua. “Unfortunately, the government only focuses on setting the target with no clear road map,” said Traction Asia research manager Ricky Amukti. Today, the food giant still cannot document the source of almost a third of the palm oil it uses. Indonesia's lowland tropical forests, the richest in timber resources and biodiversity, are most at risk. Palm oil production is said to have been responsible for about 8% of the world's deforestation between 1990 and 2008. 2 producer. Palm oil stakeholders, from sourcing organizations to environmental groups, have seen little progress in stemming deforestation, despite sustainability certifications in the palm oil market for more than a decade. The money will go toward subsidizing biodiesel prices at the pump. Much of the palm oil expansion is on land that was previous cropland such as coffee or rubber, especially in Latin America, Sumatra and peninsular Malaysia. Does Palm Oil Cause Deforestation? JAKARTA — An Indonesian government program to phase out diesel for an alternative made from palm oil could spur massive deforestation for palm plantations spanning an area a fifth the size of Borneo. “Move one step back, and then fix the management, raw material and production. This process releases the greenhouse gas CO2 into the atmosphere, all the while destroying animal habitats. Palm oil is one of the most efficient and widely used vegetable oil that comes from the fruit of oil palm trees. Palm oil leads to deforestation (Stock) In the past 16 years, the quest for palm oil has led to the death of an estimated 100,000 orangutans, according to research. He said it would ultimately be better for the government to scale back its ambitious biodiesel target to give itself time to improve productivity and sustainability in the industry. “We’re not against biodiesel, but we don’t agree with biodiesel that’s not sustainable, not transparent and not traceable,” Ricky said. It’s expected to reach the B50 stage, a 50:50 blend, by 2025. Indonesia’s Palm Oil Association today questioned the CDP findings and said firms had adhered to domestic industry standards. If you value this objective and impact-driven journalism, please consider becoming a sustaining member. The biodiesel transition program, the world’s most ambitious, will require 15 million hectares (37 million acres) of new oil palm plantations, according to Arifin Tasrif, the minister for energy and mines. They note that, despite Indonesia being the world’s biggest producer of palm oil, its plantations have lower yields than those in Malaysia, the No. The total needed to keep the biodiesel program afloat is $250 million. Palm plantations are reputed to be a major factor in deforestation. “That’s why there needs to be serious mitigation to hold back land expansion.”. In Indonesia and Malaysia, deforestation peaked decades ago and was already decreasing before palm oil started to take off. It's worth noting that the RSPO does have oil palm producers as stakeholders — though it has environmental organizations as stakeholders as well, in an effort to produce palm oil in both a lucrative and sustainable way. According to WWF, a few ingredients that are sometimes (but not always) derived from palm oil include: Do you avoid buying products containing palm oil? The conversion to date, and future expansion, threatens biodiversity and increases greenhouse gas emissions. “That’s only to meet the need [for palm oil-derived biofuel] until 2025,” said Alin Halimatussadiah, the LPEM UI head. There are also many reports of the palm oil industry exploiting laborers and using child labour. For decades, palm oil production has been a driver of deforestation in tropical rainforests in countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia. Mongabay is a U.S.-based non-profit conservation and environmental science news platform. In tropical areas, however, palm oil contributes to an estimated 5% of tropical deforestation. on palm oil and deforestation of rainforests (2016/2222(INI)) The European Parliament, – having regard to the 2015-2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), – having regard to the Paris Agreement reached at the 21st Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21), If that’s the case, then biodiesel will be much less friendly to the environment than diesel based on its emission that we count from the life-cycle analysis.”. LPEM UI estimates the figure will balloon to $60 billion if the government increases the biodiesel blend to 50%. Demand for palm oil has become increasingly controversial due to the commodity's role in driving deforestation, particularly in south-east Asia, including through devastating forest fires which in 2015 produced more carbon emissions that the entire daily emissions of the U.S. Beef may pose a greater deforestation risk than other commodities such as palm oil and timber thanks to “extremely poor” efforts to trace where cattle are reared, according to a new report. Palm oil, aka palm kernel oil, is a type of vegetable oil, similar to canola oil, soybean oil, or grapeseed oil. Deforestation for palm oil has led countries to restrict imports of the edible oil, while labour concerns has seen the U.S. block some Malaysian palm oil products. Avoiding palm oil entirely is extremely difficult. Check out this piece by Amnesty International to learn about labor in the palm oil industry, and why sustainable palm oil claims are not always legitimate. According to the WWF, 300 football fields of rainforest are cleared hourly in Southeast Asia for palm oil. The Palm Oil Transparency Coalition (POTC) is formed of businesses working together in a pre-competitive coalition to remove deforestation and exploitation from the palm oil production sector. Palm oil is primarily harvested from palm trees that grow in rainforests — and as explained by Rainforest Rescue, developers often bulldoze or set fire to land in rainforests to make room for more palm oil plantations. Here's Why It's So Important. Some brands claim their products are made with sustainably-harvested palm oil — but considering how flawed the industry is, is that really possible? Sigit said there was a smear campaign underway against palm oil in the European Union and the U.S., two of Indonesia’s biggest export markets. “Can [we] say which land the current biodiesel get its palm oil from? Although this is a lower projection than the ministry’s, it still represents an area two-thirds the size of Indonesia’s Java Island. In 2018, it more than doubled the replanted area, to 33,842 hectares (83,625 acres), but this represented just 18% of its much higher target that year. But the replanting program has consistently fallen short of its targets. By 2000 they have been almost entirely cleared in Sulawesi , and predicted to disappear within few years in … That’s something the government must address to ensure truly sustainable palm oil production, he said. Just because a product doesn't include "palm oil" on the ingredients list doesn't mean it is palm oil free. Deforestation for palm oil has led countries to restrict imports of the edible oil, while labour concerns has seen the U.S. block some Malaysian palm oil products. When news of the Amazon rainforest fires shook the world in August 2019, many people were shocked to find out the main causes of the fires. Our EIN or tax ID is 45-3714703. That’s why RAN follows the supply chain to influence the big brands you see on grocery store shelves. It comes from the fleshy fruit of palm trees — specifically, oil palm trees, aka the Elaeis guineensis tree, according to the WWF. These oil crops were initially imported to South-East Asia over 100 years ago for ornamental reasons. The export tariffs are collected by the state palm oil fund, known by its Indonesian acronym BPDP-KS. Found in everything from shampoo to donuts, palm oil is now the most common vegetable oil in the world—and also one of the world's leading deforestation drivers. The deforestation was first detected in March 2020 by U.S.-based campaign organization Mighty Earth, which found 221 hectares (546 acres) of forest cleared in the concession of PT Medcopapua Hijau Selaras (MPHS), a subsidiary of the Jakarta-based Capitol Group. A key reason the replanting program has fallen short is because its funding, raised through mandatory export tariffs slapped on palm oil companies, has largely gone toward subsidizing biodiesel production and sales, to make the fuel more competitive with conventional diesel. “Soy and oil palm are major deforestation drivers, with over half a million hectares of rainforest, peatland and savannahs destroyed each year for the expansion of these crops,” writes Nutreco in a report outlining the new sourcing policy . Palm oil and deforestation Palm plantations are reputed to be a major factor of deforestation. Especially since the government says it wants to develop electric vehicles. He also pointed to President Widodo’s recent courting of electric vehicle maker Tesla, in which he advertised Indonesia, with its rich deposits of nickel, as a potential global hub for the production of electric vehicles. 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