Ecological Internet: Indonesia’s Biofuel Expansion on Rainforest Peatlands to Accelerate Climate Change

February 19th, 2007 9:53 pm by Kelly Garbato

Via Ecological Internet:

Indonesia’s Biofuel Expansion on Rainforest Peatlands to Accelerate Climate Change

Indonesia’s biofuel expansion spurred on largely by the European market is likely to be the death-knoll for most of Indonesia’s remaining rainforests and peatlands. Far from reducing climate change emissions, it will rapidly release up to 50 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere. This is the equivalent of over 6 years of global fossil fuel emissions and could well make the generally accepted 2 degree C of warming that is considered “dangerous” unavoidable. This surge of carbon originating in cleared peatland rainforests alone could well take the planet to beyond the climate tipping point, releasing major feedbacks which worsen global heating such as large-scale methane release from permafrost and ocean clathrates, and causing the rapid break-up of the ice shelves and unstoppable mass extinctions.

Already, Indonesia’s carbon emissions from peat drainage and fires put the country in third place for CO2 emissions worldwide. A recent study has found that one ton of biodiesel made from palm oil grown on Southeast Asia’s peatlands is linked to the emission of 10-30 tons of carbon dioxide. Shockingly, this is 2-8 times as much carbon released as in production of a ton of fossil fuel diesel. Far from helping with development, monoculture plantations have been linked to increased rural poverty and hundreds of conflicts over land rights. […]

Please write to the Indonesian government now to express your grave concerns over biofuel expansion plans which threaten to further destroy rainforests and peatlands, and to thus dangerously accelerate global warming.

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