Agrofuels and oil palm plantations

The promotion of agrofuels as a form of renewable energy is proving to be one of the European Union’s biggest policy mistakes.

EU agrofuels policies are aggravating climate change. They have become a key driver of forest and biodiversity loss, land-grabs and conflicts, and human rights abuses in producer countries such as Indonesia. Increasingly, agricultural land needed to produce food is being reallocated to grow crops for agrofuels to fuel cars rather than to feed hungry people. [more]

Down to Earth No. 72 March 2007

NGOs are campaigning against the adoption by the European Union of mandatory biofuel targets, a move that will prompt the further expansion of oil palm plantations in Indonesia, more appropriation of indigenous lands, more forest loss, and, ironically, higher carbon emissions.

Hundreds of NGOs worldwide, and thousands of individuals have called on European Union (EU) politicians to say 'no' to biofuel targets when they decide on the issue in early March.

Down to Earth No. 71, November 2006

Plans have been shelved to use palm oil in a UK power station after campaigners highlighted the negative consequences for local communities, forests and wildlife.

Down to Earth No 68  February 2006

The government is pressing ahead with plans to create a huge plantation zone along the Indonesia-Malaysia border, despite concerns raised by Indonesian and international NGOs and forest researchers and donors.

Indonesian NGO Greenomics revealed in February that East Kalimantan has allocated 215,000ha in three districts to be cleared as part of the plantation. The area includes 17,000ha of government-funded community plantations.

Down to Earth No 67  November 2005

Indonesian NGOs are concerned that fuel price rises are increasing poverty, while long term energy plans are failing to encourage alternatives to fossil fuels.

Indonesian politics have been dominated throughout the fasting month of Ramadan by the government policy to reduce fuel subsidies. The move breaks a promise made by SBY that fuel price rises in March would be the last this year. It has sparked weeks of angry protests and is already causing hardship for ordinary people.

Down to Earth No 63  November 2004

The case of Nyayat village, as told in a new Indonesian-language publication by Indonesian NGO, PENA. Summary translation by DTE.

Nyayat is a hamlet in Sambas district, West Kalimantan, of only 200 Dayak Bekati. To outside eyes, it looks much like any other small village in the province. Most of its inhabitants farm the land traditionally and tap native rubber. The striking difference is that these villagers have refused to accept oil palm plantations on their land.

Down to Earth No 63  November 2004

Palm oil industry representatives, conservation organisations and NGOs met to discuss 'sustainable palm oil' in Jakarta in October.