|Help us take action against climate changeâ€¦|
Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing our planet. Burning coal, oil and gas, but also intensive agriculture or cutting forests pollute the atmosphere with greenhouse gases that heat up the planet.
|The good news is that all we need to save the climate is in our hands.|
|Friends of the Earth, Malta seeks to influence government to make changes in policies in favour of people and planet|
|Our next challenge is to lobby the Maltese government to commit to renewable energy and energy efficiency as a tangible means not only to meet Maltaâ€™s international emission targets but to ensure a healthier planet and a better way of life for future generations|
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The Climate is changingâ€¦ Are You?
Global climate change is the single biggest environmental threat facing the planet. Burning coal, oil and gas, but also intensive agriculture or cutting forests pollute the atmosphere with greenhouse gases that heat up the planet. There is much that can be done to stop catastrophic climate change but immediate and decisive action is required now.
Climate change impacts are already affecting people and the planet. And the science shows that things will not be improving anytime soon. The biggest impacts will be on the lives and livelihoods of the poor and developing countries, especially small island states. The biggest culprits are the rich and the developed countries.
Climate change is a phenomenon that cannot be properly addressed without action from politicians and decision-makers in all parts of the world. Scientific research provides data that policymakers can use in order to take action on national and international levels. This policymaking in turn can determine what scientific research is carried out and how.
It appears that the targets agreed in Kyoto will not save the global climate. They are environmentally inadequate and represent a political deal rather than an equitable solution to climate change. Even if Parties achieved their targets fully, this would only slow the projected rise in global temperatures by a fraction of 1 Â°C.
On a more practical and local scale one will discover that to make a substantial change one does not need to invest thousands of Euros to save energy and that one should not underestimate the results brought about by more efficient use of resources.
If we fail to creatively adapt, the human and environmental systems on which we depend will collapse. What is needed is a third revolution of equal magnitude to the agrarian and industrial revolutions, a sustainability revolution.
The good news is that all we need to save the climate is in our hands.
Friends of the Earth Malta seeks to influence government to make changes in policies in favour of people and planet. Our challenge is to lobby the Maltese government to commit to renewable energy and energy efficiency as a tangible means not only to meet Maltaâ€™s international emission targets but to ensure a healthier planet and a better way of life for future generations.
Palm oil is the second most traded vegetable oil crop in the world, after soy, and over 90% of the worldâ€™s palm oil exports are produced in Malaysia and Indonesia. Palm oil is still mostly used in the manufacture of food products and is found in most of the products sold at supermarkets.
However, palm oil is now starting to be used as an ingredient in bio-diesel and as a fuel to be burnt in power stations to produce electricity. This is a new market for palm oil which has the potential to dramatically increase global demand for this commodity.
The development of the oil palm industry in Indonesia and Malaysia has brought economic benefits to both these countries. However it has also generated considerable environmental and social costs. Oil palm plantations are one of the biggest causes of rainforest clearance. The palm oil industry has already set up 6.5 million hectares of oil palm plantations across Sumatra and Borneo but it is estimated that it is probably responsible for the destruction of 10 million hectares of rainforest.
By clearing the forest first, plantation companies can offset the start up costs of their plantations. The profits are so large that some oil palm companies clear the land and donâ€™t even bother to set up the plantation. There is therefore a strong incentive for oil palm companies to seek concessions and access to land that is heavily forested.
Oil palm plantation development also poses the greatest threat to the survival of many species, including the orang-utan. Oil palm plantations could be responsible for at least half of the observed reduction in orang-utan habitat in the decade between 1992 and 2003.
Tropical deforestation due to agricultural expansion, logging and infrastructure development already contributes between 10 and 30 per cent of greenhouse global emissions.
The use of palm oil for biofuel and as biomass for energy clearance of rainforest to make way for oil palm plantations is exacerbating this problem.
In addition, oil palm plantation companies in Indonesia have been identified as one of the chief culprits in setting forest fires over the last 10 years. These occur every year in Indonesia and release huge quantities of carbon into the atmosphere. In one of the worst fire incidents between 1997 and 1998 it is estimated that the emissions from the forest fires in Indonesia were equivalent to 40% of all global emissions from burning fossil fuels that year.
The development of oil palm plantations has also often benefited large companies at the expense of local communities who can lose their land and access to important forest resources and ecosystem services.
In Indonesia over 100 million people depend upon access to rainforest resources for their survival. The rapid expansion of the oil palm industry in Indonesia has all too often been associated with community exploitation and corporate greed rather than sustainable development.
However, since the potential demand for palm oil as a biofuel or for biomass energy is so large and given the weak governance in Indonesia and its destructive policies regarding plantation development, Friends of the Earth does not support the use of palm oil as a biofuel.