Indonesia Defends Palm Plantations

[The Jakarta Globe] Copenhagen. Indonesian delegates on Wednesday night promoted the country’s palm oil industry as sustainable at the UN climate talks, in the wake of a recently-published Greenpeace report accusing Indonesia’s largest palm oil producer of deception and illegal

Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta said Indonesia would cut its emissions 9.6 percent by making palm oil plantations more sustainable. That is a sizable chunk of its much-lauded recent commitment to slash emissions by 26 percent before 2020.

A 2009 decree on environmental protection would use law enforcement and improved technology and management to ensure the “development of oil palm will be sustainable and will not harm efforts in anticipating climate change, and will reduce carbon dioxide,” Hatta said at a press conference.

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[The Jakarta Globe] The volume of crude palm oil exports to India is expected to rise by 10 percent next year, thanks to the Asean-India Free Trade Agreement, according to a commerce promotion body.

Under the deal, which is due to be signed at this week’s Asean Economic Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok, India is required to gradually cut its import duty on CPO between 2010 and 2019, from 80 percent at present to 37.5 percent. In the case of refined palm oil, the tariff is to be cut from 90 percent to 45 percent.

Derom Bangun, vice president of the Indonesian Palm Oil Board, said that lower import duties would give Indonesia a chance to significantly grow its CPO exports to India as palm oil became more competitive with other vegetable oils, like soybean oil.

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MARK ROSE, chief executive of pioneering international conservation organisation Fauna & Flora International, answers the critics of plans for the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation mechanism and explains why it must be given a chance to work if we are to avert catastrophic climate change.

World leaders meet in Copenhagen in December to hammer out a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

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By Andrew Marshall / Ulu Masen / Time Magazine

There are two important things to know about tracking wild elephants, and it's better to learn both of them before you're actually in the jungle, tracking wild elephants. First, elephants are fast. In thick forest — in this case, the vast Ulu Masen ecosystem in the Indonesian province of Aceh, where leeches writhe beneath your feet and white-handed gibbons hoot from the treetops — they can outpace even deer. Second, elephants can't climb trees. This is good, because that's precisely what you're meant to do if one of them charges.

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