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  • A new report projects the global demand for palm oil-based biofuel by 2030 will be six times higher than today if existing and proposed policies in Indonesia, China, and the aviation industry hold.
  • That surge in demand could result in the clearing of 45,000 square kilometers (17,374 square miles) of forest in Indonesia and Malaysia, the world’s biggest palm oil producers, and the release of an additional 7 billion tons of CO2 emissions a year — higher than current annual emissions by the U.S.
  • That impact could be tempered to some degree by the European Union, which plans to phase out all use of palm oil in its biofuel over the next three years, citing environmental concerns.

JAKARTA — Global demand for biofuels containing palm oil looks set to grow sixfold by 2030, potentially driving the destruction of Southeast Asian rainforests the size of the Netherlands, a new report warns.

Biofuel policies in place or proposed by Indonesia and China, as well as the aviation industry, could push their consumption alone to 45.6 million tons by 2030, according to the report commissioned by Rainforest Foundation Norway.

“As we approach 2020, many biofuel policies are being reassessed and renegotiated,” report author Chris Malins, a biofuels policy expert, said in an email. “So this seemed the right time to look at what the best and worst scenarios were for the impact of biofuel policy on deforestation in Southeast Asia for the next decade.”

Read more: Biofuel boost threatens even greater deforestation in Indonesia, Malaysia: Study

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Palm oil is the most commonly used vegetable oil in the world and is found in many products we use or eat on a daily basis.

Read more: Palm oil: These 'green deserts' aren't so 'green'

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Indonesian peatland researchers recently gathered in Bogor, Indonesia, to examine the effectiveness of the latest government regulation on peatlands. We found some shortcomings, one being that the regulation isn't well supported by scientific evidence.

Read more: More research needed for responsible peatland management in Indonesia

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Indonesian miners will dig out 485 million metric tons of coal at the most in 2018, up 5 percent from last year, according to a projection from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources.

Read more: Indonesia to Dig Out 485m Tons of Coal in 2018

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BERLIN – Scientists say millions of more people around the world are threatened by river floods in coming decades due to climate change.

Read more: Climate change poses major threat for millions of people near rivers

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A legal logger cuts down a teak hardwood tree in Mranggen, Demak regency, Central Java. (JP/Suherdjoko)

The nexus between climate change and economic development is complex. Indonesia heavily relies on forestry, agriculture and the mining industry as the backbone of its economy, accounting for nearly 40 percent of its gross domestic product and making up nearly half of the national export value. However, these sectors also contribute to approximately 80 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gasses (GHG) emissions. Deforestation, in particular, makes up 62 percent of its national emissions.

Read more: Double standards in Indonesia's climate policy

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2018 is officially the year of climate action in Singapore, and yet the country’s powerful banks are bankrolling huge, greenhouse gas-producing coal-fired power stations in Asia Pacific, a report has found.

New coal-fired power plant, Indonesia. Despite dire environmental consequences the Indonesian government and industrial partners will go ahead with the construction of the coal-fired power plant in Batang. Image: cpaulfell / Shutterstock.com

Singapore banks are bankrolling fossil fuel power projects that are at odds with public promises to fight climate change, a report from Market Forces has found.

Read more: Singapore has declared 2018 the year of climate action—so why are its banks still funding coal?

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Climate change threatens Vietnam’s economic transformation. Quick action could prevent the worst of the damage.

Image Credit: Flickr/ katiebordner

Since introducing economic liberalization reforms in the 1980s, Vietnam has steadily been reconstructing its fledgling economy from the ruins of the long-running war that consumed the Indochina Peninsula for almost two decades. Over the last 30 years, the Doi Moi market reforms have propelled Vietnam to the forefront of regional trade, paving the way for economic overhaul through increased trade partnerships and integration into the global political economy. However, for a nation heavily dependent on the agricultural industry for national growth, climate change threatens to undermine decades of economic progress by seriously threatening water, food, and energy security, and thus, Vietnam’s newfound strength.

Read more: Mitigating the Effects of Climate Change in Vietnam

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Singapore has already adopted various strategies to cope with coastal erosion and flooding as sea levels rise. In 2016, Singapore raised the coastal Nicoll Drive (above) in Changi by up to 0.8m.ST FILE PHOTO

Due to its position on the Equator, Singapore may be spared tropical cyclones that last year wreaked havoc in the northern hemisphere.

Read more: Singapore to boost climate change defenses

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OIL wealth and an enlightened environmental policy have ensured that Brunei is the best-preserved part of Borneo. Nearly 60 percent of its primary rainforest is miraculously intact.

Read more: Exploring Brunei by kayak: An eco-tourism solution waiting to happen

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