Indonesia biofuel rush threatens climate

The rush to palm oil and biofuels in Indonesia threatens to release 14 billion tonnes of carbon from Indonesia's peatlands, the Guardian reported on Thursday.

Indonesian palm oil comes from the province of Riau in Sumatra, where an estimated 14.6 billion tonnes of carbon is locked up in the world's deepest peat beds, according to a Greenpeace report.

Forests are being felled and peatlands drained in Riau to convert land for plantations to provide cooking oil and biofuels. As the peat decomposes, it is "broken down by bacteria and the land becomes vulnerable to fires which often smoulder and release greenhouse gases for decades," the Guardian report said.

If the peatlands continue to be destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations, this will significantly add to global climate change emissions, the report added.

See full story