Peatlands, not rainforests, hardest hit in Indonesia fires

Forest fires burned 1.64 million hectares across seven provinces of Indonesia this year, with peatlands accounting for 41 percent of the area lost to flames, said the Center for International Forestry Research on Monday. The figures, based on satellite data, show that only a portion of the the fires could be attributed to direct land-clearing work for palm oil plantations.

At global summit, farming and land ‘central pillars’ in climate solution

At the two-day Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, food, forestry and agriculture—long viewed as step-children when it came to climate solutions—were recognized as central to whatever progress is going to made in reaching climate goals established in the 2015 Paris accord. Attendees …

Global glut of palm oil adds to India’s health woes

Rates of obesity, diabetes and other diet-related diseases have soared in India and other developing countries in recent years, coinciding with a flood of cheap palm oil that is used in everything from processed snacks and fast food to traditional foods like samosas and poori, according to the latest story from FERN, published with The Nation. No paywall

U.K. retailer, Citigroup take actions against palm oil

It was a tough week for the multibillion-dollar palm oil industry. A British grocery chain with 900 stores said it would remove all palm oil from its branded products by the end of 2018, and Citigroup announced it would suspend loans to IndoAgri, the agribusiness arm of Indonesia’s largest conglomerate, the Salim Group. No paywall

Indonesian Papua, the new frontier of palm oil plantations

In three months at the end of 2017 and start of this year, some 2,300 hectares (9 square miles) of forest in Indonesian Papua, the western half of the island of New Guinea, were cleared, most likely for palm oil plantations, says a new report from the World Resources Institute. Based on …

EU votes to ban biodiesel made from palm oil

The European Parliament passed a Renewable Energy Directive on Wednesday that would ban the use of biodiesel made from palm oil by 2021, citing the environmental damage caused by the fuel. Malaysia, a major palm oil producer, called the decision a trade barrier, and said it was a form of “crop apartheid” because the EU will still allow other oilseeds to be used for biofuels. (No paywall)

Farmers murdered to make way for palm oil

Six indigenous farmers were brutally killed in Peru by land traffickers trying to make way for a palm oil plantation, adding to the more than 120 environmental and land defenders who have been murdered around the world in 2017 alone.

Palm oil’s hidden presence in personal care products prompts reform

Consumers are beginning to recognize the huge environmental costs of palm oil use in the packaged foods industry, but what’s less known is how widely the ingredient is used in everyday products sold by the personal care industry. In FERN’s latest story, “The Makeover,” Jocelyn Zuckerman reports on this industry and its attempts to reform its supply chain in a story produced with Vogue Magazine. (No paywall)

Climate change ushering in era of deadly heatwaves

Almost a third of the world population is now exposed to deadly heatwaves that are a result of climate change, says a study published in Nature Climate Change.