No to deforestation diesel!

18 April 2006

Joint Statement of NGO-alliance
We are a broad alliance of human rights and environmental groups who reject the use of fuel gained from palm oil to the detriment of forest ecosystems.


Greenpeace Campaign Material

The global boom in palm oil turns out to be a curse for the rainforests and the local communities living there: As a consequence, forests are destroyed, soil, water and air are poisoned by agro-industrial toxins, conflicts over land erupt and the people concerned lose their livelihood. At breathtaking speed, the habitats of species threatened with extinction, i.e. orang utans, forest elephants and tigers on Sumatra and Borneo, have fallen prey to deforestation carried out to make way for palm oil plantations.

Especially the past fifteen years have demonstrated that for each new development of a palm oil plantation, forests are being destroyed, often by a slash-and-burn practice where rainforests are targeted by the palm oil industry to gain further terrain. This way the palm oil industry, co-financed by Western banks, has joined the ranks as one of the largest contributors to the destruction of the Indonesian rainforest. According to Sawit Watch, an Indonesian NGO working on the problems created by palm oil plantations, these palm oil plantations are by their nature impossible to reconcile with socially or ecologically sustainable ways of cultivation.

As a result of developments so far, lowland rainforests hardly exist today on Sumatra and Borneo. Therefore, a run on the remaining mountain forests and national parks has begun. Already now, Indonesia is the second largest producer of palm oil.

Most urgently, we are now faced with the enormous extension of plantations for the exclusive production of palm oil diesel. We therefore reject the production of fuel from palm oil in principle; it happens at the expense of of primary forests or other forest ecosystems which are more aligned to the natural environment.

The example of Indonesian pulp production demonstrates clearly what such a boom implies. Secured amongst others by credits of German banks and credit guarantees of the German government, the Indonesian pulp industry has increased its capacity eight-fold since the 1990s. For that purpose, on the island of Sumatra alone, 830,000 hectares of rainforests were destroyed, often illegally.

The fact that banks, business and politicians now favour fuel which might also be derived from palm oil only shows that they have learnt nothing from the disaster of the Indonesian pulp and paper industry or that they consciously close their eyes to it. During the rapid expansion of the Indonesian pulp and paper industry large areas of rainforest were destroyed, and timber plantations often are of very low quality. For many western banks their involvement to the Indonesian pulp and paper industry also resulted in a financial disaster.

Despite such experiences the EU and the German government presently push the production of biogen fuel on an industrial scale, including those from tropical forest regions. The cultivation of tropical oil seeds for biogen fuel is going to destroy a considerable area of precious rainforest. Already the illegal logging of the Indonesian forests is hard to control. But for new plantations, new roads are being built which in turn attract even more illegal lumberjacks.

In pursuing such policies the EU becomes co-responsible for the destruction of the last rainforests for supposedly ”renewable” fuel. And we thereby lay the responsibility for the ecological problems we face due to our own consumption patterns at the door of countries with rainforests.

The purportedly ”neutral” climatic balance in the extracting of energy from palm oil is a naive assumption which doesn’t take into account where the sustainable raw materials are grown. The swamp and peat forests on Sumatra and Borneo are thus important as carbon sinks. But it’s exactly these forests which are being destroyed by the slash-and-burn practice, the resulting space being used for palm oil plantations. It’s not just important ecosystems that vanish thereby, even the advantage of using biogen fuels is reduced due to the destruction of carbon sinks.

Against this background strict criteria for the use of fuel from plants must apply. Biogen fuel from the ”waste” of European agriculture or from organic cultivation of, for example, rapeseed on fallow land is acceptable. Instead of a simple partial replacement of oil through biogen fuel, we need to fundamentally alter our approach to energy and transport policies.

This would entail most of all:

- the promotion of public transport rather than private car- and air traffic;
- consequent measures to conserve energy, as for example a legal requirement for a maximum petrol consumption of three litres per 100 kilometres for motorcars;
- the consequent extension of renewable energy sources like solar and wind power.

Together with human rights and environmental organisations in Indonesia like Sawit Watch or Walhi we demand that strict criteria are applied for the use of tropical products to quell our thirst for energy.

The main such criteria are:

- not to turn primary forests into plantations;
- no burning down of forests for new plantations;
- no certification of palm oil plantations, as a monoculture based on palm oil cannot be cultivated in an ecologically sustainable way and generally leads to problems rather than any enduring benefits for local people;
- respecting traditional customary rights and land rights;
- no violence, no human rights violations, no expulsions of people, no police or military operations;
- full compliance with ratified international agreements in countries where cultivation takes place like Indonesia (i.e. agreements which relate to indigenous peoples, biodiversity, workers’ rights, protection of plantation workers, health)
- no financing of and no ”Hermes” export credit guarantees for projects which destroy the environment;
- no tropical food plants to be used exclusively as sources of energy;
- no to the competition for land where food production in the cultivating countries is at stake;
- yes to the promotion of organic farming without the use of artificial fertilizers or agricultural toxins;
- yes to a promotion of agricultural smallholdings in the cultivating countries

18. April 2006

first signed by:

Watch Indonesia!
Planufer 92 d
10967 Berlin

Rettet den Regenwald
Friedhofsweg 28
22337 Hamburg

robin wood e.v.
nernstweg 32
22765 hamburg

Heuberg 25
CH-4051 Basel

Gesellschaft für ökologische Forschung
Frohschammerstr. 14
80807 München

Zoologische Gesellschaft für Arten-. und Populationsschutz e. V.
Franz-Senn-Str. 14
81377 München

Allwetterzoo Münster
Sentruper. Str. 315
48161 Münster

kritische ökologie/ifak e.V.
Malteserstr. 99k
12249 Berlin

Dachverband der Kritischen Aktionärinnen und Aktionäre
Postfach 13 03 35, 50497 Köln
Ebertplatz 12, 50668 Köln

Berggorilla Regenwald Direkthilfe e.V.
Augustenstr. 122
70197 Stuttgart

Indienhilfe e.V.
Luitpoldstr. 20
82211 Herrsching

Menschen leisten Widerstand
O povo resistente
Terreicken 43a
D-41812 Erkelenz

form ökologie & papier – föp
56288 roth bei kastellaun
dorfstr. 27

UMKEHR e.V., Arbeitskreis Verkehr und Umwelt
Exerzierstr. 20,
13357 Berlin

ARA Arbeitsgemeinschaft Regenwald und Artenschutz
August Bebel Str. 16-18
33602 Bielefeld

GRÜNE LIGA e.V. – Netzwerk Ökologischer Bewegungen
Bundesgeschäftsstelle Greifswalder Straße 4
10405 Berlin

OroVerde – Die Tropenwaldstiftung
Internationale Projektkoordination Kaiserstraße 185-197
53113 Bonn

Herwig Zahorka
Friedrich-Naumann-Str. 30
65195 Wiesbaden

terre des hommes -
Arbeitsgruppe Schwäbisch Gmünd
Leinweg 21
73527 Schwäbisch Gmünd

Frohschammerstr. 14
D-80807 München

Global Nature Fund (GNF)
Internationale Stiftung für Umwelt und Natur
GNF-Office Bonn
Im Buchengrund 3
53175 Bonn

ecodevelop – Aktion für ökosoziale Entwicklung
Prinz-Georg-Str. 9
10827 Berlin

BOS Deutschland e.V.
Schöneberger Ufer 69
10785 Berlin

Vamos e.V. Münster
Achtermannstrasse 10-12
48143 Münster

Deutscher Naturschutzring
Am Michaelshof 8-10
53177 Bonn

Flurschützstraße 13
A-1120 Wien

Viva Amazonia – Amazonien Solidarität Österreich
Linzerstrasse 94/14
1140 Wien

BUKO Agrar
Nernstweg 32-34
22765 Hamburg
Das Schweizer Naturschutz-Netzwerk
Im eisernen Zeit 55
8057 Zürich

Asienhaus Essen
Bullmannaue 11
45327 Essen

Von Galen Str. 4
48336 Sassenberg

Heinrich Böll Haus Lüneburg
Katzenstr. 2
21335 Lüneburg

Klimabündnis-Agentur Nord
Katzenstr. 2
21335 Lüneburg

Campo Limpo
Solidarität mit Brasilien e.V.
Am Grünen Markt 2
82178 Puchheim

Stiftung Artenschutz
Sentruper Str. 315
48161 Münster

Botanischer Verein zu Hamburg
Op de Elg 19 a
22393 Hamburg

Verband Entwicklungspolitik Niedersachsen e.V.
Hausmannstr. 9
30159 Hannover

FIAN Deutschland e.V.
Düppelstraße 9 – 11
50679 Köln

Survival International Deutschland e.V.
Postfach 35 06 61
10215 Berlin

Bremer Informationszentrum für Menschenrechte und Entwicklung (biz)
Bahnhofsplatz 13
28195 Bremen

Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland e.V.
Am Köllnischen Park 1
10179 Berlin

Ecological Internet, Inc.
PO Box # 433
Denmark, WI 54208-0433

Walhi Sumatera Selatan
Jl. Puncak Sekuning No. A4
Palembang 30136
Sumatera Selatan

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