Climate talks, REDD and palm oil: flights from reality
Lee Lane

The conference in Durban South Africa showed that the UN climate talks remain hopelessly stalled. To circumvent this impasse, advocates of greenhouse gas controls seek to curb forest loss. As part of this effort, some activists focus on emissions from palm oil plantations; others push broader plans to conserve all tropical forests. Yet emissions from palm oil production are too small a part of the global total to make much difference. And both ‘leakage’ and governance problems will greatly hobble programs to preserve tropical forests. Frustrated, the World Bank and others are trying to use market power to induce palm oil plantations to adopt more ‘sustainable’ practices. But limits on their market power imply that such efforts are more likely to segment the world palm oil market than to cause large changes in production practices.

9 March, 2012
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