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Palm oil giants fuelling forest fires in Borneo



Forest and peatland destruction by ‘sustainable’ palm oil companies is fuelling forest fires in Borneo, a new investigation by Greenpeace International has revealed.

Greenpeace researchers examined three plantations in West and Central Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) where major fires were recorded during the 2015 haze crisis. In each case, there had been widespread deforestation and peatland drainage prior to the fires breaking out. Deforestation and draining of peatland are widely recognised as the root cause of the fires crisis, including by the members of the Indonesian government.

Palm oil from these plantations is supplied to international markets through commodities traders including Wilmar International, Golden Agri Resources and IOI Loders Croklaan. These traders in turn supply palm oil to brands with ‘No Deforestation’ policies.

A quarter of Indonesia’s forests have been destroyed since 1990. The paper and palm oil industries are leading drivers of forest loss. Meanwhile, the government has identified 15 million ha of forest available for clearance and development largely for energy and agricultural crops, with palm oil a priority for the government.

Greenpeace Indonesia forest campaigner Annisa Rahmawati said: “In my lifetime, more than a quarter of Indonesia’s forests have been plundered. The people of Indonesia are paying the price, with devastating forest fires affecting the health and livelihoods millions. All to feed global demand for cheap palm oil, paper and timber.”

Two of the oil palm plantations Greenpeace investigated are linked to Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) member IOI Group. The third is owned by Alas Kusuma, some of whose group companies hold Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certificates.

Greenpeace is calling on all companies to be transparent by making concession data available, and announcing the steps they will take to protect forest and peatlands and ensure they are not contributing to the next fires crisis. It also calls on the RSPO to publish its members’ concession maps, as required by the resolution adopted at the RSPO conference two years ago.

These cases expose the systemic failure by Indonesia’s plantation sector to end deforestation. The steps that companies have taken to date are not enough to stop their suppliers from destroying forests and peatlands. Greenpeace is therefore calling for commodities traders and companies that buy palm oil and pulp from Indonesia to work together to enforce an industry-wide ban on deforestation and peatland development, including cutting off non-compliant third-party suppliers.

Annisa continued: “Despite years of talk, palm oil companies are still fanning the flames of Indonesia’s forest fires. Companies must publish their maps, so we can all see who is still trashing Indonesia’s rainforest. Those that continue to clear rainforest and drain peatland must be locked out of the market. Otherwise the destruction and the haze will continue until there is no more rainforest left to save.”

Indonesian President Joko Widodo recently promised to ban any further development on peatlands, including within existing concessions.[4] Greenpeace is calling for the President’s new policy to be fully implemented by companies and properly enforced by government. It must be enshrined in law and supported by publicly accessible forest cover, peatland and land tenure maps. The ban must also be extended to cover all of Indonesia’s remaining natural forest.


A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon




energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”



IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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