Image of the Day: Indonesian Oil Palm Plantations

A new study found that continued expansion of palm oil plantations in parts of Southeast Asia would dramatically increase greenhouse gas emissions. In some recent years, Indonesia has ranked third after the U.S. and China as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, largely because the country has been draining and burning its peatlands to make way for large-scale palm oil plantations. This process releases an enormous amount of carbon dioxide and methane into the air, both of which are climate warming gases. The demand for the product comes from its incorporation into biodiesel for transportation in Europe and beyond. According to the Washington Post, the U.S. EPA will soon decide whether palm oil can be incorporated into biofuel blends in the U.S. vehicle fleet, which could have a major impact on developments on the ground in Southeast Asia.

Credit: sampsak/flickr