Tag Archive | "biodiversity"

Prince of the ice

Helicopter, skis, and dog sled, Prince Albert II of Monaco has tried them all to reach both the North and South Poles to raise awareness about climate change

Son of Prince Rainier III and Hollywood legend Grace Kelly, Prince Albert II was born on March 14, 1958, and belongs to the royal family of Monaco.
Upon assuming the throne in 2005, Prince Albert II began his sustainable works by signing the Kyoto Protocol. A year later, he visited the North Pole by dog sled travelling 120 kilometres from the Russian ice camp, Barneo. The trip helped bring climate change and the dangers of industrial pollution into the limelight. Through this journey, he also paid a tribute to his great-great grandfather, Prince Albert I of Monaco, an oceanography who had four successful exploration campaigns in the Arctic.
Following his trip, the Prince set up the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation dedicated to protecting the environment. The foundation focuses on climate change, water and biodiversity by implementing sustainable and efficient management of natural resource, and supporting innovative and ethical solutions.
In 2009, Prince Albert II undertook a three-week project in the Antarctic, where he visited numerous scientific stations. The trip was turned into a documentary, Antarctique 2009, Terre en Alerte, which means ‘Antarctic 2009, Earth on Alert’ after joining explorer Mike Horn.

UNEP named him “Champion of the Earth” for his work on climate change, biodiversity, water as well as environmental journalism.
Prince Albert II is dedicated to carrying out an exemplary policy in his country in terms of the environment, by developing of public transport, ecological vehicles, renewable energies and green buildings.
Some of his other notable works include supporting Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai’s campaign to plant a billion trees, hosting a global conference on the health of the world’s oceans, and establishing a partnership with the World Wildlife Foundation to protect the bluefin tuna from ecological extinction.

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Malaysia increases palm oil concentration in biodiesel

Malaysia is about to require a higher concentration of palm oil in its biodiesel fuel blend, government and industry sources said last week. The new B7 biofuel blend would increase the palm oil component of biodiesel to 7%, up from the current 5%.

Adding more palm oil to the blend increases the pressure to convert rainforest lands to oil palm plantations, putting indigenous communities and wildlife, including the critically endangered orangutan, at risk.

“So far the direction from the ministry is quite clear. We’re really moving to B7,” an official from the Malaysian Biodiesel Association told the online news service Malaysian Insider.

Malaysia is the world’s second-largest palm oil producer and Indonesia is the first. Clearing and burning of rainforests for palm oil plantations is one of the primary drivers of deforestation in Southeast Asia, and is one of the major reasons Indonesia is the world’s third largest global warming polluter, just behind China and the United States.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas said the government is in the final stages of drawing up the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification to improve standards and the image of locally produced palm oil products.

Douglas said MSPO certification takes into account 60 local laws, including environment and wildlife legislation along with other state laws.

Douglas said many foreign non-governmental organisations insist markets only buy palm oil which meets standards set out by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil but their criteria is too expensive for Malaysian smallholders.

He said the government’s MSPO certification requirements will include best agriculture practices and will ensure smallholders will not be at a disadvantage.

At the same time, the MSPO will address the impact of the palm oil industry on the Orang Asli indigenous minority peoples of Peninsular Malaysia, deforestation, lost of biodiversity and the impact on wildlife including the orangutan.

A study conducted by the International Institute for Sustainable Development for Friends of the Earth Europe released in September finds that Europe’s use of palm oil for automotive fuel has increased much more than predicted and now stands at 20% of the biodiesel mix. The EU consumes 40% more palm oil – for fuel, food and cosmetics – today compared to six years ago, despite continual warnings about the unsustainability of palm oil expansion.

But there remain some “information gaps and blind spots” that impede informed decision making on EU biofuel policies, the IISD report finds. One of these blind spots has been the impact of the EU biofuel policies on palm oil consumption patterns.


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