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How Big Banks Are Putting Rain Forests in Peril
In early 2015, scientists monitoring satellite images at Global Forest Watch raised the alarm about the destruction of rain forests in Indonesia.
Environmental groups raced to the scene in West Kalimantan province, on the island of Borneo, to find a charred wasteland: smoldering fires, orangutans driven from their nests, and signs of an extensive release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
“There was pretty much no forest left,” said Karmele Llano Sánchez, director of the nonprofit International Animal Rescue’s orangutan rescue group, which set out to save the endangered primates. “All the forest had burned.”
Fingers pointed to the Rajawali Group, a sprawling local conglomerate known for its ties to powerful politicians like Malaysia’s scandal-plagued prime minister. But lesser known is how some of the world’s largest banks have helped Rajawali — and other global agricultural powerhouses — expand their plantation empires.
The year before the clearing of trees in West Kalimantan, Rajawali’s plantation arm secured $235 million in loans — funds that the Indonesian company used to buy out a partner and bolster its landholdings — from banks including Credit Suisse and Bank of America, according to an examination of lending data by The New York Times.
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The deal forms part of at least $43 billion in loans and underwriting to companies linked to deforestation and forest burning in Southeast Asia alone, according to a tally compiled by the California-based Rainforest Action Network, the Dutch consultancy Profundo and the Indonesian nongovernmental organization TuK Indonesia. More than a third of that sum comes from American, European and Japanese banks, many of which have sustainability pledges that specifically mention deforestation.
That figure is almost certainly incomplete because not all financing is made public. It also excludes loans made by the same banks to forestry projects outside Southeast Asia, or financing provided to other, more global players.
On average, more than 70% of Indonesia’s palm oil and palm oil products are exported, according to data from FAOSTAT (FAOSTAT, 2016). Of the palm oil and its derivatives consumed domestically in 2013, 73% was used for food products, and 12% was used for biofuels, translating to about one million metric tons of palm oil in fuel.1 Oil palm plantations in Indonesia are required to comply with the Indonesian Sust
It is called Greening of the Earth and its Drivers, and it is based on data from the Modis and AVHRR instruments which have been carried on American satellites over the past 33 years.The sensors show significant greening of something between 25% and 50% of the Earth's vegetated land, which in turn is slowing the pace of climate change as the plants are drawing CO2 from the atmosphere. Just 4% of vegetated land has suffered from plant loss.
originally posted by: Churchhousecreeper
These rain forests are storing mass amounts of carbon dioxide, burning them is like a carbon dioxide bomb. There will be no profits when the earth dies.