Current International Update
International developments reported in the current issue of ELR's Weekly Update appear below. For previously reported international news, please use the filter function on the left. For older material reported between 2000 and 2010, visit the Weekly Update Archives.
Volume 47, Issue 2
Civil society groups in Indonesia have gone to court to request information from the government on the oil palm industry operating in the country. These green groups have requested maps of lands where oil palm companies have been licensed to operate, including the names of the companies; they want to monitor for illegal activity, as the industry is infamous for operating outside of where it is licensed. The Ministry of Land and Spatial Planning maintains that disclosing the permit holder’s name, in addition to the spatial information, would be a violation of the company’s privacy.
In the Philippines, progress is also being made on political promises. Last year, the Environment and Natural Resources Secretary stated her interest in shutting down the country’s mining industry as it causes significant environmental damage, an initiative supported even by the country’s President Duterte, who said the country could “survive without a mining industry.” Last week, the Philippines cancelled the environmental permit for four mining projects, for nickel, gold, coal, and iron and copper.
China has already begun to make good on a promise from November 2016 in which the government committed to shut down or delay at least 150 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired energy by 2020 and to cap coal power generation at 1,100 GW. To put this in perspective, as of February 2016, China had just over 1,000 GW of thermal-powered energy, most of which consists of coal-fired capacity. Earlier this month, the Chinese energy regulator halted more than 100 coal-fired projects, which have a combined capacity exceeding 100 GW.