Peat marshlands store vast amounts of carbon; when these marshes are drained for agriculture and the peat burned to make room for industrial crops, this carbon is released into the atmosphere and contributes to global warming. The problem is especially great in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, where huge areas of peat land and nearby tropical forest are being cleared and burned to make way for expanding palm oil plantations. Palm oil is used in a variety of products, including many common foods as well as biofuels. The palm oil industry in Southeast Asia has become a major contributor to biodiversity loss and greatly increased the region’s emissions of greenhouse gases. To slow global warming and preserve the tropical ecosystems of this region, it’s essential that unsustainable palm oil expansion be brought to a halt.
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