Indonesia is threatening to withdraw from the Paris Agreement if the European Union pursues plans to ban palm oil as a component of renewable fuels.
Luhut Pandjaitan, the coordinating minister for maritime and natural resources, told a palm oil forum the EU “should not underestimate Indonesia”, the biggest economy in Southeast Asia and the world’s biggest palm oil producer.
“If the U.S. and Brazil can leave the climate deal, we should consider that,” he said. “Why not?”
Under the Paris Agreement, Indonesia has committed to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by 29%, or conditionally by 41%, by 2030.
“Palm cultivation is often blamed for deforestation and destroying the habitat of endangered animals such as orangutans and Sumatran tigers,” Reuters reports. But Indonesia “has lashed out at the EU after the bloc classified palm oil as a risky crop that caused significant deforestation and ruled that its use in renewable fuel should stop by 2030.” Indonesia maintains palm produces oil using far less land than other crops, and believes the EU is discriminating against its product to protect its own sunflower and rapeseed oil producers.
“EU delegates for Indonesia and Brunei have said the bloc is complying with [World Trade Organization] rules and continues to be open for discussion with Indonesian government over the issue,” Reuters states. “On Tuesday, the government said it plans to adopt sustainable economic policies which could help cut greenhouse gas emissions while boosting economic growth.”