Thursday, October 15, 2015

New Palm Oil Politics

The point is simple: Indonesia cannot afford not to burn its forests. The fact that Najib visits Jokowi to cooperate on Palm Oil policy is just to increase their heft to the point of 85% of market share. With the power to name prices (wishful) they hope to get others on board. Never mind if they do not. If I were them, I wouldn't even bother. Why not get them to come knock on your doors?

If the choice is presented as being abjectly poor, going hungry and preserving the rain forest for the world, the Indonesians hope to have gained the moral authority to burn their forest while "trying their best" not to over do it. Can they? To begin they are committing to buying a few big water bombing planes.

To me Najib is the side show. He is facing difficulties at home and hope to score point coming to Indonesia aid. He caught Jokowi at a vulnerable moment. I don't believe the Indonesian leader is enjoying this.

As for Singapore, we must be prepared that the haze problem is not going away. Just as in school it is impossible to help a failing student with insufficient authority, there is nothing we can do with the self defeating habits of the Indonesians.

Of course we must also think through those scenarios which we have to bite the bullet because the health and economic costs of the haze is prohibitive.

Update: Oct 19 8:40pm

I don't know how Indonesia and Malaysia is going to play ball with the rest of the world if they permit "controlled" burning of their forests of palm oil and pulp wood. These commodities are no way as strategic as crude oil. I also suspect consumers can afford higher prices and with time and effort they can cut demand for palm oil bu turning to substitutes.

Update: October 21 9:05pm

These are out of this world acceptable numbers. One callous country burn and the whole world pay a huge price. What is the point of the rest of us working so hard to limit emissions when you have utterly irresponsible nations like Indonesia negate all the effort? see Yahoo article. I bet they are going to crucify and hang Indonesia out to dry at the end of year climate conference.

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