Environmental groups are ratcheting up pressure on policymakers to restore a clause in climate change proposals that would prevent oil palm plantations being classified as “forests” where they they have replaced rainforests.

Greenpeace policy adviser on climate change and forests Roman Czebiniak told TTJ that lobbying was under way in a bid to re-insert provisions that would protect tropical forests from plantation developments.

Mr Czebiniak said the removal of the safeguard clause “behind closed doors” had been a shock at an earlier climate change meeting in Bangkok.

“I think it would be a disaster for the clause not to be in there,” he said. “If you do not have any language in there on forest protection you can have a situation where you’re incentivising logging of old growth forest into second growth and plantations. We are definitely concerned.”

The current “forest” classification for oil palm plantations could give plantation developer countries large sums of money under a scheme designed to preserve forests.

Climate change discussions will continue in Barcelona on November 2-6, before a treaty will get its airing at the crucial meeting in Copenhagen in December.