Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Greenpeace asks EU to help RI protect forests

Adianto P. Simamora , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Wed, 10/28/2009

From its “climate defender camp” in Riau, Greenpeace Indonesia has called on world leaders to help Indonesia protect its forest and to cut emissions in its fight against climate change.

The Greenpeace activists placed two large banners with portraits of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicholas Sarkozy in a peatland area in Riau ahead of the European Union leaders’ summit scheduled for Thursday in Brussels.

“The EU has accumulated a historical carbon debt by fuelling deforestation and forest degradation abroad. It is now the responsibility of European leaders to commit to substantial public funding to stop the last remaining tropical forests from going up in smoke,” Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace South East Asia forest campaigner, said in a statement.

Indonesia hosts the world’s third largest forested area with about 120 million hectares of rainforest. But the country also has the highest deforestation rate in the world with about 1.08 million hectares lost to widespread illegal logging, forest fires and farmland conversion.

Indonesia has promised to cut its emissions from the forestry sector by 26 percent by 2020.

“President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s words [on emissions reduction target of 26 percent] are a sign of hope for the millions of people who are already suffering the impacts of climate change,” Shailendra Yashwant, campaign director for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said.

“He needs financial assistance from developed countries to turn his commitments into action. The EU leaders must show leadership as he has and put their money where their mouth is.”