Greenpeace tackles climate change at frontline of Indonesian rainforest destruction

Inglourious Basterds star Mélanie Laurent joins the action

Press release - 3 November, 2009
This morning, fifty Greenpeace activists took action to prevent the destruction of Indonesia's rainforests and called on world leaders to end global deforestation, which is responsible for about a fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions (1). The call came as negotiators meet in Barcelona, Spain for the final round of talks before December's critical UN climate summit in Copenhagen.

Greenpeace activists completed the construction of a dam across one of the many canals built to drain the rainforest and peat soils in order to make way for plantations on the Kampar Peninsula on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.(2) This destruction emits huge quantities of CO2 and has led Indonesia to become the world's third largest climate polluter after China and the US.(3)

Greenpeace and members of the local forest community have spent the last week constructing the dam and were assisted over the weekend by Mélanie Laurent, star of Quentin Tarantino's new film Inglourious Basterds.

"Forest destruction is one of the main causes of climate change. That is why I came here to the frontline of forest destruction with Greenpeace, to call on world leaders to end deforestation both here and around the globe. It is key to preventing a climate catastrophe," said Mélanie Laurent, speaking from the rainforest.

Greenpeace has set up a 'Climate Defenders' Camp', in the heart of the Indonesian rainforest and intends to continue constructing dams across the Kampar Peninsula, which stores some 2 billion tonnes of carbon (4), in coming weeks as December's UN climate summit approaches.

"We are taking action to stop climate change right here at the frontline of forest destruction. To pull the world back from the brink of a climate crisis, we need Obama, Merkel, Sarkozy, Brown and other world leaders to commit to much deeper cuts in emissions from fossil fuels and to provide the critical funds needed to end deforestation.(5) If they fail, we will face mass species extinction, floods, droughts and famine in our lifetime," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigner Bustar Maitar.

Greenpeace will release an Indonesian Forest Fund plan at the climate meeting in Barcelona at 18.00 CET. The plan shows how the fund could help rapidly reduce emissions from deforestation.(6)

Other contacts: In Europe: Pat Venditti, Head of the forest campaign, Greenpeace International +31 (0) 63 473 8793 Matilda Bradshaw, Greenpeace International communications +31 (0) 6 2900 1131In Indonesia: Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia forest campaigner: +62 81344666135 Hikmat Soeritanuwijaya, Greenpeace Southeast Asia media campaigner: +62 (0)818930271Mélanie Laurent is available for interviews until 12.00 CET today. Please contact Jerome Frignet +33 (0) 6799 31530 For interviews with Mélanie at a later date, please contact Sylvain Trottier +33 (0) 6 30 23 52

VVPR info: Photos, B roll and a video feature package are available from: Maarten van Rouveroy, Greenpeace International video producer, +31 (0) 646197322 John Novis, Greenpeace International photography, +44 (0) 7801 615 889

Notes: 1) Calculated from: IPCC (2007). IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, Working Group III, Final Chapter 1. Page 104. Figure 1.2: Sources of global CO2 emissions, 1970-2004 (only direct emissions by sector). (2) Most of the destruction of Indonesia's rainforests and peatlands is caused by two main pulp and paper giants; Asia Pulp & Paper (APP - Sinar Mas) and its main rival, Asia Pacific Resources International Holding Limited (APRIL - RGE). Combined, these two companies control over 73% of Indonesia's total pulp capacity, and control two of the world's largest pulp mills. The 'conversion' of forested peatland is a three-stage process: o Usually, the most valuable trees are logged for timber. o A network of canals is built in order to remove logs and drain the peat so that it is suitable to grow plantations of oil palm for vegetable oil or acacia trees for pulp and paper. o The remaining forest is cleared, which causes the peat to dry out further and to release more CO2, (especially in El Niño years). (3) WRI 2008. Climate Analysis Indicators Tool (CAIT) Version 6.0 (Washington, DC: World Resources Institute) (4) Greenpeace calculation based on Wahyunto, S. Ritung dan H. Subagjo (2003). Maps of Area of Peatland Distribution and Carbon Content in Sumatera, 1990 - 2002. Wetlands International - Indonesia Programme & Wildlife Habitat Canada (WHC). See also: Kampar Peninsula as a peat swamp forest conservation priority Briefing for NGO use only by Otto Miettinen, 21 July, 2007 (5) Greenpeace estimates that ending global deforestation requires industrialised countries to invest $42 billion (€30 billion) annually in forest protection. (6) For further information about the release of the fund proposal, please call Cindy Baxter, Greenpeace International communications at the Barcelona meeting +31 646197332.

Exp. contact date: 2009-12-01 00:00:00