Greenpeace: protection of ASEAN forests can deter climate change

Feature story - March 1, 2009
Greenpeace criticized the ASEAN leaders converging in Thailand for not taking adequate action to protect over 283 million hectares of forests in the region and threatening the very existence of forest communities and its rich biodiversity. Rampant and unchecked deforestation is resulting in massive greenhouse gas emissions responsible for runaway climate change.

In a street-theatre protest today at the venue of the ASEAN summit, Greenpeace activists wearing masks of ASEAN heads of states and orang-utans mimicked the ceremonial hand-holding gesture of the ASEAN heads, who agreed to save the forest to help stop climate change – to the joy of orang-utans. Greenpeace is demanding that ASEAN leaders immediately declare a moratorium on deforestation, and agree on zero deforestation in the region by 2020.

In a street-theatre protest today at the venue of the ASEAN summit, Greenpeace activists wearing masks of ASEAN heads of states and orang-utans mimicked the ceremonial hand-holding gesture of the ASEAN heads, who agreed to save the forest to help stop climate change – to the joy of orang-utans. Greenpeace is demanding that ASEAN leaders immediately declare a moratorium on deforestation, and agree on zero deforestation in the region by 2020.

In a street-theatre protest today at the venue of the ASEAN summit, Greenpeace activists wearing masks of ASEAN heads of states and orang-utans mimicked the ceremonial hand-holding gesture of the ASEAN heads, who agreed to save the forest to help stop climate change – to the joy of orang-utans. Greenpeace is demanding that ASEAN leaders immediately declare a moratorium on deforestation, and agree on zero deforestation in the region by 2020.

In a street-theatre protest today at the venue of the ASEAN summit, Greenpeace activists wearing masks of ASEAN heads of states and orang-utans mimicked the ceremonial hand-holding gesture of the ASEAN heads, who agreed to save the forest to help stop climate change – to the joy of orang-utans. Greenpeace is demanding that ASEAN leaders immediately declare a moratorium on deforestation, and agree on zero deforestation in the region by 2020.

In a street-theatre protest today at the venue of the ASEAN summit, Greenpeace activists wearing masks of ASEAN heads of states and orang-utans mimicked the ceremonial hand-holding gesture of the ASEAN heads, who agreed to save the forest to help stop climate change – to the joy of orang-utans. Greenpeace is demanding that ASEAN leaders immediately declare a moratorium on deforestation, and agree on zero deforestation in the region by 2020.

In a street-theatre protest today at the venue of the ASEAN summit, Greenpeace activists wearing masks of ASEAN heads of states and orang-utans mimicked the ceremonial hand-holding gesture of the ASEAN heads, who agreed to save the forest to help stop climate change - to the joy of orang-utans.

The ASEAN region is home to about 16 % of the planet's total tropical forest cover. But the rate of deforestation in the ASEAN region is one of the highest at around 3.1 million hectares per year, with Indonesia earning the Guinness World Record for fastest deforestation in the world.

Greenpeace is demanding that ASEAN leaders immediately declare a moratorium on deforestation, and agree on zero deforestation in the region by 2020.

"Global deforestation is responsible for about 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions. To stop catastrophic climate change, halting deforestation is of utmost importance. We hope that given the converging interests of Southeast Asian countries on the issue of forest protection and climate change, ASEAN would support our call for industrialized countries to provide at least €30 billion annually to halt deforestation," said Bustar Maitar, Forest campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

"A business-as-usual type of proposal will only provide industrialized countries - who are the ones responsible for most of the planet's greenhouse gas emissions -- a ticket to continue cooking our planet"

Tara Buakamsri

Campaign Manager

Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

The Reduced Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries (REDD) mechanism must be agreed at the UNFCCC meeting in Copenhagen, that ensures biodiversity protection and includes the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples; does not allow loopholes from industrial emissions; and finances national level reductions to achieve zero deforestation in developing countries by 2020. At COP13 in Bali, Greenpeace tabled a proposal for a Tropical Deforestation Emission Reduction Mechanism (www.greenpeace.org/forestsforclimate). The Mechanism is characterized by a hybrid market-linked fund, the functioning of which would meet both climate and biodiversity objectives and allow for the participation of all developing countries in which deforestation occurs, regardless of their level of capacity.

Tropical forests are essential to life itself. They keep climate in check, regulate water flow, and maintain the healthy ecosystems on which humanity depends. Forests contain half of all life on earth: orangutans, elephants, tigers and jaguars are just some of the animals in tropical forests. Up to 150 million indigenous people live in forests worldwide, they need to have their futures secured so they can remain guardians of the forests. If countries commit to protecting forests by declaring a moratorium on deforestation, win-win-win benefits for local communities, forest peoples, climate and biodiversity can be achieved.

"Over the years, ASEAN countries have experienced severe climate impacts. Therefore, ASEAN heads of states must put together a very aggressive proposal to help protect its people and economies from climate disasters.  A business-as-usual type of proposal will only provide industrialized countries - who are the ones responsible for most of the planet's greenhouse gas emissions -- a ticket to continue cooking our planet," said Tara Buakamsri, Campaign Manager of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

For more information, view the report, " Greenpeace Policy on Saving Forests to Protect the Climate"

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