Greenpeace ship tour in Indonesia to show how Protecting Forests will Save the Climate

Feature story - October 6, 2008
Greenpeace today embarked on the Indonesian leg of its "Forests for Climate" ship tour, to shine the spotlight on the rampant destruction of the Paradise Forests – the last remaining ancient forests of Southeast Asia.

A group of Papuanese traditional dancers greets Greenpeace's vessel Esperanza during a welcoming ceremony at Jayapura port. Greenpeace's "Forests for Climate" ship tour to Indonesia aims to highlight the catastrophic impacts of deforestation for palm oil, logging and other industry expansion, on the global climate, biodiversity loss and forest-dependent people. Papua is the last frontier of intact ancient forest in Indonesia. The Esperanza (Spanish for "hope") carries the message ‘Melindungi Hutan, Menyelamatkan Iklim’, Indonesian for ‘Protecting Forests Saves our Climate’.

The Greenpeace ship Esperanza arrived this morning in Jayapura, Papua, the last frontier of intact ancient forest in Indonesia to highlight the catastrophic impacts of deforestation for palm oil, logging and other industry expansion, on the global climate, biodiversity loss and forest-dependent people. 

The Esperanza (Spanish for "hope") carries the message 'Melindungi Hutan, Menyelamatkan Iklim', Indonesian for 'Protecting Forests Saves our Climate'. 

"The forests of Indonesia are disappearing at an alarming rate, and the rapid expansion of oil palm plantations is currently the biggest driver of deforestation," said Bustar Maitar, Forest Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia. "The majority of these plantations are biodiversity-rich peatland, which store huge amounts of carbon. When they are cleared and burned, it's like setting off a carbon bomb, releasing nearly two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide every year."

Deforestation releases around 20% of the world's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, contributing to dangerous climate change. Indonesia is currently the fourth largest contributor globally of GHG emissions (after the US, China and Brazil), but instead of using forests to save the climate, government and industry continue deforestation, thereby exacerbating the climate crisis.

"Tropical forests and peatland are critical to regulate the global climate," continued Maitar. "When forests are destroyed, we lose twice. Firstly, the forests aren't there to absorb emissions. Secondly, deforestation itself releases massive quantities of greenhouse gases. We need these vast tracts of forest to combat climate change and safeguard the planet."  

The Esperanza will be touring the world's largest archipelago until 15 November, calling on the Indonesian government to implement an immediate moratorium on all forest conversion, including expansion of oil palm plantations, industrial logging, and other drivers of deforestation.  

"This moratorium will not only help curb the country's greenhouse gas emissions, but will also safeguard the wealth of tropical biodiversity and protect the livelihood of forest dependent communities all across Indonesia." said Shailendra Yashwant, Campaigns Director, Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

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