Forests for Climate: Greenpeace demands action from Indonesian president

Press release - April 1, 2009
Greenpeace criticised President Yudhoyono for failing to take action on his commitment to drastically cut greenhouse gas reduction from deforestation, on the eve of the crucial G20 meeting in UK.

Photographs taken by Greenpeace paramotors as they launch an ongoing aerial initiative to spot forest and peat fires in an oil palm plantation.

Indonesia stands to gain substantially from international efforts to reduce global emissions through industrialised nations paying to protect forests in developing nations with large areas of tropical forest. However, the Indonesian draft regulation on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), released for comment last week will fail to provide benefits to the Indonesian people, and fail to bring climate change under control.

A Greenpeace commissioned report (1) shows that a market based approach to REDD, as Indonesia is advocating, is doomed to failure as it will crash the market for carbon, not provide incentives to move to clean and renewable energy and 'lock in' high carbon technologies and infrastructure. A fund based approach would avoid these pitfalls, and ensure that deep emissions cuts occur in rich, developed countries, and they also put money into a fund for forest protection.

"One of the key areas where Indonesia can show clear reductions in emissions is through the protection of peatlands, yet again, departments are taking matters into their own hands.  The recent legislation by the Department of Agriculture to open up Indonesia's carbon-rich peatland for further development undermines the economic potential of this REDD money,  has no scientific basis and is frankly nonsensical given the critical role peatlands play in climate stability" said Maitar.

Further, conversion of peatlands and forests for palm oil, plus this draft REDD regulation fail to respect Indigenous peoples rights as recognized by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

"Indonesia's domestic policies are miles away from what is promised by our president internationally.  It is time for these nice words to translate into concrete action in Indonesia.  President Yudhoyono must pull his departments into line immediately through supporting a fund-based approach to REDD, revoking the recent peatland legislation and respecting Indigenous rights", added Maitar.

Greenpeace is calling on the Indonesian government to implement an immediate moratorium on further deforestation, including revoking the recent legislation allowing further peatland conversion and amend policies to respect Indigenous rights. Further, the carbon markets should focus on driving clean and renewable technologies in key industrial sectors; and developed countries should make deep emissions cuts at home and help finance forest protection in developing countries like Indonesia. This would be done best through a new forest fund that would value both the climate and biodiversity benefits provided by forests in a way that respects the rights of indigenous and local peoples. (2)

Other contacts: Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forests campaigner, 081344666135 Hikmat Suriatanwijaya, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Media campaigner 0818930271

Notes: (1) “REDD and the effort to limit global warming to 2°C: Implications for including REDD credits in the international carbon market”: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/reports/REDD-implications (2) More information on Greenpeace policies on REDD, including its Forests for Climate “hybrid” proposal, can be found at www.greenpeace.org/forestsforclimate