Greenpeace tackles climate change at frontline of Indonesian rainforest destruction

Inglourious Basterds star Mélanie Laurent joins the action

Press release - November 4, 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: Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia forest campaigner: +62 (0) 81344666135 Hikmat Soeritanuwijaya, Greenpeace Southeast Asia media campaigner: +62 (0) 818930271 Photos, B roll and a video feature package are available from: Nabiha Shahab, Greenpeace Southeast Asia video producer, +62 (0) 81314213432 John Novis, Greenpeace International photography, +62 (0) 81384150297 Mélanie Laurent is available for interview on request via Martin Baker +62 (0) 8131 582 9513