SBY: revoke permits for pulp giant APRIL clearing Kampar Peninsula

Press release - November 9, 2009
Greenpeace today released fresh evidence of pulp and paper giant APRIL rampantly destroying peatland forests in the Kampar Peninsula, Sumatra. On the basis of the photos and map released today, Greenpeace is calling on Indonesian President Yudhoyono to immediately order his Forestry Minister to revoke APRIL’s permits to clear the carbon-rich deep peat forests.

Membukaan lahan yang di lakukan APRIL di Semenanjung Kampar. Lokasi yang tidak jauh dari Kamp Pembela Iklim Greenpeace di Teluk Meranti, Riau

"April maintains to the public and to Greenpeace that they are not illegally clearing deep peat in the Peninsula, yet we have evidence to the contrary that shows excavators ripping down forests and strong indications that it is on deep peat", said Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigner Bustar Maitar speaking from the Kampar Peninsula.

The Director General of Forest Protection and Conservation, under the Ministry of Forestry, Darori, was quoted in newspaper articles last week confirming that the Ministry had already given the permits for new pulp concessions in the Kampar Peninsula.  (2) However, he said if there is evidence that the company is operating in areas with peat more than three metres deep, he will ask for the permit to be revoked.

"The peat surveys of the Kampar Peninsula that we are conducting in the area where APRIL are clearing now strongly indicate that the company is clearing forest on peat which is more than 3 metres deep", said Professor Jonotoro, Peatland Specialist at Lancang Kuning University, Pekanbaru.

"This area has deep peat - and from climate, social and biodiversity perspectives should be immediately protected.  It's the destruction of areas like these that make Indonesia the world's third worst climate polluter after China and the US", said Maitar.  "We are calling on President Yudhoyono to order his Minister of Forestry to immediately revoke APRIL's permit in order to fulfil his greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments."

Greenpeace activists have set up a 'Climate Defenders' Camp', in the heart of the threatened Kampar Peninsula, to show world leaders that to avert the climate crisis they must tackle deforestation. The organisation and community intends to continue constructing dams across the Kampar Peninsula to protect its peatlands, which store some 2 billion tonnes of carbon, in the 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 SBY, 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. If they fail, we will face mass species extinction, floods, droughts and famine in our lifetime," said Maitar.

Greenpeace released its "Guide to Climate Politics" at the UN meeting in Barcelona, that identifies President Obama as the head of state who has most failed to provide the leadership necessary to ensure a fair, ambitious, and legally binding treaty.

Behind the guide lies a detailed assessment of the positions of key heads of state on the issues that will make or break a climate deal at December's Copenhagen Climate Summit. It assesses their positions regarding emission reductions, a finance mechanism, forest protection, the legal framework of the Copenhagen deal and their domestic action to reduce emissions. Full details are available at http://www.greenpeace.org/climate-politics-guide

Other contacts: Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia forest campaigner: +62 81344666135 Hikmat Soeriatanuwijaya, Greenpeace Southeast Asia media campaigner: +62 818930271

Notes: (1) Map link: http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/id/campaigns/melindungi-hutan-alam-terakhir/pembelaiklim/kampar_peatdepth_april (2) Kompas, 4 November 2009 Online version: For further information please see: http://cetak.kompas.com/read/xml/2009/11/04/03562471/hutan.gambut.masih.terancam Background media briefing on Indonesia’s forests and climate change is available at: www.greenpeace.org/climatedefenders/rainforests-and-climate-change. More information: http://www.greenpeace.org/climatedefenders