Mr. President, do you care?

Press release - April 4, 2009
Greenpeace this morning challenged President Yudhoyono to turn his commitment to drastically cut Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation into concrete action, prior to his election campaign speech at a 100,000-strong Demokrat Party rally in Yogyakarta.

Greenpeace activists hang a banner to ask the commitment of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for saving forests and climate

Greenpeace activists deployed a banner reading "Mr. President, how about deforestation? how about climate change?" over the highway in view of the President's motorcade en-route to the rally in Yogyakarta's main square.

President Yudhoyono made his international commitment at the 2008 G8 meeting in Japan - yet his Government has been actively undermining his commitment ever since by opening up further areas of tropical forest and carbon-rich peatland to the palm oil and pulp and paper industries.

"We are again challenging President Yudhoyono to show that he cares about deforestation, climate change, and Indonesia's people, who are amongst those who will be most impacted by runaway climate change", said Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forest campaigner.

President Yudhoyono has just returned from the G20 meeting in London after signing onto the Summit's joint communiqué, which included a reaffirmation of the G20's "commitment to address the threat of irreversible climate change, based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and to reach agreement at the UN Climate Change conference in Copenhagen in December 2009". Yet 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.

Studies have shown that Indonesia is one of the countries most exposed to the negative impacts of climate change, including sea level rise and greater frequency of extreme weather events, which will in turn impact food and human security. Without strong and decisive action on climate change, promises by political parties to secure the Indonesian people's future will fail.

In order for the President to honour his commitment, Greenpeace is calling on the Indonesian government to implement an immediate moratorium on further deforestation. Further, the Government should promote carbon markets to have a focus, clean and renewable technologies in key industrial sectors; drive developed countries to make deep emissions cuts at home and help finance forest protection in developing countries like Indonesia.

"Currently, Indonesia's domestic policies are miles away from what is promised by our president internationally. It is time for the President's nice words to translate into concrete action. President Yudhoyono must pull his departments into line immediately by revoking the recent legislation dooming more forests, and the people and rich biodiversity that depend on them, to destruction, and increasing emissions. We will continue to remind the President of his commitment until we see some action from him", concluded Maitar.

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