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Greenpeace activists send Pres Obama a message from recently deforested Indonesian rainforest: “You can stop this”

by Mike Gaworecki

November 11, 2009

This morning, an international team of Greenpeace activists issued an urgent call to action to President Barack Obama from the heart of Indonesia’s threatened rainforests by unfurling a banner in a freshly destroyed area of forest that reads "Obama: you can stop this."

Greenpeace Indonesian banner: Obama you can stop this
© Greenpeace/John Novis

As Rolf wrote last week during the Barcelona climate talks, the United States continues to block progress in advance of critical UN climate negotiations that will take place in Copenhagen next month. The banner hang was meant to urge Obama to join with other world leaders and help avert a climate crisis by ending global deforestation, one of the quickest and most cost effective ways to lower carbon emissions and combat global warming.

Greenpeace Indonesia banner: Obama you can stop this
© Greenpeace/John Novis

Global deforestation is responsible for about a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. Greenpeace estimates that ending global deforestation requires industrialized countries to invest $42 billion annually in forest protection.

While the banner was being deployed this morning, several other Greenpeace activists locked themselves to four excavators owned by Asia Pacific Resources International Holding Limited (APRIL), one of Indonesia’s biggest pulp and paper producers, to stop the company from destroying more rainforest to make way for tree plantations.

Greenpeace activists lockdown an APRIL excavator in Indonesia

Over 50 Greenpeace activists from the Climate Defenders Camp on Indonesia’s Kampar Peninsula take action against APRIL, one of Indonesia’s biggest pulp and paper producers, to prevent it destroying the rainforest on the Kampar Peninsula to make way for tree plantations, grown for pulp and paper. © Greenpeace/Ardiles Rante

Check out lots more great photos in this slideshow:

President Obama, who will meet two days from now with 20 other Heads of State in Singapore to discuss Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), has promised to take decisive action on climate change. Yet his administration is actively undermining and stalling global climate change negotiations while the US Congress delays its vote on an inadequate bill.

It’s time for leadership. Help us send this message by signing our petition telling President Obama that it’s Time To Sign a fair, ambitious, and binding climate treaty.

Today’s action took place on the Kampar Peninsula on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, where Greenpeace has set up a Climate Defenders Camp. Rainforest and peatland destruction in Indonesia emits huge quantities of CO2, causing the country to become the world’s third largest climate polluter after China and the US.

Greenpeace activists are also working to reduce carbon emissions by constructing dams in the area to stop paper companies from destroying the rainforest’s carbon rich peat soil, which contains approximately 2 billion tons of carbon. They will continue to protect the rainforest peatlands in coming weeks as December’s UN climate summit approaches.

To find more info and resources on deforestation in Indonesia and climate change, click here.

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