Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Indonesia's billion-dollar forest deal in danger

Terra Daily via AFP: Greenpeace on Tuesday warned that a billion-dollar deal between Norway and Indonesia to cut carbon emissions from deforestation is in danger of being hijacked by timber and oil palm companies. The environmental group said "notorious industrial rainforest destroyers" such as palm oil and pulp producers intended to manipulate the funds to subsidise further conversion of natural forests to plantations.

The allegations came in a new Greenpeace report called "REDD Alert: Protection Money", expressing doubts about Indonesia's plans to use a UN-backed scheme to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD). It said Indonesia's greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction proposals "may create perverse incentives to clear forests and peatlands, create opportunities for corruption... and actually drive an increase in GHG emissions".

Under a REDD scheme announced in May, Norway has agreed to contribute up to a billion dollars to help preserve Indonesia's forests, partly through a two-year moratorium on new clearing of natural forests and peatlands from 2011. Indonesia is the world's third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, due mainly to rampant deforestation by the palm oil and paper industries, fuelled by corruption.

"Expansion plans show that these sectors intend to utilise the Indonesian government's ambiguous definitions of forests and degraded land to hijack the funds and use them to subsidise ongoing conversion of natural forests to plantations," the group said in a statement….

From the Tropenmuseum collection via Wikimedia Commons, ruins in the forest near the Goenoeng Manik rubber- and tea plantation at Lampegan, sometime between 1900 and 1938

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