Tuesday, October 27, 2009


   Jakarta, Oct. 27, 2009 (ANTARA) - Many environmentalists and experts have warned that the future of mankind depends on their actions today, not tomorrow or some time in the future. 
     Greenpeace, a global environmental NGO, delivered a similar reminder in its letter and a bouquet of flowers sent to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to congratulate him on his inauguration for his second presidential term, in Jakarta, last October 20, 2009. 

     "As part of his presidency, Greenpeace expects President Yudhoyono to turn his G20 commitment into reality by outlining concrete steps to implement a national plan that should ultimately lead to a carbon-neutral, sustainable development with zero deforestation," Greenpeace said in a press statement on his letter to President Yudhoyono, recently. 
       At last month's G20 meeting in Pittsburgh, US, President Yudhoyono pledged a 26-percent cut in Indonesia's carbon emissions by 2020 - and increase it to 41 percent with international support. Yudhoyono also said Indonesia had voluntarily set its short-, medium- and long-term targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 to 2050. 
     The country had made climate change a key priority in its national budget for 2010, reaching half a billion dollars, which includes preservation and expansion of the country's tropical rain forest cover. Yudhoyono's commitment is seen as Indonesia's willingness and the kind of strong leadership that is critical to helping the world avoid climate chaos.
       "As president of the country with the largest remaining tropical forests in the region and therefore, with most to lose, his words are a sign of hope for the millions of people who are already suffering under the impact of climate change and the region's rich biodiversity," wrote Von Hernandez, Executive Director Greenpeace Southeast Asia in the letter. Greenpeace also hailed President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's intention to assume a leading role in the battle against climate change by reducing Indonesia's greenhouse emissions by 26 percent by 2020. 
     The NGO also called on President Yudhoyono to personally attend the crucial Climate Summit in Copenhagen in December and honor his commitments while prioritizing the implementation of a moratorium on deforestation in his first one-hundred-days program. 
      "Greenpeace wishes President Yudhoyono good luck in his endeavor to do the right thing for the people of Indonesia and use the historic opportunity presented to him to do the right thing for all living things on the planet," the letter concluded. Indonesia's role in addressing the climate change impacts has been recognized by several countries, including Britain.
       "We believe that Indonesia's commitment to Copenhagen is very vital, and very decisive," said British Ambassador to Indonesia Martin Hartfull recently when launching a map of the impacts of a temperature rise of four degrees Celsius on the world to invite the world to respond to the "global warming" issue. The map was the result of collaboration of leading UK climate scientists which showed the world the consequences for planet earth if there was no solid action from the world community. 
      Hartfull said a conservative estimate of a global temperature increase of four degrees would affect South East Asia, with Indonesia bearing a huge impact. The impact of the temperature increase for South-East Asia would mean a sea level rise of about 80 cm and floods affecting more than 33 million people. The higher sea level would cause major flooding that would submerge the bulk of Indonesia's territory. 
       Other effects would include prolonged droughts which would destroy Indonesia's agricultural sector, and prolonged and unpredictable tropical cyclones. The British government praised the courage President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had shown by setting a 26-percent emission reduction target, according to the ambassador. 
         "If we act now, if we act together, if we act with vision and resolve, success at Copenhagen is still within our reach, but, if we falter, the Earth will itself be at risk and, for the planet, there is no Plan B. So this is the moment, now is the time, and we must be the people who act," said Hartful quoting British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
         Among strategies to achieve the 26-percent carbon emission cut, the Indonesian government has launched a Berau Forest Carbon Program (BCFP) innovative initiative in Berau District (East Kalimantan Province). By 2015, the BCFP forest carbon program is expected to achieve effective management of 800.000 hectares of forests, to prevent carbon emissions of 10 million tons of CO2 in 5 years, and to protect land with important hydrological conditions and of high biodiversity value, including habitat for 1,500 orangutans. 
        The program is also aimed at improving yield and economic opportunities for residents living near forests. The BCFP program has been praised by the Nature Conservancy (TNC), a world leading conservation organization which has supported the planning and implementation of the project. 
      "Indonesia has demonstrated a leadership with the support of this program. In face of various challenges in a comprehensive extent, these programs can be a solution by reducing carbon emissions from deforestation, which will provide concrete examples for the world," said TNC Director for International Government Relations, Andrew Deutz, recently. 
       Indonesia is the world's largest archipellagic country with a very vast sea surface and home to the world's third largest forest area. Both sea and forest could help absorb CO2 emission. (f001/A/HAJM/B003) 2. 16:45.

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