Sunday, November 29, 2009


      Jakarta, Nov. 17, 2009 (ANTARA) - Greenpeace Southeast Asia activists have issued an appeal to stop deforestation from a camp in a so-called 'ground zero' rain forest in the Kampar Peninsula in Sumatra.

        "Greenpeace is calling for an end to deforestation globally by 2020 as a key part of the UN climate negotiations this December", according to information from the Greenpeace Southeast Asia official website on Sunday (Nov. 15).

        In order to attract attention of the APEC member countries' leaders, especially US President Barack Obama and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who gathered in Singapore, Indonesia's immediate neighbor, last Nov. 14-15, 2009, Greenpeace has set up a "Climate Defenders Camp" and put a huge banner in an area of freshly destroyed rain forest reading "Obama: you can stop this" in a Kampar Peninsula rain forest.

        Greenpeace opened the camp three weeks ago to bring urgent attention to the role that rain forest and peatland destruction play in driving dangerous climate change in the run up to the critical UN Copenhagen Climate Summit this December.

        Some Greenpeace activists locked themselves to seven excavators owned by APRIL, one of Indonesia's biggest pulp and paper producers, and they vowed not to leave the concession until APRIL publicly announced they would stop forest clearing in the Kampar Peninsula.

        But their action was objected by the local authorities and the police tried try to evict the environmental NGO activist from the forest.

        "Greenpeace is sending President Obama an urgent call to action from the front line of climate and forest destruction. He has promised to take decisive action on climate change, yet with just weeks left before December's critical UN climate summit, his administration is actively undermining and stalling global climate change negotiations," said Rolf Skar, Greenpeace USA Forest Campaigner at group's rain forest camp recently.

        President Yudhoyono of Indonesia recently pledged to reduce emissions from deforestation and Greenpeace is here in the heart of the rain forest to help him turn his promise into action, said Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigner Bustar Maitar.

        "Indonesia is climate change's 'ground zero'. Stopping forest destruction here and around the globe is not only one of the quickest and most cost effective ways to combat climate change but is essential in order to avert runway climate change in our lifetime," he said.

        "It is vital that Obama and other world leaders attend the UN climate summit and agree to an ambitious, fair and effective deal that includes ending the destruction of the world's rain forests."

        Greenpeace estimates that ending global deforestation requires industrialized countries to invest $42 billion US dollars (E30 billion) annually in forest protection. This is less than the US gave to individual banks during the financial crisis last year.

        Rain forest and peatland destruction in Indonesia emits huge quantities of CO2 and has driven it to become the world's third largest climate polluter after China and the US.

        Peatland in Southeast Asia is predicted to keep 42 billion tons of carbon and around 80 percent or 35 billion tons of the amount is kept in Indonesia, he said.

        Peatland in Indonesia represents less than 0.1 percent of the earth but is responsible for 1.8 billion tons of gas emissions a year.

        In the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh, the US, recently President Yudhoyono expressed his commitment to reduce the gas emissions in Indonesia by 26 percent in 2020 up from 41 percent with international support.

        Greenpeace earlier called on European Union leaders to help Indonesian President Yudhoyono to protect the country's tropical rain forests.

        Greenpeace Southeast Asia forest campaigner Bustar Maitar said in a written statement received by ANTARA last Monday (Nov. 9) that the EU had accumulated its carbon historic debt by triggering deforestation and forest destruction outside its region.

        He said now was the time for the EU leaders to be responsible by committing to extending reasonable public funds to prevent eradication of the remaining tropical rain forests.

        According to the organization the pace of deforestation in the country has been the highest among countries possessing forests in the world and has provided a good example regarding the need for a thorough plan supported by international funds to protect the forests.

        A Riau public figure commended the Greenpeace activity in a peatland forest area in the Kampar Peninsula of Riau province's Pelalawan district.

        "The Greenpeace activists' presence in Riau is a very positive thing. We should be grateful that a world environmental organization is concerned about environmental sustainability in Riau," Prof Dr Tabrani Rab, told Antara last Saturday (Nov. 14).

        He made the remark following the pressure exerted by local police and a company on the Greenpeace activists.

        The policy made by the government for environmental sustainability in Riau has remained unimplemented until now. The industrial sector destroying forests was supported. As a result the company easily discredited the NGOs operating to preserve the environment, Tabrani said.

        Meanwhile, Bustar Maitar defending that the NGO's presence in Sumatra's forest was to support President Yudhoyono's commitment to cutting the country's greenhouse gas emissions by up to 41%.

        "We are helping him honour that commitment by spotlighting the priority areas for protection," he said.

        Indonesia has 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.

        Indonesia has also initiated, along with 10 other tropical rain forest countries, the Forest-11 joint cooperation, to ensure that their forests would be a key part of global climate solutions, President Yudhoyono said in the UN Summit, New York, last September 2009, in a recorded statement. ***3*** (f001/A/HAJM/15:55/A/O001) (T.F001/A/F001/A/O001) 17-11-2009 17:48:12

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