Indonesia's Billion-Dollar Forest Deal in Danger: Greenpeace

EoF News / 24 November 2010

(The Jakarta Globe / Agence France-Presse, November 23, 2010) -- 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 subsidize 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 aims to use a UN-backed scheme to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD).

It said Indonesia’s plans to cut its output of greenhouse gases (GHGs) “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 fuelled by corruption in the palm oil and paper industries.

“Expansion plans show that these sectors intend to utilize the Indonesian government’s ambiguous definitions of forests and degraded land to hijack the funds and use them to subsidize ongoing conversion of natural forests to plantations,” the group said in a statement.

The current expansion plans pushed by industry — with support by some government ministries — seek to treble pulp and paper production by 2025 and double palm oil production by 2020, the report said.

“This expansion, coupled with weak definitions for degraded land in Indonesia, could see REDD funds which are designed to support protection of Indonesia’s forests and peatlands actually being used to support their destruction,” it added.

The areas earmarked included 40 percent of Indonesia’s remaining natural forest — or an area the size of Norway and Denmark combined.


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