For the low-down on Indonesia’s forests, Norway’s billions and the collective effort to save the planet by reducing carbon emissions from deforestation (REDD), check out this new report from Greenpeace.
In a nutshell, it says: “There is a potential that international money intended for the protection of Indonesia’s forests and peatlands could end up being used to support their destruction.”
The title – “Protection Money” – is an abrasive way of spelling out the danger: unless Indonesia changes its business-as-usual approach of allowing the pulp and palm oil companies carte blanche over its forests, REDD funds will end up lining the pockets of environmental racketeers.
It accuses Indonesia – the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world – of trying to manipulate the definition of “degraded” land to allow palm and pulp companies to clear natural forest and replace it with plantations in the name of “rehabilitation”, with the help of REDD subsidies from donors like Norway.
That would equal a net increase in carbon emissions and a huge net loss in biodiversity, including orangutan and tiger habitats.
President Yudhoyono has announced a two-year moratorium on the granting of new forest clearing concessions in natural forests and peatlands from 2011, but no one knows how exactly this is going to work.
In the meantime the pulp, paper and palm oil industries (palm oil, by the way, is used in everything from soap to cosmetics and chocolate) have plans to expand the areas they control to include 40 percent of Indonesia’s remaining natural forest.
That’s an area the size of Norway and Denmark put together.