Greenpeace Tackles Climate Change at Frontline of Indonesian Rainforest Destruction

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Daniel Kessler, Greenpeace US media campaigner: +1 5107615455

Greenpeace Tackles Climate Change at Frontline of Indonesian Rainforest Destruction

Inglourious Basterds star Mélanie Laurent joins the action

JAKARTA, Indonesia - This morning, fifty
Greenpeace activists took action to prevent the destruction of
Indonesia's rainforests and called on world leaders to end global
deforestation, which is responsible for about a fifth of all greenhouse
gas emissions (1). The call came as negotiators meet in Barcelona,
Spain for the final round of talks before December's critical UN
climate summit in Copenhagen.

Greenpeaceactivists
completed the construction of a dam across one of the manycanals built
to drain the rainforest and peat soils in order to makeway for
plantations on the Kampar Peninsula on the Indonesian island
ofSumatra.(2) This destruction emits huge quantities of CO2 and has
ledIndonesia to become the world's third largest climate polluter
afterChina and the US.(3)

Greenpeace and members of the local
forestcommunity have spent the last week constructing the dam and
wereassisted over the weekend by Mélanie Laurent, star of
QuentinTarantino's new film Inglourious Basterds.

"Forestdestruction
is one of the main causes of climate change. That is why Icame here to
the frontline of forest destruction with Greenpeace, tocall on world
leaders to end deforestation both here and around theglobe. It is key
to preventing a climate catastrophe," said MélanieLaurent, speaking
from the rainforest.

Greenpeace has set up a‘Climate Defenders'
Camp', in the heart of the Indonesian rainforestand intends to continue
constructing dams across the Kampar Peninsula,which stores some 2
billion tonnes of carbon (4), in coming weeks asDecember's UN climate
summit approaches.

"We are takingaction to stop climate
change right here at the frontline of forestdestruction. To pull the
world back from the brink of a climate crisis,we need Obama, Merkel,
Sarkozy, Brown and other world leaders to committo much deeper cuts in
emissions from fossil fuels and to provide thecritical funds needed to
end deforestation.(5) If they fail, we willface mass species
extinction, floods, droughts and famine in ourlifetime," said
Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigner Bustar Maitar.

Greenpeacewill
release an Indonesian Forest Fund plan at the climate meeting
inBarcelona at 18.00 CET. The plan shows how the fund could help
rapidlyreduce emissions from deforestation.(6)

 

Notes to Editor

(1)
Calculated from: IPCC (2007). IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, Working
Group III, Final Chapter 1. Page 104. Figure 1.2: Sources of global CO2
emissions, 1970-2004 (only direct emissions by sector). http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/ar4-wg3.htm

(2) Most of the destruction of Indonesia's rainforests and peatlands
is caused by two main pulp and paper giants; Asia Pulp & Paper (APP
- Sinar Mas) and its main rival, Asia Pacific Resources International
Holding Limited (APRIL - RGE). Combined, these two companies control
over 73% of Indonesia's total pulp capacity, and control two of the
world's largest pulp mills.
The ‘conversion' of forested peatland is a three-stage process:
• Usually, the most valuable trees are logged for timber.
• A network of canals is built in order to remove logs and drain the
peat so that it is suitable to grow plantations of oil palm for
vegetable oil or acacia trees for pulp and paper.
• The remaining forest is cleared, which causes the peat to dry out
further and to release more CO2, (especially in El Niño years).

(3) WRI 2008. Climate Analysis Indicators Tool (CAIT) Version 6.0 (Washington, DC: World Resources Institute) http://cait.wri.org <http://cait.wri.org/>

(4) Greenpeace calculation based on Wahyunto, S. Ritung dan H.
Subagjo (2003). Maps of Area of Peatland Distribution and Carbon
Content in Sumatera, 1990 - 2002. Wetlands International - Indonesia
Programme & Wildlife Habitat Canada (WHC). See also: Kampar
Peninsula as a peat swamp forest conservation priority Briefing for NGO
use only by Otto Miettinen, 21 July, 2007 http://www.maanystavat.fi/april/resourcesforkampar2007/Miettinen2007longKamparPeninsula.pdf
(5) Greenpeace estimates that ending global deforestation requires
industrialised countries to invest $42 billion (€30 billion) annually
in forest protection.

(6) For further information about the release of the fund proposal,
please call Cindy Baxter, Greenpeace International communications at
the Barcelona meeting +31 646197332.

For further information please see: http://www.greenpeace.org/climatedefenders

Background media briefing on Indonesia's
forests and climate change is available at:
www.greenpeace.org/climatedefenders/rainforests-and-climate-change <http://www.greenpeace.org/climatedefenders/rainforests-and-climate-change>

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Independent campaigning organization that uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

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