Indonesia — Indonesia voiced support for a proposal by a coalition ofdeveloping countries seeking compensation for forest conservation, according toa report from Reuters. Rachmat Witoelar, Indonesia’s minister of the environmenttold Reuters that poor countries should be paid for conserving forests and theservices they provide the world.
“Preserving our forest means we can’t exploit it for our economic benefits.We can’t build roads or mines,” Witoelar is quoted by Reuters as saying.”But we make an important contribution to the world by providing oxygen.Therefore countries like Indonesia and Brazil should be compensated by developed countries for preserving their resources.”
The initiative, put forth more than a year ago by a coalition that now includes15 developing countries, operates on the concept of “avoided deforestation”whereby developing countries are paid to prevent deforestation that would otherwise occur. The principal is based on the carbonstorage capabilities of tropical forests: when trees are cut and burned, carbonis released into the atmosphere contributing to global warming.
Indonesia is the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases that result fromforest clearing. orldwide about 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions areproduced by deforestation. By preventing deforestation, developing countries caneffectively cut emissions of heat-trapping gases. These “carbon credits” can be exchanged with industrialized countriesfor cash.
Such an initiative could be worth billions to Indonesia which had the world’shighest deforestation rate in 2006 when the country may have lost some 30,000square kilometers of forest — one of the largest areas of forest loss on record.Forest clearing in Indonesia is fueled by logging and fires set by large-scaleagricultural firms for the establishment of oil palm plantations.
Indonesia is now the world’s third largest producer of greenhouse gases due itsemissions from land use change according to Wetlands International. About 10percent of global carbon emissions — 2 billion metric tons of CO2 — areemitted by Indonesia each year.