Deforestation Needs to be in Next Climate Pact

Deforestation Needs to be in Next Climate Pact

1 October 2007

published by ENN

JAKARTA -Cutting emissions from deforestation will be key to curbingclimate change and should be agreed upon in December’s climate talks in Bali, aleading Indonesian forestry researcher said on Monday.

The conference on the resort island is expected to initiate talks onclinching a new deal by 2009 to fight global warming.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, developed nations can pay poor countries to cutemissions from activities such as the manufacture of refrigerants andfertilizers as well as capturing greenhouse gases from farm waste and rubbishdumps.

But greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation, nearly 20 percent of theworld’s total, are not yet eligible for trade because they were excluded fromthe Kyoto Protocol’s first round, which runs out in 2012.

“It’s huge because preserving and conserving the existing pool will thenbecome very attractive,” said Daniel Murdiyarso, senior scientist at theCentre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

“Whether by means of a market mechanism or not, including deforestationin the new deal is something Indonesia and every developing country should pushfor.”

Murdiyarso, who is often consulted by the government on forestry and climatechange issues, said the next climate deal should increase emission cut targetsto halt rising temperatures.

“The Kyoto Protocol only targets a 5 percent emission cut. To stabilizelevels the cut has to be much more than 5 percent,” Murdiyarso said bytelephone from his office on the outskirts of Jakarta. 

Participants from 189 countries are expected to gather in Bali for December’sU.N.-led summit, which will hear a report on Reduced Emissions fromDeforestation to decide the fate of a new scheme to make emission cuts fromforest areas eligible for global carbon trading.

Murdiyarso said Indonesia’s vast peatlands, which are a huge store of carbon,will play a key role in shaping post-Kyoto plans on reducing global warming.

With annual carbon dioxide emissions of over 1,500 million tones, preservingIndonesia’s peatlands could bring in billions of dollars, Murdiyarso said.

Experts estimate Indonesia has 20 million hectares (50 million acres) ofdense, black tropical peat swamps, formed when trees, roots and leaves rot, thatare natural carbon stores.

However, when burnt or drained to plant crops such as palm oil, peat releaseslarge amounts of carbon dioxide.

Indonesia is home to 60 percent of the world’s threatened tropical peatlandsand among the world’s top three carbon emitters when peat emissions are addedin, said a report sponsored by the World Bank and Britain’s development arm.

“In Germany, the cost of reducing 50 million tones is 10 billion euro,that’s 200 euro per ton. If we take the same number for peatlands, we can expectsome 900 billion euro,” said Murdiyarso, also a peatlands expert.

“I don’t think anyone would buy it at such a high price, but it wouldstill mean millions of dollars for Indonesia.”

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