Indonesia to cut forest fires by 20% yearly

Indonesia to cut forest fires by 20% yearly

30 October 2009

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Indonesia — Singapore might be able to look forward to less hazy skies in a few years’ time.

Indonesia said yesterday on the sidelines of an Asean meeting for environment ministers in Singapore that it aims to reduce its number of forest fires by 20 per cent a year.

This would cut greenhouse-gas emissions from such fires by 2 to 3 per cent a year, said Ms Liana Bratasida, assistant minister at Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment.

This is part of its promise, made last month, to cut 26 per cent of its total emissions by 2020. A 2007 World Bank report found Indonesia to be the world’s third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases.

While Indonesia has not yet signed the 2002 Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution, it would like to ratify the agreement and has put it up for parliamentary approval, said Ms Bratasida.

But its parliament members did not agree, due to concerns that Singapore and Malaysia have not signed an agreement with it to help control illegal logging in the country, which has been fuelled by strong demand for timber from both countries.

She added that even without the agreement, Indonesia has already been working to tackle the haze situation with other Asean countries.

Yesterday, Asean ministers and their representatives also established a working group to promote closer and deeper regional cooperation on climate-change issues.

In December, world leaders will meet in Copenhagen to negotiate a new treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which limits greenhouse-gas emissions to fight global warming.

It will expire in 2012.

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