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Planet Ark World Environment News Indonesia Wants Incentives to Halt Deforestation

Date: 20-Sep-07
Country: CHINA
Author: Lucy Hornby

Participants from 189 countries are expected to gather in
Bali at a UN-led summit in December. They will hear a report
on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation (RED) -- a new scheme
that aims to make emission cuts from forest areas eligible for
global carbon trading.

Indonesia wants to gain bargaining power for direct
assistance by teaming up with Brazil, Cameroon, Congo, Costa
Rica, Gabon, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, which together
account for the lion's share of the world's tropical
rainforests.

"What the 'F8' (Forest Eight) hopes and wishes for is an
incentive from developed countries, an appreciation of each
one's efforts to avoid deforestation," Malam Sembat Kaban told
Reuters during a visit to Beijing on Wednesday.

"For instance, Indonesia has the potential to sell 14
million cubic meters of logs based on sustainable principles.
Indonesia's policy is to exploit only 9 million cubic meters of
logs" from natural forests, through selective cutting, Kaban
said, speaking through an interpreter.

"Who pays? We are saving the forest but taking an economic
loss ... The demand is there, so there is no reason not to
cut."

Under the Kyoto Protocol's first round, which runs through
2012, about 35 rich nations are obliged to cut emissions by 5
percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12 to fight global warming.
The Bali meeting in December will initiate talks on clinching a
new deal by 2009.

Kyoto focused on reducing emissions from industry and
capturing greenhouse cases, but did not include a scheme to cut
emissions from forestry or to protect existing forests.

Kaban acknowledged that there was no set way to measure or
value revitalizing forests, or refrain from cutting them in the
first place.

"This mechanism does not have a precise methodology. What
the F8 wishes is there must be an understanding how the F8
countries can increase community welfare concerning the
forests, with clear understanding, with clear mechanisms," he
said.

"Because so far we don't have a clear protocol for how we
proceed with CDM and so on," he said referring to the 'clean
development mechanism' which allows polluters in rich countries
to meet domestic greenhouse gas quotas by paying for
emission-cutting programmes in developing countries.

Indonesia is home to 60 percent of the world's threatened
tropical peatlands -- dense tropical swamps that release big
amounts of Co2 when burnt or drained to plant crops such as
palm oil. It is one of the world's top three carbon emitters
when peat emissions are added in, said a report sponsored by
the World Bank and Britain's development arm.

Australia this month agreed to contribute A$30 million to
preserve 70,000 ha (173,000 acres) of peat forest in
Indonesia's Kalimantan region, re-flood 200,000 ha of dried
peat land and plant up to 100 million trees. The area was
devastated when peat forests were drained in an ill-conceived
scheme to create rice fields.

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