Indonesia Should Drop Forest Carbon Credit Plan: Greenpeace

JAKARTA ~ Environmental group Greenpeace called on the government this week to drop plans to tackle global climate change with credits for preserving forests, saying the measure could destroy carbon markets.

Indonesia, a key backer of “avoided deforestation” measures that would award tradeable carbon credits for conservation, should abandon the plan in favor of funds to preserve forests, campaigner Bustar Maitar said.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono should use meetings on the sidelines of the G20 meeting this week in London to push for a modified version of its draft Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) plan, Maitar said.

The REDD plan should replace the proposed credits with a global fund, paid for by rich nations, to finance forest conservation efforts, he said.

“The market-oriented draft, which focuses more on investment rather than reducing deforestation, only benefits big (industrial) companies with huge emissions,” Maitar said.

“Under the scheme, companies can easily pay for (forest) carbon credits while still being able to pollute. This won’t help to reduce deforestation in this country,” he said.

Greenpeace criticized Indonesia for failing to meet targets to reduce emissions from deforestation and allowing the clearing of carbon-rich peat lands.

The group said the government should introduce an immediate moratorium on deforestation and back the creation of a global carbon market that focuses on reducing industrial emissions, not deforestation.

A Greenpeace report this week argued plans to introduce forest credits could send carbon credit prices in a future market plummeting 75 percent, removing incentives for polluting industries to clean themselves up and stifling clean technologies.

Emissions from deforestation make up most of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The country is widely considered the world’s third-highest carbon emitter, behind the United States and China.

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