9 Oct 2007

Clearing Papua's forests for palm oil plantations is backwards, warns Greenpeace

4:37 pm on 9 October 2007

Greenpeace has warned that Indonesia's plans to clear Papuan forests for palm oil plantations will hinder efforts to mitigate climate change.

Indonesia's President has asked Papua's Governor Barnabas Seubu to open up five million hectares of land for conversion into palm oil plantations in a bid to increase biofuel production.

Indonesia is on a fresh drive to become the world's biggest bio-fuel producer, and aims to reduce carbon emissions as well as spending on petrol.

Jakarta also claims it's working to reduce the rampant illegal logging which is destroying its largest remaining tracts of rainforest, in Papua

But Greenpeace Asia/Pacific's Tiy Chung says the government's plans to cut more Papuan forest will only increase carbon output.

"Indonesia is the third largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, after the United States and China, and this is purely from forest conversion or forest destruction. The massive forest fires that Indoesia has every year are from land, especially peak land's being cleared for things like palm oil production. So Indonesia could basically cut most of its greenhouse gas emissions by stopping forest destruction."