Indonesia: Greenpeace sets up base camp in rainforest


Greenpeace announced on October 27th that it has set up base in the heart of the Indonesian rainforest and will remain there for several weeks in order to bring urgent attention to the role that deforestation plays in driving dangerous climate change, a critical issue to be addressed at the UN Copenhagen Climate Summit in December.

200 local people held a welcoming ceremony for Greenpeace activists at the Climate Defenders’ Camp, built on the threatened Kampar Peninsula on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The forest peat soils in Kampar are particularly deep an estimated 2 billion tons of carbon. They form one of the largest natural carbon stores on the planet and a significant global defense against global climate change.

greenpeace campaigners in indonesia
Greenpeace activists and 200 local community members take part in a traditional ceremony to mark the completion of the Climate Defenders' camp, which they have built on the Kampar Peninsular. © Greenpeace / Ardiles Rante

Much of the forest that once surrounded the Peninsula has been destroyed to make way for plantations, largely for products like paper and palm oil, which are transported worldwide and used to make chocolate, toothpaste and so-called "climate-friendly" biofuels.

“We are taking up position at the frontline of forest and climate destruction to tell world leaders that to avert climate chaos they must tackle deforestation here and now,” said Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace South East Asia forest campaigner, speaking from the heart of the rainforest.

Southest Asian leaders declare commitment to stop deforestation

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders meeting at the 15th ASEAN Summit in Thailand last weekend and declared their commitment to a successful outcome in Copenhagen. The imperative for global action to fight climate change demands the same commitment from developed countries. President Obama and EU leaders have only six weeks left to get serious about climate change by committing to much deeper cuts in emissions from both fossil fuels and from deforestation. This means investing the funds needed to end global forest destruction.

Greenpeace suggest that ending global deforestation requires industrialised countries to invest $42 billion annually in forest protection, as well as a commitment from Indonesian President Yudhoyono to end the destruction of Indonesia’s forests and peatlands.

Ending deforestation is vital to tackling climate change

Globally, a million hectares of forests are destroyed every month — an area the size of a soccer field every two seconds — emitting so much carbon dioxide that deforestation accounts for about 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Emissions from deforestation make Indonesia the world’s third worst climate polluter, after China and the US.

Greenpeace is calling on European Union Heads of State, who meet in Brussels on October 29th and 30th, to commit to establishing a fair, ambitious and binding deal at the upcoming UN Climate Summit. In order to help end deforestation they must put money on the table.

While a forest protection system is being set up, Greenpeace is also calling on President Yudhoyono to give the climate some breathing space by instigating an immediate moratorium on any further destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests or the carbon rich peat soils they grow on.

At recent UN climate talks in Bangkok, Yudhoyono pledged up to a 41 per cent reduction in Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions, pending the availability of international funds.

Watch Greenpeace's video about Sumatra's peatland forests on You Tube

Related links:

Rainforests IN PICTURES


clouds reflecting in water Daniel Beltra's award winning photographs from the Amazon, Congo, and Indonesia show us the beauty and fragility of the world's rainforests.

Borneo: New blockades as Penan fight loggers with blowpipes


Penan people with blowpipes on logging road Twelve villages in Borneo have joined forces to try and stop the encroachment of logging and plantation companies into their ancestral lands.

More success for Greenpeace campaigns


picture of deep green jungle British shoemakers, Clarks, which all discerning British schoolchildren wear (including a much younger me), join the list of companies agreeing not to source leather products from Amazon deforestation.