"Deforestation is responsible for up to a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, and this announcement is pivotal. It is the responsibility of the Australian Government to ensure that these and future forest funds are spent on measures that protect intact and other natural forests, including peatlands. Preventing their destruction has the greatest potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Paul Winn, Greenpeace forest campaigner.
"Protection plans should be country-wide because small individual projects can disrupt communities and merely push destructive industries to other parts of the forest.
Greenpeace says Indonesian President Yudhoyono's announcement at the Oslo conference on climate and forests of a two year moratorium on issuing new concessions for forest and peatland destruction is a first step towards Indonesia meeting its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets of 41%. The moratorium was a precondition of a separate bilateral USD $1 billion deal with Norway. However, deforestation will continue unabated unless the moratorium is extended to cover existing permits, not just new ones and must be put into action immediately, not months from now.
One company alone, the Sinar Mas Group, has a land bank of around a million hectares earmarked for future development. Under this new announcement Sinar Mas will still be free to trash forest and peatland to make way for palm oil and pulp and paper plantations.
"President Yudhoyono could be known as the man that protected Indonesia's rainforests and rescued the orangutans, and it's extremely encouraging that he's gone this far.
"Now he's got to close the loophole in this deal that lets companies like Sinar Mas continue to trash the rainforest," said Mr Winn.