Australian Offset Projects Backfire in Indonesia
Friends of the Earth Australia and several other environmental groups demonstrated this week against the Australian government's proposal of a cheap forest carbon offset market.
Protesters set up outside of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia as well as in front of the Philip Street Offices of the Prime Minister in Sydney, Australia.
The Australian government has proposed to set up a market for cheap carbon forest offsets as an option for emissions reductions in the international climate framework. Carbon offsets, called Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), are a controversial proposal of the December 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen.
The government wants the offsets for Australian companies to be covered by the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, Australia's cap-and-trade system of emissions trading due to be set up in 2010. Australia already has one of the advanced forest carbon offset schemes set up in the Central Kalimantan in Indonesia.
"The main purpose of carbon offset schemes like the AusAid project in Kalimantan is to give polluting Australian companies a cheap offset option for their emissions. Aid money is being used to serve Australia’s own economic interests, not the long term interests of the people of Indonesia," said James Goodman of Friends of the Earth Sydney.
Demonstrators state that REDD projects are not the solution to combating climate change because the offsets from avoided deforestation may not be credible and don't accurately represent real emission reductions. They also fail to address the real causes of deforestation.
Villagers in the peatland area of Indonesia have appealed directly to the United Nations to stop all REDD offset projects, saying that the projects undermine the local people's sovereignty over resources.
Another protest was held on Wednesday, November 25,2009, in both countries to mark the launch of a joint AID/WATCH and FoE Australia report called 'What a Scam! Australia's REDD Offsets for Copenhagen.'