Mar 11, 2010
Friends of the Earth Australia and WAHLI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia) have come out strongly in opposition to the new Australian-Indonesian Forest Carbon Partnership announced to coincide with the Indonesian President’s visit to Canberra.
The REDD (Reducing Emissions through Deforestation and Degradation) trial project will be located in the Jambi province and receive A$30 million in funding from the International Forest Carbon Initiative (IFCI), which is jointly managed by the Department of Climate Change and AusAID.
"It is vital to globally reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, however, the international REDD framework fails to address the real drivers of deforestation nor will it reduce global carbon emissions" said James Goodman from Friends of the Earth Australia.
"REDD projects will instead provide a cheap source of ‘offsets’ to count towards Australia’s greenhouse gas reduction commitments. Treasury modelling shows that the government plans to achieve its 5% (30.75 MtCO2) emission reduction target by purchasing 46MtCO2 of offsets for overseas, that is purchasing more tonnes of carbon offsets that we reduce emissions by! Without offsets the modelling shows that our emissions would actually increase by over 5%. Such ‘offsets’ do not reduce global carbon emissions, but provide a dangerous smokescreen behind which the Australia government can hide its lack of read action on climate change and continued fossil fuel dependence" he continued.
WALHI and FOE Australia are extremely concerned that REDD projects will undermine the rights of Indigenous and forest-dependant peoples in the area.
In September 2009 the United Nations Committee on Racial Discrimination wrote Indonesia to express concerns that Indonesia REDD regulations do not respect the rights of Indigenous peoples. Documents from the Australian-Indonesian Kalimantan REDD project fail to guarantee the rights of Indigenous people in the area.
"This raises human rights concerns and bad climate policy given that enhancing local control and management of forested areas by Indigenous and local communities is the best way to reduce deforestation" said James Goodman.
There are additional concerns about the environmental utility of this scheme in light of a recent Indonesian government announcement that they are seeking to reclassify palm oil plantations as forests, meaning that the Indonesian government could still be paid for forest conservation in cases where old growth forest is clear-felled for palm oil plantations.
"Australia REDD offset model violates Australia's international obligations and should be considered as a fraud: the scheme aims to reduce deforestation is not, in fact aims to create a source of cheap credit for the increase in emissions in Australia." said Arif Munandar, Regional Executive Director of WALHI Jambi.