Environmental activists step up pressure ahead of Bali conference

Environmental activists from Greenpeace have stepped up pressure on the Indonesian government regarding deforestation, ahead of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference in December. Here’s more from the Jakarta Post.

Greenpeace sets up Indonesian forest camp ahead of climate conference

JAKARTA (AP): Greenpeace activists in Indonesia set up camp on the edge one of the world’s most threatened woodlands Tuesday, seeking to pressure political leaders before a major climate conference.

Around 40 volunteers have been stationed in Kuala Cenaku village on Sumatra island, near to where a palm oil manufacturer is clearing peatland forest to plant new crops, Greenpeace officials said in the capital, Jakarta.

Indonesia’s resort island of Bali will host the U.N. climate change conference from Dec. 3-14, which aims to start negotiations on a replacement of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions that expires in 2012.

“We need international action to end deforestation,” Greenpeace International forest campaigner Sue Connor said. Protecting the world’s remaining forest will reduce climate change and preserve the livelihood of millions of people, she said.

Riau province on Sumatra was chosen for the campaign because it exemplifies the mismanagement of Indonesian rain forest, she said.

The activists will monitor hundreds of land-clearing fires that in recent years have blanketed parts of Southeast Asia in a choking haze. They will also conduct peatland depth and biodiversity surveys.

The Indonesian woodlands are home to endangered orangutans, tigers, elephants, rhinos and thousands of rare bird and plant species. It is being deforested at a rate of more than 160,000 hectares – roughly the size of Houston, Texas – annually.

Greenpeace is calling on Indonesia to impose a moratorium on deforestation and industrial logging while protection laws can be introduced.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) puts Bali in the world spotlight. The conference runs from Dec. 3-14 2007. The conference, while good for business, puts enormous strain on Bali’s hotel and conference resources. Over 10,000 delegates are expected, in a time of year that starts to get busy with holidaymakers. Large venues such as the open air cultural park at GWK cannot be used because of the wet season weather. September would of been a perfect month to hold this conference, but Bali will benefit from the exposure.