Papua seeks funds for fighting global warming through forest conservation
August 10, 2007

In an article published today in The Wall Street Journal, Tom Wright profiles the nascent "avoided deforestation" carbon offset market in Indonesia's Papua province.

Barnabas Suebu, governor of the province which makes up nearly half the island of New Guinea, has teamed with an Australian millionaire, Dorjee Sun, to develop a carbon offset plan that would see companies in developing countries pay for forest preservation in order to earn carbon credits. Compliance would be monitored via satellite.

While the plan could generate millions of dollars in annual income, the concept faces a number of obstacles. First and foremost, there is no binging legal mechanism for carbon offsets from avoided deforestation. This may change in December when the United Nations' Climate Change Conference will meet on the Indonesian island of Bali to discuss whether to include "avoided deforestation" projects in climate agreements that replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012.

Papua's efforts also face challenges from the central government -- namely the Forestry Ministry which maintains that it alone has the power to determine the use of Papua's forests -- and the burgeoning oil palm industry. Chinese and Indonesian companies have recently announced plans to spend billions to convert forest to vast palm oil plantations to be surging demand for biodiesel. Initiatives to limit the use of forest are not popular among such firms.

Nevertheless, Suebu and Sun are busy pitching the concept. In July Sun flew to the U.S. to hold talks with potential investors, including wealth individuals, hedge firms, and companies.

Tom Wright (2007). Indonesian Proposal: Pay Us Not to Chop Down Our Trees. Papua Governor Touts Carbon-Credit Fund; Developers Put on Hold. The Wall Street Journal August 10, 2007; Page A1

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Papua seeks funds for fighting global warming through forest conservation.