Al Gore thanks Indonesian president for forest, climate commitment


Opening a climate summit in Jakarta, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore thanked Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for his commitment to reduce projected greenhouse gas emissions, reports the Jakarta Globe.

Rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia

Opening a climate summit in Jakarta, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore thanked Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for his commitment to reduce projected greenhouse gas emissions, reports the Jakarta Globe.

“I would like to say a special word of thanks to the president of Indonesia, President Yudhoyono, because of his courage and vision and leadership on the issue that we are here to discuss and work on,” the Jakarta Globe quoted Gore as saying.

“He spoke out at a time when no other leader of a G-77 nation was willing to stand up and take the initiative and break the mold, thus breaking a longstanding deadlock that had frustrated progress in some areas that are now amenable to some progress,” Gore said, alluding to Yudhoyono’s pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 26-41 percent from projected levels.

“I respect him bravely and admire his leadership and I know that the historic pledge that he made on the eve of Copenhagen is going to continue to bring great things to the world and to Indonesia.”

Gore spoke to hundreds of participants of the summit, which was organized by The Climate Project, a group the former Vice President founded to raise awareness about climate change.

Gore said that Indonesia’s peatland and forests provide a great opportunity to reduce carbon emissions.

“There are high impact mitigation efforts, such as stopping the use of fires for land clearing and rehabilitation of previously opened peatlands, which recognize the long-term economic value that greatly outweighs the benefits from continuing unsustainable and high greenhouse-gas emitting activities.”

Gore’s comments comes as Indonesia works to implement a moratorium on new logging and plantation concessions in peatlands and forest areas. The moratorium, which is part of a $1 billion agreement signed last May with Norway, was supposed to take effect January 1 but has been held up by legal wrangling. The impasse is expected is be addressed soon, according to a government official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

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