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Australia puts $100M toward protecting forest in Borneo

Australia puts $100M toward protecting forest in Borneo

Australia puts $100M toward protecting forest in Borneo
September 9, 2007

Australian and Indonesian ministers signed a AU$100 million ($82M) deal to protect highly threatened forests on the island of Borneo, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Funds will go towards conservation and rehabilitation of degraded forests and peatlands.

The Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership seeks to protect 70,000 hectares of peat forests, flood 200,000 hectares of dried peat swamp and plant up to 100 million trees on deforested land. The plan could cut greenhouse gas emissions by 700 million tons over 30 years — an amount greater than Australia’s total annual emissions, according to Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer .

“The deforestation and burning of Indonesia’s vast peat lands is the largest single source of its greenhouse gas emissions,” said Downer. “Greenhouse emissions will not be reduced by posturing and stunts. They will be reduced by effective diplomacy, and the sort of international leadership shown by Australia in driving the establishment of AP6, the Sydney Declaration and this important global initiative.”

The AP6 is a partnership between Australia, Japan, the US, China, Korea and India to promote technologies to slow climate change. The Sydney Declaration is the document outlining the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC) position on slowing climate change. It is expected to be released once the APEC summit ends Sunday, September 16.

Critics say the AP6 and the Sydney Declaration threaten to undermine the Kyoto Protocol, which calls for binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions by 2012. The U.S. has not signed the agreement and refused to take action until China, India, and Brazil agree to emissions controls.

The Kyoto agreement focuses largely on industrial emissions, which account for roughly 80 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. Land use change — notably deforestation and destruction of peatlands — accounts for the remainder of emissions. Accordingly, Indonesia and Brazil — which have the world’s highest deforestation rates — are thought to be the third and forth largest emitters of heat-trapping gases.

The Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership includes companies as well, including mining giant BHP-Billiton. It is possible that participating firms will seek compensation in the form on carbon credits for participation.


How private equity can profit from carbon offsets in Indonesia
(8/29/2007) The emerging carbon market for avoided deforestation presents unprecedented opportunities for private equity to make profitable investments that also help protect the environment. Indeed, for the first time, conservation may be associated with positive financial returns. Here’s a brief look at how private equity and other investors can capitalize on this opportunity to earn attractive returns while fighting climate change, protecting ecosystem services, and safeguarding endangered species like orangutans.

Indonesia’s peatlands may offer U.S. firms global warming offsets
(8/29/2007) The following is modified version of a letter I’ve used to pitch U.S. companies on the concept of carbon finance in Indonesia’s peatlands. Discussions are slow and the critical December U.N. climate meeting is fast approaching, so I’m posting this as a tool to help you get American firms interested in avoided deforestation offsets. Please feel free to use, modify, and distribute this letter widely.

98% of orangutan habitat in Borneo, Sumatra gone by 2022
(2/6/2007) A report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today warns that illegal logging is rapidly destroying the last remaining habitat for orangutans in Borneo and Sumatra. The report says that up to 98 percent may be destroyed by 2022 without urgent action.

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