COP26: Greenpeace criticizes Jakarta deforestation data
The Indonesian government has claimed that the rate of tree felling has fallen to the lowest ever. Activists have disputed these claims by showing long-term data. Concern for Papua's forest, reduced by at least 19,000 hectares.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - "Indonesia deforestation data 2019-2020 has been becoming the lowest level since the last two decades,” said Pres. Jokowi in Glasgow adressing COP26 “Such achievement is undeniable”.
According to data presented at the climate conference by Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar, just over 115,000 hectares of trees have been felled in the past two years - a considerable reduction from over 462,000 hectares in 2018.
Criticizing these claims, Greenpeace illustrated the data from a different angle: if we look at the period from 2003 to 2011, we see that 2.45 million hectares of forest were cut down. Between 2011 and 2019, the figure rose to 4.8 million hectares. Only one million trees disappeared between 2014 and 2015 after Jokowi came to the presidency.
According to Global Forest Watch, in 2001 Indonesia had 93.8 million hectares of primary forest (the oldest forest, untouched by human activities): an area the size of Egypt. Although the rate of deforestation since 2015 has begun to decline, Indonesia's rainforest, the third largest in the world, is continuing to shrink.
Greenpeace activist Kiki Taufik, criticized the environment minister for advocating for "large-scale developments that clearly have the potential for environmental destruction." "If we don't take immediate action to stop deforestation, we can't meet the modest emission reduction targets," Taufik explained.
In April, Greenpeace organized protests to oppose deforestation in Kaimana, West Papua province, where land is being cleared to make way for intensive palm plantations. During the Yudhoyono government (2009-2014), former Environment Minister Zulkifli Hassan had allowed at least 25 companies to operate in Papuan forests, which have shrunk by at least 19 thousand hectares.
The deforestation treaty signed at COP26 by more than 100 countries, including Indonesia, commits signatories to "work collectively to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030, while fostering sustainable development and promoting inclusive rural transformation."
However, Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said
Siti Nurbaya Bakar, Indonesia’s environment and forestry minister who attended the climate conference in Scotland, said on social media that “forcing Indonesia to zero deforestation in 2030 is clearly inappropriate and unfair.” “The massive development of President Jokowi’s era must not stop in the name of carbon emissions or in the name of deforestation,” she said “Indonesia’s natural wealth, including forests, must be managed for its use according to sustainable principles, besides being fair."