As negotiators meet in Barcelona for the final round of talks before December’s critical UN climate summit in Copenhagen - our activists and Ms. Laurent are tackling climate change at the frontline of rainforest destruction by damming the industrial drainage of carbon-rich peatlands in Indonesia.
“Forest destruction is one of the main causes of climate change. That is why I came here with Greenpeace - to call on world leaders to end deforestation both here and around the globe. It is key to preventing a climate catastrophe" -- Mélanie Laurent, speaking from the rainforest.
Our activists completed the construction of a dam across one of the many canals built to drain the rainforest and peat soils in order to make way for plantations on the Kampar Peninsula on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. This destruction emits huge quantities of CO₂ and means that Indonesia is the world’s third largest climate polluter after China and the US.
We have spent the last week building the dam together with members of the local forest community. Over the weekend we were assisted by Mélanie Laurent, star of Quentin Tarantino’s new film Inglourious Basterds.
Climate change starts here
Southeast Asia is the region most exposed to and the least prepared for the impacts of climate change, according to the Asian Development Bank. The ADB warns that the poor — and especially women — are the most vulnerable. Approximately 2.2 billion Asians are subsistence farmers; they are already experiencing falling crop yields caused by floods, droughts, erratic rainfall and other climate change impacts.
As well as supporting biodiversity and forest-dwelling communities, forests and their soils are huge carbon stores; they contain nearly 300 billion tones of carbon. That is 40 times more carbon than the US currently emits to the atmosphere every year.
The best kind of carbon capture
Our ‘Climate Defenders’ Camp’ in the heart of the Indonesian rainforest is a base for our activists who will continue constructing dams across the Kampar Peninsula, which stores some 2 billion tonnes of carbon. And in coming weeks, as December’s UN climate summit approaches, we will be calling on Heads of State to pull the world back from the brink of a climate crisis. We need Obama, Merkel, Sarkozy, Brown and other world leaders to commit to much deeper cuts in emissions from fossil fuels and to provide the critical funds needed to end deforestation.
30 billion dollars by 2020 is what's needed from rich countries to protect forests - and cut one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. That's only 1.50 euro per month for each EU citizen - the price of a baguette a month. Check out the Climate Defenders Camp blog to see what a giant cheque from Sarkozy is doing in a deforested area of Indonesia.
The best way to store carbon - is to leave it in the ground. So we are taking action to stop climate change right here - where it starts. And today we released a National Forest Fund Plan at the climate meeting in Barcelona. The plan shows how the fund could help rapidly reduce emissions from deforestation. If world leaders fail to take ambitious action now - we will face more floods, droughts and famine together with mass species extinction - in our lifetime.