Billions of Norwegin kroner in anti-deforestation aid could turn out to be wasted. Industrial corporations would prefer to put the money towards new plantations to produce palm oil instead.
A new report produced by the Indonesian government’s own climate committee shows preserving the rainforest is neither cost nor climate-effective, according to Klassekampen.
Indonesian timber companies earn huge amounts both on cutting down rainforest trees and replacing them with the plantations. The country is now the world’s third-largest emitter of climate gases.
This means Norway’s six billion kroner anti-deforestation deal between Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Indonesia’s president Susilo Bambang Yuhoyono, signed under the Climate and Forest Conference at Holmenkollen Park Hotel outside Oslo earlier this year, could be laid barren.
“At worst, we could end up with an agreement in which subsidies to the logging industry are regarded as environmental initiatives. This means [the money] will be completely counterproductive,” says Rain Forest Norway’s Campaign Leader Nils Henrik Ranum, who has read the report.
Minister of the Environment Erik Solheim alleges that Norway’s billions will not be spent on the plantations, but admits the deal is not completely cut-and-dried.
“…however, the plantation industry is a big business which is extremely profitable for Indonesia. We must accept that. It is like oil in Norway. What we must work for is to prevent the removal of new, untouched forest areas,” he says.
The minister also acknowledges Norway has little influence on Indonesia.
“We cannot turn matters upside-down completely. We must strive to influence the world, not dictate to it.”
Meanwhile, Rain Forest Norway believes money should be withheld until Indonesia stops tree felling completely.
“I agree that we cannot give orders to Indonesia, but it will be a completely inappropriate use of money by giving [the country] six billion kroner if it insists on continuing its timber harvesting and development of plantations. It is almost insane,” Nils Henrik Ranum says.