Illegal Logging Makes Indonesia World's Third Largest Emitter of Greenhouses Gases

indonesia map

After U.S. and China...
Indonesia is made up of 17,508 islands, most of which were totally covered by forest until about 50 years ago when that number dropped to 80%. But now, illegal logging and the burning of forests are making the country the third biggest emitter of GHG in the world (!) behind the U.S. and China. According to a piece in the Independent, Indonesian officials estimate that illegal logging alone is responsible for the loss of 10 million hectares of tropical rainforest.But Why Are Things so Bad?
What explains this very bad state of affairs? "The situation is partly a legacy of the 32-year rule of the dictator Suharto, during which Indonesia's forests were regarded purely as a source of revenue to be exploited for economic gain. Suharto, who stepped down in 1998, handed out logging concessions covering more than half the total forest area, many of them to his relatives and political allies."

And now, corruption and poor land management are making things very hard to change. The current government might be saying some of the right things, but it'll take more than that. The current forecasts are gloomy:

"The recent government report forecast that carbon emissions, which have risen from 1.6 billion tons in 1990, will increase to 3.6 billion by 2030, a leap of 57 per cent from today's level."

Indonesia says that it supports the UN's Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) program, which would allow the country to be paid to protect it's forests, but for that to work the price would have to be high enough, and it isn't the case right now.

via The Independent
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