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|Date: 18 January 2010|
|While the pledges for huge amounts made at multilateral talks remain to be seen, Indonesia has signed a number of bilateral agreements with richer nations to get climate funding — mostly in forest-related areas.|
|State Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta argued that the bilateral deals were currently the faster way to get climate funding.|
“But, even without their money Indonesia will go ahead to protect the planet,” Hatta told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
“It is our moral responsibility to tackle climate change for the sake of our people.”
He also insisted that bilateral agreements would not ruin ongoing multilateral talks on climate change after the Copenhagen conference failed to hammer out a binding agreement on emissions cuts and climate funding.
After the Copenhagen meeting Indonesia signed MoUs on climate change issues with the governments of Australia, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Norway, New Zealand and the United States.
The Australian government has provided A$30 million (US$27.74 million) to fund a Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) project in Jambi, which is scheduled to begin in January.
Jambi’s forests are estimated to cover around 2.1 million hectares.
It also channeled A$40 million to another REDD project in Central Kalimantan in 2009.
It is not clear how much funding has been promised from other countries but most of the money will be used to cut emissions from the forestry sector.
Indonesia is the world’s third-largest forest nation, with around 120 million hectares of rainforest.
The Indonesian Forum for Environment (Walhi) earlier said Australia’s REDD projects in Indonesia were used to offset emissions cuts down under.
The Copenhagen Accord recognizes the role of forests in reducing emissions through the REDD plus scheme, by rewarding companies or forest owners for keeping their forests intact.
Planting new trees could also be counted toward financial incentives under the carbon trading scheme.Indonesia plans to plant 1 billion trees this year.
Hatta said the money from bilateral deals would be used to reduce Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent as promised by Indonesia.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has promised to cut Indonesia’s emissions by 26 percent by 2020 with the state budget, and another 15 percent if rich nations provide financial aid. (the Jakarta Post)