Who the hell does Alan Oxley think he is?

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Who the hell does Alan Oxley think he is?

That’s what a group of scientists asked in an open letter earlier this week. Except that being scientists, they called it “An Open Letter about Scientific Credibility and the Conservation of Tropical Forests.” The letter accuses Alan Oxley and his organisations of “significant distortions, misrepresentations, or misinterpretations of fact.”

So who is Alan Oxley? He used to be a diplomat with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Now his is a supporter of the palm oil and logging industry. For the right price, that is. Two of world’s the most notorious forest destroyers, Rimbunan Hijau and Sinar Mas have hired his consulting firm International Trade Strategies Global (ITS Global) to greenwash their operations.

Oxley’s other organisation, World Growth, runs a campaign in favour of the oil palm industry, claiming that it is “alleviating poverty through wealth creation”.

Oxley refuses to say, however, whether he is in the pay of the oil palm industry. When asked by a journalist from Malaysia’s The Star newspaper, whether World Growth received funding from any of the Malaysian palm oil-related associations or agencies, he replied:

“I have been asked this by many journos worldwide. My answer remains the same – I’m not allowed to say it. It is immaterial which organisations supports World Growth.

Oxley boasts that he “frequently appears on television and the press such as Bloomberg, CNN, CNBC, Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune and New York Times.” In a recent article in the New Straits Times, Oxley lobbies for the World Bank to continue financing the oil palm industry. At the end of the article is the statement “Alan Oxley is chairman of World Growth,” with no explanation of what “World Growth” might be.

Rhett Butler, the founder of mongabay.com, wrote to the editor of the New Straits Times countering Oxley’s erroneous claims in his article. Butler’s letter was not published (he published it instead on mongabay.com)

World Growth opposes REDD, arguing (amongst other things) that greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation are lower than scientists’ estimates. For example, on 9 September 2010, World Growth released a statement that included the following:

A recent report by Greenpeace on forestry in Indonesia said that deforestation emissions make up 20 per cent of all greenhouse emissions – the most recent estimates are 12 per cent. World Growth estimates they are between 4 and 8 per cent.

REDD-Monitor has written twice to World Growth requesting the data on which World Growth’s estimates are based. Perhaps not surprisingly, World Growth has not replied.

The scientists’ letter is reproduced in full below:

An Open Letter about Scientific Credibility and the Conservation of Tropical Forests

To whom it may concern:

As professional scientists employed by leading academic and research institutions, we are writing to alert the general public about some of the claims and practices being used by the World Growth Institute (WGI) and International Trade Strategies Global (ITS), and their affiliated leadership.

WGI and ITS operate in close association. ITS is owned by Alan Oxley, an Australian industrial lobbyist, former trade representative, and former Ambassador who also heads WGI. According to its website[1], ITS also has “close associations” with several politically conservative US think tanks, including the American Enterprise Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Heritage Foundation.

In our personal view, WGI and ITS – which are frequently involved in promoting industrial logging and oil palm and wood pulp plantations internationally – have at times treaded a thin line between reality and a significant distortion of facts. Specifically, we assert that:

  • ITS is closely allied with, and frequently funded by, multinational logging, woodpulp, and oil palm corporations. The financial supporters of ITS include parent corporations producing paper and wood products under the aegis of ‘Asia Pulp & Paper’, among others.
  • Alan Oxley and ITS have often lobbied in favor of Rimbunan Hijau[2], one of the world’s largest industrial logging corporations. Rimbunan Hijau has been repeatedly criticized for its environmental and human-rights impacts in Papua New Guinea[3,4].
  • WGI frequently lobbies public opinion on the behalf of Sinar Mas holdings, a conglomerate of mostly Indonesian logging, wood-pulp, and oil palm companies that includes Golden Agri Resources, a Singapore-based firm. One of these companies, known as ‘SMART’, could face expulsion by the >Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, an industry-led trade group, for “serious non-compliance with the RSPO Code of Conduct” with respect to its environmental and social sustainability guidelines[5].
  • In an interview with Malaysia’s The Star newspaper, in which he strongly advocated further oil palm expansion in that country, Mr Oxley refused to answer a direct question as to whether he or WGI was supported by the Malaysian palm oil industry. He dismissed this question as being “immaterial”[6]. We believe that WGI’s financial supporters include many of the same industrial sectors for which WGI regularly advocates.
  • While routinely accusing several environmental organizations and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of bias and scientific misrepresentation, WGI and ITS have, in our opinion, advanced a range of biased or distorted arguments themselves. For example, consider an ostensibly “independent” audit[7] from ITS that sought to exonerate Asian Pulp & Paper from claims of illegal and damaging logging practices in Sumatra, Indonesia. This audit appears to be far from objective in scope, especially given the clear financial links between these two entities, which brings into question its claims to be “independent”. Among other claims, the ITS audit broadly understates the scope and gravity of forest loss and degradation in Indonesia, despite that nation having among the world’s highest absolute rates of deforestation[8] and being ranked 7th worst out of 200 nations in terms of net environmental damage, according to a recent analysis[9]. It also suggests that the palm oil and pulp and paper industries are not important drivers of deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions in Indonesia. Yet recent research has demonstrated that much of the oil palm expansion in Indonesia between 1990 and 2005 came at the expense of native forests[10] (many plantation owners favor clearing native forests over already-degraded lands as they use revenues from logging to offset the costs of plantation establishment[11]). Moreover, the rapid expansion of pulp plantations is a serious driver of native-forest loss in both Sumatra and Kalimantan, Indonesia[12].
  • A recent technical report by ITS concluded that “There is no evidence of substantial deforestation” in Papua New Guinea[13], a conclusion strongly at variance with quantitative, remote-sensing studies of forest conversion published in the refereed scientific literature[14,15].
  • Reports from WGI and ITS routinely claim that newly established oil palm plantations sequester carbon more rapidly than do old-growth rainforests. This claim, while technically correct, is a distraction from the reality that mature oil palm plantations store much less carbon than do old-growth rainforests (plantations store just 40-80 tonnes of biomass aboveground, half of which is carbon, compared to 200-400 tonnes of aboveground biomass in old-growth rainforests[16]). WGI and ITS reports have also in our view dismissed or downplayed other important environmental concerns, including the serious impact of tropical peatland destruction on greenhouse gas emissions[17] and the impact of forest disruption on threatened species such as orangutans and Sumatran tigers[18,19]. Furthermore, WGI and ITS, we believe, have failed to recognize adequately that many forests of high conservation value are being destroyed and fragmented by plantation development[20] – a process that is mostly driven by corporations, not small holders.
  • WGI, ITS, and Alan Oxley frequently invoke “poverty alleviation” as a key justification for their advocacy of oil palm expansion and forest exploitation in developing nations, and it is true that these sectors do offer significant local employment. Yet forest loss and degradation also have important societal costs. There are many examples in which local or indigenous communities in the tropics have suffered from large-scale forest loss and disruption, have had their traditional land rights compromised, or have gained minimal economic benefits from the exploitation of their land and timber resources[4,21]. Such costs are frequently ignored in the arguments by WGI, ITS, and Alan Oxley.
  • One of the most serious misconceptions being promulgated by WGI and ITS in our view is that “two-thirds of forest clearance is driven by low-income people in poor countries”[22]. In fact, the importance of industrial drivers of deforestation – which includes large-scale palm oil and wood-pulp plantations, industrial logging, large-scale cattle ranching, large-scale farming of soy, sugarcane, and other crops, and oil and gas exploration and development – has risen dramatically in the past 1-2 decades[23,24]. These industrial drivers are largely responsible for the explosive expansion of roads in tropical frontier regions, which facilitates massive forest loss and degradation[25]. Such industries and their lobbyists also create great pressures on the governments of developing nations to allow access to their lands and natural resources, both via legal and illegal means[26,27]. Hence, a crucial and overarching cause of tropical forest loss and degradation today is rapidly increasing industrialization and globalization. We believe WGI either fails to comprehend, or is failing to convey accurately, the real and growing magnitude of industrial drivers as a threat to tropical forests.

In summary, our goal is not to defend any environmental organization or to suggest that environmentally and socially equitable development is not an important objective for developing and transitional nations. Nor do we dispute that oil palm plantations, when established on previously deforested or abandoned lands such that they do not contribute either directly or indirectly to deforestation, can have important economic benefits and largely acceptable environmental costs. However, we do assert that a number of the key arguments of WGI, ITS, and Alan Oxley, represent significant distortions, misrepresentations, or misinterpretations of fact. In other cases, the arguments they have presented amount to a “muddying of the waters” which we argue is designed to defend the credibility of the corporations we believe are directly or indirectly supporting them financially. As such, WGI and ITS should be treated as lobbying or advocacy groups, not as independent think-tanks, and their arguments weighted accordingly.

Sincerely,

William F. Laurance, PhD, Distinguished Research Professor & Australian Laureate, Prince Bernhard Chair in International Nature Conservation, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Thomas E. Lovejoy, PhD, Biodiversity Chair, The Heinz Center, Washington, D.C., USA; University Professor, George Mason University, Virginia, USA

Sir Ghillean Prance, FRS, VMH, Professor and Director Emeritus of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK

Paul R. Ehrlich, PhD, Bing Professor of Population Studies, President of the Center for Conservation Biology, Stanford University, California, USA

Georgina Mace, PhD, FRS, CBE, Professor and Director of the NERC Centre for Population Biology, Imperial College London, Ascot, UK

Peter H. Raven, PhD, President Emeritus Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Susan M. Cheyne, PhD, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, University of Oxford, UK; Orang-utan Tropical Peatland Project, Director of Gibbon and Felid Research

Corey J. A. Bradshaw, PhD, Professor and Director of Ecological Modelling, The Environment Institute and School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Adelaide; South Australian Research and Development Institute, Adelaide, Australia

Omar R. Masera, PhD, Professor and Director, Bioenergy Lab, National University of Mexico (UNAM); President, Mexican Network on Bioenergy, Morelia, Mexico; Nobel Laureate on behalf of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Gabriella Fredriksson, PhD, Research Fellow, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Studies; Knighted in the Order of the Golden Ark University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Barry W. Brook, PhD, Professor and Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change, Director of Climate Science, The Environment Institute and School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Australia

Lian Pin Koh, PhD, Senior Research Fellow ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Zurich, Switzerland


References

[1] ^^ http://www.itsglobal.net/ourpeople.asp

[2] ^^ http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Alan_Oxley

[3] ^^ W.F. Laurance et al. (2010) Better governance to save rainforests. Nature 467:789.

[4] ^^ W.F. Laurance et al. (2010) Predatory corporations, failing governance and the fate of forests in Papua New Guinea. Conservation Letters In press

[5] ^^ http://www.rspo.org/?q=page/1518

[6] ^^ http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/8/14/business/6853110&sec=business

[7] ^^ http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20100926005066/en

[8] ^^Scientists laud forest conservation deal for Indonesia”, Tropical Biology and Conservation, Bali, Indonesia, 23 July 2010.

[9] ^^ C.J.A. Bradshaw et al. (2010) Evaluating the relative environmental impacts of countries. PLoS One 5:e10440.

[10] ^^ L.P. Koh & D. Wilcove (2008) Is oil palm agriculture really destroying tropical biodiversity? Conservation Letters 1:60-64.

[11] ^^ E.B. Fitzherbert et al. (2008) How will oil palm expansion affect biodiversity? Trends in Ecology & Evolution 23:538-545.

[12] ^^ C. Barr & C. Cossalter (2004) Pulp and Plantation Development in Indonesia. Centre for International Forestry Research, Bogor, Indonesia.

[13] ^^ http://fiapng.com/PDF_files/PNG Land Use Report Final4 Nov 2009.pdf

[14] ^^ P.L. Shearman et al. (2009) Forest conversion and degradation in Papua New Guinea 1972- 2002. Biotropica 41, 379-390.

[15] ^^ P.L. Shearman & J. Bryan (2010) A bioregional analysis of the distribution of rainforest cover, deforestation and degradation in Papua New Guinea. Austral Ecology doi:10.1111/j.1442-9993.2010.02111.x.

[16] ^^ H.K. Gibbs et al. (2008) Carbon payback times for crop-based biofuel expansion in the tropics: the effects of changing yield and technology. Environmental Research Letters 3:34001.

[17] ^^ L.P. Koh et al. (2009) Conversion of Indonesia’s peatlands. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 7:238.

[18] ^^ M.F. Kinnaird et al. (2003) Deforestation trends in a tropical landscape and implications for endangered large mammals. Conservation Biology 17:245-257.

[19] ^^ M. Linkie et al. (2003) Habitat destruction and poaching threaten the Sumatran tiger in Kerinci Seblat National Park, Sumatra. Oryx 37:41-48.

[20] ^^ B. Yaap et al. (2010) Mitigating the biodiversity impacts of oil palm development. CAB Reviews 5:1-11.

[21] ^^ M. Colchester (2010) Palm Oil and Indigenous Peoples in Southeast Asia: Land Acquisition, Human Rights Violations and Indigenous Peoples on the Palm Oil Frontier. Forest Peoples Programme, Moreton-in-Marsh, UK.

[22] ^^ http://www.worldgrowth.org/assets/files/WG_Palm_Oil_ColDam_Report_12_09.pdf.

[23] ^^ R.A. Butler & W.F. Laurance (2008) New strategies for conserving tropical forests. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 23:469-472.

[24] ^^ T.K. Rudel et al. (2009) Changing drivers of tropical deforestation create new challenges and opportunities for conservation. Conservation Biology 23:1396-1405.

[25] ^^ W.F. Laurance et al. (2009) Impacts of roads and linear clearings on tropical forests. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 24:659-669.

[26] ^^ W.F. Laurance (2004) The perils of payoff: Corruption as a threat to global biodiversity. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 19:399-401.

[27] ^^ J. Riaño & R. Hodess (2008) Bribe Payers Index 2008. Transparency International, Berlin, Germany.

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22 Comments

  1. Figures of deforestation can vary according to scientific studies. Anyone can produce some values ranging from 0% to 100%. But one thing is for sure: The forests, the biological diversity as we used to see and know is changing. The forests are cleared for large-scale oil plantations and other forest plantations. Destroying the natural forests and establishing a monoculture plantation do not balance the already destroyed natural ecosystem.
    Therefore it is important to formulate a proper REDD+ system where not only the forest carbon is measured but also the biological diversity indices.

  2. The letter about Alan Oxley was also picked up by Nature magazine: “Scientists question think tanks’ motives“.

  3. Alan Oxley has no scruples. He defends illegal logging. Why? Because he is making money out of it.

  4. For a long time now Alan Oxley does and says anything that will keep logging , illegal logging , re & agro forestry , palm oil plantations business’s thriving.
    Again he as most have no concerns for ‘ rain forests ‘ although of course preach the opposite .

    Thats REDD and REDD+ in a nutshell”say one thing do another”
    The forest people of PNG do not want their accient rain forests destroyed for any reason , it is very clear.

  5. Don, you and Alan Oxley are actually in agreement. You both oppose REDD.

  6. I love the fact that you white Westerners — conservationists and capitalists — spend so much time telling us how we should use our land. Fix your own back yards. Stay out of ours.

  7. @Daud Mazlan – Thanks for your comment but I can’t quite see who it is directed at. Is your target Kevin Conrad? Federica Bietta? Alan Oxley? Jeff Horowitz? Or me? Or all the above and more? “Conservationists and capitalists” covers an awful lot of people. The list could go on and on.

    I wonder why you only target white westerners? Of course there are plenty white westerners with a destructive record in the global South. But white westerners would exclude Rimbunan Hijau, for example, who have made quite an impact on PNG’s forests. It would also exclude the head of Greenpeace and the chair of Friends of the Earth International.

    And what is your opinion of the Forest Platform on Saving Indonesia’s Forests, signed and written predominantly by Indonesian NGOs?

  8. There’s an article about this in the Jakarta Globe: ITS, WGI Accused of Anti-Green Bias.

    The Jakarta Globe also posted a letter from the 12 scientists: Conservation Debate: A Question of Credibility.

    And Alan Oxley has written a “response” here: Conservation Debate: A Question of Growth. For those who like ad hominen attacks and straw man fallacies, Oxley’s reply is a treat. He fails to deal with the criticism, instead repeating the distortions, misrepresentations and misinterpretations that the scientists accuse him of. No surprises there, then.

  9. I just read Mr Oxley’s reply.

    It is a good example of the usual strategy that could also come for a textbook by the fossil fuel industry on how to argue as a climate change sceptic.

    He tries to exaggerate opposing positions by giving their arguments an extremist touch. He states that WWF and Greenpeace declared aim is to completely stop conversion of forests and thereby impede any economic development. This of course is complete nonsense.

    He does make a valid point though by stating “that as societies become wealthier, deforestation slows, stops and eventually gives way to forest expansion.” Unfortunately he uses this to draw the wrong conclusions.

    I just wanted to add that for people like Mr. Oxley it gets easier to argue the way he does by the overly critic positions sometimes promoted by REDD-monitor. It is true that one should always strive for perfection but even though progress might be small it would be desirable if progress in the right direction concerning REDD would be acknowledged on this website once in a while. If you now state that right so, but there is no progress in the right direction to be noted whatsoever, you helped Mr Oxley’s by making his line of argumentation a bit easier.

  10. @cleibing

    “As societies become wealthier, deforestation slows, stops and eventually gives way to forest expansion”. Actually, this is precisely the kind of pseudo-scientific Oxleyite garbage that hopefully the esteemed group of scientists have intended to debunk. In fact there are plenty of very rich countries that have barely ever destroyed their forests, as well as a good few that have gotten rich and never seen their forests re-expand. The biggest growth in ‘forests’ anywhere at the moment is in China, which is hardly wealthy.

    Far from being good science, it is a US-centric piece of nonsense, emanating from the World Bank, and typical of the pre-determined ‘research’ that the Bank generates year-in, year-out, in order to justify its ideology that pursuing a typical neo-liberal, top-down, industrialised economic growth model is the only way to ensure environmental protection – and from which flows the wholly unsupported and equally specious argument that ‘logging is the best way to protect forests’.

    But I guess it does support the old nostrum, as the World Bank well understands, that ‘if you say something enough times, then eventually it becomes true…’

  11. @Robin Webster

    Not only for the US but for all central European countries the hypothesis holds. Just because there are some exceptions (some nordic countries with boreal forests) this doesn’t make the whole theory untrue. In case of Scandinavian countries forests survived the industrialisation more or less untouched because climatic conditions were and are too unfavourable for other land-uses. Well with cc this might soon change.

  12. @cleibing

    The ‘US and Central Europe’ does not a global pattern make, nor constitute a valid hypothesis for how complex socio-economic, demographic and environmental factors will interact in countries as diverse as Nigeria and Malaysia. The pattern is not clear even for Nordic countries – compare Norway with Denamrk in terms of economic growth and extent of forestation.

  13. Concerning wealthy countries US,Central-Europe and Japan unfortunately do make a global pattern.

    As a good example where the hypothesis proofs right might serve Brazil.

    http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2010/09/deforestation-rate-continues-to.html

    Or do you think that this would have been possible if Brazil’s transitional economy would generate a per capita GDP of e.g. Nigeria?

  14. @ Chris . Here in Java we have had our fortunes messed with by Western colonialists for 400 years. REDD, Dutch Greenpeace, Oxley, Unilever, Yvo de Boer — they are an extension of the same.

    Surely you, Chris, of all people would know of this history of oppression.

    I do not know of Rimbunan Hijau other than that they are Malaysian Chinese. But at least the Tionghoa here in Java never tried to rule us. They suffered with us and suffered at our hands — and we will face judgement for this.

    The NGO platform: Wahli, Jikalahari, EOTF, Sawit Watch — we all know the Westerners who started these groups in Indonesia. It’s common knowledge. This is Indonesia: pay someone’s programme for a year and they’ll say what you like. And by Western standards, it’s small change.

  15. @Daud Mazlan
    Care me to clarify your claim to the Sawit Watch? I bet they will be surely want to know more about you and your claim abouy it.

  16. John, Oxley supports Palm Oil. REDD+ is a mechanisum that proposes logging, and for that logged area to be replaced with a palm oil plantation, simple as that.

    The World Bank and UNFCCC promote these ventures, they think this will defer illegal to legal logging.

    Oxley welcomes REDD+ really, he might be telling you another story.
    John dont believe anything you read in this climate change mess,

  17. @Grahat: Yes, WWF pays for SW to go to RSPO meetings. Everyone knows this. Some of them brag about it. Is this a big deal? Perhaps not. Some of my brothers care, some do not.

  18. @Daud Mazlan – While it’s fascinating that you think it’s acceptable to judge someone’s argument by the colour of their skin, you may have noticed that this is an article about Alan Oxley and the claims that he and his organisations make. The key point that the 12 scientists were making is that:

    “a number of the key arguments of WGI, ITS, and Alan Oxley, represent significant distortions, misrepresentations, or misinterpretations of fact. In other cases, the arguments they have presented amount to a ‘muddying of the waters’ which we argue is designed to defend the credibility of the corporations we believe are directly or indirectly supporting them financially.”

    Instead of attacking NGOs, let’s focus on what the scientists wrote about Oxley. And ask yourself why Oxley refuses to answer the question about whether his organisations are funded by the palm oil business.

  19. @Daud Mazlan,
    I still don’t understand the relevance, on the big idea you’ve said before. Just because they went to RSPO with the WWF doesnt mean anything, at least SW I know won’t do that.

    @Chris,
    Sorry for the OOT. Anyway, what the Oxley said might be relevance with the news about GP in Indonesia also. You might know, that some of the houses are also commenting the same way as Oxley do, that GP is overeacting on deforestation data and such. Same path of communication (at the least) at almost the same time, might share same purpose.

  20. The letter has also been posted on CIFOR’s blog.

    John Vidal wrote about the letter in the Guardian: “Leading scientists accuse thinktanks of being logging lobbyists“.

    And there’s a detailed discussion of the issues by Rhett A. Butler on mongabay.com: “Scientists blast greenwashing by front groups“.

    Erik Meijaard of People and Nature Consulting International in Bali wrote a commentary in the Jakarta Globe: “A Middle Way“. I think Meijaard somewhat misses the point with his claim that “extreme advocacy groups such as Greenpeace” represent the other end of the spectrum from Oxley. The point of the scientists’ letter is that Oxley is making things up for the benefit of the palm oil industry. In his response, Instead of addressing the scientists’ criticisms, Oxley attacks WWF and Greenpeace.

    Corey Bradshaw, Professor and Director of Ecological Modelling, The Environment Institute and School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, at the University of Adelaide, has posted the scientists’ reaction to Oxley’s response on his blog ConservationBytes.com:

    We wrote a serious critique of Alan Oxley and his affiliated organizations, World Growth International and ITS Global. In his reply, Mr Oxley has countered virtually none of our specific, documented assertions. Instead, he has muddied the waters–focusing not on our assertions but on the views of environmental groups such as WWF and Greenpeace.

    Mr Oxley’s reply contains some important inaccuracies or misperceptions. Most notably, he understates the environmental impacts of oil palm expansion while ignoring its close linkages with the timber and wood-pulp industries and their collective roles in promoting tropical deforestation and frontier-road expansion. And he ignores entirely a vast body of scientific literature revealing the serious impacts of these industries on tropical biodiversity and greenhouse-gas emissions.

    We stand by our original assertions. Alan Oxley, WGI, and ITS rely on the direct financial support of major timber, oil palm, and wood-pulp corporations. Over the past two decades, some of these corporations, such as Rimbunan Hijau and Asian Pulp & Paper, have been among the most chronic environmental offenders in the tropical world.

    We assert that Mr Oxley, WGI, and ITS should be regarded as paid lobbyists, not as independent think thanks or NGOs. Mr Oxley refuses to disclose the funders of WGI—a striking lack of transparency. Two environmental groups that Mr Oxley frequently criticizes, WWF and Greenpeace, are open about their funders. Why not do the same?

    The twelve scientists who drafted our letter did so without communicating with any environmental organization. Each of us is regarded as a leader in our respective field, and as such we felt a responsibility to take a stand. Alan Oxley, WGI, and ITS seemingly attempt to cast all who disagree with them, no matter their professional background or the seriousness of their arguments, as extremists. In the realm of public discourse, this is not ‘fair play’.

    Andrew Revkin has posted the letter, Oxley’s response and the scientists’ reply to Oxley on his Dot Earth blog on the New York Times website.

  21. @Chris. My point is broader than the NGO-versus-busines sargurment. Why is it acceptable that these people who do not live in Indonesia — and people like them — are able to decide what happens to our land or tell us what to do with our land? It is our land. It is our country. We have only had freedom from colonialism for 50 years. We have had democracy for less than 15. We are already having people from elsewhere telling us what we should and shouldn’t do. Some businesses are exploiting our forests and do not care about them. Some political groups are exploiting our people and do not care about them. My point is that it is us — Indonesians — that must decide. Not Oxley. Not the scientists. Not Unilever. Not Greenpeace. Do you now understand?

  22. @Daud,
    So what do you want? What do you want to decide for Indonesia?

    @Chris,
    Yes I’ve read Corey’s writing. But I don’t think the government will take Oxley’s word bluntly – although there are earlier rumour that mofor are going to accept palm oil as part of forest though (means they are receiving carbon incentives on their part for rapid carbon sequestration). However, I did concerned on what daud said – related with oxley, i am reading rimbawan interaktif milist the title is “greenpeace vs indonesia”, there are interesting information from the dialogue.

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