Yesterday REDD-Monitor wrote about the fires this year in Indonesia and the lack of any response from Norway. The post featured a comment from Per Fredrik Pharo, Director of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative that Indonesia’s peatland management was “very encouraging”.
The fires in Indonesia this year are the greatest environmental disaster of the 21st century (so far). An area of about 2.5 million hectares of forest and peatland burned. Visibility was reduced to 30 metres in places. At least 19 people died. By the end of October, there were 500,000 cases of respiratory tract infections.
A new report by the Environmental Investigation Agency and Grassroots exposes serious problems in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s certification system. Auditing firms that are supposed to monitor palm oil companies’ operations are colluding with the companies to hide violations.
“Instead of thick jungle… The smoke is so thick. The trees were burning all around us. We had to turn around because it was too hot to continue. We stopped next to a huge swathe of land that was scorched black. The trees had been cut and stacked up in piles like a dozen funeral pyres.”
On 25 September 2015, the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo passed a new Ministerial Order (Arrêté 050) that creates a new category of artisanal logging concessions. The law was passed without public consultation, but will have severe impacts on local communities and forests in the country.
In 2008, Norway agreed to pay US$1 billion to Brazil’s Amazon Fund, if Brazil reduced deforestation in the Amazon. Norway has so far handed over US$900 million and will pay the final US$100 million before the end of this year.
It’s the dry season in Indonesia. That means it’s the fire season. And that means haze, greenhouse gas emissions and yet more conversion of forests to industrial plantations of oil palm, acacia and eucalyptus.
“The Forestry Administration has warned that the government will not meet its goal of achieving 60 percent forest cover nationwide if it continues parcelling out the Kingdom’s territory in economic land concessions.”
Last week, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo agreed to extend the country’s moratorium on new forestry concessions. Also last week, Jokowi visited Papua and relaunched the disastrous Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE).