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Nations Share Blame for Indonesia Deforestation - VP

Date: 12-Nov-07
Country: INDONESIA

Indonesia, host of a UN climate change conference in December, has been a driving force behind calls for rich countries to compensate poor states that preserve their rainforests to soak up greenhouse gases.

"Those foreigners keep harping on our country's high emissions. Our emissions are high, but don't forget who created this. Where did our timber go?" Kalla told reporters.

Kala said developed countries such as Japan and the United States had been major consumers of Indonesian timber, much of which was logged illegally.

"It means they have to pay," he said.

According to global environmental group Greenpeace, Indonesia had the fastest pace of deforestation in the world between 2000-2005, destroying an area of forest the size of 300 soccer pitches every hour.

The Indonesian government says it must be given incentives, including a payout of US$5-$20 per hectare, to preserve its forests. It also wants to negotiate a fixed price for other forms of biodiversity, including coral reefs.

Indonesia has a total forest area of more than 225 million acres (91 million hectares), or about 10 percent of the world's remaining tropical forests.

But the Southeast Asian country -- whose forests are a treasure trove of plant and animal species including the endangered orang-utan -- has already lost an estimated 72 percent of its original frontier forest.

Participants from 189 countries are expected to gather in Bali in December to discuss a new deal to fight global warming. The existing pact, the Kyoto Protocol, runs out in 2012.
(Reporting Muhammad Al Azahari; Writing by Ahmad Pathoni; Editing by Sugita Katyal)

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