Indonesia Burning

How Indonesia’s out-of-control deforestation and slash-and-burn contributes massively to global warming emissions.

December 5, 2015

How Indonesia’s out-of-control deforestation and slash-and-burn contributes massively to global warming emissions.

1. As much as 79% of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions result from the destruction of its carbon-rich tropical forests and peat bogs.

2. This occurs as part of conversion into palm oil plantations, other agricultural uses or land development, according to the World Resources Institute.

3. This is a critical problem because Indonesia, which only has the world’s 16th-largest economy, is now the world’s fifth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

4. Burning of peat bogs in September 2015 released so much trapped carbon dioxide that Indonesia experienced spikes in which daily emissions exceeded those of the entire U.S. economy.

5. Indonesia also has the world’s third-largest tropical forest cover by area. Still, this forest cover has rapidly declined in recent decades.

6. The large Indonesian island of Sumatra went from 50% forested to 25% forested between 1985 and 2008.

7. Troublingly, many of the uses this newly cleared land is being diverted for (such as palm oil production) could actually be located on other sites with previously degraded or clear-cut land.

8. Indonesia’s September 2015 climate action plan only promises emissions reductions against project 2020 levels, although it does include more pledges to limit deforestation.

Sources: The Globalist Research Center, World Resources Institute, ThinkProgress, World Bank

Takeaways

Up to 79% of Indonesia’s greenhouse emissions result from destruction of tropical forests and bogs.

In Sept 2015, Indonesia had spikes in which daily emissions exceeded those of the entire US economy.

Sumatra went from 50% forested to 25% forested between 1985 and 2008.