Developed nations must provide around US$10 billion per year to stop deforestation in developing countries, particularly Indonesia, to help slow greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, a top climate change expert says.
Head of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, Nicholas Stern, said here Friday that as the entire world had a major stake in the success of reforestation efforts in countries like Indonesia, the international community must provide immediate support in terms of equipment, technical assistance and funds.
"I would have thought probably around US$10 billion per annum. It's a kind of international funding that we would be able to assemble quickly to support the reforestation programs.
"I think that sum of money could lead to reducing deforestation by around a half," Stern, who is also an adviser to the British government on climate change and development, told reporters after presenting a report at the World Bank office in Jakarta.
According to the latest report from the World Bank, the British Department for International Development and the consultancy company Peace, Indonesia has become the world's third largest greenhouse gas emitting country, after the United States and China. Much of these gases are released from the destruction of the country's vast tropical forests.
Yearly emissions in the U.S. are 6,005 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e), while China has 5,017 MtCO2e. The majority of the emissions in both countries come from energy uses. Indonesia's yearly emissions are 3,014 MtCO2e, with land-use change and forestry alone estimated to release about 2,563 MtCO2e, or 83 percent of the total emissions and 34 percent of global forestry emissions.
Stern said there was a powerful interest for rich countries to assist Indonesian reforestation efforts because they would all be affected by climate change.
"It's investing in the future of which they are a big part, and investing in projects, programs and actions in which they will be big beneficiaries. So, it's absolutely not charity, it's in their interests," he said.
Stern warned that greenhouse emissions, the main cause of global warming, could cost the world trillions of dollars through increased sea levels, flooding and bad weather.
"The temperature will increase by 5 degrees Celsius under the business-as-usual scheme by the early part of the next century. Our estimate suggests that the cost of climate change will be 1 percent of world's GDP, or about $400 billion a year," he said.
Stern said it would be possible to integrate the support from rich nations into carbon trading schemes, currently applied to help developing nations cope with greenhouse gasses, in the latter stages.
"It is for Indonesia to design the policy and think through the challenges of the implementation, and it is for the rest of the world, who have a lot to gain from the success of the program, to support it," Stern said.
He underlined the importance of incorporating mitigation efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions and policy change into development strategy.
State Minister for the Environment Rachmat Witoelar said Indonesia had implemented mitigation programs as well as policy change in its national environmental strategy.
"Environmental issues have moved up to become the fourth most important item on the agenda for the Cabinet," he said.
His deputy, Masnellyarti Hilman, said Indonesia has put reforestation, fire fighting and other programs into place to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
"We have allocated Rp 4 trillion for reforestation programs and around Rp 700 billion to fight and prevent forest fires," she said.