Indonesia: “Want Us to Save Our Forests? Pay Us.”

The Indonesian government is recruiting other developing nations in an attempt to pressure richer governments to provide incentives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Some see the government’s request for money as a type of environmental hostage taking, and many feel that Indonesia’s request smacks of hypocrisy in light of its own poor record.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono pleaded with 40 environmental ministers at a gathering near Jakarta which preceded the UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Bali in December. Indonesia attempted to rally the other rainforest containing nations, such as Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica and several others.

Indonesia has been at the forefront of action on climate change among developing nations. Rachmat Witoelar, environmental minister of Indonesia, had recently proposed that richer nations pay Indonesia $20 per hectare to preserve the rapidly shrinking forests in the country.

Recently, the deputy environmental minister of Indonesia, Masnellyarti Hilman, said: “We can’t do it alone. Developed countries need to help us because they have the money, the financing and the technology. We need their help if we are going reduce emissions and not sacrifice our future development.”

Indonesia’s request has resulted in some criticism, particularly over their own environmental record. The country is one of the top 3 nations in greenhouse gas emissions, mostly due to massive deforestation. Some see the government’s request for money as a type of environmental hostage taking, and many feel that Indonesia’s request smacks of hypocrisy in light of its own poor environmental record.