Norway, Indonesia $1 Billion Forest Pact Broken, Group Says

Norway and Indonesia’s $1 billion deal to halt the destruction of peatland and forests for two years in Aceh, a province of the Southeast Asian country, has been broken, according to the Ecosystems Climate Alliance.

Aceh’s governor Irwandi Yusuf has agreed to let a palm oil company called PT Kallista Alam convert protected peat swamp forest into plantations, the alliance said today in an e-mail.

“We often see this sort of contravention of law from the usual suspects such as disreputable logging corporations and oil palm interests, but this time the highest authority in the province appears to be breaking the moratorium,” Peg Putt, a senior consultant at Global Witness, a member group of the alliance, said in the e-mail.

Officials that grant such permissions are breaking an agreement with Norway that came into effect in January to protect forests. According to the deal agreed in May 2010, Indonesia would suspend new concessions to companies seeking to convert forest and peatland into plantations for two years.

Climate talks are under way in Durban, South Africa to carve out a treaty to extend or replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. That’s the linchpin of efforts to limit fossil-fuel emissions blamed for damaging the atmosphere. Forest destruction is responsible for about 17 percent of global emissions and the talks may negotiate a deal to protect them.

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