Alexander Downer MP Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Malcolm Turnbull MP Australian Minister for the Environment and Water Resources
Greenhouse gas emissions will be cut by around 700 million tonnes over 30 years under a $100 million agreement signed today between the governments of Australia and Indonesia.
The Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership was announced today by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, and the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Malcolm Turnbull.
It is the largest greenhouse abatement project to flow so far from the Australian Government's Global Initiative on Forests and Climate, and an example of Australia's practical and cooperative international approach to addressing climate change.
The Partnership aims to preserve 70,000 hectares of peat land forests in Indonesia's Kalimantan region, re-flood 200,000 hectares of dried peat land and plant up to100 million new trees on rehabilitated peat land for conservation purposes.
It has the potential to reduce greenhouse gases by a greater amount than Australia's total annual emissions.
Australia will contribute up to $30 million to the Partnership, which aims to raise up to $100 million in funding over four years by working with other countries, international non-government organisations and the private sector.
The partnership has already attracted financial backing from BHP Billiton, which has joined as a founding partner and will focus its contribution on the protection of forested peat lands of high conservation value.
Mr Downer and his Indonesian counterpart, Dr Hassan Wirajuda, signed a declaration of intent to establish the Partnership on Sunday 9 September in Sydney, in the presence of Indonesia's President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Kalimantan contains one of the world's largest intact areas of forest and six per cent of global land-based biodiversity. It also contains a large proportion of Indonesia's peat lands, which store at least six times as much carbon per hectare than forests on mineral soils.
Mr Downer said the Partnership was an example of practical climate change action that could deliver immediate and tangible benefits.
'The deforestation and burning of Indonesia's vast peat lands is the largest single source of its greenhouse gas emissions.' Mr Downer said.
'Today's agreement is a demonstration of the Australian Government's commitment to tackling the issue of climate change through strong, international cooperation and practical action.
'Greenhouse emissions will not be reduced by posturing and stunts. They will be reduced by effective diplomacy, and the sort of international leadership shown by Australia in driving the establishment of AP6, the Sydney Declaration and this important global initiative.'
Mr Turnbull said the Kalimantan Partnership further builds on the momentum for action to combat global deforestation generated by the Australian Government's Global Initiative on Forests and Climate.
'Through the Global Initiative on Forests and Climate developed and developing countries, businesses and other international organisations are working together to reduce emissions from deforestation and help manage the world's forests in a sustainable way,' Mr Turnbull said.
'Indonesia is a key partner in this effort and the Australian Government supports the Indonesian Government's commitment to rehabilitating and protecting the peat lands of Kalimantan.
'Today's funding builds on the $10 million we committed in July to support Indonesian efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve Indonesia's capacity to monitor and assess its forests.'
To symbolise the partnership, and joint action being taken to tackle climate change, Mr Downer and Mr Turnbull presented an 'ancient' Wollemi Pine tree to Indonesia's President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The Wollemi Pine is a 200 million year old survivor from the Jurassic Period and one of the world's oldest and rarest plants.
The Global Initiative on Forests and Climate was launched in March in 2007 by the Australian Government. Part of the Government's $3.5 billion climate change strategy, it aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from global deforestation, support new forest planting, promote sustainable forest management, and encourage action by other countries.
Minister Downer: Malcolm Cole 02 6277 7500
Minister Turnbull: Brad Burke 02 6277 7640 or 0400 337 252