From: Stephen Minas, The Diplomat
Published October 1, 2010 06:51 AM

Indonesia’s Climate Experiment

There's an easy charm to Banda Aceh that belies its tumultuous history—and a ground-breaking climate change experiment.Apart from the large ship washed kilometres inland that still towers over single-story homes, little evidence remains in the north Sumatran city of Banda Aceh of the devastation wrought by the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004, which claimed more than 230,000 lives.


It's also hard to find traces of the bitter 30-year conflict between the separatist Free Aceh Movement and the Indonesian state that ended the following year there. Except, maybe, for one thing—an uptick in deforestation.

During decades of strife, Aceh's forests were virtually no-go areas, meaning the province was spared much of the rampant deforestation that other parts of the country witnessed. But demand for timber soared during the post-tsunami reconstruction and many former combatants—demobilized and with few prospects—turned to illegal logging.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that deforestation is responsible for 17 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions each year, and massive deforestation has helped make Indonesia one of the world's largest greenhouse gas emitters.

Concerned by such figures, Aceh's then new governor, Irwandi Yusuf, took the initiative at the 2007 UN climate summit in Bali to push for the inclusion of a mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, or REDD, in post-2012 climate planning.

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