Scientific accord `crucial' on oceans, forests as carbon sinks

Desy Nurhayati and Adianto P. Simamora

Indonesia has stressed the urgency for climate change experts to issue
scientific assessments on the roles of forests and oceans in absorbing
carbon to fight global warming.

Rachmat Witoelar, head of Indonesia's National Council on Climate Change
(DNPI), made the call Monday in his speech to the Inter-governmental Panel
on Climate Change (IPCC) meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali, before 430 climate
scientists from 140 countries.

Rachmat, the former environment minister, said scientific findings would
help developing countries step up their efforts to address the impacts of
climate change.

"Most developing countries are being hit by the impacts of climate change
because their science has not been adequately developed," he said.

"They lack capacity to produce adaptation and mitigation measures due to the
lack of a scientific basis.

"The world now demands stronger scientific assessment to pursue adaptation
and mitigation measures at local levels, of a high degree of certainty that
can be measured."

Rachmat urged the IPCC to produce scientific statements on forests and
oceans as carbon sinks, as well as set up reference emissions levels for the
now-debated REDD scheme.

The IPCC is the world's highest body on climate matters, set up by the World
Meteorological Organization
(WMO) and the United Nations Environment

The reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD)
scheme is expected to be an alternative mechanism to cut greenhouse gas
as forestry activities contribute up to 20 percent of global

International communities have hailed Indonesia's move to promote forests
and oceans in climate talks.

However, Indonesia, with 120 million hectares of forests and 5.8 million
square kilometers of sea covering 70 percent of the archipelago, has no
scientific data yet on the capacity of its forests or oceans to absorb
carbon emissions.

The four-day IPPC meeting is expected to reach an agreement for its fifth
assessment report to be published in 2013 and 2014.

Indonesian delegation chairwoman Sri Woro B. Harijono said the oceans had
huge potential to absorb carbon because of currents.

"Once the carbon is absorbed, it flows with the current, so there isn't any
saturation," she said.

IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri suggested the discussion should also touch
on the socioeconomic impacts of climate change to support policy making on
the issue.

In Jakarta, a civil-society forum urged President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
to get directly involved in discussions on Indonesia's agenda to be promoted
in Copenhagen.

"Yudhoyono must attend the meeting organized by the DNPI to discuss
Indonesia's agenda and determine the negotiators at Copenhagen," said Reza
Damanik, secretary-general of the People's Coalition for Equal Fisheries.

http://www.thejakar news/2009/ 10/27/scientific -accord-crucial0 39-oceans- forests-carbon- sinks.html

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