"Indiana Jones" sidetracks bid to save forests

NEW YORK Tue May 20, 2008 2:10pm EDT

1 of 2. Cast member Harrison Ford attends a news conference for the film 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull' by U.S. director Steven Spielberg at the 61st Cannes Film Festival May 18, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Jean-Paul Pelissier

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Indiana Jones races to rescue rare treasures in his big screen adventures, but the Hollywood demands of actor Harrison Ford stopped him from helping to launch a bid to save the world's tropical forests on Tuesday.

Ford had been due to appear at a news conference in New York with Guyana's President Bharrat Jagdeo to launch "Lost There, Felt Here," a Conservation International campaign.

Ford was busy doing promotional work before a red carpet screening of the new film "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" in New York on Tuesday, said Peter Seligmann, Conservation International's chief executive officer.

"He's not going to be here because he's released a film in Cannes and Paramount which controls that has him out racing around right now doing some more work," Seligmann said.

"That's his business and that's his lifeblood and that's the moment we're in."

Ford has made an advertisement for the Conservation International campaign in which the Oscar-nominated actor gets his chest waxed to show that clearing tropical forests hurts people all over the world.

"When rainforests get slashed and burned it releases tonnes of carbon into the air we breathe, it changes our climate, it hurts," he says in the ad. "Every bit of rainforest that gets ripped out over there really hurts us over here."

Conservation International says the burning and clearing of tropical forests emits at least 20 percent of global greenhouse gases, more than all of the world's cars, trucks and airplanes combined.

The small South American nation of Guyana has retained up to 80 percent of its original Amazon rainforest cover. On Tuesday, Jagdeo offered to put that forest under international supervision in return for his country being paid for the carbon dioxide being stored in the trees and biomass.

"I am sorry Harrison Ford is not here but I plan to take full advantage of your presence," he joked.

"While climate change policies may result in Europeans and North Americans having to pay more for an SUV, in poor countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America climate change is literally a matter of life and death," Jagdeo said.

"We must make it more valuable to leave our trees standing than to cut them down."

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