JAKARTA Indonesia, which has destroyed vast
tracts of forest, will plant 79 million trees in a single day
ahead of the U.N. climate change summit in Bali in December, an
official said on Thursday.
The event, scheduled for November 28, is part of a global
campaign to plant one billion trees launched at U.N. climate
change talks in Nairobi last year, said Ahmad Fauzi Masud,
spokesman for the forestry ministry.
"Everybody, residents and officials from the lowest unit of
the government to the president, will take part in this
movement," he said. "It will be a national record and,
possibly, a world record."
Indonesia currently holds a far less flattering world
record: according to Greenpeace, it had the fastest pace of
deforestation in the world between 2000-2005, with an area of
forest equivalent to 300 soccer pitches destroyed every hour.
Southeast Asia's biggest economy is also among the world's
top three greenhouse gas emitters because of deforestation,
peatland degradation, and forest fires, according to a recent
report sponsored by the World Bank and Britain's development
Environmental groups are concerned that rapidly expanding
palm oil plantations, partly driven by ambitious plans for
biofuels, are damaging the country's rainforests.
Participants from 189 countries are expected to gather in
Bali in December to discuss a new deal to fight global warming.
The existing pact, the Kyoto Protocol, runs out in 2012.
Under Kyoto, about 35 rich nations are obliged to cut
emissions by 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.