A month out from the World Ocean Conference, the terms of the Manado Ocean Declaration remain unclear with Indonesia hoping to “trade” millions of tons of carbon stored within the country’s marine environment. Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Freddy Numberi said Indonesia hopes the Manado meeting will discuss carbon trading because the marine environment has contributed a lot to global warming.
“We want the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) also applied to carbon stored in the ocean, not dissimilar to the forestry sector,” Freddy told a news conference Wednesday. “With the oceans able to absorb around 50 times more carbon than the atmosphere, there is no reason to neglect the marine environment during climate talks.”
The CDM is one of several flexible mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change that allow developing nations, including Indonesia, to carry out projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Under the binding mechanism, developed nations provide financial incentives based on the total amount of carbon cut under CDM projects. A ton of carbon is currently valued between US$5 and $10. The Kyoto protocol, which ends in 2012, currently only recognizes carbon projects from the energy and forestry sectors.
Freddy said the Indonesian delegation would be pushing global nations to consider emission cuts from ocean environments at the Copenhagen meeting in Denmark at the end of this year.
The Copenhagen climate conference is expected to produce a new binding mechanism to substitute commitments made through the Kyoto protocol. Freddy said he was inspired to promote carbon trading efforts for the marine sector following the success of the UN-sponsored climate change conference in Bali in 2007. There, the mechanism aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) were discussed as an alternative to cutting emissions from the forestry sector.
Indonesia possesses the third largest forest area in the world, with 120 million hectares of rainforests. If the REDD is agreed upon in Copenhagen, developed nations will pay Indonesia incentives to protect forests. The People’s Coalition for Equal Fisheries (KIARA), a grouping of environmental and social groups, criticized the government for promoting carbon trading at the upcoming Manado conference.
“This is a fatal mistake. Carbon trading mechanisms will not fix the real problems facing the marine environment,” KIARA secretary-general M. Riza Damanik said. Indonesia hopes that by hosting the WOC in Manado, North Sulawesi, they will be able to push for a commitment to the sustainable management of marine environments and assist the fight against climate change.
Around 10,000 delegates, including ministers and scientists from 121 countries, are expected to attend the forum, scheduled for May 11-15. Augy Syahailatua, a scientist from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, said no scientific evidence had proven whether carbon could be absorbed or released by the marine environment.
A blue print for a national plan of action on climate change launched by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during the 2007 climate change conference in Bali, states that Indonesia’s marine biodiversity can absorb around 67 million tons of carbon, equal to 245 million tons of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), every year. CO2 is the main contributor to climate change. Indonesia has around 5.8 million square kilometers of marine territory.
Source: The Jakarta Post – April 11, 2009 by Adianto P. Simamora