Seeing REDD in Bali

Clunes filmmaker Cathy Henkel at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali last week.

Cathy Henkel and Jeff Canin have the dramatic ending to their film they had hoped for and the orangutans of Indonesia may well be saved from extinction.

The Clunes-based couple are making a new feature documentary called The Burning Season and have just returned from the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, where the REDD proposal (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) was adopted.

This means governments in places like Indonesia can halt the logging and burning of massive tracts of rainforest for palm oil production and instead generate income from preserving the forests and selling carbon credits to large, greenhouse gas emitting companies.

The endangered orangutans and other species that live within these forests now have a real chance of survival. At present, 4000 orangutans are killed each year in the clear-felling of rainforests required for the production of palm oil.

Cathy and Jeff filmed the decision and the elation of the man behind the concept, a Tibetan/Australian carbon trading pioneer named Dorjee Sun, has spent the past year gaining the trust of Indonesian governments and getting assurances they would indeed halt the destruction of rainforests if an alternative income stream could be secured.

I think we were just witness to one of the great moments in history, said Cathy from a beachside caf in Bali. After 15 years of pressure and lobbying, forests are now considered as part of the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol. Dorjee was over the moon.

The scheme has the potential to be replicated worldwide, and Dorjee believes it could be used to preserve forests in places such as Papua New Guinea and Brazil.

His company Carbon Conservation recently merged with Lismore-based carbon trading company The Carbon Pool, which brokered Australias largest carbon trading deal last year with Rio Tinto, saving 12,000 hectares of native forest in Queensland.

The Burning Season will be completed in April 2008 and will be broadcast on ABC later in the year.

For Samlara Canin-Henkels second report from the Bali conference see page 8.

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