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Cablegate: Indonesia - Environmental Meeting with Emil Salim

VZCZCXRO4698
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #1744 1760908
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 250908Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5212
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0559
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4131
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0848
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 4081
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS JAKARTA 001744

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR OES/EGC AND EAP/MTS
COMMERCE FOR NOAA/INTERNATIONAL
USDOE FOR INTERNATIONAL AND FOSSIL ENERGY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KGHG SENV ENRG ID

SUBJECT: INDONESIA - ENVIRONMENTAL MEETING WITH EMIL SALIM

REF: STATE 75287

1. (SBU) Summary: During a candid meeting on June 21 with Charge,
Dr. Emil Salim, environmental advisor to Indonesian President
Yudhoyono, welcomed President Bush's attention to climate change,
but criticized its "overemphasis on the clean energy sector and
failure to provide incentives for safeguarding natural resources,
especially forests." He challenged the United States to clarify the
implications and obligations for countries invited to the November
planning meeting of the 15 highest carbon emitting countries. Salim
confided that President Yudhoyono had asked him to be the Indonesian
Special Envoy to the United Nations (UN) Conference of Parties 13
(COP 13) in Bali December 3-14. On a more conciliatory note, he
asked the Charge for his help in making the conference a success.
Charge urged that the Indonesian chair of this conference seek
concrete "win-win" conclusions. End Summary.

More Attention to Natural Resources
-----------------------------------

2. (SBU) Per instructions in reftel A, we invited Emil Salim,
Indonesia's leading environmentalist to share his views on
President's Bush Climate Change initiative. Salim serves as an
environmental adviser to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY),
was State Minister for Population and Environment from 1978 to 1993
and is currently Indonesia's leading expert on sustainable
development and environmental preservation.

3. (SBU) Meeting with the Charge on June 21, Salim wasted no time
launching into his views on the shortcomings of the Bush Climate
Change speech. Salim noted that developing countries will attribute
ulterior motives to the Bush initiative, such as attempting to sell
new energy efficient technologies in order recapture the sizeable
research and development costs. Charge pushed back, but Salim
charged ahead to his second main point. Salim emphasized that
developing countries will focus on the speech with its overemphasis
on energy technology and lack of attention to safeguarding the
environment. "Why doesn't the speech mention forests?"

4. (SBU) According to Salim, the President's initiative only
addresses the problem of carbon supply via mechanisms to reduce
emissions. Salim suggested that if the U.S. were serious about
climate change, it would also focus on greater carbon absorption,
for example a program to reward communities for preserving forests
or peat swamps for greater carbon capture. Indonesia forests and
peat swamps face pressures from impoverished populations. Farmers
and villagers need alternative means to support their families and
cannot maintain rainforests only for the sake of environmentalism.
Without some sort of compensation, the climate change problem will
only intensify as countries like Indonesia sacrifice their natural
resources in order to support the population. Salim noted that peat
swamps are even more critical than the forests, absorbing 100 times
the level of carbon.

Meeting of Large Emitters
-------------------------

5. (SBU) Salim noted that Indonesia needs more information before
deciding to participate in the U.S. proposed meeting of the largest
carbon emitters. Specifically, Salim would like to know the
implications (incentives and obligations) for participation.

COP-13: "Success or Failure is In Your Hands"
--------------------------------------------

6. (SBU) Ending the meeting on a conciliatory note, Salim confided
that President Yudhoyono had recently invited him to be the
Indonesian Special Envoy to COP-13. Until President SBY makes the
official announcement, Salim plans to quietly prepare for his role.
Salim requested the Charge's help in making the conference a
success. He requested the Charge's help in making any intended role
or agenda transparent. Salim noted that he also worried about OPEC
and its disincentives with energy alternatives, but it was the US
role that was his greatest worry. "The US can make or break the
conference," he told the Charge. "Will you help me?" Charge urged
that the Indonesian chair of this conference seek concrete "win-win"
conclusions.

HEFFERN

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