Jakarta. Nobel laureate and former US Vice President Al Gore on Sunday thanked Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for his vision, courage and leadership on climate change issues.
“I would like to say a special word of thanks to the president of Indonesia, President Yudhoyono, because of his courage and vision and leadership on the issue that we are here to discuss and work on,” Gore said in his 15-minute speech addressed to some 350 participants of the three-day Climate Project Asia-Pacific Summit, which kicked off on Saturday.
“He spoke out at a time when no other leader of a G-77 nation was willing to stand up and take the initiative and break the mold, thus breaking a longstanding deadlock that had frustrated progress in some areas that are now amenable to some progress.
“I respect him bravely and admire his leadership and I know that the historic pledge that he made on the eve of Copenhagen is going to continue to bring great things to the world and to Indonesia,” he said.
Gore also noted the country’s high potential for geothermal power.
“Indonesia, just to pick one example, is already the third largest producer of geothermal electricity,” he said.
“Scientists and engineers are now saying confidently that certain forms of enhanced geothermal electricity production may represent one of the largest resources of carbon-free electricity available in the world today.
“And Indonesia could be a super power of geothermal electricity. With the new regional super grids that are being proposed on every continent, it can be a significant advance for Indonesia’s economy.”
Furthermore, Gore added that the solution for climate issues involves many steps that can save money and reduce green house gases emissions.
Gore added that Indonesia’s profile “is unique because it is heavily dominated by emissions from peat forests.”
He explained that the amount of carbon contained underneath the peat forests are enormous that the burning of these peat forests greatly exceed industrial emissions from big economies that burn coal, oil and natural gas.
“There is a great opportunity to take a sustainable approach that preserves these forests, avoids the emissions and earns income that can improve the economy of Indonesia.
“More efficient use of the land both increases economic value and reduces the emissions of global warming pollution.
“There are high impact mitigation efforts, such as stopping the use of fires for land clearing and rehabilitation of previously opened peatlands, which recognize the long-term economic value that greatly outweighs the benefits from continuing unsustainable and high greenhouse-gas emitting activities.”