Forest fire in Indonesia

Apagar los incendios de Indonesia

MANILA – Cada año, Indonesia es presa de incendios forestales que provocan enormes daños ambientales, sociales y económicos. Los de este año (los mayores en casi dos décadas) destruyeron tres millones de hectáreas de tierra, y se calcula que causaron 14 mil millones de dólares de pérdidas en agricultura, degradación forestal, salud, transporte y turismo.

Lo que quizá sea más alarmante es el impacto climático. Indonesia ya es uno de los mayores emisores de dióxido de carbono del mundo. Por los incendios, su promedio de emisiones diario en septiembre y octubre de este año fue diez veces superior a lo normal. Solo el día 14 de octubre, las emisiones de los incendios ascendieron a 61 megatoneladas, casi el 97% de todas las emisiones del país ese día. Por eso los incendios de este año (sucedidos apenas unas semanas antes de la Conferencia de las Naciones Unidas sobre Cambio Climático en París, donde los líderes mundiales esperan llegar a un acuerdo global para limitar las emisiones de dióxido de carbono) resaltan la necesidad urgente de que Indonesia y sus socios en materia de desarrollo actúen rápidamente para encarar este azote regional y global. Si no lo hacemos, combatir el cambio climático será aún más difícil.

La causa de los recurrentes incendios que castigan a Indonesia es la práctica habitual de encender fuego para abrir terrenos para la producción de aceite de palma, agravada por una sequía prolongada que puede atribuirse en parte al fenómeno del Niño. Si bien una fiscalización más estricta de la legislación indonesia contra esta práctica (Ley Básica Forestal de 1999 y Ley de Plantaciones de 2014) puede ser útil, se necesita mucho más.

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