27 Oct 2010

PNG rejects Greenpeace criticism of environmental record

12:57 pm on 27 October 2010

The Papua New Guinea government has gone on attack after the environment NGO, Greenpeace, criticised its environmental record.

Greenpeace accused the PNG government of maintaining a corrupt forestry sector, stalling UN talks on reducing climate change, disregarding indigenous people's rights and allowing rampant deforestation.

But the office of Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare says it is committed to widespread consultation on the issues and is well into this process.

It says it's trying to build the social consensus and institutions needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions, while still ensuring the country doesn't suffer economically.

Greenpeace had claimed PNG isn't ready for the complex UN plan known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, or REDD.

Under REDD forested nations would combat climate change by stopping harvesting with donor countries providing replacement funding, but Greenpeace says the PNG government has no plans to stop destroying its own rainforest.

Sir Michael's office says while the challenges of implementing the scheme are daunting, it's addressing these through the new National Climate Change Committee and the Office of Climate Compatible Development.