Greenpeace activists hold a banner over a deforested area of Riau, Indonesia.

Greenpeace activists hold a banner over a deforested area of Riau, Indonesia.

Greenpeace activists from around the world chained themselves to excavators in a logged peatland forest in Indonesia on Thursday to demand more US action to stop deforestation.

Fifty activists from a dozen countries, including major greenhouse gas emitters the United States and China, also unfurled a massive yellow banner with a personal message for US President Barack Obama.

“Obama: you can stop this,” it read, ahead of the US president’s visit to the region on the weekend to attend a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Singapore.

“Greenpeace is sending President Obama an urgent call to action from the frontline of climate and forest destruction,” Greenpeace USA forest campaigner Rolf Skar said.

“He has promised to take decisive action on climate change, yet with just weeks left before December’s critical UN climate summit, his administration is actively undermining and stalling global climate change negotiations.”

The summit in the Danish capital Copenhagen has been convened to seal a treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, whose obligations to cut carbon emissions expire in 2012.

But with almost no hope of a final agreement due to long-standing differences between rich and developing countries over who should bear the burden of lowering emissions, some leaders have signalled they may not attend.

The clearing and burning of Indonesia’s peatlands account for four per cent of total global greenhouse gas emissions, according to Greenpeace.

– AFP