Indonesia currently holds a far less flattering world record: according to Greenpeace, it had the fastest pace of deforestation in the world between 2000-2005, with an area of forest equivalent to 300 soccer pitches destroyed every hour.
Southeast Asia’s biggest economy is also among the world’s top three greenhouse gas emitters because of deforestation, peatland degradation, and forest fires, according to a recent report sponsored by the World Bank and Britain’s development arm.
Environmental groups are concerned that rapidly expanding palm oil plantations, partly driven by ambitious plans for biofuels, are damaging the country’s rainforests.
Participants from 189 countries are expected to gather in Bali in December to discuss a new deal to fight global warming. The existing pact, the Kyoto Protocol, runs out in 2012.
Under Kyoto, about 35 rich nations are obliged to cut emissions by 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.