The consumption of fossil fuels such as coal or oil and the destruction of forests are among the main causes of climate change. In 2016, more than 170 countries committed themselves under the Paris Climate Convention to limiting the global temperature rise to well below two degrees compared to pre-industrial levels. If we don't succeed, massive changes will become a harsh reality. Climate researchers are already warning that certain parts of the world will be uninhabitable for humans due to the changed climatic conditions.
Forest conservation is climate protection
The Bruno Manser Fonds fully supports the Paris objectives. We are primarily committed to the protection of the rainforests, since their deforestation and conversion to plantations is one of the causes of climate change. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 17 percent of all annual carbon dioxide emissions worldwide are the result of deforestation. Almost 60 percent of this is due to the destruction of the tropical rainforests. We support indigenous village communities in Malaysia in defending their forests against deforestation, plantations, mega-dams and other destructive construction projects. In 2019 we were able to stop the cultivation of new oil palm plantations around the Mulu National Park in Sarawak. Through the Baram Peace Park, we are also supporting indigenous people in the implementation of a jungle park in Sarawak and are negotiating with the government.
The protection of the existing rainforests is one of our core concerns and indispensable for achieving climate goals. But this is no longer enough. This is why the Bruno Manser Fund is also committed to reforestation and supports the Penan in the rearing of seedlings from indigenous tree species and in subsequent reforestation. The climate needs more forests because trees extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Alternative energy production
The Bruno Manser Fonds is also committed to a sustainable energy policy. Together with our local partner villages and organisations, we were able to prevent the construction of the Baram Dam, which would have flooded 400 km² of rainforest and released large quantities of methane into the atmosphere. With our own pilot projects in the field of solar energy and micro-hydroelectric power plants, we also showed the Malaysian government sustainable energy solutions for rural electrification. Our campaigns were successful, and the government has committed to rural electrification with solar panels by 2025.
Raising awareness in Switzerland
We also draw attention to Switzerland's responsibility in the destruction of the rainforest and take Swiss consumption and Swiss politics as our starting point. In the case of palm oil, it is particularly clear how important it is to pay attention to what we trade and what we consume. Our consumption of products containing palm oil is partly responsible for deforestation in South East Asia. Therefore, we focus on education, because better informed consumers can make better decisions. In Switzerland, we also support peaceful actions by the climate movement. In addition, since its foundation in 2004, the Bruno Manser Fonds has been a member of the Climate Alliance, a civil society alliance for climate protection that is peacefully committed to preventing climate change.