Papua New Guinea loses the moral high-ground

Everyone at Bali cheered when the Papua New Guinea delegate dissed the Bush team:

“We seek your leadership. But if for some reason you are not willing to lead, leave it to the rest of us. Please get out of the way.”

Oh, snap! [Sorry, couldn’t resist one last 2007 Daily Show-ism]

Now comes the heartbreaking news:

Malaysian company Vitroplant has been granted necessary permits by the PNG government to begin clearing 70% of the rainforests on biodiversity rich Woodlark Island, some 60,000 hectares, in order to establish a massive plantation of oil palm trees.

And the whole island is only 80,000 hectares!

True, no American is really in a position to criticize another country’s climate self-destructiveness, especially one that isn’t violating any international treaty. But PNG held itself out as a moral leader on the issue. Can’t they wait a couple of years until the international community figures out how to value preserving tropical forests? Especially since a majority of the island’s 6,000 residents “reportedly oppose the project, and were not even aware of it until after its approval.”

Shame on you, Papua New Guinea. You shouldn’t be lecturing any other country about climate policy.

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