AS Indonesia was never a UK colony, and so doesn’t play cricket, we are hardly aware that it’s the fourth most populous country, at 260 million, mainly Muslim, speaking 300 languages.

Usefully a third of them have internet contact which helps as it’s over 1,000 islands straddling the equator though most live on the two largest – Sumatra and Java. Indeed Java has a population density more than double that of the UK, at over 1,000 per square kilometre, and the capital, Jakarta, with 10 million and rising, is the largest city in South East Asia.

So, one might expect an impact from this large country, and there certainly is one – it probably has the worst environmental record of any of the major countries.

Indeed it’s the third largest global producer of CO2, after China and the USA, larger than India and Japan, and at four billion tonnes each year some ten times more than the UK despite having a car ownership rate just one fifth of ours.

This output suggests that it should be a heavy industry and energy consuming country, but it’s still dependent on agriculture, producing two thirds of the world’s palm oil though with a serious global environmental impact. It’s in half our supermarket items.

Expanding oil palm plantations involves clearing three million acres of natural carbon storing rain forest every year, most of it illegally, and burning the debris. Unfortunately the underlying peat soils then burn as well, sometimes for years, emitting smoke that covers the whole region. The 1997 fires produced more CO2 than the USA that year, and are still smouldering.

All this, plus overfishing and the world’s most polluted river, must be set against a backdrop of population growth, volcanoes, earthquakes and climate variability so it’s a real challenge for Indonesia to control CO2 emissions let alone reduce them.