Indonesia’s climate commitments ahead of COP-26 – The Diplomat
Next month the COP26 Summit will be hosted in Glasgow by the governments of the United Kingdom and Italy. The Summit brings together almost all countries to explore the best solutions to ensure swift action on climate change. Despite the challenges posed by the current COVID-19 pandemic, climate threats continue to have serious environmental and socio-economic implications. This year’s COP26 is expected to remedy the failure of the last COP25 meeting in Madrid in 2019, which ended without ambition and little progress. The climate negotiations in Glasgow will present some challenges, including competing interests between developing and developed countries, fragmented commitments to multilateral agreements, the issue of climate finance, unresolved rules for international carbon markets that were in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.
The Glasgow meeting was also criticized for being exclusive, as many NGOs, especially from developing countries, may be absent due to travel restrictions. Climate Action Network-International (CAN) warns that the lack of inclusive participation could lead to less pressure and control over polluters to act in favor of expected results. However, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is hoping for an ambitious outcome from COP26 this year. In his recent speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Johnson insisted that COP26 must be a âturning point for humanityâ.
The spirit of achieving global environmental goals is indeed to acquire the necessary political will from world leaders. In the same forum, China’s Supreme Leader Xi Jinping announcement that his country pledged to stop building coal-fired power plants abroad. US President Joe Biden also sworn that Washington would become the world’s leading provider of climate finance. These promises from China and the United States definitely brought optimism ahead of COP26.
According to research conducted by Carbon Brief, China and the United States are the two largest historical emitters of CO2, with Russia, Brazil and Indonesia completing the top five. Given its position among the major contributors to global climate change, what is Indonesia’s likely position on the global climate effort at the next COP26 meeting?
President of COP26, Alok Sharma once called Indonesia a “climate superpower,” referring to the nation’s importance to achieving international climate goals. During the Leaders Climate Summit in April 2021, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo underscored Indonesia’s seriousness in its drive to control climate change, which he said was among the country’s core national interests. He encouraged world leaders to promote green development and increase climate resilience, as evidenced by Indonesia’s enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). The NDC consists of each country’s commitment to reduce national emissions and its efforts to mitigate climate change. By mid-2021, Indonesia had submitted its updated NDC and its first long-term strategy to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The World Resources Institute has recognized Indonesia’s steps towards achieving net zero emissions by 2060 or earlier.
Among the many challenges facing Indonesia, climate finance remains one of the most pressing. Ahead of COP26, the Indonesian Minister of Environment and Forests Siti Nurbaya Bakar urged developed countries to take the initiative in providing developing countries with the financial resources necessary for the implementation of climate programs. Likewise, the Indonesian Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani in a recent dialogue with Asia House said that Indonesia will need $ 5.7 billion annually to finance its green energy transition.
However, it is not just finance that could hamper Indonesia’s path towards its climate goals. There are several other challenges the government must resolve. Before deciding to advance the net zero emissions target to 2060, Indonesia was forced to resolve the lack of synchronization in the net zero calculations employed by the Ministry of National Development Planning (Bappenas) and the Ministry of the Environment (KLHK). Previously, Bappenas calculated four scenarios of different years (2045, 2050, 2060 and 2070), while KLHK has set its targets by the year 2070 at the latest. After receiving some criticism from national stakeholders, a new unified target of 2060 was finally proposed. The problem now is to adjust the different approaches and time frames step by step to achieve the net zero goals in several departments.
Although this particular issue has been partly resolved, inconsistent coordination between departments should be reduced. Research by Verdinand Siahaan of the Christian University of Indonesia suggests that often Indonesian laws and regulations do not address environmental concerns and, in many cases, even contradict the mission of preserving the environment. Weak law enforcement aside, environmental laws often come second to trade and industry laws in their implementation.
The trade-off between the economy and the environment is a classic problem. Despite the Indonesian government Claim that there is no fundamental trade-off between economics and the environment, many cases suggest otherwise. In November 2020, an expanse of forest in Papua the size of the city of Seoul was cleared by illegal burning to expand the palm oil trade, according to at Greenpeace International. The issue of coordination between central government and local leaders is another challenge Indonesia must address in order to achieve its climate goals. The challenge does not lie in drafting or signing agreements and decrees, but in the coordination and execution necessary for their effective implementation.
Global electricity 2021 report also suggests that Indonesia is the only one of the G20 countries that still relies heavily on coal-fired power plants. Fortunately, Indonesia has started to build its carbon markets accelerate emissions reductions through mechanisms such as an Emissions Trading System (ETS), a carbon tax and carbon offsetting. If the country were pragmatic, the development of carbon capture technology might actually offer some benefits, reducing its dependence on fossil fuels, improving oil and gas production, reducing carbon emissions and attracting new markets. foreign investments in renewable energies. American consultancy firm Tetra Tech estimates that the total renewable energy market in Indonesia stands at $ 38.9 billion over the period from 2020 to 2025. There is clearly enormous potential for foreign and domestic investors to enter the domestic renewable energy market. Jakarta must therefore capitalize on its ambition to become the regional leader in renewable energies, a very achievable goal.
The fact that the younger generation cares more about the environment could be a factor in pushing the government to take climate change more seriously. A 2020 investigation by the Indonesia Bright Foundation found that 97% of urban Indonesian millennials consider the impacts of climate change to be just as or more dangerous than the COVID-19 pandemic. Sixty-three percent of those polled said government performance was the biggest obstacle to climate efforts. Indonesia’s main foreign policy group, the Indonesian Foreign Policy Community, also recently made a strong call for the government to protect the nation in the Golden Centenary (2045) from the threat of a climate crisis. Awareness of climate change in Indonesia is growing and could support a more robust government effort.
Indonesia’s international engagement should not just consist of beautiful promises. Governance and bureaucratic reforms designed to support Indonesia’s climate efforts should be a priority. When potential donors recognize Indonesia’s seriousness in tackling climate change, financial support will follow. Given Jokowi’s commitment to being a âbridge builderâ and global problem solver, Indonesia’s contribution to COP26 is very promising.