Saturday, December 26, 2015


Jakarta, Dec 26, 2015 (Antara) - The Indonesian government has pledged to increase its commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions' growth by 29 percent by 2030, up from the previous promise of 26 percent by 2020.
         With international support, the emission could be reduced by as much as 41 percent.  
    President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) reaffirmed his commitment before 147 heads of state and governments during the Paris Climate Change Conference in late November 2015.
         "I hope we are all part of the solution to make the earth a more liveable place for our children and grand children," Jokowi said.    
    Having the world's third largest forest area that serves as the world's lungs, Indonesia has decided to be part of the solution, the president remarked.

         However, to deliver the emission cut promise and translate it into concrete actions, it would cost some US$12.98 billion and an additional US$5.92 billion if the emission is to be reduced by 41 percent.
         "In order to achieve the benchmarks laid in the Paris agreement, all countries, especially the advanced nations, should contribute to the staps required to be taken for mitigation and adaptation," he added.
         One way of this contribution could be that the US$100 billion financing to be given until 2020 can be increased  in the following years  with transfer of environment-friendly technology and capacity expansion. 
    Every delegation to the Paris conference, or the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-21) to the  United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), was expected to come up with an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC).
         The  Indonesian government outlined its concept of INDC in a document comprising 17 pages with details of the steps to be taken by Indonesia to reduce the emission of green house gases.
         The steps included preventive measures, adaptation and planning as well as strategic approaches.
         To mitigate the impact of the climate change, Indonesia has pledged to protect its remaining forests from further destruction and degradation, support ecosystem's restoration and undertake social reforestation.
         The government said it has prepared 12.7 million hectares of forest area for  use as social forests, ecosystem restoration, conservation and sustainable exploitation.
         In another step to reduce carbon emissions, the government has pledged to increase the use of renewable energy sources. Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi said Indonesia already has a clear policy in this regard. 
    The Indonesian government has decided that 23 percent of its energy needs will be fulfilled by using renewable energy sources by 2025.
         The government is optimistic that developed nations will assist Indonesia in boosting the use of renewable energy.
         "Judging by the results of our bilateral meetings, many countries will help us in handling environmental problems through renewable energy, peatland restoration and forest conservation. I am optimistic (about the assistance)," the president said shortly before returning to Jakarta on December 1, 2015, after attending the Paris conference.  
    The government plans to build geothermal power plants under the program to build power plants, with a total capacity of 35 thousand megawatts until 2019.
         Indonesia has the largest geothermal reserves in the world. The country has 40 percent of the global geothermal reserves.
         Besides, the government will focus on preventing land and forest fires next year, Jokowi stated.
         "Preventing peatland fires is high on the list of priorities. If peatland caught fire, it will be difficult to extinguish it, no matter how many water bombing planes are pressed into service," he said.
         Jokowi revealed that the government would set up a peatland ecosystem restoration agency (BREG) soon to protect the peatland ecosystem and mitigate the impact of the climate change.
         Indonesia is committed to protecting its peatland areas, and therefore, it will revise old peatland concession licenses and not issue new licenses.
         The president pointed out that the El Nino-induced drought in Indonesia had aggravated the condition of forest and peatland fires during the dry season in 2015.
         The country finally managed to deal with the fires, although it was not easy, and the authorities have continued to implement legal enforcement measures against the perpetrators.
         The country's forest fires are estimated to already have emitted 1.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
         President Jokowi received a banner bearing the words "Dear Mr President, Save Forest and Peatland" from Greenpeace activists during a visit to the Indonesian pavilion at an exhibition that coincided with the Paris conference.
         Greenpeace Indonesia campaigner Teguh Surya stated that some 253,800 hectares of Indonesia's peatland areas were prone to conversion as they were located in industrial forest concession areas.
         "Swift action is necessary to save the remaining peatland areas. We support Indonesia's commitment," Surya emphasized.
         In the meantime, Indonesia's Environmental Forum (Walhi) has hoped that there would be no gap between the president's speech at the Paris Climate Change Conference and the on-field reality in regions across Indonesia.
         "If we compare what the president conveyed in his speech at the UNFCCC in Paris and the national economic development policy, there is a huge gap," Kurniawan Sabar, Walhi's executive campaign manager, noted in a statement in early December 2015.
         With such a huge gap, Indonesia's commitment conveyed by President Jokowi could be meaningless, he said.
         Instead of implementing adaptive measures against the impact of climate change, Indonesia's coastal areas have been massively reclaimed for development projects that have disadvantaged the coastal population, particularly fishermen, he stated.
         "It happened not only in Jakarta but also in other cities of Indonesia, such as reclamation projects in Benoa Bay in Bali, Palu Bay in Central Sulawesi, and in Makassar in South Sulawesi," he added.
         Besides this, the country's economic and development policies still rely on coal, which is a form of "dirty energy," Sabar said.
         "How are we going to reduce emissions if we incessantly depend on coal? When are we going to shift to renewable energy?" Sabar questioned.
         Vice President Jusuf Kalla has made it mandatory for industries in Indonesia to meet all environment-friendly guidelines in order to become green industries in 2016.
         "All industries should attain the level required in terms of environment friendliness in 2016," Kalla remarked on the sidelines of the Green Industry Award 2015 event held at the Vice Presidential Palace recently.
         The vice president noted that Indonesia must also set a benchmark that should be met by all parties, so that they are not affected by the emission targets or do not harm the environment in future.
         "In addition to protecting our forest areas, we must also prevent mass emissions," he emphasized.
         Furthermore, Environmental Affairs and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya, in cooperation with the Religious Affairs Ministry, have planned to make it obligatory for a bride and groom-to-be to plant five trees each before their marriage.
         Such a move will support the government's targets of rehabilitating forest and arid areas, covering a total of 5.5 million hectares, as well as of the greenhouse gas emission cuts.
         Over the past five years, the Indonesian public has planted 7.3 billion trees. However, the country still has 24.3 million hectares of arid area as part of its 190 million hectares area in total. ***4***
 26-12-2015 23:17:30

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