Indonesia: President Urged to Cut Carbon Emissions by Amending National Development Policies

Basten Gokkon Jakarta Globe 1 Dec 15;

Jakarta. Indonesian environmentalists have called on President Joko Widodo to amend national development policies so that the country can achieve its carbon emission reduction target as promised in Paris.

Joko addressed leaders from 150 nations at the global climate conference in Paris on Monday night, briefly explaining his administration's efforts and pledge to reduce Indonesia's carbon footprint by 29 percent on the "business as usual" scheme until 2030, as described in the country's Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC).

"The government that I'm leading will develop an Indonesia that is concerned about the environment," Joko said in Paris.

While Joko has only reaffirmed Indonesia's contributions at the 21st Conference of Parties, activists from green groups are urging the president to quickly implement the country's climate measures at home by reviewing existing policies.

"The crucial question from the president's speech is how to bridge contradicting targets between the country's INDC and Mid-Term National Development Plan which lays out several policies that, in fact, produce carbon emission," Khalisah Khalid, head of research and development department at the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), told reporters in Jakarta via a conference call on Wednesday.

Joko's national development plan for the 2015 to 2019 period, includes, among others, generating 35 gigawatts of power across the archipelago. This will be mainly generated with highly polluting fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil.

Walhi estimates that if Indonesia continued with that plan, the country's carbon dioxide emissions would nearly double by 2024.

"It's imperative for the government to revise its development policies so that they will not damage the environment," Khalisah said.

She added that Joko could start by reviewing policies under his authority that pose a threat to Indonesia's ecosystem, such as a presidential decree which allows land reclamation.

Yuyun Indradi, forest campaigner from Greenpeace Indonesia, said the government must also revise its scheme of carbon reduction measures in the INDC so that the country could contribute more in keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, which scientists have predicted to be the tipping point for catastrophic climate change.

"We need to check again our current main sources of carbon emission and improve our natural resources management," Yuyun said.

The 12-day climate summit in Paris will combine INDCs from attending countries and should result in an international and legally-binding agreement of efforts to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

Indonesia shows commitment to sustainable forest management at COP21
Antara 2 Dec 15;

Paris (ANTARA News) - Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said Indonesia has underscored its commitment to sustainable forest management and renewable energy by attending the climate change summit in Paris.

During the Conference of Parties 21, President Joko Widodo also attended "Mission Innovative" and "Leaders Event on Foreign and Climate Change," both events on the sidelines of COP21.

"Indonesia actively participated in the two events, showing its strong commitment to manage its forests sustainably and to policies related to renewable energy," she said.

The two events saw leaders statement on forest and climate change, explaining the role of forest in ensuring sustainable development.

Some one billion people indirectly depend their livelihood on forest and six billion others are directly tied to forest problems.

"The statement itself reflects the interests of the countries involved, including Indonesia that has remained very balanced in terms of mitigation, adaptation and implementation," she said.

The statement showed Indonesias leadership as well as strong commitment to manage its forests sustainably, she said.

In the context of renewable energy, Retno said Indonesia has already had a clear policy in this regard.

"Regarding the forest issue, there are 17 countries involved, namely, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Congo, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Liberia, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Britain and the US," she said.

She said the Indonesian government has decided to achieve 23 percent of renewable energy source use by 2025 and policies have also been formulated for rural electrification, likely to be achieved to the extent of 100 percent by 2019.(*)

Climate talks begin, Indonesia looks to make its mark

Ina Parlina and M. Taufiqurrahman, The Jakarta Post 1 Dec 15;

The UN’s COP21 climate talks kicked off on Monday, with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo seeking political support for a drive to increase contributions to the reduction of carbon emissions from both developed and developing countries.

More than 140 world leaders were scheduled to meet during the leaders’ event on the first day of the climate talks at Le Bourget Exhibition Center in a northern Paris suburb. The talks are expected to produce the first global commitment to cutting emissions, replacing or extending the Kyoto Protocol.

Jokowi, along with fellow statespeople including Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, King Abdullah of Jordan and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, addressed the second session of the leaders’ event after a formal lunch.

In his speech, Jokowi said that the outcome from COP21 must reflect balance and fairness and be consistent with national priorities and abilities, calling for a binding and ambitious agreement that, while applicable in the long term, would not hinder the development of developing countries.

He called on all related parties, particularly developed countries, to contribute more in terms of mitigation and adaptation measures through mobilizing financial contributions, honoring commitments made in previous forums, transfer of technology and capacity-building.

“It is imperative a deal is reached in Paris. I hope we all become part of a solution [...] making the world a better place to live for the next generations and one that ensures their welfare,” he said.

Indonesia’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) has set a target of a 29 percent reduction in emissions by 2030.

Before delivering the speech, Jokowi also joined two major sideline events, namely a leaders’ meeting on forests as a key climate solution and a mission innovation launch.

At the forest event, Jokowi and his counterparts from, among others, Norway, Brazil and Columbia, committed to engage only in sustainable forestry practices.

Jokowi also held bilateral meetings with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Norway’s Solberg and Serbian President Tomislav Nicolic, among others.

On Tuesday, the President is expected to visit the Indonesian pavilion at the COP21, where “more than 30 events, including seminars and exhibitions, showcase our country’s efforts to tackle climate change”, according to Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar.

COP21 — also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference — will, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate change, with the aim of keeping global warming less than 2 degrees Celsius higher than the pre-industrial average temperatures by the end of the century.

One NGO present at COP21 is the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), whose activists, upon arrival at the Indonesian Pavilion, raised bitter complaints about vital messages of environmental preservation being drowned out by “green-washing” campaigns from palm oil companies.

Commenting on the prominent display at the pavilion of the palm oil industry’s sustainability campaign, Walhi said in a statement: “We hope that the government will no longer give room for corporations to carry out their green-washing campaigns, especially firms that were involved in the burning [of peatland and forests] and are accused of having hot spots in their areas of operation.”

COP21 is expected to attract 50,000 participants, including 25,000 delegates from governments, intergovernmental organizations, UN agencies, NGOs and civil society.

The conference is taking place amid tight security in and around Paris, following deadly terror attacks there earlier this month.

To prevent any possible disruption to the conference, the French government has limited public demonstrations, beefed up security and placed two dozen environmental activists under house arrest.

Jokowi optimistic about developed nations` support to handle environmental issues
Antara 2 Dec 15;

Paris (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) is convinced that developed nations will assist Indonesia in reducing global warming and carbon emissions following the 21st Conference of Parties (COP-21) in Paris.

"Judging by the results of our bilateral meetings, many countries will help us handle 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 Tuesday.

He said Indonesias participation in the COP-21 is to lend strong political support to the success of the UN climate change conference.

"The strong political support means that we want to implement our development programs by always complying with the concept of environmental conservation," he said.

Therefore, he added, the government will not pursue higher economic growth at the expense of the environment.

"Both of them must continue on an equal footing," he said.

The President said a plan to set up a peat ecosystem restoration body will be realized next week.

As an island state, Indonesia is among the countries most affected by the impact of climate change. To this end, Indonesia has prepared documents and plans to unveil a special mission during the climate change conference.

"We will continue to urge the developed nations to take the lead and assist developing countries in overcoming global warming, such as undertaking efforts to reduce carbon emissions through technology transfer," spokesman for the Foreign Ministry Arrmanatha Nasir remarked.

Indonesia is committed to reducing 29 percent of its emissions in 2030 through its own endeavors, and by 41 percent through international assistance. It has also reduced its emissions by adopting measures in the energy sector. It has shifted from using fuel oil in the manufacturing sector and has increased the use of renewable energy by 23 percent in 2015. (*)

Jokowi wants COP 21 to end with ambitious agreement
Antara 1 Dec 15;

Paris (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said he hoped that the climate meeting in Paris would end with an ambitious agreement to make the earth a convenient place and to improve the peoples welfare.

"Reaching an agreement in Paris is a must. I hope we are all part of a solution to make the earth a more convenient place for our children and grand children," Jokowi told 147 heads of state and government in the Leaders Event here on Monday.

He said the Paris climate agreement should reflect balance, justice, in line with priorities and national capability, sustainable, but not causing a drag on development in developing countries.

"In order to reach a Paris agreement, all countries especially advanced nations should contribute to action of mitigation and adaptation," he added.

The contribution could be in the mobilization of US$100 billion financing until 2020 to be increased in the following years with transfer of environmentally friendly technology and capacity expansion.

As one of the countries having the largest forests that serve as lungs of the world, Indonesia chose to be part of a solution, the president said.

"I am here to give strong political support for the success of the COP 21," he added.

Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Christiana Figueres said all present countries should be able to unite and to show solidarity for the global climate security.

"The world eyes are on Paris, and millions of eyes are on the negotiators. You have the opportunity , even responsibility for reaching national target to cope with climate change, at the same time to support the world in overcoming all," Christiana Figueres said.

Around 150 heads of state and government were present to offer political support for an agreement to cope with global warming.

Jokowi is scheduled to return home on Tuesday.(*)

Negotiators grab head start on monumental climate challenge
Antara 30 Nov 15;

Paris (ANTARA News) - Senior negotiators from almost 200 nations on Sunday began thrashing out a new global deal to curb climate change as the president of China, the worlds biggest polluter, landed in Paris.

The United Nations conference begins at summit level on Monday, when more than 150 heads of state and government - including U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping - will attend talks at a sprawling complex north of the French capital. Xi arrived on Sunday.

To signal determination to resolve the most intractable issues, expert negotiators sat down on Sunday rather than after Mondays high-level speeches, as originally planned.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the aim was to give the world the means to cap global warming at 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times or even 1.5 degrees.

That would avoid the most devastating consequences of global warming, such as rising sea-levels and desertification.

Referring to previous U.N. conferences that have dragged on days beyond the official close, Fabius said relying on "a last-night miracle" could risk failure. Progress must be made every day, Reuters reported.

"The process cannot be chaotic. We owe it to ourselves and to the world to conclude the process in an orderly and respectful manner," he said.

France, as well as hosting the Paris talks, formally takes on leadership of the U.N. process for a year from Monday.

Governments hope the Paris summit will end on Dec. 11 in a deal that will herald a shift from rising dependence on fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution to cleaner energies such as wind or solar power.

Hundreds of thousands of people on Sunday joined rallies across the globe, telling leaders gathering for the summit there is "No Planet B" in the fight against global warming.

There is a tough task ahead. Weeks of preparatory talks this year have struggled to whittle down a negotiating text, which is still more than 50 pages long.

The most difficult issues include working out how to share the burden of taking action between rich and poor nations, how to finance the cost of adapting to global warming and the legal format of any final text, as U.S. politicians are likely to block a legally binding treaty.

"Some countries have concerns about all of the targets being binding," Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna told reporters. "The idea is to have a binding agreement. There may be elements that are not binding."

Canada, home to reserves of oil sands, one of the most polluting forms of fossil fuel, withdrew from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which any new Paris deal will replace.

It is re-engaging with U.N. talks following the election of a Liberal government in October.

While big carbon burner China has been reluctant to submit to any outside oversight of its carbon pledges made at a climate summit in Copenhagen six years ago, it has promised to steer its coal-powered economy to a greener path.

The Paris summit is being held in tight security after attacks in Paris by Islamic State two weeks ago that killed 130 people.

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