Indonesia Ratifies Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Jakarta Globe 19 Oct 16;

Jakarta. The House of Representatives approved the draft law ratifying the Paris Agreement, after receiving a seal of approval from House Deputy Speaker, Agus Hermanto, on Wednesday (19/10).

Signed by 197 United Nations member states during the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, the agreement was adopted on Dec. 12 last year and aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change.

As reported by state-run news agency Antar, Chairman of the House Commission VII, Gus Irawan, previously stated that all factions agreed with the government and hopes that all stakeholders will protect the environment and adapt to the impact of a changing climate.

Indonesia joins 81 other parties who have ratified the agreement – a giant step forward as one of the world’s largest carbon emitters, producing 760 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2012, according to World Research Institute.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change stated that the agreement will be effective on Nov. 4, after 55 signatories, or those contributing to 55 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions have ratified the pact.

Adopting Paris deal, RI to tap low-carbon energy
Hans Nicholas Jong The Jakarta Post 19 Oct 16;

Signaling its commitment to contribute to the global effort of combating climate change, Indonesia is set to ratify the Paris Agreement, which will guide a national plan to meet its targets in carbon cuts.

The government said the ratification, which is set to be passed into law by the House of Representatives on Wednesday, will make measures taken to reach emission goals easier to measure, especially the development of low-emission power plants.

Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said Indonesia will benefit from the agreement’s strong emphasis on principles of cooperation.

The country’s national and regional environmental policies will be affected by the ratification.

“Land use policy, especially forest and peatland allocation policy, has to be prudent with sustainability principles,” she said.

To date, the Paris Agreement, which has resulted in a global commitment to reduce emissions, has been ratified by 81 nations representing 60 percent of global emissions.

The Paris Agreement will enter into force on Nov. 4, 30 days after the threshold for entry into force was achieved by at least 55 countries.

Indonesia has already committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 29 percent below business-as-usual projections by 2030 or 41 percent if it receives international aid.

The government has long voiced its desire to benefit from the flow of international climate finance, especially in the Green Climate Finance (GCF), which is a multilateral financing mechanism for climate change within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

By ratifying the agreement, Siti said the country is expecting improved efforts through international funding, which will be used to develop low-emission energy, which requires large investments to initiate.

Energy consumption in Indonesia has been predicted to raise exponentially due to population growth and dependence on fossil fuels and will be a major carbon emission contributor right beside deforestation, with energy overtaking deforestation as the largest carbon emission contributor as early as 2020.

The country is estimated to have about 28 gigawatts in geothermal potential and 75 gigawatts in hydropower potential to general electricity. The estimated total potential of renewable energy is estimated to reach more than 300,000 megawatts. Indonesia still relies on fossil fuel to meet its electricity demand.

In 2015, 55.9 percent of electricity generation was fueled by coal, 25.7 percent by gas and 8.5 percent by diesel fuel. Renewable energy, like hydropower and geothermal energy only make up the remaining 9.9 percent of electricity generation, according to state-owned electricity company PLN data.

The government is planning to shift from dirty fossil fuel to clean renewable energy by targeting to increase electrification from renewable energy to 25 percent.

However, the government’s commitment to renewable energy has been questioned as it recently lowered the percentage of electricity targeted to be generated by renewable energy by 2025 to 19.6 percent from the initial goal of 25 percent.

The government has also decided to put the brakes on efforts to push the use of renewable energy in electricity procurement as it plans hefty cuts to state spending in the energy sector, with the biggest share to be taken from new and renewable energy.

At the same time, the government plans to add some 117 coal-fired power plants (PLTUs) to meet its ambitious target of installing 35,000 MW of electricity by 2019.

“We can see that the expansion of coal power plants is massive, with 60 percent of the 35,000 MW coming from coal. If we’re talking about our future carbon emissions, we can only imagine how much carbon comes from our coaldependency,” Greenpeace Indonesia head of climates Hindun Mulaika said.

Paris Agreement to test Jakarta’s commitment on carbon emissions
Daniel Murdiyarso Jakarta Post 19 OCt 16;

The ratification of the Paris Agreement by the EU, representing 28 countries, on Oct. 4 marked the surpassing of the 55 percent global emissions threshold for the agreement to enter into force. Having been ratified by 75 countries that account for 58.9 percent of global emissions, the agreement will enter into force on Nov. 4 (30 days after EU submission), just a few days before the 22nd session of the Conference of Parties ( COP22 ) starts on Nov. 7 in Marrakech, Morocco.

Although Indonesia is not one of the parties that make the Paris Agreement enter into force, the House of Representatives’ Commission VII approved its ratification bill on Monday. The House has set Oct. 19 as date for ratifying the agreement.

Like in other cases of international treaty ratification, the House only adopts one article stating that Indonesia ratifies the treaty. The process took longer than expected because the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) document was attached to it. Lawmakers needed to be convinced that the intention to reduce national emissions by 29 percent from the business-as-usual level in 2030 will not harm economic development.

Now, Indonesian delegates are full of confidence as they head to Marrakech. There are at least four reasons for Indonesia to get excited and work harder.

First, ratification will allow Indonesia to sit in the first Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement, known as CMA1. Indonesia can take part in shaping the new treaty that will be implemented in 2020. It is important to set the new tone of the common but differentiated responsibility and respective capacity (CBDR-RC) principle.

Second, Indonesia can start interacting in the funding mechanism under the Paris Agreement, including the Green Climate Fund. It is well known that Indonesia’s bulk work in the NDC is land use. Early action may be pursued to realize the implementation of the long-awaited REDD+ mechanism under the Paris Agreement.

Third, being an archipelagic country that is vulnerable to sea level rise, it is also timely to explore adaptation mechanisms under the Paris Agreement, such as joint mitigation and adaptation and legally binding loss and damage.

Fourth, Indonesia is to expand coal-fired power generation, which will be the biggest emission factor after land use. Technology transfer under the Paris Agreement has to be tapped and integrated into the domestic development agenda.

The main goal of the Paris Agreement is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The Paris Agreement pursues efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees. That does not mean that the agreement only deals with climate change mitigation. The Paris Agreement also aims at strengthening the ability of countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

After two decades of climate negotiations, Paris finally managed to put mitigation and adaptation measures on equal footing. The notion of integrating climate change adaptation and mitigation in the Paris Agreement is very strong. To meet these ambitious goals, a new technology framework and an enhanced capacity building framework will be put in place, supporting action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries in line with their national objectives. Starting in 2020 the Green Climate Fund will be mobilized to raise US$100 billion per annum.

Globally, under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change high scenario parties have pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 36 billion tons of CO2 equivalent by 2030. The pledge was initiated at COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009, known as the Copenhagen Accord, within which countries were encouraged to state their emission reduction target, base year and date of achievement.

After five years of waiting, COP20 in Lima came out with the so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contribution to guide parties to submit their pledge prior to COP21 in Paris, which then transformed into NDC to be submitted prior to Marrakech’s COP22 this year.

Domestically, Indonesia will have to nurture the submitted pledge. Ratification places responsibility on the entire society. It is the role of the government to address any identified weaknesses and mobilize strength, including by enhancing the capacity to combat land-based emissions, which are by far the largest burden as far as emission reduction is concerned.

The writer is a professor at the Department of Geophysics and Meteorology at the Bogor Agriculture University (IPB), principal scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), member of the Indonesian Academy of Sciences (AIPI) and former national focal point to the UNFCCC.

RI agrees to quit using hazardous coolants
Hans Nicholas Jong The Jakarta Post 19 Oct 16;

As the consequence of a global agreement to end the use of powerful planet-warming substances in air-conditioners and refrigerators, Indonesia has committed to phasing out the chemicals, a tough choice for a tropical country soaked in sunshine year-round.

After earlier hesitance, Indonesia finally made the commitment to join nearly 200 other nations to support the movement during a conference in Kigali, Rwanda, last Saturday.

The government has laid out a plan to stop acquiring new products containing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 2024. By 2050, Indonesia expects to totally phase out HFCs.

More than 100 developing countries, including China, the world’s top carbon emitter, will also start taking action by 2024, when HFC consumption levels are expected to peak.

“We’re asking for 2025 but according to global calculations, we have to start in 2024,” said Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar.

In a previous global meeting on the phasing out of HFCs held in Vienna, Austria, in July, the ministry expressed its concern over the plan, especially the implication on industries that use HFCs for production.

“The availability of alternatives to HFCs needs to be considered,” the ministry said at the time.

It also expressed concerns about the availability of technology that had been tested in the local market.

Despite the initial concerns and reluctance, Siti said the government had now wholeheartedly embraced the commitment and would immediately start preparing for the phasing out of HFCs. HFCs are described as the world’s fastest-growing climate pollutant with 1,000 times the heat-trapping potency of carbon dioxide.

“They’re one of the main drivers of climate change as HFCs have much bigger global warming potential than CO2,” Greenpeace Indonesia climate change leader Hindun Mulaika told The Jakarta Post.

By phasing out HFCs, the world could avoid the equivalent of 100 billion tons of CO2, which translates into preventing about 0.5 degrees Celsius of global warming by 2050, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

While they are less plentiful than carbon dioxide, HFCs currently emit as much pollution as 300 coal-fired power plants each year.

That amount could rise significantly over the coming decades as air-conditioners and fridges reach hundreds of millions of new people.

In Indonesia alone, the number of domestic fridges is expected to reach 54 million units by 2020.

The use of HFCs in Indonesia has grown significantly over the past two decades as the chemicals are an alternative to ozone depleting substances banned under the Montreal Protocol — chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).

The consumption of HFCs is currently unregulated in Indonesia so there are no restrictions, quotas or other rules for the chemicals, which are all imported. There is no HFC production in the country.

Indonesia mainly imports HFCs from China (73 percent), Europe (13 percent) and India (11 percent).

The total potential direct emissions of HFCs in the country could reach 24,683 kilotons of CO2 in 2020. This is expected to increase sharply to 1,688,448 kilotons of CO2 by 2050.

As consumption is predicted to rise exponentially, Hindun urged the government not to wait until 2024 to start phasing out HFCs.

“Why wait for 2024? There are natural refrigerants that have been developed and thus there’s no need to use chemicals [like HFCs] anymore,” she said.

Natural refrigerants are naturally occurring, non-synthetic coolants in fridges and air conditioners, including hydrocarbons (propane, butane and cyclopentane), CO2, ammonia, water and air.

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