Indonesia wants money for meeting carbon reduction targets

Hans Nicholas Jong The Jakarta Post 4 Nov 16;

Last month, Indonesia officially ratified the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

And at next week’s climate change meeting in Marrakech, Morocco, the government will challenge devoloped countries to act on their own pledge to provide financial incentives for countries that achieve substantial progress in reducing massive deforestation.

Indonesia, one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emmitters, has done its part, but developed countries have given little in return.

For instance, in 2010, Norway agreed to provide up to US$1 billion to Indonesia to fund forestry-related emissions reduction programs throughout the country.

A large portion of the fund will only be disbursed once Indonesia demonstrates tangible success in slowing its deforestation rate.

“In terms of finance, the commitment from developed countries has to be clear. Where’s the proof? In the past, they announced pledges. In Marrakech, we will demand to see the concrete evidence,” said Emma Rachmawaty, the Environment and Forestry Ministry’s climate change mitigation director, on Thursday.

She added that Indonesia would also seek additional support such as transfer-of-technology agreements and capacity building to help the country meet its target of reducing carbon emissions by 29 percent by 2029.

“Developing countries [like Indonesia] have the right to get help from developed countries,” Emma said.

The Paris Agreement is a consensus agreement stipulating that the increase in global warming must be limited to 2 degrees Celsius.

Apart from financial demands, Indonesia will also defend its stance on other issues such as that surrounding the aviation industry’s desire to offset its carbon emissions by buying carbon from the forestry sector.

Indonesia is strongly against the scheme.

Starting from 2020, any increase in airline CO2 emissions will be offset by activities such as tree-planting, which soaks up CO2.

The plan is stipulated in the Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, which is part of the first deal limiting greenhouse gas emissions from the international aviation industry sealed in Montreal last month by national representatives from the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Emma said Indonesia should be wary of the carbon offset scheme as it had the potential to derail the country’s plan to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, also called REDD+.

“If carbon from the aviation industry is offset by REDD+, we don’t want that. If that’s the case, we can’t get the financial incentive [from REDD+],” she said.

Emma said she was worried that Indonesia would not get money from donors in its REDD+ programs even if had succeeded in achieving results, as the carbon bought by the aviation industry would neutralize the targets, well before Indonesia could claim the money.

“Maybe [in the future] Singapore Airlines will offset [its carbon] through our forests,” she said. “Offset means replacing, so we can’t get the financial incentive.”

The US, China and India are the largest emitters of CO2 in the world. As Indonesia industrializes, it has climbed up the rankings of the world’s carbon polluters, and presently sits in 11th place. The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry and the Environment and Forestry Ministry are the two government bureaucracies tasked with working through the problem.

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