Indonesia’s bold new coal goal contrasts with reneging on deforestatio…

A recent government study reported that already to unprotected to net-zero by 2060, Indonesia would need to invest $US200 billion ($A270 billion) a year for the next decade and an average of up to $US1.6 trillion ($2.1 trillion) per year in the three decades afterwards.

Other countries in the vicinity also have problem financing the change to renewables but as Indonesia assumes the G20 presidency for the next year, Joko is calling for international assistance to allow it to “contribute more to reach net zero”.

“The question is how much developed countries are willing to contribute and what kinds of technology transfers can be made,” he said in Glasgow.

Joko’s point woman on raising the money is Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawat, an Indonesian economist whose standing is such that she was formerly managing director of the World Bank.

But there is great scepticism about whether getting out of coal by 2040 is realistic and how its newly flagged aspirations fit with Joko’s major focus on infrastructure.

“It’s a very, very big number that we have to come up with in order to retire coal,” said Professor Jatna Supriatna, the chairman of the Research Centre for Climate Change at the University of Indonesia.

“It’s going to be very costly until 2030 unless someone pays for it.”

He said Indonesia had many replaceable energy options at its disposal including tapping it from the ocean floor, geothermal and biomass energy and hydrogen “but it really needs investment”.

Andri Prasetiyo, program manager at Indonesian climate change action campaign group Trend Asia, is already more doubtful.

“This commitment seems like an empty potential. Indonesia is nevertheless building coal-fired strength plants,” he said. “I think they’re just using these energy issues to make sure there is a new form of investment.”

But while Indonesia joined more than 40 countries in Glasgow in agreeing to phase out coal-fired strength, it cast doubt on another meaningful international potential.

One tree remains after prolonged draught triggered a fire in rainforests in Aceh. Credit:Getty

Indonesia, home to a third of the world’s rainforests, was one of more than 100 signatories to a pact to end deforestation by 2030, but Indonesian ministers said later such a timeline was never agreed when leaders met in Glasgow.

“The enormous development of President Jokowi’s era must not stop in the name of carbon emissions or in the name of deforestation,” said Indonesia ecosystem Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar on social media.

She said that “forcing Indonesia to zero deforestation in 2030 is clearly inappropriate and unfair” while Indonesia’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Mahendra Siregar, said the statement released by the United Kingdom on a zero deforestation agreement was “clearly erroneous and misleading”.

“Although Indonesia is willing to include on forest management at the global level to address climate change, it is important to move beyond insignificant narrative, rhetoric, haphazard targets and sound bites,” he said.

Global Forest Watch reports it has lost 10 per cent of its forests since 2001, although the speed of the destruction has slowed under Joko. He placed a moratorium on permits for new palm oil plantations in 2018 and his government says deforestation is at its lowest level in 20 years, with forest fires down 82 per cent in the last year.

Indonesia is the world’s number one palm oil producer and deforestation represents 60 per cent of its total emissions.


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A view of cleared land designated for a palm oil plantation in Pelalawan, Riau province.Credit:Bloomberg

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