The RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies' Blog


Indonesia going carbon positive?

Posted in Climate Change, Environmental Security and Natural Disasters by NTSblog on September 17, 2010
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Listed by the World Bank as the third largest carbon emitter after the United States and China in 2007, with peatland degradation and forest fires as the largest contributor to it, Indonesia’s carbon emissions level is projected to increase by 52 percent in 2030 from 2005 level according to a report recently published in September 2010 by the Indonesian National Council on Climate Change (Dewan Nasional Perubahan Iklim/DNPI) − a government agency established in 2008. However, the report also shows that green growth strategy when applied in eight strategic sectors including forestry may bring a 46-percent emissions cut by 2030 from 2005 levels in line with the existing commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 26 percent by 2020. Indonesia’s is taking steps to reduce its carbon emissions and positively address climate change − going carbon positive.

Indonesia has been actively involved in the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) programme as it is one of the first nine UN-REDD Programme pilot countries in an effort to reduce carbon emissions. In early March Indonesia began to review its forest carbon laws namely the forestry department decrees 30, 36 and 68 to support the implementation of REDD. The government is lobbying the Indonesian parliament to ratify the 2002 ASEAN haze agreement to prevent forest fires and trans-boundary haze. However, a national Plan of Action to address haze has successfully reduced the number of hot spots.

Another notable effort this year is the signing of the Letter of Intent (LOI) between the Indonesian and Norwegian government, declaring a two-year moratorium on conversion permits to native forests in return for USD 1 billion from Norway to be implemented in 2011. The LOI also includes three phases of partnership namely preparation, transformation and contributions-for-verified emission reduction over four to six years.

On the one hand, this effort is seen as a concrete step towards reducing carbon emissions and thereby has received positive responses from environmental NGOs. Friends of the Earth Indonesia (Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia/WALHI) in an open letter to President Yudhoyono agreed that forest moratorium is a viable option to reduce deforestation. However, it argued for further policies to regulate the moratorium to achieve the LOI targets. Other environmental NGOs agreed.

On the other hand, questions over LOI effectiveness have been raised. Chris Lang from REDD-Monitor argues that a two-year logging moratorium is insufficient to achieve the LOI targets. Moreover, he identifies the lack of provisions for the rights of indigenous people (IP) in the LOI who are displaced as a result of deforestation. The rights of IP can be preserved by their participation in the decision making process and LOI implementation enhancing LOI effectiveness. Zulfahmi from Southeast Asia Greenpeace agrees that public education and advocacy is needed (source in Indonesian). Drajad Wibowo, an Indonesian economist, highlights the lack of LOI sanctions (source in Indonesian).The implementation of LOI will face many implementation challenges such as the recent plan to convert forest areas in three districts in Merauke, Papua into a food estate. While the REDD agreement is a positive step forward there remain many challenges ahead.

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