Indonesia: Urgency to Set a more Ambitious NDC and committed to the Silesia Declaration

Solidarity and Just Transition Silesia Declaration


Reviving Silesia 

Silesia or referred to as Upper Silesia is a province in Poland with the capital city of Katowice. As the region with the highest population level in Poland, Silesia relies on 85% of its electricity from power plants, so it is very dependent on the coal industry. As shown in 2017, the cumulative annual coal production was 59 million tons. This industry also absorbed around 73 thousand people or represents 4.2% of the total employment in this region in 2019. This number has dropped significantly compared to 1990, with 400 thousand workers

It is undeniable that coal mining activities that have been running since the 19th century have created significant environmental problems. Methane gas released during coal production exacerbates world climate conditions. The most concerning issue to the world, apart from natural damage, is air pollution. Referring to IQAir data, in 2019, one of the cities in Silesia, Goczałkowice Zdrój, even became a polluted city in the European Union (EU) countries. Indirectly, Silesia contributes to about 48 thousand people, mostly elderly, die prematurely each year from diseases related to air pollution. The dirty air has shortened the life expectancy of Polish citizens by an average of 9 months. 

Transforming Silesia

At COP24 in 2018, which was carried out by their own country, precisely in Katowice, Poland committed to change to be an environmentally friendly energy country. It designated the country’s efforts to comply with the Paris Agreement to limit global warming in the 1.5 – 2 ° C scenario by 2050. There were three (3) focuses that the Polish government wanted to achieve, which were technology innovation to show that there were climate-friendly modern solutions, emphasizing the need to lead change together with people through the solidarity and fair transformation of regions and industrial sectors, and improving nature by carrying out sustainable multifunctional forest management. 

The Polish Presidency conceptualized this commitment in the Solidarity and Just Transition Silesia Declaration. As many as 45 state representatives who attended COP24, including Indonesia, agreed to adopt the Silesia Declaration of Solidarity and Just Transition, which was signed directly by the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo. 

The Significance of Solidarity and Just Transition Silesia Declaration

All countries in the world supposedly realize that the energy transition is very costly and threatens the economic system if not prepared carefully. It is because the process of shifting energy supplies from fossil fuels to a renewable energy system that is more efficient, low carbon, and sustainable will impact the fossil energy industry as a source of profit for a country rich in non-renewable resources and more than 10 million workers in this world.

Solidarity and Just Transition Silesia Declaration contains seven (7) essential points as directions for countries in the world to prepare for their energy transition process. Briefly, the Silesia Declaration affirms the effectiveness and inclusive method of transition energy in people by emphasizing a measure to make infrastructure climate-resilient. Also, enhancing institutional capacity in creating environmentally-friendly jobs, underlying wider employment opportunities in renewable energy, mitigating the challenges created by the fossil energy industry to ensure a decent future for workers, and conducting the social dialogue to promote the advantages of green jobs.

The ten G20 countries representing countries in the world of the Solidarity and Just Transition Silesia Declaration are Argentina, Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the UK, America, and Indonesia.

The Outcome of the Solidarity and Just Transition Silesia Declaration on the Energy Strategy and Policy in Each Country

Climate Transparency Report 2020 – the most comprehensive climate action report for the G20 countries in the world, which was released on 18 November globally, summarized the responses of several countries in responding to their commitments to Solidarity and Just Transition Silesia Declaration.

Canada established a Task Force to engage with stakeholders on a just transition for coal workers, as the country aims to phase-out coal power by 2030. In 2019, a CAD 150m fund was established to support affected communities

Germany adopted a coal exit law in July 2020 that set out a roadmap for phasing out coal power by 2038 and paved the way for EUR 40bn support to coal regions and provided compensation for coal plant operators.

The EU established the Platform for Coal Regions in Transition aiming at stakeholder knowledge sharing and exchanges of experiences in affected regions. The EU also created the Just Transition Mechanism aimed to mobilize at least EUR 100bn between 2021 and 2027.

South Africa has explicitly recognized a just transition as a priority in its National Development Plan (2012) and its NDC. The National Planning Commission has begun a social dialogue process to determine pathways for a just transition.

How is Indonesia’s position toward the Silesia Declaration?

Indonesia is committed to making a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) meet the Paris Agreement. Indonesia’s NDC has an emission reduction target of 29% from Business as Usual (BaU) 2030 (41% with international support). However, the mitigation activities for fossil energy in NDCs, based on the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) study, are not ambitious.

The Climate Transparency Report 2020 notes that Indonesia is expanding its coal industry, as shown as follows:

  1. Increase in PLTU capacity by more than 10 GW during 2015-2019 from 24.4 GW to 34.7 GW (Electricity statistics, 2019; Mulyana, 2020).
  2. The increase in coal consumption for domestic electricity by 36.5 million tons during 2015-2019 from 61.4 million tons to 97.9 million tons (Dirjen Minerba, 2020)
  3. According to PLN’s electricity supply business plan 2019–2028, Indonesia plans on doubling the current coal capacity by building an additional 27.1 GW of coal power plant capacity in the next decade, indicating that the coal share in the electricity mix might increase further (PLN, 2019). The government national electricity plan (RUKN 2019–2038) projected that in 2038, the installed capacity of coal could reach 91 GW (a third of total installed capacity), and the coal share in the electricity mix would still be 47% (DG Electricity, 2019).
  4. The Indonesian government also provides subsidized coal generation (e.g. loan guarantees, tax exemptions, royalties, and coal price caps).

In line with the unambitious NDC, Indonesia’s steps towards reaching the goal of the Silesian Solidarity Declaration and Just Transition are still less than it was expected. 

To gain on with it, IESR encourages the government to update its NDC by taking serious mitigation activities in the energy sector, such as a moratorium on new coal power plants and deactivation of coal power plants based on operating life, replacing thermal power plants with renewable energy generators, optimally increasing the renewable energy mix in the Java-Bali and Sumatra electricity systems without reducing system reliability, increasing the fuel economy of motorized vehicles (cars and motorbikes) following the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) standards, increasing the use of electric vehicles (EV) in Indonesia, and increasing energy efficiency from lighting and household appliances.

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