Jakarta, 15 August 2023 Holding the Chair of ASEAN in 2023 and possessing significant economic influence within the ASEAN region, Indonesia can foster a joint agreement among other ASEAN member countries to promote the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in alignment with the Paris Agreement. Additionally, Indonesia can mobilize support from other countries as several ASEAN nations aim to phase out coal-fired power plant operations incrementally before 2050. Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), conveyed this message during a media briefing titled “Measuring ASEAN’s Climate Ambition at the Helm of Indonesia’s ASEAN 2023 Chairmanship.”
According to Fabby, while Indonesia prohibits the construction of new coal-fired power plants (PLTU) for general use, allowing their construction for industrial purposes can impede the achievement of a higher renewable energy mix. He emphasized that the Indonesian government should advocate for a stronger commitment to ending the operation of coal-fired power plants throughout ASEAN countries. Furthermore, Indonesia should bolster its renewable energy expansion within ASEAN, particularly in solar energy development. Fabby encouraged discussions on an integrated supply chain to be established during the ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) scheduled for August 2023.
“We hope that during AMEM, Indonesia can propose to become a manufacturing hub for solar PV, encompassing technology from polysilicon to solar modules. Although some ASEAN countries have advanced manufacturing capabilities, they are still limited to cells and modules. Moreover, this manufacturing progress lacks integration. Indonesia, endowed with raw materials like silica sand, has the potential, as Chair of ASEAN 2023, to champion an integrated supply chain through a collective agreement,” he stated.
He added that climate threats are escalating for ASEAN nations, significantly impacting the region’s food security, energy security, and developmental progress. Without earnest endeavors to curb global emissions, climate change will compound challenges, making sustained economic growth of over 6% in the Southeast Asian region even more challenging.
Berlianto Pandapotan Hasudungan, Director of ASEAN Economic Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, explained that transitioning to renewable energy and reducing reliance on petroleum is pivotal for Indonesia’s leadership within ASEAN amidst geopolitical, Myanmar, and climate crises.
“Alongside the advancement of electric vehicles, ASEAN is fostering energy interconnections among member countries and embarking on studies for energy interconnections within the region,” he elaborated.
Shahnaz Nur Firdausi, a Researcher on Climate and Energy at IESR, highlighted that Indonesia’s climate policies and commitments do not align with the Paris Agreement’s objective of capping temperature rise at 1.5°C. The Climate Action Tracker (CAT) report underscores the insufficiency of Indonesia’s climate targets and policies. If other countries follow a similar path, global warming could exceed 2°C to 3°C.
“For this reason, Indonesia’s climate policies and actions in 2030 require substantial improvements in line with a temperature limit of 1.5°C. Indonesia should elevate the NDC target to 75% under the NDC business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, excluding land use and land use change and forestry (conditional), and 62% (unconditional). Furthermore, Indonesia’s land use and forestry emissions have accounted for nearly 50% of total emissions over the past two decades,” said Shahnaz.
In concluding remarks, Agus Tampubolon, the Project Manager of Clean, Affordable, and Secure Energy (CASE) for Southeast Asia, emphasized the significance of collaboration among ASEAN member countries to expedite the energy transition.
“Indonesia can serve as a model for the ASEAN region by spearheading the energy transition. ASEAN countries possess tremendous potential for joint efforts in advancing solar PV technologies and crafting policies that facilitate the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy, thereby amplifying climate targets,” Agus affirmed.