Half-hearted Indonesian Climate Policy and Action

Jakarta, 30 January 2024 – The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has declared 2023 as the hottest year. Historical records show that the earth’s temperature continues to increase from year to year. To keep the earth’s temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees, experts have recommended ensuring the world reaches peak global emissions in 2030 and must fall in the following years.

The use of fossil energy is one of the largest contributors to emissions in the world. Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), Fabby Tumiwa, said that Indonesia needs measurable and real action for transitioning away from fossil energy.

“Based on the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) assessment, Indonesia has not shown a reduction in emissions, in fact it will experience an increase in emissions in 2022 and one of the causes is an increase in coal consumption used for down streaming. Indonesia’s rating even dropped from ‘highly insufficient’ to ‘critically insufficient’. The most important thing is real steps to accelerate the transition in this decade,” emphasized Fabby.

Indonesia, as one of the top 10 emitting countries in the world, actually received a bad record with Indonesia’s climate ranking dropping to the lowest level according to the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) assessment framework.

Delima Ramadhani, IESR Climate Policy Project Coordinator, said at the launch of the Climate Action Tracker report that throughout 2023, Indonesia has delivered a number of initiatives and policies that normatively support the acceleration of the energy transition, but this does not have implications for efforts to reduce emissions.

“Indonesia’s rating dropped from ‘highly insufficient’ to ‘critically insufficient’. ‘Critically insufficient’ means that if countries have climate commitments like Indonesia, the rate of global warming will be at the level of 4 degrees,” said Delima.

Mustaba Ari Suryoko, Intermediate Policy Analyst, Coordinator of the Aneka EBT Program Preparation Working Group, responded that the assessment of emissions reduction efforts is a reminder for all parties to continue working to achieve emissions reduction targets.

“Achievement number figures are an accumulation of various variables, so we hope that in planning we will not only determine ambitious targets but also make efforts to achieve them,” he said.

Anna Amalia, Functional Intermediate Planner at the Ministry of National Development Planning (Bappenas), said that to pursue Indonesia’s more ambitious climate targets there are several opportunities.

“The government is starting to move progressively, in the next 20 years we will have a RPJP (National Long Term Development Plan-ed) which focuses on reducing GHG emissions, how we encourage economic growth through low emission corridors and of course other policies will follow,” Anna said.

The annual Climate Transparency report also includes an Implementation Check Report to see the effectiveness of climate policy implementation.

Akbar Bagaskara, IESR’s Power Sector Analyst, explained that Indonesia’s electricity sector is in the medium category because the implementation of policies that support the transition in the electricity sector has not been effective.

“Historically, in the last five years we never achieved our annual renewable energy target. We need to strengthen policies to strengthen Indonesia’s renewable energy enabling environment, as well as involving various groups in the planning, procurement and evaluation processes,” explained Akbar.

Yosi Amelia, Forest & Climate Program Officer, Yayasan Madani Berkelanjutan, highlighted the lack of synchronization of strategies across ministries and government agencies which created unclear documents that should be treated as guidelines.

“There are inconsistencies between documents, for example regarding Indonesia’s deforestation quota. In the FOLU Net Sink 2030 strategy, there are no longer deforestation quotas, while the E-NDC still provides deforestation quotas,” said Yosi.

Launch of Indonesia’s Climate Action Tracker Assessment Report and Climate Transparency Implementation Checkup

“State of Indonesia’s Climate Policy 2023: Expectations for Increased Ambition and Strengthened Implementation to Achieve the Paris Agreement Targets by 2030”

Background

The year 2023 was recorded as one of the hottest years on record, with global temperatures rising by 1.4 degrees Celsius since the pre-industrial era. In the first global stocktake carried out during the COP-28 Dubai event, the United Arab Emirates also stated that policies and actions taken by countries in the world are still unable to reduce the rate of increase in emissions in line with the Paris Agreement targets. The Global Stocktake results show that based on the current accumulation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), there are still around 20.3–23.9 GtCOe2 emissions that need to be reduced to prevent a temperature rise above 1.5C by 2030. Thus, more ambitious climate policies and actions at the national level play an important role in the global effort to achieve the Paris Agreement targets.

In the context of climate policy in Indonesia, data from the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) as of December 2023 shows that Indonesia still needs to reduce around 800 MtCOe2 in 2030 emissions to align its emission reduction target with the Paris Agreement (CAT, 2023). The operationalization of new coal power plants as well as the quantification of emissions from off-grid generation caused Indonesia’s emissions to rise by around 21% in 2022 (CAT, 2023). This results in Indonesia’s emissions being projected to increase by around 300 MtCO2 by 2030. Based on CAT’s assessment, Indonesia needs to increase the percentage of the renewable energy mix by around 55%–80% by 2030. Therefore, Indonesia needs to re-evaluate the climate targets contained in its NDC and also improve coordination between sectors in order to accelerate the achievement of the Paris Agreement targets.

Indonesia will experience a change of government in 2024. With this change, there is a possibility that the policy direction of the new government will be different from the previous government. It is hoped that the new government will be able to formulate a more ambitious and comprehensive climate policy umbrella so that it can support the achievement of the Paris Agreement targets and remain in line with the country’s development plan. Publication of Climate Action Tracker Country Assessment: Indonesia and Climate Transparency Implementation Check The report is expected to be a reference for recommendations for policymakers in order to harmonize climate policies at the national level and also commitments at the global level. In addition, the dissemination of these two reports is also expected to open a discussion space for the public to provide feedback and recommendations on climate policy in Indonesia.

Objective 

  1. Dissemination of the Climate Action Tracker report: Indonesia Climate Action Status 2023 to stakeholders and the general public;
  2. Facilitate discussions on the implementation of climate policies in the electricity, financing, and AFOLU sectors;
  3. Become a cross-sector discussion space for the government as a policy maker, civil society organizations, academics, and the general public in order to realize climate policy and energy transition in Indonesia in line with the Paris Agreement targets;
  4. A means of gathering opinions and inputs from various levels of society and sectors, which can be used as recommendations for climate and energy transition policies in Indonesia.

Comprehensive Action for Indonesia’s Energy Transition

Jakarta, 12 December 2023 – The energy transition journey in Indonesia in 2023 is entering a consolidation phase, which means that a number of policies that emerged in the 2020-2023 period need to be synchronized so that their implementation can accelerate steps towards one big goal, namely limiting the increase in earth’s temperature to level 1 .5 degrees Celsius aligned with the Paris Agreement pathway.

Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), in an online media briefing (12/12) held by IESR, stated that there are a number of enabling conditions that determine the success of the energy transition.

“There are 4 enabling conditions for a successful energy transition, namely, policy & regulatory framework, funding & investment support, technology application, as well as social impact & community support,” said Fabby.

Fabby also added that there have been a number of energy transition initiatives since 2020, such as RUPTL 2021, the Energy Transition Mechanism (ETM) agreement, and the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP). The existence of these various agreements is good considering that until 2020, there were no regulations regarding the energy transition, but the most important thing is the implementation of these various policies.

Pintoko Aji, IESR renewable energy analyst, said that the energy transition (in Indonesia) must be carried out comprehensively in all sectors, not limited to the power sector alone.

“The ultimate goal of this energy transition is to reduce emissions, so energy transition efforts must be comprehensive, not limited to the power sector alone. Industry and transportation, for example, also need to start working on it because currently there are not many concrete (actionable) policies in that sector,” said Pintoko.

Yunus Saefulhak, Head of the Energy Policy and Conference Facilitation Bureau, National Energy Council (DEN), in the same forum also explained that currently DEN is working on a revision of the National Energy Policy (Kebijakan Energi Nasional, KEN) to align various national targets with developments in international energy transition commitments and the strategy.

“This revision is urgent to carry out because energy policy needs to be in line with climate change policy, and a grand national energy strategy has also been prepared as input for KEN & RUEN updates,” said Yunus.

One of the KEN renewal points is that the new renewable energy mix in 2025 will reach 17 – 19 percent, and in 2060 it will reach 70-72 percent.

Various policy developments and adjusted targets need to be continuously monitored and guarded. The Institute for Essential Services Reform has monitored various developments in the Indonesian energy sector since 2017 and outlined them in a main report entitled Indonesia Energy Transition Outlook. In 2023, IESR will return and launch the Indonesia Energy Transition Outlook 2024 report, on December 15 2023. Follow the launch either in person (limited capacity) or online by registering at s.id/IETO2024

Webinar The Importance of Energy Transition for Children and Young People

Background

Indonesia is the fourth country with the highest number of children in the world. About one-third of Indonesia’s population is made up of children. According to BPS Interim Population Projection 2020–2023 data, in 2022, the number of children aged 0–17 years was 29.15%, or 79,486,424 people. Meanwhile, young people aged 15–34 are approximately 89 million people. According to a study conducted by Save the Children in 2020, it was found that children born in 2020 will experience disasters 3.4 times more often than the generation born in 1960. These disasters caused by climate change include heat waves, floods, forest fires, droughts, and crop failures. According to a UNICEF study, climate change poses the greatest threat to the health, nutrition, education, and future of children and young people.

Climate mitigation is one of the most important things to consider, especially in the energy sector. Currently, global warming is caused by emissions produced by burning fossil energy. Indonesia is one of the countries that relies heavily on fossil energy, especially coal. With this condition, Indonesia still cannot have ambitious climate ambitions. On the other hand, according to the book Start Here: Understanding Indonesia’s Energy Transition (2023), fossil fuel-based power plants cause negative impacts on the climate. For example, they emit carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and other gases. These emissions lead to acid rain, an increased greenhouse effect, and global warming, which contribute to the current climate change phenomenon.

The energy transition process will not only change the existing energy system but also have the potential to change the socio-economic system of the surrounding community. Therefore, the energy transition must involve all parties, including the community, to reduce the potential social, economic, and environmental impacts. The involvement of children and young people is one of the important parties in this transition process. According to IESR’s “Just Transition in Indonesia’s Coal Producing Regions” study, the mining sector is one of the most attractive sectors for young people in Paser District and Muara Enim District. However, with the trend of energy transition, it is estimated that in the future, the coal industry will begin to decline due to a decrease in global coal demand.

Therefore, IESR intends to organize a webinar on the importance of energy transitions for children and young people. This event is part of the pre-Youth Climate Conference, a conference for children and young people to voice the issue of the climate crisis to Indonesian leaders. It is hoped that through this webinar, IESR can provide a deeper perspective and understanding of the importance of the energy transition issue for the future of children and young people.

Objectives

This webinar activity has several objectives, namely:

  1. Raising awareness about the importance of energy transition among children and young people, especially on the issue of electricity and equitable transition;
  2. Provide a forum for discussion on the impact of the energy transition on children and young people.

 

Stocktaking the Climate Action in Southeast Asia

Johor Bahru, 15 November 2023 – In achieving the agenda of global energy transition, the Southeast Asia region is taking measures to climate action including its non-state actors. Meaningful participation from non-state actors is crucial in observing the currently running policies and providing input for future improvements.

Stocktaking becomes a crucial activity to track the current progress of climate mitigation and action. The results of the assessment then can be utilized to design robust policy recommendations. Non-state actors can enrich the nuance of the global stocktake  by convening and aligning climate action with the interest of the global community. 

Wira Agung Swadana, the green economy program manager at the Institute for Essentials Services Reform (IESR) highlighted the key takeaways from the first global stocktake during the Asia Pacific Climate Week 2023 in the session “Integrating the role of NSAs focused on the thematic areas–Adaptation, Finance, and Mitigation”. The imbalance in growth of global emissions compared to the climate mitigation plan leads to issues such as the urgency to have systemic transformation.

“We need more ambition in action and support during the implementation of the mitigative action in the region,” he said.

Wira added that achieving net-zero emissions requires systemic transformation across all sectors, and we need to tap into every opportunity to achieve higher output. The business and commercial sector is an important factor in accelerating energy transition as they consume massive amounts of energy. Besides, some of the industries (especially those involved in multinational-scale supply chains), have the obligation to green their business process.

“What the government can do for business (to decarbonize their operations) is to provide an enabling environment if they want to shift to more sustainable business process. For instance, the government can give incentive and disincentive based on the choice of energy resource used to power the businesses,” Wira concluded.

Jingjing Gao, from the UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre, added that the private sector-led initiative is worth noting. Yet, there is still a gap in data incorporation from the private sector.

Reflection on Indonesian Leadership in ASEAN 2023

Jakarta, 20 October 2023 – The transfer of the ASEAN leadership baton to Laos marks the end of Indonesia’s leadership in the ASEAN region. A number of milestones such as cooperation with external non-ASEAN parties, as well as several opportunities for cooperation between ASEAN member countries are a good note. However, this good record has not been matched by an increasing commitment to curbing the rate of climate change, the impacts of which are increasingly being felt.

In a Public Discussion entitled “Reflecting on Indonesia’s Leadership in ASEAN 2023: Towards a Regional Frontrunner in Climate and Energy Transition Issues”, Wira Agung Swadana, Green Economy Program Manager of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), stated that during Indonesia’s leadership period, cooperation or action was agreed upon by ASEAN member countries are still mainly infrastructural.

“The results of the 2023 ASEAN Summit and other energy and climate-related meetings can be seen that there is still a lack of focus on renewable energy issues. “For example, there is no joint commitment to increase the development of a cleaner solar energy or hydropower ecosystem,” said Wira.

Apart from the ecosystem for renewable energy, Wira also said that several issues had ‘eluded’ the attention of ASEAN high-ranking officials, such as the issue of critical minerals and low-carbon and sustainable electric transportation.

Executive Director of the Indonesia Research Institute for Decarbonization (IRID), Moekti Handajani (Kuki) Soejachmoen, explained the phenomenon of the high contribution of emissions from the energy sector in ASEAN countries.

“Energy is an engine for development, so if development still uses energy procurement patterns with a business-as-usual scheme (high fossil-ed), emissions will definitely increase significantly. On the one hand, all ASEAN member countries need to carry out development but must control their emissions,” explained Kuki.

Kuki then added that the role of technology is needed to enable development to continue and keep the amount of emissions released low. The use of this technology will have financial consequences.

By looking at this problem, Kuki emphasized that it is important for ASEAN as a regional unit to develop a comprehensive strategy to achieve the NDC targets for each country and encourage the achievement of Net Zero Emissions. From this strategy, mitigation actions can be grouped that can be carried out alone, those that require international financial support, those whose emission reduction units can be sold and those that require additional purchase of emission reduction units.

IESR Energy and Climate Diplomacy Coordinator, Arief Rosadi, highlighted ASEAN’s tendency to seem slow in taking strategic diplomatic positions, thus creating various gaps such as institutional gaps, ambition gaps, implementation gaps and participation gaps. According to him, Indonesia can use its position to strengthen its climate and energy diplomacy and contribute to narrowing gaps in ASEAN.

“Increasing climate ambition in strengthening Indonesia’s climate and energy diplomacy strategy is a modality for Indonesia to encourage the same thing in other countries at regional, bilateral and multilateral levels. Apart from that, fixing the gap can be done by encouraging the resolution of the gap at the regional level in ASEAN’s internal processes,” added Arief.

Arrange a Strategy to Get Around the Impact of Coal Power Plant Shutdown

Jakarta, 27 September 2023 – Indonesia’s increase in climate commitments in the Enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution (E-NDC) brings a number of implications, including plans to stop coal-fired power plant operations early to reduce emissions. This plan has several impacts, including a decrease in the income of coal-producing regions as well as national income, the potential for massive layoffs, as well as other socio-economic impacts.

In a hybrid seminar, entitled “Sunset CFPP and the Coal Industry: Reviewing Multisectoral Direction & Impact in a Just Energy Transition” (27/9), Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) explained that the energy transition agenda for both Indonesia and the destination countries for Indonesian coal exports will have an impact on a number of aspects in Indonesia.

“There are three factors that can be seen from the energy transition in coal producing areas: the link between the local economy and coal, the readiness of existing human resources, and alternative economic options that can be developed in that area, and how mitigation plans can be prepared,” said Fabby.

In the presentation material delivered by Ilham Surya, IESR Environmental Policy Analyst, it was explained that the role of the coal industry in the economy of coal-producing regions is quite significant.

“The GRDP contribution is between 50% and 70% in Muara Enim and Paser, but the multiplier effect is not that big,” said Ilham.

Within the scope of national policy, the Ministry of PPM/Bappenas is currently preparing a Long Term Development Plan (RPJP), one of the points  is economic transformation.

“The energy transition is part of the green economic transformation, so in the latest draft of RPJP, what we meant by transition is not only seen from the energy sector,” explained Nizhar Marizi, Director of Energy, Mineral and Mining Resources, Bappenas.

Grita Anindarini, Deputy Director for Programs, Indonesia Center for Environmental Law (ICEL), emphasized the important role of the policy framework and implementation of various existing regulations.

“A just energy transition requires a very big policy transformation on employment, environment, energy, and financing. Currently there are several policy regulations regarding the energy transition, but their implementation still faces various obstacles,” explained Grita.

Haris Retno Susmiyati, Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Mulawarman University, admits that economic dependence on coal commodities is not a good thing. She said that in 2015, when coal prices fell drastically, the economy of East Kalimantan also slumped.

“By regulation, the company’s obligation to pay royalties to the government is only 13.5% of that figure. The regional government only gets 5%, so it is not the coal producing regions that actually enjoy the profits from coal,” said Retno.

Having a similar context to East Kalimantan, Jambi province is also starting to prepare for transition. Ahmad Subhan, Head of Economy and Natural Resources, Bappeda Jambi, said that even though it is not the main coal producing area, the contribution of the coal sector to GRDP is quite significant.

“Coal is indeed significant for supporting the economy, but if there are substitutes that are more relevant to regional conditions, they can be explored further. For this transition, we in Jambi province are supportive but not drastic. We are also waiting for substitutions for economic transformation,” said Ahmad.

Implementation Check Methodology: a Much Needed Mechanism

New York, 21 September 2023 – The global community is urging global leaders to take serious actions to address climate change. During the COP 27 in Egypt, several countries renewed their commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving net zero emission status. However, there are still gaps between commitment and implementation of policy and action to seize the determined target. 

To assess, rate, and monitor a country’s progress during the policy implementation, Climate Transparency, a global partnership of research organizations and NGO in the G20 countries, has developed a methodology to review policy implementation across four categories: legal status, institutions & governance, resourcing, and oversight.  

Yvonne Deng, Energy and Climate Strategy Expert from the 7Gen Consulting, emphasized the importance of having monitoring instruments to review current policy and its role to seize the climate target. 

“We (Climate Transparency) analyze the gap and go deeper to the sectoral approach to recommend what sectoral policy a country should take to pursue the ambition,” said Yvonne.

South Africa, one of the countries receiving global attention lately as the first recipient of Just Energy Transition Partnership funding. Guy Cunliffe, Energy System Researcher of the University of Cape Town explained that as a country receiving international assistance, South Africa needs to showcase accountability during implementation. 

“An implementation monitoring is critical to showcase success of the implementation and as a beneficiary country it is also a way to display progress of the committed project,” he said.

Guy added that as the first JETP recipient, South Africa has increased its climate ambition and tried to integrate significant renewable capacity to its grid. However, during the implementation, the country is experiencing a glitch in terms of electricity supply. This glitch ‘forces’ them to adjust the plan and policy while rapidly changing the energy market. This is only possible with continuous policy monitoring. 

Similar to South Africa, Indonesia, as one of the biggest coal producers, has its electricity generation dominated by coal. In 2022, Indonesia renewed its emission reduction target in enhanced NDC, from 29% to 31.89% (unconditional) and 41% to 43.2% (conditional).

Wira Agung Swadana, Green Economy Program Manager at the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), noted that during the transition away from coal-dependency, there are still conflicting interests among stakeholders, primarily due to the government’s lack of clear guidance on the transition’s meaning and direction transition.

“Though Indonesia has increased ambition and target in its NDC, the enabling environment for the renewable energy developers is not attractive enough yet. There is still no clear incentive for the investors as well as the lengthy process,” Wira explained. 

The in progress New and Renewable Energy Bill (RUU EBET), though believed to provide a robust policy framework, is to some extent attempting to prolong the use of fossil fuels by including CCS technology in the renewable options.