Besides Covid-19, Extreme Weather Keeps Attacking 2020
In 2020, a massive climate disaster befalls due to an increase in the earth’s temperature. In just 6 (six) months, there have been more than 100 climate disasters with a total impact of more than 50 million. Compared to 2019, there were 237 natural disasters, with more than 94.6 million people affected.
The global average temperature for 2020 (January to October) increased to 1.2 ± 0.1 ° C from 1850-1900. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) assesses that 2020 is on course to be one of the three warmest on record. The proof is the warming of the north pole.
The Arctic plays a significant role in keeping the earth’s temperature cool. The surface of the Arctic sea will reflect sunlight to stabilize the earth’s climate. However, Jeffrey R. Key, a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), through satellite monitoring, showed the decreasing of the thickness of the Arctic sea ice, increasing plant growth, accelerating ice sheet loss, and the shifting of atmospheric circulation patterns.
It indicates that the world continues to experience a notable increase in temperature. The Climate Transparency Report 2020 summarizes some of the most unusual natural disaster phenomena in 2020.
The Climate Transparency Report (previously known as “Brown to Green Report”) is the world’s most comprehensive annual review of G20 countries’ climate action and their transition to a net-zero emissions economy. Climate Transparency is a global partnership of 14 think tanks, including the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) and NGOs from most G20 countries with support from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).
This year’s report analyzes the performance of the G20 countries across 100 indicators of climate adaptation, mitigation, and the financial sector. It also includes the G20 government’s response to the Covid-19 crisis as well as the latest emission data and projections for 2020.
The Climate Transparency report revealed, for the first time in history, in 2020, South Korea experienced the longest monsoon season for 54 days. Dozens of deaths and economic losses for thousands of people from torrential rains, floods, and landslides. Argentina, in the same year, experienced its peatlands with its worst fires in over a decade. It was exacerbated by low water levels and some of the driest conditions since 2008. Brazil endured a similar event as well, precisely in Pantanal, the largest peatland in the world has encountered the worst drought and fire in the last 15 years. Of the most shocking phenomena, Siberia underwent a period of extremely high temperatures, including a record temperature of 38oC in the city of Verkhoyansk on June 20, causing wildfires, loss of ice sheets, and pest invasion.
In Indonesia, The National Agency for Disaster (BNPB) data shows that until 23rd December 2020, there were around 2,878 disasters in Indonesia. The majority were hydrometeorological disasters with the largest number of floods, followed by tornadoes and landslides. A total of 6.3 million people were displaced, 407 people died, and 532 were injured.
In general, the world is experiencing increasing natural disasters. A report by The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) states that during the Covid-19 pandemic, as many as 51 million people were affected by drought, floods, and strong winds. Compare this with 2019, with an estimated 41 million people experiencing losses due to floods and strong winds.
Unfortunately, amid a turbulent climate that has brought huge losses (estimated at around USD 139.8 billion), the leaders of countries in the world, especially the G20 or countries that represent 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions, are still detained to demonstrate its commitment to fulfilling the Paris Agreement.
Pitching Lip Services Promises on Climate Ambition Summit
Five years after the Paris Agreement was agreed upon, the United Nations hosted a Climate Ambition Summit (12/12), 75 countries that renewed their Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) were allowed to speak at the event. However, only 3 (three) countries have drawn attention, such as China’s NDC-related commitment to lower its CO2 emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by over 65% by 2030, from 2005 levels; the European Union’s NDC-related pledge to reduce GHG emissions by at least 55% from 1990 levels by 2030; and the UK’s NDC-related target of reducing GHG emissions at least 68% below 1990 levels by 2030.
However, Alok Sharma, the expected COP 26 President, criticized that they were still insufficient to fulfill the Paris Agreement. For instance, while China has set bold targets for GHG reduction, Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, provided only small details of the strategy to achieve them.
At the same moment, António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, regretted the country’s lack of commitment in facing the threat of the climate crisis.
“We borrow trillions of dollars in stimulus to recover Covid-19 from future generations. However, we use the money to inherit a damaged planet, which is burdening future generations. This is unacceptable, “he said distinctly.
Moreover, based on the observation of the Climate Transparency Report, about 54 percent of the total stimulus of the G20 countries for post-Covid-19 recovery in the energy sector, directed to support fossil energy (as of October). Furthermore, the Greenness of Stimulus Index (GSI) measurement found that 16 countries in the G20 chose not to reform their systems to accelerate the decarbonization process sustainably.
Indonesia’s Report is Still Red for Climate Ambition
Indonesia was not among the countries invited to the Climate Ambition Summit. It happened because Indonesia has decided to stick to the previous NDC (November 2016). Indonesia’s NDC target is to reduce emissions by 29% on its own and up to 41% if there is international support from business as usual conditions by 2030, through decarbonization in the forestry, energy, waste, industrial processes and product use sectors, and agriculture.
However, based on the modeling of the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), without updating the NDC more ambitiously, Indonesia’s score is still the same as the previous year, which is very insufficient. It is only one level below the worst value, critically insufficient. It means that with climate mitigation efforts that only refer to its NDC, Indonesia failed to meet the Paris Agreement target of keeping the earth’s temperature below 1.5-20C, but instead allowed it to heat up to 40C by 2030.
The Climate Transparency Report 2020 highlights the fact that Indonesia is one of the countries that experienced a slight reduction in CO2 gas in 2020. The increase in carbon emissions has even occurred in the building sector by up to 14 percent.
On the other hand, Indonesia’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (apart from emissions from land-use) increased by 140% between 1990 and 2017, with the largest increase in GHG coming from the energy sector. However, Indonesia still provides the largest subsidies to the fossil energy sector without making a clear road map and appropriate policy support to gradually move out of dependence on fossil energy. In 2019, Indonesia disbursed fossil fuel subsidies worth USD 8.6 billion compared to the previous year, namely USD 8.1 billion.
As the leader of the G20 in 2022, Indonesia Must Expose Progressive Efforts to Mitigate the Climate Crisis
In 2022, Indonesia will receive high trust from the international community to occupy several strategic roles, one of which is Indonesia exchanging positions with India in the leadership of the G20. Indonesia can use it to recover from the Covid-19 crisis and gather more support from the international community, especially developed countries, by preparing an energy transition road map that maintains decarbonization and development of renewable energy.
“At the G20, Indonesia can emphasize the urgency to accelerate decarbonization efforts and build collective initiatives from G20 countries to support countries that still use coal power plants predominantly to be able to phase out it gradually before 2030 and accelerate the development of clean energy infrastructure with the support of international funding mechanisms, “said Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of IESR.
Governments also still have the opportunity to direct stimulus spending and introduce complementary measures to ensure that public resources support equitable transitions to low-carbon GHG emissions and a climate-resilient future.
The Climate Transparency Report encourages all G20 countries to apply the five principles of green recovery to recover from the Covid-19 crisis and prevent the greatest potential crisis due to climate change.
First, invest in sustainable physical infrastructure. It is including renewable energy development such as solar, wind, biofuels, and hydrogen, as well as the use of carbon-neutral technology. In the transportation sector, the government needs to develop electric vehicle infrastructure based on renewable energy, applying energy-efficient and retrofit buildings (energy storage systems).
Second, invest in nature-based solutions & the environment. It will open up wider green job opportunities, such as land restoration, increasing green cover, fire prevention, and agriculture with an efficient irrigation system.
Third, invest in education, research, and development. These investments can support and advance industrial growth in renewable energy, infrastructure development to support low-carbon vehicles, and water-efficient agriculture.
Fourth, provide prerequisites for sectors that receive bailout funds to be in line with long-term commitments towards sustainability, inclusion, and low carbon.
Fifth, strengthen policies, regulations, and incentives for carbon-neutral development. The post-Covid-19 recovery moment is the right time for the government to support the implementation of an energy transition to low-carbon energy and sustainable development. The government can issue the policy of providing special tax or subsidies for renewable energy, carbon taxes, incentives for low-emission vehicles.
The government’s discipline to fulfill its commitment to low-carbon development will bring the Indonesian people to a better health condition. It also triggers the availability of more green jobs than the fossil fuel industry, more activities in green and agriculture, biodiversity protection, and financial resilience. It keeps the country staying away from stranded assets due to wasted development in the fossil industry.