The Earth Day and Indonesia’s Climate and Energy Agenda Forward

Jakarta, 10 May 2023 – The celebration of Earth Day reminds us that there is only one planet we live on, it provides many benefits for human civilization, and we must protect its preservation for future generations. For that reason, increasing the awareness of environmental issues becomes important and we should put environmental issues on the main policy agenda, such as air pollution, waste management, forest degradation, and particularly climate change which possess an existential threat to humankind that can lead to global catastrophic (Hugell etc, 2022). 

Climate change become a significant issue because its impact will cause new problems for a human civilization either through slow onset events or extreme events, and creating loss and damage both in terms of economic losses – (income and physical assets) and non-economic losses (individual, society, and environment) (Loss and Damage Online Guideline, UNFCCC.INT). Furthermore, the rising of global temperature above 2 degrees by 2100 will have an impact on people, wildlife, and the ecosystem (Reuters, 2021), it means all countries are vulnerable to the impact of climate change, we need collective ambition for climate action that reflected in each country the Nationally Determined Contribution as mandated by the Paris Agreement (2015).

In the Indonesia context, according to Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN, 2020) which summarizes a country’s vulnerability to climate change with its readiness to improve, puts Indonesia in the 101st rank. It indicates Indonesia is in a vulnerable condition and needs to improve the structure of its society through strengthening mitigation and adaptation actions to enable climate-resilience development. In the context of climate policy, Indonesia has updated its NDC since the process of the Paris Agreement (2015), i.e Intended NDC (2015), The First NDC (2016), the Updated NDC (2021), and the Enhanced NDC (2022). Despite having been updated several times, Indonesia’s climate policy is considered less ambitious. This argument resonates with Climate Action Tracker where Indonesia’s overall rating for climate policy is highly insufficient – it implies Indonesia’s climate policies and commitments are not consistent with the Paris Agreement 1.5 degree temperature limits and leads to rising, rather than falling emissions. 

In the latest policy, Indonesia has set its emission reduction target by 2030 at 31.89% (with self-effort) and 43.20% (with international support) compared to the previous policy (the Updated NDC, 2021) – 29% (with self-effort) and 41% (with international). Related to the energy sector, the Government of Indonesia has set an emission reduction target of 12.5% (with self-effort) and 15.5% (with international support). Emission Reduction from this sector is crucial because of an important component of national economic development. It not only covers electricity but also cooling, commercial, household, transport, heating, manufacturing, buildings, and cooking (SEforALL). In essence, the successful emission reduction through energy transition will give a significant contribution to climate change and the green economy agenda.

From a technical and economic perspective, increasing Indonesia’s climate ambition and achieving net zero emission in the Indonesia energy system by 2050 is feasible considering Indonesia has a lot of potentials to use renewable energy and local renewable resources, particularly solar PV is sufficient to meet energy demand in the country (IESR, 2021). In detail, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources has identified Indonesia’s renewable energy potential of around 3.686 GW, with specific solar (3.295), hydro (95), bioenergy (57), wind farm (115), geothermal (24), and tidal (60 GW) but the realization of renewable energy use only 12.56 GW per December 2022. 

In conclusion, according to the explanation above, Indonesia needs a more ambitious commitment to tackle climate change and urgently accelerate its energy transition taking into consideration that we deal with existential threats and live in a situation of crisis. The new ambitious climate goal will give a positive signal to all stakeholders that Indonesia is serious about tackling this issue and can drive all stakeholders in society to work collectively toward making Indonesia greener. This commitment not only benefits Indonesia as a country but also contributes to the effort to save this planet from the impact of climate change. 

Photo by Appolinary Kalashnikova on Unsplash

The Increase of Emission Reduction Targets in Indonesia’s NDC is Still a Long Way to Mitigating a Climate Crisis

Jakarta, 6 December 2022- Indonesia has submitted Enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (ENDCs) documents by increasing the target of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by only around 2%. The Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), which is a member of the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), a consortium of three think tanks that conducts monitoring and assessment of climate change policies in 39 countries and the European Union, found that the slight increase in Indonesia’s NDC target was still insufficient to prevent a global temperature rise of 1.5°C.

In Enhanced NDC, the target of reducing emissions by own efforts (unconditional) increases from 29% in the Updated NDC document to 31.89% in 2030, and with international assistance (conditional) increases from 41% to 43.2%. IESR and CAT view that Indonesia should be able to set even more ambitious targets, especially after the issuance of Presidential Regulation (Perpres) No 112 of 2022 concerning the Acceleration of Renewable Energy Development for the Provision of Electricity.

“Indonesia is still hesitant to set ambitious emission reduction targets and play in the safe zone. The reduction target set in the Enhanced NDC (E-NDC) is too easy to achieve because the reference is the business-as-usual emission increase projection in 2030. The emission reduction target should be based on the absolute emission level based on a certain year. To be in line with the 1.5°C ambition, emissions from the energy sector in 2030 must be equivalent to the level of emissions from the energy sector in 2010,” said Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of IESR, at the launch of the results of the CAT assessment of Indonesia’s climate action and policies.

To achieve significant emission reductions, Indonesia needs to carry out more ambitious mitigation in the sectors with dominant emitters, such as the energy sector, and the forest and land sector. Having abundant renewable energy potential, even up to more than 7 TW, Indonesia can utilize it as a source of energy with minimal emissions.

However, until 2021, the renewable energy mix in the energy system in Indonesia is still 11.5%. IESR views that with several developments in international support and the government’s commitment to early retirement coal power plants will provide free space for the development of renewable energy so that it can achieve the target of 23% renewable energy in 2025, even reaching 40% in 2030. In the Deep Decarbonization of Indonesia Energy System study (2021), IESR concludes that by 2050, 100% utilization of renewable energy in Indonesia’s energy system is technically and economically feasible.

“Indonesia’s climate action status can be enhanced by ensuring that climate policies in this decade are implemented to fulfil a fair contribution based on global efforts (fair share). The NDC target with international assistance must also be consistent, at least with the optimal path with the lowest cost for the ambition of 1.5°C (global least cost pathways),” explained Delima Ramadhani, Coordinator of Climate Action Tracker, IESR.

According to her, the dominance of coal-fired power plants, which are currently around 61% of Indonesia’s energy system, needs to be significantly reduced to only 10% of coal-fired power plants that do not use carbon capture and storage technology (unabated coal-fired power plan) in 2030 and terminate their operations gradually until stop completely by 2040. For that, Indonesia must increase its climate commitments, and international assistance plays a major role in the implementation of the coal phase-out per the Paris Agreement.

Several funding mechanisms for ending coal operations have also been discussed and agreed upon by Indonesia, such as the Energy Transition Mechanism scheme and the Just Energy Transition Partnerships (JETP). IESR considers that, although it is still not aligned with the 1.5°C targets, the JETP agreement is a step forward in the energy transition in Indonesia. The funding commitment of USD 20 billion is not enough to achieve decarbonization of the energy sector which requires at least a total investment of USD 135 billion by 2030.

“The portion of grants in JETP funding needs to be enlarged, which can be used to accelerate the strengthening of the energy transition ecosystem and project preparation. In addition, the next step after JETP has been agreed upon is the preparation of an investment plan that is carried out transparently and mainstreams the principles of justice in the energy transition by involving the participation of the community, local government and affected groups,” concluded Fabby.

Climate Action Tracker is an independent scientific analysis initiative that tracks countries’ climate actions and measures them against the globally agreed Paris Agreement goal of holding warming well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. CAT has provided an independent analysis of around 40 countries since 2009. CAT members include Climate Analytics, the New Climate Institute, and the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), which joined as partners in 2022.