Renewable Energy Must Reign Supreme in Southeast Asia

Jakarta, March 27, 2024-Southeast Asia is a world’s fifth-largest economy region in 2022. However, this economic growth comes with a concerning projection: greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the region are expected to soar by 60 percent by 2050. Curbing these emissions is pivotal for global efforts to combat climate change. Unfortunately, current endeavors to promote renewable energy in Southeast Asia fall short of aligning with the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), stated at the Revision 2024 International Conference in Tokyo (14/3) that ASEAN countries have set a target to achieve a renewable energy mix of 23 percent by 2025. However, he emphasized that this target doesn’t align with the Paris Agreement’s objectives.

“To align with the Paris Agreement, the renewable energy mix needs to account for 55 percent, with variable renewable energy (VRE) contributing 42 percent. Except for Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Philippines, others have yet to reach 5 percent VRE penetration. The good news is that in 2023, ASEAN countries will have over 28 GW of operating utility solar and wind capacity, a 20 percent increase in operating capacity since last year. Currently, they make up 9 percent of ASEAN countries’ total electricity capacity. But in order for ASEAN countries to meet the goal, they need to install more renewable energy,” Fabby remarked.

Fabby further highlighted the relatively abundant renewable energy resources in Southeast Asia, which are estimated to be 40-50 times greater than the region’s current energy needs. He suggested that utilizing floating solar power plants could be a strategic move towards decarbonizing the energy system. He elaborated on the technical potential, with reservoirs boasting 134 to 278 GW and natural water surfaces such as rivers, lakes, and seas holding 343 to 768 GW. However, he stressed the importance of conducting detailed calculations of the technical, market, and economic potential, as well as site-specific assessments to develop floating solar power plants.

Additionally, he highlighted the need for Southeast Asian countries to adopt more ambitious policies, provide robust budget support and incentives, and enact policies that attract investment. The average annual investment in renewable energy capacity should be increased by five times to USD 73 billion per year.

Fabby emphasized that Southeast Asian countries must elevate their ambitions to meet the Paris Agreement targets. As an immediate step, ASEAN should aim for a 23 percent renewable energy mix by 2025 and 40 percent by 2030.

“Various studies have shown that decarbonizing the energy system with renewable energy in Southeast Asia is feasible; however, current policies and actions are insufficient to achieve significant decarbonization by 2050. While renewable energy resources are abundant and ample, substantial investment is needed. Each country must reform policies and manage risks associated with renewable energy projects to attract and mobilize investors further,” Fabby added.

He also cautioned against perpetuating a narrative that prioritizes fossil energy as a baseload generator under the guise of maintaining energy security, while sidelining renewable energy. Such a narrative, he argued, is counterproductive and contradicts the spirit of the Paris Agreement.

Koran Jakarta | Indonesia Needs to Strengthen Climate Diplomacy

The Indonesian government needs to intensify climate diplomacy in various international forums because the threat of climate change is increasingly real. As an illustration, Antarctica and Greenland are currently melting three times faster than in the early 1990s, potentially causing climate chaos in the future.

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Kompas | Not Just Talking About People in Jakarta

On 8-11 August 2023, Kompas Research and Development held an opinion poll regarding energy transition in Indonesia. When asked whether respondents were aware that the Indonesian Government was intensively carrying out energy transition activities from fossil to renewable energy, 65.7 percent answered that they did not know. However, when asked whether respondents knew about the issue of global warming which causes climate change, 52.8 percent answered that they knew and the rest did not know.

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How do Your Activities Contribute to Global Warming?

Save the earth

Jakarta, December 21, 2022 – Based on data from the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), 3,207 natural disasters in Indonesia occurred from the beginning of 2022 to last November 2022. Moreover, at least 95 percent are hydrometeorological disasters or disasters caused by weather activity, such as floods, landslides, and extreme weather. Not only that, BNPB noted that more than 3,000 disasters were occurring throughout 2021, dominated by hydrometeorological events, which were exacerbated by the La Nina phenomenon (decreasing sea water temperature in the Pacific Ocean). The impact of climate change also triggered the disaster.

The United States Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) explains that global warming is an increase in the average temperature of the earth’s surface due to increased levels of greenhouse gasses. Launching the official National Geographic page, the increase in the temperature of the earth’s surface is produced by the radiation of sunlight entering the earth’s atmosphere. Some light becomes heat energy from infrared rays absorbed by the air and the earth’s surface. Some of the infrared rays are reflected into the atmosphere and captured by greenhouse gasses, mainly carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrogen oxides, which cause the earth’s temperature to increase.

Based on the latest report of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), global warming could be terrible in 2100 if climate change due to the earth’s high carbon emissions is ignored. People must carry out efforts to reduce global carbon emissions immediately and massively to overcome them. Moreover, Indonesia ranks fifth as the country with the most cumulative carbon emissions globally, reaching 102,562 GtCO2 in 2021, based on the Carbon Brief report. It shows that Indonesia also plays a role in global environmental change.

Global warming has quite a harmful effect on living things. For example, global warming makes the glaciers melt and causes the land to turn into the sea because the volume of water increases. If global warming continues, only some of the ice at the poles may melt. A study conducted by the Indonesian National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) estimates that at least 115 small islands in Indonesia are on the verge of sinking. It is caused by sea level rise and land subsidence. The research and advocacy organization Climate Central calculates that a one-meter rise in sea level will flood the north coast of the island of Java, one of the world’s most populous islands. This is due to the low slope of the coastal plain (between 0 and 20 degrees). When global warming is not suppressed, humans will find it challenging to find a place to live if the volume of water continues to increase.

Mitigation efforts are a necessity so that the earth remains sustainable. Steps to slow down global warming and climate change include minimizing the activities that cause these problems. To carry out mitigation, as an individual, it is better to know what actions can impact global warming. IESR launched the Carbon Calculator in August 2022. The Jejakkarbonku. id carbon calculator provides calculations of emissions from 3 sectors such as households, food, and transportation. In addition, IESR continues to maintain competition features to encourage more robust enthusiasm for reducing emissions. The highest rating means the emissions produced are more negligible.