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

Strengthen Indonesia’s Commitment to Climate Change


Jakarta, December 6, 2022 – Nowadays, climate change in the world affects increasing the intensity of climate disasters and threatens human life and biodiversity. Thus, government commitment and concrete targets are needed to reduce emissions, like setting a more ambitious target in the Enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) document, which Indonesia submitted in September 2022. Its document contains an increase in the target for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by around 2%.

Based on the latest NDC document, Indonesia will reduce emissions with an unconditional scenario of 31.8% and international assistance (conditional) of 43.2% in 2030. However, based on an assessment of Indonesia’s climate targets and ambitions by the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) which is a member of the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), a consortium of three think tanks that monitors and assesses climate change policies in 39 countries and the European Union. IESR and CAT estimate that Indonesia’s NDC has not been linear, with a target of 1.5°C. It’s more robust numerically but still not driving further climate action. Indonesia is likely to achieve its targets (except forestry) without additional effort, while its emissions are almost double today. For this reason, Indonesia needs to update the Business-As-Usual Scenario (BAU) so that it is linear with more vital targets.

“Indonesia contributes to global warming. We need a more ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target. The later we block GHG, the greater the risk of climate disaster. For example, floods and tornadoes indicate that the costs to deal with these situations are also higher, and an appropriate solution is needed. For this reason, we need to calculate the environmental costs for climate change mitigation and adaptation,” explained the Executive Director of IESR, Fabby Tumiwa, at the launch of the results of the CAT assessment of Indonesia’s climate action and policies.

Shahnaz Nur Firdausi, Energy, and Climate Researcher, IESR, stated renewable energy only account for 13.5% of the power generation mix in 2021. Indonesia needs to make substantial progress in meeting the 23% renewable energy target by 2025. Several studies have shown how Indonesia can increase its renewable energy potential far beyond current plans and supply 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2050.

“Although coal still plays a major role in Indonesia’s electricity system, the government has planned to discontinue the PLTU. However, to meet the temperature limit of 1.5°C, coal use in Indonesia must decrease by 10% by 2030 and be phased out by 2040. Indonesia will need significant financial support to plan for the retirement of PLTU under the Paris Agreement,” Shanaz explained.

Deputy Director for Environmental Law Enforcement at National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), Erik Armundito, emphasized that his party has a low-carbon development policy. It’s integrated with the national priorities of the 2020-2024 RPJMN, complemented by strategy indicators and clear targets every year.

“The macro indicators mean percentage of potential GHG reduction with a target of 27.3% in 2024 and the percentage of reduction in GHG intensity with 31.6% in 2024. Setting this target is Indonesia’s step forward in environmental preservation. In addition, Bappenas has the AKSARA application for monitoring, evaluating, and controlling the reduction of GHG emissions resulting from low-carbon development,” explained Erik.

Madani Foundation Executive Director Nadia Hadad said collaboration between various parties is needed to encourage the achievement of the 1.5°C targets. Various parties must have a role and contribute.

“We all have a role. This CAT report is not to criticize but to encourage better steps. Everything we have done to save the earth; for this, we need accountability and transparency,” said Nadia Hadad.

Mahawan Karuniasa, Chair of the Indonesian Network of Climate Change and Forestry Experts (APIKI), said carbon emissions produced by all countries in the world are projected to be no more than 33 gigatonnes in 2030 to keep the earth’s temperature no more than 1.5°C. However, the estimated carbon emissions produced reach 58 gigatonnes.

“If there is NDC implementation in all countries, then the estimated emissions can decrease to 53-56 gigatonnes in 2030. It means there is still a huge gap between 20-23 gigatonnes. When all countries, including Indonesia, cannot fill this gap, we can reach above 1.5°C,” said Mahawan.

Sonny Mumbunan, an economist and researcher from the Research Center for Climate Change at the University of Indonesia, believes it is also necessary to discuss the climate finance section in depth in the Climate Action Tracker report.

“When Indonesia became a member of the G20 with the narrative of having high economic growth, this became a dilemma for Indonesia. Remember, Indonesia also still needs funds from other countries. It also affects how we approach the energy sector, the land-based sector as well as the loss and damage sector. It seems that Indonesia needs a different approach based on its profile, which is between developed and developing countries,” said Sonny.

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.

Approaching the G20 Summit, Government Needs to be Consistently Calling for and Raising Climate Ambitions

Jakarta, 9 November 2022-The journey of the Indonesian G20 Presidency will end after the G20 summit in November 2022. Therefore, Indonesia needs to show strong attention to climate mitigation efforts, by increasing its commitment to significantly reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Climate Transparency 2022 report shows Indonesia’s power sector which is dominated by fossil fuels (81%) and produces 62% of its electricity from coal, making the energy sector still the largest contributor to GHG emissions (43%), followed by the transportation sector (25%) in second place in 2021.

Besides that, Indonesia’s emission intensity of the power sector increased throughout the 2016-2021 period by 5.5% to 784.8 gCO2/kWh. This number is greater than the average emissions in the energy sector of G20 countries in the same period which decreased by 8.1% to 444.7 kWh. This is presumed economic activity that has returned rapidly after the pandemic. 

Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform, believes that the G20 countries which are responsible for 85% of the world’s GHG emissions, must take a greater role in drastically cutting GHG emissions. Globally, they must cut approximately 45% of GHGs at 2010 levels by 2030. Unfortunately, until now, none of the G20 countries has met this target, including Indonesia, which is the G20 president. 

“Along with the G20 meeting in Bali next week, it is necessary for G20 countries to accelerate the energy transition, moving away from fossil energy that is expensive, polluting and dangerous. Taking the energy transition as one of the G20 priority issues, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) needs to remind G20 countries to be more ambitious in carrying out the energy transition, including Indonesia. The key to reducing emissions is to first, immediately reduce coal power plants and plan to phase out coal power plants, which must be done before 2040. Second, accelerate renewable energy to replace energy and encourage energy efficiency,” said Fabby.

Furthermore, Fabby implied the fossil subsidies, which are increasing every year and hindering the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency. He hopes that at the G20 Summit, President Jokowi can invite G20 countries to take a stand to cut fossil energy subsidies. 

Meanwhile, based on Climate Transparency 2022 calculations, Indonesia’s unconditional Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) target will increase emissions by 421% above 1990 levels, or an average of 1,661 MtCO₂e by 2030. To stay below the 1.5°C temperature limit, Indonesia’s emissions by 2030 must be around 449 MtCO₂e, at an ambition gap of 1,212 MtCO₂e. All of these figures do not include emissions from land use.

Despite submitting the Enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in September 2022, the emission reduction targets in the emission sector are not at all consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit. Based on the  Enhanced NDC, by 2030, the target level of unconditional emission (unconditional) NDCs in the energy sector will be 1,311 MtCO₂e, with a target of unconditional reduction of NDCs of 358 MTon CO₂eq. 

“The increase in emission reduction targets, especially in the energy sector, should be appreciated, but unfortunately, the increasing ambition is still far from achieving a trajectory of 1.5 degrees Celsius. In addition, the implementation is still far from the target that has been set,” explained Farah Vianda, Green Economy Program Officer, IESR. 

According to her, Indonesia’s commitment to gradually stop the use of coal-fired power plants and start the transition to renewable energy referred to in the declaration of ‘Global Coal to Clean Power Transition’ at COP26, needs to be realized immediately. Even Climate Transparency 2022 reveals that the energy transition process must equitably take place, one of which is,  by accommodating the interests of around 100,000 people working in the coal industry.

“The Indonesian government needs to facilitate a just transition for coal mining sector workers and ensure alternative sources of economic growth in areas dependent on fossil energy. The government can diversify the economy to prioritize investment in the clean energy sector, engage in social dialogue to ensure an inclusive transition, and implement carefully designed early mitigation actions,” Farah said.

Farah stated that every commitment must be realized, considering that Indonesia has signed the Silesian Declaration on Solidarity and Just Transition (COP24), but until now both policies to increase renewable energy and retiring coal-fired power plants are still at the middle level.

Furthermore, Climate Transparency 2022 encourages Indonesia to design a clear roadmap to phase out coal power and start the energy transition. The 2021-2030 Business Plan (RUPTL) still maintains the use of coal.

Climate Transparency identified several opportunities for Indonesia to increase its climate ambitions. First, Bappenas has developed a net zero emissions  2045 roadmap which is considered to provide economic and social benefits compared to the zero emissions target of 2060. Second, the energy sector’s high carbon intensity continues to increase. Third, the transportation sector accounts for 33% of final energy consumption, and 95% of this demand is met through oil. Strong policies to decarbonise the transport sector would help Indonesia achieve its net zero targets. 

Based on the evaluation of the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), Indonesia’s climate targets and policies are “highly insufficient”. The rating shows that Indonesia’s climate policies and commitments lead to rising rather than reducing emissions and are completely inconsistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit. To get a better ranking, Indonesia needs to set more ambitious NDC targets and policies. Its unconditional NDC targets need to be brought well below its current policies to result in emissions close to present levels by 2030. Meanwhile, its conditional NDC targets need to be well below present levels in 2030.