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Towards COP 26, Community Leaders Demand Climate Emergency Declaration

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Jakarta, 19 October 2021Indonesia has updated its climate commitments through its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 or sooner. Indonesia’s commitment which is ten years behind the target of the Paris Agreement implies the government’s unambitious efforts in responding to the climate crisis that threatens the lives of the Indonesian people.

Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) said that the problem of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) should not be seen as a burden but as an opportunity to transform into a low carbon economy.

“Based on our study entitled Deep decarbonization of Indonesia’s energy system, deep decarbonization of the energy system in 2050 will bring greater economic benefits,” said Fabby in the webinar “Towards COP 26: Climate change and the role of the society to preserve the earth” held by IESR (19/10/2021).

Fabby added that the community will feel the economic benefits by the creation of new industrial opportunities that can absorb a larger workforce. Moreover, Indonesia’s energy prices will be more affordable by using cheaper renewable energy technologies and cleaner air. He said that the compatible climate ambitions with the Paris Agreement will lessen the threat of hydrometeorological disasters as a consequence of increasing the earth’s temperature exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Highlighting policies and the level of public literacy on the climate crisis, community leaders in the event stated that unintegrated climate-related policies and the lack of access to climate change information make the climate change mitigation efforts in Indonesia keep decelerating.

The absence of a climate emergency declaration by the government, according to Melissa Kowara, Activist, Extinction Rebellion Indonesia, indicates the government’s low level of seriousness in dealing with the climate crisis.

“There has not been a firm stance from the highest levels of the country to say that we are in a crisis. (There is no declaration that says-ed) that we will do everything by the private sector, civil society, and government to overcome problems that affect the lives and survival of all of us,” said Melissa. She said this is also the cause of low public literacy regarding climate change.

Muhammad Ali Yusuf, Chairman of the Nahdlatul Ulama Disaster Management and Climate Change Institute (LPBI NU), Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), also revealed that religious discourse in Indonesia itself is still far from ecological issues or climate change.

“Even if there is (climate discourse-ed), yet it is not the top priority issue. Therefore, climate change literacy is also necessary for religious leaders because religious life is impossible to prevail in the climate crisis,” he explained.

Furthermore, Jimmy Sormin, Executive Secretary for Witness and Integrity of Creation, Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI), encouraged religious leaders to play their role in increasing people’s understanding of climate issues by discussing them according to the local context.

“In the regions, the impacts of climate change, such as the emergence of new pests, crop failure, are experienced by the community, but they do not understand it. It is necessary to ‘rationalize’ it according to their perspective (the local community-ed),” said Jimmy.

Looking at the issue of climate change from a woman’s perspective, Mike Verawati Tangka, Secretary-General, Indonesian Women’s Coalition (KPI) believes that the climate change effect has a close impact on women’s lives. However, Mike regrets that environmental issues and change tend to be considered as masculine issues that override the role of women in caring for nature and advocating for climate issues.

“The impact of climate change is perceived the most laborious by women because our policies and systems are not prepared inclusively. Positive initiatives taken by women by advocating for climate change must also be recognized by the state,” said Mike

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