#BersihkanIndonesia, or the Clean Indonesia Movement, a coalition of civil society organizations, is challenging the presidential and vice-presidential candidates in next year's election to make clean-energy commitments part of their upcoming campaigns. (Antara Photo/Hafiz Mubarak A.)

#BersihkanIndonesia Challenges Presidential Candidates to Commit to Clean Energy

BY :SHEANY

SEPTEMBER 21, 2018

Jakarta. A coalition of civil society organizations is challenging the presidential and vice-presidential candidates in next year's election to make clean-energy commitments part of their upcoming campaigns.

The coalition said Indonesia has never had a strong commitment towards making a just energy transition and leaving behind its dependence on fossil fuels.

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Dozens of organizations, including the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), Indonesia Corruption Watch and the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), announced their support for #BersihkanIndonesia, or the Clean Indonesia Movement, at a press conference in Jakarta on Wednesday (19/09).

The movement aims to achieve systematic and structural changes for cleaner energy in the archipelago.

"#BersihkanIndonesia also invites Indonesians to join us in making sure that whoever wins the election would stick to their commitments when they hold the presidential and vice-presidential seats," Walhi executive director Nur Hidayati said.

The presidential campaign is set to begin on Sunday, with voting scheduled for April 17 next year.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is seeking re-election, along with his running mate Ma'ruf Amin, who chairs the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI). They are up against retired Army general Prabowo Subianto and businessman Sandiaga Uno, the former Jakarta deputy governor.

The movement highlighted how dependence on fossil fuels, especially coal, has a long-term negative impact, including on health, the environment and the economy.

"It is estimated that there are 6,500 early deaths annually because of coal-fired power plants. Plans to develop new coal-fired power plants can increase the number of deaths to 28,300 each year," #BersihkanIndonesia spokesman Iqbal Damanik said.

Losses from health-related issues are estimated to amount to around Rp 351 trillion ($23.7 billion).

The movement said Indonesia must adopt policies to stop the use of fossil energy and transition to clean and renewable energy by 2025. The right policies will make way for renewable energy that is cheaper than energy derived from fossil fuel.

"The winners of the 2019 election must make renewable energy their first and priority choice when they plan the future of electricity in the country," #BersihkanIndonesia spokeswoman Verena Puspawardani said.

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