President Joko Widodo addresses world leaders at the Paris climate summit in Paris on Monday. (AFP Photo/Jacques Demarthon)

Joko Urged to Cut Carbon Emissions by Amending National Development Policies


DECEMBER 01, 2015

Jakarta. Indonesian environmentalists have called on President Joko Widodo to amend national development policies so that the country can achieve its carbon emission reduction target as promised in Paris.

Joko addressed leaders from 150 nations at the global climate conference in Paris on Monday night, briefly explaining his administration's efforts and pledge to reduce Indonesia's carbon footprint by 29 percent on the "business as usual" scheme until 2030, as described in the country's Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC).

"The government that I'm leading will develop an Indonesia that is concerned about the environment," Joko said in Paris.

While Joko has only reaffirmed Indonesia's contributions at the 21st Conference of Parties, activists from green groups are urging the president to quickly implement the country's climate measures at home by reviewing existing policies.

"The crucial question from the president's speech is how to bridge contradicting targets between the country's INDC and Mid-Term National Development Plan which lays out several policies that, in fact, produce carbon emission," Khalisah Khalid, head of research and development department at the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), told reporters in Jakarta via a conference call on Wednesday.

Joko's national development plan for the 2015 to 2019 period, includes, among others, generating 35 gigawatts of power across the archipelago. This will be mainly generated with highly polluting fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil.

Walhi estimates that if Indonesia continued with that plan, the country's carbon dioxide emissions would nearly double by 2024.

"It's imperative for the government to revise its development policies so that they will not damage the environment," Khalisah said.

She added that Joko could start by reviewing policies under his authority that pose a threat to Indonesia's ecosystem, such as a presidential decree which allows land reclamation.

Yuyun Indradi, forest campaigner from Greenpeace Indonesia, said the government must also revise its scheme of carbon reduction measures in the INDC so that the country could contribute more in keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, which scientists have predicted to be the tipping point for catastrophic climate change.

"We need to check again our current main sources of carbon emission and improve our natural resources management," Yuyun said.

The 12-day climate summit in Paris will combine INDCs from attending countries and should result in an international and legally-binding agreement of efforts to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.