Govt reviews emission targets for Paris talk

The government is currently reviewing a national action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (RAN GRK) before making an official emissions cut commitment at a Paris climate conference. 

National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) environment and natural resources deputy Endah Murniningtyas said on Tuesday that the revised emission targets in the RAN GRK would be the baseline for Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) that every country should submit for the UN climate conference in December. 

“Presidential Regulation No. 61/2011 on the RAN GRK, which contains former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s pledge that the country’s greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions in 2020 ‘would be reduced by 26 per cent — from a business-as-usual scenario — and 41 per cent if foreign assistance is available’, has some weaknesses,” said Endah. 

“The regulation doesn’t clearly stipulate the roles of regency and city administrations,” she said. 

Endah, who is in the working team tasked with drafting the INDCs, said that Indonesia would likely submit its targets between July and September 2015. 

The recent merger of the former environment ministry and forestry ministry, Endah said, had also hampered discussions on the targets.

“We are still very confused with the change in the nomenclature like the Environment and Forestry Ministry [which used to be two entities],” she said. 

Former environment minister Sarwono Kusumaatmadja reminded the government to make attainable targets that the country could still be committed to amid its economic and development pursuits. 

“I’m not worried [about our country’s preparation for the Paris summit] because many countries are not ready yet either,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a government meeting in Jakarta to prepare for the Paris climate conference.

As of Tuesday, only 34 of 193 countries had submitted their INDCs, including the US, Mexico, 28 EU member countries, Russia, Norway, Switzerland and Gabon. The deadline for the INDCs is the end of October 2015. 

“The problem is that our government has to be honest and effective in its communications and reflect our commitment to sustainable development,” Sarwono said.

According to him, the government’s policy and action so far have raised doubts on their commitment to sustainable development.

Sarwono said that sometimes the government’s policies contradicted the country’s National Mid-Term Development Plan (RPJMN).

“For example the energy sector is said to be important. But then what’s the relevance of [developing national] private cars? The one supposed to be prioritized is mass transportation,” he said.

Sarwono was referring to the government’s plan to develop and manufacture its own national car with the help of Malaysia’s struggling national carmaker Proton, reasoning that a national car would be a major development for Indonesia by helping to spur its auto industry and increase the country’s technical know-how.

He pointed out the government’s intention in the RPJMN to open up 1 million hectares of new agriculture fields in a bid to achieve food sovereignty. 

According to him, it is important for the government to distinguish between food sovereignty and food security so that it could not justify opening up new agriculture fields without assessing the environmental impact beforehand. 

Dwi Andreas Santosa, an agricultural expert from the Bogor Agriculture Institute, previously voiced similar concerns about the plan, saying that Bappenas once tried to do the same thing during former president Soeharto’s era, costing Rp 3 trillion (US$230 million). But the plan did not work out as the newly opened fields were destroyed and had to be rehabilitated for another Rp 3 trillion. 

“There is a need to conduct a simulation for the need of the new land in the RPJMN [to assess] how big the impact is and the emissions [caused by the plan],” an advisor to the Environment and Forestry Ministry, Yetti Rusli, said during the meeting on Tuesday.

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