Nine months after Indonesia declared its ambitious pledge to cut emissions with its own money, doubts remain on if the government can meet its own target, with no clear supporting regulations made.
Environmentalists and legal experts said the absence of a legal tool showed the government’s lack of seriousness in cutting emissions as promised at international forums.
“Such promises were only lip services,” Chalid Muhammad from Institute Indonesia Hijau told The Jakarta Post.
He said the government should issue regulations as presidential regulations or laws if the country wanted to slash emissions.
“The regulation will serve as a guideline for officials, both in Jakarta and other provinces, to realize emission cut targets,” he said.
Indonesia is the first developing country to declare an 26-percent emission cut by 2020 using its own money — Rp 83 trillion (US$9.13 billion). The government also promised to cut another 15 percent if rich nations provided Indonesia with financial assistance.
The announcement of the emission cut target was made by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono last year. Since then, nearly every minister and official delivered the planned 26 percent emission cut in public meetings.
The government vowed to issue the presidential regulation on national action plans on emission cuts early this year. But it was delayed in April and later in May.
The special envoy to Yudhoyono on climate change, Rachmat Witoelar, said a presidential regulation might be signed in November. “I hope the regulation on action plans is made in November before the Mexico climate change conference.”
He said the delay was not due to lobbies from interested groups. “It is not an easy job. It will take time to settle the issues to produce strong regulations.”
University of Indonesia environmental legal expert Andri Wibisana said the absence of a legal tool would make the target on emission cuts unclear. “We don’t how much we would cut emissions, and from what, since it is only based on business as usual,” he said. “The government could change the predicted base as usual business as it wishes if it thinks it can’t meet it.”
Environmental legal expert Harry Supriono from Gadjah Mada University said the sluggish process of issuing regulations was a sign the government was not taking emission reduction seriously. “There must be something wrong with how the ministers handle the matter.”
The action plan draft on emission cuts says with a 26 percent target Indonesia will cut about 0.67 gigatons of carbon emissions by 2020. With foreign funds of 15 percent, 1.03 gigatons of emissions should be cut.
A government regulation draft on action plans made available to the Post says the environment minister is responsible for making inventory data of emissions from other departments.
The ministry is also responsible for setting guidelines and methodologies on the so-called measurable, reportable and verifiable mechanism.
A source from the Environment Ministry said the office had not gained emission data from the Forestry Ministry, particularly on Indonesia’s deforestation rate baseline. It said government regulation discussions on emission cut action plans were also disturbed by the signing of the billion dollar climate deal with the Norway government.