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Jakarta Post

RI must fight forest fires to meet emissions target

  • Kerri Pandjaitan

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Mon, August 15 2011 | 10:16 am

High carbon emission rates have made Indonesia the third-worst contributor after the US and China, respectively.

Indonesian National Council on Climate Change ( DPNI ) chairman Rachmat Witoelar disagrees, arguing that Indonesia’s position is highly dependant on emissions created by forest fires.

The 1997-1998 and 2006 forest fires were why the international community rated Indonesia the world’s third-worst polluter, the former environment minister said.

Indonesia committed to a reduction target at the October 2009 G20 summit, when President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono pledged to reduce carbon emissions 26 percent by 2020. This figure could reach 41 percent with the help of international aid.

The decision was well received, as Indonesia was the first developing country to declare an emissions reduction.

As one of the larger developing nations, Indonesia plays a leading role in its commitment to reducing emissions. While some have called the target far-reaching, Rachmat was optimistic.

“We can reach our target,” he said.

With a population four times the size of the UK, Indonesia’s success would certainly have a significant global impact on climate change.

Its 2020 target is largely an issue of efficiency, according to Rachmat.

Simple solutions such as introducing waste management, recycling and cutting down electricity use will help Indonesia reach up to half of its target.

Deforestation and forest degradation are considered responsible for 78 percent of the country’s carbon emissions. The energy and industry sectors are also considered among the worst culprits. Nevertheless, Rachmat insisted that Indonesia not be put in the same league as China and the US, massive emitters who were far more reliant on industry.

Economic development is often cited when initiating emissions cuts — especially in developing nations. Indonesia’s commitment is nothing short of an optimistic and necessary move according to Rachmat, who stresses that by being wise in selecting the elements to reduce and how to proceed, economic growth will not be hindered.

While many commend Indonesia’s aspirations, the government still faces uncertainty in budget allocations, which are crucial to begin tackling the main issues at hand.

However, Indonesia could incur more debt, as the President stated last year regarding the country’s confidence to self-fund its initial emission-reduction target.

While international aid is openly accepted, Indonesia’s initial moves are ruled by efficiency solutions that must be implemented from within to reach the 26 percent reduction target.

Like other nations, Indonesia is also implementing strategies that will pave the way for sustainable changes, a key point in any form of growth today, Rachmat said.

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