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INSIGHT: Paris Agreement to test Jakarta’s commitment on carbon emissions

  • Daniel Murdiyarso

Bogor, West Java   /   Wed, October 19, 2016   /  07:19 am
INSIGHT: Paris Agreement to test Jakarta’s commitment on carbon emissions In this July 30, 2015 file photo, air conditioners and power generators are displayed on a street in central Baghdad, Iraq. Nations reached a deal Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016 to limit the use of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs - greenhouse gases far more powerful than carbon dioxide that are used in air conditioners and refrigerators, in a major effort to fight climate change. (AP/Khalid Mohammed)

The ratification of the Paris Agreement by the EU, representing 28 countries, on Oct. 4 marked the surpassing of the 55 percent global emissions threshold for the agreement to enter into force. Having been ratified by 75 countries that account for 58.9 percent of global emissions, the agreement will enter into force on Nov. 4 (30 days after EU submission), just a few days before the 22nd session of the Conference of Parties ( COP22 ) starts on Nov. 7 in Marrakech, Morocco.

Although Indonesia is not one of the parties that make the Paris Agreement enter into force, the House of Representatives’ Commission VII approved its ratification bill on Monday. The House has set Oct. 19 as date for ratifying the agreement.

Like in other cases of international treaty ratification, the House only adopts one article stating that Indonesia ratifies the treaty. The process took longer than expected because the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) document was attached to it. Lawmakers needed to be convinced that the intention to reduce national emissions by 29 percent from the business-as-usual level in 2030 will not harm economic development.

Now, Indonesian delegates are full of confidence as they head to Marrakech. There are at least four reasons for Indonesia to get excited and work harder.

First, ratification will allow Indonesia to sit in the first Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement, known as CMA1. Indonesia can take part in shaping the new treaty that will be implemented in 2020. It is important to set the new tone of the common but differentiated responsibility and respective capacity (CBDR-RC) principle.

Second, Indonesia can start interacting in the funding mechanism under the Paris Agreement, including the Green Climate Fund. It is well known that Indonesia’s bulk work in the NDC is land use. Early action may be pursued to realize the implementation of the long-awaited REDD+ mechanism under the Paris Agreement.

Third, being an archipelagic country that is vulnerable to sea level rise, it is also timely to explore adaptation mechanisms under the Paris Agreement, such as joint mitigation and adaptation and legally binding loss and damage.

Fourth, Indonesia is to expand coal-fired power generation, which will be the biggest emission factor after land use. Technology transfer under the Paris Agreement has to be tapped and integrated into the domestic development agenda.

The main goal of the Paris Agreement is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The Paris Agreement pursues efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees. That does not mean that the agreement only deals with climate change mitigation. The Paris Agreement also aims at strengthening the ability of countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

After two decades of climate negotiations, Paris finally managed to put mitigation and adaptation measures on equal footing. The notion of integrating climate change adaptation and mitigation in the Paris Agreement is very strong. To meet these ambitious goals, a new technology framework and an enhanced capacity building framework will be put in place, supporting action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries in line with their national objectives. Starting in 2020 the Green Climate Fund will be mobilized to raise US$100 billion per annum.

Globally, under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change high scenario parties have pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 36 billion tons of CO2 equivalent by 2030. The pledge was initiated at COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009, known as the Copenhagen Accord, within which countries were encouraged to state their emission reduction target, base year and date of achievement.

After five years of waiting, COP20 in Lima came out with the so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contribution to guide parties to submit their pledge prior to COP21 in Paris, which then transformed into NDC to be submitted prior to Marrakech’s COP22 this year.

Domestically, Indonesia will have to nurture the submitted pledge. Ratification places responsibility on the entire society. It is the role of the government to address any identified weaknesses and mobilize strength, including by enhancing the capacity to combat land-based emissions, which are by far the largest burden as far as emission reduction is concerned.
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The writer is a professor at the Department of Geophysics and Meteorology at the Bogor Agriculture University (IPB), principal scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), member of the Indonesian Academy of Sciences (AIPI) and former national focal point to the UNFCCC.

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