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Jakarta Post

EDITORIAL: Bonn, the intersection

  • EDITORIAL

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, November 20, 2017   /   08:13 am
EDITORIAL: Bonn, the intersection A mockup of a planet earth is displayed at the Rheinaue park during the COP23 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany. (AFP/Patrik Stollarz)

There was little excitement during the climate talks in Bonn. The jubilation of Paris two years ago after participating countries agreed to form a global pact to reduce emissions in a bid to prevent more floods, heat waves and rising sea levels, has subsided.

As delegates prepared the rule book to implement the climate accord at the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, they were bracing for the impact of the United States’ exit.

As one of the biggest emitters and among countries that has provided significant funding to the global movement, the US pullout from the climate accord — though pending finalization in 2020 — has shifted the balance of the world’s largest diplomatic convention.

There was a ring of solidarity, shared by developed and developing countries, expressing their firm commitment to the Paris accord.

European countries have pledged to make up for the US’ absence. French President Emmanuel Macron said France was ready to make up for the lost funding caused by the decision — while developing countries, including Indonesia, said they would stick to their commitments. However, much more than commitment is needed.

Scientists said countries had barely budged in reducing their emissions.

From Germany to China, there has been reluctance to relinquish coal or lignite ( brown coal). Complexities go beyond technology and funding. Germany, for example, faces growing proponents of coal in the government coalition. Hope, however, remains as Chancellor Angela Merkel — unlike US President Donald Trump — is not among them.

Political obstacles may also hamper talks on the allocation of funding and technology necessary to support other countries in upholding the global goal.

Even with the technology and funding, it will not be enough if Germany, the US and other developed countries fail to meet their carbon cut commitments.

China, which recently made large strides in expanding renewable energy, is also expected to take on a greater leadership role in the absence of the US. However, with a reputation as the world’s largest emitter, a U-turn is least expected from the country.

In negotiations on the rule book to guide countries in meeting their emissions commitments, China was among the countries demanding different treatment between developed and developing countries. The two-week talks in Bonn have shown that it is the big countries that are reluctant to carry out the commitments.

For Indonesia, which still relies on technology and funding to meet its own goals, however, this is no excuse to slow down efforts to reduce emissions, especially in the forestry sector. The government, along with the private sector and citizens, have made significant achievements in reducing forest fires and improving agroforestry partnerships that have also begun to benefit locals.

The innovation and partnerships to reduce emissions in forestry will benefit the country in sustaining its land and forests. Indonesia could then show the way forward in the climate fight.