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Jakarta Post

RI not rushing into emissions commitments for Paris summit

  • Hans Nicholas Jong

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, February 20, 2015   /  07:23 am

Indonesia will miss the informal deadline for setting national emissions reduction targets ahead of the December 2015 UN climate conference in Paris, as it wants to ensure it can follow through on what it promises.

Governments across the globe are expected to submit national plans to the UN for reducing emissions sometime between March and June. But the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) said Wednesday the government did not want to rush the process.

'€œWe don'€™t want to be clumsy by making pledges we can'€™t meet,'€ Bappenas environment and natural resources deputy Endah Murniningtyas said. '€œIf the time frame [to prepare the commitments] is three to six months [from now], then we still have time,'€ said the President'€™s envoy on climate change, Rachmat Witoelar, adding that the informal March deadline was unrealistic. '€œThere is a March target, indeed, but there are many countries that have structural changes that mean the deadline could be delayed until October,'€ he said on Wednesday.

These country-commitments are known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). Their form and content will largely determine whether the world stakes a claim to a low-carbon, climate-resilient future.

INDCs allow countries to propose steps for reducing emissions in line with a country'€™s national priorities and capabilities. INDCs can also address other concerns, such as adapting to climate change and obtaining support from other countries.

When well-designed, an INDC signals to the world that a country is doing its part in combatting climate change.

After submitting the INDCs to the COP '€” the supreme decision-making body at the UN climate conference '€” global emissions reduction targets can be set. Those targets will then form the basis for a new climate-change regime.

In 2020, the legally binding agreement would bind all nations, developed and developing economies alike, in 2020 following the expiration of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which only legally bound developed nations to reduce emissions.

The collective emissions reduction pledges aim to ensure that global warming does not exceed the 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels, thereby avoiding '€œdangerous'€ climate change.

Scientists, meanwhile, have warned that warming is on track to double that target.

According to the World Meteorological Organization, 2014 was the hottest year in recorded history, and 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have occurred this century.

While Indonesia would be late in submitting its INDC, Endah said there was nothing to worry about, as the country had already laid out a framework for mitigating the effects of climate change.

'€œWe have a stronger foundation now than when we gave our commitments in 2009,'€ she said.

Endah was referring to former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono'€™s pledge in 2009 to reduce emissions by 26 percent, or 41 percent with foreign help by 2020.

Endah said that the target of 26 or 41 percent would remain, since it had been included in the National Mid-Term Development Plan (RPJMN) for 2015-2019.

To meet the target, the government has already begun implementing two initiatives; the national action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (RAN GRK) and the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) program to reduce emissions by saving forests and peatlands.

'€œWe will review the implementation of the RAN GRK in all 33 provinces this year. This will be used as our basis to discuss what to do beyond 2020,'€ Endah said.

Rachmat added that the government wanted to make sure that its INDC was accurate so that it would be able to attract foreign donors to help the country meet its goals.

'€œIn the negotiations during the Paris summit, those who have the rights to Green Climate Fund [GCF] funding are the ones who have clear INDCs,'€ he said. '€œWho would want to give money to countries whose INDCs aren'€™t clear?'€

The GCF is a fund within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that was established to redistribute money from the developed to the developing world to counter climate change.

It aims to raise about US$100 billion a year by 2020.

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