The Jakarta Post
Activists have urged the government to revise its Intended National Determined Contribution (INDC), saying the emissions target is flawed and indicative of the government's lack of long-term commitment to tackling climate change, let alone achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Greenpeace Indonesia's forest political campaigner, M. Teguh Surya, said that the most glaring flaw of the INDC was that it is not quantifiable.
'The final INDC has no analysis of Indonesia's emissions over the last ten years, no baseline predictions and no assessment of what reductions, in terms of tons of CO2 emissions in various sectors, would have to be achieved to meet the 26 percent emission reduction target. There is nothing that we can measure,' he said.
Teguh also criticized the government's decision to shift its focus from deforestation and land-use to energy consumption post-2020 based on the assumption that the country's deforestation rate is declining.
'In contrast to public claims of a decline in deforestation, various sources including the Environment and Forestry Ministry's own maps show deforestation has risen since 2010,' he said.
The ministry's maps, which are published as part of the REDD+ Forest Reference Emissions Level (FREL) calculations that underpin the INDC submission, indicate net deforestation of around 500,000 hectares per year in 2009-2011, rising sharply to around 750,000 ha in 2011-2012 and 840,000 in 2012-2013.
'My assumption is that in 2013, Indonesia started to push for REDD+ because money was promised [by international donors]. Indonesia openly admitted that its deforestation rate was indeed high. In doing so, Indonesia hoped to attract global attention - and money,' said Teguh.
With global attention now having shifted from REDD+ to renewable energy, the government appears to be following suit by claiming that deforestation has declined to justify the shift of focus to reducing energy consumption.
'Now the government is lowering the country's deforestation rate [and focusing on renewable energy] to get funding from international donors,' Teguh said.
'Despite Indonesia's commitments under the New York Declaration on Forests and the soon-to-be-ratified Sustainable Development Goals, the recently released draft of the INDC shows a sharp drift in policy away from zero deforestation,' Teguh said.
He was referring to the penultimate draft, which says Indonesia aims to 'protect its remaining forests by increasing efforts in the implementation of palm oil industry no-deforestation commitments'. However, in the final draft ' published just four days later ' this disappears and is replaced by the largely meaningless 'protect remaining forests by reducing deforestation and forest degradation', according to Teguh.
The removal of the indirect commitment to supporting zero deforestation was in line with recent remarks from the government, including the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister and the Environment and Forestry Ministry, he added.
Jaap Spier, advocate general of the Dutch Supreme Court, meanwhile deplored the prevalence of short-term thinking with regard to tackling climate change.
'Politicians feel obliged to be re-elected in the next election and that's one of the reasons why they focus on short-term successes. If we would take responsibility for global issues, we have to take steps and that means we have to invest money to solve this problem, which means we don't have money for other areas. That's something you have to explain to voters,' Spier, who recently launched the Oslo Principles on Global Climate Change Obligations, told The Jakarta Post.
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