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Jakarta Post

‘Not sacrificing my grandchildren’s future’: Minister Luhut vows govt will protect environment

  • Kharishar Kahfi
    Kharishar Kahfi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, November 20, 2019   /   05:51 am
‘Not sacrificing my grandchildren’s future’: Minister Luhut vows govt will protect environment Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan gives a speech in a discussion in Jakarta on Nov. 19. During the speech, he said the government would not sacrifice the environment for economic development. (Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Ministry/-)

Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan has asserted the government’s commitment to not sacrifice the archipelago’s environment for economic development.

Speaking during a discussion in Jakarta on Tuesday, Luhut said Indonesia was looking for its own “equilibrium; not that used by the United States and Europe.”

“I will never issue any regulations that will harm the future of my children and grandchildren,” Luhut said in the discussion on Indonesia’s strategy toward a zero-emission economy in 2050, according to a statement from the ministry.

Indonesia, he said, still had much potential in developing new and renewable energy across the country, such as geothermal and biomass. Luhut also highlighted the importance of biodiesel, especially biodiesel derived from palm oil.

Read also: Indonesia needs to be more ambitious in saving environment: OECD

The government had launched B20 biodiesel containing 80 percent diesel fuel and 20 percent fatty acid methyl ester (FAME), which is considered to have expanded the domestic crude palm oil market. 

“After B20, we will introduce B30, B40 and so on until B100. When this all goes well, we will reach an equilibrium in our palm oil production and domestic consumption. This will help our farmers and drop the poverty rate,” Luhut said.

Palm oil cultivation is often blamed for deforestation and destroying the habitats of endangered animals, including orangutans.

Luhut went on to say that Indonesia was committed to reducing its emissions as promised in 2015 in its nationally determined contribution (NDC) -- by 26 percent against the business-as-usual scenario in 2030, or by 41 percent with international support.

Efforts are under way to achieve the goal by, among others measures, rehabilitating mangrove peatland, the minister went on to say.

According to the Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG), Indonesia must restore nearly 2.7 million hectares of peatland that has been destroyed during the fire season in the last four years. However, experts said the way authorities rehabilitate it – through the establishment of canal blocks -- might threaten the ecosystem, as canals would drain freshwater and cause land to become further prone to wildfires.

Indonesia's peatland covers approximately 22.5 million hectares, second in the world after Brazil with 31.5 million ha, according to Global Wetlands data.