Reinaldi Yusuf, 24, has personally seen the negative impacts of climate change, such as rice crop failures in Pelabuhan Ratu in Sukabumi, West Java, and rising sea levels that frequently inundate homes along Bahagia Beach in Bekasi, West Java.
That experience encouraged him to join Extinction Rebellion (XR) Indonesia, a social movement concerned with climate issues, and took part in its Rebellion Week march along Jl. Sudirman in Central Jakarta on Oct. 13. “We spend billions to find life on other planets, but trillions on killing life on earth,” read a sign carried by Reinaldi on the march.
“I have the same vision as XR Indonesia to save Planet Earth,” said Reinaldi, when asked why he wanted to participate in XR Indonesia’s campaign.
XR Indonesia, established in July 2019, is the first social movement to demand the government declare a climate emergency and to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2025 because the earth has already reached a point of crisis.
“We are facing a climate crisis,” XR Indonesia national coordinator Defio Nandi told The Jakarta Post recently. He added that the government’s plan to tackle the crisis was not enough.
XR Indonesia’s climate-crisis claims refer to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Global Warming of 1.5 Degrees Celsius report, which implies that the earth will face catastrophic risks if its temperature rises above 2 degrees Celsius, or 1.5 degrees Celsius best-case scenario, by 2030 from the pre-industrial level. The earth’s temperature has risen by 1 degree Celsius since the Industrial Revolution.
Referring to the IPCC’s report, senior manager for forest and climate of the World Resource Institute (WRI) Arief Wijaya agreed that Indonesia was facing a climate crisis.
“If the temperature rises beyond 2 degrees Celsius, the impact will be catastrophic on the earth and humans,” Arief told the Post, adding that there would be extreme disasters such as uncertain harvests, forest fires, extreme heat, rising sea levels and El Nino climate phenomenon.
Such catastrophes can be avoided if the earth’s temperature is kept below 1.5 degrees Celsius. “We only have 11 years until 2030 to avoid [the catastrophic damage],” Arief said.
Indonesia has committed to keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, or 1.5 degrees Celsius under the 2015 Paris Agreement, reducing its emissions unconditionally by 29 percent and conditionally by 41 percent from the business-as-usual scenario by 2030 as the country’s nationally determined contribution (NDC).
However, Defrio said that even Indonesia’s NDC was not enough to solve the climate crisis. This is supported by the IPCC’s report, which showed that the Paris Agreement’s pathway would not prevent the temperature from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Acknowledging the situation, XR Indonesia argues that the government needs to declare a climate emergency in order to bring about climate policy reform.
However, the Environment and Forestry Ministry’s climate change management director-general, Ruandha Agung Sugardiman, said that declaring a climate emergency would not make any sudden changes in the government or among the public. He said that Indonesia should instead focus on raising public awareness about climate issues, adding that the demands for development of the country remained high.
Environment director of the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) Medrilzam added that the current climate situation had yet to reach a point of crisis. “We are in a climate crisis when we reach dreadful and unlivable conditions,” he said. “We have not reached that stage yet.”
Bappenas has published the Low Carbon Development Indonesia (LCDI) report that outlines policy plans to reduce its emissions. By utilizing its natural resources sustainably as well as reducing its carbon and energy intensity, the plan expects the country’s greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced by 43 percent.
Indonesia's carbon dioxide emissions were 543 million tons in 2018, according to the 2019 BP Statistical Review of World Energy. It was an increase of 5.2 percent, from 516.1 million tons in 2017. Indonesia alone shared 1.6 percent of the total world’s emissions in 2018. In the 2007–2017 period, the country’s emissions growth was 2.9 percent.
In 2011, several provinces set targets for their emissions reduction by 2020. East Java, for example, planned to reduce carbon emissions by 37.4 percent, Bengkulu by 10 percent and South Sulawesi by 46 percent. But the three provinces have exceeded their emission targets since 2014, according to data from the WRI.
In one of its policy plans, the LCDI aims to advance the transition to renewable sources of energy and away from coal. Upping the share of renewable energy from 8 percent in 2018 to 23 percent in 2030 and 30 percent in 2045.
The government needs to provide incentives to attract investment in renewable energy, Defrio said. “This is an effective top-down approach.” (dfr/mfp)