Indonesia Could Shape Regional Climate Change Action

Source : Jakarta Post – Oktober 02, 2011
By Adhityani Putri

Indonesia had the opportunity to lead regional action in combating climate change using its strategic position in ASEAN and through pioneering domestic policies to curb emissions, a seminar heard on Saturday.

Frank Jotzo, head of the Center for Climate Economics and Policy, a think tank at the Australian National University, told the annual seminar “The Indonesian Update” that a coordinated regional effort, including establishing a carbon market in the ASEAN+3 region, could provide countries with the much-needed financial support for climate change action. Currently, individual countries in the region, including Indonesia, rely heavily on multilateral assistance for climate change related policies.

A concerted regional approach could help attract bigger and more diverse financial support for climate change action. Jotzo pointed out that one of the immediate opportunities lay in accessing the multilateral fast track financing that came out as part of the Copenhagen Accord at the 15th Conference of Parties of the UN
Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2009.

With its natural leadership in ASEAN, Indonesia could help pave the way for regional climate change action, Jotzo said. However, Indonesia needs to demonstrate strong domestic climate change commitment, particularly by putting the right policies in place to promote sustainable land use to address deforestation and transform
the energy sector into one that is less reliant on fossil fuels.

Deforestation in recent decades, particularly for timber and agriculture, has propelled Indonesia to the top ranks of greenhouse gas emitters, along with The United States and China. However, Jotzo’s study estimated that emissions from energy use could overtake emissions from deforestation by 2020 if policies remained unchanged. Therefore addressing Indonesia’s dependence on coal and oil as its primary source of electricity and transport fuel needed to be of the same priority as tackling deforestation, Jotzo said.

Jotzo also underlined that, in order to create efficient policies, emission baselines needed to be clearly defined and policies needed to be linked to the government’s grand framework of pro-poor, pro-growth and pro-environment. Finally, Indonesia should consider innovative mechanisms such as a carbon tax, a policy that the
Australian government has recently proposed and is currently deliberating in parliament.

The Indonesian Update is an annual seminar held by the Australian National University’s Indonesia Project and Department of Political and Social Change. The public event presents speakers from various academic and professional backgrounds providing the latest developments in Indonesian politics, economy and social affairs.

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