Indonesia has tremendous potential to scale up its climate action to decarbonise its economy: by acting in just three key areas, it could significantly decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 instead of the continued growth projected in its Paris Agreement target, according to a new analysis by the Climate Action Tracker (CAT).
Together, Indonesia’s electricity supply, passenger transport and forestry sectors cover around 70% of its greenhouse gas emissions. The CAT analysis shows Indonesia could achieve a 20% reduction in emissions below 2010 by 2030, a stark contrast to the projected 58–68% emissions increase under its Paris Agreement NDC targets.
“Climate change will bring multiple adverse effects for Indonesia, and without sufficient domestic mitigation and adaptation measures, there will also be more frequent forest and peat fires, which, besides emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases, are also an environmental and public health hazard,” said Thibaud Lemercier of Ecofys, a Navigant company.
“Our findings confirm that strengthened decarbonisation efforts in the Indonesian electricity supply, passenger transport and forestry sectors would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously fostering co-benefits such as job-creation, reducing air pollution, reducing peat fires, conserving biodiversity, reducing traffic congestion in urban centres, promoting resource independency and increasing electrification of remote areas.”
To align with the Paris Agreement, Indonesia needs to fully decarbonise its power sector by 2050, which would mean around 50% of renewable energy generation by 2030 and no new coal plants, phasing out coal by 2040. Such a pathway would deliver the greatest societal benefits, including new jobs, reduced air pollution and avoid large-scale early retirement of new coal-fired power plants. In contrast, under current plans, 27 GW of new coal-fired capacity is expected to come online in the coming decade.
“Existing regulations, buoyed by fossil fuel interests, are too weak to stimulate the uptake of the vast renewable power potential in Indonesia. Increasing investor confidence by revising regulations on renewables’ support would be a good first step, not least because Indonesia is well-endowed with a wide range of renewable energy sources,” said Ursula Fuentes of Climate Analytics. “The necessary shift away from coal in power generation needs to be planned now to ensure a just transition”
Indonesia’s globally significant deforestation and land use emission rate offers a large potential to reduce emissions, the analysis found. Indonesia can turn its forestry sector into a net sink by 2030 if it does three things: stop peat fires by 2020, drastically reduce or even phases out emissions from peat degradation through restoration by 2030, and limit deforestation/increase reforestation.
“We have already seen huge gains in the forestry sector, with action taken to address peatland destruction, especially with the political momentum created after the 2015 fires,” said Niklas Höhne of NewClimate.
“But sub-national governments require more support to manage diverging interests. Their success would bring major co-benefits in avoided health impacts, environmental degradation and economic damage.”
In the transport sector, fuel economy standards, developing public transport and introducing electric mobility are key measures to start decreasing passenger transport emissions in the short term. While Indonesia has a very ambitious biofuel blending policy, without additional measures related to governance and sustainability certification, palm oil biofuel production will continue to drive deforestation expanding plantations into primary forest in Indonesia. According to the CAT‘s analysis, strong electrification of the passenger vehicle fleet, coupled with decarbonised electricity would enable decarbonisation of passenger transport and be in line with requirements of the Paris Agreement, while delivering strong economic and environmental benefits.