Widodo claims Indonesia leading by example on climate change

eight_col_075_silalahi-notitle191004_npaZm During Indonesia's annual dry season, hundreds of fires are often illegally ignited to clear forests in the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan, where large forest concessions are used by pulp and paper and palm oil companies. Photo: Afrianto Silalahi/NurPhoto

Souce: RNZ
Date: April 23, 2021

Indonesia's president says greenhouse gas reduction commitments by developed countries powers must be credible if developing countries are to follow suit.

Joko Widodo was among dozens of world leaders speaking at the US-hosted virtual Leaders Summit on Climate Change underway today. 

Photo: AFP

Widodo said he welcomed the target declared by several countries of achieving net zero gas emissions by 2050.

But he said that to ensure their credibility, such commitments should be implemented based on the 2030 Nationally Determined Contributions at the heart of 2015's Paris Agreement

Widodo said developing countries will implement similar ambitions if developed countries' commitments were credible, accompanied by concrete support.

According to him, the fulfilment of commitments and support by developed countries are indeed a necessity in the fight against climate change.

The president emphasised the importance of global partnerships, including with the Pacific, in responding to climate change.

He said Indonesia's upcoming presidency of the G20 will prioritise enhancing co-operation on climate with its partners including in the Pacific.

Widodo also told the summit that deforestation was at a twenty-year low in Indonesia, a sign of hope that the carbon emissions from rampant forest clearance in parts of the republic including West Papua may begin to decrease.

But Kiki Taufik, of Greenpeace's Global Campaign for Indonesia Forest, said the low level of deforestation in the past year was more due to market pressure applied to palm oil producers and the disruption caused by the pandemic than any action from the government.

"It's more because of the pressure of the consumer putting on the corporation in response to biodiversity loss, fire and human rights abuses for palm oil than anything the government has done over the past decade," Taufik said.

According to Widodo, Indonesia was leading by example in addressing climate change as the largest archipelago country and a home to tropical forests.

Furthermore, during his speech, Widodo said Indonesia was accelerating its pilot projects for its goal of achieving net zero emissions in the coming decades.

This includes rehabilitating 620 hectares of mangroves by 2024, with four times the carbon absorption of the same area of tropical forests

Taufik agreed that the mangrove project was good, but said the government needed to be more ambitious about its decarbonisation goals.

In particular, he said Indonesian authorities needed to implement proper protections for peatland against being burnt during the fire season, including in Papua, one of the republic's forestry hotspots targeted by the logging and palm oil industries.

Greenpeace this month warned that left unchecked, forest clearance in West Papua would undo Indonesia's progress in tackling climate change. 

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