Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – The Indonesian government has increased its climate ambition to reach net zero emissions by 2060 at the latest, a decade faster than previously estimated, a senior official said on Wednesday.
Indonesia's updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) was submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in July, ahead of the climate summit known as COP-26 to be held in Glasgow in November.
"Our calculations in April set the net zero emissions target to be achieved in 2070 based on exercises conducted at that time," Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya said in a video conference with the Jakarta Globe.
Intense negotiations were held with key players and decision makers in the energy sector and lawmakers to accelerate the timeframe and it was agreed that net zero emissions should be achieved "by 2060 or sooner", she said, adding that President Joko Widodo gave his full support to the updated target.
While many developed countries come forward with 2050 net zero emissions target, Siti indicated that it's very unlikely in the Indonesian case.
"As a note, the longest coal-fired power plant permit expires in 2056," she said.
Burning fossil fuels for electricity and transportation is believed to be the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in many countries.
Siti said Indonesia is playing an increasingly important role in global efforts to cut emissions to net zero and limit global warming to 1.5C.
"Indonesia is under the global spotlight because we have tropical rainforests that become the center of biodiversity and the lungs of the earth," she said.
"We have the determination to function our forests as carbon storage sinks, not carbon emitters, by 2030."
She claimed that "forest fires are now manageable" and "deforestations are kept to the minimum".
The president has signed a decree that permanently bans the central and local governments from issuing land clearance permit within specified forest areas totaling 66 million hectares across the country.
"That's approximately a size of both Norway and France combined," Siti said.
The updated NDC also seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 29 percent in 2030 on the 2010 emission level "unconditionally", meaning the target is based on assumptions that the government works on its own to achieve it, she said.
"Our ambition increases to 41 percent if we receive international funding, technical cooperation and technological supports," Siti added.
The 41 percent carbon reduction in Indonesia is equivalent to eliminating 1 gigaton of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, she said.
By comparison, UK government's greenhouse gas reduction target of 50 percent by 2030 "will remove just 200 million tons" of carbon, she added.
The UK, who will host the upcoming COP-26, has encouraged Indonesia to come up with a more ambitious target.
"Following Indonesia's submission to the UNFCCC on 21 July of its Long Term Strategy, including an aim to reach net zero emissions by 2060, we look forward to working even more closely with our Indonesian friends and partners towards a more ambitious goal for a safer and better planet for all," British Ambassador to Indonesia Owen Jenkins said in a statement on August 9.
His remarks came a day after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a finding that the surface temperature is likely reach 1.5C warming in the next one or two decades.
"The IPCC report serves as a warning for us to step up our determination and ambition to reduce emissions. We are gearing up our efforts to encourage all countries, including our close partner, Indonesia, to come up with the ambitious goals we need if we are to keep the 1.5C goal set out in the Paris Agreement within reach," the envoy said.