Yale students meet with Indonesian Delegation

Yesterday evening Yale students met with members of the Indonesian Delegation to discuss their perspective on climate change governance and hear first hand of the impacts of climate change on their country.

Our discussion opened with the delegates telling a somber tale of the affects of El Nino, an ocean-atmosphere phenomenon that is likely increasing in intensity and frequency due to global warming. The 1997 El Nino caused severe forest fires in Indonesia. El Ninos, in general, have significant consequences for two groups of Indonesians: farmers and fishermen. Farmers, especially those in Java, face water scarcity in the dry season and flooding in the wet season. Recently, these agricultural areas have been hit with cyclones, a phenomenon new to Indonesia. El Nino also increases the height of ocean waves, making fishing difficult, if not impossible. These affects have made Indonesia eager to take action against climate change.

Indonesia has a national action plan on climate change, and aims to reduce GHG emissions 17% by 2025. However, this figure may be adjusted slightly due to factors such as CCS feasibility. To meet this GHG reduction goal, Indonesia is implementing a mixed energy policy.  Renewables will comprise 70% of energy sources under this policy. The delegates stated that the most promising renewable energy source that will be pursued is solar. Additional renewable sources include micro hydro, geothermal, and biofuels, particularly palm oil, a biofuel source for which Indonesia is well-known. Indonesia is increasing their efforts to ensure that palm oil plantations are sustainably managed. Additionally in the climate change arena, Indonesia is working to replant 30 million hectares of forest by 2025, and has a policy of low carbon emission development.

As our climate change discussion proceeded, the delegates stated that they face problems disseminating information on climate change to the public, as it is generally only available to Indonesians living in large cities.

Midway through the meeting, discussion shifted to specific forestry issues. The delegation discussed the Ministry of Forestry, the entity engaged in forest degradation control management. The Ministry’s efforts include a training program for forest inspectors run by the police and a project for national satellite mapping. Delegates told of Indonesia’s engagement in FLEG-related projects to reduce demand for illegally logged timber. However, illegal logging still remains a problem that requires further work on the ground.

At the end of the meeting, delegates discussed some hot issues at COP13. They stated that Indonesia prefers national reference emission standards because it will control leakage and they already have national level enforcement in place. Specifically, Indonesia favors national accounting with sub-national implementation. Additionally, delegates stated that Indonesia is in favor of REDD. They made clear that they would like REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) and not just RED (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation). They feel that unless degradation is taken into account, the whole avoided deforestation problem cannot be adequately dealt with.