In 2009, both Brazil and Indonesia internationally proclaimed that they were committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 40 percent by 2020 with international assistance. Reaching these ambitious targets would require both countries to revise and enact new subnational regulations that would aim to divert emissions from business-as-usual (BAU) levels. While greenhouse gas emission reduction goals are being made, national targets in both these countries are also being created to increase economic growth including in the agriculture sector. The expansion of agriculture commodities such as oil palm in Indonesia and soybean in Brazil are seen to cause massive land use changes that increase greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere.
Land use planning activities at the subnational level have been conducted in both the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil and the province of West Kalimantan, Indonesia over the last five years. Despite efforts to pass and implement such regulations, these land use policies are going through intense political and environmental debate, resulting in a stalemate in the enactment of these laws. While land use planning attempts to better zone areas for various activities such as for agriculture expansion and forest conservation could lead to more sustainable management of natural resources, the absence of these laws mean that there is a stronger tendency to see BAU practices on the ground. This research project analyzes the challenges and political discourse governments and stakeholders have in creating zoning plan regulations and assess how climate change commitments are impacting the development of these policies.