Environmentalists on Tuesday welcomed Indonesia’s pledge to substantially cut the growth of its greenhouse gas emissions, saying the promise could help talks on crafting a broader global pact to fight climate change. Indonesia is the world’s third largest greenhouse emitter and steps by big developing nations to curb their emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases are a key focus of U.N.-led climate talks under way in the Thai capital until Oct 9.
Delegates from about 180 countries are trying to narrow differences on emissions reduction targets, climate finance and transfer of clean-energy technology before a December deadline to try to seal a tougher pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol. [ID:nSP450470]. In a speech to G20 leaders on Sept. 25, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the government was crafting a policy that would cut emissions by 26 percent by 2020 from “business as usual” (BAU) levels.
The policy would be a mix of stepping up investment in renewable energy, such as geothermal power, and curbing emissions from deforestation and changes in land use. With international support, he said he was confident Indonesia could cut emissions by as much as 41 percent.
“This target is entirely achievable because most of our emissions come from forest-related issues, such as forest fires and deforestation,” he said during a working lunch in the U.S city of Pittsburgh. Reuters obtained a copy of his speech on Tuesday. “We are also looking into the distinct possibility to commit a billion ton of CO2 reduction by 2050 from BAU. We will change the status of our forest from that of a net emitter sector to a net sink sector by 2030.”
In the jargon of international climate talks, “business as usual” levels refers to what would happen if emissions grew at the same rate as has accompanied economic growth in the past.
DESTRUCTION OF RAINFOREST
Indonesia is the world’s third largest greenhouse gas emitter, the country’s National Climate Change Council says, mainly through loss of rainforests and forest fires. Slowing the pace of destruction is a key focus of climate negotiators trying to firm up ways to curb the pace of global warming.
Deforestation is responsible for about 20 percent of mankind’s greenhouse gas emissions, so saving forests is a key part of the climate puzzle. “This is extremely positive, that developing countries can commit to the world that this is the ambition level we are at, we can do,” Kim Carstensen, head of conservation group WWF’s global climate initiative, told Reuters in Bangkok.
“What’s even more interesting and something that’s been lacking in the negotiations is that they are willing to provide an additional 15 percent if they get financial support.” Greenpeace said Yudhoyono’s comments would put pressure on rich nations to act faster on fighting climate change.
“This puts the focus firmly back on the developed world, most especially the countries who have been bleating that they won’t move without the big southern emitters,” said Paul Winn, Greenpeace international forest climate campaigner, in Bangkok. “It also highlights the urgent need for financing to help developing countries take further action on climate.”
Rich nations say developing nations need to include any emissions reduction steps into a post-Kyoto pact to ensure such measures can be monitored and verified. Developing countries would also need to make regular progress reports on such steps. Developing nations are resisting this demand and say rich nations should pay substantial sums to help them adapt to the impacts of climate change and to pay for clean-energy technology. (Editing by Alex Richardson)
Source: Reuters, September 29, 2009
By David Fogarty