Climate change mitigation in emerging economies: the case of Indonesia: hot air or leadership?

Climate change mitigation in emerging economies: the case of Indonesia: hot air or leadership?

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Hein, Jonas
Briefing Paper 8/2013

Bonn: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

It was at the climate change conference in Bali in 2007 (COP 13) that developing countries first agreed to initiate “nationally appropriate mitigation actions” (NAMA) in accordance with their respective capacities. At COP 15, in Copenhagen, developing countries submitted emissionreduction
targets. Emerging economies, led by Indonesia and Brazil, committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions significantly below business as usual (BAU) by 2020. Mexico and the Dominican Republic have also recently passed climate laws.
Indonesia ranks third after China and the United States in emitting greenhouse gases. This is mainly due to emissions from deforestation and peatland conversion. Since COP 13 Indonesia has sought to showcase itself as an active global leader in climate diplomacy. Despite quite low per capita emissions of around 2 tonnes of CO2 equivalents per year, the country announced plans to reduce its emissions up to 41 per cent below BAU by 2020. For achieving this target, Indonesia developed a detailed greenhouse gas reduction plan. Most of the emission reductions are planned to be achieved in the
forestry and agriculture sectors. Anyhow, fossil fuel-based emissions from the transport and energy sectors are growing and might surpass land-based emissions after 2020.
Indonesia’s emission-reduction strategy is a good starting point for a transformation towards a low-carbon economy, especially in the land-use-related sectors. Planned activities such as the regional incentive scheme to promote climate-friendly activities and the domestic carbon market will go far beyond those implemented in many developed countries. However, the success of Indonesia’s mitigation polices depends mainly on the ability to mobilise political capacities to overcome existing^barriers, which may hinder the transformation from a resource- and emission-intensive development path towards a more sustainable and long-term-orientated development path. Important steps to solve key challenges that would confirm the climate leadership claims of the Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono presidency are:

  • a climate law adopted by The People’s Representative Council (Parliament) would augment the domestic legitimacy and international credibility of Indonesia’s mitigation efforts;

  • a coherent BAU scenario that is third-party verified minimises the risk of virtual emission reductions (socalled hot air);
  • incentives for local stakeholders are crucial for encouraging mitigation activities on the local level;
  • the extension of the forest moratorium could contribute heavily to Indonesia’s reduction targets.

About the author

Hein, Jonas

Geographer

Hein

Further experts

Chan, Sander

Enviroment Policy 

Kuhn, Sascha

Social Psychologist 

Malerba, Daniele

Economist 

Mathis, Okka Lou

Political Scientist 

Fuhrmann, Hanna

Economist 

Yu, Lu

Agricultural Economist 

Aleksandrova, Mariya

Climate risk governance 

Grabert, Margarita

Environmental Economist 

Bauer, Steffen

Political scientist 

Brandi, Clara

Economist and Political Scientist 

Brüntrup, Michael

Agricultural Economist 

Herrmann, Raoul

Economist 

Houdret, Annabelle

Political Scientist 

Iacobuta, Gabriela

Environmental Researcher 

Never, Babette

Political Scientist 

Pegels, Anna

Economist 

Römling, Cornelia

Economist