Climate Change in Indonesia

Climate Challenges

At more than 237 million inhabitants, the Republic of Indonesia is the fourth most populated country in the world. It is also one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG) and a fast-growing economy. Power plants and industries, equipped with outdated technologies, permanently pollute urban and rural environments with harmful substances, incl. GHG. The country’s rich forests are cut or burnt down for economic purposes, setting free GHG. The megacity of Jakarta is often covered in a thick cloud of smog as a result of heavy traffic. Insufficient waste management leads to huge amounts of garbage contaminating water, land and air and contributing significantly GHG emissions.

These are just a few of the problems the Southeast Asian nation is facing. Scenarios paint an even bleaker picture for its future: Greenhouse gas emissions in Indonesia are expected to increase further due to a growing population and a fast expanding economy in combination with a very high dependency on fossil fuels and low energy efficiency in industries, transport, housing or commerce.

The world’s largest archipelago – 80,000 kilometres of coastline and more than 17,000 islands – sits on a ‘ring of fire’ prone to disasters such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis or landslides. So much the more is Indonesia most vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change. To some extent, this can be witnessed even now: Prolonged droughts, flooding, and an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events negatively affect people’s health and livelihoods, and put the country’s rich biodiversity and economic stability at risk.

Need for Action

The Indonesian government recognises that tackling climate change is an integral part of the development challenge and thus plays an active role in related international negotiations. Pointing the way for solutions to global warming, Indonesia was the first developing country to announce a cut of greenhouse gas emissions: Until 2020, the Indonesian government is targeting a mitigation of emissions by 26 percent from current levels, as financed from own resources, and 41 per cent with international support.

This is an ambitious goal. Hence, national mitigation and adaptation measures need to be developed and integrated into all aspects of national, regional, and local development planning and implementation. The National Action Plan Addressing Climate Change (RAN-PI), the National Action Plan for Mitigation (RAN-GRK), and the Indonesian Climate Change Sectoral Roadmap (ICCSR) guide strategies and activities regarding effective GHG mitigation and adaptation to climate change in a systematic fashion. Yet, the key to success will depend on the sustained commitment and efforts of stakeholders in all walks of life: Politics and economics, public and private, forestry and agriculture, industry and energy, water and health, and others.