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COP26: The elite deciding the fate of the world?

A number of world leaders will meet in Glasgow, Scotland, at the United Nations Summit on climate change, known as COP26 on 31 October – 12 November 2021. They have one goal: to address the increasingly urgent issue of climate change. President Joko Widodo is also scheduled to attend COP26 on November 1-2, 2021. However, what does that mean for the people of Indonesia?

Madani Sustainability Executive Director Nadia Hadad explained, COP26 is a moment for Indonesia to participate in reducing carbon emissions and an opportunity to reduce the earth’s temperature to 1.5 degrees. However, this will not only have an impact on the elites of a country.

“[COP26] is indeed an elite negotiation, but what is being negotiated is our destiny, because the decisions that will be taken at COP26 by world leaders will determine the fate of our earth in the future,” said Nadia.

Broadly speaking, measures to suppress global temperature increases are important to reduce the risks and impacts of climate change. Rising global temperatures are causing sea levels to rise, increasing the number of extreme weather events, and increasing the spread of tropical diseases, according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). For this reason, Indonesia promised in 2015 in the Paris Agreement to reduce GHG emissions by 29 percent independently and 41 percent with international assistance compared to normal activities ( business as usual ) in 2030, also known as the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

Indonesia maintains this target in the renewal document presented to the United Nations on 21 July 2021. Indonesia also targets to achieve net zero emissions by 2060, citing the document Long-term Strategy on Low Carbon and Climate Resilience 2050. This means that Indonesia needs to absorb all emissions produced by 2050 so that these emissions do not evaporate into the atmosphere, so that they become “zero”. Clean.

Despite this commitment, data from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry shows that carbon emissions are likely to increase in 2000-2019. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry noted that the energy sector tends to contribute the most to GHG emissions compared to other sectors during 2000-2019.

Therefore, environmental activists emphasize that Indonesia still needs to fight for several agendas at the upcoming COP26. For example, Nadia pushed for a more ambitious net zero emission target, which is around 2045. In addition, Indonesia needs to raise issues of land conversion, including peatland protection, recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights and reduction of ecosystem degradation, at COP26.

Nadia also encourages the development of a green economy and clean energy transition in Indonesia. Currently, the portion of Renewable Energy (EBT) in the national primary energy mix in mid 2014-2020 is still small. In 2020, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources noted that the portion of NRE in the national energy mix only reached 11.2 percent, while the remaining energy mix in 2020 was still dominated by coal (38.04 %).

Meanwhile, Walhi Climate Justice Campaign Manager Yuyun Harmono told Tirto on October 22, 2021, that the parties needed to detail the non-market mechanism scheme at the upcoming COP26. He considered that Article 6 in the Paris Agreement had not explained in detail the mechanism outside the market, while countries had chosen to implement a market mechanism through carbon trading as an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Indonesia has just passed the Draft Law (RUU) on the Harmonization of Tax Regulations on October 7, 2020 which regulates, among other things, the carbon tax, according to a press release. The plan is that this bill will be aligned with carbon trading as part of a roadmap or roadmap for a green economy in Indonesia. Furthermore, Yuyun encouraged developed countries to fulfill their climate change financing promises.

In 2015, developed countries committed to fund 100 billion US dollars (US) annually or equivalent to Rp. 1,415 trillion per year until 2020 for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Finally, Indonesia needs to formulate and encourage a loss and damage mechanism . This scheme serves to compensate people who have suffered losses due to the impact of climate change, explained Yuyun. Yuyun said, COP26 became an arena for Indonesia to fight for universal rights, including people’s rights to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. A UN press release on October 8 said the UN Human Rights Council (HAM) for the first time recognized that having a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a human right through its latest resolution. “So he’s not just negotiating elites, state leaders, or high dialogue , but he’s based on a rights approach,” said Yuyun.

Tirto has contacted the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) regarding COP26, but has not received an answer until the release of this article. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in its press release claimed that Indonesia had prepared “reliable” delegates and negotiators for COP26.

Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya emphasized to the delegates to be able to show the world that Indonesia is very serious in handling planned and solid climate change control between sectors. One form of Indonesia’s seriousness is with the forestry and land use target (FoLU) Netsink Carbon in 2030 which will be brought to the negotiating table in cooperation with tropical forest-owning countries such as Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“The government is preparing joint steps to manage carbon emission reductions from the forestry and land sectors with incentives and taxes, and at the same time confirming that along with the forestry sector, the energy sector is also managed with a decarbonization agenda,” said Siti. In addition, the most crucial agenda that has not been completed since COP24 in Katowice in 2018 is the technical arrangement for the implementation of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, namely the operation of voluntary international cooperation to fulfill NDCs through market and non-market mechanisms, according to the same press release. Regarding the agenda, Siti claimed that Indonesia was “very ready” with all the infrastructure to support policies, including by preparing a Presidential Regulation on the Economic Value of Carbon. In addition, the Minister of Finance has also set a Carbon Tax and is preparing its implications for the international trade sector, said Siti.


This story was originally published on Tirto, with the support of Climate Tracker.

Made Anthony Iswara
Made is a data journalist who strives to integrate research, communication and development economics to advocate policies. He has won 5 journalism awards and is among the five winners that won Best Article for the 2020 EU4Wartawan Competition organized by the European Union.