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Carbon Trading is Just a Bonus

Translator

TEMPO

Editor

Laila Afifa

16 December 2023 19:45 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The United Nations Climate Change Conference, or the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) took place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Around 70,000 people from around the world gathered at the Dubai Expo to discuss ways to prevent the increasing effects of global warming as the earth’s temperature has risen to 1.2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial levels. UN experts predict that the climate crisis will reach tipping points when the earth’s temperature is 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius warmer than those levels.

Two critical agendas discussed in the COP28 were the call on the 197 countries to fulfill their pledge to reduce emissions and the establishment of a Loss and Damage Fund for small and impoverished countries likely to be most affected by the climate crisis. The fund will be used to help lower emissions via energy transition and conservation as well as adaptation and resilience to climate change.

The Indonesian government joined the COP28 deliberations armed with the data of its emission reduction achievements over the past three years. “(The reduction) in 2022 reached 47.28 percent,” Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya declared. Laksmi Dhewanthi, Director-General of Climate Change Control of the Environment Ministry led the Indonesian delegation in climate change funding and carbon emission reduction negotiations.

Carbon emission is considered the main culprit of global warming. As such, all countries are required to help cut, at least by half, global greenhouse emissions which have risen above 50 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent. By using 2010 emission benchmarks, it is estimated that Indonesia’s emissions will reach around 2.87 billion tons in 2030. Indonesia is committed to reducing greenhouse gases by 31.89 percent using its own resources or 43.2 percent with foreign assistance as spelled out in the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) presented at the COP27 in Egypt last year.

For over two hours at the FOLU Operation and Collaboration Center on the second floor of the Manggala Wanabakti Building, Jakarta, Siti Nurbaya explained to Tempo, Indonesia’s climate mitigation achievements as well as the problems the government was facing. Director-General of Social Forestry of Environment Partnership, Bambang Supriyanto, assisted with explaining several specific matters. For the sake of flow, clarity, and context, this interview has been edited and condensed.

So, can Indonesia achieve the emission reduction target before 2030?

We achieved a 47 percent reduction in 2020, 43.82 percent in 2021, and 40.82 percent in 2022. Emissions from the energy sector last year were still massive with a 700-million-ton CO2 equivalent. But the forestry sector’s absorption was also huge. Previously, (the sector) produced 900 million but now down to 200 million. That’s why the United States, Brazil, and France were keen to imitate our approaches. At the COP28, they vied to pull us to be in their groups. But I refused.

Why?

They put forward ‘us’ and then would claim their emission reductions.

Has social forestry contributed to carbon absorption?

Bambang Supriyanto: The absorption of 4.06-million-hectare social forestry is 31.9-million-ton CO2 equivalent. This is 20 percent of the NDC for the forestry sector although the targeted reduction is only 6 percent. Professor Dodik Nurrochmat from IBP (Bogor Agriculture Institute) presented the model at COP28. Carbon absorption from 12.7 million hectares of social forestry will reach 167 million tons. So, the forestry sector can achieve its emission reduction target only via social forestry.

Doesn’t the energy sector have Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) funding?

The interest is high, up to 5 percent, because it is a commercial platform. I discussed it with President (Joko Widodo) and he said even one to two percent was inappropriate. Also, its mechanism. JETP providers want green projects and then release carbon (credits) to the international market without recording them in the government system. I don’t want that because we have the NDC. Ease of getting JETP funding is a must but it must not violate the constitution.

Actually, how much of our carbon is ready to be traded?

According to my calculation, 400 to 500 million tons from the forestry sector alone.

What is the price?

If we refer to result-based payments (RBP) of those such as the Green Climate Fund and Norway, US$5 per ton.

Is it reasonable, cheap, or expensive?

It’s very cheap compared with that of Canada. Canada can get US$30 per ton. I’m asking for a review of the price of carbon from our forests. In my opinion, it should be US$70 to 80 per ton because our forests are rich in biodiversity, have indigenous communities, and locals take part in social forestry programs. But I keep it to myself for now because this needs to be calculated with a proper methodology.

What makes carbon prices high?

The quality of carbon is indicated by many factors, particularly public participation. If we have public participation in lowering emissions, and technologies, then national resilience is achieved. If all of those factors are included, Indonesia’s carbon prices should be high, it could be US$100 to 200 per ton. But before we get there, we have to study the market, and how to negotiate, like green bonds issued by the Finance Ministry that sell very well given their supporting economic factors. But carbon trading is just an incentive or bonus. The main and important objectives are emission reduction and fulfillment of NDC targets to mitigate climate change.

Read the Full Interview in Tempo English Magazine



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