20 December 2008

Discourse: The bright side of the global crisis: Fewer emissions

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, 12/01/2008 7:11 AM

Delegates from 185 countries will attend a two-week UN climate change conference in Poznan, Poland, starting Monday, to create a new regime of emissions cuts as mandated in the Bali road map. The Indonesian delegation, led by State Minister for the Environment Rachmat Witoelar, said Indonesia was responsible for ensuring the follow-up of the road map, which was agreed upon during last year’s UN climate change conference in Bali. Rachmat, accompanied by National Council for Climate Change secretary-general Agus Purnomo, talked to The Jakarta Post’s Adianto P. Simamora about the agenda for Poznan.

Question: What progress has been made to follow up on the Bali road map since you started leading the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)?

Answer: The Bali road map is a prestigious achievement in climate change talks and the world respects it. It is a milestone on the road to making a success of the conferences in Poland and in Copenhagen next year.

As the UNFCCC president, assisted by the governing body, I am responsible for protecting the Bali road map in the next climate talks. The governing body consists of ministers from several countries. On Monday, I will hand over my UNFCCC presidency to the environment minister of Poland.

After the Bali conference, we organized a series of intensive meetings including those in Bangkok, Bonn and Accra to draft a “negotiable text” on emissions cuts. The text will be finalized in Poznan before being voted on during the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009. I admit it is not an easy job but there has been positive progress.

At the Accra climate conference, each (participating) country submitted a position paper, including Indonesia. These will be further discussed in Poland.

In general, the thorniest issue is related to future commitments to emissions cuts. We need a concrete target in the mid-term period of between 25 percent and 40 percent rather than the long-term commitment of 50 percent by 2050. If rich nations agree with it, there must be action.

How do you see the commitment of rich nations to dealing with emissions cuts amid the global economic downturn?

The economic crisis actually brings both positive and negative impacts on efforts to combat climate change.

Many companies, including those in the United States — the largest emitter — are suffering from the economic meltdown. Many companies have scaled down their production while others have become bankrupt. This means there are emissions cuts. It is the positive impact.

In addition, the use of climate-friendly technology such as hybrid cars is also reducing emissions from the transportation sector.

I attended several high-level meetings this year, including one in Hokkaido, Japan, and the recent G-20 meeting. I see leaders of developed nations becoming more afraid of the economic crisis. 

The United States spent a lot of money to bail out its economy. But I am sure the newly elected president Barack Obama will join the new climate regime. We are optimistic.

The bad news is the global financial crisis. Industrialized  nations are short of funds to support capacity-building and climate-resilience programs for developing countries.

But for me, God is fair. For example, Indonesia, which has been accused of being the world’s third largest emitter, is now ranked 24th. It is because of a significant decline in the number of forest fires. There are now fewer forest fires in Indonesia than in Australia.

What are the targets of the Indonesian delegation for the Poznan meeting?

Our vision is to get as many benefits as possible for Indonesia. Our delegation has prepared itself with very detailed position papers for the conference.

We will push agendas of demonstration activities for the reduction emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD), voluntary carbon market, adaptation fund, financial mechanism and technology transfers before 2012 when the Kyoto protocol commitment ends.

We plan to have several bilateral meetings to negotiate financial aid bilaterally. I think many countries are ready to help Indonesia finance the mitigation and adaptation of climate change.
Even before the Poznan meeting, we received money and commitments from a few  countries this year, including Australia, Japan, Germany and France. I believe more money will come to Indonesia for climate change after the Poznan conference.

The availability of grants and technical assistance for developing countries is crucial in adapting to climate change.

We are also exploring the possibility of bilateral and multilateral support for technology transfers. The Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) and the State Ministry for Research and Technology have been active in coordinating an exercise to complete the needs assessment for technology transfers in the past few years.

A draft report of the technology needs assessment is at the final review stage and will be presented at a side event during the Poznan forum. Among the identified technologies are renewable energy technologies.

Unfortunately, some clean and climate-friendly technologies are a bit more costly than the relatively dirty technology.

Financial and policy incentives are needed for higher adoption and procurement of clean technology.

The international climate negotiations can facilitate development partnerships to promote clean technologies, such as geothermal, wind and solar power generation.

As part of the global solidarity to prevent the worsening of climate change, the Indonesian delegation will also look for opportunities to get clean technology investment for our country.

Copyright © 2008 The Jakarta Post - PT Bina Media Tenggara. All Rights Reserved

Read more... Sphere: Related Content

No comments: