Engaging with the world's third largest greenhouse gas emitter

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ImageYou may be surprised to know that Indonesia has emerged as the world's third largest emitter of carbon, following the U.S. and China.  This is primarily because of land-based emissions from peatland degradation, forest fires and deforestation, complemented by some of the fastest growing energy-based emissions.  In addition, as an archipelago of 17,000 islands and a significant agricultural population, its coastal urban population and farming-dependent rural economy are highly vulnerable to climate change.

For these reasons, the World Bank has been actively supporting a range of partnerships on mitigation and adaptation, including:

  • supporting the multi-stakeholder Indonesia Forest Carbon Alliance to position the country as a world leader on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD)
  • preparing inputs for a low carbon growth study to identify climate-friendly paths to economic development
  • developing a portfolio of clean development mechanisms (CDM) projects, including geothermal energy, industrial energy efficiency and landfill gas utilization
  • raising awareness about the country's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change vulnerability
  • working with donors to promote coordinated support and dialogue on climate issues with the Indonesian government

(Find a summary of some of this work here).

The Bank's agenda was developed with Indonesian and international partners in 2007 and benefited from a good deal of momentum around the Bali Climate Change Conference.  The Bank has worked with the Ministries of Environment, Forestry and Finance as well as the National Development Planning Agency.  Internationally, the Bank has collaborated with AusAID, DfID, The Netherlands, GTZ, CSIRO, CIFOR, ICRAF, GEF, etc.

At the same time, in my opinion, there are strong countervailing forces:

  • up to $20 billlion and a third of the Government's budget this year will be spent on fuel and electricity subsidies that result in increased emissions;
  • growing energy demand is going to be met primarily by a crash 10,000 MW coal-fired power program;
  • the drivers of deforestation persist;
  • and there is not yet a clear institutional focal point or champion for action on climate change. 

Thus, we face an uphill battle that can only be won by a national political and economic consensus on how to proceed with economic development that incorporates the effects of climate change and pursues the benefits of protecting global public goods.

Your thoughts on the following questions would be of great help:

- How can we maintain the public and governmental momentum on climate change post-Bali?
- What win-win opportunities exist for low carbon growth in Indonesia?
- Which are the best models of government coordination on adaptation and mitigation in other countries?
- How can powerful but unconventional partners be brought into the climate change debate?
- Are there effective examples of donor coordination at the country level to support national climate change programs?


Joe Leitmann

Lead Disaster Risk Management Specialist, World Bank / GFDRR

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