The following article was translated using both Microsoft Azure Open AI and Google Translation AI. The original article can be found in Peran Signifikan Indonesia pada COP28
My visit to the fruit-rich organic villages in the foothills of Mount Merapi almost a decade ago was the first time I experienced the great potential of Indonesia firsthand. It was clear that the agricultural sector would rapidly drive the transformation of future communities. At the time, I was studying Bahasa Indonesia in Yogyakarta, a historic city full of energy and life.
Several years later, after visiting various cities from Aceh to Papua, meeting with politicians, business people, students and activists, I learned more about this potential. I saw the beauty and potential of Indonesia’s biodiversity, but also its vulnerability to climate change.
The area’s size and potential make Indonesia an important player in the COP28 climate negotiations which will soon start in Dubai. As a country with the 16th largest economy and the sixth largest emitter in the world, Indonesia’s transition towards a low carbon economy is crucial to overcoming the climate crisis. a>. The biggest challenge for Indonesia currently is to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy and take advantage of opportunities to create jobs and new business opportunities so that people can feel the benefits of this transition.
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Much is at stake. As the largest archipelagic country in the world, Indonesia is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels and extreme weather events. Farmers face unpredictable changes in temperature and rainfall, while fishermen struggle with their catch. With the worsening climate crisis, Indonesia risks losing its wealth of forests and biodiversity within them. Pollution from industry and fires continue to threaten life expectancy and cause health problems for people, both in urban and rural areas.
Indonesian leaders have understood this. Through efforts towards a low-carbon economy, Indonesia strives to mobilize international funds to assist its energy transition. Moving away from coal, which unfortunately is still used in over 50 percent of power plants, is critical, but also highly complex.
Obtaining funds amounting to 20 billion US dollars within the framework of the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) is not an easy thing to achieve. This is also made more complicated by other problems such as the relatively young age of coal-fired power plants and the need to ensure that people’s living needs are still met. How developed countries and financial institutions will cooperate with developing countries in resolving this critical problem is a big question that must be answered immediately.
Transition from coal, which unfortunately is still used in more than 50 percent of power plants, is very important, but also very complex.
A just energy transition will ensure that Indonesia benefits from the global transformation towards a low-carbon economy, while paving the way for other countries that wish to do the same. The sustainability of Indonesia’s prosperity can be built from sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal renewables, instead of coal. This will promise energy that is not only cheaper but also cleaner and accessible to a wider range of society, from industry, educational institutions, housing, to hospitals.
Protecting Indonesia’s biodiversity is also crucial. The vast natural wealth that extends from the forests, beautiful coastlines, to coral reefs inhabited by various fish, provides significant economic benefits, including from the tourism sector. Indonesia’s commitment to turning its forests into clean carbon absorbers by 2030 is an innovative step in ensuring the utilization of natural potential to combat climate change.
A year ago, I had the opportunity to visit West Sumatra and see how the local community can help preserve the surrounding forests while also improving their livelihoods, by ensuring that their efforts – in the form of plantations, ecotourism, and so on – are done in a sustainable manner.
Every time I come back to Indonesia, I am always impressed with its dynamics. Indonesia is a country that has rapid economic growth every year. The next generation is now experiencing the benefits of opportunities unexpectedly obtained by their parents and grandparents. Climate change threatens this. However, on the other hand, efforts to combat climate change also offer opportunities to create a better and prosperous future for future generations.
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At the upcoming COP28 and other climate negotiation events, Indonesia plays a vital role in pushing the world towards a sustainable path. Other countries also face similar challenges: reducing emissions while maintaining livelihoods; protecting biodiversity while promoting economic growth. Indonesia can create a better future for its citizens while also inspiring partner countries around the world.
Climate crisis is one of the biggest challenges in today’s era. We must work together to face it. I hope, and believe, Indonesia will become the main driver of change in Dubai and in the coming years.
Moazzam Malik, Managing Director for Global Delivery at World Resources Institute; Former British Ambassador to Indonesia and ASEAN