Indonesia’s Plans for Sustainable Development and Net Zero Emissions: A Step Towards a Greener Future

The world is facing the urgent challenge of climate change as a number of effects are already being observed. From extreme weather events, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, to biodiversity loss, are the real-life effects that push world leaders to take collective action to address this issue. Many countries and organizations are committing to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050-2060, including Indonesia. Pushing through net zero emissions requires a fundamental shift in sustainable development and major transformations in different sectors, such as energy, industry, transportation, and land use systems.

As one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gasses, Indonesia has pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2060. President Joko Widodo announced this ambitious target at the Leaders’ Summit on Climate hosted by the United States in April 2021. Indonesia is set to outline a plan to reduce emissions through a range of measures, including increasing the use of renewable energy, improving forest and peatland management, and promoting sustainable transport. While the road to net-zero will be challenging, Indonesia’s commitment to this goal is a step in the right direction for a more sustainable future. In this article, we will explore Indonesia’s plans to reach net zero and highlight some of the key challenges.

Indonesia’s carbon emissions mostly come from forest and peatland clearance. According to Reuters, in 2022, Coordinating Minister for the Economy of Indonesia Airlangga Hartarto mentioned Indonesia pledges a more effective land use and better energy policy to cut emission levels by 31.89% on its own and 43.2% with international support. In the same year, based on the document sent to the United Nations, Indonesia stated its plans to reach net zero through effective land use, spatial planning, and the promotion of clean energy and sustainable forest management. As for reducing pollution, the country plans to work on the phase-out of coal power plants, halting the issuing of permits for clearing primary forests, and replanting mangroves along the archipelago’s coastlines.

By far, Indonesia has set some targets to tackle this issue. First, the government plans to increase 23% use of renewable energy in the national energy mix by 2025 from its current 14%. To further support this action plan, Indonesia established a regulation to encourage the development of new renewable energy projects, including solar, wind, and hydropower. In addition to renewable energy regulation, the government also launched an energy efficiency program in 2020 to reduce energy consumption and carbon emission in the industrial sector. The program involves energy audits, capacity development, and financial rewards for companies implementing energy-saving practices and technologies. Considering Indonesia has a large population and high transportation use, the government set a plan to achieve a 30% share of electric vehicles as a part of the national transportation industry by 2030. Moreover, Hartato also highlighted the initiative to develop the electric vehicle industry and establish a carbon trading system.

In the transition period, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Arifin Tasrif said fossil energy including coal, oil, and gas will still be used as temporary energy sources. Despite the country’s plans, Indonesia may come across several obstacles namely funding, research, technical support, and expertise in various areas from primary to university level, including competent human resources.

By far, Indonesia has demonstrated its commitment to achieving net zero emissions 2050 with several plans. With its rich natural resources, Indonesia should possess a unique opportunity to promote sustainable economic growth while also reducing its carbon footprint.


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