Indonesia expected to lead G20’s push in climate action: COP26 president

Source: The Star

From The Star

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network): As this year’s Group of 20 (G20) president, Indonesia will have a critical role in spurring other G20 members to come up with more ambitious climate action, the United Kingdom’s president for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) said.

Indonesia officially started its G20 presidency in December last year. It has identified three primary issues for its presidency, namely global health architecture reform, digital-based transformation and the sustainable energy transition.

COP26 president Alok Sharma (pic), in his latest visit to the country, said Indonesia’s leadership in the G20 will be “vitally important in driving forward climate action.”

“Every year, there are a number of big international events that take place, which allow an opportunity for countries to come forward and show more [emission reduction] ambition,” said Sharma on Thursday.

“And I think there is a historic opportunity for Indonesia to preside over the first net-zero G20 – all the G7 countries have signed up to net-zero in their economies by the middle of the century.”

Sharma was referring to pledges made by countries to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to reach net-zero around the middle of this century in a push to achieve the goals set in the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, namely limiting a temperature rise of the planet to around 1.5 degree Celsius from preindustrial levels.

Most of the advanced economies in the G20 have pledged to achieve net-zero by 2050, while countries such as China, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Turkey have pledged to achieve net-zero beyond 2050.

He went on to add that the UK, as the COP26 president, would also work closely with Indonesia to push other G20 members to come up with more ambitious 2030 emission reduction pathways, which was one of the points agreed in the Glasgow Climate Pact that was produced during COP26 last year.

Another key issue that was addressed in the Glasgow Climate Pact was climate financing, with the text noting “deep regret” over the failure of developed countries to meet its annual collective target of mobilising US$100 billion by 2020 to help developing countries mitigate and adapt to the changing climate.

It also urged developed countries to deliver the goal “urgently and through to 2025.”

Sharma pointed out that the UK had published its Climate Finance Delivery Plan ahead of COP26, which outlined the trajectory for developed countries to deliver on their promise.

According to the plan, it was projected that the developed countries would meet their collective goal by 2023.

“We want to see, during this year, that we keep to the trajectory [as outlined in the Climate Finance Delivery Plan],” said Sharma.

He also added that the private sector in developed countries would also play an important role in the efforts to reach the climate finance goal.

“We are very keen to ensure that private finance, which is going to be absolutely vital, also starts to flow toward climate action.”

Separately, Greenpeace Southeast Asia climate and energy campaigner Tata Mustasya said Indonesia should use its G20 presidency to accelerate its transition to a greener economy.

However, Tata said the government’s green energy transition pledge often contradicted its own energy policies.

He pointed out that while Indonesia pledged to retire up to 9.2 gigawatts of coal-fired power plants by 2030, it still planned to build up to 13.8 gigawatts of new coal-fired power plants over the same period.

“If Indonesia truly wants to transition to green energy, it is vital for the country to accelerate such a transition to meet its self-imposed target,” said Tata.

Tata urged the government to accelerate its coal-fired power plants early retirement programme and stop planning the construction of new coal-fired power plants, while also adding that ramping up the underutilized renewable energy sources would be essential in the country’s steps to decarbonize its energy sources.