INDONESIA: Kyoto Protocol ratification not enough: Official, NGOs

Source: Copyright 2004, Jakarta Post
Date: June 21, 2004
Byline: Moch. N. Kurniawan

Government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) praised on Sunday a plan by the House of Representatives to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, but stressed the move would be meaningless without making revisions to regulations and policies that are unfriendly to the environment.

Deputy State Minister of the Environment Sudarijono said Indonesia’s stance in ratifying the treaty showed its strong commitment to help reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

“For us, the planned ratification of the Kyoto Protocol is not enough. We also have many regulations and policies that must be revised as they increase GHGs,” he said.

NGO Greenomics executive director Elfian Effendi concurred, saying Indonesia needed to take concrete action to implement the Kyoto Protocol such as banning road construction and mining in protected forests.

For example, he said, the government ought to stop the controversial Ladia Galaska road project, which would pass through Leuser National Park in Aceh province.

“The impact of forest destruction on global warming is obvious. It will result in an increase in carbon dioxide emissions,” Elfian said.

Moreover, the government’s plan to allow mining in protected forest would also lead to an increase of GHG emissions, he added.

He urged the House to annul a new government regulation that was issued in lieu of law, which would allow mining in protected forests.

Elfian said such action could be taken by the House and government to show their commitment to helping reduce global warming.

Sudarijono said that, under the Kyoto Protocol, as a developing country Indonesia had no obligation to reduce current GHG emissions, but would benefit if it took part in the reduction of global warming.

“Only developed countries are required to reduce or limit their GHG emissions to their 1990 levels. But if they cannot do so in their home countries, they are allowed to purchase reduced GHG emissions from developing countries that have ratified the protocol, to meet their obligation,” he told the Jakarta Post.

Sudarijono explained that the procurement of GHG emissions between advanced and developing countries was controlled under the clean development mechanism (CDM).

A reduction of one ton of carbon dioxide could be bought for US$4 to $5, he said.

Among CDM programs are the use of clean energy power plants, and the preservation of designated forests, he added.

The House is slated to begin discussing a bill on the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on Monday.

The protocol covers a basket of six GHGs produced by human activities: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.

The sources of GHGs include coal-, oil- and gas-fueled power generation, soil disturbance and increased rates of decomposition in converted soils, petroleum as a fossil fuel for transportation, and cement, lime, iron and coal production.

The rapid increase in carbon dioxide emissions observed during the last 250 years is expected to continue for several decades to come.

If the predicted increases in greenhouse gas concentrations are then translated into temperature changes, a global temperature increase of between one and 5.5 degrees Centigrade is predicted for 2100.

Sea level is also predicted to rise by 20 cm to 60 cm due to rising water temperatures and icemelt around the world. This could pose a potentially very serious threat to millions of people.

So far, the United States has been reluctant to ratify the protocol as it would have a big impact to its economy, while Russia has shown willingness to ratify the treaty.

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