Indonesian envoys said on Tuesday that the country remains committed to its emissions reduction targets as the global climate forum braces for the impact of the United States’ withdrawal from its Paris commitments.
The Indonesian presidential envoy for climate change, Rachmat Witoelar, said that the decision of US President Donald Trump’s administration to pull out of the global pledge to reduce emissions that had been declared in Paris in 2016 would not affect other countries in the accord.
“There are China and India that will fill in the absence of US. Indonesia, meanwhile, should be able [to realize its commitments] on its own efforts,” he said on the sidelines of the COP23 climate conference. Rachmat said China and India should be appreciated for remaining in the pact while both countries have large populations and also struggle to reduce their emissions.
The Trump administration announced that the US government would withdraw from the Paris Accord, a move that had been expected since Trump was elected president just over a year ago. But the US can only finalize its pullout in November 2020, which is after the country’s next presidential election. In Bonn, Germany, the US is still represented by a small number of delegates, who in contrast to the spirit of the summit are promoting “cleaner and more efficient fossil fuels and nuclear power in climate mitigation.”
Their campaigning is outshined by an alternative alliance, spearheaded by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and heads of states, cities and businesses in the US, that announced that the American people still honor the Paris Accord. The initiative, called America’s Pledge, is to report US climate actions by states, cities and businesses, assuming the role that should be done by the US government.
Indonesia, along with other countries working on a rule book for global climate change mitigation actions after 2020, is creating a framework in which its climate actions — which emphasize social forestry and peat land restoration — can be implemented with the help of technology and funding from the international community. Indonesia has pledged to cut emissions by 29 percent by 2030, if it only does it through its own efforts, or by 41 percent if it gets international assistance.
Rachmat said the US’ absence would open the way for China and India to take leadership roles in the global movement. Nations, he said, may seek technology and money from other countries if the US refuses to fulfill its commitments, especially in funding.
“We are anticipating that countries like China would take over the US role, especially in funding. For technology, we can still rely on the American private sector, which still supports the Paris commitment,” he said.
The US is among the largest providers of climate financing. In the Green Climate Fund, a global fund set up under the United Nations climate change forum, the country is among those that have made the largest contributions, along with Japan, Sweden, Hungary and Norway. As of September, it allocated US$1 billion out of the total $3 billion it pledged.
Environment and Forestry Ministry Siti Nurbaya said Indonesia was open to getting funds and knowledge from other countries for its climate change mitigation actions, but would itself manage the programs. “If it is related to the country’s sovereignty and actions, we rely on ourselves. We don’t depend on the international community,” she said.
Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said that although the country still seeks cooperation with other nations for technology transfer, it would not limit options to particular countries. “We will find the most advanced ones. For instance in electric cars. Besides Tesla, China has also developed advanced technology. We can also cooperate with China,” he said.