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Environmentalists question Indonesia's commitment to fighting climate change

Environmentalists question Indonesia's commitment to fighting climate change
Activists carrying placards take part in a rally asking for climate justice and protest against Indonesian President Joko Widodo's statement at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), in Jakarta, Indonesia on Nov 5, 2021.
PHOTO: Reuters

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JAKARTA - Hundreds of activists gathered in the streets of Indonesia's capital Jakarta on Friday (Nov 5), questioning the government's commitment to tackle global warming after it appeared to back away from pledges made at an ongoing UN climate conference.

The protest came days after Indonesia's environment minister criticised a global plan to end deforestation by 2030 and cut carbon emissions as unfair and at odds with the country's development plans.

Environment groups said the government of Indonesia, home to a third of the world's rainforests, did not appear to be serious about cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Wahyu Perdana, an activist with local environment group Walhi, said Jakarta was "paying lip-service" to tackling climate change while raising production of coal, the dirtiest of the fuels causing global temperatures to rise.

The government had raised its 2021 target of coal output to a record 625 million tonnes from an initial target of 550 million tonnes, he said.


Indonesia, the eighth biggest emitter of greenhouse gas in the world, plans to phase out coal for electricity by 2056, as part of a plan to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2060 or earlier.

An environment ministry spokesperson did not respond to the environment groups' criticism.

World leaders gathered in Glasgow this week for talks to secure promises from countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions and keep the rise in the average global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Crossing that threshold could trigger a cascading climate crisis, scientists say.

Greenpeace Indonesia's forestry campaigner Iqbal Damanik said at the protest that Indonesia's current policies enable deforestation that favours big companies and hurts local communities living off the forests.

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