Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Blog 4: Indonesia and climate change

Empty Promises: All that remains of Indonesia's climate plans

The president of Indonesia declared at a meeting in 2009 that the country would cut its carbon emissions by 26 percent by the year 2020 and with international support, Indonesia could bring that reduce emissions up to 41 percent.  Not much has been done about it in the past four years.

Much action is being taken against the president because of this.  Environmental activists are doing everything from protests to class action law suits against corruption for these neglected promises.

Not only is Indonesia not moving forward quickly enough for environmental activists, but as a rapidly developing country, they are high growth of their coal industry.  The article states that the country's coal industry, being backed by the world bank is worth 33.9 million dollars and includes a 2,000 MW coal plant and a 424 kilometer railroad for transportation.  Environmental groups are also upset about this as well as local villagers.

The president did not say anything about coal in the promise he made at the conference.  He was talking about deforestation and the depletion of the peat bogs.  The president stated that most of Indonesia's carbon emissions stem from forest fires and deforestation.  Indonesia's peat bogs are essential to keeping carbon in check and loss of those due to oil palm and Acacia plantations are causing the peat to decrease and the plantations are more prone to ignite.  Peat can hold up to 20 times as much CO2 as tropical rain forests and in reality, the peat holds 57 billion tons of CO2 and the peat bogs are being eliminated.

This article states that not only is Indonesia developing a coal industry, but it is also not paying attention to the value peat bogs.  This could be looked at from both sides of the sociological standpoint.  On one hand, why is Indonesia not allowed to grow their economy by introducing the coal industry?  Why is their responsibility to stay a less developed country then say, the United States.  They deserve to have equal opportunity to thrive just as we do.  America is not going to lessen its standard of luxury living to the extent that we are asking and frankly demanding Indonesia to do so. This is a bit on the hypocritical side of things.

On the other hand, the indonesian peat is a valuable asset to combat climate change and the world needs it to keep CO2 emissions at bay.  Indonesia should pay more attention to their peat bogs and take their fair share of responsibility to combat global climate change while at the same time, they should be able to develop their economy as much as they please.

Lilian Brown
October 2, 2013 at 12:10 pm

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