Indonesia agency seeks sweeping CO2 emissions cuts

JAKARTA (Reuters) - An Indonesian environment agency has set out a roadmap for the government to adopt forestry, energy, transport, industrial and agriculture policies that would slash carbon emissions by the world’s No. 3 emitter.

Indonesia’s government-backed National Climate Change Council, or NCCC, said significant cuts in emissions could be made through efforts to conserve forests and peatlands, among its top recommendations in a report published this week ahead of the key climate change talks in Copenhagen in December.

The United States and China are the world’s top two emitters.

The Indonesian agency said forestry, agriculture, power, transportation, buildings, and cement account for most of Indonesia’s emissions, which it put at 2.3 gigatons (billion tons) of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2005 -- or 10 metric tons per Indonesian -- and forecast would reach 2.8 gigatons in 2020 and 3.6 gigatons by 2030.

But Indonesia could potentially reduce emissions by as much as 2.3 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalents by 2030, the NCCC said, with the adoption of 150 different programs, in effect bringing the level down to 1.3 gigatons.

Most of the reduction needs to be focused on the forestry, peatland and agriculture sectors, where there is the greatest potential to cut emissions resulting from deforestation, forest fires, drainage of peatlands, and rice cultivation, the NCCC report showed.

It recommended a halt to deforestation coupled with more active reforestation programs, as well as turning forests into carbon sinks, and better water and nutrient management in agriculture.

While Indonesia faces considerable pressure to lift power production and is building new power plants, it needs to ensure the use of clean and renewable energy sources and increased use of clean coal technologies, the NCCC said.

The agency also recommended a shift toward the use of hybrid and electric vehicles, improvements in internal combustion engines, the use of more efficient electrical appliances, efficient lighting and water heating.

“This will provide guidance for the environment ministry and the council to move forward to follow the world’s trend to enter a low carbon development growth,” environment minister Rachmat Witoelar told reporters on Thursday at a briefing for the report.

NCCC officials said the study would help the government to revise its environmental policies, develop pilot strategies in the provinces, and decide on its position in the next UN Climate Change Conference meeting in Copenhagen.

Under an emerging U.N. scheme called reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation, or REDD, developing nations can potentially earn billions of dollars by setting aside and rehabilitating their forests.

The valuable carbon offsets they earn could be sold to rich nations to help them meet their emissions goals under the scheme that is likely to be part of a broader climate pact from 2013.

Editing by Sara Webb and Sanjeev Miglani