DNPI announces potential CO2 emissions reduction figures

Down to Earth No.83, December 2009

In August, Indonesia's National Climate Change Council (DNPI) announced the results of a draft study which includes a series of projections for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions and compares these with 'business as usual' scenarios.

The analysis of emissions sources and the potential for reducing emissions in six sectors drew on the opinions of more than 150 government, private sector and non-governmental experts, divided into sectoral working groups, according to a DNPI press release.1

The draft study - which is due to be finalised by the end of this year - estimates the country's annual CO2e2 emissions in 2005 at 2.3 Gigatonnes (1Gt = 1 billion tonnes). It says this will increase by 2% per year, reaching 2.8 Gt by 2020 and 3.6 Gt by 2030 if changes aren't made in order to reduce emissions.

However, the DNPI base figure of 2.3 Gt is likely to be an underestimate. Annual emissions from forestry and land use change alone were estimated at 2.6 Gt CO2e, by a World Bank and DFID study in 2007, based on figures from 2000. The total estimate for Indonesia was 3 Gt.3

The DNPI draft says Indonesia's projected emissions can be reduced to 2.3 Gt by 2030 (or, in other words, retained at the estimated 2005 levels), by implementing more than 150 measures for reducing emissions in the main GHG-emitting sectors. More than 80% of these are in the forestry, peat and agriculture sectors.4

Sector by sector the draft report's finding include the following:


  • Forests: This sector (not including peatland and peat forests) contributed 850 MtCO2e, or 38% of Indonesia's total emissions, caused by deforestation (562 MtCO2e) forest degradation (211 MtCO2e) and forest fires (77 MtCO2e).

    If the current rate of 0.8 million hectares/year and 1 million ha/yr continues for deforestation and forest degradation, it will remain at 850 MtCO2e until 2030.

    The sector can reduce emissions by 1,100 MtCO2e, by reducing deforestation and preventing further forest degradation (saving 850 MtCO2e) while reforestation and afforestation can contribute a further 250 MtCO22e in emissions reductions. The result is that forests change from an emissions source to a significant carbon sink.


  • Peat: 2005 emissions were 1.0 GtCO2e, or 45% of Indonesia's total emissions, from oxidation through peatlands drying out and from oxidation through fires (0.77 Gt), plus through deforestation and degradation (0.25 Gt) of peatland forests. Emissions from peat will increase by 20%, reaching 1.2 Gt by 2030, if land conversion (eg for oil palm plantations) continues and vulnerability to fires increases due to forest degradation and drought.

    The potential for reduction in this sector is 700 MtCO2e, including:

    • prevention of logging and forest degradation covering 300,000 hectares, saving 250MtCO2e otherwise lost through removal of above-ground biomass;
    • restoration of 5 million hectares of non-commercial peatlands (re-flooding and replanting), producing reductions of 360MtCO2e. Further reductions can be made by improving irrigation and fires management on existing agricultural and pulpwood plantation land.


  • Agriculture: 2005 emissions levels from this sector (not including peatlands) were 139 MtCO2e, with rice fields being the biggest contributor (51.4MtCO2e) primarily through methane (CH4). By 2030 these will reach an estimated 152 MtCO2e, through increased livestock and large-scale agriculture.

    Potential emissions reductions could reach 105 MtCO2e, with the biggest potential being in improving water management and nutrients for rice-lands and restoring degraded agricultural land.


  • Electricity: Emissions from this sector are estimated at 110 MtCO2e in 2005, more than 75% of which are caused by coal. These will increase up to seven-fold reaching 750 MtCO2e by 2030, driven by increasing demand for electricity (electricity will reach 100% of villages by 2030, compared with 60% now), and increasing reliance on coal for power generation.

    Opportunities for reducing emissions by 220 MtCO2e include a greater role for clean, renewable energy sources (166 MtCO2e) and the use of 'clean coal' technology (6.1MtCO2e).


  • Transport: 2005 emissions from this sector were an estimated 70 MtCO2e, and will reach 500 MtCO2e by 2030, driven by increasing volumes of commercial and private vehicles (from 115 vehicles per 1,000 people, to 312 per 1000 in 2030).

    Indirect emissions reductions have the potential to reach 100 MtCO2e through two main mitigation measures: increasing the use of internal combustion engines in all classes of vehicles (75 MtCO2e) and moving to electric and hybrid cars (15 MtCO2e).


  • Buildings: Direct emissions from buildings are projected to double from 20 MtCO2e in 2005 to 40 Mt in 2030, prompted by an increase in commercial and residential energy consumption. This can be reduced by 47 Mt by 2030, through measures including alternative water heating (8.8 Mt), energy-efficient lighting (11.3 Mt) and more efficient electrical equipment (9.3 Mt).


  • Cement: With strong economic growth during the next 20 years, Indonesia's emissions from cement will increase more than threefold from 20 MtCO2e to 70 MtCO2e, caused mostly by the use of clinker in cement production. This can be reduced by 12Mt by substituting clinker with slag. Alternative energy (eg industrial or municipal waste can reduce emissions further by 3.4 Mt.


Danger signs

The figures in the DNPI draft report highlight the fact that the greater part of Indonesia's GHG emissions are from the destruction of forests and peatlands. This destruction is a tragic consequence of domestic policies, prompted and supported by demand from international markets and investors, and has been the subject of civil society campaigns for many years, if only more recently framed in terms of climate justice.

Alarm bells will be set off by some of the emissions reduction efforts listed, which could well turn out to be counter-productive, as well as having the potential to marginalise and impoverish large numbers of indigenous and rural Indonesians. These include, reforestation and afforestation, reducing deforestation and forest degradation (REDD schemes) peatland restoration, 'clean coal'5 and restoring agricultural land. If efforts are made to implement plans in a top-down centralised manner, without recognising the rights of indigenous peoples to manage their land and to secure their free, prior and informed consent on any plans that may affect them, the lessons of past attempts to protect Indonesia's resources will not have been learned and there is unlikely to be progress on emissions reductions.


1 Press Release 27/Aug/09
2 CO2e = equivalent carbon dioxide emissions, a standard used to measures all greenhouse gases.
3 See DTE 74 and
4 Lembar Fakta - Kurva Biaya Pengurangan Emisi GRK (Gas Rumah Kaca) Indonesia, DNPO [no date] at
5 Many CSOs see 'clean coal' as a myth, promoted by coal-reliant nations who want to avoid closing down their coal sectors - see note on CCS in DTE 80/81.