Greenpeace says Jokowi's speech to COP26 in Glasgow just 'empty talk'

CNN Indonesia – November 2, 2021
President Joko Widodo speaking at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland – November 1, 2021 (Reuters)

Jakarta – Greenpeace Indonesia says that the claims made by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo when speaking at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, on Monday November 1 were empty talk.

Greenpeace Indonesia forest campaign spokesperson M Iqbal Damanik revealed that these claims ranged from energy transition to successes in reducing forest and land fires through to the rehabilitation of 600,000 hectares of mangrove forest by 2024.

"It can be said that all of Jokowi's claims are empty talk", said Damanik during a press conference titled "Responding to President Jokowi's Speech at COP26" on Tuesday November 2.

Furthermore, said Damanik, the figure for the decline in forest and land fires of 82 percent between 2020-2021 cannot be seen as result of government policies because the decline was largely influenced by natural factors.

Likewise also, said Damanik, in previous years. The number of forest and land fires declined significantly because of the wet season, namely when there was heavy rainfall.

"Here policy intervention against forest fires was not optimal, but deforestation actually declined during the wet season. Meaning that [the decline in] forest fires cannot be claimed by Jokowi as a success", he said.

Damanik also said that the claims made during Widodo's speech represent a selection of data or "cherry picking", meaning that the data does not represent the condition or situation in Indonesia as a whole.

Not to mention, said Damanik, the forest and land fires which occurred are still on the same concessions such as in South Sumatra and South Kalimantan. He said that fires occurred in the same places in 2015, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

"It's rather funny because then Jokowi also claimed that in 2020-2021 the number of forest fires declined by 82 percent. This is cherry picking from data which is incomplete", said Damanik.

In relation to energy transition, according to Damanik, Widodo has not yet shown any seriousness in its implementation. One of the points highlighted by Damanik is the use of fossil fuel in the form of coal.

Damanik said that Widodo through the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry (ESDM) and the State Electricity Company (PLN) still plans to build 13.8 Giga Watts of coal fired power plants. Yet in his speech Widodo said that Indonesia will be transforming to renewable energy.

"This is a sign that Indonesia will not be shifting away from extractive industries, will not contribute in concrete and real terms to its commitments on dealing with the climate crisis", he said.

Separately, meanwhile, in an official press release following Widodo's speech in front of world leaders at COP26, Sustainable Civil Foundation (Yayasan Madani Berkelanjutan) Executive Director Nadia Hadad said that Widodo must take firm measures to achieve the targets.

"Because of this, President Jokowi must be firm in issuing development policies – including national economic recovery policies – which are consistent with the net sink FOLU agenda and the goal of ending deforestation in 2030. Protecting all natural forest landscapes and remaining peatland ecosystems will assist Indonesia in achieving these aspirations. Currently there are still 9.6 million hectares of remaining natural forest landscapes which is not yet protected from the policy of stopping the issuance of new licenses and because of this could be threatened", said Hadad.

"In addition to this, the president must push for the ratification of the Draft Law on Traditional Communities to protect the rights of traditional communities which are in the front line of protecting remaining natural forests, also accelerating and strengthening social forestry which has the potential to contribute up to 34.6 percent to NDC [Nationally Determined Contributions] from the reduction of deforestation", she said.

In his speech in front of world government heads at COP26 Widodo highlighted a series of achievements by Indonesia in preventing worsening climate change.

These ranged with reducing the rate of deforestation through to rehabilitating 3 million hectares of critical land in 2010-2019. Not only that, Widodo also outlined a target of rehabilitating 600,000 hectares of mangrove forests by 2024.

"The rate of deforestation has declined significantly, the lowest in the last 20 years. Forest fires also declined by 82 percent in 2020. Indonesia has also started rehabilitating a target of 600,000 hectares of mangrove forests by 2024, the largest area in the world", said Widodo in Glasgow.  (yla, kid/kid)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Greenpeace soal Pidato Jokowi di COP26: Klaim Omong Kosong".]