Two sectors, energy and forestry, play crucial roles in our efforts to combat global climate change. In the energy sector it is specifically the burning of fossil fuels that leads to the emission of global warming causing carbon dioxide. Forests meanwhile serve as sinks for the carbon dioxide we produce; the larger the forest, the more carbon emissions it can absorb.

Penulis : Hanan Nugroho

Jakarta | Fri, 06/12/2009 2:43 PM | Opinion

Two sectors, energy and forestry, play crucial roles in our efforts to combat global climate change. In the energy sector it is specifically the burning of fossil fuels that leads to the emission of global warming causing carbon dioxide. Forests meanwhile serve as sinks for the carbon dioxide we produce; the larger the forest, the more carbon emissions it can absorb.
As a member of the global community, what we do in our forestry sector plays a significant role in helping mitigate global climate change. Promoting the REDD (reducing emission from deforestation and degradation) scheme is one way Indonesia can help. Indonesia’s consumption of energy is not as large as that of China or India. Carbon dioxide emissions produced by Indonesia’s energy sector are much smaller than those that result from the culling of our forests, especially during forest fire season. But this does not mean that the Indonesia energy sector need not participate in endeavours to combat climate change.

A reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector could be implemented by adding clean energy sources to our current energy portfolio (supply side) or by making sure we consume the energy we do use more efficiently (demand side). The first approach could include developing nuclear power plants or renewable energy sources (particularly geothermal) or by shifting our consumption of fossil fuels from the dirtier sources (coal) to the cleaner ones (natural gas).

The Blue Print for National Energy Management 2005-2025 targets a major shift in the country’s energy portfolio, from a heavy reliance on oil to the use of more coal, natural gas and renewable energy. Minimizing the total cost of energy consumption seems to be the objective function of the plan. However, the major constraint for the implementation of this supply side approach is that it requires a huge amount of capital investment, which Indonesia lacks. Construction of energy infrastructure requires thorough and consistent planning over a relatively long period. We do not currently have such a good long term plan for the development of large-scale, complex energy infrastructure.

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