Indonesia is growing rapidly in terms of the economy and demography. At the same time, Indonesia is emitting greenhouse gas emission and is among the top global emitter. Indonesia has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 29 percent to up to 41 percent against a business-as-usual level in 2030. However, currently Indonesia does not have a long-term decarbonization plan in place. Without a long-term plan, Indonesia’s growth will also face some risks that are often foreseen with a short-term planning approach. Indonesia’s self-interest would be served by a long-term strategy (LTS) for climate action that looks beyond the next 5–10 years; such a strategy could secure needed growth while considering conditions and risks beyond 2030. The working paper offers a preliminary overview of the benefits and urgency of producing an LTS for climate action in Indonesia and highlights current opportunities to develop an effective strategy. In particular, the paper strives to answer the following questions:

  • How urgent is it that Indonesia have a long-term climate strategy?
  • Where is Indonesia in the process of developing a long-term climate strategy?
  • What lessons can be drawn from existing long-term modeling of Indonesia’s emissions?
  • What does the institutional landscape look like for an effective LTS?
  • What are some enabling factors for an effective LTS?

Key Findings

  • There is an urgency for Indonesia to develop an LTS for climate action. It makes economic sense: it could protect Indonesia from long-term costs, it gives Indonesia a chance to direct its land-use and energy systems more efficiently, it gives certainty to long-term investments, it safeguards Indonesia’s growth from risks associated with climate change, and it could potentially bring Indonesia toward becoming a sustainability global leader.
  • The priority for Indonesia’s LTS is to evaluate and improve Indonesia’s energy system and land use. For the energy system, thinking long-term could inform a power plant expansion strategy to reflect global trends and technology, avoid locking in high cost infrastructure, and minimize potential stranded assets. As for land use, an LTS could help improve the country’s land use management approach and inform the extent to which Indonesia could continue to exploit lands. Consideration should be given to more ambitious protection of Indonesia’s pristine forests and peatlands, which protect Indonesia from future economic losses associated with fires, build resilience to tomorrow’s climate, and act as a low-cost and less technology-reliant climate change mitigation solution.
  • Indonesia’s Ministry of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS) has launched a low-carbon development initiative (LCDI) comprising efforts to mainstream low-carbon policies into development planning (Rencana Pembangunan Jangka Menengah Nasional; RPJMN). With modeling projections and scenarios until 2045 and with its link to the national policy planning process, the LCDI could be a basis for Indonesia’s LTS. Efforts should be made to ensure that the initiative closely involves other sectoral ministries and local governments.
  • Lessons from existing long-term modeling studies show that Indonesia’s emissions will keep increasing, with major emissions to come from land use and the energy system. For land use, major drivers come from deforestation, peatland degradation, and forest fires. Drivers in the energy system mostly come from electricity.
  • Understanding of the sources, causes, and trends related to climate change is closely related to the use of science and knowledge production for policy formulation. Co-creation and co-production of the LTS model with wider representation of nonstate actors is key to ensuring that the model captures the voices, substantive concerns, and assumptions of different groups.

Executive Summary

Full executive summary available in the paper.