Amid a series of brutal attack a few weeks before, Paris brace herself and welcomes all delegates from around the world to discuss another form of attack : climate change.
I am not lucky enough to cover the event but we got great colleagues there to report on the event.
Paris has been buzzing since the past last few years. I assume it’s on the idea that nations must come up with a serious actions to stop global warming. All researches, comments, discussions leading up to Paris have been screaming the same thing : the world is burning up. And, it’s burning up very fast. (Well, maybe not for climate deniers).
Before going to Paris, Indonesia who has been actively showing ‘aggressive’ political movement in the climate talks during then President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono administration, was dealing with domestic political turmoil. Up to date.
On the environment sphere, we were taken aback by some of controversial, if not confusing, steps from current President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo. The merging of Environment and Forestry ministries, the dissolved REDD+ agency and National Council on Climate Change, up to 12.7 million hectares allocated for community owned lands.
It may look like very simple administration. But, it had been an excruciating process. Every one was completely oblivious on where to go, what to do, what to say…. The merging process took more months than expected.
Consequently, some of important agenda has been left behind. One, of course, the preparation to Paris talks. Indonesia did submit its INDC on time but with lots of protests. The preparations to Paris have been quite intense. Even President Jokowi summoned Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya Bakar on the eve before going to Paris.
The President had agreed to go to Paris. I could not assume other than he had a lot of explaining to do with what happen to Sumatra and other provinces. Another forest fires. It went on longer than expected leading to protests from other countries as much as from Indonesians.
The haze was so bad that the government even plotted for mass evacuation, gladly, that didn’t take place as rainy season has come and save the day.
Each day, news have been talking nothing but about the haze. Meetings on the update of the haze were almost everyday. Different agencies held discussions on fires and how to prevent them. One newspaper got ‘overwhelmed’ with the situation and put out a cover covered with haze so you couldn’t read a thing. That was the strongest message ever and the government should have read that plain message.
To get a new angle, some of journos tried to discover how much emissions have been emitted by these fires. But, it was maybe too shock of a time that the Ministry has yet to count the numbers. Though, it’s gonna be a hell lot of carbon….
Sarwono Kusumaatmaja, a former environment minister and seasoned politician turn to climate change spokesperson, stated that Indonesia will be honest about its condition and will not deny anything.
The attitude is far more acceptable rather than deny that we have serious problems in forest management, especially peatlands. We have yet to tackle the issue.
Well, I guess that’s just about time. It’s about time that Indonesia starts talking about its real issue and be honest with it. But, importantly, deal with it. Most of those fires came from peatlands. I may not be an expert but those experts have given clear warning that you burn peats then you’ll face hard consequences. President Jokowi learned it the hard way. He ended up with a decree to stop all land clearing on peatlands. But, the devil is in details.
Indonesia has a government regulation on peatland management which stirred controversy over the limit of peats depth can be managed. The regulation is now under revision. Let’s just hope that the government can get their heads right at this moment. Even with the reason of economy, these fires have impacted far more losses than benefits for Indonesian economy.
Back to Paris! I don’t know what President Jokowi will say in Paris. I certainly hope that he will address forest issues in a manner of plea and push for other countries to support Indonesia’s plans to tackle climate change. I do hope he is not gonna just babble what we have achieved as we have yet to achieve anything except for issuing hundreds of regulations. Or, about the mission.
Indonesia is bringing 400 delegates, with 61 of them are negotiators. It is gonna be two weeks of gruesome discussions, hundreds of events and non-events, researches, ideas, speeches. I hope they are all well “armed”!
The Paris talks is supposedly already leave that chit-chat and just got on to the real deal. We have waiting too long. Climate change is happening. Some serious decision and actions are needed. Cooperation between nations, corporations and even NGOs are crucial. So, my finger crossed for Paris.