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34 PLTU Mangkrak, Tata Kelola Energi Indonesia Berantakan

Mangkraknya pembangunan 34 proyek PLTU yang berujung pada kerugian triliunan rupiah menandakan bahwa pemerintah ‘berantakan’ dalam tata kelola energi.

Hal tersebut disampaikan oleh Merah Johansyah, Koordinator Nasional JATAM, saat dihubungi Mongabay.co.id beberapa waktu lalu.

Berdasarkan Perpres No.71 tahun 2006 dan Perpres No.4 tahun 2010 di mana PLN harus mempercepat pembangunan listrik 7000 MW.

Namun, Sekretaris Kabinet Pramono Anung mengumumkan kepada wartawan bahwa ada 12 dari 34 proyek dipastikan tidak dapat dilanjutkan dan ada kerugian negara sebesar Rp3,76 triliun.

Ke-34 proyek yang mangkrak merupakan bagian dari Fast Track Program Tahap 1 pada tahun 2009, pada pemerintahan sebelumnya. Jumlah investasi hampir mencapai lima triliun rupiah.

Ke-12 pembangkit tersebut, PLTU Kuala Tungkal (2×7 MW) di Jambi, PLTU Bengkalis (2x10MW) di Riau, PLTU Ipuh Seblat (2x3MW) di Bengkulu, PLTU Tembilahan (2,5,5 MW) di Riau, PLTU Sampit (2x25MW) di Kalteng, PLTU Buntok (2×7 MW) di Kalteng, PLTU Kotabaru (2x7MW) di Kalsel, PLTU Tarakan (2×7 MW), di Kalut, PLTU Bau Bau (2×7 MW) di Sultra, PLTU Raha (2×3 MW) di Sultra, PLTU Wangi Wangi (2×3 MW) di Sultra, PLTU Kaibumui (2,6 MW) di Maluku, dan PLTU Jayapura (2×15 MW) di Papua.

Namun, dalam perkembangan terbaru, PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) menyatakan bahwa 17 dari 34 proyek tersebut dilanjutkan, enam proyek diambil alih oleh PLN, sementara 11 proyek diputus kontraknya.

Lebih lanjut, Merah mengatakan bahwa tidak hanya salah kelola tetapi ada indikasi korupsi akibat tidak transparan.

“Buktinya, proyek tersebut justru menimbulkan kerugian negara. Proyek-proyek tersebut justru menjadi bancakan bagi para pemburu proyek di ESDM dan pemerintahan Jokowi sendiri,” tegas Merah yang juga mencurigai motif dari pembangunan PLTU akibat tidak adanya keterlibatan masyarakat.

Sementara itu, Leonard Simanjuntak, kepala Greenpeace Indonesia, berharap bahwa penghentian tersebut membuat pemerintah untuk berpikir ‘out of the box’.

“Kami ingin bilang kalau dominan batubara berarti kita deal dengan aktor-aktor yang dominan secara politik,” jelasnya. “Berdasarkan pengalaman Indonesia, kalau aktor-aktornya dominan secara politik, governance yang bersih dan akuntabel akan susah ditegakkan makanya kita punya yang mangkrak-mangkrak ini.”

Ia pun mendorong agar pemerintah bisa serius mengeksplorasi energi terbarukan.

“Coba dieksplore, kalau mangkrak di fossil fuel, coba pikir gimana renewables energybisa gantikan itu. Kalau mau berpikir begitu, berarti pelaku bisnisnya baru yang kait mengait tidak sedominan sekarang,” tegasnya. “Let’s have a new game. A new ball game yang baik untuk semua, untuk pemerintah, kompetisi bisnis lebih jujur dan transparan.”

Berdasarkan Peraturan Pemerintah (PP) Nomor 79 Tahun 2014 tentang Kebijakan Energi Nasional, porsi energi terbarukan mencapai 23 persen pada tahun 2025 dan paling sedikit 30 persen pada tahun 2050.

Namun, hingga tahun 2016, Indonesia baru bisa memanfaatkan satu persen atau 8.215,6 MW dari total potensi 801.311 MW, — panas bumi, air, bioenergi, surya, angin dan laut –.

Direktur Eksekutif Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), Fabby Tumiwa, mengatakan bahwa proyek-proyek tersebut sudah dibiarkan mangkrak selama sepuluh tahun sehingga harus dipertimbangkan kembali kondisi dan kebutuhan daerah-daerah tersebut.

“Itu kan memang proyek-proyek kecil, hanya 2×5 MW. Sudah dirancang pada tahun 2006-07 dan bagian dari Fast Track Phase Satu. Saat itu kan kondisi listrik berbeda dengan sekarang. Apakah memang masih dibutuhkan? Kalau iya, harus disesuaikan dengan mempertimbangkan kondisi di daerah tersebut,” jelas Fabby.

Ia mengatakan bahwa PLN sedang mempertimbangkan membangun PLTMG (Pembangkit Listrik Tenaga Mesin Gas) namun masih menggunakan BBM.

“Kalau opsi BBM, berarti harus dipikirkan [pasokan] solar,” lanjutnya. “Bisa saja dengan RE [renewable energy] tapi harus sesuai dengan demand dan profile daerah setempat. Bisa nggak digunakan biofuel atau kalau ada biomassa.”

Sementara itu, Merah menegaskan dengan adanya kasus mangkrak, pemerintah harusnya tidak lagi melanjutkan pembangunan 35000 MW yang mayoritas, atau lebih dari 60 persen, menggunakan batubara.

Penyediaan listrik sebesar 35000 MW merupakan kebijakan lanjutan dari 10000 MW yang sudah dicetuskan sejak pemerintahan Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Sebanyak 35 proyek dengan total kapasitas 10.681 MW akan dibangun oleh PLN dan 74 proyek dengan total kapasitas 25.904 MW akan dibangun oleh swasta (Independent Power Producer/IPP).

Dimulai pada tahun 2015, keseluruhan proyek tersebut diharapkan bisa diselesaikan pada tahun 2019.

Namun, pembangunan ini ditentang oleh para aktivias lingkungan karena hampir 60 persen pembangkit listrik akan menggunakan batubara yang berpotensi untuk menambah emisi gas rumah kaca dan meningkatkan risiko gangguan kesehatan.

Dalam perkembangan terbaru, akibat ketergantungan batubara untuk kebutuhan listrik, Indonesia mendapatkan Fossil of the Day Award, sebuah penghargaan sindiran dari para aktivis lingkungan internasional yang tergabung dalam Climate Action Network (CAN) dan diumumkan di perundingan perubahan iklim yang sedang berlangsung di Marrakech, Maroko.

Merah mengatakan bahwa Indonesia sudah memiliki komitmen terhadap perjanjian perubahan iklim yang artinya harus bisa menjaga suhu bumu di bawah 1,5 derajat Celsius yang mau tidak mau harus diikuti dengan komitmen energi yaitu, zerobatubara.

 

Voluntary certification standards have far to go, say experts

  • Certification should be combined with other standard public policies to promote sustainable forest management principles, say experts.
  • Experts point to a need for more relationship building between voluntary certification schemes and public institutions.
  • Effective certification requires the cooperation of policy makers, certification schemes, companies, academics and other stakeholders.

 

An expert assessment of a globally popular alternative to regulation – voluntary certification standards systems – has found that results are not always effective. Of the increasing number of voluntary certification standards (VCS) for materials in forestry, palm oil, and fisheries, many are proving ineffective at achieving comprehensive protection and conservation of biodiversity.

Scientists with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) explored why the effectiveness of VCS systems are getting such mixed reviews. In a collected publication of 10 peer-reviewed papers, “Policy Matters: Certification and biodiversity – How voluntary certification standards impact biodiversity and human livelihoods”, the scientists investigated the impact of VCS in protecting biodiversity and people dependent on nature.Compiled from authors with expertise in the certification field, Policy Matters was released on Sept. 4 during the IUCN World Conservation Congress. The congress is held once every four years.

“After decades of developing certification schemes to protect the environment and ensure better conditions for producers, these standards still lack a comprehensive framework that takes account of biodiversity and the cultural diversity of the people who most depend on these resources,” said Diana Shand, co-coordinator of the Policy Matters editorial team in a statement. Shand also chairs the IUCN’s Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP)’s Theme on Social and Accountability of the Private Sector.

The study was led by Pavel Castka, a CEESP member from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, and Danna Leaman, a member of the Plant Conservation Sub-Committee of the IUCN Species Survival Commission and co-chair of its Medicinal Plants Specialist Group.

Chief among topics tackled by experts were the efficacy of biodiversity conservation, how to increase production, and challenges in implementing certification.

“The research finds that certification in some sectors, like the Forest Stewardship Council or the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, is doing the work that governments are failing to do in regards to setting sustainability standards,” said Castka in a statement.  He added that areas of lacking government regulations and aspirations could be helped with certifications. But he warned that certification standards “should not be the lone drivers of societal goals for protection of biodiversity and human livelihoods.”

Examples of what’s working and not working in different countries also played a large role in the study. Researchers found that although VCS for biodiversity conservation has potential, the actual impact can be negative.

For instance, the Forest Improvement Act in Nova Scotia, Canada aimed to tackle mature forest logging. The Act was dubbed a form of greenwashing after failing to understand the influence of regional logging and pulp companies and the definition of a ‘mature forest’. There was also Costa Rica’s Payment for Ecosystem Services which ultimately did not contribute to slowing deforestation.

The report cites stakeholder conflicts as a factor that weakens standards for things such as eco-labeling for marine and agricultural commodities and environmental corporate responsibility.

Ultimately, VCS has thus far failed to bridge the gap between economic and conservation priorities. VCS systems have been unsuccessful in prioritizing conservation over for-profit resource extraction. In addition, there has been a demonstrated inability to set up biodiversity conservation guidelines and a lack of sufficient monitoring standards.

The report authors conclude that can be changed.

“IUCN believes that voluntary certification can be an effective tool to complement regulatory frameworks and can help hold businesses accountable in meeting sustainability standards,” said Gerard Bos, Director of the Business and Biodiversity Programme, in a statement. “However, we need to have a better understanding of the conditions that make these voluntary systems effective.”

Several examples of successful VCS systems established from a strong cooperation between stakeholders are highlighted in the report. These partnerships resulted in economic payoffs and clear standards of biodiversity conservation that were implemented at the local level.

Some of the best examples are REDD+ in developing countries as payment for economic services and eco-labeling schemes on Colombian coffee. The Marine Stewardship Council fisheries certification program for Baja Californian lobster in Mexico and Fogo Island shrimp in Canada has also made progress.

Researchers also found that grassroots stakeholders are sometimes willing to contribute significantly. Some local communities are willing to pay to conserve charismatic species and to cover conservation costs.

For instance, certification on Baja California lobster and Fogo Island shrimp are not endangered, but sustainable catch techniques such as limited catch sizes have helped their numbers grow significantly.

A common denominator for success points to harmony between conservation and economic goals. Clear and easy methods to monitor biodiversity conservation targets, typically at a species level, are also important.

Rainforest Alliance/Sustainable Agriculture Network certified Colombian coffee has clear guidelines on biodiversity-friendly practices at the species level. The practice is believed to be responsible for a higher native biodiversity than on uncertified farms.

In terms of government roles, nations such as Indonesia, Cameroon and Peru have stepped up to address biodiversity conservation and human livelihoods that are dependent on forests. Forest Stewardship Council certification has had an impact on some social and environmental performances, including increased cooperation in Peru and addressing indifference in Cameroon.

However, certification is not the only tool to improve environmental and social sustainability. Researchers note that it should be complemented with other standard public policies to promote sustainable forest management principles.

Overall, the most recent edition of Policy Maters underscores the need for more relationship building between voluntary certification schemes and public institutions.

“Policy makers, certification schemes, companies, academics and other stakeholders must continue to work together to get the most out of certification,” said Castka.

References

Castka, Pavel and Leaman, Danna J. 2016. Certification and biodiversity: how voluntary certification standards impact biodiversity and human livelihoods. IUCN Policy Matters. https://portals.iucn.org/library/node/46325

 

Article published by Genevieve Belmaker on 2016-09-20.

Published at Mongabay.com

Indonesia’s Court Fined Company with 80 Million Dollars on Forest Fires Case

Fidelis E. Satriastanti

South Jakarta District Court granted Ministry of Environment and Forestry’s lawsuit against PT National Sago Prima (PT NSP) for a total of Rp 1.07 trillion (US$ 81 million) making it the largest winning in a forest fire case, said a senior official, in Jakarta, on Friday (12/8).

The Ministry of Environment and Forestry, under Directorate General of Law Enforcement, filed a civil lawsuit against the company in October 2015 for land clearing with burning on 3,000 hectares in Kepulauan Meranti district of Riau.

Rasio Ridho Sani, director general of law enforcement, said that the winning was the first largest compensation in a forest fire case.

IMG-20160812-WA0009
DirGen of Law Enforcement, Rasio Ridho Sani, gave a presser on the winning. (Photo by Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Aug 2016). 

“We appreciate the judges’ decision which brings justice to those people who have suffered the impacts of forest fires,” said Sani adding that the ministry was ready to answer the appeal of the company on the decision.

The judges have granted nearly all charges made by the ministry such as the company had to pay Rp 319,168,422,500 (US$24 million) for compensation and Rp 735 billion (US$ 56 million) for restoration.

In addition, if the verdict is final and legally binding (in kracht) but the company had failed to pay the fine there will be Rp 50 million (US$ 3816) per day.

“The judges did not granted only one demand from us which is the company should have paid the money for restoration without waiting further legal process. The court rejected the petition on the basis that the legal process is still going on,” said Patra M. Zen, lawyer of the ministry.

Nevertheless, Zen said that the victory was legal assurance that the justice system in Indonesia had used strict liability to deal with forest fires cases.

“It means that judges agreed that companies which obtained permits in forestry sector are responsible to tackle forest fires in their concession areas,” he said. “It sends strong message that companies better handling fires in their areas or ended up paying Rp 1.07 trillion.”

The court found that PT NSP had failed to tackle forest fires in concession areas which have become embedded responsibilities, such as lack of fire monitoring towers, proper fire extinguishers, and no warning boards.

The company also failed compliance assessment conducted by Presidential Unit of Development Monitoring and Oversight (UKP4), under President SBY’s administration, and had ordered to improve its performance.

Bambang Hero Saharjo, one of the expert, said that they had counted the cost under the 2014 Environment Ministerial Regulation.

“The loss is counted from several aspects, such as ecological losses of peatlands, erosion, biodiversity loss, and carbon released,” said the professor of forestry of Bogor Agricultural Institute.

Furthermore, he said that scientific based was not being more appreciated in dealing with forest fires cases compare in the past where companies rarely got fine in trillions of rupiah.

“We were laughed at when we came up with the number. But, that’s the fact and it’s based on the regulation,” he said hoping that other cases would follow suit.  END.

Indonesia mulls revision of orangutan conservation plan

11 August 2016 / Fidelis E. Satriastanti

The archipelago tries to hone its strategy for saving an iconic primate.

 

  • Indonesia’s 2007 strategy for saving the endangered Sumatran and Bornean orangutans has not gone according to plan, with both species continuing their decline.
  • The authors of the 2007 action plan thought Indonesia’s worst environmental problems, such as the rapid loss of forest where orangutans live, would be solved by now, according to a government official who helped to write the plan.
  • Last year, the government set a new target to increase the population of 25 “priority species,” including the Bornean orangutan, by 10% over 2013 levels by 2019.
In 2007, Indonesia launched its Strategy and Action Plan for National Conservation of Orangutans, with the goal of stabilizing all wild populations — and their dwindling rainforest habitats — by 2017.

 

Things do not always go according to plan.

In July, the IUCN declared the Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) as “critically endangered,” the highest risk category. That put it on par with its cousin, the Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii), which has been listed as critically endangered — one step away from extinction — since 2008.

Now, the government intends to revise the action plan, whose ambitious targets were either missed or vague to begin with. Both species’ numbers have continued to decline, with only 54,000 Bornean orangutans and 14,600 Sumatran orangutans thought to remain.

An estimated 1,500 still live in rescue centers located across Sumatra and Borneo, even though the 2007 plan called for the rehabilitation and reintroduction into the wild of all captive orangutans by 2015.

Other goals included enhancing public support for orangutan conservation and implementing a management system to ensure their survival — too imprecise, according to Erik Meijaard, a Jakarta-based conservation scientist who coordinates the Borneo Futures Initiative.

“It is simply a list of things to do, but it doesn’t say who will do these things, by when, with what outcomes, and importantly, who is paying,” Meijaard told Mongabay. “This needs to be made much clearer by the government.”

A pair of orphaned orangutans in Sabah, Malaysia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler
A pair of orphaned orangutans in Borneo. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

Although the government has declared saving orangutans a priority, it has also set ambitious targets for increasing the production of palm oil, one of Indonesia’s biggest exports. The breakneck expansion of oil palm plantations is one of the biggest drivers of deforestation in a country that lost 6 million hectares of primary forest — an area larger than Croatia — from 2000 to 2012.

A photo uploaded to DiCaprio's Instagram account on Thursday. The caption read, "As the forest of the #Indonesian #LeuserEcosystem continues to be cleared to meet demand for Palm Oil, the critically endangered Sumatran #orangutan is being pushed to the brink of extinction...If we don't stop this rampant destruction, the Leuser Ecosystem and the Sumatran orangutans that call it home could be lost forever. Click the link in the bio to support this important work. #Indonesia"
Hollywood actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio posted this photo to Instagram this year after a visit to Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem, the only place where orangutans, tigers, rhinos and elephants coexist in the wild.

“The government should not say in one plan that they will stabilize all wild orangutan populations by 2017, while in other plans to call for expansion of agriculture in those same areas with orangutans,” Meijaard asserted. “That is not going to work, so the government needs to choose and be clear in their choices.”

Tachrir Fathoni, the Environment and Forestry Ministry’s director of ecosystem conservation, agreed that the government “must work harder” in order to save the orangutan.

The 2007 plan listed land-use change, wildfires, deforestation, poaching and trafficking as threats to be addressed, but the problems have generally intensified.

“The key is we need to preserve its habitat. If the habitat is good, and there’s enough food, and there’s no more hunting and enough protection, they can grow on their own,” Fathoni told Mongabay.

“In addition, we need to tackle illegal trafficking or trading as there are cases of orangutans being smuggled or deliberately captured.”

These baby orangutans were confiscated from a trafficker in Indonesia's Aceh province in 2015. Photo by Junaidi Hanafiah
These baby Sumatran orangutans were confiscated from a trafficker in Indonesia’s Aceh province in 2015. Photo by Junaidi Hanafiah/Mongabay

The Bornean orangutan’s new “critically endangered” status was not surprising, said Chaerul Saleh, a wildlife conservation specialist with WWF-Indonesia who worked on the 2007 action plan.

Saleh said that when the plan was drafted, the authors assumed that many of Indonesia’s environmental problems would have been brought under control by now.

“Not to point fingers at anyone, but at the time, we didn’t imagine that forest conversion, habitat loss and hunting could still be happening,” he said.

After last year’s devastating agricultural fires, caused by slash-and-burn land clearing practices and an extended dry season brought on by El Nino, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo declared a ban on new oil palm permits and on developing peat bogs, whose widespread draining and drying for agriculture creating the conditions for the fires to spread.

Oil palm plantations encroach on Bornean rainforest. As habitat loss continues, orangutan rehabilitation centers are struggling to cope with demand. There is an urgent need to reintroduce animals, but some scientists warn that doing so without making sure that orangutans are released into the regions that they originally came from could jeopardise populations. Photo by Rhett A. Butler
Oil palm plantations encroach on Bornean rainforest. As habitat loss continues, orangutan rehabilitation centers are struggling to cope with demand. There is an urgent need to reintroduce animals, but some scientists warn that doing so without making sure that orangutans are released into the regions that they originally came from could jeopardize populations. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

Many orangutans are trafficked for sale as pets. More than 70 were traded in this way between November 2015 and April, according to the WWF.

“That’s something we never imagined — that [owning] an orangutan would somehow become a trend, a lifestyle, even a status symbol. To me that’s a horrible fact,” Saleh said.

“Yes, there’s law enforcement. But people do not realize that one baby orangutan being sold means that at least one female orangutan [the mother] died in the process. And that contributes to the population decline.”

Orphaned baby orangutan at a facility run by the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme in North Sumatra. Photo by Rhett A. Butler
An orphaned baby orangutan at a facility run by the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme in North Sumatra. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

Last year,  the Environment and Forestry Ministry named 25 “priority species,” including the Bornean orangutan, and set a target to increase each of their populations by 10% over 2013 levels by 2019. That’s 2% per year.

That’s an ambitious target, said Meijaard, the conservation scientist, considering the Bornean orangutan is currently declining at a rate of 2.5% per year.

“Orangutans are very slow breeders, so an increase of 2% [per year] is pretty much impossible,” he said.

“But what the government should certainly do is to work out strategy, and commit to it, allocate staff and fund it, that stabilizes all remaining orangutan populations. Realistically, that is the best they can hope for.”

Saleh added that the government needs private sector support, since more than half of all orangutan habitat overlaps with forest area designated for something other than conservation.

 

Sumatran Tiger Castoffs May Hold Key To Survival of Species

Fidelis E. Satriastanti

Cisarua, Bogor. Behind an unassuming gate, marked simply with a “Staff Only” sign, deep inside the Taman Safari Indonesia conservation park, lies the best chance for the continued survival of the critically endangered Sumatran tiger.

This is the Sumatran Tiger Breeding Facility, set up in 1992 and now home to 22 “troubled” tigers — those that have been trapped by poachers or villagers, those that have preyed on livestock and those believed to have killed and eaten humans.

Each of the 11 male and 11 female tigers here have their own harrowing history. Two of them, Salamah and Ara, female juveniles caught in boar traps set by villagers inside palm oil plantations in Aceh, had to have a paw amputated because of the seriousness of their injuries. Though accused of being man-eaters, the accusation has never been proven. At the park, they are affectionately referred to as “tripods.”

IMG_4287
Meet Ara, a female tiger which right leg cut off after trapped in a snare. She will never be released in the wild and have to live in cage. (Photo by Fidelis Green Blog). 

 

The latest addition is Tupan, an 8-year-old male who was brought to the facility on the verge of death.

Like many of the others, he was caught in a trap in his natural habitat after spooking villagers with his frequent encroachments into their area. When wildlife authorities reached him, they found he had been shot twice several days before being captured.

Following intensive treatment, he has made a full physical recovery.

“Most of the tigers that we keep here are disabled to some extent,” Retno Sudarwati, a senior veterinarian at the park, tells the Jakarta Globe.

“We have three-legged tigers, tigers who have had their tails lopped off, even toothless tigers. They need to be in peak physical condition to survive in the wild, so can you imagine them going after prey on just three legs? They wouldn’t survive long out there.”

Health, Hygiene, Happiness

Each tiger gets its own cage here, furnished with a log that they can sharpen their claws on, a hammock where they usually nap and a small pond to drink from. They also get an adjoining outdoor play cage and another cage where the keepers feed them.

The park also has a breeding facility that the tigers take turns occupying. Unlike their home cages, the “Rumah Batak” breeding facility is open to visitors.

“I know it’s not the kind of sophisticated facility that you’d probably imagine, but we do pay serious attention to the cleanliness of the cages and the tigers’ health.” Retno said.

“We keep detailed records of each and every one of them. If they exhibit the slightest issue, the keepers are obliged to inform us.”

Careful Calculation

The tiger facility is not just about saving maimed or threatened individuals. Its mission is far more important: to ensure the continued existence of the species by creating a genetically diverse gene pool from the animals it hosts, as well as those held at every zoo in the country.

“It’s not just about putting a male and a female tiger together in a cage and expecting them to mate, nor is it about producing a set number of cubs.” Retno said. “It doesn’t work that way. Each tiger is paired off with the best candidate. It takes a lot of careful calculation to ensure the purity of the gene pool.”

For example, Tupan would never be mated with Lintang, a female adult, because their bloodlines are too similar.

Instead, he would be paired off with females like Tina or Jenaka to produce an entirely new bloodline.

“The bottom line is that we want to make their bloodlines as varied as possible,” Retno said. “We want to make sure that over the next five years, we can prevent inbreeding as much as possible.”

To that end, the facility has compiled a stud book — a registry of the known parentage of all the tigers ever tagged in the country, whether in the wild or in captivity. This allows scientists at the park to work out which individuals are best suited for pairing to ensure a diverse gene pool.

Sperm Bank

Though painstakingly clinical, putting together the stud book is the basis for making sure that no matter what happens to the wild population of the species, there will always be enough variety in the genetic resources available to sustain the species.

That means collecting sperm from all the tigers held in captivity in the country since 1995. All that sperm, which makes up the Sumatran Tiger Genome Resource Bank, is stored at the park in containers kept at a frosty minus 180 degrees Celsius.

“This sperm bank is the stock, just in case something happens, we still have their sperm,” Retno said.

However, she points out that regenerating the species simply from the stored sperm is something the park does not yet have the technology to do.

“We’re still developing the technology to make use of this resource, so we’re getting there,” she said.

The Sumatran tiger is one of five remaining tiger subspecies in the world, and is also the most threatened, with only 400 individuals believed to be remaining in the wild. Categorized as critically endangered, it is just a step away from being extinct in the wild.

It is the only tiger left that is endemic to Indonesia. Two other subspecies, the Javan tiger and the Balinese tiger, were driven to extinction in the 1930s and 1980s, a fate that Retno and her team at Taman Safari do not want to see befall the Sumatran tiger.

“This facility here is our backup. If we could turn back time and breed the other two species the same way, we might still have them today,” she said.

The irony that the fate of the Sumatran tiger rests with a handful of individuals deemed most threatening to humans or unfit to survive in the wild is not lost on Retno.

“These animals are rare and precious individuals,” she said. “We can’t just kill them because they’re man-eaters or maimed, but we can make the most of them as a valuable resource in our conservation efforts.” END.

The article is an archive. It was first published at Jakarta Globe, on September 2011.

 

 

 

 

Indonesia study disputes UN data on peat fire emissions

Speed read

  • Emissions data in new study taken from sites on Central Kalimantan peat fires
  • On-site sampling used spectroscopy that can identify up to 90 gases in smoke
  • Researchers hope their findings can correct IPCC data based on peat modelling

[JAKARTA] A joint research of Indonesian and US scientists shows that peat fires in Central Kalimantan in Indonesia released less carbon dioxidethan projected by UN climate experts but discharged more potentially hazardous gases.

The research, led by scientists from the Bogor Agricultural University, Palangka Raya University, Central Kalimantan and Kapuas administrations, Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, and the South Dakota State University and Montana University, was funded by NASA after massive peat fires struck the province in 2015.

“These gases are as important as methane and carbon dioxide…they can be harmful to people, especially pregnant women.”

Bambang Hero Saharjo, Bogor Agricultural University

Influenced by a strong El Niño, the peat fires deteriorated air quality to ten times the “very dangerous” threshold.

According to the research study published in the Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics journal, the carbon dioxide released was eight per cent less than the emission factordata by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which took samples of peat in Sumatra island and burned it in lab unlike the new study which took actual burned peats from the field. In 2003, scientists didn’t yet understand that the two sampling methods would make a difference. Methane release was also 55 per cent less than the IPCC emission factor data.

“The results, if compared with IPCC data, showed a significant gap so we are hoping that [the IPCC data] can be considered to be corrected,” says Bambang Hero Saharjo, a co-author of the study and lead scientist at Bogor Agricultural University.

Saharjo says they used a device called the Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy that is designed to collect smoke samples and identify up to 90 gases straight from the burned location.

“We collected smoke samples in Pulang Pisau district in Central Kalimantan. It was the same site President Jokowi visited to survey canal blockings,” he says. “The spectroscopy could immediately read and identify the gases in real time. We also collected soil samples from the burned location.”

“With the current study, Indonesia’s carbon emissions would be 19 per cent less than previously stated,” he says, adding it would be crucial to correct the country’s status as the world’s third largest carbon emitter because of forest and peat fires.

The study also picked up other gases related to ozone depletion as well ashealth risks, which are mostly unaccounted for when measuring greenhouse gas emissions. These major gas-phase air toxics and carcinogens include hydrogen, cyanide, formaldehyde, acrolein, acetamide, BTEX, crotonaldehyde and 1,3-butadiene.

“These gases are as important as methane and carbon dioxide,” says Saharjo. “Because if the air is polluted and contaminated, they can be harmful to people, especially pregnant women.”

Kirsfianti Linda Ginoga, director of greenhouse gas monitoring at Indonesia’s environment and forestry ministry, says the study would serve as a valuable input in determining Indonesia’s emission levels using different methods rather than just relying on hotspots from satellite images.

Emma Rachmawaty, director of climate change mitigation at the same ministry, adds it would be better if the results of the study can be included in the IPCC emission factor database to serve as reference for other nations with the same peat characteristics as Indonesia.

This piece was produced by SciDev.Net’s South-East Asia & Pacific desk.

References

Chelsea E. Stockwell and others Field measurements of trace gases and aerosols emitted by peat fires in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia during the 2015 El Niño (Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 17 June 2016)

ALERT : Indonesia officially submitted its INDC to UNFCCC

After quite a long process, Indonesia has officially submitted its INDC to the UNFCCC, on Sept 24. It was quite ‘under the radar’ which I assume that it is due to Indonesia is currently still fighting with forest and peat fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

COP21 Paris

INDC, an acronym of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, is basically commitments from parties on targets and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These targets will be compiled by UNFCCC ahead of Paris Climate negotiation at the end of this year.

Up to date, there are 48 countries have submitted their commitments.

On its INDC, Indonesia is announcing to cut 29 percent emissions by 2030, a slight 3 percent increase from previous commitments. In addition, 41 percent with international help is still apply in the INDC.

In order to reach the target, the 11-pages document reveals that Indonesia will rely much of emission reduction through energy sector citing its energy mix policy for 2014-2050, up to 23 percent will be coming from new and renewable energy by 2025.

On land use and land use change and foresry (LULUCF), the government will be strengthening on-going forest moratorium through ‘protection and conservation of its remaining forests by reducing deforestation and forest degradation, restoring ecosystem functions, as well as sustainable forest management […]’.

Furthermore, it also pushes forward waste management sector underlining on ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ approach.

Before submitted to the UNFCCC, the Ministry decided to ‘test’ the INDC for public consultation in late August. It was met with mixed reactions. Some hailed the effort for transparency as the ministry was available for public comments or inputs. Though, some also criticizing the report mechanism was still unclear and not transparent.

As for the content, prominent NGOs, such as Greenpeace Indonesia, Walhi, HuMa, Forest Watch Indonesia, and AMAN, have strongly criticized on the drafted document. Even World Resources Institute (WRI) had also compose a respond to the draft.

In summary, civil societies and experts, alike, were questioning on Indonesia’s elaborated steps to achieve the targets, the baseline, the policies, and the emission itself.

Meanwhile, AMAN (Indonesia’s Indigenous people’s alliance) took on more specific issue. They rejected ‘adat communities’ term in the text as it would reduce indigenous people’s standing point in the negotiation table. (Rachmat Witoelar, special envoy for climate change, contested to this idea stating that Indonesia does not recognize the term of indigenous people as all Indonesians are indigenous).

So, apart of these inputs, there were not much changes between the draft and the final submission, but climate change budget omission. The draft revealed that Indonesia has spent US$ 17.48 billion for climate change mitigation and adaptation between 2007-2014. In addition, the country will allocating US$ 55.01 billion between 2015-2019. But, no numbers are revealed in the final submission.

Here is the final submission of Indonesia’s INDC to the UNFCCC :

The draft took a little longer with 15 pages and included budget allocation for climate change mitigation and adaptation :

 

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