This opinion article was published in The Jakarta Post
H.E. Vincent Piket, EU Ambassador to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam
H.E. Olivier Chambard, French Ambassador to Indonesia and Timor Leste
Last week we celebrated the five years’ anniversary of the Paris Agreement, the monumental moment when the world’s leaders came together in the 21st Conference of Parties and agreed on taking the necessary action to ensure a better world for our children.
This past weekend, world leaders came together again to recognise the resolve of so many countries across the globe in working towards a safer, more resilient world with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
During the past five years the determination of the internationally community has been tested; during the present year we have been hit by a virus that will have long-lasting impacts on our societies.
In the midst of the pandemic, is it realistic to call for stronger global action to fight climate change? We believe that it is: the droughts and swarms of locusts in Africa, massive fires in Australia, floods in Pakistan, infrastructure collapsing in Siberia as permafrost melts, intense hurricanes in America and typhoons in Asia, and the numerous other impacts we witness also here in Indonesia shows this that we cannot afford to let things worsen.
Already before the pandemic, the European Union (EU) committed to leading a green transition. In December 2019, we launched the European Green Deal – a new growth model and roadmap to achieve climate neutrality in the EU by 2050.
Now, a year later, we are aligning our policies in areas ranging from energy to industry, farming, food, and biodiversity with our sustainability goals.
To reach climate neutrality by 2050, last Friday the EU leaders agreed on our 2030 target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% compared to 1990. The 55% target will be the EU’s new and increased Nationally Determined Contribution for the COP26 multilateral climate conference in Glasgow in November 2021, chaired by the UK in partnership with Italy.
The new target will provide predictability for our businesses, industry and citizens. It will promote investment and technological development, and it will guide consumer choices. It will also bring down costs, by accelerating the decrease in the price of low carbon technologies: for example, the cost of solar photovoltaics declined by 82% between 2010 and 2019.
Achieving the 55% target will help us to save € 100 billion in the next decade and up to € 3 trillion by 2050.
We know that, in the global picture, the EU’s efforts at a green recovery will not suffice alone. This is why we will pursue all avenues of cooperation with partners abroad, through strategic partnership agreements, trade policy, development assistance and other financing tools. We need a virtuous circle for ambition.
Already, the ranks of the “net-zero” countries are growing. Like the EU, Japan has adopted the 2050 climate neutrality goal; others are working in the same direction, including China, South Korea and South Africa. Canada announced a new law on climate neutrality and President-elect Biden has indicated that the US will move in the same sense.
The EU and its Member States and Indonesia have built a strong cooperation over many years on sustainable energy, smart green cities, circular economy forest governance and ocean governance. Our starting points for creating the green economy may be different, but Indonesia’s long-term objectives are the same as ours.
The EU is therefore ready to expand our Green Agenda with Indonesia, and work closely together towards common goals. This Green Agenda could include more green investments, trade, cooperation on renewable energy and circular economy, with the ultimate goal of moving jointly towards climate neutrality.
In the area of sustainable finance, the EU is delighted that Indonesia has responded positively to the invitation by the European Commission and has joined the International Platform for Sustainable Finance this year. As part of the international efforts to meet the Paris Agreement commitments, the Platform will stimulate investment and redirect capital flows towards our climate objectives. The Platform has only become more important as a tool for a sustainable recovery from the COVID pandemic. Indonesia has taken innovative steps to promote green finance and climate-related financial initiatives. It is a natural partner for the EU in the area.
There is now a sense of a global momentum emerging towards keeping the promise of the Paris Agreement and securing our future on this planet. Net-zero emission is becoming the new normal mid-century outlook, and together with the delivery of the $100 billion of climate financing to developing countries, these must be the deliverables for the climate negotiations at COP26 in Glasgow next November.
We can still avoid the most dramatic impacts of climate change on our societies. Our global, regional, national, local and individual recovery plans are an opportunity to ‘build back better’. We owe that to next generation.
With climate neutrality as the direction of travel, the world can mobilise its best engineers, businesspeople, policymakers, artists, academics, NGOs and citizens to protect together something we all share beyond borders and species: our planet.
The EU and its Member States thank our Indonesian colleagues for joining us on this journey.