Under the Updated first NDC, Indonesia aims to reduce emissions by 29% from BAU in 2030 or by 41% conditional on international support. The reduction targets and BAU projections in the 2021 update of the NDC are the same as in the 2016 first NDC. The section on mitigation is relatively small and unspecific, discussing three areas for mitigation activity: reduced emissions from Land-Use Change and Forestry (LUCF); the development of clean energy sources; and improved waste management.
The projected BAU emission level for 2030 is 2.9 Gt CO2e, making Indonesia a crucial actor in the international mitigation challenge. The 2016 data shows that LUCF is the largest source of emissions (with massive yearly variations dependent on peat fires), but energy is expected to surpass it as the largest emitting sector by 2030. The energy mix in the 2021 Updated NDC is (still) based on the 2014 National Energy Strategy and although there are some signs that state-owned utility PLN is considering more renewables, the energy development pathway is still decidedly fossil based. Progress on clean energy development is slow and the chances that the 2025 target of 23% renewables will be met are slim.
Accelerating the clean energy transition will need substantial investments and commitment, but first and foremost a change in mindset. The energy sector narrative will need to move away from heavy reliance on domestic fossil resources (especially coal) towards development driven by renewable energy and increased efficiency. The first cautious signs of a turnaround could be observed at COP26 in Glasgow, in November 2021, where President Joko Widodo and finance minister Sri Mulyani appealed to developed countries for a dialogue about supporting more ambitious climate action.
In order to build broad political support for the clean energy transition, the benefits of accelerated coal phase out and fast uptake of clean energy will need to be thoroughly examined and effectively communicated.