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Cablegate: Indonesia - Reaction to Climate Change Initiative

VZCZCXRO7048
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #1771/01 1781134
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 271134Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5253
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0565
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4134
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0859
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 4085
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1297
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 JAKARTA 001771

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

AIDAC

DEPT FOR OES/EGC AND EAP/MTS
COMMERCE FOR NOAA/INTERNATIONAL
USDOE FOR INTERNATIONAL AND FOSSIL ENERGY
TREASURY FOR BAUKOL AND BERG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KGHG SENV ENRG ID

SUBJECT: INDONESIA - REACTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE INITIATIVE

REF: STATE 75287

1. (SBU) Summary: Per reftel, Embassy hosted eleven Indonesian NGOs
for a roundtable discussion of President Bush's new international
framework initiative, and reaction was generally positive. The NGOs
stressed that combating deforestation needs to be part of the
initiative, along with increased investment to developing countries.
Embassy also met with a leading environmental think tank, which
recommended early involvement of non-governmental organizations
(NGOs) in the initiative. Liana Bratasida, expert advisor to the
Minister for Global Environmental Affairs, stressed the importance
of Chinese participation. A longtime participant of the Conference
of Parties (COP) to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) called for stronger U.S. leadership. Media reaction to the
initiative noted the USG has failed to take a strong enough
leadership role on climate change, and that the administration's
views are not in line with U.S. public opinion. End Summary.

Don't Forget Deforestation
--------------------------

2. (SBU) On June 20, Embassy hosted in Jakarta nineteen individuals
representing eleven NGOs (see full list para 14). The NGOs covered
a spectrum of the conservation movement globally and in Indonesia.
Embassy briefed on President Bush's May 31 initiative, and explained
current clean development and climate change projects in the U.S.
The formal presentation was only 30 minutes, but the subsequent
discussion lasted for nearly 90 minutes.

3. (SBU) The NGOs mentioned several times that the USG needs to
assist Indonesia with its deforestation problem. They view
deforestation, both legal and illegal, as Indonesia's biggest
challenge on climate change. It is small comfort to see the USG
promote biofuels on the world stage with the possible result of even
more Indonesian rainforests burned to clear the way for palm oil
plantations. (Note: Indonesia has promoted palm oil for a biodiesel
and international demand for crude palm oil has soared. Heavy smoke
pollution from annual burning in Sumatra and Kalimantan contributes
significantly to greenhouse gases.)

NGOs: More Investment Capital Needed
------------------------------------

4. (SBU) The NGOs state that the bottleneck for progress in
Indonesia under the U.N. Development Program's Clean Development
Mechanism (CDM) and other projects is a lack of capital investment.
The NGOs asked for details on how the framework will assist
developing countries, beyond promises to end tariffs on clean energy
and make new technology more affordable.

5. (SBU) The NGOs are also curious about the role Indonesia, and
NGOs specifically, can play in the November meeting with the 15
largest emitters. They also stated that the USG deliver a holistic
and sustainable approach and not just a "piecemeal" list of
projects. Citing the USG's involvement in energy reform through
working with Ministry of Energy and other stakeholders in the early
1990s, the NGOs praised the USAID project for successful engagement,
bringing in technical expertise for a long-term holistic approach to
this important initiative. The NGOs asked a number of questions,
including whether the USG is collecting specific reactions to the G8
summit declaration and whether the USG would be expanding or
contracting their overall budgeted assistance for programs like the
Tropical Forest Conservation Act (TFCA) and other forestry-related
programs.

Think Tank Recommends Early NGO Involvement
-------------------------------------------

6. (SBU) In a meeting with Moekti Handajani Soejachmoen, Executive
Director of Yayasan Pelangi Indonesia, one of Indonesia's leading
environmental think tanks, Soejachmoen urged that the U.S. consider
early involvement of NGOs in helping prepare for the President's
meeting of the top 15 major emitting nations. Soejachmoen noted
that if the U.S. took steps to better inform leading NGOs and think
tanks from high-emitting nations about the details, structure and
agenda of the proposed President's meeting, NGOs would be able to

JAKARTA 00001771 002 OF 003


help prepare the official delegations from their countries.
Soejachmoen's believes better planning with more stakeholder buy-in
results from partnering with NGOs in developing the country plans.

7. (SBU) Soejachmoen also noted that she was in agreement with many
of the NGOs' comments provided during the roundtable. She remarked
that many of the stakeholders in Indonesia (government, NGOs, and
public) still needed to do their homework to better understand
climate change and how all the issues tied together with competing
government agendas. Citing the trade-off of palm oil jobs with
deforestation, Soejachmoen noted that climate change issues span
multiple Indonesian ministries: Environment, Energy, Forestry, and
Research and Technology. A government plan must be coordinated all
relevant ministries, and consider the availability of technical
experts.

Participation of China Crucial to Success
-----------------------------------------

8. (SBU) On June 25, Liana Bratasida, Expert to the Minister for
Global Environmental Affairs (a position at the level of Deputy
Minister) told us that she saw President Bush's Climate Change
policy as a positive development. She sees the initiative as a
process where the U.S. is now interested in developing both its own
national strategy but also assuming greater leadership within
climate change. She welcomed the initiative as "a good signal" of
U.S. intentions. However, Liana noted that Indonesia would watch
closely how China would handle the invitation to join the U.S.
proposed meeting of the top 15 emitters. She felt that persuading
China to participate would be critical to overall success. "Without
China, how can it really be successful?" Liana also expressed
concerns about the link between the President's plan, the COP-13
conference in Bali, and recent efforts made by the Asia Pacific
Partnership on Climate Technology. Liana said that Indonesia would
likely focus on three issues in the context of the President's plan:
stakeholder involvement, attention to forestry and linkages to
technology transfer.

Stronger Leadership by U.S. and Others Needed
---------------------------------------------

9. (SBU) We spoke on June 26 with the country director of
EcoSecurities Indonesia, a company that sources, develops, and
trades carbon credits. He has been to every UNFCCC COP except for
COP 2. He stated that "developed countries must provide strong
leadership" on climate change, and that the time for action is now.
The U.S. should work with countries that can meet emissions targets
with some help and encouragement, such as South Korea and Singapore,
to serve as a precedent for developing countries in their plans
regarding emissions. It is also important to consider the emissions
of sub-national regions, noting that industrialized coastal China is
much different than rural China.

10. (SBU) In Indonesia, 85% of emissions stem from deforestation,
and 33% of global deforestation emissions are from Indonesia.
Cutting deforestation would be "an easy win", showing the world that
a developing country can set and meet targets, and bring emissions
down. He stated that Indonesia has a significant opportunity with
biofuels, but that the problem is sustainability. The Indonesian
government pursues cheap coal-fired power with higher emissions,
ignoring the opportunities from fuel from the biomass waste at palm
oil mills.

Forests on Worldwide Agenda
---------------------------

11. (SBU) On June 26, we spoke with the director and a senior
scientist of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR),
which focuses on forestry and land use. They stated that the
increased awareness of climate change now brings forests "on the
worldwide agenda," but stressed the need to see forests in the whole
context of the climate change issue. Adaptation issues must receive
the same attention as mitigation issues, noting that land use is an
area which can address both. Many individuals have discussed
adaptation since COP-8, but only further talk resulted, not actions.
They hope that COP-13 will stress adaptation issues. They also

JAKARTA 00001771 003 OF 003


cautioned against the wide-ranging focus on technology in President
Bush's initiative: progress in forestry and land use result from
economic incentives and governmental policy.

Media: U.S. Not Taking a Leadership Role
----------------------------------------

12. (U) The Indonesian media primarily reported on the President's
climate change proposal in conjunction with the G8 Summit. The few
opinion pieces published in domestic newspapers expressed two
consistent themes: the U.S. has failed to take a leadership role on
the climate change issue, and that the administration's views on
climate change are not in line with those of the U.S. public and
Congress. Indonesia's largest English-language daily newspaper, The
Jakarta Post, ran an opinion piece on June 7 stating that the
proposal does not include enough detail and does not account for
existing international efforts to combat climate change. The author
suggested that the President Bush's proposal does not live up to the
expectation that the U.S. will take a leadership role on climate
change. He indicated that the President's plan does not take the
climate change issue as seriously as the U.S. public and politicians
do. Indonesia's largest Indonesian-language daily newspaper,
Kompas, published a similar opinion piece on June 14.

13. (U) Soejachmoen also gave an interview on June 14 to the Jakarta
Post regarding the COP-13 conference in Bali and the U.S. stance on
climate change. She suggested there needs to be an internal process
within the U.S. to shift the administration's position on climate
change. Some policy-makers in other countries feel that they must
wait for the U.S. to participate in global negotiations before a
replacement for the Kyoto Protocol is developed.

NGO Roundtable Attendees
------------------------

14. (SBU) NGOs attending the roundtable event included:

--Yayasan Pelangi Indonesia (focus on air quality, energy, and
transportation management)

--WWF Indonesia (Program director for climate change and energy
attended)

--Yayasan Bina Usaha Lingkungan YBUL (focus on responsible and
environmental sustainable energy and clean technology)

--KEHATI (focus on Indonesian biodiversity)

--IBEKA (focus on rural electrification and clean water supply in
remote areas)

--Conservation International Indonesia (focus on conservation of
living nature heritage, including illegal logging in Sumatra)

--Birdlife Indonesia (focus on conservation on sites, species and
habitats)

--WCS Wildlife Conservation Society (focus climate change adaptation
and mitigation for tigers and other wildlife)

--EcoSecurities (focus on sourcing, developing, and trading carbon
credits)

--Energi Alternatif Indonesia (focus on biofuels and alternative
energy sources)

--TELAPAK (focus on forestry and illegal logging)

HEFFERN

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