The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Greenpeace has berated the government for replacing petroleum with coal to meet the nation's energy needs, highlighting that carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants are one of the main contributors to human-induced global climate change.
"Coal produces 29 percent of carbon per energy unit higher than oil and 80 percent of carbon higher than gas," Red Constantino of Greenpeace International told a press conference Thursday.
The government has announced that coal will replace oil within the next ten years to meet domestic energy demands. Indonesia plans to build coal-fired power plants to generate around 10,000 megawatts of electricity by 2009.
Constantino said that as an archipelagic nation, Indonesia is highly vulnerable to climate change. If sea levels rise, many regions in Indonesia could be submerged, he said.
The environmental group predicts that by 2030, 72 hectares in Jakarta will be submerged, and that by 2050, 160 ha of the city will be underwater.
Greenpeace called on the Indonesian government to join the "energy revolution" fueled by renewable, efficient energy sources in a global effort to ensure energy security and to avoid the more severe impacts of climate change.
"Clean coal and cheap coal are big industry's lies. Coal carries huge costs in the form of severe pollution, climate change and the displacement of local communities. Coal is artificially cheap only because the great bulk of these costs are passed on to taxpayers," Constantino said, adding that clean and sustainable energy alternatives are widely available.
Meanwhile, Greenpeace Southeast Asia climate and energy campaigner Nur Hidayati said industry was being bullish about Indonesia's export potential at a time when the world has no choice but to reject climate-killing coal.
Hidayati labeled a meeting of coal producers and buyers scheduled to take place in Bali from Monday through to Wednesday as "a meeting of climate criminals".
"Every dollar spent on coal is a dollar diverted away from energy efficiency and renewable energy -- the real energy solutions," Hidayati said.
"With proper investment of US$60 billion a year, renewable energy alone could produce 58 percent of electricity demand by 2050. Indonesia can lead Southeast Asia toward real sustainable development only if it leaves behind coal."
In December, Bali will host a United Nations climate change conference that is crucial to the next phase of post-Kyoto Protocol greenhouse emission cuts. (02)