New US support for Indonesia’s climate change goals

Economy March 20, 2016 01:00

By The Jakarta Post
Asia News Ne

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US Ambassador Robert Blake revealed two new projects aimed at bolstering the work of the newly formed Peatland Restoration Agency during the Environment and Forestry Ministry-sponsored climate festival.

He said the two projects, funded under the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s compact with Indonesia, were part of the US government’s strong support for Indonesia’s climate change goals.

“The projects will help restore and protect the country’s peatland areas, which have been threatened by fire in recent years, and when burned are a major contributor to the release of greenhouse gases,” Blake said.

The first initiative, a US$17 million programme known as the Berbak Green Prosperity Project, will help restore the water of peat swamp forests in Jambi. The restoration of this system will help to eventually decrease the prevalence of peat fires in the province.

“The Berbak project will also provide training to increase production of local agriculture and facilitate smallholder oil palm certifications and community-based palm oil mill effluent renewable energy systems,” the US embassy said this week.

The second initiative is a $13-million agreement with three palm oil mills in Riau Province for biogas power plants utilizing palm oil mill effluent and assisting independent smallholders in each mill’s supply base to become RSPO certified.

This grant alone is expected to produce 3 MW of renewable energy from biogas, the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power 9,000 rural homes; capture 117,000 tCO2e/year, which is equivalent to emissions from vehicles driving 785 million kilometres per year. It is also expected that the project can improve productivity and management practices for 2,000 independent smallholders.

The US embassy said these two programmes, both of which will be implemented by an Indonesian agency, the Millennium Challenge Account – Indonesia (MCA-I), were part of the US government’s overall support for Indonesia’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions and protect vulnerable peatlands.

Apart from these projects, the US, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), has recently launched a new portfolio of projects to address climate change and support Indonesia’s goal of reducing emissions by 29 per cent by 2030.

According to the embassy, USAID will partner with the Indonesian government to help conserve and sustainably manage 8.4 million hectares of forest and peatland that can serve as carbon sinks.

The embassy added that USAID would help eliminate 4.5 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and leverage $800 million in private sector investment in clean energy for five million citizens.

“USAID will also help protect local communities from the effects of a changing climate and more extreme weather by assisting national and provincial governments implement effective climate change adaptation strategies.”