Indonesia must play leadership role in confronting global climate crisis: Greenpeace

Photo exhibit launches Greenpeace “Energy (R)evolution” campaign in Indonesia

Feature story - February 2, 2007
Greenpeace challenged the Indonesian government to take strong leadership in confronting the global climate crisis by spearheading efforts in the developing world to establish measures that would protect the people and economies of the poorer regions in the world which are bound to suffer the most from the impacts of climate change.

Greenpeace donates a solar power system to a coastal village in Aceh, Indonesia, one of the worst hit areas by the tsunami in December 2004. In cooperation with UPLINK, a local development NGO, Greenpeace offered its expertise on energy efficiency and renewable energy and install renewable energy generators for one of the badly hit villages by the tsunami last year.

The group issued the challenge at the official launch of its Clean Energy campaign in Indonesia marked by an  exhibition entitled "Clean Energy (R)evolution" at Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta . The Exhibit was inaugurated by the Minister of Environment, Mr. Rachmat Witoelar, who earlier in the week warned that Indonesia is bound to be hit by dire impacts of climate change.  Indonesia is also slated to host a major UN conference on climate change to be held in the resort island of Bali in December.

"Assuming the leadership mantle on this issue, means that the country itself must veer away from the use of fossil fuels, and destructive logging practices which together makes the country number 4 in terms of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Indonesia also ranks among the most vulnerable places in the world when it comes to suffering impacts due to climate change. It is therefore in our national interest that the government takes a strong and constructive position on this issue," said Emmy Hafild, Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

The exhibition is designed to raise public awareness on the dangers of dirty energy, especially nuclear and coal power plants, impacts of climate change, and existing solutions that include the potential of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures for individual citizens.

 "Our island country like many developing countries is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Sea-level rise, extreme weather events, floods and drought are already ravaging our population," said Environment Minister Mr. Rachmat Witoelar on the occasion.  "Indonesia has offered to host the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in December 2007. The Government of Indonesia representing Indonesian people as well as the voices of all developing countries is ready to lead in tackling climate change issues in a broader sense and with concrete measures and it is crucial that our public and policy makers are aware of the urgency for an action plan to tackle the threats of climate change," he added.

The launch of the exhibition also coincides with the release of a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Paris, which is expected to confirm that climate change is happening faster than was previously believed and will have disastrous effect on highly vulnerable island nations like Indonesia.

"Indonesia has a choice. It could either be a big part of the problem or it could lead the march towards the adoption of real solutions to combat the climate crisis. The solution does not lie in the construction of  highly dangerous nuclear power plants or greenhouse gas emitting coal plants but in the exploitation of the country's  vast renewable energy potential . Greenpeace strongly believes that there is still time to pull  us back from the brink," said Hafild.

"A new Greenpeace report shows that it is economically feasible to cut global emissions by 50% by 2050 through growth in renewable energy and energy efficiency, It is clear we have the means and, if we act now, we still have time. All we are lacking is the political will," she added.

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