Indonesia is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events such as floods and droughts, as well as long-term changes such as sea level rise, shifts in rainfall patterns, and increasing temperatures. The country's mean annual temperature is already estimated to have increased by around 0.8°C above the 1951-1980 baseline in the period 2010-2017. Whereas studies point to an overall decrease in average annual precipitation, though precipitation trends vary across the country .
Indonesia’s temperature is expected to continue to increase, with warming in the range of 0.8°C-1.4°C expected by the 2050s. However, these projections should be approached with caution, as higher warming rates may be experienced inland. Projected precipitation trends show a likely increase in rainfall for western and southern areas and a reduction in rainfall for the southern islands, as well as an increase in the intensity of extreme rainfall events .
Indonesia is ranked in the top-third of countries in terms of climate risk, with high exposure to all types of flooding and extreme heat. As the climate changes, the intensity of these hazards is expected to grow . A continuous increase in air temperature will result in an increase in extreme weather events and periods of intense droughts, which will hamper the growth of important agricultural crops and cause health problems due to heat stress . Changes in rainfall will have a strong influence on the quality of human life, particularly in relation to the availability of water resources for consumption and agricultural needs . The change in rainfall patterns will also likely result in increased risk and magnitude of hydro-meteorological disasters .
Already, Indonesia has seen a rising trend in hydro-meteorological disasters influenced by extreme short-term climate variability and by the effects of climate change . During 2016, there were 2,342 disasters, of which 92% were hydro-meteorological disasters dominated by floods, landslides and puting beliung (light tornado) . During the 2005- 2018 period, most floods occurred in the areas of West Java, Central Java, East Java, Aceh, West Sumatra, North Sumatra, South Sumatra, and South Sulawesi. Meanwhile, landslides often occurred in West Java, Central Java, East Java, West Sumatra, and Papua with the number of affected people potentially having reached 14 million . Without effective adaptation, the population exposed to these hazards it is expected to increase. For example, in the absence of effective adaptation, the population in Indonesia exposed to an extreme river flood could grow by 1.4 million by 2035–2044 .
Sea surface temperature is also projected to rise in Indonesia by 1°C compared to 2000, while surface salinity is expected to continue to decrease. As the ocean becomes warmer and more acidic, marine life will be negatively affected , through changes in the migration pathways of fish and other sea creatures, coral bleaching, loss and damage to mangrove and seagrass ecosystems, as well as imbalance of marine mammal populations . Coral reefs provide key spawning grounds for many fish species, as well as harboring significant biodiversity, and generating tourism income (estimated at $3.1 billion per year). Long range climate modelling suggests by 2100, Indonesia could lose between 25% (RCP4.5) and 82% (RCP8.5) of its coral cover and, under both scenarios, most of the coral reef-based tourism could be lost. Lost income resulting from coral bleaching events is already impacting local artisanal fishing households, and in some cases driving food and income poverty .
Over the past century, several studies have indicated that the sea level in Indonesia has risen by up to 0.8 m in a number of sea areas, such as in Java Island and the eastern part of Indonesia . Indonesia is particularly vulnerable to sea level rise, as it faces the risk of losing its small islands and the narrowing of its coastal areas, which will threaten cities located on the coastline. Without adaptation, sea level rise could expose over 4.2 million people to permanent flooding by the period 2070–2100 .
Climate change is likely to have impacts on water availability, disaster risk management, biodiversity, urban development, particularly in the coastal zones, and health and nutrition, with implications for poverty and inequality . According to an analysis by insurer Swiss Re, if the world is 2.0–2.6°C warmer by mid-century, as it may be even if current pledges under the Paris Agreement are met, Indonesia’s GDP could shrink by 16.7–30.2% due to climate change impacts. Therefore, ambitious climate action is crucial for Indonesia's future .
According to Indonesia’s Second National Communication of 2010, national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions increased from 0.4 GtCO2-eq in 2000 to 1.8 GtCO2-eq in 2005. In 2005, most emissions (63%) were the result of land use change and peat and forest fires, with combustion of fossil fuels contributing approximately 19% of total emissions.
Based on Indonesia’s First Biennial Update Report (BUR) submitted to UNFCCC in January 2016, national GHG emissions were 1.453 GtCO2-eq in 2012, which represented an increase of 0.452 GtCO2-eq from 2000 emissions. The main contributing sectors were land-use change and forestry (LUCF) including peat fires (47.8%) and energy (34.9%). The second BUR reported a slight increase in emission level to 1.457 GtCO2-eq in 2016, which was dominated by emissions from LUCF including peat fires (43.59%) and energy (36.91%), respectively . The 3rd BUR , submitted to the UNFCCC in 2021, reported an increase in emissions to 1.845 GtCO2-eq in 2019, which was dominated by emissions from LUCF including peat fires (50.13%) followed by energy (34.49%), waste (6.52%) and Industrial Processes and Product Use (IPPU) (3.15%) .
In Indonesia, peat fires have largely influenced emission fluctuations over the period 2000-2019. Based on the difference in emission levels between the NDC baseline and the GHG inventory, emissions from the forestry sector in 2010-2019 were shown to be below the baseline, except for 2014, 2015, and 2019. The increase in emissions during these years was mainly due to the increase in emissions from peat fires. The emissions from peat fires in 2014, 2015, and 2019 measured to be 630.23, 822.74, and 456.43 thousands GgCO2e, respectively .
Key policies and governance approach
Indonesia has developed several strategic policies and plans related to climate change , such as the National Plan for Climate Change Adaptation (RAN-API) . The country has also mainstreamed climate action into its National Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2020-2024, through the implementation of Indonesia’s broader Low Carbon Development (LCD) strategy . The RPJMN includes a range of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures, such as developing sustainable energy and restoring lands sustainably .
In line with the RPJMN, Indonesia has developed the Long-Term Strategy for Low Carbon and Climate Resilience (LTS-LCCR) 2050, which defines pathways for Indonesia to achieve low emission development until 2050 . Through the LTS-LCCR, the Government envisages achieving the Forestry and Other Land Use Net Carbon Sink by 2030, referred to as FOLU Net Sink 2030, and will further explore the opportunity to rapidly progress towards net-zero emission in 2060 or sooner. The LTS-LCCR plays a central role in: (i) aligning the climate goals and targets with national, sub-national and international objectives including SDGs; (ii) engaging non-party stakeholders (NPS), (iii) enhancing opportunities for innovation, and (iv) enabling communities to earn benefits of early actions. The LTS-LCCR is designed by taking into consideration the need to balance between emission reduction and economic development, and places emission reduction, economic growth, justice or fairness, and climate resilient development as an integral part of the LTS-LCCR’s goal .
In September 2022, Indonesia submitted its Enhanced NDC to the UNFCCC, updating the mitigation targets that had been set in the Updated NDC in July 2021. Through its Enhanced NDC, Indonesia increases the country’s 2030 emission reduction target from 29% to 31.89% (unconditionally) and from 41% to 43.2% (conditionally), compared to a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario , . The Enhanced NDC represents the transition towards Indonesia’s Second NDC which will be aligned with the LTS-LCCR 2050 with a vision to achieve net-zero emission by 2060 or sooner .
In the forestry sector, Indonesia has gradually progressed in REDD+ implementation and has entered full implementation for some years, guided by the REDD+ National Strategy . Indonesia’s commitment in improving forest governance has also been supported by a number of policies and measures including (i) Presidential Instruction No. 5/2019 on termination of new license issuance on peatland, (ii) implementation of mandatory certification for sustainable forest management, (iii) Government Regulation No. 46/2016 on strategic environmental assessments (SEAs) through landscape approach aiming at securing food, water, and energy security based on sound ecosystem management, among others . Additionally, in the context of achieving the NDC target and FOLU net-sink 2030, Indonesia has set the target of restoring 2 million ha of peatland and rehabilitating 12 million ha of degraded land by 2030 .
In the energy sector, Indonesia has embarked on a mixed energy use policy. Indonesia has also established the development of clean energy sources as a national policy directive. Collectively, these policies will eventually put Indonesia on the path to decarbonisation. Government Regulation No. 79/2014 on National Energy Policy, sets out the ambition to transform, by 2025 and 2050, the primary energy supply mix with shares as follows: a) new and renewable energy at least 23% in 2025 and at least 31% in 2050; b) oil should be less than 25% in 2025 and less than 20% in 2050; c) coal should be minimum 30% in 2025 and minimum 25% in 2050; and d) gas should be minimum 22% in 2025 and minimum 24% in 2050. The Government also promulgated Presidential Regulation No. 22/2017 on National Energy Grand Plan which mandates the target of 23% New Renewable Energy (NRE) in national energy mix by 2025 and 1% reduction in energy intensity per year .
Successes and remaining challenges
According to the country’s third BUR (2021), Indonesia has made progress in implementing National GHG mitigation actions, assessed by comparing the national GHG emissions level in the year of implementation with the baseline GHG emissions level of the unconditional target in Indonesia’s Updated NDC. Achievements of national mitigation based on calculations covering 5 sectors (energy, IPPU, forestry, agriculture, and waste) showed that the GHG emissions level in the period 2017 – 2019 fell below the baseline level. In 2017, the estimated emissions decreased from the baseline by about 389,000 Gg CO2e. This was mainly due to a significant decrease in emissions from the FOLU sector, specifically emissions from peat fires. In 2018, the decrease in emissions was due to lower emission levels compared to the baseline in all sectors, with the highest contribution from the energy sector, amounted to 155,000 Gg CO2e. However, in 2019, peat fire emissions from the FOLU sector increased again higher than the baseline level, making 2019 the year with the lowest emission reduction, amounted to 39,000 Gg CO2e .
According to the Climate Action Tracker, with the current policies that the country has set in place, Indonesia is on track to significantly overachieve both its unconditional and conditional targets in its Enhanced NDC. As a result, both Indonesia’s unconditional and conditional targets are rated as “Critically insufficient” by the Climate Action Tracker, meaning the targets are inconsistent with Indonesia’s fair share contribution and modelled domestic pathways. According to the Tracker, Indonesia’s BAU scenario is outdated, and it is suggested that the country should instead formulate its targets relative to its historical emissions, to significantly increase the ambition of and improve the transparency in its NDC .
Further, though Indonesia has made progress in implementing various mitigation actions in its Energy Sector , the country’s energy mix is still dominated by fossil fuels which currently meet around 84% of the country’s energy demand. At the same time, Indonesia has huge untapped renewable resource potential that can provide local and affordable solutions to fossil fuels .
According to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), unlocking the country’s untapped renewable energy potential is a more cost-effective way of meeting Indonesia’s rising energy demand than continuing its heavy reliance on domestic and imported fossil fuel, with the share of renewable energy reaching two-thirds of the country’s energy mix in 2050, up from just 14% today. By 2030, the report estimates an investment opportunity of USD 332 billion in energy transition technologies and USD 80 billion in grid infrastructure development. Over the longer term, significant scale-up in energy investment is required, with up to USD 2,420 billion in cumulative investment to 2050 needed across the energy system, from generation, to efficiency and enabling infrastructure. Despite these significant investments, the cost of this scenario presented in the report is lower than the alternative, resulting in energy cost-saving of between USD 400 – 600 billion cumulatively to 2050, with an additional as much as USD 600 billion in external cost savings from lower air pollution , .
In general, the Government of Indonesia requires both domestic and international financial support for the implementation of its NDC . Although Indonesia has faced challenges in projecting its financial needs, the third BUR (2021) estimated financial needs for its conditional target from 2018-2030 at about USD 285 billion and for its unconditional target about USD 281 billion. In order to strengthen climate financing in the country, Indonesia has developed a number of innovative green financing, which may contribute positively to NDC implementation, for example, green sukuk, green bond, and public-private partnership through SDGs-One Indonesia Platform. Indonesia has also established the Indonesia Environmental Fund Management Agency (IEF/BPDLH) . In addition to financial support, the Government of Indonesia also requires technology and capacity building support for the implementation of its NDC , .
Initiatives and Development Plans
The Government of Indonesia has developed the SIDIK (Vulnerability Index Data Information System) as a tool for adaptation planning processes, to help integrate climate change adaptation into development planning so that development is oriented towards increasing adaptive capacity and resilience, and reducing vulnerability .
Additionally, an existing good practice to increase climate resilience in Indonesia is the Climate Village Programme (PROKLIM) which has been regulated in the MoEF Regulation No. P84 of 2016. PROKLIM is a nationwide programme managed by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry which aims to increase the involvement of the community and other stakeholders in strengthening adaptation capacity to the impacts of climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It also provides recognition for climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts that can improve welfare at the local level in accordance with regional conditions . With 3,270 locations of established ProKlim in 2021, Indonesia is targeting to achieve 20,000 ProKlim locations in 2024 .
In October 2022, Ministers from the governments of Indonesia and the UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support implementation of Indonesia’s Forestry and Other Land Use (FOLU) Net Sink 2030 Operational Plan. This aims to contribute towards achieving Indonesia’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), particularly through sustainable forest management .
- Enhance collaboration with international organisations and international initiatives to receive financial and technological support on climate change activities.
- Indonesia could significantly increase the ambition in its NDC and improve transparency by formulating its targets relative to historical emissions .
- Securing finance for renewable energy investments represents an important barrier to accelerating Indonesia’s energy transition. Financing sources need to be expanded and local financing needs to grow. New financing models need to be developed and the capacity of national financing institutions needs to be strengthened to enable their participation.
- Build the country’s energy policies based on renewable energy development to drive economic growth and job creation, supported by a predictable long-term energy plan that prioritises clean energy investments consistent with national and regional (renewable) energy policies.
- In the short term to 2030, Indonesia should expand solar PV, electric vehicles and biofuel supply.
- Eliminating coal subsidies and including pollution induced costs for fossil fuel use could help create a level playing field for renewables.
- Increase investment in nature-based solutions, such as forest conservation and restoration.
- Increase investment in human resource development, including revitalisation of vocational education.
- Use technology to increase efficiency in capacity building.
- Capacity building of party and non-party actors for translating the NDC targets into mitigation actions and for access to climate finance.
- Capacity building of local governments in integrating climate change actions into their long-term plan and programmes.
- Capacity building of the private sector to implement mitigation actions including the use of renewable energy, green building design, zero plastic use, and the use of environmentally friendly materials.
- Capacity development of governments and non-government agencies to carry out GHG inventory and MRV.
- Increase public awareness through outreach and campaign.
- Improve provision of information accessible to the public with different levels of knowledge on climate change.
- Enhance stakeholder engagement in climate policy formulation and actions.
- Enhance collaboration and network at the local, national and international levels.
- Strengthen the role of endogenous technology, local wisdom and best practices.
- Indonesia also has the potential to increase its resilience to the impacts of climate change, through initiatives such as improving infrastructure, early warning systems, and disaster risk management.
 Ministry of National Development Planning/Bappenas (2021). Summary for Policymakers: A GREEN ECONOMY FOR A NET-ZERO FUTURE: How Indonesia can build back better after COVID-19 with the Low Carbon Development Initiative (LCDI).
 Enerdata (2022). Indonesia’s updated NDC increases its emissions reduction targets for 2030. [Online]. Available: https://www.enerdata.net/publications/daily-energy-news/indonesias-updated-ndc-increases-its-emissions-reduction-targets-2030.html.
 Copyright Climate Action Tracker, Climate Analytics and NewClimate Institute (2022). Indonesia. [Online]. Available: https://climateactiontracker.org/countries/indonesia/.
 IRENA - International Renewable Energy Agency (2022). Renewable Pathway More Cost Effective than Fossil Fuels in Indonesia. [Online]. Available: https://www.irena.org/News/pressreleases/2022/Oct/Renewable-Pathway-More-Cost-Effective-than-Fossil-Fuels-in-Indonesia.
 GOV.UK (2022). Indonesia-UK memorandum of understanding: cooperation on Indonesia’s Forestry and Other Land Use (FOLU) Net Sink 2030. [Online]. Available: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/indonesia-uk-memorandum-of-understanding-cooperation-on-indonesias-forestry-and-other-land-use-folu-net-sink-2030.