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Has Indonesia Fiddled Its CO2 Emissions Data?

November 7, 2015

By Paul Homewood  


In my post on Indonesia’s Climate Plan yesterday, Kevin Marshall, from the manicbeancounter website. made an interesting comment, which is worth expanding on.


Something else is remarkable about the figures. Indonesia’s 2005 emissions of 1800 MtCO2e. I have found four other estimates, ranging from 1171 to 2829 MtCO2e. Indonesia’s own BAPPENAS (National Development Planning Agency) has a figure of 1400 MtCO2e.
But what falls into place is that a 41% reduction on 2881 comes to 1699.79. Rounded to the nearest whole number, that is a 100 MtCO2e reduction from 1800. The figures are contrived to give out a message – Indonesia can reduce its emissions, but lots of outside financial assistance is needed for a poor country to achieve this.
This manipulation of the figures is so Indonesia is left alone for more important objectives stated in its INDC Submission – of maintaining a fragile democracy and promoting strong economic growth to lift millions out of poverty


Let’s recap. Indonesia’s INDC states that emissions were 1800 MtCO2e back in 2005. Their pledge of a 41% cut from BAU in 2030 implies emissions of 1700 MtCO2e,thus enabling them to claim some sort of a reduction.





But as Kevin shows in detail on his website, which is well worth a look, four different sources give a range of emissions for 2005 of anything between 1171 and 2829 MtCO2e.

If the high UNFCCC estimate is correct, it also means that most of the planned reduction in emissions has already happened. If the others are right, emissions will still be much higher in 2030.


Estimates of Indonesia’s Total Greenhouse Emissions in MtCO2e





UNFCCC 1,101 1,444 2,829 1,908
EDGAR 1,165 622 1,171 745
WRI CAIT 2.0 1,026 1,372 1,584 1,928
WRI Blog   1,000 1,400 1,500
Indonesian Govt 



So where does the Indonesian govt’s figure of 1800 MtCO2e come from?

It’s a mystery, because Kevin has also found this official graph from the Indonesian “National Development Planning Agency”, which clearly gives a figure of about 1400 MtCO2e for 2005. Note as well that 2015 is estimated at 1636 MtCO2e, as well as the BAU target for 2030 which confirms the number in the INDC.




It is hard to avoid Kevin’s conclusion:


The figure for 2005 is about 1400 MtCO2e, not the 1800 MtCO2e stated in the INDC. The Indonesian’s have fiddled their own unaudited figures to get a politically desired result – an easily achievable “reduction” in GHG emissions.


On a deeper level, Kevin’s analysis raised two issues:


1) How meaningful are cuts from a fabricated “Business as Usual” case? Indonesia certainly isn’t the only country to make this sort of pledge. For instance, South Korea has done the same.

In reality, you can dream up any number you like for BAU, knowing that you can then claim to be virtuous, and promise substantial “cuts”.


2) Whilst there is a fair amount of verifiability about emissions from burning fossil fuels, from BP and CDIAC, there is clearly a massive amount of subjectiveness about the calculations for LULUCF.

Indeed, the variation between different estimates must surely mean that any pledge to cut emissions is meaningless, both in terms of what baseline it is measured against, and how future emissions are calculated.

This does not mean that LULUCF, and in particular deforestation, is not extremely important. However, it seems to me to be totally wrong to wrap up fossil fuel emissions and LULUCF ones into one overall package.

If emissions from fossil fuels are to be cut globally, they need to be targeted separately.




Kevin’s full post is well worth a read here.

  1. November 7, 2015 7:17 pm

    Good! Get plant food out and back where it came from ..

  2. Graeme No.3 permalink
    November 7, 2015 10:31 pm

    The Indonesians are just doing what other governments are doing; making agreeable noises while doing whatever they decide to do. This will continue while there is some hope of money flowing to them, but when that hope disappears they will just continue doing whatever they decide to do.
    The likely hood of any meaningful reduction in emissions resulting from Paris are the same as finding scientific evidence of CO2 induced warming in the last 20 years.

    • November 8, 2015 6:31 pm

      I largely agree with this. The Green Movement are naive to the political realities and budgeting, but hold a great deal of power in international relations, NGOs and business interests. Indonesia is far from naive. As its INDC Submission states, its major priorities are maintaining political stability in a young democracy and eliminating poverty through strong economic growth. They realize that economic growth, with an emerging middle class, is a major foundation of political stability. So does China, India and many other nations.
      So how does Indonesia reconcile the real priorities with the Green Movement’s fanciful demands? They make the right but noises and produce bogus figures. Where there are gaps the UNFCCC and others will interpret the figures to convince themselves it is going their way, or will pretend that a reluctant country will see their priorities are the only reality.
      One of the worst example is the Carbon Action Tracker on India.
      They try to convince themselves that between 2010 and 2030 India’s effective pledge is to only increase GHG emissions by 2.5GtCO2e. This is mostly by assuming lower economic growth rates. This is emissions growth delayed, not stopped. But post 2030, CAT assumes that global emissions will rise to 54GtCO2e by 2030 and the fall to less than 50 GtCO2e by 2050. This will result in only 2.7C of warming (assuming the IPCC models are correct) by 2100. My current assessment in progress is the total emissions will be at least 60GtCO2e in 2030 and keep on rising thereafter. The reason is simple. At least three times as many people will live in countries with rising emissions emissions as falling emissions.

      Click to access CAT_global_temperature_update_October_2015.pdf

  3. John F. Hultquist permalink
    November 7, 2015 10:44 pm

    Thanks Paul and Kevin.

    When the Party in Paris is declared a success no one will have a clue if it is true because 97% of the INDCs will be similarly opaque. MSM will have a tough time reporting this unless they just repeat the press release. They could say it is political fiction without any real content – smoke & mirrors. That’s not likely.
    The goal of a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world is nonsense, as well. The EESC substitutes “fair” for “universal.” By”fair” they seem to mean a high price on carbon (sic) emissions. The EESC also supports “civic” renewable energy, meaning decentralised power generation by citizens, communities, farmers and so on. EESC link here: European Economic and Social Committee

    Currently, there is not an acceptable and workable alternative to carbon based fuels and, thus, energy. I want my refrigerator/freezer to work all the time – not just on sunny days and windy evenings.

    A local group here (Ellensburg, WA, USA) is making ribbons and having a walk. The ribbons will be flown to Paris and hung on a make-believe tree. I think it is part of this idea: Ribbons

    • 1saveenergy permalink
      November 7, 2015 11:55 pm

      “A local group here (Ellensburg, WA, USA) is making ribbons and having a walk. The ribbons will be flown to Paris and hung on a make-believe tree. I think it is part of this idea: Ribbons”

      More proof of this weird religion

      • John Palmer permalink
        November 8, 2015 12:38 am

        I’m quite sure that all these ribbons are made from organically-grown plant materials, lovingly spun by hand and delivered by a carbon (sic) free means of transport. What a load of bo****ks!

  4. AndyG55 permalink
    November 8, 2015 7:37 am

    Not only is Indonesia a large emitter, but they overtook Australia as a coal producer in 2013.

    Borneo and PNG also have large coal deposits, and will not pause for one second to allow China and the rest of Asia to use them in the future.

    The anti-CO2 campaign is a MASSIVE FAILURE except in terms of funds raised for the banksters in their deceitful destruction of western manufacturing.

    That’s because it was NEVER about CO2.

  5. Green Sand permalink
    November 8, 2015 11:10 am

    Just in time for Paris!

    “UN report raises ceiling for greenhouse gas pollution, calls previous assessments unrealistic”

    ” The U.N.’s environmental authority has quietly raised its assessment of the level at which global greenhouse gas emissions must peak to avoid dangerous climate change, as governments seek a new accord to fight global warming.

    In its first four annual emissions reports in 2010-2013, the United Nations Environment Program said emissions must not exceed 44 billion tons in 2020 for the world to limit global warming to 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F).

    But with real-world emissions rising far beyond that level, UNEP has since last year downplayed its focus on 2020 as a make-or-break year for emissions reductions.

    In this year’s Emissions Gap report, a summary of which was released Friday, UNEP says the world can still reach the 2-degree target with emissions of 52 billion tons by 2020, which is just slightly below today’s level……..”

  6. November 8, 2015 2:55 pm

    It seems to me that we spend too much time discussing the emissions and not talking into account much more important subjects (for example the oceans, which play a more important role in climate change). And, from what I see here, so much money spent on COP21:!!!!!

  7. Medrilzam permalink
    November 8, 2015 4:12 pm

    What Indonesia did in their INDC simulation was to revise their previous over estimated baseline when they proclaimed to reduce 26% in 2020. The baseline simulation result was far below the previous and this simulation has been confirmed by the draft BUR data from 2000-2012. Unfortunately, the INDC submission text has not sufficiently explained about this issue as there were a few internal miss-communication between line ministries. Contact me if you want to know more.

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