Has Indonesia Fiddled Its CO2 Emissions Data?
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|
|WRI CAIT 2.0||1,026||1,372||1,584||1,928|
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.