CSO criticises Indonesia’s approach to energy transition, CCS technology as false solution

Jakarta – Civil society organisation Trend Asia voiced significant concerns over the Indonesian government’s current energy policies under President Joko Widodo, particularly its Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)/Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage (CCUS) policy.

Trend Asia Program Director Ashov Birry told tanahair.net that the administration’s commitment to a fair and equitable energy transition is increasingly doubtful “despite the urgency of the transition because the impacts of the climate crisis are increasingly visible and felt by the wider community.”

The Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment (Kemenko Marves) recently announced that Indonesia is opening its doors to investment opportunities in the Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) sector to bolster its efforts in reducing carbon emissions and combatting climate change.

Birry argues that the Jokowi administration’s reliance on CCS/CCUS technologies as a solution for energy transition is misguided. “CCS/CCUS has yet to be proven effective in reducing emissions, is energy-intensive, and incurs significant costs. Furthermore, the financial burden of these technologies would fall upon the state and society, while profits are funnelled to the fossil fuel industry,” he said.

He added that the risks associated with CCS/CCUS include the potential for leakage, which could harm the environment and those who rely on it, and raised concerns about the technology’s implications in a country like Indonesia, which is geologically prone to earthquakes, suggesting that the precautionary principle should guide decisions against the use of CCS/CCUS.

In February, Indonesia and Singapore signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to cooperate on cross-border carbon capture and storage (CCS) activities. However, Birry warns that cooperation between Indonesia and Singapore on CCS/CCUS and carbon storage could deepen fossil fuel dependency and delay the transition to renewable energy sources. He said Singapore still heavily depend on fossil fuels, with fossil gas fulfilling over 90% of its energy needs. (nsh)

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