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Open Letter Joe Biden

Open Letter

April 21, 2021 

The Honorable Joseph R. Biden 

President of the United States of America 

The White House 

Washington DC

Dear Mr. President, 

First, we would like to offer our sincere congratulations to you and to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. We greatly appreciate your action on convening global leaders by inviting 40 world leaders to the Leaders Summit on Climate promptly after you took office. This has been such a difficult time for so many around the world to limit the planetary warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in order to stave off the worst impacts of climate change and with your commitment to bring the United States back to the global race against time we believe you will be able to bring positive impacts to other global leaders to take more earnest actions against climate crisis which impacts we are already experiencing.  

Representing the other 270 million people of Indonesia, we offer you our gratitude for taking the time to pay attention to the status of Indonesia’s climate commitment. You are right, Indonesia is in a grave need to up its climate policy. Believing in your and the US power to spread positive impacts throughout the world, we are asking you to: 

1. Consistently be a role-model for sustainable development for the world. As a major economic country, the US is also the second largest contributor for global emissions. The US must enhance its own mitigation ambition and support vulnerable countries to adapt to climate crisis. It is undeniable that the US has a large investment value in Indonesia in both the private and public sectors. Therefore, we urge you to transform US foreign investment into green investments. US investment must rapidly shift from the fossil fuel industry to renewable energy. We also need you to encourage the implementation of policies on the use of 100% renewable energy in every investment made in Indonesia. Accordingly, Indonesia’s emissions from the energy sector will also be reduced. 

2. Proactively ask Indonesia to commit to achieve net zero emissions in 2050. According to scientists, Indonesia’s NDC target needs to be ramped up to achieve the 1.5 degree target. In addition, our government has not yet officially stated when Indonesia will achieve its net zero emissions target. If recent seminars and discussions that are held by our government are true, and the government is not willing to change its target, Indonesia will achieve its net zero emissions target by 2070. It is indubitably too late and the climate crisis will certainly win the race against time. During the Leaders Summit on Climate, we are asking you to support Indonesia’s President, Mr. Joko Widodo, to expedite Indonesia’s net zero emission target. 

3. Continuously increase the opportunities for green investments in Indonesia. The agreement between the US and China to provide green funds is a great stepping stone to help other countries in energy transition. Currently, Indonesia is facing obstacles to phase out from fossil fuel to renewable energy as 85% of our energy production is still generated from fossil fuels. The existence of green investment financial support will unquestionably encourage Indonesia to accelerate our transformation to renewable energy development and enhance the Environmental, Social, and Good Governance (ESG) sector and Indonesia’s NDC. 

4. Support sustainable development programs from the Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector by investing on conservation programs and through technology and knowledge transfer. Although we are grateful on your administration’s advice for Indonesia to try reducing emissions to 43% and 48% for 2030 outside the Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector, it is important to note that the LULUCF sector is still the biggest contributor for the entirety of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions. Your support for Indonesia to achieve its climate commitment from the energy and LULUCF sector will definitely be welcomed. As important as it is to start transitioning to renewable energy, our entire ecosystem will also be saved from the dreadful future of the climate crisis if our government ensures zero deforestation of forests and peatland. Your support for Indonesia to save and rehabilitate its remaining natural forests, peatland, and mangrove will certainly contribute to creating more resilient communities against climate crisis. It is imperative, however, that your support in this sector is not used as an excuse to slow down transition in the energy sector in the US. 

5. Guarantee the survival of indigenous peoples and the sustainability of local resources through socially and environmentally responsible investments. We believe that US investments in Indonesia can have a positive impact and support the welfare of indigenous peoples and not take away the rights to manage local resources. 

We believe that now is the time for the US to go hand in hand with Indonesia in an equal partnership to transition to green investment and create a more sustainable development and more resilient communities, the first step of which is by stepping up US and Indonesia’s climate ambition. Quoting your statement in the Executive Order, “Together, we must listen to science and meet the moment.” Indeed, listening to science and meeting the moment requires global collaboration to stave off the worst impacts of the climate crisis and we believe that US timely leadership can help the world win the race against time.

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