Tres conclusiones climáticas de la elección presidencial de Indonesia y la votación para SubiantoTres conclusiones climáticas de la elección presidencial de Indonesia y the voto para Subianto

Indonesia se dirige hacia una implicación más fuerte en el uso del carbón. Indonesia es un gran exportador de carbón, siendo China su principal comprador. Es crucial para la energía doméstica: suministra la mayor cantidad de electricidad de Indonesia.
Indonesia forma parte de un acuerdo global de $ 20 mil millones, dirigido por Estados Unidos, para jubilar algunas de las plantas de energía a carbón de Indonesia antes de lo previsto. Sin embargo, este acuerdo, llamado Just Energy Transition Partnership, todavía no ha dado lugar a planes específicos para cerrar las plantas de carbón.
De hecho, a pesar del acuerdo de transición de carbón, la flota de carbón de Indonesia está creciendo. Las emisiones de dióxido de carbono de Indonesia aumentaron en más del 20% en 2022, el año más reciente para el cual hay datos disponibles, según Climate Action Tracker, una organización independiente que evalúa los objetivos de emisiones a nivel de país. Evaluó los objetivos climáticos de Indonesia como “críticamente insuficientes”.
El níquel lo convierte en una potencia de la nueva energía
La administración de Mr. Joko presentó a Indonesia como central en la transición global hacia vehículos eléctricos. Al prohibir la exportación de mineral de níquel, crítico para las baterías de vehículos eléctricos, presionó a empresas internacionales para que invirtieran en el procesamiento de níquel en el país.
China se obligó. La empresa china Tsingshan estableció fábricas para procesar el mineral de níquel para que se pudiera convertir en baterías de vehículos eléctricos, así como en otros productos como acero inoxidable. Pero eso está aumentando la energía del carbón.
Con el apoyo chino, Indonesia está creando una flota de nuevas plantas de energía a carbón para suministrar a sus prósperas instalaciones de procesamiento de níquel. El níquel procesado es más lucrativo que el mineral de níquel, aunque conlleva una serie de riesgos sociales y ambientales. Un informe reciente del grupo de investigación y defensa sin fines de lucro Climate Rights International descubrió que las unidades mineras y de procesamiento de níquel habían violado los derechos de las comunidades indígenas y habían causado contaminación del agua y del aire.
El Sr. Prabowo, en la campaña, dijo que continuará con la prohibición de exportación de minerales. S&P Global, una empresa que analiza tendencias en materias primas, dijo que la prohibición “probablemente permanecerá en gran medida sin cambios”.
Los biocombustibles plantean preocupaciones sobre la deforestación. Indonesia ya es el mayor exportador de aceite de palma. El Sr. Prabowo ha propuesto crear un ministerio separado del aceite de palma.
El Sr. Prabowo se postuló para expandir la producción de biocombustibles a partir de cultivos como el aceite de palma, la yuca y la caña de azúcar. Los ambientalistas temen que una mayor demanda de biocombustibles pueda llevar a la deforestación, revirtiendo los avances que Indonesia había logrado en proteger sus ricos bosques. El Sr. Prabowo, actual ministro de Defensa, fue expulsado del ejército después de ser vinculado con el secuestro de disidentes políticos. Su historial en materia de derechos ha suscitado preocupaciones entre los activistas climáticos. Durante la campaña, el Sr. Prabowo desestimó tales preguntas. Nunca ha sido acusado en un tribunal de justicia. Según Firdaus Cahyadi, un activista de 350.org, que apoya medidas sobre el calentamiento global, “dificultará las movilizaciones de la sociedad civil en Indonesia, incluidos los movimientos ambientales y climáticos”, si fuera el ganador final de las elecciones del miércoles.

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Original:

Coal, nickel, palm oil, rainforests.

The riches of Indonesia matter to the rest of the world. Therefore, so does its presidential election.

Early results on Wednesday in the world’s third-largest democracy signaled the victory of Prabowo Subianto, a former army general linked to human rights abuses, as the country’s next president. The new government’s approach on the management of its natural resources could have a significant effect on the world’s ability to keep global warming to relatively safe levels.

Indonesia is the world’s largest exporter of coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel and something that the world must quickly stop burning in order to avoid the worst consequences of global warming. But Indonesia also has huge reserves of nickel, which is critical to battery-making and the transition to cleaner energy.

Mr. Prabowom has said that he supports transitioning the country away from coal power, though gradually. He also supports a ban on exports of raw nickel, designed to encourage a homegrown battery-making industry, that has been in place for several years.

Those two initiatives clash.

Processing nickel requires vast amounts of energy. So, Indonesia has been on a binge of building new coal-burning power plants. That, in turn, has driven up Indonesia’s emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases.

Mr. Prabowo has cast himself as a candidate who would largely continue the policies of the departing president, Joko Widodo, whose administration imposed the nickel export ban.

Indonesia’s global climate role is important in another way. The country has vast stretches of forest that are vital to the effort to slow global warming because they pull so much planet-warming carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

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However, Indonesia is also the largest exporter of palm oil, which is used in a range of everyday products from soap to ice cream, and the production of palm oil has led to severe deforestation in recent decades. While deforestation rates have slowed lately, Mr. Prabowo’s promises to produce more biofuels could quickly reverse those gains.

In short, what happens in Indonesia doesn’t stay in Indonesia.

Indonesia is a huge exporter of coal, with China its main buyer. Coal is also critical to domestic energy: It supplies the single-largest share of Indonesia’s electricity.

Indonesia is part of a $20 billion global agreement, led by the United States, to retire some of Indonesia’s coal-burning power plants earlier than planned. That agreement, called the Just Energy Transition Partnership, hasn’t resulted in any specific plans to close coal plants yet.

In fact, despite the coal transition agreement, Indonesia’s coal fleet is expanding. Indonesia’s emissions of carbon dioxide soared by more than 20 percent in 2022, the most recent year for which data is available, according to Climate Action Tracker, an independent organization that rates country-level emissions targets. It assessed Indonesia’s climate targets to be “critically insufficient.”

Mr. Joko’s administration cast Indonesia as central to the global transition to electric vehicles. By banning the export of nickel ore, critical for electric-vehicle batteries, he pushed international companies to invest in processing nickel in the country.

China obliged. The Chinese company Tsingshan set up factories to process nickel ore so it could be turned into electric-vehicle batteries as well as other products like stainless steel. But that’s driving up coal power.

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With Chinese support, Indonesia is building a fleet of new coal-burning power plants to supply its booming nickel processing facilities. Processed nickel is more lucrative than nickel ore, though it brings a host of social and environmental risks. A recent report by the nonprofit research and advocacy group Climate Rights International found that nickel mining and processing units had violated the rights of Indigenous communities and caused water and air pollution.

Mr. Prabowo, on the campaign trail, said he would continue the mineral export ban. S&P Global, a company that analyzes trends in commodities, said the ban would “likely remain largely unchanged.”

Indonesia is already the world’s largest exporter of palm oil. Mr. Prabowo has proposed to set up a separate palm oil ministry.

Mr. Prabowo campaigned to expand production of biofuels from crops including palm oil, cassava and sugar cane. Environmentalists worry that a push for biofuels could lead to deforestation, reversing the gains that Indonesia had made in protecting its rich forests.

Mr. Prabowo, the current defense minister, was removed from the army after he was linked to the kidnapping of political dissidents. His record on rights has raised concerns among climate activists. During the campaign, Mr. Prabowo dismissed such questions. He has never been charged in a court of law.

Should he be the final winner of Wednesday’s election, said Firdaus Cahyadi, a campaigner for 350.org, which supports action on global warming, “it will make it difficult for civil society movements in Indonesia, including the environmental and climate movements.”