Global Strategic Challenges: Climate Change

Global Strategic Challenges: Climate Change

By: Prabowo Subianto [excerpted from “Strategic Transformation of the Nation: Towards Golden Indonesia 2045”, pages 41-43, 4th softcover edition]

According to predictions by many experts, including those from the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), Indonesia has only 13 years from 2023 to escape the middle-income trap.

Over the next 13 years, Indonesia’s economy must grow rapidly at rates above 6%—a formidable challenge given that it far exceeds the global average economic growth rate of just 2%. Moreover, we do not live in isolation, and the world is currently facing multiple crises.

In October 2023, President Joko Widodo stated, “The challenges ahead are not getting lighter but heavier. The world is not in a good state. There are wars, climate change, and food crises.”

Climate Change

September 2023 was the hottest September on record in the history of the Earth. This rise in global temperatures is a result of increased human activity since the industrial revolution in the 1760s, which involved burning fossil fuels and increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

In 2015, 195 countries including Indonesia signed the Paris Agreement, committing to limit the global temperature increase to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This can be achieved by transitioning from fossil fuels to new and renewable energy sources.

Therefore, under President Joko Widodo’s leadership, Indonesia has pledged to halt the construction of new coal-fired power plants, attempt early retirement of older plants, provide incentives for electric vehicles, and develop power generation from renewable sources such as solar (Solar Power Plants), geothermal, and hydro (Hydroelectric Power Plants).

In 2023, Indonesia also launched a carbon trading market to facilitate and accelerate economic incentives for preventing deforestation and reforestation projects.

However, global efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions are not yet optimal. This year, the average global temperature has already reached 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The impacts of this temperature rise are felt not just abroad but also here in Indonesia.

Climate change has led to droughts and extreme rainfall that reduce food production, increase food insecurity, raise food prices, and threaten lives.

Rising sea levels also endanger the lives of Indonesians living on small islands and coastal areas. Parts of Jakarta are even predicted to sink within the next 20-30 years if no action is taken.

This means that we must soon develop extra capabilities to adapt to climate change. For instance, our farmers must have access to new, more drought-resistant seeds. The homes of our fishermen on the coast must be stronger to withstand increasingly high storm surges.

This is no small challenge as it will require significant financial resources and a high capacity for adaptation.