An article by Jakarta Globe.

Nearing the end of his term in office, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono continues to attempt to portray the country and himself as a global green champion. He reiterated Indonesia’s commitment to efforts to cut carbon emissions and to take over the leadership of an international environmental body.

Yudhoyono, during his speech at the UN Climate Summit 2014 in New York last week, said Indonesia stayed committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by 2040, and even by 41 percent with international assistance.

Indonesia has taken several “strategic measures” to achieve those targets, the outgoing President said. These measures include the implementation of a moratorium on new licenses prohibiting the clearing of primary forests and peat land, which will be in place until the end of the year.

Indonesia also has established the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) Management Agency, tasked with improving the country’s forest governance, he added.

“I am pleased to mention that with close cooperation with the government of Norway, we can deliver both the emission reduction and increase welfare for the local people in our forest and peat land areas,” Yudhoyono said, referring to Norway’s pledge of US$1 billion worth of aid for Indonesia to help protect the country’s forests.

The pledge was announced in 2010, although Indonesian environmental officials have complained about the complexity of the fund disbursements. Most of the funds will only be channeled through reimbursement mechanisms.

Yudhoyono said beyond the protection of forests, of which destruction has been a major contributor to Indonesia’s greenhouse gases, the country was “exploring” the potential of its “blue carbon” ecosystems as a carbon sink.

Blue carbon is a phrase coined to refer to the important role of certain coastal habitats — such as mangrove forests, saltwater marshes and seagrass meadows — in naturally storing greenhouse gases and helping to mitigate climate change.

“This [blue carbon] could support the global effort to maintain the temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius,” Yudhoyono said.

He added that Indonesia is ready to strengthen bilateral and regional cooperation to support and contribute to global greenhouse gas emission cuts.

“I believe that we need to re-double our efforts to conclude a new legally binding agreement for the post 2020 climate change framework. We must exert our utmost efforts to produce a new climate change agreement in Paris next year,” Yudhoyono said.

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