Jakarta, September 22, 2021-President of China, Xi Jinping, has created China’s new climate commitment by pledging not to build new coal-fired power stations abroad. He announced the new commitment at his speech at the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday (21/9/2021) [1]. He also said that China would step up financial support in developing their green and low-carbon energy projects for other developing countries.

Several civil society organizations in the #BersihkanIndonesia Movement welcomed President Xi Jinping’s new commitment. However, this commitment needs to be observed critically to ensure how far this commitment will be effective if implemented especially in Indonesia. Xi Jinping’s new commitment is a big step in changing China’s policy as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

“We welcome the announcement from President Xi Jin Ping that China will no longer provide financial support to coal-fired power stations in Indonesia. The investment by China in Indonesia in the coal industry has contributed significantly to Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution and negative impacts on the health of local people. We look forward to the Indonesian government through its central bank and state-owned banks following suit and making similar announcements.” said Sisilia Nurmala Dewi as the Indonesia Team Leader 350.org.

China is playing a part in the number of coal-fired power plants projects in Indonesia. More than 70% of all coal plants built today are reliant on Chinese funding. At least, there are more than 30 coal-fired power plants with a total capacity of more than 10 GW, whether in the funding phase, pre-construction or just entering the early stages of development. In Indonesia’s energy sector, in the period of 2000-2019, China has poured investment funds of 9.6 billion USD. As much as 9.3 billion USD of it is spent only on coal energy power plants.

Andri Prasetiyo, Researcher at Trend Asia, said that the new climate commitments of China are the death knell for the coal energy sector. “China is the most influential party in Indonesia’s coal-fired power plants project. If China wants to take a serious step, China must immediately stop supporting coal-fired power plants projects in Indonesia especially in pre-construction and early stages of development to meet long-term climate goals.”

At the local level, especially in Sumatra, China is also the main support system for the energy industry, both in the mining and power plants sectors. Ali Akbar, as the Chair at the Kanopi Hijau Indonesia and also Consolidator of the Jejaring Sumatera Terang untuk Energi Bersih, emphasizes that it is important to ensure that the promise is realized.

“With this commitment, it will certainly have good implications for the safety of the people’s sources of livelihood. The Koalisi Sumatera Terang untuk Energi Bersih hopes it will be turned into reality in the future, not only being a global slang,” said Ali.

Having the same opinion as Ali, Pius Ginting as the Director of Aksi Ekologi dan Emansipasi Rakyat (AEER) also appreciated the Chinese Government’s new commitment. He added, “The Indonesian government needs to respond by changing the power plant at the National Energy Policy (KEN), the National Energy General Plan (RUEN), and the Electricity Supply Business Plan (RUPTL). Building a power plant is unrealistic by now because there is no longer any state to fund it. The government needs to announce which power plants will be canceled with this Chinese policy so that the empty space will be filled with renewable energy.”

“China’s new climate commitment must be proven by the absence of support financially for the construction of power plants in Indonesia, either directly or through other Chinese financial institutions operating in other countries. Currently, financing from China is the biggest mainstay for the construction of power plants in Indonesia. China’s withdrawal from funding coal-fired power plants shows that this industry has suffered a setback. Therefore, local funding and the government’s partiality with the coal-fired power plant industry must end immediately,” concluded Dwi Sawung, WALHI’s Urban and Energy Campaign Manager.

Editor’s Note:


Media contacts:

  1. Sisilia Nurmala Dewi, Indonesia Team Leader at 350.org
  2. Andri Prasetiyo, Program Manager at Trend Asia
  3. Ali Akbar, Executive Director at Kanopi Hijau Indonesia
  4. Dwi Sawung, Energy and Urban Campaign Manager at WALHI Nasional
  5. Pius Ginting, Executive Director at AEER

Photo by: Pixabay