Jakarta, October 15th 2022-Yesterday (14/10), the Indonesian public scored a monumental victory in its fight against environmental damage and climate change. The Regional State Administrative Court of Bandung revoked the Environmental Permit of the Tanjung Jati A plant, a planned coal power plant that has been under fire by Indonesian civil society organizations.

Since June, The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) has officially appealed against the environmental permit granted by the regional government for the planned power plant. Walhi argued that the permit was invalid, as they failed to include a study on the emission’s impact on the climate as required by existing regulations. 

Yesterday, the Panel of Judges stated that they granted the plaintiff’s claim in full and ruled that the environmental permit for the construction of Tanjung Jati A power plant and its supporting facilities in Pengarengan Village, Pangenan District, Cirebon Regency by the Tanjung Jati Power Company dated 28 October 2016 is officially canceled. This is an important moment as this is the first time in Indonesia that climate change was cited as the jurisdictional reason for a legal decision that was won by environmentalists.

“This revocation is a big moment for us. For the first time, climate change was actually cited as the jurisdictional reason of a legal decision that the Indonesian people actually won,” said Andri Prasetiyo, a campaigner from Trend Asia. 

“We hope that this will be a step in the right direction. This is just the beginning. Even though the government has stated its commitments to stop new coal plants and put more into early retirement, there are still many new plants planned to be built.[1] We need to push the government to stick to their commitments in stopping climate change,” he added.

Indonesia is a participant of the 2015 Paris Agreement, and is currently struggling to achieve its targeted renewable energy ratio of 25% by 2025. Yet with the G20 convention looming, the government chose to champion questionable strategies, including co-firing biomass in coal plants. Under Jokowi, new coal power plants flooded the critically oversupplied Java-Bali network and the early retirement process of coal plants has been slow.

In spite of the government’s claim that no new coal plant will be built, the construction of previously planned plants which have passed the licensing process will still get the greenlight. Even though the licensing process of these plants, including the Java 9 & 10 plants, the Jambi 1 & 2 plants, and the aforementioned Tanjung Jati A plant, were problematic.

“Coal plant operation is one of the biggest contributors to the release of greenhouse gas emissions, but the government and business actors often refused to acknowledge it in the environmental licensing process,” said Muit Pelu, a legal counsel from the Climate Justice Advocacy Team.

Weak government regulation has put Indonesia’s commitment in fighting climate change into question, even though Indonesia itself will be one of the worst recipients of the impacts of climate change. But this victory just gave Indonesian environmentalists a cause for optimism.

[1] https://trendasia.org/gerakan-bersihkanindonesia-gugat-klaim-hijau-ruptl-2021-2030/ 


Photo: A farmer working close to Cirebon Coal Power Plant (CPP), a coal plant close to the planned site of Tanjung Jati A, on Monday (29/8/2022). By: Cyva Ardian/Trend Asia