Indonesia - Dirty man of Asia deepens addiction to coal

(The Nation, Bangkok, 30 December 2017) Already the world’s fifth-biggest greenhouse gas emitter,  Indonesia is leading Southeast Asia’s boom in coal-fired power. Already one of the world’s biggest carbon polluters because of deforestation, Indonesia has back-pedalled on a pledge to cap coal production. The government initially planned to reduce its coal production to 413 million tonnes this year, from 419 million tonnes in 2016. The figure was expected to fall to 406 million tonnes next year, before hovering at only 400 million from 2019. However, this year’s coal production has already reached 477 million tonnes, far outstripping last year’s 434 million tonnes. The boom is being bankrolled by foreign governments and banks, the Guardian reports. Activist group Market Forces examined 22 deals involving 13.1 gigawatts of coal-fired power in Indonesia and found that 91 per cent of the projects had the backing of foreign governments through export credit agencies or development banks. The majority of the money was coming from Japan and China, with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation involved in five deals and the Export-Import Bank of China involved in seven deals.