President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised in 2009 to the world to reduce Indonesian GHG emissions by 26 percent (by working alone) and 41 percent (with international assistance) by the year 2020. This was followed by a letter of intent between the Indonesian government and the Norwegian government in the Framework of REDD+ on May 26, 2010.And one year later on May 20, 2011 Presidential Instruction No. 10/2011, known as the forest and peatland moratorium, was issued. The presidential instruction was later extended in 2013 and again in 2015.
Regardless of the controversy, the Indonesian oil palm industry presents two solution combinations to reduce Indonesian GHG emissions. The first solution is through a mandatory policy of reducing the use of diesel fuel by replacing it with oil palm biodiesel. Replacement of diesel fuel with biodiesel reduces diesel engine emissions by 62 percent (European Commission. JRC, 2012). If this policy was fully realized, it could reduce emissions by 10.3 million tons of CO2 (2015) and 24.6 million tons of CO2 (2020). The second solution is through carbon dioxide absorption by oil palm plantations. Oil palm plantations absorb 64.5 tons of CO2 per hectare net so that the existing plantations can absorb about 691 million tons of carbon dioxide.
Experience of biodiesel implementation in Indonesia in the 2014-2016 period (Figure) shows that there is a saving in the use of fossil diesel fuel accumulatively of 4.9 million tons, thereby reducing CO2 emissions by 12 million tons of CO2.
Therefore, the Indonesian palm oil industry is part of the solution of its GHG emissions-reduction program. The bigger the volume of diesel oil replaced by palm oil biodiesel, the greater the reduction of GHG emissions. Likewise, the more oil palm plantations, the higher amount of carbon dioxide will be able to be absorbed.
The Indonesian experience needs to be introduced to other countries. The government should bring its Global Emission Reduction proposal with the Mandatory Oil Palm Biofuel to international forums, including in the United States and the European Union. Indonesia should stop begging for environmental funding.
Advanced countries, currently the largest GHG producers, have to be brave enough to change their consumption of fossil fuel to biofuel from, among other sources, palm oil. They have so far made no significant contribution to the efforts toward global emissions reduction, but rather they have shifted the blame by looking for weaknesses in palm oil producers using upside down logic.