Spotlight Activity: Indonesia’s Climate Data and Reporting System Is Out-of-Date and Is Not Useful for Policy-Makers
Indonesia releases its forest and land emissions data through INCAS (Indonesia National Carbon Accounting System), an organization managed by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. It provides tables of emissions by year for the country and each of the provinces. Each table is a different forestry/land use source. INCAS is a tier 3 level GHG accounting system, meaning it meets high UNFCCC standards in data measurement, verification, and reporting. Peatlands appear in a lower tier 2 level.
The emissions tables on the INCAS website show emissions from the country and provinces. The data that produced these tables would be more useful to evaluate policies than emissions in each province. It’s impossible to know what caused the change in emissions from each sector laid out in the tables. Was the decrease in forest fire emissions the result of the moratorium on clearing? Or were palm oil planters more successful at monitoring their crops for hotspots? Or did it rain a lot that summer?
The INCAS tables also have not been updated since 2012. Emissions numbers for forestry/peatland/land use is widely available from other sources. Climate Watch provides great visualizations broken down by province for these forms of emissions. Energy emissions data is less granular.
By 2026/2027, WRI projects that energy emissions will surpass land emissions. Energy emission data should be more detailed. The CAIT Climate data explorer from WRI provides emissions data as well, energy is lumped in with emissions from transportation and industry (https://cait.wri.org/indonesia).
Status: Standing Still
Indonesia’s GHG emissions data is lacking in several areas. INCAS is out of date, the last data reported on the website is from 2012. The data provided by INCAS could be more informative so as to meaningfully assess individual government programs and policies. There is no central source for energy data.
The emissions tables from INCAS are useful. However, they are the results of analyses derived from datasets which would be more valuable for evaluating Indonesia’s mitigation efforts. The data presented in INCAS tables are broad strokes of how the country and its provinces are doing. They show also how mitigation policies are performing in different sectors.
The original datasets for deriving the carbon inventory are listed in INCAS Phase 1. Some datasets used to produce this inventory include: land cover class, research plots on forest carbon assessments, soil type, forest utilization, estate crops, and burnt area (see the full list on pages 15-16 of the 2015 INCAS report:
The land cover classes, produced by the MOEF, include primary and secondary forests, primary and secondary mangroves, plantation forests, estate crops (permitted palm or rubber plantations), among others. This land cover data in combination with other datasets such as hotspots, burnt areas, or the boundaries of the peatland/primary forest conversion moratorium would be far more useful than GHG inventory tables to evaluate Indonesia climate change policy.
The INCAS emissions tables do not indicate how well Indonesia is implementing specific mitigation policies; it gives a “sense” for how well the country is doing to reduce emissions. This is not enough to say anything substantive on Indonesia’s individual programs and policies. For example, 40 percent of all tropical deforestation comes from illegal logging.
We can look at a given province’s forest cover, calculate the change in forest cover using satellite imagery in a time period, and compare that to the GHG emissions of that province provided by INCAS. However, this does not explain whether the forest cover change was in primary, old growth forest or if it was legal, or the result of harvesting a palm oil plantations. The availability of data usable for substantive evaluation of Indonesia’s mitigation efforts is lacking. The necessity of data fusion (use of multiple data sets) is exemplified in this study of illegal logging in Kalimantan:
INCAS and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry should release the Phase 1 data used to create the national carbon inventory so researchers, private entities and NGOs can assess mitigation and REDD+ programs.
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