Jakarta: The government’s commitment to implement the policy to limit coal production to 400 million tons by 2019 is doubtful. Limiting coal production is the mandate of the 2015-2019 National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN) and the National Energy General Plan (RUEN).

“Do not let the National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN) and the National Energy General Plan (RUEN) become just documents, but far from implementing and limiting coal to be just a dream,”

Said Merah Johansyah Ismail, Coordinator of the National Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM), last weekend.

The doubts about the government’s commitment following a letter from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) to the Ministry of National Development Planning (Bappenas) regarding data states that the production plan in 2017 will reach 477.91 million tons or 64.9 million tons, higher than the National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN) data for 2017, which is 413 million tons.

According to Merah, strategic steps in addition to the production limitation policy have also been stipulated in the RUEN, namely a moratorium on the granting of Mining License (IUP) and Special Mining License (IUPK) for coal in primary natural forests and peatlands located in conservation forests, protected forests, production forest, and other use areas.

“The moratorium is essential to prevent further damage to mining in protected areas,” he said.

At least 26 action plans regarding coal from Presidential Regulation (Perpres) No 22/2017 concerning the National Energy General Plan (RUEN) must be implemented with different target dates.

“Unfortunately, there are no strict rules regarding sanctions or incentive mechanisms if there are violations by companies and provinces that violate this,” said Merah.

He added that apart from all these regulations’ violations, the government should be demanded even more radically to reduce the national coal production rate. Everything must be double-checked by considering the carrying capacity and carrying capacity of the Indonesian archipelago’s environment and ecosystem. Moreover, currently, 44% of Indonesia’s land and waters are mining plots, 10% are coal mining plots, which overlap with 4.4 million hectares of productive agricultural land.

“The obligation to reduce national coal production does not exist in a vacuum; there are backgrounds that influence it,” said Merah.

According to Merah, the Indonesian government has committed to reducing the rate of heat in the earth’s temperature due to climate change below two degrees through the climate change agreement in Paris and Morocco.

“Do not forget that the signature of a commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 29% Business as Usual and 41% if there is assistance from international cooperation, will also be contributed by the coal sector. It is time for the government to carry out a moratorium on new coal mining permits, “said Merah.

Agung Budiono, Coal Governance Researcher, Publish What You Pay Indonesia, said that although the current production trend is decreasing, the driving factor for the decline is not due to restrictive policies but rather a factor of falling prices.

“The proof is that in 2017 the government revised the target to be very high. Therefore, the government should have developed a particular strategy on how to regulate Coal Mining Concession Work Agreement (PKP2B) and Mining License in the Province to comply with restrictions, “said Agung.

He added that the main obstacle must have occurred in the Province. It was a challenge for the government over its policies.

At least two critical things must be encouraged to implement the policy of limiting coal production. First, there is a need to be serious in making a paradigm shift in energy management, namely no longer depending on the massive use of fossil energy such as coal.

According to Agung, the government must start thinking about coal as one of the pillars of state revenue because as long as the government still thinks coal and extractive resources are the cornerstones of revenue and fiscal, it will be challenging for us to get out of dependence on fossil energy.

“Second, strong political will in carrying out policies. If the political will is strong, there should be no room for compromise from other interest groups”, said Agung. (ES)