Despite the grave threat of climate change and the repeated calls of the Bersihkan Indonesia (Clean Indonesia) Coalition, neither presidential candidate even mentioned climate change during this week’s environmental debate. We need urgent action to transition Indonesia towards 100% renewable energy and our movement will continue to grow and put pressure on political candidates to respond to the threat.

Indonesian Clean Coalition conducted a theatrical action “We Want the Future, We Want Clean Energy” in Central Jakarta in time for the presidential hopefuls public debate that tackles energy, environment, infrastructure, food, and natural resources. Photo © Kompas.com/Gary Lotulung

Bersihkan Indonesia initiated an online action meant to fact-check statements during the second public face-off of Indonesia’s presidential hopefuls. Around 50 activists, campaigners, volunteers, influencers, researchers, and content creators, all digitally savvy, participated in the 4-hour event.

The election debate was focused on infrastructure, energy and food security, environment and natural resources.

In sum, energy issues were not discussed in a way we all hoped to see. It lacked any elaboration on concrete measures to take regarding clean energy programs, energy transition commitments, phasing out fossil fuels, and nothing about climate change.

Not one presidential candidate touched on how Indonesia will implement the Paris Agreement, the nationally determined contributions (NDC), and how they plan to protect the impacted communities from the climate crisis.

Both Prabowo Subianto and Joko Widodo stated their mission concerning energy at the start of the debate. Jokowi stated the need to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and then promoted biodiesel as a solution but failed to mention wind and solar power.

Prabowo emphasized the need for the country to be energy independent, and then argued that Indonesia is at risk of becoming a 100% oil importer.

The questions that were chosen for the energy and food security segment of the debate only tackled food production and pricing. This could have been an opportunity to touch on anything concerning a just energy transition in the country.

Activists stormed candidates’ campaign camps asking them to become superheroes by starting the country’s transition to 100% renewable energy. They wore superhero costumes, including Naruto, Spiderman, and Gatotkaca, a local hero. Photo © Detik.com

In the following segment, both candidates had the space to ask questions to each other, but none of them seized the opportunity to talk about climate change, energy transition or clean energy future.

There were several opportunities where they could have talked more about renewable energy like the topic on technology-based entrepreneurship to support the rise of Indonesian “unicorns” – they got distracted due to Prabowo’s unfamiliarity with the tech jargon, and went ahead without discussing the main topic when it could have been spent laying down their thoughts on clean energy, green jobs, and innovation.

We need to keep working together to push for rapid transition to renewable energy in Indonesia, and demand the candidates to show real and solid commitments, with a clear agenda on how they will push forward the transition.

You, too, can help advance a future that is fossil-free starting by adding your voice here.

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