On November 13 and 14, 2022, The Business 20 (B20) Summit will return for its thirteenth edition. Organized by the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce or KADIN in Bali, the two-day event will host numerous esteemed speakers, from Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk to Tony Blair and Justin Trudeau. Meanwhile, as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, the Oscar-winning actress Anne Hathaway is also set to deliver a special message on women in the economy.

Dubbed as the official G20 dialogue forum with the global business community, the B20 is tasked with formulating policy recommendations on designated issues, which will then be delivered to the G20 Presidency at the summit. The G20 itself is set to be held from the 15th to 16th of November, directly after the B20, and will mark the first time that Indonesia chairs the summit.

For this year’s B20, the climate crisis is reasonably featured in its roster, with three key climate-related activities scheduled to take place: a keynote address on carbon markets as an alternative source of finance, a policy recommendation presentation by B20 Task Force on energy, sustainability, and climate as well as a panel discussion on sustainable finance for infrastructure, climate, and energy security. 

A sideline event titled Indonesia Net Zero Summit, which delves deep into industrial decarbonization from Indonesian and international companies across industries is also part of the summit’s sideline events. The event is organized by KADIN Net Zero Hub, the entity’s offshoot that actively builds dialogues between regulators and businesses to implement net zero practices.

Although these initiatives are to be applauded, what truly counts at these precarious times is a real, tangible action plan from the government and big businesses, especially given Indonesia’s ambitious plan to cut its carbon emissions by up to 41%, with international help, by 2030. 

As of 2021, however, Indonesia’s carbon emissions stood at 619.28 million tones, an increase from the preceding year’s 609.79 million tones and despite a cut of over 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the country’s energy plants, largely contributed by land-use change and fossil fuel extraction. 

Furthermore, despite Indonesia’s official statement on its climate targets and strategy, Climate Action Tracker regards the country’s current climate policies and action as “highly insufficient”, specifically pointing out the plans to downstream its coal industry, which goes against the coal phase-out scheme, one of the most critical tools for Indonesia’s decarbonization. 

Climate Action Tracker also notes that renewables development in Indonesia has been slow, with renewables only accounting for just 11% of added power capacity in the country between 2019 and 2020. Utilization of renewable energy, such as solar power and hydropower, also remains very low.

Thus far, Indonesia is simply exploring scenarios that could lead to net zero by 2060 or sooner, based on the long-term strategy submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2021. Accordingly, an event like the B20, and therefore the G20, is an ample opportunity to properly lay out better commitment and clearer action plan to phase out coal and deforestation.

At this point, phasing out coal mining and deforestation is the absolute bare minimum that the Indonesian government and big businesses must adhere to in order to comparatively meet the country’s carbon targets as per the designated time frame. In its absence, the business-as-usual paradigm would persist, just with slight, albeit greenwashed, tweaks. 

As the world’s eighth largest greenhouse gas emitter, Indonesia has a massive responsibility to tackle the climate crisis and do so in a systemic and consistent manner without compromise, as the future of the country and all of its habitants, humans and non-humans alike, is highly dependent upon the decisions and actions taken by its leaders as well as economic movers and shakers. 

Even if the economy is the only thing that matters for government and big businesses, the ongoing climate crisis is a pertinent reminder that if they continue to go on at this rate of extraction and exploitation, there will be no economy on a dead planet at the end of the day.