Indonesia Leading Research Study

Research Study: National Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Removals on Indonesia’s Forests and Peatlands (2015), Haruni Krisnawati, Rinaldi Imanuddin, Wahyu Catur Adinugroho, Silver Hutabarat, Ministry of Environment and Forestry (Kampus Badan Penelitian, Pengembangan dan Inovasi)

Audience: government decision-makers and the UNFCCC primarily. Also an important primary source for academics, reporters, the public, and stakeholders in Indonesia’s INDC implementation

INCAS and the Importance of their First Publication

The Indonesian National Carbon Accounting System (INCAS) is Indonesia’s system to measure, report on, and verify (MRV) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removals from forests and peatlands. Removals and emissions compose its greenhouse gas inventory. Removals include any effort that “removes” carbon from the atmosphere; often this is in the form of carbon sequestration in sinks. One Indonesian government agency tasked with removals is the Peatland Restoration Agency, which seeks to restore peatlands and recapture carbon released from fires and land use change. INCAS’s first research-based publication in 2015 came before the Paris Agreement to show Indonesia’s ability to provide a detailed account of its greenhouse gas emissions. This is their first and most recent report. INCAS is set to expand into other land use sectors and become operationalized across the entire Ministry of the Environment. This first publication not only displays the most detailed and most accurate account of Indonesia’s GHG emissions in the sectors covered, but it also establishes a MRV system to meet Paris Agreement requirements which covers the bulk of Indonesia’s GHG emissions. A robust MRV system is necessary to provide accurate GHG emission data to the UNFCCC. In our second Climate Scorecard Project post, we identified land use change, especially in peatlands, as the biggest hurdle.

The INCAS study provides the first ever national results of net GHG emissions and removals in each of the key Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) activities and shows the importance of addressing these activities in meeting Indonesia’s pledge. These activities include: deforestation, forest degradation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. It is important to note that the MRV system for peatlands used in this 2015 publication is not Tier 3. Bringing peatland GHG emissions to Tier 3 is a goal of INCAS. Tier 2 systems are below the Paris Agreement standard for a country’s MRV system. The UNFCCC requires accurate measurement of GHG emissions to give countries access to international climate funds. Therefore, Indonesia must develop a Tier 3 MRV system for peatlands to have their data be considered accurate.

This first INCAS publication serves as an important primary source for those wanting to cite Indonesia’s GHG emissions, as a reference for governments and organizations. It provides proof of Indonesia’s ability to accurately represent its pledge implementation, and also lays the groundwork for the expansion of INCAS’s efforts. It is pretty much the basis for what future steps will be taken on Indonesia’s GHG emissions profile and therefore how those actions will affect other national initiatives. The data it provides can be organized in many different ways, it therefore is very useful for the formation of any government policy. The different ways the emissions data can be organized include, for example, by REDD+ activity and province. INCAS’s MRV system is a primary source for emissions data. It is the most accurate and comprehensive system and so therefore the results direct national policy planning. “In addition to supporting Indonesia’s international and domestic emissions reporting requirements, the INCAS provides detailed information to support the development of Indonesia’s REDD+ architecture and broader emissions reductions efforts” (page 3 of study). The different ways in which the data from INCAS’s MRV system can be broken down and used to develop Indonesia’s REDD+ architecture and its reporting is discussed in the Implications of the Publication section below. This study provides a national account of historic emissions. It covers 2001-2012 net GHG emissions.

Contents of the Publication

The key features of the INCAS study include how it will implement each part of MRV, the flexibility and event driven nature of the system, and how INCAS will ensure continuous improvement. The key features section also mentions uncertainties in the MRV system. The methodology section lays out the scope of the measurement system; “GHG emissions and removals are estimated annually for the following gases and sources: CO2 emissions and removals from carbon stock changes, Non-CO2 emissions from surface fire, CO2 and N2O emissions from mineral soil, Biological oxidation of drained peat, peat fire, and direct emissions from drained organic soils” (page 23 of study). The results show how GHG emissions varied between 2001 and 2012. Results can be presented by province, forest type, soil type, forest function, subsequent land use, and relevant GHGs or carbon pools. The results can be organized based on REDD+ activities or by the UNFCCC land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) categories.  Finally, the study provides an improvement plan for the MRV system and INCAS.

Implications of the Publication

INCAS’s MRV system presented in this publication meets Paris Agreement requirements. The government can now report GHG emissions up to the standard of UNFCCC National Communications and for Biennial Update Reports. For government decision-makers and the public, the study provides many useful insights. The data of the study can be broken down by province and source of emission. The ability to breakdown emissions by province allows each province to see which activity is generating the most GHG emissions. This will provide data crucial to the direction of provincial mitigation and adaptation plans (called RAD-GRKs, discussed in the previous Climate Scorecard Project post). Provincial level data also shows where government policies need to be enacted first. The results of the study showed that Kalimantan was a major source of emissions. The government One Map Plan—the plan to harmonize different mapping into one national map—has started its work in that province. The efforts to reduce emissions can be targeted to the guiltiest provinces first. One of the improvements mentioned in the study was accessing better and improving spatial data. The need to have a robust MRV system also helps the development of the One Map plan by bringing in spatial and mapping data from many government actors. As INCAS continues its work, it should seek to bring actors together to improve its own data and One Map. Provincial level data allows the government also to identify “data limitations or gaps and guide further data collection for research purposes” (see page 52 of study).

Breaking down GHG emissions by source allows the government to plan land use. For example, understanding which sources produce the most emissions allows the Indonesian government to identify which lands need to be most urgently protected and which can be used for energy plant concessions in the electrification program (see the Climate Scorecard Post on Indonesia’s energy profile). Further, this breakdown of data by UNFCCC land use category, forest type, forest function, broad soil type, and REDD+ activity will provide a “sound basis for establishing Indonesia’s Forest Reference Emission Level in a way that makes it possible to assess future REDD+ performance” (see page 51 of study).

The input of data into this MRV system is also dynamic and flexible. It can therefore be adapted to changes in emission sources. This gives Indonesia’s emissions reduction efforts more credibility and provides a system that can compare national, provincial, district, and project level data with accurate and detailed data. This system will allow the inclusion of more data sets and further improvements to INCAS’s measurement of peatlands. Because it is the most robust and accurate system for measuring emissions, it is considered the most credible by actors in Indonesia and internationally as well as for the UNFCCC.

Learn More

Link to the study:

The INCAS roadmap lays out the next phases of INCAS from 2015-2018 and beyond, which includes its expansion into agriculture forestry and other land use (AFOLU) activities and how it will be operationalized:

Helpful article on INCAS and some of the problems of INCAS, especially with its measurement of peatlands:

For questions about the study, you can contact INCAS at Ministry of Environment and Forestry:
Jalan Gunung Batu No. 5 Bogor (INCAS Office)
Telephone: 0251 752 0067
Email : |
Website :


Submitted by Indonesia Country Manager Tristan Grupp