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Net vs Zero Emission in the Development Plan

Hi, everyone!

Indri here from THINK-Research Team ^^

On my previous blog (, I wrote about our last workshop conducted a few days before the COP26 event. More than one week from that event, many news and articles talk about the results and other things related to that event.

I want to discuss what I found most in Indonesian news and articles. That is a ‘net emission development plan without removing deforestation activities’. The simple words are ‘net sink is not a zero deforestation’. Many discussions are talking about these terms. Some of my friends discussed the difference between net and zero-emission. Before I continue this blog, what do you think about those terms?

Some terms are relevant to those two terms. I will add after writing about these two terms. Net emission can be achieved when the total emissions (produced and omitted) will be net. For example, in one project, the emissions produced are 10 tonnes of CO2 (e.g. from materials, deforestation, etc.). The emissions omitted (e.g. from waste management, renewable energy, etc.) are also 10 tonnes of CO2. So, the total emissions will be net emissions. How about zero emissions? Zero-emission means in all processes, there is no emission (0 CO2) produced.

The next term, what is negative emission. Negative emissions happen when emissions reduced or removed are higher than emissions produced. There are some technologies and practices that can be negative emission solutions ( If you read about carbon dioxide removal (CDR), carbon sequestration, carbon sink, and carbon storage, you will know about the differences of each negative emission solution. CDR can be divided into three main groups: technological, biological, and geochemical processes.

Based on the latest IPCC report in 2021, net-zero CO2 emissions will be the climate change target that requires strong, rapid, and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Besides, limiting other greenhouse gases and air pollutants, especially methane, can positively impact health and the environment. This net-zero term was also discussed in the 2018 IPCC report. Net emissions must be reduced to zero to stabilize global temperatures. The report also states that any scenario that does not involve a reduction to zero cannot stop climate change issues. Many countries have ratified this objective under the Paris Agreement.

Since the amount of CO₂, methane and other greenhouse gases produced in the Earth, emissions of those gases must be reduced until the whole system is back in balance again. Based on, net-zero emission means that all man-made greenhouse gas emissions must be removed from the atmosphere through reduction measures, thus reducing the Earth’s net climate balance to zero after removal via the natural and artificial sink.

(Source: Kompasiana)

Back to the discussion of the COP26 results, one of the Indonesian key stakeholders in climate change stated that through the FoLU Net Carbon Sink agenda, Indonesia affirms its commitment to control emissions from the forestry sector and land use so that carbon neutrality occurs in the forestry sector (including related to deforestation) by 2030. In addition, it was stated that stopping development because of the zero-deforestation target will go against the mandate of the 1945 Constitution for values and goals establishment, building national goals for the social and economic welfare of the people.

Moreover, all parties were invited to be careful in understanding deforestation and not to compare it with the deforestation terminology of other countries since there are issues of way of life and lifestyle. For example, the definition of a residential house in Indonesia will be different from a residential house in Europe, Africa and others.

My question is, what do you think about this discussion (deforestation can be done as long as net emission can be achieved)?

Thank you for reading :)

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