FoSS Climate Talk Insight: Can Climate Change Go Hand-in-Hand with Economy?

June 07, 2024

Contributor: Elis Nurhayati* | Editor: Supriyono

UIII, DEPOK - The Faculty of Social Sciences (FoSS) at the Universitas Islam Internasional Indonesia (UIII) hosted a Climate Talk on 6 June 2024, featuring Mr. Aichiro Suryo Prabowo, PhD, a Post-Doctoral Associate at Cornell University, USA, who delivered a lecture on "Climate Change as Policy Agenda: Evidence from Indonesia”.

Held at the university’s Faculty B Teleconference Room, Dr. Prabowo delved into the possible ways to strike the right balance between economic development and climate action in Indonesia. The main inquiry that the talk addressed was: ‘Is it possible to mitigate and adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change while at the same time boosting the economy?’

The presented materials are part of the findings of Dr. Prabowo’s research project in examining the Indonesian government's budget documents over the past two decades, focusing on the funding for environmental programs and the narrative around climate solutions. The study, which is still a work in progress, is aimed to see if this long-debated trade-off is true or just an illusion.

The background of the study was centered on the dilemmatic condition in which policymakers in developing countries like Indonesia often wrestle with a perceived conflict between reducing poverty and addressing climate change, or what the Economist described as “the choice between a poorer today and a hotter tomorrow”.

The significance of the study lies in the fact that it empirically investigates whether such a dilemma exists or not by employing a qualitative methodological approach with textual analysis of the Indonesian central government’s budget documents in two presidencies, namely Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Joko Widodo. 

Dr. Prabowo divided the inquiries into two domains. Firstly, he examined yearly allocations for environmental programs within the national budget. His analysis seeks to find intertemporal spending patterns and identify whether expenditures addressing environmental issues are adjusted across different presidencies. Secondly, he focused on the narrative portions of the budget documents. By employing computational text analysis, this iteration aims to evaluate the extent to which national programs are oriented toward climate solutions, and how they stack up against competing economic agenda. 

"My research reveals that the government is still entrenched in an outdated mindset, separating the economy from the environment," Dr. Prabowo stated. "As a result, the current programs prioritize short-term economic growth over long-term sustainable solutions to climate change."

Dr. Prabowo also pointed out that government budget documents frequently emphasize economic growth while overlooking the potential unfavorable impacts of climate change. "This narrative can mislead both the public and policymakers," he explained. "We need to shift this narrative and start focusing on the sustainable and climate-resilient development." 

Dr. Prabowo suggested the government increase funding for environmental and climate change adaptation programs, advocating for the creation of sustainable and climate-resilient initiatives that integrate economic and environmental concerns. He also stressed the need to revise the budget document narratives to highlight the importance of sustainable and climate-resilient development, ensuring that policies provide long-term benefits for both the environment and society.

The issue discussed by Dr. Aichiro Suryo Prabowo has high urgency and requires comprehensive solutions. As an initiative to contribute to solving the issue, the Faculty of Social Sciences has opened a Master of Public Policy Program with a focus on Climate Change since 2023. With the spirit of providing international education, UIII is committed to contributing to solving global issues through education.


*) Elis Nurhayati, Student of Master of Public Policy specializing in Climate Change at UIII