[Press Release] Friends of The Court: Government Must Assess Climate Change Impacts of Celukan Bawang Power Plant Expansion

BALI / JAKARTA, 26 JUNE 2018 – Nine Indonesian and international environmental groups filed an amici curiae brief, or a friends of the court brief, to Denpasar Administrative Court (PTUN), specifically the judges who adjudicate the lawsuit against Celukan Bawang Coal Fired Power Plant expansion, Bali [1]. The project does not comply with the Environmental Protection and Environmental Law No.32 of 2009 and undermine Indonesia’s international climate commitment.


The 18-page brief stated that the expansion of the Celukan Bawang power plant does not include a comprehensive analysis of the climate change impacts in the decision making of issuing Celukan Bawang Power Plant’s environmental permit. In fact, the environmental permit should be based on environmental feasibility decisions and the Environmental Impact Assessment (AMDAL) that analyze comprehensively how the project impacts the environment [2]. This environmental impact should include the impacts of climate change.


“Amici believes that the legal obligations of Indonesia and the provisions in the Environmental Protection and Environmental Law and its derivatives provide sufficient grounds for the Judges to declare the Celukan Bawang Power Plant’s environmental permit null and void due to the lack of consideration for the climate change impacts of the project,” said Margaretha Quina, Head of Environmental Pollution Division of Indonesian Center for Environmental Law.


Indonesia has also ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and subsequent protocols, including Paris Agreement. Indonesia’s international climate commitment is also set forth in the NDC [3] which means that the obligation to mitigate climate change must be done on every development project.


This power plant expansion will burn almost 3 million tons of coal per year. For 30 years of operation, the plant will release more than 200 million tons of CO2 [3]. By taking into account the release of emissions from Indonesia’s 35 GW energy project, of which 60% is from coal, it is likely that this project will hamper the realization of Indonesia’s international commitment to 29% (or 41% with international aid) greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2030.


Sarah Burt from Earthjustice, a global environmental group, adds, the global environmental saving effort done by the international community has succeeded in establishing a good legal precedent. Recently in 2017, a South African court in charge of power plant expansion cases has decided that an environmental impact assessment should include a comprehensive assessment of the impacts of climate change. [4]


“Climate change impact assessment is an essential tool for stabilizing the climate to protect coral reefs, fisheries, and coastal communities in Bali and around the world,” Sarah explains.


“Indonesia will be unable to make good on its international climate commitments without an accurate accounting of how big fossil fuel developments such as the Celukan Bawang power plant expansion contribute to emissions,” adds Sarah.




Editor’s note:

  1. Case No: 2 / G / LH / 2018 / PTUN.DPS regarding the State Administration Lawsuit on Nullification of Bali Governor’s Decree No.660.3 / 3985 / IV-A / DISPMPT About Environmental Permits for the Development of Steam Power Plant (PLTU) Given to  CELUKAN BAWANG COAL FIRED POWER PLANT IN THE VILLAGE LOCATED IN THE GEROKGAK DISTRICT, REGENCY OF BULELENG. The lawsuit was filed by I Ketut Mangku Wijana, Baidi Sufarlan, I Putu Gede Astawa, and Greenpeace Indonesia (Plaintiff) against Bali Provincial Governor (Defendant) and Celukan Bawang Coal Fired Power Plant Company (Defendant II Intervener)
  2. Please see this link: Amici Curiae Brief State Administrative Lawsuit on Cancellation of Bali Governor’s Decree No.660.3 / 3985 / IV-A / DISPMPT for the full amici brief. Nine environmental law institutions that propose this amici curiae brief are: Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL), Research Center for Climate Change University of Indonesia (RCCC UI), Earthjustice, Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW), Client Earth, Center for Environmental Rights, EDOs of Australia, Environmental Justice Australia, The Access Initiative
  3. According to the ANDAL, the addition of a 2 x 330 MW generating unit at Celukan Bawang will burn 2,950,635.60 tons of coal per year during its operational period. Assuming that the Celukan Bawang power plant will operate with an efficiency of 85 percent for 30 years under the operating license of the plant, the Celukan Bawang expansion will result in the burning of at least 75,241,207.8 tons of coal during the plant’s operational period. This will result in the release of over 200 million tons of CO2 over thirty years of factory life.
  4. A precedent of similar lawsuit in another country by including an assessment of the impacts of climate change on emissions-producing projects: Earthlife Africa Johannesburg v Ministry of the Environment and 4 others



Media contacts:

Margaretha Quina, Indonesian Center for Environmental Law +6281287991747

Sarah Burt, Earthjustice, E-mail: sburt@earthjustice.org