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Tackling Coal-Driven Air Pollution in China and India: Lessons learned for Indonesia

As the three most populous countries in Asia, China, India and Indonesia share a lot in common when it comes to projected significant economic growth, and along with it, an increase in the power capacity driven by a booming demand.

This energy demand is met to a large degree by fossil fuel combustion, which is creating increased air pollution in these countries.

Both India and China have undertaken important steps to support renewables and increase their share in the national electricity mix. Subsidies to fossil fuels in India have decreased over the past three years as subsidies to renewables increased significantly, showing a political will to reduce India’s dependency on fossil fuel and shift to renewables. 

In China, under a new policy launched in 2018, the government promised to provide direct policy support to help renewable energy developers achieve “grid price parity” with traditional electricity sources. The grid companies will be encouraged to guarantee electricity purchases from pilot projects and lower transmission fees, as well as support cross-regional deliveries of subsidy-free power. 

There are lessons for Indonesia the can be taken from India and China's experiences. Phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and dedicating savings to energy efficiency and renewable energy sources would result in significant greenhouse gas emission reductions, health gains and a faster implementation of the NDC targets.