Concerns mount over plan to hold upcoming regional elections in December

first_imgElections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) head Abhan said the KPU should consider Terawan’s opinion and consult with the ministry, especially since data showed that 55 percent of COVID-19 patients who have died lived in regions that will participate in the elections.Read also: Tanah Abang Market packed with traders ahead of Idul Fitri despite virus fearsExperts and analysts have suggested a further delay to the elections, arguing that the government should now remain focused on addressing the pandemic, which has taken its toll on thousands of people’s lives and the economy in the country.Constitutional law expert Feri Amsari of Andalas University in West Sumatra asserted that amid the current conditions, the more important thing was to consider public health, not merely political calculations.He went on to say that Indonesia should not follow in the footsteps of South Korea, which recently held its election on April 15 amid the pandemic, since the East Asian country had prepared for the polling day for a long time.”Indonesia has just issued the Perppu, so we have limited time [until December]. If it is forced, it would be a heavy burden on the KPU,” Feri said.Critics have also said that voting in December meant allowing incumbent candidates to benefit from the coronavirus crisis response as they could use it as an opportunity to boost their popularity among voters.There have been some cases of COVID-19 aid used for political purposes. In Central Java, for instance, Klaten Regent Sri Mulyani — who is seeking a second term in office — recently faced criticism for putting her image on bottles of hand sanitizer in aid packages sponsored by the Social Affairs Ministry.The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician denied that it was her team who put her image there, saying that the stickers might have been placed on the bottles by people who wanted to tarnish her image.Mochammad Afiffudin of Bawaslu told The Jakarta Post recently that similar cases had also occurred in North Toraja and East Lampung.”In East Lampung, the houses of the Family Hope Program [PKH] beneficiaries were affixed with stickers with the regent’s photo, who happens to be seeking reelection,” he said.Saiful Mujani Research & Consulting (SMRC) chief researcher Djayadi Hanan said on Sunday that pushing back voting in the regional elections to sometime next year would prevent incumbent candidates from exploiting the coronavirus crisis for their political campaigns.Read also: COVID-19 kills elderly, haunts the young in IndonesiaBy that time, the incumbent regional heads could no longer appear as leaders during the crisis, he said, given that the tenures of most regional leaders would end in February 2021.“If the non-incumbent candidates, for example, now go to the people and beg for their blessing, what would the people say? They are busy taking care of their lives,” he said in a virtual discussion on Sunday.Concurring with Djayadi, Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) director Titi Anggraini also did not recommend voting in December, saying that it was too risky and could affect the quality of the election stages.”If we don’t consider it seriously, it may undermine the public faith in our democracy,” she said.House Commission II overseeing home affairs chairman Ahmad Doli Kurnia said the legislative body would soon hold a hearing with the home minister and the KPU in response to the concerns.The Golkar Party politician pointed out that the Perppu itself had stipulated an option for the election day in view of the pandemic.“Because it’s urgent, we have decided to hold a meeting amid the recess period,” he said.The House is set to discuss the Perppu in the next sitting period, which will begin on June 12.Topics : The government’s plan to reschedule polling day for this year’s simultaneous regional elections to December has sparked concerns over the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the possibility of incumbent candidates using their coronavirus response to their own advantage.Home Minister Tito Karnavian and the House of Representatives agreed last month to push back the regional elections to Dec. 9 from September because of the health crisis.The central government subsequently issued Regulation in Lieu of Law (Perppu) No. 2/2020, now pending House approval, as a legal basis for delaying the elections, which will be held simultaneously in the country’s 270 regions. The regulation stipulates two postponement scenarios. First is to hold the voting on Dec. 9 and the second is to further delay the poll if the pandemic is still not over by then.Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto suggested that polling day should be held after the World Health Organization (WHO) lowers the pandemic status, saying that as long as the pandemic is not over, the situation would remain unpredictable.”After the WHO announced it, we can continue the stages of the 2020 regional elections,” Terawan said on Sunday in a virtual meeting with the General Elections Commission (KPU).The KPU has issued a regulation as a follow up to the Perppu, stipulating two scenarios with the election stages to begin either on June 6 or June 15.last_img read more

Energy Efficiency and Economic Benefits Emphasized in DEP’s 2015 Climate Change Action Plan Update

first_img Efficiency,  Energy,  Government Reform,  Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today accepted the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) 2015 Climate Change Action Plan Update that details how increasing energy efficiency in all sectors and at all levels will play a key role in reducing Pennsylvania’s greenhouse gas emissions by target year 2030.The Pennsylvania Climate Change Act of 2008 mandated the Climate Change Action Plan in 2009 as well as updates every three years. The 2015 update presents data from the EPA State Inventory Tool for 2000 through 2012 (the most recent data available), showing an overall decrease of 15.93 percent in net emissions, reflecting a shift by some power plants from coal to natural gas, as well as the success of Pennsylvania’s energy efficiency programs. Overall, Pennsylvania’s total greenhouse emissions are projected to be lower in 2030 than in 2000, with reductions in the residential, commercial, transportation, agriculture and waste sectors.“Addressing climate change and the real impact on the health of our citizens, the costs of our businesses and the environment must be a priority for not just the commonwealth, but all sectors,” Governor Wolf said.The update presents 13 work plans to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. An economic analysis of the work plans included in the Plan shows that the majority have the potential to generate not only greenhouse gas emissions reductions but also significant improvements in total employment, total income and real disposable personal income.With Pennsylvania being the third largest emitter of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the country, additional reductions are needed. Pennsylvania will be 3°C (5.4°F) warmer by 2050 than it was in 2000, according to the 2015 Climate Impacts Assessment Report by the Penn State University Environment and Natural Resources Institute. The result will be dangerously high summer temperatures and more severe storms, increased threat of certain insect-borne diseases, and drastic changes to agriculture and water quality.“The consequences of inaction on climate change will be felt by all Pennsylvanians,” said DEP Acting Secretary McDonnell, “It will affect the food we grow, the energy we use, our recreation, and even our health.”The majority of work plans in the 2015 Climate Change Action Plan Update focus on energy efficiency measures. The greatest emissions reductions would be achieved by holding new buildings to an emissions performance standard 60 percent lower than the regional average. Sizable emissions reduction would also be attained by continuing Act 129 of 2008, which requires utilities to come up with plans to encourage energy efficiency among their customers, through 2031.Other work plans address coal mine methane recovery, the latest building energy codes, heating oil conservation and fuel switching, combined heat and power systems, ground source heat pumps, energy technical assistance for manufacturers, tree-planting programs, energy efficiency financing for homeowners, semi-truck adaptations, and anaerobic manure digesters.The plans were created in partnership with the Climate Change Advisory Committee, whose members include the secretaries of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Department of Community and Economic Development; the chair of the Public Utilities Commission; and Governor’s Office and legislative appointees. All plans were voted on, with most approved unanimously.The Center for Climate Strategies conducted macroeconomic analyses to determine the potential costs, benefits, and job impacts of the work plans. In addition to environmental benefits, the analysis shows economic benefits, including increased jobs.Highlighting the important role that all Pennsylvanians play in helping to lower emissions, the update includes 25 actions individuals can take, including lowering their energy use, finding energy efficiency financing, reducing food waste, and planting trees to absorb carbon.# # #Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Energy Efficiency and Economic Benefits Emphasized in DEP’s 2015 Climate Change Action Plan Update August 22, 2016center_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more