Spread out across the equator in Southeast Asia, the Republic of Indonesia is a nation of more than 17,500 islands and 240 million people. Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, is the 10th-largest city in the world.
Even under normal conditions, Jakarta regularly experiences crippling floods from both the rivers and the sea. In 2007, nearly one-fifth of the city was flooded. That existing problem — along with the fact that nearly half of Indonesia sits below sea level — makes Jakarta one of the most vulnerable cities in the world to climate change. Without flood protection measures, sea level rise could expose up to 6 million Indonesians to annual coastal flooding. The worst of the flooding would occur on the island of Java, where Jakarta is located, along with the island of Sumatra.
Indonesia’s food supply is also threatened by climate change. Erratic rainfall, rising temperatures and storm damage will likely reduce yields of rice, Indonesia’s staple crop. And climate change is bad news for the coastline and waters around Indonesia — currently home to some of the richest biodiversity on Earth.
Presented by Charles Wiriawan
Charles Wiriawan grew up in West Java in the shadow of the tallest passive volcano in the province, Mount Ciremai. During the late 1990s he moved to Beijing, and saw the effects of a far more polluted environment. Charles returned to Jakarta in 2006 and resolved to help protect the environment and educate communities about climate change. He believes that it is economically viable and socially responsible to focus on sustainable development, and that this is the best way for Indonesia to retain its natural beauty.
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