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Indonesia

Three children persevere through haze in Dumai, Sumatra, after a series of forest fires and hotspots sent air quality to dangerous levels in June. (Reuters Photo)

A remarkable study published last week in the highly regarded scientific journal Nature detailed a new method for predicting specific dates for the onset of climate change for any location on the planet.

The study (hereafter known as the “Mora study” after first author Dr. Camilo Mora) has made waves around the world since for the first time it puts specific dates on “climate departure” for cities and regions. The implications of the study for Indonesia are immediately apparent.

The startling findings indicate that permanent alteration of climate is just around the corner for the expansive archipelago; the study pegs 2029 as the year for radical climate departure for Jakarta, and as early as 2020 for Manokwari in Papua, whereas the global average is 2047.

What this means is that the random, stochastic events, like increased flooding and extended drought conditions that now wreak havoc from time to time on the Indonesian landscape, economy and people, will become the new normal.

In other words, we will soon move from conditions of periodic perturbation to permanent and irreversible change. The study accounts for only one indicator, however — rising temperature — and acknowledges that additional social and economic factors could result in further unexpected pressures.

We see this startling new study not only as a call for greater urgency in preparing for climate change in Indonesia, but also as an opportunity for the country to move forward in providing global leadership in addressing these challenges.

Read more: Indonesia in 2028: Permanent and Irreversible Climate Change

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Indonesian military personnel fighting a large peat fire near the city of Palangkaraya in the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan on Borneo. (October 14, 2015, David Gaveau, Center for International Forestry Research)

For many people, the term El Niño foretells a cyclical weather pattern that brings increased rainfall and more intense storms. But not every place on Earth responds to El Niño with wetter conditions. In some locations, like Indonesia, the change in ocean temperatures and atmospheric patterns brought about by El Niño has the opposite effect—shifting thunderstorms eastward and causing extremely dry conditions. In 2015, this "drying out" effect triggered one of the most severe fire seasons on record in Indonesia.

Read more: El Niño a key player in severe Indonesia fires

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Against global warming — School students and environmental activists stage a peaceful rally to protest land clearing using the slash-and-burn method, which has lead to land and forest fires in Riau.(Tempo/-)

Japan and Indonesia have agreed to team up on 28 projects under the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM), a bilateral carbon offset credit program signed in 2013 between the two governments, a senior official has said.

Read more: Japan, Indonesia team up on 28 projects to reduce CO2 emissions

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