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Climate Change Could Lead to the Disappearance of 1,500 Indonesian Islands

Published on 17 March 2014 Indonesia

Rising seas could swallow as many as 1,500 of Indonesia’s islands by 2050, according to a report from the Maplecroft Climate Change Vulnerability Index. It stated that Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport could be underwater as soon as 2030 if the current rate of global warming persists.

“This archipelago’s biggest threat is rising sea levels, where 42 million people living 3 kilometers from the coast are vulnerable if estimated sea level rise reaches up to 90 centimeters by the end of the century,” Ancha Srinivasan, the principal climate change specialist with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), told The Straits Times.

Srinivasan is one of a growing number of scientists, politicians and public figures around the world who are trying to draw attention the adverse effects of climate change on the environment. Both U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary David King gave speeches in Jakarta recently in a bid to raise awareness. Indonesia, with the world’s second longest coastline, is considered the most vulnerable country in Southeast Asia.

“High poverty and population density levels, along with the concentration of economic assets in areas exposed to extreme events associated with climate change, exacerbate risks in Indonesia,” said the official report.

It added that rainy season floods have increased in intensity due to warmer temperatures that create more moisture in the air. Changing pH levels are also driving fish further out to sea.

According to the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia already lost 24 small islands between 2005 and 2007.

Source: The Diplomat | 27 February 2014