Michael Taylor –
Deadly floods across parts of Indonesia are a stark reminder of the climate change risks facing the Southeast Asian nation, environmentalists said on Monday, urging the government to be more ambitious in its efforts to cut planet-heating emissions.
South Kalimantan on Borneo island declared a state of emergency last week, after heavy rainfall and flooding since the start of the year displaced tens of thousands of people. Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited the worst-hit areas on Monday.
Yuyun Harmono, climate justice campaign manager at the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI), said the floods are “an indication that the government should have more ambition in their climate policies”.
The archipelago is already suffering the impacts of rising global temperatures, with its cities and coastal areas hit by regular flooding and rising sea levels.
“Indonesia is one of the countries that is very vulnerable to the climate crisis,” said Adila Isfandiari, climate and energy researcher at Greenpeace Indonesia.
“It is rooted in the position of the government that prioritises economic growth over the environment,” she said. Under the 2015 Paris Agreement to curb global warming, Indonesia —among the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters — committed to cut its emissions by 29 per cent by 2030 versus business-as-usual levels, a target it said could rise to 41 per cent with international support.
Earlier this month, a climate official at Indonesia’s environment and forestry ministry told Antara news agency the country would not increase its emissions reduction goals further in an updated climate action plan due to be submitted ahead of a UN climate summit in November, as nations are expected to do.
— Thomson Reuters Foundation