National

Jakarta ‘most at risk’
of climate change

Of all cities in Southeast Asia, Jakarta is the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, a study reveals.

The Singapore-based Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia (EEPSEA) ranked Central, North and West Jakarta at the top of a list of administrative regions prone to climate change, followed by Mondol Kiri province in Cambodia and East Jakarta.

The report, prepared by economists Arief Anshory Yusuf and Herminia A. Francisco, reveals Jakarta is vulnerable to all types of climate-change related disasters except for tropical storms.

“It is frequently exposed to regular flooding but most importantly, it is highly sensitive because it is among the most densely-populated regions in Southeast Asia,” said the report released Wednesday.

Arief is an environmental economist at Padjadjaran University in Bandung.

The EEPSEA assessed Jakarta’s history of exposure to five types of natural disaster —floods, landslides, drought, sea-level change and tropical storms — in the period from 1980 to 2000, along with those of 530 other areas in Southeast Asia.

The results were drawn up by considering each area’s exposure to disasters and its ability to adapt to such threats, and comparing those findings with the vulnerability assessment framework of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Other vulnerable areas in Indonesia include West Sumatra and South Sumatra, the study says.
The study also reveals that all regions in the Philippines, Vietnam’s Mekong River Delta, Cambodia, North and East Laos and Bangkok are vulnerable.

“The Philippines, unlike other countries in Southeast Asia, is not only exposed to tropical cyclones, but also many other climate-related hazards; especially floods, landslides and droughts,” it said.

In Malaysia, the most vulnerable areas are the states of Kelantan and Sabah.

Thailand and Malaysia are the most capable of adapting to the impacts of climate change, according to the report.

“Overall, the areas with relatively high adaptive capacities are in Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam whereas areas with relatively low adaptive capacities are mostly in Cambodia and Laos,” the EEPSEA said.

The EEPSEA was established in 1993 to support research and training in environmental and economics studies. It is supported by the International Development Research Center, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the Canadian International Development Agency.

A study by the State Ministry for the Environment revealed earlier that flooding, combined with a rise in the level of the sea could permanently inundate parts of Greater Jakarta, including Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

International activists have branded Indonesia the world’s third biggest polluter after the United States and China, mostly due to widespread forest fires.

Developing nations, including Indonesia, have repeatedly called on rich nations to provide financial assistance to enable them to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

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