Thursday, October 28, 2010

Move Indonesia's capital?

Veby Mega in Reuters AlertNet: Sea level rise, worsening flooding and land subsidence in and around Jakarta have prompted Indonesian officials to resurrect plans to move the country's capital - but local residents and experts say Jakarta itself will not survive unless it adapts to cope with climate change.

Plans to relocate Indonesia's central government, parliament and public offices to another province on the island of Java or to another island in the Indonesian archipelago have been proposed on and off since the 1930s because of problems in Jakarta including overcrowding and rising sea level, which has led to worsening flooding. But environmental experts now say a move is urgent to allow officials to soften the impact of climate change on the congested city of 9.6 million people.

"Moving the capital will reduce the city's burden to provide infrastructure and services to its people so that authorities can start re-planning city development," said Sonny Keraf, Indonesia's environment minister between 1999 and 2001, and now a university professor and environmental expert. Still, "in terms of climate change adaptation, it won't be easy," he added.

While a number of locations for a new capital have been considered over the years, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, parliamentarians and other officials now believe the island of Kalimantan, formerly known as Borneo, is the best choice….

From the Tropenmuseum Collection, available at Wikimedia Commons, a scene from a 1949 flood in Jakarta

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