Jakarta is in danger of sinking in the next 10 years, posing a threat to Indonesia, according to US President Joe Biden.
His statement came while talking about climate change in a welcoming speech at the office of the US Director of National Intelligence on 27th July. According to Biden, climate change is the biggest threat to the US, directing his comments to the Defense Ministry.
The following is a quote of Biden’s speech, from the White House website:
“I’ll never forget the first time I went down in the tank as Vice President after I got elected. The Defense Department said the greatest threat facing America: climate change.
If, in fact, the seas’ level rises another two and a half feet, you’re going to have millions of people migrating, fighting over arable land. You saw what happened in North Africa. What makes us think this doesn’t matter? It’s not your responsibility, but it’s something you’re watching because you know what’s going to happen.
People who were Muslim, and the only difference was Black and/or Arab, killing each other by the thousands for arable — a piece of arable — arable land in North Central Africa. But what happens — what happens in Indonesia if the projections are correct that, in the next 10 years, they may have to move their capital because they’re going to be underwater?
It matters. It’s a strategic question as well as an environmental question.”
Some experts predict Jakarta could sink by 2050 if no precautions are taken. In addition to threatening safety and life, climate change also causes significant economic losses.
“The risk of Jakarta sinking is not a joke. Based on our model, around 95 percent of North Jakarta will be submerged by 2050,” said Heri Andreas, a researcher at the Bandung Institute of Technology.
In the last 10 years, the land surface of North Jakarta has subsided by 2 – 2.5 metres. In some areas, the soil is sinking at a rate of 25cm per year.
Citing the Verisk Maplecroft report, Jakarta is the city with the most expensive economic losses in Asia-Africa due to climate change. By 2023, the loss is estimated to be $233 billion. Assuming US$1 is equivalent to Rp14,491 as the Bank Indonesia middle rate on 29th July, the loss will reach Rp3,231.49 trillion.
“The relationship between vulnerability due to climate change and population growth is very strong. The most vulnerable cities currently lack health services and disaster mitigation systems. The pressure on basic services is also getting bigger as the population grows.
“The impacts of climate change such as floods or tropical storms bring damage to infrastructure, property, and various other assets. In addition, there are other problems, namely the spread of disease and an increase in crime that cannot be ignored,” stated the Verisk Maplecroft report.
The report places Jakarta as the city with the highest environmental risk in the world with air pollution, seismic activity, and flooding all noted as risks.
“Our data reveals that Jakarta is the most at-risk city out of the 414 cities we monitored. The combination of pollution, decreased supply of clean water, hot air, natural disasters, and risks from climate change put Jakarta at very high risk. These risks will have an impact on people, assets, and business operations,” continued the Verisk Maplecroft report.