Minister says rising water threatens airport
City News – March 07, 2007

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

State Minister for the Environment Rachmat Witoelar warned Tuesday that Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta airport would be swamped by 2050 due to human-induced global warming.

“We will need to move the airport as it will be underwater that year because of rising sea levels. We will also say goodbye to Taman Impian Jaya Ancol and the Kelapa Gading housing complex,” the minister said Tuesday.

Taman Impian Jaya Ancol is the country’s largest recreational park, located in North Jakarta. Kelapa Gading is a luxury housing area, also in North Jakarta. The complex was severely affected by the city’s recent flood.

Rachmat said the rising sea level would also swamp part of Banten province.

The minister produced a computer simulation based on a report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the most authoritative global scientific body studying the problem (see graphic).

The report issued last month said global warming was “very likely” to have been caused by human activities. It predicted world temperatures would rise by up to four degrees Celsius and sea levels by between 18 cm and 58 cm by 2100.

The report also said greenhouse gases were responsible for a number of existing problems, including hotter nights, fewer cold days, floods, heavy rains and drought.

“The study shows how dangerous it is if we do nothing from today on to minimize the risk of global warning,” he said.

He added global warming could also affect the country’s economy by decreasing fishery production or increasing the risk of floods.

“We are now facing severe floods. But it will be even worse in the next 20 years,” he said.

The minister was a keynote speaker at a seminar on the energy crisis and the impact of climate change.

The seminar, organized by Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD), was to formulate a policy paper on Indonesia’s future energy strategy and climate change.

The IPCC experts said greenhouse emissions include the release of atmospheric carbon dioxide from burning fossil-based fuels such as coal.

The use of coal is expected to rise in many countries, including Indonesia, which plans to build a 10,000 megawatt coal-fired plant to meet its rising demand for electricity.

“The project is not a problem because we will apply technology to reduce the output of carbon dioxide,” he said.

The minister took issue with the idea that developing countries should set emissions reduction targets.

“It is not fair if the developed countries ask the developing nations to have the same responsibilities to cut emissions. They are forgetting their past sins,” he said.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, the developed nations must cut greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent below 1990 levels in the period between 2008 and 2012 in order to control global warming.

Indonesia is not bound by the protocol to any emissions reduction target.

An expert from the Bandung Institute of Technology, Armi Susandi, earlier warned that the water level in Jakarta Bay would rise by 57 millimeters per year.

He predicted that some 160 square kilometers of Jakarta, including Cilincing, Koja, Tanjung Priok, Pademangan and Penjaringan, would be underwater by 2050.