Friday, February 24, 2012

Global warming and Indonesia

Children in Jakarta, Indonesia, playing ball in flood waters look charming until you realize flood waters are a brew of chemicals, bacteria, & health-threatening toxicity. Under neoliberal policies, garbage management, reliable water, & waste water services have been ignored or privatized. In Indonesia, many waterways are dump sites with toxic foam emissions. As an equatorial & tropical archipelago, Indonesia has annual monsoonal rains & much of Jakarta (the capital city) is below sea level so it has always been prone to flooding. But it is getting clobbered with the effects of climate change which are triggering annual major floods. Warmer seas heat up monsoon winds that carry moisture from ocean to land, bringing extra heavy rain & burying the capital city in up to 17 feet of flood water. According to the government environmental official, Indonesia could lose 2,000 islands by 2030 due to rising sea levels from climate change. The official admits heavy flooding is not only a climate phenomenon but due to waterways choked with debris, lack of adequate flood control systems, & large scale deforestation to build palm oil plantations & make room for a huge construction boom in Jakarta’s water catchment areas. Deforestation & the destruction of peatlands make Indonesia the world's third largest emitter of greenhouse gases. The global demand for Indonesia’s natural resources made it profitable for foreign investors & fueled the rise of Indonesian fortunes from coal, palm oil, oil & gas. The fortunes of Indonesia’s 12 billionaires & countless millionaires are built on deforestation & plundering of resources so the oligarchs are unlikely to alter the profitable ventures causing global warming or provide for a flood control infrastructure. The planet is held hostage to plunder until working people cut the Gordian knot. (Major flooding has become a global problem effecting every continent & displacing millions of people but media is too busy focusing on the important things like the upcoming Oscar awards.) (Photo: Supri/Reuters)

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