JAKARTA: Floods that killed more than 50 people in Indonesia's capital after the biggest rainfall since records began should be a wake-up call to climate change in one of the world's biggest carbon emitters, environmental groups said.

But, despite the catastrophe in Southeast Asia's biggest city, authorities see no greater impetus for more cuts to planned carbon dioxide emission reductions or other measures to address climate change.



People clean up the clay after floods hit Lebak Gendong, Banten, Indonesia, January 3, 2020 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Weli Ayu Rejeki/ via REUTERS

The floods "should serve as a strong reminder to the government that things can't be business as usual", said Yuyun Harmono, a campaign manager at the Indonesian Forum for the Environment, the country's biggest green group.

READ: Thousands in shelters as Indonesia flood death toll hits 53

With one of the world's longest coastlines Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country, is extremely vulnerable to climate change. The metropolitan region of the capital Jakarta is home to 30 million people and parts of the city near the coast are sinking just as sea levels are rising.



However, the country is the world's fifth-largest emitter of the greenhouse gases that are blamed for causing the climate crisis. It is also the world's top exporter of both thermal coal and palm oil, whose cultivation has reduced the amount of carbon dioxide absorbing forests.

A boy swims in the floodwaters at the Jatinegara area after heavy rains in Jakarta, Indonesia, January 2, 2020. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

At least 53 people were killed after the rains on New Year's Day, Indonesian authorities said on Saturday. Nearly 175,000 people remain evacuated from their homes.

Indonesia's meteorological department said it was the heaviest one-day rainfall since Dutch colonists began keeping records in 1866 and squarely blamed rising global temperatures.

READ: Jakarta flood victims recount ordeal, experts warn worst is yet to come

READ: Scavengers descend on post-flood Jakarta garbage

"The impact of a one degree increase can be severe," Dwikorita Karnawati, the head of the agency, told a news conference on Friday. "Among that is these floods."

The floods were "a big wake up call," said Hidayah Hamzah, a research analyst at the World Resources environmental group in Jakarta.

A man uses crutches to walk through floodwaters at the Jatinegara area after heavy rains in Jakarta, Indonesia, January 2, 2020. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan


Social media users criticised the government for not doing enough on climate change after the flooding. Twitter user @wolfiecoconut said: "Indonesia is a country that is prone to disaster but we don't care about the environment."

But the green lobby has little sway in Indonesia.

Only 18 per cent of Indonesians believe there is a link between human activity and climate change, according to a 2019 survey, the smallest percentage among the world's 23 biggest countries.

Aerial picture of an area affected by floods, next to Ciliwung river in Jakarta, Indonesia on Jan 2 2020. (Photo: Antara Foto/Nova Wahyudi/via REUTERS)

When asked if the government would do more on climate issues after tRead More – Source


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