Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 October 2015
Recent scientific findings show that climate change is already taking place and that there is the risk of severe impacts if emissions of greenhouse gases are not cut back (IPCC 2007). Climate change is no longer seen as ‘just’ an environmental problem, but as a threat to economic development and prosperity (Stern 2006; Garnaut 2008). This perspective has greatly elevated the issue among policy makers the world over. In Indonesia, climate change rose high on the public and policy agenda with the UN climate conference held in Bali in December 2007.
Indonesia faces a variety of impacts from climate change, from sealevel rise to a changing hydrological cycle and attendant droughts and floods, to greater stresses on public health. These will require attention and corrective action if development is to be safeguarded in the face of changes in the natural world. Indonesia itself is a significant emitter of greenhouse gases, especially connected to deforestation. Reducing these emissions creates its own challenges, but also brings opportunities.
This chapter summarizes the expected climate change impacts for Indonesia, and eastern Indonesia in particular. It discusses the main sources of emissions and options to reduce or avoid them. Climate change research on Indonesia is limited, and is especially patchy for eastern Indonesia. Nevertheless, enough information is available for us to sketch some options for climate change policies that would support development in eastern Indonesia.
CLIMATE CHANGE AND DEVELOPMENT: THE GLOBAL ISSUES
Causes and Impacts
Human-induced climate change occurs because of a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, trapping the energy from the sun to a greater degree than previously. The main greenhouse gas from human activity is carbon dioxide, which is released in the combustion of fossil fuels (especially coal, oil and gas) and in the conversion of forests to other uses. Other greenhouse gases include methane, from sources such as agriculture and waste dumps, and nitrous oxide from agriculture and some industrial processes.