Climate Change Forces Indonesia To Build New Capital: Impact On The World

August 16, 2023

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The decision by the Indonesian government to relocate its capital from Jakarta to a new site in East Borneo is emblematic of the broader economic and environmental challenges faced by nations in the era of climate change. Jakarta, a city plagued by congestion, pollution, and the looming threat of sinking into the Java Sea, epitomizes the vulnerabilities of urban centers to environmental degradation. The move to build a new capital, envisioned as a "sustainable forest city", is not just a response to these immediate challenges but also a strategic economic maneuver.

When a nation announces the development of a new city, especially one of this magnitude, it invariably triggers a cascade of economic activities. First and foremost, there's an immediate surge in infrastructure investments. Thousands of construction workers, as seen in the early phases of this project, are mobilized, leading to direct employment opportunities. The ripple effect of this can be observed in ancillary industries like construction materials, logistics, and services.

However, the economic implications extend beyond just the immediate job creation. The development of a new city can act as a magnet for both domestic and international investments. As the city is being touted as a futuristic green city, it can attract green tech companies, sustainable agriculture ventures, and eco-tourism businesses, positioning Indonesia at the forefront of the green economy.

Yet, there are challenges. The concerns raised by environmentalists and indigenous communities highlight the potential pitfalls of such a massive undertaking. The displacement of indigenous people and the threat to local wildlife corridors underscore the importance of sustainable and inclusive development. Economically, while the new city might bring in investments and opportunities in the short term, the long-term success will hinge on how well it integrates environmental sustainability with economic growth.

Furthermore, the relocation of the capital can also lead to large-scale people movement. As government offices and businesses shift their base, there will be a migration of workers and their families. This can lead to a boom in the real estate sector, but also challenges in terms of urban planning, housing, and public services.

Indonesia's decision to build a new capital in response to climate change is a bold economic and environmental statement. It showcases the potential for nations to adapt and innovate in the face of global challenges. However, the true economic impact, both positive and negative, will unfold over the coming decades and will be keenly observed by economists, policymakers, and environmentalists worldwide.

Which cities are under imminent threat of sinking across the world?

Here are the cities that are under imminent threat of sinking:

  1. Jakarta, Indonesia: Jakarta is among the world's fastest-sinking cities. Over 40% of the city is now below sea level. The city's sinking is attributed to a combination of factors, including the extraction of groundwater, building on soft sediments, and natural sediment compaction. The frequent and severe flooding in Jakarta has prompted the Indonesian government to consider relocating its capital to a different island source.
  2. New York City, USA: New York City is slowly sinking into the Atlantic Ocean, moving .04 to .08 inches toward sea level every year. The city's sinking is primarily due to glacial isostatic adjustment, a process where the Earth's crust adjusts in response to the melting of large ice sheets. The city's sinking is compounded by rising sea levels, which could increase the risk of floods source.
  3. Mexico City, Mexico: Mexico City has sunk by about 33 feet in the last century. The primary cause of this subsidence is groundwater extraction. The city was built over a filled-in lake, and the old lakebed is soft, waterlogged, and easily compressed. The extraction of groundwater causes the ground to compact, leading to subsidence source.

Other cities mentioned in the sources that are experiencing sinking or subsidence include New Orleans and Shanghai. However, detailed information about their current status was not provided in the content.

It's important to note that many of these cities are facing a combination of natural and human-induced factors that contribute to their sinking. The consequences of such subsidence can be severe, especially when combined with the effects of climate change, such as rising sea levels.

Which top industries get affected due to sea levels

Real Estate and Construction: Coastal properties are at direct risk from rising sea levels, leading to decreased property values and increased insurance costs. Construction projects in coastal areas also face challenges due to the changing landscape.

Tourism: Many popular tourist destinations, especially beach resorts and coastal towns, are threatened by rising sea levels. This will lead to a decline in tourism revenue for these areas.

Fishing and Aquaculture: Changes in sea levels can alter the habitats of various marine species, impacting fish populations and, consequently, the fishing industry. Aquaculture farms located in coastal areas might also be at risk.

Transportation: Ports, harbors, and coastal roads are vulnerable to sea level rise, which can disrupt transportation networks and trade routes.

Agriculture: Rising sea levels can lead to the salinization of freshwater sources and agricultural lands, making them unsuitable for farming.

Insurance: As the risk of flooding increases in coastal areas, the insurance industry faces higher claims, leading to increased premiums and potential unavailability of coverage in high-risk areas.

Energy: Coastal power plants and energy infrastructure can be threatened by rising sea levels, leading to potential disruptions in energy supply.

What are the economic impacts of moving an entire town due to rising sea levels?

Relocating an entire town due to rising sea levels has significant economic impacts. Here are some of the economic consequences and two real-world examples:

Economic Impacts:

  1. Infrastructure Costs: The cost of building new infrastructure, including roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, and utilities, can be substantial.
  2. Property Value Loss: Properties in areas prone to flooding or submersion will lose their value, leading to significant financial losses for homeowners and businesses.
  3. Relocation Costs: The process of moving residents, businesses, and public institutions involves significant expenses.
  4. Loss of Economic Activity: Businesses may suffer from reduced customer bases, and some might not survive the move, leading to job losses.
  5. Cultural and Heritage Loss: Relocating can mean leaving behind culturally significant sites, which can have both emotional and economic impacts, especially if the area was a tourist attraction.
  6. Increased Insurance Premiums: Areas prone to flooding or submersion might see a spike in insurance costs, making living or doing business in the area more expensive.

Real-World Examples:

  1. Jakarta, Indonesia: Jakarta is one of the world's fastest-sinking cities, with parts of the city sinking by up to 10 to 20cm per year. The city has experienced significant subsidence due to groundwater extraction. As a result, the Indonesian government is considering relocating the capital to another island. The move will involve significant economic costs, including the construction of new infrastructure and the potential loss of economic activity in Jakarta source.
  2. Atlantic City, New Jersey: Atlantic City has experienced a rise in sea levels that is more than double the global average. The city is investing heavily in infrastructure projects to mitigate the effects of sea level rise and storm surge. Projects include the construction of a sea wall and a new pump station. The city is also seeking federal and state funding to help homeowners raise their homes to prevent flooding. The economic impacts include the costs of these projects and potential property value losses if areas become uninhabitable source.

Both examples highlight the significant economic challenges that cities face when dealing with the consequences of rising sea levels.

Which tourism sites are most affected by rising sea levels

Rising sea levels due to climate change pose a significant threat to various tourist destinations around the world. Here are some of the most affected tourism sites:

St. Mark’s Basilica – Venice, Italy: Venice's iconic St. Mark’s Basilica has already suffered from serious flood and water damage. Even with the introduction of a flood barrier system, St. Mark’s Square faced damage in 2020 when the barrier wasn't used. Source

Waikiki Beach – Honolulu, Hawaii: This popular tourist destination is already grappling with rising sea levels and requires further protection against increasing coastal erosion. Over the past century, 13 miles of Hawaiian beach have disappeared. Source

Miami Beach, Florida: Flooding is becoming an annual occurrence in this region. The state of Florida is investing $4 billion to prevent further damage, especially to Miami Beach, where almost 1,200 homes are currently at risk of flooding.

Easter Island, Chile: The iconic Moai statues and the island itself are at grave risk from sea-level rise and rainfall. The island is already experiencing significant erosion, and the rising waves are getting closer to the heritage site each year.

Maldives: Over 90 islands in the Maldives experience flooding each year. Projections indicate that the Maldives could lose 80% or more of their islands in the next three decades.

Wadden Sea, Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark: This famous European UNESCO Heritage site is visited by millions annually. The diverse plant and animal species here are at risk from sea-level rise and erosion.

Key West, Florida: Florida's famous Key West has already invested in massive infrastructure and relocation projects. Parts of Key West are estimated to be underwater by 2040.

Statue of Liberty, New York City: NYC is experiencing an increasing frequency and severity of floods. The Statue of Liberty was significantly damaged during Hurricane Sandy and is at further risk from rising sea levels.

Eifel, Germany: Though not on the coast, overflowing rivers pose a major threat. The Eifel region, known for its wineries and wine festivals, experienced massive flooding in 2021 that resulted in significant damage and loss of life.

These sites, rich in cultural and historical significance, face the dire consequences of climate change. The rising sea levels not only threaten the physical structures but also the economies that rely heavily on tourism.

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