Save the World by Preserving the Indonesian Oceans

By: Yuni Suryati.

Climate Change.

President Joko Widodo, along with 149 other world leaders, reached a landmark agreement in the 21st session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) on December 12, 2015 in Paris, France. This agreement is charting a fundamentally new course in the two-decade-old global climate effort. The agreement and a companion decision by parties are as follows:

  • Reaffirm the goal of limiting global temperature increase well below 2 degrees Celsius, while urging efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees;
  • Establish binding commitments by all parties to make “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs), and to pursue domestic measures aimed at achieving them;
  • Commit all countries to report regularly on their emissions and “progress made in implementing and achieving” their NDCs, and to undergo international review;
  • Commit all countries to submit new NDCs every five years, with the clear expectation that they will “represent a progression” beyond previous ones;
  • Reaffirm the binding obligations of developed countries under the UNFCCC to support the efforts of developing countries, while for the first time encouraging voluntary contributions by developing countries too;
  • Extend the current goal of mobilizing $100 billion a year in support by 2020 through 2025, with a new, higher goal to be set for the period after 2025;
  • Extend a mechanism to address “loss and damage” resulting from climate change, which explicitly will not “involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation;”
  • Require parties engaging in international emissions trading to avoid “double counting;” and
  • Call for a new mechanism, similar to the Clean Development Mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol, enabling emission reductions in one country to be counted toward another country’s NDC.

Climate change is considered to be primarily caused by human or anthropogenic activities. Human industrial and agricultural activities are believed to be responsible for the increasing quantities of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These gases trap heat that are otherwise supposed to be lost to the space from the earth and consequently warm up the earth. The average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere will rise and cause global warming.

The Rising of Sea Level.

Global climate change will affect the people and the environment in many aspects. Some of these impacts such as stronger hurricanes and severe heat waves could be life threatening. Others impacts such as spreading weeds and longer growing seasons for crops also will cause negative effects for human life.

A warmer atmosphere makes glaciers and mountain snow packs, the Polar ice cap, and the great ice shield of Antarctica melt raising sea levels up to tens of meters.

Sea level rise will have a negative impact, especially against small islands countries which consists of low-lying islands such as in the Pacific Ocean. The rising of sea levels should be taken very seriously by Indonesia as an archipelagic countries with thousands of islands surrounded by the sea.

Based on the Mapping Choices Report “Carbon, Climate, and Rising Seas: Our Global Legacy”, which was released by Climate Central in 2015, if the global temperature were to rise by two degrees Celsius, the sea level would rise by 4.7 meters, endangering 280 million people who live in areas that lie below that level.  In Indonesia, if the global temperature rises by two degrees Celsius, 16 million people will be affected.

Number researchers had published models of the effects of atmosphere warming and the melting of the Antarctic ice. By 2100, it is predicted that sea level will rise more than a meter.

Although the results of the model have been a subject of debate, sea levels have risen and are continuing to rise. The world has agreed that mitigation efforts and serious adaptation are needed to overcome the situation.

From the economical point of view, the rise of sea level will affect the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in many countries.  EEZ is an area of the sea as far as 200 nautical miles from the outer islands were measured at the low sea level. If the sea level increases, EEZ will change anyway. Sea level rise will cause Indonesia to lose some territories and natural resources.

Mitigating the Rise of Sea Level.

Mitigation measures against rising sea levels must be done together through international cooperation. As we know that one of the UNFCC agreement is to Establish binding commitments by all parties to make “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs), and to pursue domestic measures aimed at achieving them.

Based on an analysis of the causes of coastal erosion and characteristics of abrasion, these are the actions that can be done by the Indonesian government:

  1. Planting and maintaining mangroves

Mangroves are coastal tree species which the roots protrude into coastal waters. This tree is commonly grown in the coastline that bordered watery area and  sandy beach area. When the trees are growing, the roots will also growing stronger as well, therefore it can withstand the waves and ocean currents. Mangrove will protect the rocks or various types of soils or sand in the beach area from abrasion.

  1. Preserving coral reefs

Coral reefs on the seabed could reduce the strength of the waves and sea currents. Therefore, if the coral reefs are preserve and protect, the waves will not too strong and the possibility of coastal erosion can be minimized.

  1. Participating of the non-state actors

As stipulated in COP21 Paris, the government should also invite the participation of non-state actors, namely NGOs, academics and researchers, civil society, coastal community, and others to support this movements.




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