The Indonesian government has attempted to implement several programs and initiatives in order to adapt to the rising populations in urban areas and the problems they will eventually cause. One such initiative was a program through which the government sponsored relocation of millions of people from high-density urban hot-spots to outer islands of the nation. As a result of this initiative, all these people were moved to regions with less defense against rising sea levels and natural disasters (Woodward et al. 1998). These people have been led by their government into regions significantly less safe from the effects of global warming than their previous homes. Their new locations may provide some benefits, such as better air quality, but the potential effects of climate change can be seen by some to outweigh these. As a result of failed policies such as this, the vulnerability of the nation as a whole has only increased.
Across Indonesia, knowledge about climate change is far from universal. The lack of understanding about the causes and effects of the changing climate is a large source of vulnerability for the nation as a whole. The government may be well aware of what is happening and what needs to be done, but if the general public (those who are most affected) is unwilling to comply with policies or initiatives due to lack of knowledge or understanding, political power may become useless. Some rice farmers on Java, who are seeing the effects of climate change in that the timing of their harvests are changing each year, are unaware of the causes of these events (Measey 2010). Climate change is not a term that is in their everyday vocabularies—if they are unaware of it, how can they hope to aid in the fight against it?
Contributions to Global Climate Change
Indonesia is certainly one of the nations most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. However, it is far from absolved of fault for these problems. It is common knowledge that the aforementioned rapid industrialization of the nation has led to less-than-sustainable factories which use large amounts of fossil fuels and pollute the air and emit greenhouse gases at a rate which is greater than that which would be ideal in order to combat the increasing greenhouse effect. Fossil fuel use contributed approximate 0.08 Pg of carbon in the year 2002 (Santilli et al. 2005) Though this is far from the global number that year of approximate 6.3 Pg that year, it cannot be completely discounted.
Though fossil fuel use has been a factor in Indonesia's exacerbating of climate change, it is far from the main contributing factor. Deforestation was a much stronger driver than fossil fuel use in 2002, contributing to the equivalent of approximately 0.2 Pg of carbon emissions (see figure 3) (Santilli et al. 2005). Indonesia contributed to the world's carbon footprint through their clearing of land for oil palm plantation. In certain regions of Indonesia, up...