Indonesian President Jokowi ruled negligent . . .
On Thursday, a three-judge panel in Jakarta ruled that Indonesian President Joko Widodo (popularly called Jokowi) and six other top officials neglected the rights of Indonesian citizens to clean air and a healthy environment. The court also ordered Jokowi, the respective ministers for health and the environment, and the provincial governors of Jakarta, Banten, and West Java to work to improve air quality in the capital by tightening national air quality standards. The city of Jakarta, home to over 10 million people, experiences ongoing air and water pollution caused by vehicle emissions and coal-fired power plants. This lawsuit reflects rising public concerns about the impact of environmental pollution and climate change throughout Southeast Asia.
Climate change as a regional security threat . . .
According to the newly-released Southeast Asia Climate Outlook Survey from the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, the majority of people living in ASEAN member states prefer renewable energies over fossil fuels. Throughout the summer 2021, the survey collected responses from more than 600 thought leaders from academia, business, civil society, government, and international organizations within ASEAN. Respondents ranked floods, sea level rise, and loss of biodiversity as the region’s top three climate change challenges. However, respondents also expressed low confidence in the ability of ASEAN states to transition to renewable energy. A key highlight was that respondents believe the private sector has a major role to play in reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change by adopting green practices and greater corporate accountability in sustainability.
The prospects of a regional green future . . .
The vast majority of respondents also agreed national governments must take the lead in tackling climate change. However, this may prove difficult with shifting government priorities, including addressing the economic fallout of COVID-19. For instance, while Indonesia has set ambitious goals for domestic carbon emission reductions ahead of the COP26 climate summit next month, it has also implemented contradictory laws weakening environmental protection, particularly in forestry and mining. Similarly, the Philippines will be among the worst affected by flooding and sea level rise, yet the Duterte administration is pushing contentious mining and infrastructure projects with detrimental environmental impacts, despite protests from environmental defenders.
- ABC News: Indonesian court rules president negligent over pollution
- ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute: Southeast Asia Climate Outlook: 2021 Survey Report
- The Straits Times: Most People in ASEAN say no to coal, yes to renewables as climate risks grow: Survey