How Bad Will Global Warming Get? Indonesia Could Lose 2,000 Islands to Rising Seas


Two thousand of Indonesia’s 17,000-plus islands may be lost to rising sea levels by 2030, Indonesia’s environment minister told Reuters Monday.

Rachmat Witoelar said studies by U.N. experts showed that sea levels were expected to rise about 89 centimetres in 2030 which meant that about 2,000 mostly uninhabited small islets would be submerged.

“We are optimistic it can be prevented. Switching to bio-fuels is not only good for the environment but also will benefit us economically considering the volatile state of oil prices,” he said.

Lower lying islands like the Bahamas, the Maldives, and Tuvalu will suffer more, likely submerging altogether, as reported in “All the Disappearing Islands” in Mother Jones in 2003.

  • Julia Whitty is the environmental correspondent for Mother Jones. Her latest book is Deep Blue Home: An Intimate Ecology of Our Wild Ocean. For more of her stories, click here.

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