Climate change has progressed from warnings in the middle of the last century, to the creation of Earth Day, to debates that continue today – but also to becoming real world costs. Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, the fourth most populated country and one that’s has almost as many people as the US, is flooding. Sea levels rising, groundwater being depleted, as well as erosion means the city has sunk 4 meters, and continues to sink at up to 10 centimeters per year. The result, the country is moving to a new capital.
“…relocating the 1.5 million civil servants working in Jakarta in 2024—an endeavor that would cost around US$33 billion overall.” – Ars Technica
That’s a cost of $22,000 per civil servant, in a city with an average salary of ~$30,000. Indonesia is not alone. Shanghai has dropped about two meters. Central California has seen similar subsidences, though not coastal. Many major cities, including capitals, are on coasts. Climate change shifts from ideological debates, to debates about practical solutions. Salt water washing onto congress’ and parliaments’ steps may be the proof needed to inspire action. Sadly, such proof may come too late for meaningful and efficient response.