Experts warn that the horrible scenes of Down Under forest fires can continue to recur; as well as floods of the type that affected Greater Jakarta, Banten and West Java during the New Year. Thousands of people have been displaced by both disasters, although comparatively more victims in Indonesia can return to their homes.
Although we fervently hope that we are not seeing the “new normalcy” of climate trends in our region, simultaneous forest fires in Australia and massive flooding in the country highlight a hitherto little considered aspect of Australia-Indonesia bilateral relations: the climate .
Researchers have not reached a 100 percent consensus on whether climate change is to blame for disasters; but humans surely share responsibility for the lack of prevention of floods and forest fires, the last of which saw millions of animals and plants, many of them exclusive to Australia’s Wallacea biodiversity sphere, reportedly dead.
In addition to extending condolences to all those who have lost family members, their homes and their livelihoods, working together to better mitigate disasters would be much more productive than blaming governments.
Under the program called “development and partnership with Indonesia,” the Australian Embassy in Indonesia states that “Australia and Indonesia are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from land conversion. This includes helping to address the drivers of forest and land fires through best land management practices, boost investment in clean energy, climate-smart agriculture and green growth initiatives. “
Bilateral relations between Indonesia and Australia are often marked by the uproar, as in the trial of Australian citizens for smuggling or drug trafficking and the execution of two members of a network of drug traffickers known as Bali Nine in 2015. Meanwhile, programs of cooperation such as the Bali Process, which was established in 2002 to facilitate discussion and exchange of information on, among other issues, human trafficking, human trafficking and transnational crime, and appropriate responses to these issues, have received less publicity despite its importance as a bridge between the two neighbors.
However, cooperation should find more ground to grow simply because Indonesia and Australia are destined to live together.
Mother Nature reminds us that neighbors must also work together to mitigate climate disasters. Forest and peat fires, considered one of the main contributors to carbon emissions, have put Indonesia at risk of not fulfilling its commitment under the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 29 percent against a usual commercial projection for 2024.
Forest fires and forest fires should present to Australia and Indonesia an opportune time to consider climate problems at the top of their cooperation agenda. On the one hand, climate change is expected to cause more disasters, even in Indonesia in the future if mitigation efforts are neglected, to the detriment of economic relations between Indonesia and Australia.
As parties to the Paris Agreement, Australia and Indonesia have many areas of cooperation for climate change mitigation to choose from. As academic Arjuna Dibley says, climate collaboration between them will support the stability of a more “normal” bilateral relationship.