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Is the world ignoring the climate catastrophe of Indonesia’s fires?

media-propagandaGovernments ignore issues when the media ignores them.

one reason is the complete failure of perspective in a de-skilled industry dominated by corporate press releases, photo ops and fashion shoots, where everyone seems to be waiting for everyone else to take a lead. The media makes a collective non-decision to treat this catastrophe as a non-issue, and we all carry on as if it’s not happening.

Indonesia is burning. So why is the world looking away?, Guardian  George Monbiot, 30 Oct 15  A great tract of Earth is on fire and threatened species are being driven out of their habitats. This is a crime against humanity and nature “……A great tract of Earth is on fire. It looks as you might imagine hell to be. The air has turned ochre: visibility in some cities has been reduced to 30 metres. Children are being prepared for evacuation in warships; already some have choked to death. Species are going up in smoke at an untold rate. It is almost certainly the greatest environmental disaster of the 21st century – so far.

Indonesia smoke 15

And the media? It’s talking about the dress the Duchess of Cambridge wore to the James Bond premiere, Donald Trump’s idiocy du jour and who got eliminated from the Halloween episode of Dancing with the Stars. The great debate of the week, dominating the news across much of the world? Sausages: are they really so bad for your health?

What I’m discussing is a barbecue on a different scale. Fire is raging across the 5,000km length of Indonesia. It is surely, on any objective assessment, more important than anything else taking place today. And it shouldn’t require a columnist, writing in the middle of a newspaper, to say so. It should be on everyone’s front page. It is hard to convey the scale of this inferno, but here’s a comparison that might help: it is currently producing more carbon dioxide than the US economy. And in three weeks the fires have released more CO2 than the annual emissions of Germany.

But that doesn’t really capture it. This catastrophe cannot be measured only in parts per million. The fires are destroying treasures as precious and irreplaceable as the archaeological remains being levelled by Isis. Orangutans, clouded leopards, sun bears, gibbons, the Sumatran rhinoceros and Sumatran tiger, these are among the threatened species being driven from much of their range by the flames. But there are thousands, perhaps millions, more.

One of the burning provinces is West Papua, a nation that has been illegally occupied by Indonesia since 1963. I spent six months there when I was 24,investigating some of the factors that have led to this disaster. At the time it was a wonderland, rich with endemic species in every swamp and valley. Who knows how many of those have vanished in the past few weeks? This week I have pored and wept over photos of places I loved that have now been reduced to ash.

Nor do the greenhouse gas emissions capture the impact on the people of these lands. After the last great conflagration, in 1997, there was a missing cohort in Indonesia of 15,000 children under the age of three, attributed to air pollution. This, it seems, is worse. The surgical masks being distributed across the nation will do almost nothing to protect those living in a sunless smog. Members of parliament in Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) have had to wear face masksduring debates. The chamber is so foggy that they must have difficulty recognising one another.

It’s not just the trees that are burning. It is the land itself. Much of the forest sits on great domes of peat. When the fires penetrate the earth, they smoulder for weeks, sometimes months, releasing clouds of methane, carbon monoxide, ozone and exotic gases such as ammonium cyanide. The plumes extend for hundreds of miles, causing diplomatic conflicts with neighbouring countries.

Why is this happening? Indonesia’s forests have been fragmented for decades by timber and farming companies. Canals have been cut through the peat to drain and dry it. Plantation companies move in to destroy what remains of the forest to plant monocultures of pulpwood, timber and palm oil. The easiest way to clear the land is to torch it. Every year, this causes disasters. But in an extreme El Niño year like this one, we have a perfect formula for environmental catastrophe……..

Governments ignore issues when the media ignores them. And the media ignores them because … well, there’s a question with a thousand answers, many of which involve power. But one reason is the complete failure of perspective in a de-skilled industry dominated by corporate press releases, photo ops and fashion shoots, where everyone seems to be waiting for everyone else to take a lead. The media makes a collective non-decision to treat this catastrophe as a non-issue, and we all carry on as if it’s not happening.

At the climate summit in Paris in December the media, trapped within the intergovernmental bubble of abstract diplomacy and manufactured drama, will cover the negotiations almost without reference to what is happening elsewhere. The talks will be removed to a realm with which we have no moral contact. And, when the circus moves on, the silence will resume. Is there any other industry that serves its customers so badly?

A fully linked version of this article can be found at

October 31, 2015 Posted by | climate change, Indonesia | Leave a comment

Small is Beautiful – solar power for remote Indonesian island

sunStand-Alone Solar Power “Container” Supports Educational Development on Remote Indonesian Island
>Panasonic, Jul 22, 2014 Indonesia consists of approximately 13,000 islands, many of which lack access to electricity due to the difficulty building large power plants and running power lines in the distinctive geography. Panasonic chose Karimunjawa Island, an island located not far from Java Island, near Jepara District, as the recipient of our installation of the Power Supply Container, an easy to set up and transport electrical supply system, in aims to make life better for the people living there.

In total, 250 people attended the ceremony, including Governor KH. Ahmad Marzuki of Jepara District, Minister Yoshiko Kijima of the Embassy of Japan in Indonesia, Representative Director Iskandar Budisaroso Kuntoadji of IBEKA, and the Executive Director Tri Mumpuni as guests of honor; and teachers and students. The guests of honor delivered congratulatory speeches; Mrs. Kijima told that she felt really happy about regional contributions through support by a Japanese company.
People in Karimunjawa Island can only use electricity at night from 6pm-6am, utilizing diesel generators. As no power is available during daytime, their crucial activities are interfered including commercial activities and certain education curriculum. In particular the opportunity to utilize electronic devices, such as fans, computers, or even lighting during the day ultimately hamper the economical development of the island. To solve this social issue, Koperasi Pundih Artah, which receives Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security, IBEKA and Panasonic have launched a project for improving the educational environment, by utilizing the Power Supply Container, under the cooperation of Jepara District and the Embassy of Japan in Indonesia.

During school hours, the Power Supply Container gives support to improve the educational environment; children can use lighting fixtures, ceiling fans and audiovisual educational materials through personal computers and TVs. When there are no classes, the electricity is sold to nearby areas through a management association of the Power Supply Container to contribute to activation of the regional community and improve the regional electricity infrastructure.

Panasonic made efforts to provide the Power Supply Container and to offer IBEKA with technical assistance in this project. Meanwhile, IBEKA is giving support for establishing management associations in Karimunjawa for independent operation of power supplies as well as provides training and supports for their operation, management and maintenance to achieve a sustainable power supply in Karimunjawa……..


July 23, 2014 Posted by | decentralised, Indonesia | Leave a comment

94% of Japanese think that the Fukushima crippled nuclear plant is not under control

flag-japanSurvey: Most Japanese think Fukushima nuclear accident not settled July 18, 2013 By SHIGEKO SEGAWA / Staff Writer The vast majority of Japanese, 94 percent, think the nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant triggered by the earthquake and tsunami two years ago has not been put under control, a survey showed.

A research team led by Hirotada Hirose, a professor emeritus of Tokyo Woman’s Christian University, sent out questionnaires in March to 1,200 people across the nation ranging in age from 15 to 79.

According to the survey, 94 percent said that they thought the nuclear accident had not been settled. When asked for reasons, many responded that radioactive substances were still leaking from the stricken plant.

liar-nuclear1As far as who the respondents said they trust, 33 percent said disaster information disseminated from the central government and its ministries and agencies was the most untrustworthy, while 2 percent chose local governments as the most unreliable source of disaster information.

“An (effective) nuclear policy is impossible unless the central government wins the understanding and support of not only local residents living in areas that host nuclear power plants but also the support of all the people in Japan,” Hirose said.

Twenty-three percent of respondents said they believe it is only a matter of time before another accident will occur if nuclear plant operators resume operations at now-idle reactors, while 57 percent said they think a similar nuclear disaster will likely happen.

Thirty-one percent said nuclear power should be abandoned as soon as possible, whereas 54 percent said Japan should phase out nuclear power over time.

The research team presented the findings to a meeting of the Cabinet Office’s Atomic Energy Commission on July 17.

July 19, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013, Indonesia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Vested interests keen to sell nuclear reactors to Indonesia

AUDIO Indonesia’s nuclear power plans 24 August 2012 Pressure is mounting on Indonesia to push ahead with planning for the country’s first nuclear power plant. Neighbouring Vietnam and Malaysia already have nuclear planning firmly in place, and nuclear power advocates within government are proving to be increasingly vociferous in Jakarta.

But for now at least a long standing scheme to build a nuclear power plant in Central Java is off President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s agenda, and has been ever since the Fukushima disaster in Japan last year.

So where does Indonesia go next ?   Presenter: Richard Ewart

Speaker: Professor Richard Tanter, senior research associate, Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability
TANTER: Well there certainly are companies that want to be involved in it, there are certainly also foreign companies where nuclear power vendors, like Mitsubishi in Japan, Kepco in Korea, also Russian companies.

Unfortunately though, there’s a new factor, a wild card in the election campaign for president which is now beginning to get

underway in Indonesia. One of the leading contenders, Prabowo Subianto, who has a very famous or rather infamous record of human rights violations while a Kopassus military leader. He has come out and said Indonesia must get nuclear power, so that’s a big new change.
…  don’t think he [the current  President] will back nuclear power…..  the pressures mainly are coming from as you would say before vested interests, Continue reading

August 25, 2012 Posted by | Indonesia, marketing of nuclear | 2 Comments

Indonesia – earthquake zone – not good for nuclear reactors

 Indonesia should consider the fact that it is located on the “Pacific Ring of Fire”, making it prone to disaster.

Indonesians ‘should think twice’ before going nuclear http://www The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, 05/03/2012 Japanese experts have warned the Indonesian government to be very careful when deciding whether to generate power from nuclear energy, arguing that the archipelago is prone to natural disasters. Continue reading

May 3, 2012 Posted by | Indonesia, safety | Leave a comment

Indonesia ratifies the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)

We applaud the fact that all of the nuclear-capable countries in Europe, Latin America, and many in other regions of the world have ratified the CTBT. With Indonesia’s ratification, the number of countries that have yet to do so has decreased to eight: China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, North Korea and the United States.

Endorse the nuclear test ban, Aljazeera, 18 Dec, Carl Bildt and Patricia Espinosa Cantellano   Carl Bildt is Foreign Minister of Sweden. Patricia Espinosa Cantellano is Foreign Minister of Mexico. The eight remaining non-signatory countries should adopt the treaty to make the planet safer, foreign ministers say. Stockholm/Mexico City

– Indonesia’s parliament has just taken a historic step, one that makes the planet
safer from the threat of nuclear weapons. The importance of Indonesia’s decision to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) cannot be overstated. This is a golden opportunity for the remaining eight countries to endorse the CTBT and enable it to
come into legal effect. Continue reading

December 19, 2011 Posted by | Indonesia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Indonesia turning away from nuclear power plans

 Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said, “What happened in Japan last March can happen in Indonesia because (the two countries’) geography is very much similar.”

He suggested that in pursuing its best energy mix, the world’s most populous Muslim country is willing to consider alternative sources of energy, such as geothermal, solar and hydroelectric power, while moving to limit the use of oil and coal as energy sources in the long run….

Indonesia cautious about nuclear option after Fukushima crisis Mainichi Daily News 18 June 11 TOKYO (Kyodo)– Visiting Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono expressed strong reservations on Friday about proceeding with plans to build nuclear power plants in his earthquake- and tsunami-prone country, following Japan’s nuclear disaster triggered by a magnitude 9.0 quake and tsunami. Continue reading

June 18, 2011 Posted by | Indonesia, politics | 1 Comment

Volcanoes, earthquakes, corruption, but Indonesia still wants nuclear power

concerns over Indonesia’s geological vulnerability – such as its ill-fated position atop the “ring of fire” – in addition to Indonesia’s history of inefficiently coordinated responses to disaster…..
Then there’s the pervasive culture of corruption in Indonesia.

Fukushima crisis fails to dampen Indonesia’s nuclear ambitions, 13 April 11, Gillian Terzis “……The government is talking up the country’s nuclear future…….the reverberations of the crises at Fukushima have scarcely cast a ripple in Indonesia‘s political quarters. Two weeks after Japan’s nuclear crisis, the Indonesian government stated that it will continue to pursue an ambitious nuclear power programme of its own that will triple the country’s electricity output by 2025…… Continue reading

April 13, 2011 Posted by | Indonesia, safety | Leave a comment

Nuclear power for Indonesia, despite earthquakes, tsunamis, and corruption

But experts are worried – not only about Indonesia’s regular earthquakes, one of which triggered a massive tsunami in December 2004, but also about weak government institutions and corruption.

Indonesia insists nuclear plans are safe | beyondbrics |March 17, 2011  by Anthony Deutsch Indonesia will go ahead with a feasibility study for a nuclear power plant, even as China has put plans on hold in the wake of Japan’s nuclear crisis. Continue reading

March 18, 2011 Posted by | Indonesia, politics | Leave a comment

Indonesia: no plans for nuclear power

President says nuclear power plant not a priority Rendi A. Witular, The Jakarta Post, Bogor, West Java | 21 June 2010,
“………… the administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is in no hurry to construct a nuclear power generator.Yudhoyono said Friday there was no definitive plan to set up such a power plant under his administration although there was a discussion for setting one up on the coast of Jepara in Central Java.”

Maybe the next administration will consider such a plan should there be an urgent need for an alternative energy source,” he said.Yudhoyono reiterated that construction of a nuclear power plant would require meticulous planning as any mistake would have devastating consequences.”Looking at alternatives to fossil fuels, the administration would focus more on developing power plants fueled by geothermal energy, wind, solar and biofuels,” he said. President says nuclear power plant not a priority | The Jakarta Post

June 21, 2010 Posted by | Indonesia, politics | , , , | Leave a comment

How to put it over the people about nuclear power

If nuclear power was really as safe, clean, cheap and reliable as its supporters insist, there’d be no need to ‘socialize’ anybody.

Socializing the dangers of nuclear power Greenpeace International, by jmckeati – May 18, 2010

Indonesia is committed to have a nuclear power plant soon as new source of energy, officials said here on Monday. For the purpose, Indonesia has allocated 7 billion rupiah (about 769,633 U.S. dollars) for nuclear power plant socialization to curb fear among people. Continue reading

May 19, 2010 Posted by | Indonesia, spinbuster | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear power rejected anew in Indonesia – Infoshop News

Nuclear power rejected anew in Indonesia

Infoshop News July 23 2009  PHILIPPINES — The rejection of nuclear power in Indonesia is another nail in the coffin of the nuclear industry, Greenpeace said today as it demanded the Philippine government to follow suit and abandon its dangerous nuclear power plans which it criticized as “backward and unproductive,” and seemingly “reeking of less-than-noble intentions.”

The environment organization had recently welcomed the decision of Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, (NU), that nuclear power is haram (forbidden) on the island of Madura, East Java.

he announcement in Madura, close to Indonesia’s second largest city of Surabaya, follows a similar decision by the Jepara, Central Java chapter of NU on 1 September 2007, when scholars and clerics concluded that the threat to the local communities from potential radioactive leaks and radioactive waste handling far outweighed any potential benefits.

“In Indonesia and in any part of the world including the Philippines, communities clearly do not want nuclear power as they will be the most at risk from its operations. This latest case of rejection of nuclear power is another nail in the coffin for the obsolete nuclear power industry.

…………………..Worldwide, the nuclear industry is failing and still struggles with the same problems as it did forty years ago. Very few of the 435 operational nuclear power plants, as well as waste storage sites around the globe have been built within budget and on schedule. While there were reactors being built in 2008, many of these were delayed and no new reactors came online–compared to 27,000 megawatts of wind energy which came online in the same year.

Nuclear power rejected anew in Indonesia – Infoshop News

July 24, 2009 Posted by | 1, Indonesia, politics | , , , , | 1 Comment

Government shelves nuclear power plan

Government shelves nuclear power plan The Jakarta Post Yuli Tri Suwarni , The Jakarta Post , Bandung

June 17, 2009

The ArchipelagoAmid mounting opposition from the public and NGOs, the state electricity firm PLN has temporarily shelved plans to set up a nuclear power plant.PLN director of planning and technology Bambang Praptomo said Monday that a nuclear-generated power plant was not included in his company’s Electricity Procurement Business Plans (RUPTL) outlined for up to 2018.The company’s procurement business plans were based on the National Electricity General Plans (RUKN), which the government recently put together, he added.In the previous RUKN, the government had aimed to start generating nuclear power by 2016.

June 17, 2009 Posted by | Indonesia, politics | , , , | Leave a comment

Future of nuclear power in limbo

Future of nuclear power in limboYuli Tri Suwarni , The Jakarta Post , Bandung | Thu, 29 may 2009 1:32 PM | The ArchipelagoState Minister of Research and Technology Kusmayanto Kadiman said on Thursday that tenders for nuclear power plants, which were initially targeted for completion by the end of this year, have been postponed indefinitely.The decision to postpone was made in light of an absence of political support since the legislative election in April, the minister said.

May 29, 2009 Posted by | Indonesia, politics | , , , | Leave a comment

Indonesia goes cold on nuclear power |

Indonesia goes cold on nuclear power * The Age Tom Allard, Magelang, Central Java * April 6, 2009INDONESIAN President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono yesterday backed away from a plan to build a nuclear reactor in one of the world’s most seismically active countries.Dr Yudhoyono said Indonesia would develop existing energy sources and explore renewable alternatives before pursuing the nuclear option………
………..”In 10 years to come, or 20 years or 30 years to come, Indonesia must really develop its existing resources and these should be environmentally friendly,” he said, adding that water and wind power options would also be explored.

Indonesia goes cold on nuclear power |

April 6, 2009 Posted by | Indonesia, politics | Leave a comment