Jakarta is Sinking, and Climate Change is A Big Culprit

May 13, 2019 Karli Langner

In a recent article in Wired magazine, Matt Simon reported that Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, will be underwater by 2050 and the country must find a new capital. Jakarta is sinking because of recent floods and extreme congestion within the city. And the city is not alone, as other cities around the world are drowning and sinking as well. The reason – climate change and extreme congestion.

Jakarta is home to over 10 million people and surrounded by rising seas. The waters surrounding the country are rising about one-eighth of an inch per year due to a combination of melting water from glaciers and thermal expansion of seawater as it warms caused by the climate change. According to the UN Atlas of the Oceans, “In the United States, almost 40 percent of the population lives in relatively high-population-density coastal areas, where sea level plays a role in flooding, shoreline erosion, and hazards from storms. Globally, eight of the world's 10 largest cities are near a coast.”

Jakarta is sinking at a rate faster than others – up to 10 inches a year – because residents are draining aquifers so much that the land is collapsing. As the city sinks, buildings become destabilized. Other coastal cities face the same fate. San Francisco Bay area is said to be sinking around .07 inches/year, which means the SFO airport will be underwater by 2100. In the meantime, Mexico City is sinking at a foot/year!

What can our industry do? First of all, we can verify these predictions by reviewing satellite data. Using this information, contractors can see which areas of land are too risky to support building on. We can limit our extraction of groundwater by building desalination plants as a way to add more drinkable water. Some cities are treating wastewater and putting it back into areas where groundwater was extracted.

We can also lower carbon emissions, which scientists say will help to mitigate the risks from rising sea levels. To lower CO2, haulers and suppliers can optimize routes that reduces mileage and fuel usage. We can use technology to keep truck drivers in the truck to speed deliveries. We can eliminate paper-based processes to speed up the check in/check out process and reduce idling. We can monitor driver behavior to ensure they are driving within the speed limit and are not over accelerating, which burns more fuel.

Command Alkon’s TrackIt and HaulIt solutions help businesses to lower carbon dioxide emissions, fuel usage, and mileage. While this may only make a small dent in climate change, anything that we do can have a ripple effect across the globe and hopefully help to slow down the sinking of major cities.

One of our clients, Thomas Concrete, is using a product, CarbonCure, which traps CO2 in concrete, making it stronger so they can use less cement. As concrete’s main ingredient is responsible for 7% of global man-made greenhouse gas emissions, the use of CarbonCure equals fewer emissions. Thomas Concrete is taking action on reducing energy consumption in terms of making their production and transportation fleet more energy efficient, and by reducing their fossil fuel dependence.

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