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Thailand could lose its capital to climate change

Rising sea levels are projected to inundate Bangkok by the end of the century. Will Thai officials follow Indonesia’s lead and relocate their country’s capital?

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UPDATED: 20 May 2024, 8:15 am

Thai officials are considering what rising sea levels mean for Bangkok, and say that at least a partial relocation of the Southeast Asia country’s capital is on the cards, AFP reports.

There’s a risk that low-lying parts of Bangkok could be underwater by the end of the century, climate projections forecast. Last week, Thailand’s deputy director general of climate change and environment said that, if the world continues warming at its current rate, it may be too late to save the city from inundation.

“Now we have to think about adaptation,” Pavich Kesavawong said. The official confirmed that discussions were underway at a government level, regarding the “very complex” idea of moving parts of Thailand’s capital – home to around 11 million people – to safer areas.

[See more: Last month was the world’s hottest April on record]

“Personally I think it’s a good choice, so we can separate the capital, the government areas, and business areas,” he told AFP. “Bangkok [would] still be the government capital, but move the business.”

Indonesia, meanwhile, is already in the process of relocating its government from Jakarta, in Java, to Borneo. Pollution and Jakarta’s alarming subsidence are the main issues.

Indonesia’s nascent capital, named Nusantara, is expected to be inaugurated this year. Construction of what will be a brand new city started from scratch in 2022, in southern Kalimantan.

UPDATED: 20 May 2024, 8:15 am

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