Capital relocation on horizon as rising seas threaten THIS country's future

According to a senior official from the country's climate change office, projections indicate that Bangkok, situated in low-lying terrain, could be submerged by the ocean before the century's end.

Author
Satyam Singh
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Courtesy: freepik

Thailand faces the daunting prospect of relocating its capital city, Bangkok, due to the escalating threat of rising sea levels. According to a senior official from the country's climate change office, projections indicate that Bangkok, situated in low-lying terrain, could be submerged by the ocean before the century's end. Already, Bangkok grapples with annual flooding, particularly during the rainy season, exacerbating concerns over its vulnerability to climate change impacts.

Pavich Kesavawong, deputy director-general of Thailand's Department of Climate Change and Environment, emphasized the necessity for immediate action to adapt to changing climate conditions. He expressed apprehension that Bangkok might struggle to cope with the escalating global temperatures, stressing the urgency of adaptation measures.

Consideration of options

While discussions about relocation remain speculative, Bangkok's city government is contemplating various strategies, including constructing dikes akin to those in the Netherlands. Pavich suggested the possibility of relocating the business district while maintaining Bangkok as the government capital, highlighting the complexity of the issue.

Thailand's contemplation of capital relocation resonates with similar initiatives in the region, such as Indonesia's plan to inaugurate a new capital, Nusantara, replacing the sinking Jakarta. However, such endeavors entail big challenges and expenses, as evidenced by Indonesia's estimated cost of $32 billion-$35 billion.

Climate change impacts

Thailand is already grappling with the multifaceted impacts of climate change, ranging from agricultural challenges to ecological degradation. Recent coral bleaching events have prompted the closure of national parks, underscoring the urgency of conservation efforts.

In response to the climate crisis, Thailand is prioritizing legislative measures aimed at combating climate change. Proposed legislation encompasses diverse aspects, from carbon pricing to mitigation and adaptation strategies, with aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and net-zero emissions by 2065.