Indonesia Tribes

No more freezing: Indonesia’s only tropical glacier could melt as early as 2025


Besides Mr. Permana, another researcher who has also examined the glacier is Mr. Yohanes Kaize.

He is the chief scientist of PT Freeport Indonesia, a gold and copper mining company. Its Grasberg mine, which holds one of the largest copper and gold reserves in the world, is only a few kilometers from Puncak Jaya.

On clear days, the glacier is visible from Grasberg, Kaize said.

He has visited the glacier several times over the past seven years to examine the air and water quality in the area as well as the rainfall.

Mr. Kaize also monitors the glacier from the air and takes pictures of it.

“The area of ​​the glaciers has shrunk considerably. It’s very sad,” Mr. Kaize said.

“Before, there were also smaller glaciers there, but they have disappeared now.”

The melting ice will flow into tributaries and the lake near the summit and would likely impact the river there, he said.

Eventually this could affect the Arafura Sea between northern Australia and the southern coast of New Guinea, he said. But he thinks the impact may not be so significant.

“The (water) volume of rivers or lakes would probably increase, but probably not as much,” he said.

He also noted that there were a few tribes living nearby, although he didn’t know which worshiped the glacier.

Nevertheless, as a Papuan himself, Mr Kaize said: “We Papuans believe that nature and people are interconnected. This is why we also call it Mother Earth.

“So they probably have local stories about the glacier. If the glacier had disappeared, the tale would have disappeared too.

He predicted that all glaciers will disappear in Puncak Jaya by 2030.

“As a Papuan myself, the only glacier in the region of Oceania, the only one in Indonesia, I can say that we are proud of it. But when he is gone, our pride will also diminish,” he told CNA.

“So, now we have to save the Earth together. Even simple things like planting trees and not littering. Hopefully we can still admire the glacier until the very end.

Read this story in Bahasa Indonesia.