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Climate change forces Indonesia to build brand new capital city 1200 miles away

The new capital will cover about 216 square miles in East Kalimantan province on the Indonesian part of Borneo, which the country shares with Malaysia and Brunei.

Early plans for the new capital depict a utopian design aimed at creating an environmentally friendly “smart” city, but few details have been confirmed.

Plans to begin construction in 2020 were hampered by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Environmental impact 

Critics of the capital’s move have warned it could damage ecosystems in the region, where mining and palm oil plantations already threaten rainforests that are home to Borneo’s endangered species.

Widodo this week said the new capital would be one “where the people are close to any destination, where they can bike and walk everywhere because there are zero emissions”.

He added: “This (capital) will not only have government offices, we want to build a new smart metropolis that can be a magnet for global talent and a centre of innovation”.

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