Indonesians seeking climate justice take aim at Swiss concrete giant

On the small island of Pari in Indonesia, a fisherman named Mustagfirin sits next to a wall of stacked rocks and contemplates the future of his home.

About 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Jakarta’s capital, where trees and statues that were once on the beach are now partly submerged, his weathered wooden boat is anchored nearby.

“I am very saddened and terrified knowing in the next 10 or 20 years Pari island might disappear,” the 52-year-old told AFP.

Environmentalists have said most of the 42-hectare (103-acre) island could sink by 2050 because of rising sea levels.

The island’s residents are seeking justice, and last month sued Swiss cement giant Holcim over its emissions.

They allege the world’s largest cement firm is responsible for climate-related loss and damages in a case that could be a landmark for plaintiffs from developing countries who take on industrial giants.

Environmental litigation against governments and fossil fuel firms has surged in recent years — but this is the first case filed by Indonesians against a foreign company for climate-related damage.

It is also the first instance of a Swiss company being sued for its alleged role in climate change.

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