Michael Taylor profile background image
Michael Taylor profile image

Michael Taylor

Climate Correspondent, Southeast Asia

Thomson Reuters Foundation

Michael was Climate Correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Malaysia. Originally from Yorkshire, Michael has about 20 years of journalism experience reporting from various countries across Asia on climate change and human rights, from deforestation to natural disasters and food security.

April 01, 2024

It was still pitch-black outside when Indonesian housewife Sutinah made her way to a local police station early one morning last month, hoping to avoid queues and take advantage of a government scheme offering affordable rice.

Even though dry weather fuelled by El Niño has led to a rice shortage and sent prices to record highs, the 52-year-old from the East Java town of Pasuruan was still shocked to see hundreds of likeminded residents already waiting patiently in line.

February 01, 2024

Aeshnina Azzahra Aqilani is too young to vote in Indonesia's elections this month but that hasn't stopped her from demanding the three presidential candidates adopt greener policies to combat the climate crisis.

Over the last six months, the 16-year-old student collected almost 1,000 letters, both online and at schools and colleges, from young people across her home province of East Java.

December 15, 2023

When the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil was set up two decades ago, as the palm oil industry struggled in the wake of major Southeast Asian forest fires that provoked global outrage, reining in tropical forest losses was a top priority.

But today, critics question the palm oil watchdog's continued relevance as it struggles to manage other fast-rising concerns, from the industry's climate change impact to its limited benefits for small-scale farmers - and whether price-sensitive Asian buyers can be persuaded to buy greener oil.

December 13, 2023

Indonesian maggot farmer Rendria Labde spoils his black soldier flies with tasty treats and no wonder: to him, they are warriors fighting an urgent battle against the mounds of food waste threatening to spill over from Jakarta's landfill.

Most of the rubbish from this city of more than 10 million people, including food waste, ends up in the Bantar Gebang landfill in Bekasi, a nearby satellite city.

November 13, 2023

Communities impacted by a multi-billion-dollar climate deal to help Indonesia shift from polluting coal power to renewable energy are at risk of losing out because they have had limited involvement in planning the transition so far, analysts warned.

Earlier this month, Jakarta published a plan for how it will slash planet-heating emissions from its power sector under a $20-billion Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) backed by wealthy nations - welcomed as a good start by energy experts.

October 23, 2023

A multi-billion dollar climate deal to help Vietnam shift from coal to clean energy should be put on hold until the government stops a crackdown on environmentalists that threatens efforts to support communities hit by the transition, activists said.

Late last year, G7 nations - together with Norway, Denmark and the European Union - agreed to provide $15.5 billion to help Vietnam ditch climate-heating coal, similar to other pacts with South Africa, Indonesia and Senegal that offer emerging economies financing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

October 13, 2023

Deep inside his tribe's sacred rainforest on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali, Indigenous guide Putu Willy Suputra looks on in disbelief as a group of tourists video themselves mimicking monkeys by swinging on a long, woody vine.

Suputra is a member of the 20,000-strong Adat Dalem Tamblingan Indigenous community who have lived in northern Bali since the 9th century and want rights to curb tourism and protect their rainforest and lake.

October 06, 2023

Philanthropists are stepping in to ensure vulnerable workers and their communities are not left behind when developing nations agree multi-billion-dollar climate deals to shutter fossil-fuel power plants and ramp up green energy investments.

Last year, Vietnam and Indonesia joined South Africa in clinching a "just energy transition partnership" (JETP) - a funding package from wealthy governments and banks to help emerging economies phase out coal while creating green jobs - followed by Senegal this June.

September 22, 2023

Indonesia's elections next year are likely to spur deforestation as politicians seek campaign funds from businesses in return for easier access to rich natural resources, environmentalists say.

The Southeast Asian nation, the world's third-largest democracy, will hold a general election on Feb. 14, with regional polls planned for later in 2024.

September 06, 2023

When Indonesian civil servant Dwi Bangun isn't sat at her desk in Jakarta or stuck in the capital's notorious traffic jams, she can be found barefoot on the nearby coastline, wading through the water to plant mangroves.

The 30-year-old volunteers with Hutan Itu Indonesia (Forest Is Indonesia), an innovative green group that connects young city dwellers, teaches them about the importance of the nation's forests and encourages them to get involved in conservation.