Be serious about climate change act: Malaysia’s experts

Under the Paris Agreement, Malaysia has pledged to reduce its emissions by 35% of its 2005 levels by the year 2030. Photo: FMT. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

PETALING JAYA, Jan 9, 2020, FMT. A climate change expert has urged the government to be earnest in drafting a law to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. Renard Siew, a climate change expert at the Centre for Governance and Political Studies research firm, told FMT it was necessary to institutionalise action that would put Malaysia on the right track in reducing such emissions, Free Malaysia Today reported.

“There needs to be a formal mechanism in place so that businesses can monitor, report and verify their carbon footprints,” he said.

“At the moment, many don’t seem to care because there is no legislation that requires them to report their emissions.”

Last May, Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said her ministry was studying the need for a climate change act. She indicated that it would take two years before a bill could be tabled in Parliament if such a law was found to be necessary.

Siew called for a “comprehensive act” that would cover, among other things, financial incentives for the reduction of waste and the encouragement of recycling.

Ideally, he said, the act should set legally binding targets for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in line with treaties such as the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit the rise of the average global temperature to 1.5 degrees by the end of this century.

Under the agreement, Malaysia has pledged to reduce its emissions by 35% of its 2005 levels by the year 2030.

Malaysia is working with Britain to develop its climate change and low carbon transition actions.

Siew said Malaysia could shape its legislation by using the mould of Britain’s Climate Change Act, which targets a minimum of 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 from 1990 levels.

He also said Malaysian policymakers needed to iron out an implementation roadmap and enforcement plans and decide on incentives and penalties.

Noting that the government had made several announcements on the possibility of introducing the act, he said a lot of questions remained unanswered.

He asked: “Who will be affected by the act? What needs to be done to ensure that key players are well aware of their roles and responsibilities? What happens if people do not comply?”

He said he feared that a lack of clarity would cause endless debating in Parliament.

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