• The Government should ratify the Doha Amendment of the Kyoto Protocol along with the ratification of the Paris Agreement

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Member of Parliament for Serdang, on the 27th of October 2016

    The Government should ratify the Doha Amendment of the Kyoto Protocol along with the ratification of the Paris Agreement

    In the parliamentary question and answer session on Tuesday, 25th of October, 2016, I asked the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment to explain when the government will ratify the 2nd commitment period (CP2) of the Kyoto Protocol also known as the Doha Amendment.[1]

    In his verbal reply to me in parliament, the Minister said that the focus should be on the Paris Agreement instead of the Kyoto Agreement. (The clip of his verbal reply can be found here on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mlFP-i7cQQ&feature=youtu.be). His reply was given coverage in the Star newspaper the following day (See below)

    The Minister also said that countries were no longer interested in the Doha Amendment since only 70 countries (as of September 2016) had ratified this amendment which requires 144 countries (or 3 quarters of all the parties to the Kyoto Protocol) to ratify.[2] He highlighted the fact that the United States and Canada are among the two countries who have not signed up to the Doha Amendment as proof that ratifying this amendment was no longer a priority.

    It would be a mistake for Malaysia to simply give up on ratifying the Doha Amendment and simply rush to ratify the Paris Agreement for the following reasons:

    1. The Doha Amendment Commitment Period (CP2) runs from 2013 to 2020 while the implementation of Paris Agreement will only start in 2021.[3] Therefore, there is no overlapping between the CP2 of the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. So, while waiting for the Paris Agreement to ‘kick-in’, the global community needs to ensure that measures to decrease carbon emissions continue to take place and that would happened only when the CP2 enters in force. It was quite shocking for me to hear the Minister say that there is an overlap between the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. This does not bode well given that this Minister and his Ministry is leading the negotiations on behalf of the country for an agreement that will have far-reaching environmental, social and economic impacts on us.

    2. Even if the Doha Amendment does not enter into force because an insufficient number of countries have ratified it, Malaysia should not dismiss it from a principle and moral stand point. In fact, we should have ratify yesteryear to contribute to the numbers needed to ensure that it comes into force sooner rather than later. Precisely because only developed countries have obligation to cut their emissions under CP2, it is painless for Malaysia as a developing country to ratify CP2. This is also in line with holding the developed world accountable to its historical responsibilities towards climate change. And CP2 is that last chance.

    3. Malaysia should act as a responsible global citizen and do its part in ratifying the Doha Amendment, just like 7 out of 10 countries in ASEAN.[4] Besides Malaysia, the only other two countries in ASEAN which have not ratified the Doha Amendment are Laos and Myanmar which are from the category of Least Developed Countries (LDC). Is Malaysia regressing from an advanced developing country to become a LDC? Can Malaysia be an effective advocate on climate change and other environmental policies in ASEAN if it does not even ratify the Doha Amendment?

    4. Ratifying the Doha Amendment would show that Malaysia has a sustained and consistent plan towards addressing climate change beyond just going to New York to take part in high profile signing ceremonies.

    I call upon the Cabinet to give approval for the Government to ratify the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol along with the ratification of the Paris Agreement.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    [1] http://unfccc.int/kyoto_protocol/doha_amendment/items/7362.php

    [2] https://unfccc.int/files/kyoto_protocol/doha_amendment/application/pdf/frequently_asked_questions_doha_amendment_to_the_kp.pdf

    [3] http://www.wri.org/faqs-about-how-paris-agreement-enters-force and https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/CN/2016/CN.735.2016-Eng.pdf

    [4] https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=XXVII-7-c&chapter=27&clang=_en

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