• Malaysia’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) shows a lack of commitment and coordination towards addressing climate change challenges

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 1st of December, 2015

    Malaysia’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) shows a lack of commitment and coordination towards addressing climate change challenges

    In Malaysia’s last minute Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) submission, just days before the start of the UN Climate Change Conference or COP 21 in Paris, Malaysia set an ambitious goal of reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity of GDP by 45% by 2030 relative to the emissions intensity of GDP in 2005. A target of a 35% reduction was set unconditionally while a further 10% reduction is contingent upon receiving sufficient climate change related financing, technology transfer and capacity building assistance from developed countries.[1] While these targets sound laudable, Malaysia’s approach towards COP21 shows a lack of commitment from the top leadership in the country and Malaysia’s INDC shows a lack of coordination among the important ministries that are involved in the climate change issue. This calls into question the credibility of the commitments made by Malaysia to reduce its GHG emissions intensity.

    The launch of COP 21 in Paris was attended by 142 Heads of States and Governments including President Barack Obama, President Xi Jin Ping, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Joko Widodo, President Dilma Rouseff and Chancellor Angela Merkel. All the heads of states and governments were given an opportunity to make statements regarding their respective positions on climate change and to demonstrate their commitment to the climate change agenda.[2] Prime Minister Najib’s decision not to attend COP 21 sends a signal to the international community that Malaysia does not see itself as a key player in the battle against global warming.

    Najib’s failure to take the lead on the climate change agenda is not merely restricted to his no-show in Paris. He has not made any major speeches on the issue of climate change domestically or internationally in 2015 (to date). His latest domestic speech on climate change was delivered at the Energy for Tomorrow conference organized by the New York Times in Kuala Lumpur on the 19th of November, 2014.[3] His latest speech on climate change was at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York on the 23rd of September, 2014.[4] PM Najib has not launched any significant domestic policy to demonstrate Malaysia’s commitment to the climate change agenda in 2015.

    Just to use a counter-example, PM Najib’s golfing buddy, President Obama visited Alaska in September 2015 as part of a larger agenda to show the serious impact of global warming.[5] President Obama also launched the Clean Power Plant initiative to reduce GHG emissions from power generation plants.[6] And he has made the climate change agenda one of the main areas of negotiations and cooperation in his foreign policy vis-à-vis China and India.

    Najib’s lack of a leadership role in the climate change agenda is made more serious by the fact that the previous Minister of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE), G. Palanivel, was totally negligent in addressing key issues in the environmental agenda including GHG emissions. In my 2 years in parliament when he was a Minister, I did not see or hear him once answering a question pertaining to his Ministry or taking part in the important budget debates relating to his ministry. And I am not confident that the new Minister of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE), Wan Junaidi, has the necessary grasp of the key issues surrounding climate change and GHG emissions. When I questioned him on the 16th of November, 2015 as to why Malaysia was only one of two countries in South East Asia (the other being Brunei) which had not submitted its INDCs, he replied that Malaysia was still waiting for a decision to be made by a contact group that had met in Dubai the previous week. (See Appendix 1 below) Perhaps he didn’t realize that Malaysia’s own INDC is a domestically determined target that should be set based on parameters and factors within the country rather than to be dictated by a ‘contact group’ comprising of other unnamed nations. I am not sure what conditions this group set that were reflected in Malaysia’s INDC which was eventually released on the 27th of November, 2015. But I am almost certain that there was not much discussion about our INDC in the cabinet which had met earlier on the same day.

    The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment should play the important role as the coordinating agency for GHG emissions and climate change policy. There are many other ministries and agencies which have key roles to play in any strategy to reduce GHG emissions intensity including the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHA), the Ministry for Urban Well-Being, Housing and Local Government (KPKT), the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MITI), the Prime Minister’s Department (JPM), the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities, the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Agricultural and Agro-Industries, just to name a few. The lack of coordination and planning between the various ministries and agencies was already highlighted in the Strategy Paper on Climate Resilience Development in the 11th Malaysian Plan.[7] What is severely lacking in Malaysia’s INDC was a sense of the overall coordination in strategies and polices to reduce GHG emissions intensity. Specific targets and policies from the relevant ministries and their contribution towards GHG emissions intensity were missing from Malaysia’s INDC. Without these targets and policies, the likelihood of Malaysia missing our overall INDC target of a 45% reduction in GHG emissions intensity is increased. Without strategic coordination between the ministries, the likelihood of inconsistent climate change policies also increases.

    Just to highlight one important example in the area of power generation. Power generation contributes more than 50% of the total CO2 emissions in Malaysia mostly through coal and to a lesser extent, gas fired power generation plants.[8] One way to reduce GHG emissions intensity would be to shift away from using polluting power generation technology such as coal and to move towards renewable energy such as solar, biomass and biogas. But according to the Energy Commission, which has to plan for the overall electricity supply needs of the country, coal power is expected to generate 64% of the fuel mix in 2020 (up from 56% in 2016) while renewable energy is projected to only contribute 3% of the overall fuel mix all the way up to 2024 (Appendix 2 below).

    In contrast, the Sustainable Energy Development Authority projects that Renewable Energy will make up 11% of the fuel mix by 2020 and 17% by 2030 (Appendix 3 below). If KeTTHA cannot coordinate between these conflicting published targets involving the largest GHG emissions producing sector, how can we trust that Malaysia can reach its announced target of a 45% reduction in GHG emissions intensity?

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    Appendix 1: Question to and reply from Wan Junaidi in parliament as to why Malaysia still had not submitted its INDC as of the 16th of November 2015.

    Source: Parliament Hansard, 16th of November 2015

    Appendix 2: Projected Generation Fuel mix by the Energy Commission (2014 to 2024)

    Source: Peninsular Malaysia Electricity Supply Outlook 2014, published by the Energy Commission

    Appendix 3: Power Mix of Renewable Energy (2011 to 2030)

    Source: Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA)

    [1] http://www4.unfccc.int/submissions/INDC/Published%20Documents/Malaysia/1/INDC%20Malaysia%20Final%2027%20November%202015.pdf

    [2] http://unfccc.int/meetings/paris_nov_2015/items/9331.php

    [3] http://www.pmo.gov.my/home.php?menu=speech&page=1676&news_id=744&speech_cat=2

    [4] http://www.pmo.gov.my/home.php?menu=speech&page=1676&news_id=736&speech_cat=2

    [5] https://www.whitehouse.gov/2015-alaska-trip

    [6] https://www.whitehouse.gov/climate-change

    [7] http://rmk11.epu.gov.my/pdf/strategy-paper/Strategy%20Paper%2011.pdf

    [8] http://www.universitypublications.net/ijbms/0302/pdf/P4RS188.pdf

  • 第21屆联合国气候变化大会(COP21)-马来西亚陷入进退两难的局面




    多国为了COP21已率先投入大量的政治资本。这包括美国和中国都将气候暖化视为双方合作的优先领域。[1] 此举将对其他主要污染大国,如印度,俄罗斯,巴西,日本,加拿大和印尼带来相当大程度的压力,以便提出限制温室气体排放增长的实质性计划。实际上,几乎将出席COP21的各国代表都已提呈了自己的「国家预期決定做出的贡献」(INDCs),以分别概述各国将如何减排的计划。[2] 马来西亚则在2015年11月27日周五才较迟提呈自己的INDC。[3]


    发展中国家在COP21所采取的谈判手段是合理的。简单而言,发达国家在其初期发展阶段曾享有不公平比例的温室气体排放量。因此,要求发展中国家在自己的发展过程中限制其温室气体排放量是相对的不公平。前期所主要讨论的“减缓”(碳排放)措施,将为发展中国家带来太多的负担。这也会导致发达国家被视为“欺负”发展中国家。因此,LDMCs要扩大对气候变化的讨论范畴,并涵盖“适应”(如何帮助弱势群体应对目前气候变化的措施),金融,建设能力,技术研发和转移,行动和支援方案的透明度,损失和伤害。[5] 换言之,如果发达国家要求发展中国家减少温室气体排放或限制其增长,那它们也必须尽自己的义务来提供融资和技术转移方面的援助。






    [1] https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/09/25/us-china-joint-presidential-statement-climate-change

    [2] http://www4.unfccc.int/submissions/indc/Submission%20Pages/submissions.aspx

    [3] http://www4.unfccc.int/submissions/INDC/Published%20Documents/Malaysia/1/INDC%20Malaysia%20Final%2027%20November%202015.pdf

    [4] http://www4.unfccc.int/submissions/Lists/OSPSubmissionUpload/213_149_130855029280220574-LMDC_Opening_Statement_31Aug2015.pdf

    [5] http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=126913

  • Malaysia Menghadapi Pilihan Sukar Di COP21

    Kenyataan Media oleh Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Ahli Parlimen Serdang pada 29 November 2015

    Malaysia Menghadapi Pilihan Sukar Di COP21

    Persidangan Perubahan Iklim Persatuan Bangsa-bangsa Bersatu (COP21) yang diadakan di Paris akan bermula pada Isnin, 30 November 2015. Matlamat persidangan ini yang paling ketara adalah untuk mendapatkan persetujuan kesemua wakil negara bagi mengurangkan pelepasan gas rumah hijau (GHG) supaya suhu global tidak akan meningkat melebihi 2 darjah celcius menjelang tahun 2100. Titik utama perdebatan dalam mencapai sasaran ini adalah berapa banyak yang sanggup dibayar oleh negara kaya kepada negara miskin untuk melaksanakan teknologi bersih dan berapa banyak kesusahan yang sanggup dihadapi oleh negara miskin dalam mengurangkan pelepasan GHG mereka sendiri. Malaysia melihat dirinya sebagai bersuara untuk kepentingan negara membangun, namun menghadapi pilihan sukar kerana kita sedang beralih kepada status negara maju.

    Banyak modal politik yang telah digunakan menjelang COP21. Amerika Syarikat dan China telah menjadikan perubahan iklim sebagai titik kerjasama yang utama.[1] Negara-negara pencemar utama yang lain termasuklah India, Russia, Brazil, Jepun, Canada dan Indonesia sedang ditekan hebat untuk membentangkan pelan substantif mengenai cara mereka akan menghadkan peningkatan pelepasan gas rumah hijau. Malahan, kebanyakan negara yang hadir pada COP21 telah menghantar Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) yang menggariskan pelan rancangan mereka untuk mengurangkan pelepasan GHG.[2] Malaysia merupakan antara negara terakhir yang menghantar INDC, iaitu pada 27 November 2015.[3]

    Malaysia telah meletakkan dirinya ke dalam kumpulan negara membangun dengan menjadi salah satu suara utama dalam kumpulan “Negara Membangun Berfikiran Sependapat” (Like-Minded Developing Countries, LMDC) yang merangkumi negara besar lain seperti China dan India, serta negara-negara kecil seperti Argentina, Iran, Arab Saudi dan Venezuela. Malahan, ketika dalam sebuah persidangan menuju ke COP21 di Bonn pada 31 Ogos, Malaysa telah diberi penghormatan untuk membuat kenyataan pembukaan bagi pihak LMDC.[4]

    Pendekatan yang diambil oleh negara-negara membangun dalam menghadapi rundingan COP21 adalah cukup munasabah. Secara ringkasnya, negara maju telah mempunyai bahagian yang tidak seimbang dalam pelepasan GHG ketika fasa membangun mereka, maka adalah tidak adil untuk negera membangun menghadkan pelepasan GHG semasa mereka sedang membangun. Fokus sebelum ini yang tertumpu pada langkah-langkah pencegahan telah meletakkan beban yang terlalu berat kepada negara membangun. Dengan itu, negara maju seolah-olah membuli negara membangun. LMDC mahukan perbincangan perubahan iklim tersebut diperluaskan untuk merangkumi langkah penyesuaian (strategi untuk membantu komuniti yang terdedah kepada perubahan iklim yang berterusan), pembiayaan kewangan, pembangunan kapasiti, pembangunan dan pemindahan teknologi, ketelusan tindakan dan sokongan serta kerugian dan kerosakan.[5] Dengan erti kata lain, jika negara maju mahukan negara membangun untuk menghadkan peningkatan dan / atau pengurangan pelepasan GHG, negara maju perlu memainkan peranan dari segi pembiayaan dan pemindahan teknologi.

    Ini semua merupakan usaha yang amat baik. Namun kita perlu sedar akan akibat yang mungkin dihadapi Malaysia dalam rundingan sebagai sebahagian daripada LMDC. Pertamanya, peraliahn Malaysia menuju status negara maju menjelang tahun 2020 akan memungkinkan kita tidak layak untuk menerima dana daripada negara maju berhubung inisiatif perubahan iklim. Sebagai contoh, akses kepada Dana Iklim Hijau yang sepatutnya menerima sumbangan daripada negara maju berjumlah 100 bilion USD setiap tahun menjelang 2020, mungkin tidak dapat dicapai Malaysia jika kita telah mencapai status negara berpendapatan tinggi pada 2020. Malaysia ternampak berminat untuk menjadi ahli Pertubuhan Kerjasama dan Pembangunan Ekonomi (OECD) pada masa akan datang. Jika ini berlaku, hampir pasti bahawa Malaysia tidak akan layak untuk menerima dana perubahan iklim yang ditujukan untuk negara membangun.

    Kedua, ketidakupayaan negara maju untuk membiayai dana bagi pelbagai langkah yang dituntut oleh LMDC mungkin boleh digunakan sebagai alasan oleh Malaysia untuk memberi kurang perhatian terhadap agenda domestik pengurusan alam sekitar yang sewajarnya. Contohnya, Malaysia mungkin menggunakan alasan bahawa tiada pertimbangan yang mencukupi bagi kos penyesuaian pada rundingan COP21 untuk negara yang mengalami banjir teruk akibat daripada pemanasan global dan perubahan iklim. Namun terdapat bukti kukuh bahawa sebahagian besar banjir teruk yang melanda Kelantan, Terengganu dan Pahang pada penghujung 2014 diakibatkan pengurusan hutan dan tanah yang teruk serta pembalakan haram. Dengan memberi tumpuan terhadap potensi kelemahan COP21 dari sudut penyesuaian, kita memberi diri sendiri alasan untuk tidak memberi tumpuan kepada faktor bukan penyebab perubahan iklim yang menyebabkan kerosakan serius terhadap alam sekitar di Malaysia.

    Kita sudah boleh melihat beberapa ‘kaveat’ (halangan) ini dikemukakan dalam INDC Malaysia, yang menekankan kos tinggi berhubung langkah-langkah penyesuaian yang telah dan akan terus dilaksanakan dalam pelbagai bidang seperti banjir, jaminan bekalan air, jaminan bekalan makanan, penjagaan pinggiran pantai serta kesihatan. (Ulasan terperinci terhadap INDC Malaysia akan disiarkan kemudian).

    Sebagai kesimpulan, walaupun tumpuan di COP21 akan banyak diberikan kepada pertikaian antara negara maju dan negara membangun, kerajaan Malaysia tidak patut terlepas pandang isu peralihan negara kita daripada negara membangun kepada negara maju dan juga tidak harus memberi alasan untuk melepaskan diri daripada melaksanakan polisi dan memastikan penguatkuasaan yang lebih baik bagi melindungi alam sekitar di Malaysia.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Ahli Parlimen Serdang

    [1] https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/09/25/us-china-joint-presidential-statement-climate-change




    [5] http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=126913

  • Malaysia – Caught between a rock and a hard place at COP21

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 29th of November 2015

    Malaysia – Caught between a rock and a hard place at COP21

    The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, otherwise known as COP21, will begin in Paris on Monday, 30th of November, 2015. The aims of the conference are ambitious with the most notable goal being to get all the countries represented to agree to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions so that global temperatures do not rise more than 2 degree Celsius by 2100. The major point of contention in achieving this target would be how much rich countries are willing to pay poor countries to put in place cleaner technologies and how much pain poor countries are willing to bear to reduce their own GHG emissions. Malaysia sees itself as belonging to and speaking up for the interests of the developing countries but is caught between a rock and a hard place as we transition towards the status of a developed country.

    Much political capital has been expended in the lead-up to COP21. Both the United States and China have made climate change a priority area of cooperation.[1] There is also considerable pressure on the other major polluters such as India, Russia, Brazil, Japan, Canada and Indonesia to present substantive plans on how they will limit the growth of GHG emissions. Indeed, almost all the countries represented at COP 21 have submitted their own Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) which outlines their respective plans to reduced GHG emissions.[2] Malaysia was a late submitter having only sent in its INDC on Friday, 27th of November, 2015.[3]

    Malaysia has put ourselves firmly in the group of developing countries by being one of the leading voices in the group of “Like-Minded Developing Countries” (LMDC) which includes heavyweights such as China and Indian as well as smaller countries such as Argentina, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, just to name a few. Indeed, at one of the lead-up conferences top Paris COP 21, which took place in Bonn on the 31st of August, Malaysia was given the honour of making the opening statement on behalf of the LMDCs.[4]

    The approach taken by developing countries in facing the COP 21 negotiations is a reasonable one. Put simply, the developed countries have had a disproportionate share of GHG emissions during their developing phase and as such, it would be unfair for developing countries to limit their GHG emissions during their own growth phase. The previous focus mainly on ‘mitigation’ measures put too much of the burden on developing countries. Developed countries was seen as ‘bullying’ developing countries. The LDMCs want to broaden the discussion on climate change to included adaptation (strategies to help vulnerable communities adapt to ongoing climate change), finance, capacity-building, technology development and transfer, transparency of action and support, as well as loss and damage.[5] In other words, if developed countries want developing countries to limit the growth of and / or reduce GHG emissions, they have to do their part in terms of financing and technology transfer.

    All this is fine and good but we should be aware of the possible consequences for Malaysia in negotiating as part of the LMDCs. Firstly, Malaysia’s transition into a high income nation by 2020 may disqualify us from receiving funding from developed countries for climate change related initiatives. For example, access to the Green Climate Fund, which is supposed to receive contributions of US$100 billion a year by 2020 from developed countries, may not be possible for Malaysia if we reach a high income nation status by 2020. There are indications that Malaysia may be interested to be a member of the OECD group of developed countries in the near future. If this is the case, then it is almost certain that Malaysia would not be eligible for climate change funding that is meant for developing countries.

    Secondly, the inability of the developed countries to adequately fund the various measures demanded by the LMDCs may be used as a convenient excuse for Malaysia to pay less attention to the domestic agenda of proper environmental management. For example, Malaysia may use the excuse that there is insufficient consideration for adaptation costs in the upcoming COP21 negotiations for countries that are experiencing more severe flooding as a result of global warming and climate change. But there is strong evidence that the serious flooding which occurred in Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang at the end of 2014 is at least partly the result of bad forest and land management as well as illegal logging. By focusing on the potential shortcomings of COP 21 from an adaptation standpoint, we are giving ourselves an excuse not to focus on the non-climate change factors which are causing serious environmental damage in Malaysia.

    We can already see some of these ‘caveats’ being presented in Malaysia’s INDC which highlights the high costs associated with the adaptation measures which has been and will continue to be put in place in areas such as flooding, water security, food security, protecting coastlines and health. (A more detailed critique of Malaysia’s INDC will be published later.)

    To summarize, while the focus at COP 21 will be on the potential divisions between the developed and developing world, the Malaysia government must not lose sight of our nation’s transitional position between the developing and developed countries and also not give excuses to exonerate itself from implementing better policies and ensuring better enforcement to safeguard the environment in Malaysia.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    [1] https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/09/25/us-china-joint-presidential-statement-climate-change

    [2] http://www4.unfccc.int/submissions/indc/Submission%20Pages/submissions.aspx

    [3] http://www4.unfccc.int/submissions/INDC/Published%20Documents/Malaysia/1/INDC%20Malaysia%20Final%2027%20November%202015.pdf

    [4] http://www4.unfccc.int/submissions/Lists/OSPSubmissionUpload/213_149_130855029280220574-LMDC_Opening_Statement_31Aug2015.pdf

    [5] http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=126913

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