When prime minister, Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri pledged that our nation will be Carbon Neutral by as early as 2050, all industry players and climate conscious public members applauded the move and sighed a breath of relief that we’re finally taking things as seriously as we should be. But despite the excitement, we were all left with the lingering question…
Taking the lead in answering that question, the Climate Governance Network alongside Kementerian Alam Sekitar dan Air (KASA), the CEO Action Network (CAN) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) sat together with other government agencies, NGOs, industry leaders and the general public in a series of 14 roundtable discussions that covered 4 industry sectors which led to the formulation of a 146-page report titled “Towards a Low Carbon Emissions Pathway” - a report that provides key policy recommendations that would guide the government in our transition towards a carbon neutral nation.
The report, which was released in April 2022, covers a large range of topics under each of the 4 industry sectors – the Energy & Transport Sector, Property and Construction Sector, Plantations Sector and Telecommunications Sector. The full 146-page report with recommendations and illustrations can be read here.
Having this report in hand helps us in some ways to answer the “how” question. The roadmap is an inspiring document that realistically tackles the challenges faced in each sector and in our socioeconomic climate with recommendations to move forward in developing the right policies/ strategies.
The report was a nudge to then Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri to work with industry stakeholders and the public to develop holistically meaningful policies. However, the release of the National Energy Policy in October 2022 which showed a lack of ambition and contradictory remarks was a disappointing reality to many who participated in the round-table discussions. So now we’re left with a new question…
What will our incoming government do differently?
No one has an answer to this but our plea to the incoming government is that they prioritize cooperation with all industry stakeholders when it comes to policy making.
The industry and the public are eager to work together towards achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. In fact, 42% of the respondents during a recent survey thought climate neutrality by 2050 is too late. With the majority of the population viewing climate change as an global emergency, we wish Malaysia to become a regional leader in setting the pace for an environmentally sound economy, one where environmental social governance (ESG) principles are at the core of our economic growth and where the impacts of climate change can be averted for the sake of our people today and of the future.
A good place to start would be for the government to adopt the low-carbon policy recommendations recently served on a silver platter (link).