To fight climate change, Putrajaya moots law on energy efficiency

May Robertson
Yeo stressed that the notion of being a 'green country' was not just a matter of 'saving the world'; rather it was a necessary move to progress economically. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli

PUTRAJAYA, July 19 — An Energy Efficiency Bill will be introduced next year to help Malaysia cut carbon emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 in compliance with the Paris climate accord, Minister Yeo Bee Yin said.

The energy, green technology, science and climate change minister said the target was not too far from sight and it would continue to be a priority for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

“Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s pledge to reduce carbon emission is something the government believes in, and we want to implement this as well,” she said in an exclusive interview with Malay Mail.

“To facilitate the reduction of carbon intensity, we have an Energy Efficiency bill coming next year. It is still in the Attorney-General’s Chambers and it still has to be reviewed.”

“This is among our efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emission intensity, we are not too far from the 2030 target and I think we have a conservative plan because Malaysia can do more,” she added.

Under the 2015 Paris accord signed by 195 countries, governments agreed to keep global temperatures “well below 2°C” above pre-industrial levels and, ideally, aimed to limit the increase to 1.5°C.

The United States under President Donald Trump notified the United Nations last year that it planned to withdraw from the Paris agreement.

Yeo, who is Bakri MP, stressed that the notion of being a “green country” was not just a matter of “saving the world”; rather it was a necessary move to progress economically.

“Carbon dioxide reduction is not a ‘save the world’ thing, but nearly all countries have signed the Paris agreement and that means a lot of countries will need low carbon products, industries or technologies, so I think Malaysia can move towards that direction,” said Yeo.

“Malaysia is a small emitter of carbon dioxide comparatively. If you look at how we reduce global warming, Malaysia, being such a small country will not contribute much to the reduction no matter how we try.

“That’s why we should approach it differently. As we reduce emission, we should also build the green industry, then we create jobs and experts in the industry so that when there is a demand for this in the world, we will not be left behind,” she added.

In 2015, Malaysia’s recorded carbon emission was down by 33 per cent compared to 2005.

Najib had previously said that Malaysia was determined to be carbon neutral by 2050.

To be carbon neutral indicates that there is zero net carbon emission released into the atmosphere.

Climate change, or global warming, is the damaging effects of greenhouse gasses emitted from human activity like the burning of fossil fuels and agriculture.