Malaysia’s climate goals moving in the right direction ahead of UN COP28

Written by Ushar Daniele

Published: November 15, 2023

Topic: COP28

Photo: FILE PIX: The teams from the Negeri Sembilan Fire and Rescue Department and the Malaysian Armed Forces are monitoring the situation before delivering food supplies to the residents of Kampung Bemban following the bridge collapse caused by the recent flood in Jelebu on Dec 23, 2021. (PHOTO BY BERNAMA)

KUALA LUMPUR – In anticipation of the crucial United Nations (UN) climate summit, the 28th Conference of Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, climate expert Muaz Mohd Hasnol believes that Malaysia, one of the 198 signatories of the convention has shown promise in its climate goals.

Muaz, who is a working member of the Consultative Panel on Climate Change at the Natural Resources Environment and Climate Change Ministry led by Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said Malaysia has introduced the National Energy Transition Roadmap, showing signs of its commitments and will to address climate change.

It is however, a work in progress, from introducing a National Adaptation Plan, to the an Energy Efficient Bill and a more encompassing Climate Change Act, these work in progress are certainly ‘promising’

“It remains to be seen whether these elements can be delivered in a timely manner to ensure our nation adapts to climate change quickly enough to mitigate its physical and transitional risks,” he said.

The consultant at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) said at the negotiation table at COP28, Malaysia has been consistent with holding developed countries grouped in the Annex 1 category like the United States to account for the global stocktake along with defending its principle and space for the common and differentiated responsibilities (CBDR).

The global stocktake element is what the UN describes as the result of its efforts to overcome climate change and it is a result of two years of assessment of how far nations are straying from its goals to reduce risks of climate change.

This year’s COP28 will see the global stocktake taking centre stage in the negotiations.

Muaz said going into COP28 which will convene for two weeks in November stretching to December in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia should consider bringing a strong position on three elements with the first being a strong global goal on adaptation, a push for the dedicated loss and damage fund with a clear purpose and structure and how the funds will be accessed.

The loss and damage fund was a landmark decision made in 2022’s COP27 that will provide financing to developing nations that are left with minimum monetary capability to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Lastly, Muaz said Malaysia should push for the climate finance target to be realised as developed countries struggled to reach their target of providing US$100 billion a year for assistance.

The expert, who is part of the government’s consultative panel on climate change said his role is to provide recommendations Malaysia takes to the negotiating table at COP28.

“We’ve already had a meeting with the delegation’s representatives where we shared our thoughts and views on what Malaysia should focus on in Dubai and to be honest, I look forward to the end outcomes of COP28 as a whole,” he said.

Youth participation in the climate scene in Malaysia has also been crucial to the ability of the country to propel forward with its climate goals and aspirations.

The ministry has made a point to adopt a whole-of-society approach to shape policies and this includes bringing youth voices to the table.

“Youths are vital in ensuring our current leaders are accountable for their promises and having more ambitious climate targets with implementable plans while they continue to raise awareness amongst the public and continue to hold authorities accountable,” he added.

The ministry’s consultative panel consists of several youth bodies and all are given the opportunity to raise their concerns on things like COP28, Climate Change Act, the National Adaptation Policy and more.

More importantly, however, Muaz recommends the youth to continue to read and build their knowledge because whilst it is easy to demand certain outcomes, getting there may not be as straightforward and requires effective policies.

The conference in Dubai has raised eyebrows with it being presided over by the UAE’s HE Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber, the chief executive officer of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.

Sultan Ahmad Al Jaber is the COP28 President-Designate and UAE Special Envoy for Climate Change.

It has brought many scepticism and criticism towards the ability of this year’s COP to deliver substantive outcomes that could globally accelerate efforts against climate change.

“This will be an interesting one,” Muaz noted.

Read here to know what is COP and why is it important to Malaysia.

About the author of this article
Ushar Daniele

Ushar is a spirited independent broadcast journalist rocking the scene in vibrant Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. For more than a decade, she's been exploring the wonders of Southeast Asia, and after a thrilling stint with Malay Mail, she set sail on her freelance journey in 2017. She has worked both as a producer and correspondent with Al Jazeera English, VICE News Tonight, CNN and The New York Times.