Malaysia is on the right track of cutting carbon emissions by 40%, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday, despite facing difficulties in fulfilling the pledge made in Copenhagen six years ago.
Bernama quoted the prime minister as saying that Malaysia had already reduced the emissions intensity of its gross domestic product (GDP) by more than 33%, and will reach its target by 2020.
The country did not receive the financial and technological transfer assistance pledged by the developed countries during the Copenhagen meeting, he told the United Nations Climate Summit 2014 yesterday.
The summit was attended by world leaders, including United States President Barack Obama, at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
“That target we set in Copenhagen was conditional on finance and technology transfer from Annex I (developed) countries. Yet neither condition was met. We did not receive the assistance we were promised under Article 4.7 of the Convention,” Bernama quoted him as saying.
In the past six years, Malaysia had taken a clear step towards a cleaner future and it had a more sustainable economy and a more balanced energy mix currently, he said.
“But this progress came at a cost. In allocating finite national resources, we have had to make painful decisions. Sometimes, we have had to choose between adaptation and mitigation.”
He said Malaysia had spent nearly US$2.6 billion (RM8.3 billion) in the last decade adapting to more frequent floods.
“This money we could have invested in green industries, or used to slow climate change.”
During a recent dry spell, water shortages and fires combined to destroy thousands of trees planted to sequester atmospheric carbon, he said, adding that Malaysia had shown that its economy could grow while its emissions intensity fell.
“But we have had to divert finances from other sustainable development initiatives – and in those areas, we have lost valuable momentum.
“Malaysia will to continue to act on climate change.”
Najib said the country had new policies to promote energy efficient vehicles: a new, corporate greenhouse reporting programme; a building efficiency project; and a low-carbon city framework. The country was also constructing a new, urban mass-transit system that could halve the number of cars on its streets.
Bernama quoted Najib as saying that in the face of growing climate impacts, Malaysia remained committed to the climate agenda and training its sights on the developed countries.
“Our Copenhagen pledge was made in good faith; on the understanding that parties would fully honour their commitments to assist developing nations.
“They did not. Yet Malaysia continued to cut its emissions intensity, for the sake of our people… and our planet,” he said.
Najib said this time, all countries should commit to an ambitious deal to reduce emissions and they must follow up that commitment with consistent action.
He said Malaysia, a fast developing Asian nation, showed that economic growth need not depend on emissions.
“We stand ready to work with other fast-developing nations to argue for greater ambition in 2015, and to show that economic development and climate action are not competing goals, but common ambitions.” – September 24, 2014.