MALAYSIAN YOUTH DELEGATION RESPONDS TO YB YEO’S ADDRESS AT THE UN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE
The minister makes a strong call for cooperation and leadership from developed nations
KATOWICE, POLAND, 13 December 2018 — Yang Berhormat Yeo Bee Yin, Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change, addressed the high-level segment of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP24) here in Poland yesterday. The Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD) welcomes the minister’s statement as she called for more trust from developed nations and more international cooperation in the fight against the climate crisis.
MYD supports the minister’s call against diluting the principles of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) and equity in the ongoing negotiations. CBDR, a key tenet of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement, has come under attack from several Parties during COP24. It defines that while climate change is a global problem that needs to be tackled collectively, developed nations should take the lead in climate action, based on their historical emissions. It is imperative that Malaysia and other developing nations stand firm and insist on upholding this principle.
We fully support the minister’s call for developed nations to fulfill their moral obligations to provide financial assistance, technology transfer and capacity building to the developing world. This is reiterated in YB Yeo’s exclusive interview in the article “Finding green finance” published in The Star today. Climate finance is crucial for Malaysia to continue to thrive and prosper, while actively executing climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.
It is disheartening that YB Yeo did not highlight the importance of finalising the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP) which is meant to set us on a pathway to limit warming to 1.5ºC by 2100. There was also no reference to the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on 1.5ºC, which has indicated that the world is on its way to 1.5ºC warming as early as 2030 should the climate pledges from Parties remain as they are.
While we commend the minister for calling for more international cooperation and the need for increased assistance, trust and leadership by developed nations, we also note that she made no mention of increasing Malaysia’s ambitions in our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Malaysia is on it’s way to fulfilling its current climate pledge — a reduction of 35% of emissions intensity of GDP by 2030 from 2005 levels, with an additional 10% contingent on the receipt of support from developed nations. As we approach 2020, a year when nations are meant to increase ambitions and NDCs, how will ours be strengthened?
As the minister exclaimed in her address, the word “urgency” has been heavily mentioned at COP24. It can no longer be just a buzzword. It needs to stand for less talking and more immediate action. That starts with stronger and more ambitious NDCs from Parties across the board, including Malaysia.
The minister’s track record in the past 6 months has been commendable, from the change to 1:1 ratio for solar energy sale prices to her campaign against the dangerous radioactive waste management of the controversial Lynas Rare Earth Plant, YB Yeo has taken big strides forward. As Malaysia continues to move towards a greener economy, it is crucial to acknowledge the need for Just Transition to ensure social equity.
Perhaps these bigger strides forward will come in the shape of her plans for a Climate Change Act, which she detailed in an exclusive interview with The Star, or in the shape of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act, which she mentioned in her speech here in Poland. Both are commendable initiatives and if passed into law, could be the kind of action Malaysia needs to address climate change.
At the same time, her plans for a climate change centre are encouraging and exciting news. We hope to see increased youth and civil society representation in the planning of these initiatives. In the spirit of intergenerational equity, we need to be included in the processes, discourse and planning of decisions that will affect us for decades to come. COP24 ends on the 14th of December but climate change and our daily lives carry on. We hope that YB Yeo continues to address the pertinent issues of climate change in Malaysia with strong urgency and greater climate action.
ABOUT THE MALAYSIAN YOUTH DELEGATION (MYD)
A Malaysian civil society organisation consisting of young passionate Malaysians who represent the local youth climate movement at international climate conferences, such as the annual Conference of the Parties, part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Dedicated to raising awareness of climate policies amongst Malaysians, the youth are mentored and trained to translate technical policies into more relevant and relatable information for the public. MYD holds speaking engagements with various climate organisations to better understand the current landscape of local and international climate policy. With that, MYD endeavours to hold Malaysian leaders accountable for the promises made at international climate summits. Find out more at http://powershiftmalaysia.org.my/.
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