Side Event in COP21: Asean collaboration in tackling Peatland Fires, Haze and Climate Change
In this session, Dr. Gary William Theseira, Deputy Undersecretary, Environment Management and Climate Change Division, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Malaysia has shared several key points on how Asean countries come together in combating climate change, peatland fires and haze including:-
At COP21: Asean is not a group to speak at COP but for the past two years. Asean has been working as a group on a joint statement on climate change.
Adaptation strategy by Asean on climate change: Asean Working Group on Climate Change (AWGCC) was formed to find common ground to fight climate change and hence, they agreed to share information of sea level rise, extreme events in detailed levels.
Asean on sharing expertises:
ASEAN Haze Monitoring System (AMHS) developed by Singapore cost $100,000 is expected to make use of land concession maps from each country, hot-spot data and high resolution satellite images to pinpoint companies responsible for burning land illegally.
Asean work closely in conducting researches and a number of joint programs related to forest and natural areas. E.g. Global Environment Centre
Thailand (Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization, TGO) make a good position in Carbon Labelling.
Malaysia share their expertise promoting Green Building Monitoring Tool – monitor the life cycle of architecture / building.
Here are some Q&A on how Asean Countries handle Peatlands and Climate Change:-
Q: Do you have any framework on tackling illegal forest burning and encroachment? As I understand, Asean cannot interfere other Asean countries that causes this problem.
Law and legislation are there but there is lack of implementation/enforcement on peatlands in the region. Currently Asean is coordinating enhance capacity of local government, local sectors, and community to work together. Further works need to be done.
Q. Direct to Dr. Gary: I am struck by your statement that ASEAN countries want to develop without becoming the major emitter. How Asean can contribute in the debate in equity when it comes into the agreement. How Asean can come into play in the negotiation?
Dr. Gary: There is growing role in Renewable Energy. Asean does not have access to traditional Renewable Energy like wind, and solar. We are looking forward to something like biomass and wave energy. This is where technology transfer comes in. This could be the pathway where we can achieve clean energy.
Rehabilitation of peat swamps are achievable in other parts of the world but we need to consider the cultural, and social parts of the world.
With the current technologies – it is evident the cost is very high. For instance, to build a railroad, every one meter you need two concrete slippers. We know the carbon price of steels and concrete slippers. We need to pass via a phase where carbon emissions will be higher. We are trying to incorporate that into agreement. Benefit of that, you can remove x number of cars. Means and numbers are there. We need to come down to speak honestly. We need to come down to the level where we can honestly discuss and work on this together.
Q. I think we are overlooking issue such as peatland subsidence. Peatland oxidize, carbon release to the air and soil is lowered 5 cm per year. In asean region. Bottom of the peats lie below. What would the solution be in addressing such issue?
Peatland subsidence (lowering of the soil): Impact of drainage without fire has been recognized as the main sources of GHG. That has led to adoption of new principles and criteria. Any plantations on peat must do a drainage projection on the next 40 years. If not, it must rehabilitate and use only for wet-production. Only applicable to RSPO for now. This is one of the major challenges in the future.
Q. Long Term Solution for Haze Problem?
Dr. Gary: Long term solution to the haze problem lies in building your capacity of indigenous and local people the dangers of traditional agricultural practices in a changing environment.
Written by: Jolene Journe T.
Spot me at Youth Forum in Indonesia Pavilion, COP21
While I was still in Malaysia preparing for COP21, I received a short email from Adrian and Lastrina asking if I am keen to share my climate initiatives and experiences for the coming Youth Forum event organized by Indonesian Pavilion in COP21.
Well, the moment I say “Yes” is the day I am glad I did it.
Everyone woke up from their comfy little warm beds as early as 6 a.m in the morning, in order to held a group meeting. Sleep is optional, I supposed.
One of my daily routine in Paris, is to check the daily COP21 programme from the UNFCCC website. I would like to call the web site a Bible, because it contains every single piece of updated information regarding COP21. My plan for today is to attend the SB informal consultation on the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with climate change impacts (such a long title right?) and Climate Action Network (CAN) Daily meeting.There is nothing special happening in the SB informal consultation meeting because the agenda for today was to adopt the draft conclusion proposed by the Chairs. There is some disagreements for the draft context, requesting on changing some grammars and checking for inconsistencies. For example, requesting to change the word ENCOURAGE to URGE as it sound more promising and strong. The draft decision was successfully adopted.
I went to the CAN daily meeting afterwards. The security measures were indeed strict as only selected people were allowed to access the meeting venue. I noticed that everyone was wearing a headphone that is provided by COP21. Unfortunately, I chose not to wear and here is where the silly part kicks in. I was tidying up my homework at that moment and I kept hearing mumbles. After a while, everyone was laughing. Now I know why! The soundproof of the room was so poor. In order to prevent information leak, people choose to listen to the content of the meeting through headphone instead of live voices.
Inevitably to say, CAN daily meeting was very informative and organised. I am really impressed. CAN members separate themselves into different working group and excel from it, such as adaptation working group, mitigation working group, etc. Each group will need to report back the the latest negotiation status of the topic they are in charged in. In other words, you will get all the important information in just half an hour or less. How amazing is that? I will suggest the team to integrate this idea into our MYD daily meeting. While heading back to our base in the evening, I saw a family with lots of luggage. They are trying to carry the luggages (at least 5 big XL size luggages) and climb all the way up from the staircase. The father seemed exhausted. Initially I passed by them and there is a sudden thought that stopped me from walking away. I make a “U- turn” and lend them a helping hand. “Thank you very much young boy!” A simple gesture of thanks from them did make me feel delighted. Helping others in need is my pursuit of my happiness.
At night, there was an Asian Meetup. People from China, Taiwan, Nepal, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, and Singapore were coming for a dinner. All of us went to a Chinese restaurant named WenZhou for dinner which is located at Belliville Chinatown. Apparently there were many shops that use the name WenZhou and, it was kinda confusing. But we managed to gather together and had a wonderful dinner together. After listening to their conversation, I was amazed by their effort in mobilizing and creating action for the youth in combating climate change. Albeit I am not interested in mobilization, I did felt a sudden adrenaline rush flowing in my vine. I was pumped up!
p.s Another highlight of the day was I found my favorite snack in one of the Asian Market.
Written by : Thomas Lai
Edited by: Merryn Choong
ASEAN, GEC: Towards Low Carbon and Climate Resilient ASEAN Community Post-2015
Despite the countless negotiation meetings and hectic schedule, Dr Gary Theseira, our respectable Head of the Malaysian Delegation in COP21 has spoken in the “Towards Low Carbon and Climate Resilient ASEAN Community Post-2015”, particularly on the “Cooperation among the ASEAN Countries on Climate Change”.
“(This is) new era of sharing on a number of (different) levels,” said Dr. Gary.
Five points of the ASEAN collaboration on climate change:
1. Sharing on information – countries have been sharing the information about the threats such as the rising sea level and the extreme events, at very detailed levels. Furthermore, the Southeast Asia countries have their diversity in terms of climate change action. For example, not all of them do carbon labelling. In this case, Thailand which made a good position in carbon labelling (Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management & Asian Institute of Technology) can share their knowledge and experience with their neighbouring nations.
2. Sharing expertise – different ASEAN countries have different forte in addressing climate change. For instance, Thailand has good education program whilst Singapore has invested a lot of effort on private sectors. Exchange in expertise will improve the capacity of each country.
3. Collaboration of monitoring and hotspots researching – A number of joint programs related to forest and natural areas have been organized between countries, for example, the Borneo forest. When two countries work together, there will be much lesser trouble on forest management and can prevent biodiversity trafficking.
4. Familiarize each other with climate finance and funds – Not all ASEAN countries are familiar with the private sectors of financing and climate. Malaysia’s Green Building Index, which is a monitor system of the building’s lifecycle (eg, carbon emission), is not common in the Southeast Asia region. Therefore, sharing of information should be done to improve communication and knowledge.
5. Drafting the Joint Statement on Climate Change – Although the ASEAN is not a negotiation bloc in the COP21, we have been working as a group to produce the joint statement for 2 consecutive years. This has strengthened the bond among the countries and showed that they are taking it very serious, as the ASEAN members are vulnerable. Food security, indigenous people are important yet fragile in these nations.
Written by Elaine See
In preparation for the adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015 Governments “in a position to do so” were to submit an “Intended Nationally Determined Contribution” (INDC).
ASEAN countries INDC for COP21
||Singapore – “Singapore communicates that it intends to reduce its Emissions Intensity by 36% from 2005 levels by 2030, and stabilise its emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030.” (WRI)
||Indonesia – “Indonesia has committed to reduce unconditionally 26% of its greenhouse gasses against the business as usual scenario by the year 2020…Indonesia is committed to reducing emissions by 29% compared to the business as usual (BAU) scenario by 2030.”
Conditional target: “Indonesia’s target should encourage support from international cooperation, which is expected to help Indonesia to increase its contribution up to 41% reduction in emissions by 2030.” (WRI)
||Thailand – Thailand intends to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% from the projected business-as-usual (BAU) level by 2030. The level of contribution could increase up to 25%, subject to adequate and enhanced access to technology development and transfer, financial resources and capacity building support through a balanced and ambitious global agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
||Cambodia – offered to cut its GHGs by 27% below 2010 levels by 2030, adding that it expects to receive help finance through bilateral and multilateral mechanisms. (CP)
||Laos – Did not set an overall target, but listed a number of projects it would carry out on the condition it received international support, including increasing forest coverage, boosting renewables and implementing transport-focused NAMAS. The projects would cut around 1.8 million tonnes of CO2e annually. (CP)
||Myanmar – “Myanmar would undertake mitigation actions in line with its sustainable development needs, conditional on availability of international support, as its contribution to global action to reduce future emissions of greenhouse gases. The document also presents planned and existing policies and strategies which will provide the policy framework to implement identified actions and prioritise future mitigation actions.” (WRI)
||The Philippines – Pledging to cut by 70% its carbon emissions by the year 2030, conditional on assistance from the international community. (Rappler)
||Vietnam – pledged to keep emissions 8% below BAU levels over 2020-2030, but could increase the target to 25% with appropriate funding. Reductions would be made by cutting carbon intensity and increasing forest coverage. Vietnam adopted a green growth strategy in 2012 that foresaw linking up to the international carbon market. (CP)
||Brunei – “Energy sector: to reduce total energy consumption by 63% by 2035 compared to a BusinessAsUsual (BAU) scenario; and to increase the share of renewables so that 10% of the total power generation is sourced from renewable energy by 2035. Land Transport sector: to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from morning peak hour vehicle use by 40% by 2035 compared to a business as usual scenario. Forestry sector: to increase the total gazette forest reserves to 55% of total land area, compared to the current levels of 41%.” (WRI)
||Malaysia – Malaysia intends to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity of GDP by 45% by 2030 relative to the emissions intensity of GDP in 2005. This consist of 35% on an unconditional basis and a further 10% is condition upon receipt of climate finance, technology transfer and capacity building from developed countries.