Malaysian Youths speaks out against USA pulling out of UNFCCC Paris Agreement
The Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD) expresses their deepest disappointment in the United States’ decision to withdraw from the UNFCCC Paris Agreement, as announced by US President Donald Trump on 1 June.
The Paris Agreement stresses the principle of Intergenerational Equity, and is of paramount importance to over 1.8 billion youths around the globe. It reflects the moral obligation of the current generation to sustainably transition our planet to future generations. The United States’ decision is not only jeopardising the future of American youth, but also the youth of the world.
Please see attached for the MYD statement in full.
ABOUT THE MALAYSIAN YOUTH DELEGATION (MYD)
A group 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.
Maldives: One of the Small Island States that are vulnerable to climate-induced disasters. They are small and fragile. Inhabited with 345,023 people (World Bank, 2013). Image Adapted from Google Map (2016)
It was yesterday’s High Level Meeting on Climate Resilience that sparked my interest of wanting to understand climate change impacts on small islands, least developed countries (LDCs) and African Countries and the importance of Paris Agreement to these countries.
“We are learning from our failures. Most of our initiatives come from our hard lessons. Politically and physically. More towards physical i.e. climate induced disasters.” says, Ban Ki Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.
According to IPCC and other scientific studies, climate change impacts are growing and heavily affecting small islands and least developed countries. For instance the islanders are suffering from sea level rise, salt-water encroachment onto their fertile soil, ocean acidification, depletion of marine food source, coral reefs’ destruction and many more.
On the other hand, least developed countries such as African continent are experiencing huge challenges in the area of water, agriculture, health, coastal and preservation of biodiversity due to the impacts of climate change.
“As a Pacific Island nation, we are forced to adapt to climate change not by choice but necessity. For us, capacity building is our priority challenge. Talk about being climate resilience. What does climate resilience mean to the small island? Resilience means to build better livable island. How are we going to adapt to this while we are eroding. What we are facing already since 2011 to 2015 is the warmest period on the record. This year is the hottest weather ever.”says, Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa.
He further explained his concern over the sea-level rise. According to third conference of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Samoa, it is reported there is an estimation of sea-level rise up to four times the global average and this continues to be the most pressing threat to their environment and socio-economic development with annual losses at the trillions of dollars due to increased vulnerability.
In the meeting, Samoa and other island nations agreed to support Paris agreement if they recognize the vulnerability of the islands and warrant protection.
For small islands and LDCs, Paris agreement is essential as these are vulnerable countries with minimal resources compared to most of us living on the land that are thousand times larger. Aiming for ‘1.5 degree Celsius’ is crucial for them to ensure survivability of their people. Tuvalu countrymen put high hope on Paris agreement. If there is no global action today (in reference to Paris Agreement), 75% of its people would want to leave Tuvalu. (There are only 9,876 people inhabiting in Tuvalu! source: World Bank, 2013).
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt’s president defends Africa’s interest on climate change. The cost of putting Africa to low carbon growth is no less than $USD 12 billion dollars a year until 2020. African continent lacks the means and resources that will boost their economic development. Hence, Africa emphasized the urgency of adaptation with due consideration of huge challenges in this regard where, adaptation is part of global responsibility.
During this high level meeting, Netherlands agreed to contribute directly of Euro 50 million to climate resilience projects for small island states and LDCs whereas German has contributed Euro 1 billion worldwide on climate resilience projects.
Prof. Gurdial, Malaysian negotiator spoke on behalf of Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDCs), has grabbed attention and applause for defending the rights of developing countries (mainly CBDR-RC).In 1992, the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) establishes a principled basis for differential treatment of countries in the global climate regime with its core principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” (CBDR-RC). The UNFCCC explicitly notes, immediately following its statement of the CBDR-RC principle, that “Accordingly, the developed country Parties should take the lead in combating climate change and the adverse effects thereof.”
LMDCs emphasized on the importance of having developed countries to fulfil their obligations, historical responsibilities, and accept countries’ differentiation and equity in global climate regime.
“On behalf of LMDC, we know you will not be persuaded by our speech. World changed, but historical emission does not change. Developed countries become prosperous because of historical carbon burning. The division of rich and poor has not change. Half of the world population are represented by LMDCs. Two-third of poverty is also our situation. We need convention that impose these realities. Acknowledge historical realities and differentiation” – Prof. Gurdial
The world has always been changing but developed countries have failed to fulfil the obligations imposed themselves especially in reference to Kyoto Protocol and contributions to Green Climate Fund that has been agreed to jointly mobilize USD 100 billion per year by 2020. As of November 2015, the Green Climate Fund has only successfully raised USD 10.2 billion equivalent in pledges from 38 countries.
Part 2: Post-COP21 Reflection on CBDR-RC
After the two weeks of intense negotiations and strong advocacy from various party groups like LMDCs, Least Developed Countries (LDCs), G77 and China, African Groups, Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) and other vulnerable and developing countries; the adopted Paris Agreement has showed the inclusion of CBDR-RC in finance and capacity building.
Article 9.1 states developed country Parties “shall” provide financial resources to assist developing country Parties with respect to both mitigation and adaptation in continuation of their existing obligations under the Convention.
Article 9.2 Other Parties are “encouraged” to provide or continue to provide such support “voluntarily.”
Article 13.9 Developed country Parties “shall”, and other Parties that provide support “should”, provide information on financial, technology transfer and capacity-building support provided to developing country Parties under Article 9, 10 and 11.
However when it comes to “mitigation”, CBDR-RC is not clearly defined.
Article 4.4 Developed country Parties “should”continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets. Developing country Parties “should”continue enhancing their mitigation efforts, and are encouraged to move over time towards economy-wide emission reduction or limitation targets in the light of different national circumstances.
It seems like rich and developed countries are not obligated to be responsible for economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets and there are no mentions in the text on responsibility of “historical emissions” or to “Annex I and non-Annex countries” – which is quite a victory for them as they insist everyone should be responsible on combating climate change. However, these issues I believe will be resurface again probably when the agreement take its effect in 2020.
Nonetheless, there is victory for developing countries as well in successfully maintaining CBDR-RC in some areas of the agreement such as finance and capacity building but not mitigation.
Money is always the problem solver of many things, but it is also the trouble maker. Inevitably, the process of drafting an agreement that will be acceptable for 196 parties faces the same problem. The climate finance issue very critical as the wealthy countries are supposed to provide sufficient funding for the poorer countries to overcome loss and damage caused by climate change and also to develop economies with lower carbon emission. The developing countries did not cause this problem as they only contribute a small share of the greenhouse gases (GHG) which incur the climate change crisis. So rationally, the developed nations should pay for the price of adaptation and mitigation. Four main arguments under this issue are the amount of post-2020 finance to be mobilized, the financial contributors, the loss and damage and the distribution of climate funds between mitigation and adaptation. Amount of post-2020 Finance should be mobilized Many developing countries’ Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) requested financial support to achieve certain amount of emission reduction. The developed countries are urged to scale up their financial contribution, referring the $100 billion per year contribution as the “floor”, by 2020 to unlock the emission cutting goals of the developing countries. The amount of climate finance to be mobilized will be a strong indicator for many stakeholders, including the investors because it will show the prospect and potnetial of the green industry in the future. Who will be paying the bill? Arguments arose on the question of who will be obligated to contribute to the fund and pay for climate change. Is it only the developed countries contributing or both the developed and developing countries? Is it on voluntary basis or with legal restriction? Developed countries want the emerging developing economies who do not have historical responsibility for emission to contribute to the fund while many of the developing countries like India are still struggling in domestic poverty issue. Therefore, the Common but Differentiated Responsibility (CBDR) principle plays an important role in climate finance too. If the principle is taken into account, the bill will be paid by the developed countries. Read more about CBDR here. Loss & Damage Climate change is already happening now; many vulnerable countries are now drowning in the impacts of climate change. There are certain consequences that have been done could not be reversed or cured, such as the typhoons in Philippines. Permanent damages are wound that need constant medication and cannot be cure thoroughly. In order to get funds to alleviate the loss that countries have already faced, the Least Developed Countries (LDC) and other most vulnerable countries are fighting to make sure that the developed countries are going to compensate them. Distribution of climate funds between adaptation and mitigation Many developing countries also demand the distribution of funds between mitigation and adaptation to be balance because they are the frontline community that are more vulnerable towards the climate change. In order to reduce the potential risk of facing loss and damages, they need more funds for adaptation to prevent disastrous effects from jeopardizing them. The developed countries are very mitigation-focused and this caused the distribution of finance between adaptation and mitigation to be one of the hot topics in COP21.
Mr. President, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to convey our profound condolences to the people of France on the recent attacks and to express our solidarity and support in these difficult and challenging times. I would also like to take this opportunity to convey my sincere appreciation to the people of France for their warm hospitality and excellent arrangements.
In 2009 The Right Honourable Prime Minister of Malaysia Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that Malaysia had adopted a voluntary indicator to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions intensity of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) by up to 40 per cent compared to 2005 intensity levels by 2020, conditional on receiving finance, technology transfer and capacity building from developed countries. Malaysia had incorporated measures to address the issues of climate change, environmental degradation and sustainable utilisation of natural resources under the Tenth Malaysia Plan for the period 2011-2015. This Plan had resulted in Malaysia achieving a 33 per cent reduction in emissions intensity of GDP by 2013. During this time the energy sector has been the major contributor to national GHG emissions. The sector was prioritized for mitigation action and saw the introduction of the Renewable Energy Policy and the Renewable Energy Act in 2011. The policy and Act enabled the launching of the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) mechanism to accelerate renewable energy (RE) growth in Malaysia.
The effort will be continued under the Eleventh Malaysia Plan 2016-2020 under the Green Growth Agenda. This agenda calls for strengthening the enabling environment, including policy and regulatory frameworks, human capital and green technology. In addition, investment and financial instruments will be further strengthened. The Green Growth Agenda takes a broad approach that includes conserving our biodiversity. I would like to highlight that Malaysia’s forest cover to date stands at 54.5 per cent. Here we reaffirm our commitment to maintain at least 50% level of forest and tree cover in perpetuity through “zero net deforestation and degradation” thus halting net forest loss by deforestation and stopping net decline in forest quality. This would be achieved by reforestation and enrichment of degraded lands to increase carbon sequestration and mitigate climate change effects.
This can be achieved more effectively through expanding the forest reserves and protected areas under the Heart of Borneo and the Central Forest Spine Initiatives. Currently, we have identified about 144 thousand hectares of land area that can be restored in the Central Forest Spine and 6 million hectares in the Heart of Borneo. Additionally, Malaysia has also implemented REDD+ which saw an estimated total of 97.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions avoided through improved forest management for the period 2006 to 2010. However, our financial, technical and capacity limitations among others, can hinder our progress and efforts to manage and conserve these natural resources. In this regard, external funding can offer viable solutions.
Malaysia too is very concerned about adaptation. Programmes on flood mitigation alone have accounted for more than MYR9.3 billion in spending in the 9th and 10th Malaysia Plans. Further funding is required for the implementation of mitigation programmes from 2016 onwards. At the same time, Malaysia has developed action plans to enhance water security under the National Water Resources Policy that also needs to be implemented.
DATO SRI DR WAN JUNAIDI TUANKU JAAFAR
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Malaysia has demonstrated its commitment in addressing climate change. We would like to urge developed countries to fulfil their obligations as stipulated under the Convention which includes the COP16 decision that developing countries should receive financial resources. This obligation encompasses providing means of implementation, including technology transfer and capacity building for developing countries. Malaysia supports the centrality of the UNFCCC, the importance of equity and transparency as well as the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR). Malaysia looks forward to the adoption of a fair and balanced agreement and urge all Parties to undertake ambitious emission reduction targets for our future generations.