Post-COP24 Forum: Malaysia’s Perspective on the Katowice UN Climate Change Conference

Post-COP24 Forum: Malaysia’s Perspective on the Katowice UN Climate Change Conference

The United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP24, in Katowice was deemed as a turning point for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement Rulebook, agreed on at COP24, acts as an operating manual to guide countries (or “Parties” in UNFCCC speak) to meet the ultimate goal of limiting global temperature rise to well below 2°C.

The release of the Special Report on 1.5 degrees by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in October 2018 raised concerns over the current level of ambition that Parties have committed to in the face of climate change. Calls for higher ambition at COP24 echoed the sentiments that came out of COP23. But did we get it?

The question still remains; did Parties do enough to raise ambitions? Is multilateralism still alive? Can the international community work together to avoid the worst impacts of the inevitable climate crisis?

Most importantly, where does Malaysia lie in all of this?

Join us at our Post-COP24 Forum to find out! Our distinguished panelists, consisting of Malaysians from the government, civil society, and youth organizations who attended COP24, will discuss the outcomes and how Malaysia fits into the global picture. We will have a Q&A session after the panel session, but please feel free to send us questions beforehand!

Kindly RSVP by 24th January 2019. Registration is FREE and space is LIMITED.

Drop us a message on our social media or at mydclimatechange@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Panel

  • Muhammad Ridzwan Ali, Assistant Secretary, Environmental Management and Climate Change Department, Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change
  • Meena Raman, Climate Change Programme Coordinator, Third World Network
  • Liyana Yamin, COP24 Delegate, Malaysian Youth Delegation

Opening address by

  • H.E. Krzysztof Dębnicki, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Malaysia

Agenda:

10.30 – 11.00 am: Registration and light refreshments

11.00 – 11.05 am: Welcoming Remarks by a representative from the Malaysian Youth Delegation

11.05 – 11.15 am: Opening Statement by H.E. Krzysztof Dębnicki, the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Malaysia

11.15 – 11.20 am: Panel introduction by Moderator

11.20 – 12.20 pm: Panel discussion

12.20 – 12.50 pm: Q&A Session

12.50 – 12.55 pm: Closing remarks and presentation of token of appreciation

12.55 – 1.00 pm: Group photo

 

How to get to Common Ground Bukit Bintang

    1. The nearest MRT station is Bukit Bintang. The walk from MRT Bukit Bintang Pintu D to Menara Worldwide takes about 10 mins.
    2. Parking at Menara Worldwide at RM3.50/hour.
    3. Open space parking across the street next to Shell gas station at RM8.00/entry.

      The Time I Delivered a Speech on Behalf of YOUNGO

      The Time I Delivered a Speech on Behalf of YOUNGO

      Hi, it’s me again bringing you more content on just transition. On the 5th of December, YOUNGO was invited to participate in an Open Dialogue with the Polish presidency, centering around the theme of “just transition”. Aimed at engaging key stakeholders, the open dialogue was first initiated during COP 23. According to my YOUNGO peers, the Fijian presidency worked closely with different key constituencies to set the agenda for the dialogue session. There was no such opportunity for collaboration this time around.

      Photo taken by Syaqil.

      With all the action happening on the COP 24 floor, I joined the intervention drafting session on a whim. I was taking a breather in the computer room with some of the MYD members after a morning of informal consultation meetings. Syaqil mentioned that he would be joining the open dialogue speech planning. At the time, I was in a writing rut so I decided to come with. With fellow YOUNGO members, we started drafting the speech without a clue about the format or the layout of the session. The only guidance we received from the Secretariat was the following 5 questions:

      1)    What does Just Transition mean for different stakeholders?

      2)    How can Just transition policies contribute to the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement?

      3)    For which of the recommendations of the SR1.5 will the imperative of a just transition of the workforce be particularly relevant?

      4)    How can different stakeholders contribute to these policies?

      5)    Can we identify common areas among different constituencies and stakeholders that help to achieve a Just Transition?

      We immediately jumped into identifying what Just Transition looks like for different YOUNGO members, and had an hour-long dialogue on our concerns about the future. Although we strayed from writing the actual speech, I felt connected at the core with fellow youth representatives from around the world. The exchange kept the passion for climate action glowing in my core. It’s easy for the older generations to sit around and talk about future ramifications of inaction. But, we the youth will be the ones without sustainable jobs and experience the lack of socioeconomic mobility brought on by a transition into a low-carbon economy. Unanimously agreed that our key messages will touch upon increased ambition, to keep the youth and future generation when planning for a transition, and to involve youth in decision-making processes.

      The result of our brainstorming can be found below.

      Good afternoon everybody.

      My name is Tan Cai May from Malaysia, and I am speaking on behalf of YOUNGO.

      Formally recognized in 2009, YOUNGO serves as the official voice of young people from around the globe in the climate negotiations under the UN Climate Change. It is an independent volunteer-run structure comprising a membership of more than 200 youth-led, youth-focused NGOs, working in the field of climate change and environmental sustainability.

      YOUNGO is delighted to see that steps are being taken to continue the open dialogue platform started at COP23 – we would have appreciated this even more if the room was set up with a square table, which is more conducive for dialogue. YOUNGO played a key role in the collaborative agenda setting of last year´s dialogue at COP23 and is willing to continue such approaches towards this and future UNFCCC sessions to further strengthen the relationship we have built.

      We appreciate the Polish Presidency’s assertion that just transition holds a variety of meanings across different communities. To children and youth all over the world, just transition concerns among other challenges: healthy and clean work environment, labour rights, job opportunities, social security, and community resiliency.

      We, as young people, identify intergenerational equity as the central theme to just transition. Transition involves a change, and we, the young people want to play an even more active role in this process of change. The children & youth are the future and we want to shape our future together with you. Meaningful participation of young people in negotiations and policy-making processes is key in attaining a sustainable and just transition.

      We would like to take this opportunity to point out that ‘just transition’ is only mentioned once and in a vague manner in the Paris Agreement. We believe that it should be properly addressed in the negotiations considering that climate injustice is what’s pushing people to refuse the transition towards a green economy. Furthermore, there should be clear guidelines on how to assure just transition in the process of keeping the temperature increase below 1.5°C.

      We, as children and youth, will continue to pursue opportunities in the workforce that endeavour to create pathways towards limiting greenhouse gas emissions using available innovative and technological approaches, in order to achieve climate resilient development and meet long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. The IPCC Special Report shows that there is no time to wait. We need to raise ambitions immediately, and we need to have a transition starting today. We, as children and youth, have been taking action and will continue to do so. We are already creating change and we urge you to join us in this process.

      Thank you for your attention.

      As the presenter, I was grateful for the opportunity to speak on behalf of YOUNGOs at COP 24. However, there were great points from our discussion that did not transfer over into the speech, and I would like to highlight some of them.

      First, we would like current leaders to acknowledge that our generation will not be as well-off compared to our parents’ generations. Natural resources are depleting at a high rate, and we will have to face the accumulated climate change effects. Our discussion also highlighted the unprecedented effect of exporting externalities to developing countries, where communities are more vulnerable to climate change effects and socioeconomic externalities of modern-day consumerism. In regards to the green technology and clean energy aspect of just transitions, my peers and I agreed that outcomes from the decarbonization movement need to be accessible and affordable to all. We recognized the developed-developing divides and hope that transition issues will improve the disparity rather than exacerbate it.

      At this point, we don’t know if the outcomes of this ‘dialogue’ were documented and presented to world leaders negotiating our future. But why wait on others to do something about it.

      Written by: Cai May

      Edited by: Mike

      Just Transition Already Lah

      Just Transition Already Lah

      Day 2 of COP 24 kickstarted with much buzz around “just transitions”. Just transition has been described as a just and ethical process to shift to a low-carbon economy, keeping in mind the implications towards socioeconomic, energy and environmental systems. The need for just transition has come up primarily as an environmental justice issue in civil rights movements, before being included in climate change discussions over the past few years.

      Got to take the YOUNGO seat during the official opening ceremony.

      Within the just transition movement, there are groups advocating for the acceleration of low-carbon efforts, and there are groups that call for less ambitious mitigation. Communities experiencing climate change effects and suffering from distributional inequity are coming forward to call for better management of mitigation efforts as the economy undergoes changes. Thematic movements include energy democracy, food sovereignty, and sustainable job opportunities. In the other camp, we have the traditional coal miners and shale frackers who are still relying on fossil fuel extraction to put bread on the table. The tension going forward with decarbonizing the economy has been brewing all these years especially in labor union strongholds of Europe. The gilets de jaune protests are still happening in France as we speak.

       

      The chatter on just transitions in COP 24 came from both sides of the transition story piece. In the beginning of the conference, CSOs were critical towards the Polish presidency’s message (based on my experience at that one pre-COP CAN strategy meeting I attended but still!) In the month leading up to COP 24, the Polish Presidency’s released a three-pronged strategy for the conference, one of which underscores for an ethical and fair shift in market. These key strategies were reiterated during the presidency’s opening speech on the second official day of COP.

       

      COP 24 President Michal Kurtyka delivering the opening address. Photo by Andrzej Grygiel/EPA-EFE.

      While the preceding Fijian presidency underlined just transitions for all and especially vulnerable communities that are at the frontline of experiencing climate change effects, the Polish presidency honed in on just transition matters in the coal industry. COP 24 president Michal Kurtyka gave a powerful speech on working together towards a low carbon future, tying in a message on balancing climate action and human behavior. To quote: “How do you tell a population of 5 million in 70 cities in the Silesian region to move on?” This sentiment was shared by the mayor of Katowice, Maric Krupa as he talked about the achievements of the city and how far they have come. Reigning in the message in for the third time, the Polish environment minister Henryk Kowalcyk called for more social cost consideration in decision-making concerning decarbonization. Clearly, Poland was ambiguous about their feelings on transitioning.

      Before I continue, I would like to clarify that by no means I am anti-just transition. My take is but a critical lens on what the Polish presidency has to say about just transitions in the COP space because it does reflect on their intended outcomes of COP 24. But I digress. The Solidarity and Just Transition Silesian Declaration was presented by Kowalcyk during the opening ceremony and contains language that is more accommodating towards the Paris Agreement and climate action efforts than I expected. While Katowice takes pride in going from “black to green” in the Upper Silesian region known for its coal production, I think that the Polish presidency, in upholding this model city, fails to address just transition in practice. My Uber driver laid down some quick facts about Upper Silesia for me, as we drove towards the city from the airport. Apparently, there are some 20 (27 as of 2014) coal mines still in operation in the Upper Silesian coal basin, accounting for ~ 74% of coal mining activity in Poland and producing up to 330 million tonnes of coal within the 2010 – 2014 period. The model city, it seems, managed to transform because the region needed a place to grow their service sector and it just so happened to be Katowice. My driver continued to lament about the satellite cities and the collective challenge to “go green”, citing the legacy of a coal-heavy economy. “Mining runs in the family… it’s all they really know how to get an income.”

      Coal at the Katowice Pavillion.

      During my daily commute to Katowice, I couldn’t help but notice the power plants puffing away in the vast, open fields in between station stops at towns. How is it that countries like Poland wean off coal? To think of it, the transition will happen if you want it or not, it’s the justice aspect that you’ll have to consider. When I dropped by the Katowice pavilion, I thought the whole coal display was distasteful in contrast to the reality of the industry’s future. Soaps and coal pendants available at the nearest tourist information center is not going to get coal miners out of a dying industry, the political will to provide transitional platforms will. Until alternative industries flourish and potential employees undergo suitable training, the Upper Silesian region will only bask in the shadows of monumental “progress” in hosting COP 24 and the climate action success attributed to it. Just transition already lah…

      Written by: Cai May

      Edited by: Mike

      Opening of Young and Future Generations Day – Growth in Youth Climate Movement in ASEAN

      Opening of Young and Future Generations Day – Growth in Youth Climate Movement in ASEAN

      On 6 December, it was a day of celebration for youths at COP in what was called the Young and Future Generations (YoFuGe) Day. On top of showcasing climate action powered by youths, it was a day where we could speak up in communicating our aspirations for a just climate future.

      During the opening ceremony of YoFuGe Day, I was given the opportunity to speak on behalf of Malaysian youths. Here, I shared upon how 2018 has been a healthy year for youth climate involvement as Malaysian youths have had the opportunity to attend climate conferences throughout the ASEAN region.

      We had youths attending the Asia-Pacific Climate Week conference in Singapore, in July. In September, we had representatives attending the UNFCCC SB48-2 Bangkok Climate Change Conference. In October, we had a representative attend the Asia-Pacific Adaptation Forum in Manilla. In November, there was the ASEAN Pre-COP Capacity Building Workshop in Singapore (The Malaysian node happened in October) as well as, for the first time ever, our very own Local Conference of Youth (LCOY).

      I stressed how ASEAN as well as nearby regions still very much focus on the rapid growth of their economies. Therefore, the youth need to provide checks and balances, not only to governments but also to large corporations whom still very much rely on extraction in generating profits at a maximum. In demanding for Just Transition, the youth aren’t just asking for the transition from coal to renewable energy, but by transitioning into 2030, we would still want a world with a hospitable and livable climate.

      When it comes to climate diplomacy, the ASEAN and nearby regions have not been as prominent as its Western counterparts, but it’s about time that we start putting the environment, let alone climate change, at the top of our agenda. Not only would we need to strengthen our NDCs in light of the Special Report on 1.5, but we need Parties to commit to launching domestic processes to strengthen NDCs. The importance of multi-stakeholder participation cannot be stressed enough.

      Speaking on behalf of Malaysian youths in its growing climate movement across ASEAN.

      Where others argue that economic development will not be sacrificed in the name of climate change and that we shall not pay for the sins of others, I implore that they reflect on such a position. Where a country’s policies are still geared towards providing fuel subsidies, plantations are being built in the name of carbon sinks (having totally disregarded that huge areas of land have to be deforested anyway), and where public transportation projects are being scrapped as a result of a tight national budget (only for there to be conversations of another national car), I implore such parties to ponder upon and “welcome”, rather than “take note”, the special report on 1.5. Because in sticking to the status quo, by being content with the mentality of ‘business-as-usual’, who’s to say that we won’t even have an economy to build as early as 2030?

      Written by: Syaqil Suhaimi

      Edited by: Mike

      [Media Statement] Malaysian Youth Delegation Responds to YB Yeo’s Address at the UN Climate Change Conference

      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/.

      For enquiries, please contact:

      Jasmin Irisha Jim Ilham | j.irishailham@gmail.com | 018-463 4594

      Mike Campton | michael.campton@gmail.com | 012-273 8180

      mydclimatechange@gmail.com