Thank you Mr. President. Mr. President, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, good morning. My name is Yeo Bee Yin. I’m from Malaysia, a beautiful, developing country of 30 million people in Southeast Asia. After 61 years of independence, Malaysia has just experienced the first change of government in May this year, and I have been appointed Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change in July, which is about 5 months ago.
So, I’m really a new kid on the block. But let me share with you what I think as a new kid on the block on Paris Agreement, UNFCCC, and COP24. 3 years ago, when Paris Agreement was signed, as someone outside the system looking at it, I was impressed. It was a big feat to get more than 190 countries to finally agree on something. We all know that sometimes we also have difficulties in getting our other halves at home to agree with us, not to mention the 190 countries.
Today, I am inside the system in COP24, but I must say that I am disappointed. To note that after three years, there are still attempts to deviate from the very cornerstone of Paris Agreement, climate justice, the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities, and the equity in the right to develop and to prosper among the developing countries and the least developed world.
How long more do we need to keep going back, keep going back, keep going back to what the basic principles that we have agreed three years ago. How long more before it is too late?
Worst still, I have actually had a look at the financial assistance Malaysia obtained so far, and I was very surprised to note that considerable amount of assistance that we have received so far is to produce reports for UNFCCC obligations or to build the capacity to produce the reports.
How is paperwork going to help our countries and help the world? Very ironically I have come here, I have listened [to] these words, keep on listening [to] these words – urgency, urgency, urgency. Ladies and gentlemen, transparency doesn’t necessarily mean burdensome paperwork. We must know that perfecting reports and making them even thicker will not help to change the world. Real action and aggressive actions will.
So, let me say this, I call upon more trust from the developed countries. Transparency is okay, but do not burden us with unnecessary paperwork please, because we really have no time and we really need to act.
Since we changed the government in Malaysia, Malaysia has been aggressive in our climate change action. Let me share with you a little bit of what we have done. We’ve set a new target to increase our renewable energy in electricity generation mix from 2% to 20%. This excludes large hydro above 100MW. To unlock potential of rooftop solar, we revealed net energy metering policy and introduced solar leasing policy to allow zero up-front cost of solar PV installation.
For other renewable energy, such as biogas, biomass [and] small hydro under the feed-in-tariff mechanism, we introduced e-bidding to maximise the potential of renewable energy funds. We have planned to open up our grid by 2019 to allow renewable energy trading.
We’re going big on energy efficiency too, and government is leading by example. As a matter of fact, as I am talking to you right now, my team is busy finalizing [a] energy performance contract. So, we will be able to tender out energy efficiency projects for at least 50 government buildings by Q2 next year, and we will also table the first draft of Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act by mid of next year.
In terms of financing, [the] government of Malaysia [will] continue [to] bring financing scheme that give loan guarantees and interest subsidies for green industrial players. Recognising the importance of private financing, we [have] also started drafting green financing roadmap and aim to complete them by Q3 next year.
In terms of waste management, we have developed a launch in October – a roadmap towards zero single use plastic by 2030.
In terms of transport, we aim to reduce the carbon emission, we aim to double up our public transport usage from 20% to 40% by 2030. We have recently just launched a very low flat rate unlimited ride monthly pass program to promote the use of public transport.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. In [the] Chinese language, crisis is “WeiJi”. “Wei” means danger and “Ji” means opportunity. There is opportunity in every danger. Many of the initiatives I share with you here are not penalizing us economically but is making good business sense for us in Malaysia.
In the midst of climate change crisis, Malaysia wants to encourage all of us, to see this as an opportunity to develop green economy that create jobs and wealth for the world.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, just now I share[d] with you many of the efforts, but all these efforts [are] done within six months and with very little help from the developed countries. Before I decided to attend COP24, I asked myself, why did I need to come here?
I have many real actions to do at home. In fact, why [does] Malaysia needs to burn so much carbon and money to send our delegation here? It is because [of] our firm belief that Malaysia can do more and can do better with the support of [the] international community. Malaysia can also help others to do better. To simply put, we are better together.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are in this fight together. Let’s fight this together. And most importantly let’s win this together. With that, I’d like to wish [for] a successful COP24, and on behalf of Malaysia, I wish every country presents here a fruitful year of fighting climate change with real action. Thank you.
[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/.
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