KL takes global climate change seriously: Uggah

MIRI: The federal government is taking global climate change seriously with results of a preliminary study on its impact and recommendations expected to be ready by the end of the year.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah told thesundaypost here that the recommendations from the National Hydraulic Research Institute of Malaysia (Nahrim), an agency under his ministry, would enable the government to act accordingly.

The agency has started a comprehensive study across the country to come up with models of scenarios from the impact of a global climate change, including worst-cases of devastating floods and drought.

“It will work out the models for climatic change impact — on the possible drought and wet periods as there is no doubt the climate has changed,” he said when met at Miri Airport Friday.

He pointed out that the double whammy of serious floods and worst droughts in Australia resulting in the destruction of 2,000 houses and the death of nearly 200 people, the worst drought in Argentina’s history, the worst snowing in London, and recent floods in Sarawak due to abnormally high rainfall were indications of a climate change.

He said the study started last year and the terms of reference (TOR) would help establish adaptation programmes.

Saying that global climate change occurred due to human activities, the minister pointed out that studying the possible impact scenarios and recommending mitigation steps to be taken was vital in drawing up strategic plans to avoid losses to lives, properties and the economy.

“We want to determine whether retaining ponds, bunds and other measures can cope with any unpredictable phenomenon in the future,” he added.

The minister pointed out that the latest wet period in Sarawak underscored the global climatic change impact, with certain places in the state flooded for the first time since 1963.

He also said the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) which comes under his ministry would submit a report on the possible causes to enable action, including dredging of rivers to be undertaken.

“All rivers in the state will be included in the DID report,” he said, adding that his ministry was also studying the request by the Sarawak state government to instal telemetry stations throughout the state for an early warning of floods.

The minister said it was a priority as many rivers were yet to have such stations for monitoring of water level and that had resulted in many people being caught off guard and unable to be evacuate due to the sudden surge in water volume.

On the flood mitigation proposals made by DID in Sarawak, he declined to comment on the projects for now.

“DID has given reports and proposals for consideration, and they are now under consideration by the EPU (Economic Planning Unit),” he added.

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