Sarawak to establish climate change centre, says Abg Johari


Abang Johari (second right) addresses the press conference. Flanking him are Deputy Premiers Datuk Ama Awang Tengah Ali Hasan (first right) and Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian (first left), and Argus’ head of Asia, Karl Kleemeier. – Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING (March 15): A Sarawak Climate Change Centre will be established as a centralised hub for coordinating, managing, supporting, and guiding all climate change and carbon trading initiatives in Sarawak, said Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said it is crucial to establish a new Sarawak Government’s governance framework body to oversee and manage all matters related to climate change and carbon trading because the carbon plan for Sarawak is a significant undertaking that requires a comprehensive and coordinated approach to be successful.

With the establishment of the Sarawak Climate Change Centre, he said Sarawak can position itself as a leader in climate change and carbon trading initiatives in the region, attracting investments and talents to drive sustainable economic growth.

“The Sarawak Climate Change Centre can also support the development of policies and regulations that promote sustainable practices, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable forestry management, among others.

“We need the leadership, expertise, and resources to ensure the realisation of the plan’s ambitious goals, positioning Sarawak as a leader in climate change and sustainable economic growth.

“Sarawak is committed to addressing the urgent issue of climate change and will continue to explore and implement innovative strategies to mitigate its impact on the environment, economy, and society,” he said when officiating the Asia Carbon Conference here today.

At a press conference later, Abang Johari who is also Minister of Energy and Environmental Sustainability, said the legal framework for the proposed new centre is now being done in stages and worked out by the state’s lawyers.

“What we do is we have to enhance our legal framework, in terms of the rules of carbon trading as well as carbon storage. From then on, then we expand it and we have to work with international organisations,” he said.

According to him, Sarawak is the first in Malaysia to implement carbon trading and carbon storage after having amended the Land Code and Forest Ordinance related to it.

He also said many countries have expressed interest in carbon trading with Sarawak.

Earlier in his speech, Abang Johari said carbon trading can help to establish a market-based approach to reducing emissions by setting a limit on carbon emissions and allowing companies to trade permits to emit carbon within that limit.

He pointed out this incentivises companies to reduce their emissions and can drive innovation in low-carbon technologies.

“However, it is important to note that carbon trading is not a silver bullet solution and needs to be implemented carefully to avoid potential negative impacts. The carbon plan should ensure that any carbon trading scheme is well-regulated and transparent to prevent fraud and ensure that emissions reductions are achieved.

“I believe that Sarawak’s carbon plan and carbon offset programme demonstrate a commitment to addressing climate change and promoting sustainable development. It is crucial that such efforts continue and are strengthened to protect our planet and secure a better future for generations to come,” he said.

Abang Johari, who is also Minister of Urban Development and Natural Resources and Minister of Finance and New Economy, also said that through innovation, investment, and collaboration, Sarawak can harness the full potential of its natural resources to create a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable future for all.

“We aim to maintain a renewable energy capacity mix of at least 60 per cent, with a particular emphasis on renewable hydropower and an increase in alternative sources. By prioritising renewable energy, we can reduce our carbon footprint and contribute to global efforts to combat climate change.

“Secondly, we aim to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 600,000 tonnes per annum by electrifying our mobility fleet. The transportation sector is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and electrification is a key strategy for reducing emissions and improving air quality.

“Finally, we aim to achieve more than 15 per cent income from foreign markets, including power exports. By exporting renewable energy to neighbouring countries, we can leverage our natural resources and position ourselves as a leader in the region’s energy transition,” he said.

He also said in addition to hydropower energy, Sarawak has vast potential in solar and biomass energies.

This, he pointed out, is because the state receives plenty of sunshine throughout the year, which can be harnessed to generate solar power, while biomass, which includes organic materials such as wood chips, agricultural waste, and municipal solid waste, can also be used to generate electricity and heat.

“We are going to embrace the power of renewable energy. We will explore new technologies such as carbon capture, utilisation, and storage. We will promote sustainable forest management practices, electrify our transportation systems, and implement energy-efficient practices in our buildings and industries.

“We are also committed to working with our international partners to share our experiences and learn from others. We believe that by working together, we can achieve a greener, more sustainable future for all,” he said.