Special Remarks at the MYCarbon Awards Ceremony 2014

Dec 4, 2014

Yang Berhormat Dato’ Sri Dr. James Dawos Mamit, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment

Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Tajuddin bin Atan, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bursa Malaysia Berhad

Y. Bhg Datuk Dr. Abdul Rahim Bin Nik, Deputy Secretary General (Environment), Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment  (MNRE)

Ms Yasmin Rasyid, President of EkoKnights

Representatives from Government Ministries and private sector agencies

Representatives of civil society organizations, members of the public and the media.

Selamat Pagi and a very good morning!

As we gather here this morning, Climate–KIC’s new online CO2 meter measure CO2  levels in our atmosphere at 401.08 ppm.  Climate-KIC is Europe’s largest public-private innovation partnership focused on climate change, consisting of companies, academic institutions and the public sector.  This knowledge and innovation community (KIC) launched the online CO2 meter in October his year to highlight current CO2 levels in the atmosphere; how levels are still rising despite our vastly improved understanding of climate change and its present and potential impacts; and to emphasise the urgency to reduce harmful emissions.

Today’s reading of 401.08 ppm, the highest value measured so far at the Mace Head research station, based on the west coast of Ireland, is well above 350 ppm, considered by many leading scientists as the tipping point.  And, still, CO2 levels, which are subject to seasonal variability, continue to rise year on year. Unless this unprecedented increase is slowed down, models show the balance in a highly complicated structure of climate systems will be tipped, and a series of chain reactions will set off. Curbing emissions and taking adaptive measures now is imperative. In September this year, during the United Nations Climate Summit, UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, summed up the urgency for all countries to act individually and collectively, when he said: “There is no Plan B because we do not have Planet B”.

This is why this morning’s award ceremony is so important.  We are here to acknowledge all the companies who have accepted the challenge and the responsibility to do something today to contribute to halting and reversing climate change for a liveable tomorrow, and to change behaviour, processes, products – to change our way of life.  We also wish to reward and congratulate award recipients as encouragement to continue to measure and report their GHG emissions and work hand-in-hand with the government to meet reduction targets; and also as inspiration to other companies and institutions to join them.  Because as Lord Kelvin, the esteemed mathematical physicist and engineer said, “if you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it”.

Why should other companies join with the current 23 MYCARBON participants?  Because we know that a wide range of human actions are directly responsible for emitting CO2. and in addition to that, activities like cutting down forests are decreasing Earth’s natural ability to remove CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis.  Knowing our emissions impels us to change; and in that change, lay opportunities for green growth and green jobs, and a prosperous future.

Combating climate change and transitioning to a low carbon, sustainable future cannot be the work of governments alone. Yes, Government plays a vital role in setting the stage – enabling the environment - for public and private action, as well as public-private partnerships, to secure an inclusive and sustainable future.  But government, private sector, and civil society must make this change together.

MYCarbon is one of several necessary and urgent steps in Malaysia’s journey to achieve its emissions reduction targets, contribute to global efforts to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change, and foster growth and development that is sustainable.  It is now accepted that sustainable development requires a comprehensive and integrated approach to economic, social, and environmental processes.  These three processes must be woven together seamlessly to secure the welfare of future generations and the maintenance of essential biophysical life support systems and ecosystem wellbeing, and to deliver an acceptable standard of human wellbeing.

The 20th Session of the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 20) is now in session and through next week in Lima, Peru and will contribute to our drive for sustainability.  In Lima, the litmus test of success, as Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC puts the challenge to governments, will be a clear draft of the universal agreement to be adopted in 2015; a shared determination by all to deliver significant national contributions to build a low carbon resilient future - a set of mitigation actions so to speak; initial capitalisation of the Green Climate Fund; and the mobilisation of a broad coalition of actors, including the private sector to turn potential into reality on the ground without delay."

We must count on governments to deliver in these negotiations.  But, ladies and gentlemen, it is amazing what a difference a year or even a few months can make. Crude oil prices are spiraling downwards, hitting its lowest price in four years, just when we are urging the global community to curb fossil fuel usage now to keep global temperatures in check or risk irreversible environmental damage in 2100.  We must ensure that the temptation to guzzle cheap gas does not shift us away from determined action that can lead us toward a sustainable post-carbon future.

MYCarbon is a proactive response to the challenges we face.  This government-led voluntary approach on disclosing carbon emissions represents a part of Malaysia’s contribution to the global fight against climate change.  It will assist government and the private sector in understanding and measuring its sources of GHG emissions, as per the specified scope.  The more companies participating in this programme, the more data will be collected, which will contribute to government’s formulation of climate change policies based on science and evidence.  The 23 companies that have participated this year is a good start.  With the necessary support and increased awareness of the programme, we should be able to set a target of 50 companies, and double participation by end of 2015, because it is good for business.

 A growing number of companies now measure the GHG generated by their activities and assess their exposure to physical climate change impacts as well as changing market conditions and consumer preferences as a consequence of climate change. And we are seeing creditors and investors, as well as market analysts begin to factor climate change information into their assessment of companies and their perspectives for sustainable development, although this remains a limited practice.

I am glad to see that Bursa Malaysia, working closely with Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, has initiated the process towards requiring more transparency and disclosure of sustainability performance of companies. In this way, the assessment and management of actual and prospective climate change related impacts has become an important element of corporate strategy and risk management.

MYCarbon is a good step in deepening the partnership between government and the private sector to build resilience in the country.  The private sector can bring essential finance and technical resources to the effort, spur innovation for climate services and adaptation technologies, and both leverage and stimulate civil society and community efforts.

As I said earlier, it is critical for governments to be proactive and to set the national enabling environment for companies to do their part; and Malaysia is doing just that with this programme.  We welcome this programme as it is important that all countries assume the shared yet differentiated responsibility and commitments agreed in the global climate talks to date, and get on with it so we do not sacrifice our future generations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I understand that the Panel of Judges have concluded its evaluation and have agreed to award 5 (five) companies to be considered as the best of the MYCARBON reporting pioneers in Malaysia.  Also, I am happy to note that more than 20 companies have started submitting their reports and nearly 100 participants have benefitted from the training as date.  I do hope that the MYCARBON programme will continue to be a platform to share information which supports strategic decision-making and political dialogue by generating relevant up-to-date climate change information.

As we look to Vision 2020, it is essential that we emphasize not only present, but also future generations.  People, including young people and those yet unborn, must be in the centre of our focus and work.  They too must have and have a chance to share in a prosperous and optimistic future.  UNDP will of course continue to support national efforts as requested.  We have been Malaysia’s choice development partner since this country’s independence and will continue to support national aspirations for an inclusive and sustainable future.

Finally, UNDP remains committed to further strengthening our long-standing partnership with the Government of Malaysia and especially the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and to continuing our support for the achievement of the development aspirations of Malaysia and its people.

Thank You.

 

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