In this interview at COP 22, with Mr Chau Loon Wai, a lecturer at the City and Regional Planning, Faculty of Built Environment at the University of Technology, Malaysia, talks on their progress in the last 6-7 years with respect to assisting cities in Malaysia, which are developing very rapidly, with the reduction of their carbon emissions, whilst continuing without compromising the economic growth of the country.
Our approach has been to look at development of cities in a holistic manner, and the concept we are using is called ‘Low Carbon Society’ with very strong support from the Japanese government and research institutions, including working closely with various city governments in Malaysia – ‘We have learnt a lot’!
So far, we have worked with three cities, which is Skudai (Johor Bahru district), where our University of Technology (http://www.utm.my/) is located, as well as our capital city of Kuala Lumpur, to look into how to reduce their carbon intensity of the development activity and the third city, Putrajaya, our newly planned national administrative center.
Our modelling has shown that there is huge potential for carbon emission reduction to help our country to achieve the promise that was made last year at COP 21 through our NDC for a 45% reduction in carbon emission intensity of GDP by year 2030. We are very keen to continue learning and also to share with many more countries, especially in the Asian regions of our achievements to date. In the context of Malaysia, the biggest emitters are actually the Energy sector itself, Transportation and the Building sector which consists of Residential, Commercial and Industrial – these are the strategic sectors for us to look into in order to effectively reduce carbon emissions for the country in the next 15-20 years.
One of our flagship projects is called Eco-Life Challenge (ELC) – a competition organized in co-operation with the state education department primarily in primary schools in the Skudai region.
In response to your question with regards implementation of low carbon policies and programs, the answer would be at this point in time, No, we have not started addressing that aspect of Climate Change, however, it is very important for us to start taking action in that direction, but from the perspective of developing countries, first and foremost would be to get the buy-in and support from governments, policy makers and even from the private sector (a very important partner that we must bring on board) to get them to believe in the fact that by going ‘Low Carbon’, we would not be compromising too much of their profit, or in political terms, it must be politically acceptable to go low carbon.
Over the centuries, the history of humanities have proven that if nations are being pushed into a corner, somehow they will change! For example, the tsunami in Eastern Japan which caused the detrimental earthquake and major devastation – the people of the region changed their lifestyles, however, it should not take a catastrophe for people to change their attitude and ways, but being aware of the consequences of their behaviour – I think people are willing to change!
https://www.theiskandarian.com/web/iskandar-malaysia-works-with-might/ (ELC~Children’s Eco-Life Challenge ~ Malaysia)
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2015/10/true-cost-malaysia-haze-151023122841586.html (Malaysia environmental issues)