Premier: Sarawak’s 7 mln hectares of forest can generate up to RM1 bln in revenue annually from carbon market initiatives

Abang Johari (second right) together with Awang Tengah (right) visit an exhibition at ACC 2023 at a hotel in Kuching today (March 15, 2023).

By Ling Hui and Karen Bong

KUCHING, March 15: Sarawak has massive potential to create carbon sinks from its approximately 7.7 million hectares of permanent forests, promote carbon sequestration and undertake tree planting schemes for carbon credits, that would provide a new source of revenue ranging from RM315 million to RM1.039 billion annually not only for Sarawak, but also the private sector and local communities.

With that, Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg emphasised that Sarawak is taking a leading role in the development of a well-designed and well-connected carbon governance and mechanism that will allow companies and individuals to reduce their carbon footprint while also supporting the transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient future.

“We are enacting legislation permitting carbon and nature-based solution venture businesses. We have amended and gazetted our Forest (Forest Carbon Activity) Rules, 2022, which provide a legal framework to regulate forest produce that covers carbon stocks in the forest ecosystems.

“We envision that a price on carbon can create financial value for activities that sequester carbon, such as forest protection and reforestation. This can incentivise landowners to protect and preserve forests, which play a crucial role in absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,” he said in his keynote speech at the Asia Carbon Conference (ACC) 2023 held at a hotel here today.

Abang Johari pointed out that the carbon market is a tool that can help to reduce carbon emissions by putting a price on carbon and incentivising companies and individuals to reduce their emissions in various forms, including cap-and-trade systems, carbon taxes and offset programmes.

“It will make it more expensive to pollute and less expensive to adopt clean energy and low-carbon technologies. This will help us to achieve our climate goals and promote sustainable economic growth,” he added.

With 62 per cent of Sarawak’s total land area under forest cover of which six million are permanent forests and one million hectares of totally protected areas, Abang Johari said this represents a significant opportunity for Sarawak to be at the forefront of sustainable forestry management policies that could also drive economic benefits.

“By allowing carbon and nature venture businesses, Sarawak is sending a clear signal that we are committed to addressing climate change and promoting sustainable economic growth,” he said.

Deputy Premiers Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan and Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, Minister of Utility and Telecommunication Datuk Julaihi Narawi, Minister of Transport Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin as well as Sarawak Secretary Datuk Amar Mohamad Abu Bakar Marzuki were among those present. — DayakDaily