Sarawak first State to allow carbon, nature venture businesses, shows commitment to climate change mitigation

Tropi director Dr Lulie Meling (second right), Abang Johari (fourth left) and others in a photo call at the dinner.

By Lian Cheng and Ashley Sim

KUCHING, Sept 20: Sarawak is the first State in Malaysia to enact legislation permitting carbon and nature venture businesses, which demonstrates the State’s efforts to be at the forefront of climate change mitigation.

This was stated by Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg at the Gala Dinner of AsiaFlux Conference 2022, which was held this evening at the Sarawak Tropical Research Institute (Tropi) in Kota Samarahan.

“Sarawak has recently amended its Forests Ordinance, 2015, to regulate forest carbon activities in line with efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change under the Paris Agreement.

“The State is thereby creating a solid foundation, leveraging on the market mechanisms and stakeholders’ collaboration towards environmental sustainability,” Abang Johari said.

He pointed out that Sarawak has also amended its Land Code to allow carbon capture, utilisation, and storage as methods of mitigating climate change, and that the carbon credits generated will be tradeable on the carbon market.

He also stated that Sarawak will continue to strongly support scientific research and monitoring of its forests and cropland ecosystems.

“Our forests, and our economy, are two sides of the same coin. If we cannot sustain our forests and the croplands, we cannot sustain ourselves and Sarawak’s economy.

“It is a ‘State treasure’, and one we, the government of Sarawak, as stewards of its people, are committed to protect,” he added.

Furthermore, Abang Johari, who is also the Minister for Energy and Environmental Sustainability, emphasised that Tropi has advocated for and implemented eddy flux measurement, which is a widely accepted method for validating carbon flux inventories in the environment.

“The State government’s commitment to environmental sustainability is underlined by its support of Tropi’s eddy flux tower studies.

“By virtue of pursuing such studies, Sarawak, through the validation efforts of Tropi has taken its place in the global network in generating empirical scientific data to better understand the tropical peatland ecosystem,” he noted.

He also noted that the studies by Tropi will help Sarawak contribute to the estimation of global greenhouse gas (GHG) budgets to achieve the Paris Agreement goals of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 or earlier, and thus avoid the looming tipping points of 1.5°C warming over pre-industrial levels.

Moreover, Abang Johari, who is also the Minister for Natural Resources and Urban Development, said: “Bringing this international conference home to Sarawak gives me great pride as the Premier that we in Sarawak has been able to project ourselves into the international academic arena to be able to successfully host such a high-level international scientific conference, as can be seen by the internationally diverse number of delegates in attendance today.

“Today, everyone, including governments, is wholly preoccupied with environmental, social, and governance considerations or ESG. ESG is a micro spin-off of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

He acknowledged that Sarawak, its government, companies, and people are committed towards setting the standards and achieving the SDGs, including ESG.

“At the same time, the first ESG consideration, environmental sustainability, is one of the three pillars that uphold the state’s Sarawak Post Covid-19 Development Strategy 2030 objectives.

“Tropi’s role in organising AsiaFlux2022 promotes the government’s stand on environmental sustainability through enhancing international awareness and interchange of research on looking for ways to improve sustainable peat usage in economic development,” he added.

Additionally, the Premier of Sarawak also said that the Asiaflux2022 Conference has drawn scientists and researchers from all over the world with expertise in a wide range of fields to Sarawak.

“These scientists, your good selves, have and will, after this AsiaFlux2022 Conference, contribute significant findings related to the carbon cycle and anthropogenic GHG emissions, and will be able to have initiatives to minimise the negative impacts of climate change, whether it is on food security or natural disasters occurring at higher frequencies due to extreme weather events.

“We, as policymakers, are committed to tackling climate change by the design and implementation of studies conducted by organisations such as Tropi to collect up-to-date, incontrovertible scientific data to better comprehend and respond to current climate issues and then design and deliver policies based on appropriate, practical actions on the ground,” Abang Johari asserted. — DayakDaily