S’wak govt tables Forests (Amendment) Bill 2022 to licence forest carbon activities, include carbon and GHG stocks as forest produce

Awang Tengah tabling the Forests (Amendment) Bill 2022 today (May 19, 2022) in DUN. Screenshot of Ukas livestream.

By Ling Hui

KUCHING, May 19: The Sarawak government is proposing to licence forest carbon activities over Sarawak land, permanent forests and alienated land through the tabling of the Forests (Amendment) Bill, 2022.

The Bill was read by Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, who is also the Second Minister for Urban Development and Natural Resources, at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting here today.

He said the Bill sought to empower the director of Forests with approval of the minister, to issue licences for forest carbon activities over State land, permanent forests and alienated land that would lead to the emission reductions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

The amendment when passed, will include carbon stocks and greenhouse gas (GHG) stocks produced and accumulated from licenced forest carbon activities such as carbon sequestration and carbon sinks, categorised as forest produce, allowing them to be traded globally.

“Under this Bill, a licence for forest carbon activity would be issued upon payment of necessary fees and charges.

“Upon the grant of the licence, the licencee would be conferred with full beneficial and legal titles to the carbon stocks or GHG stocks created by him and the carbon credit units issued by a Carbon Standard in respect of emission reduction achieved by forest carbon activity,” said Awang Tengah.

The amendment of this Bill, he said, also manifested the Sarawak government’s commitments towards mitigating the effects of climate change by adhering to environment sustainable protocols namely the Kyoto Protocol in the management of Sarawak’s forests.

“The Kyoto Protocol allows for carbon sequestration by afforestation and reforestation under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) within the Land Use, Land Use Change, and Forestry (LULUCF) activities.

“Recently the need for taking action against carbon releases from forests was incorporated into the Paris Agreement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 2015 (UNFCCC).

“For the record, Malaysia is a signatory to the Paris Agreement in 2016 and has committed to a reduction of greenhouse gases by 45 per cent by 2030,” he said.

Awang Tengah, who is also Bukit Sari assemblyman, said the Bill would ensure there would be no double counting of Sarawak’s contributions to the national obligation on climate change.

The carbon stocks and carbon credit units generated in Sarawak would form part of the Nationally Determined Contribution to be submitted by Malaysia to the UNFCCC in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

Meanwhile, the Bill also introduced a new classification of permanent forests, namely amenity forests for research, educational and recreational purposes to enhance community participation in promoting the preservation and sustainable use of forests.

“The State government is deeply committed in protecting the forests and are encouraging the people to connect to nature through recreation, nature appreciation, and voluntarism by adopting unique model of collaborative management of forests,” he added. — DayakDaily