S’wak passes ground-breaking climate change law to regulate clean energy, carbon trading

Sharifah Hasidah delivering her winding up speech for the Environment (Reduction of Greenhouse Gases Emission) Bill 2023 in DUN Sitting on Nov 20, 2023.

By Shikin Louis

KUCHING, Nov 20: Sarawak has passed Malaysia’s first climate change law to regulate clean and renewable energy, including carbon credits, carbon levy, and carbon emission threshold, today.

Deputy Minister in the Premier’s Department (Law, MA63 and State-Federal Relations) Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali tabled the Environment (Reduction of Greenhouse Gases Emission) Bill 2023 in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting here earlier.

Addressing Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong’s concern on how carbon projects in the forest will affect the rights and interests of indigenous communities, she said the Forest Carbon Activity Rules 2022 regulates all carbon projects undertaken in Sarawak’s forest in line with the clean development mechanism prescribed under the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, including activity relates to afforestation and reforestation that is the planting of trees and the rehabilitation of degraded forests.

“Under the Rules, before a forest carbon project can be undertaken, the project proponent must submit a carbon study plan for the approval of the director of Forest Department Sarawak, and that carbon study plan must, where the rights and interest of native communities may be affected by the carbon project, include the methodology or measures including beneficiaries to be adopted to secure their consent and support. I think we have all these provisions in place,” she explained.

Sharifah Hasidah also clarified that the project design document (PDD) submitted by SaraCarbon Sdn Bhd has yet to be approved.

“Therefore, the licence for the project has yet to be issued.

“The PDD will be approved only when the indigenous people’s rights and interests have been considered. So we are very prudent, cautious and careful,” she added.

She emphasised that the aim of the Bill is clear: to reduce carbon emissions by at least 45 per cent, increase green job opportunities, empower small and medium enterprises, and equip Sarawak with sustainable infrastructure by 2030.

“To achieve a net-zero emissions future, innovation is crucial. Sarawak will encourage the development of new technology and solutions that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainable practices.

“We will work with stakeholders, including the private sector, civil society, and international partners, to achieve our sustainability goals,” she elaborated. — DayakDaily