KUCHING, Nov 21 — Sarawak needs its own climate change law as Malaysia has yet to create such a law despite the country entering treaties including the Paris Agreement, said Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali.
The Deputy Minister in the Premier’s Department (Law, MA63, and State-Federal Relations) explained such treaty obligations should be governed by the country’s laws, particularly by the Federal Constitution.
“Parliament has not in pursuance of Article 76 passed any law to implement obligations entered into by Malaysia under the Paris Agreement.
“The state government has not been informed nor consulted with regard to any Bill been introduced in Parliament to bring into force any provisions of the Paris Agreement in the Federation too,” she said when tabling the Environment (Reduction of Greenhouse Gases) Bill, 2023 at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex prior to it being passed last night.
She said the state government is taking the initiative to introduce the law to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, promote carbon capture and storage, and mitigate climate change effects to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
She explained that the law provides for measures and steps to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases such as providing the registration of businesses in scheduled economic sectors, listed in the First Schedule, requiring them to submit annual carbon emission reports following international reporting standards.
She said the law should set carbon emission thresholds and where any registered business entity is unable or unwilling to bring their carbon emissions down to the emission threshold levels, a carbon levy, at a rate to be determined by the Sarawak Cabinet, would be imposed.
“The law should also help control flaring and venting of petroleum and greenhouse gases by the oil and gas sectors and also promote forest carbon activities, carbon capture, and storage projects, validated according to Carbon Standards Rules for issuing Sarawak carbon credit units.
“With this law, Sarawak wants to comply with international Standards for measuring CO2 potentials of each type of greenhouse gases (GHG) based on the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report as agreed upon by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
“We also want to ensure verification of Carbon Credit Units for Sarawak projects issued by the Carbon Standard Administrator shall be registered in the Sarawak Carbon Registry, administered by a Registrar appointed by the minister,” she said.
Sharifah Hasidah said there is also a need to register verified Carbon Credit Units in the Sarawak Carbon Registry for trading in voluntary or Emission Trading Markets locally or overseas as well.
When answering Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong’s question about how carbon projects in the forest will affect the rights and interests of indigenous communities, Sharifah Hasidah cited Sarawak’s laws such as the Forest Carbon Activity Rules 2022.
According to her, the rule regulates all carbon projects undertaken in Sarawak’s forests, which is in line with the clean development mechanism prescribed under the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.
“The Forest Carbon Activity Rules 2022 includes activity related to afforestation and reforestation that is the planting of trees and the rehabilitation of degraded forests,” she said.
With the passing of the Environment (Reduction of Greenhouse Gases) Bill, she revealed the state government plans to establish an advisory panel as well.
The panel will focus on climate change, carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS), carbon credits and pricing, emission thresholds, and energy transition strategies, while the focus is also aimed at net zero by 2050, and other pertinent matters. — Borneo Post Online