09/28/2021, 14.03
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Malaysia to seek highest cuts in greenhouse gases in Southeast Asia

by Steve Suwannarat

Zero CO2 emissions by 2050 is the goal of the new five-year development plan presented by the government, much earlier than the other countries in the region. To get there, Malaysia will stop opening new coal-fired power plants and adapt factories and urban energy management.

Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews) – Malaysia’s 12th five-year development plan was presented in parliament yesterday.

Its goals include pursuing eco-compatible growth and becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

Carbon neutrality means that any carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is balanced by an equivalent amount being removed from it.

In the medium run, Malaysia wants to reduce greenhouse gases by 45 per cent by 2030, with 2005 as a basis, in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement.

"Other details for carbon reduction measures will be announced after the strategic long-term review of the low-carbon development strategies has been finalised by the end of 2022,” Prime Minister Ismail Sabri said.

Although the country is responsible for only 0.7 per cent of global carbon emissions, its current goals are the most ambitious in Southeast Asia.

By comparison, Indonesia, like China, has committed to zero emissions by 2060, while Thailand has indicated that it will achieve carbon neutrality between 2065 and 2070.

Inevitably, decisions taken in Putrajaya, Malaysia’s administrative capital, near Kuala Lumpur, will necessarily have to be coordinated with those of neighbouring Singapore, which plans to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and reach zero emissions "as soon as possible" in the second half of the century.

Convergence between the two countries is inevitable, not only for geographic reasons but also historical reasons and economic factors.

To reach its goal, Malaysia will have to stop building new coal-fired power plants and increase gas power plants.

Energy efficiency and conservation will also have to shape the construction and adaptation of major industrial plants and urban centres.

Some 120 cities are expected to achieve sustainable city status by 2025.

Renewable energy generation from solar, biomass and biogas should increase to 31 per cent of the country’s total capacity by 2025 as well.

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