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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Malaysia's Participation At Copenhagen

By Syed Azwan Ali   | KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 13  |  Bernama 

-- Malaysia's participation at the coming Copenhagen Climate Change Summit is not merely a diplomatic commitment but a mission to determine the survival of the world in the next century.

Although the country is not in danger of sinking as a result of sea-level rise due to global warming, like the Maldives, it will nevertheless, feel the repercussions from greenhouse gas emissions.

According to a report from the drainage and irrigation department, the country's coastal line has been narrowed by about 40 metres due to erosion at 33 locations.

A drastic climate change was also reported, like unpredictable rain and thunderstorm in the capital, as well as drought in some states.

The local newspapers, on Dec 2, reported that major towns in southeast Asia were being threatened by the global warming phenomenon, with Kuala Lumpur facing a temperature rise of between 0.5 degrees and 1.5 degrees Celsius, since the 1950s.

A study on Mega-Stress for Mega Cities, a climate vulnerability ranking of major coastal cities in Asia, conducted by the World Wildlife Fund, which is obtained from its website http://assets.panda.org/down loads/mega_cities_report.pdf stated that the phenomenon also caused drought in some regions in Malaysia, particularly Sabah.

The report also stated that seven per cent of Malaysia's population will be affected by sea-level rise.

Prior to that, the Fourth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was released in 2007, stated that 1,200 sq km of the country's coastline would be under water due to sea-level rise if no measures were taken to tackle global warming.

The IPCC study also revealed that Malaysia would experience a temperature rise of between 0.6 degrees Celsius and 4.5 degrees Celsius by 2060, which explained the need for Malaysia to be at the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit.

"It is not merely a diplomatic commitment. Malaysia's presence in Copenhagen is to send a bigger message, that developing countries (and the poor countries)will be affected if the issue on global warming continues," said Associate Professor Dr Kamarulnizam Abdullah of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), in an interview with Bernama here.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will join more than 100 world leaders, including United States President Barrack Obama, in the final stages of the summit to trash out a global deal, including how much industrialised countries would be willing to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases.

The leaders will also discuss the creation of an international green fund to provide developing countries with financial and technical resources to create a carbon-free economy.

The fund was crucial, particularly for poor nations which were forced to use cheap technology to develop their countries, noted Kamarulnizam.

Prior to this, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) made a firm stand that the climate change fund of US$10 billion (RM35 billion) annually for three years proposed by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, should be allocated for developing countries.

At a meeting in Port of Spain on Nov 28, which Najib attended, Malaysia had proposed that conditions to avail the fund should be kept to a minimum.

What is certain, the Copenhagen summit is expected to tackle the "weaknesses" of the Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997, due to an absence of a regulatory body to ensure the agreement signed by 184 countries, is implemented.

As a result, the objective of the protocol was not met. America did not sign the Kyoto Protocol.

Prof Dr Suhaimi Abdul Talib, from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), said global warming was a serious issue because of its effects on developing countries, like Malaysia.

He said global warming, not only affected the livelihood of the world community, but also the ecosystem and the economic environment of the countries concerned.

"The well-being of our environment will assure the well-being of our economy," said Suhaimi, adding that the Copenhagen summit would be a venue for the world community to unite and collectively tackle problems of global warming.

In that context, he said, Malaysia's role would include voicing the hope of the poor countries.

"We can articulate our opinions well, and people will listen. Most of the industrialised nations such as Japan, have learnt their lessons and they will give their support," he added.

Undoubtedly, in Copenhagen, the focus will be on America to show its commitment, having been the world economic giant which contributes to global warming through its industrial activities.