U.N. Climate Change Conference 2009-15th Conference of Parties (COP 15)

By Thursday December 17th, 2009 No Comments

The Honourable President of COP 15,


1. I bring to you the voice of Malaysians who are of no doubt that climate change, and the cataclysmic consequences arising from it are indeed real. Like many other parts of the world, we too have witnessed climate related disasters which were heart breaking and devastating.

2. Amidst the increasing frequency of these calamities, we are dismayed that there exist skeptics that profess climate change to be mere exaggeration. Malaysia believes that the science is sound and clear. However like other developing countries, we are now grappling with how to translate the need to control emissions into our economic development system, plans and policies. The necessary adjustments require massive changes in many sectors that affect the very fabric of our economy.

3. This is why Malaysia joins other developing countries in insisting that we must have access to massive transfers of finance and relevant technologies without which our economic transformation cannot take place. The climate convention recognizes this, in its Article 4.7 that the extent to which developing countries take climate related actions would largely depend on how far developed countries meet their finance and technology commitments.

4. According to several recent studies including some from United Nations agencies, developing countries require long-term financing of at least 800 billion US dollars a year for purposes of adaptation and mitigation of climate change. This is linked to the target of maintaining 2 degrees centigrade of temperature rise. If we are to take a more ambitious and probably more scientifically accurate temperature rise target of 1.5 degrees centigrade, the funding required by developing countries could be as high as 1.5 trillion dollars annually. Indeed, if we think about it, this is not too high when compared to the many trillions of dollars recently used in bailing out banks and companies.

5. In light of this, the 10 billion dollars fast track funding being proposed is a mere pittance and truthfully, the amount is woefully inadequate. We call on the developed countries to commit 200 billion dollars per year by 2012 on the way to the 800 billion dollars per year required thereafter.

6. It is therefore crucial that we link the issue of shared vision to the issue of financing and technology transfer. There are proposals in Copenhagen that we accept a long term goal for global emissions reduction of 50% by 2050 compared to 1990. The developed countries have also proposed that they cut their emissions by 80%. This scenario, if accepted, implies a cut of 20% by developing countries in absolute terms and a cut of 60% per capita because of population growth. This is an almost impossible task given our imperative for high economic growth. Therefore, the developed countries have to commit to cut their emissions by well over 100%. In other words they need to have negative emissions so that the developing countries will still have some carbon space. The developed countries also have to guarantee adequate financing and technology transfer. It is only if these are accepted as part of an integrated package that developing countries can agree to a global goal of emission reduction.

7. Another serious concern we have is the looming threat of trade protection under the guise of addressing climate change. For Copenhagen to succeed there must be a clear statement that developed countries shall not take trade related measures such as carbon tariffs and border adjustment measures against the products, services and investments of developing countries. Otherwise, we would have a totally unacceptable situation where developed countries give 1 dollar with one hand and remove 10 dollars with the other.

8. Despite the many problems and difficulties we see on the long road ahead to address climate change, Malaysia is willing to contribute to the global efforts. We have therefore decided on setting for ourselves voluntary national indicators to measure our progress in climate action.

9. We remain committed to ensure at least 50% of our land area remain as forests as pledged in the Rio Summit. Currently our natural forests and agriculture crop plantations combined, cover 75% of the country’s land area.

10. I would also like to announce here in Copenhagen that Malaysia is adopting an indicator of a voluntary reduction of up to 40% in terms of emissions intensity of GDP by the year 2020 compared to 2005 levels. This indicator is conditional on receiving the transfer of technology and finance of adequate and effective levels from our Annex 1 partners, that correspond to what is required in order to achieve this indicator.

11. Another key element for a successful Copenhagen outcome is the retention of the Kyoto Protocol and putting into effect its second commitment period by the Annex 1 Parties. Those developed countries that are not party to the Kyoto Protocol must undertake a comparable effort in emission reduction as agreed to in the Bali Action Plan. Malaysia is extremely disappointed that up to now, we have not reached an agreement on the emission reduction numbers.

12. Furthermore, according to a reliable estimate, the individual targets announced by developed countries amount to only 13-19% which is unacceptably low. This definitely will not put us on track to reaching a 2 degree goal, let alone 1.5 degrees Centigrade. Malaysia calls on the developed countries to collectively commit in Copenhagen to an aggregate reduction of 49% by 2017 compared to 1990 levels in line with Malaysia’s joint proposal with other countries.

13. Malaysia is committed together with all other countries to do our best to combat climate change. We realize that this is no easy task, in fact, it is nothing short of a herculean endeavour. This Convention under which we are meeting is our best hope for a global framework of cooperation on climate change. Under this Convention are the fair principles of equity and historical responsibility due to the need of Annex 1 parties to repay their climate debt. The key to our future cooperation is to recognise, adopt and work out the realisation of the principle of fair shares to the atmospheric space and resource. At the same time, we must have ambitious environmental aspirations. Combining these two factors will be essential for a success in Copenhagen and thereafter. Malaysia will continue to contribute to this extremely important process.

14. In conclusion, we also share the concerns with other developing countries for full participation, transparency and fairness of process, here in Copenhagen. Any decision or outcome must arise from the negotiations in which all countries participate. Any document that is placed into the process in a unilateral manner will be counter productive and risks the failure of Copenhagen. This would be a catastrophe that our mother earth can ill afford.

Thank you Mr. President

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