KUALA LUMPUR, June 30 — The effects of climate change are causing significant economic losses for Malaysia, undermining infrastructure and development efforts, and impacting livelihoods, says Greenpeace Malaysia.
The non-governmental organisation in a statement today said this was apparent with flooding in several states in December 2021 that claimed 55 lives, affected 125,000 people, left 50,000 cars damaged and broken down, as well as about RM2.6 billion in property damage.
“A recent study by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) and Greenpeace Malaysia reported that in 2019 alone, Malaysia lost almost RM303 billion (US$73 billion) due to ambient air pollution, mostly from power plants and industrial activities.
“Even worse, it is estimated that 32,000 people die each year due to air pollution in the country. Studies have also linked deforestation to increased flooding in Malaysia, and the latest KL city plan audit revealed that development projects have been causing increased flash floods and congestion.
“Such deaths can be avoided by climate change mitigation that will enable the authorities to implement more ambitious targets and policies for cleaner air,” it said.
According to the statement, mitigation also entails making older equipment and buildings more energy efficient, changing management practices and consumer behaviour, as well as redesigning the urban spaces and transportation systems.
In addressing these challenges and move towards becoming climate-resilient, it said the government must also prioritise a transition to a low-carbon economy.
“This means not just climate adaptation but reducing or preventing emission of greenhouse gases by curbing the use of fossil fuels and shifting to renewable sources of energy.
“Malaysia needs both climate change mitigation and adaptation plans – they are both equally important. An adaptation plan without a mitigation plan is like pouring the water out of a flooded bathroom without closing the tap,” it said.