Sarawak proposes strategies to mitigate climate change

The state has set up a new ministry, solely focusing on climate change and its mitigation 


THE effect of climate change has increased exponentially due to industrialisation in the last 200 years. 

The main factor causing climate change is the emission of carbon dioxide or carbon emission, as well as other greenhouse gases (GHG). 

Sarawak Deputy Minister for Energy and Environmental Sustainability Dr Hazland Abang Hipni said climate change is real, as can be seen through recent natural disasters, such as the Australia and Pakistan floods, as well as the droughts in the US, among others. 

“Climate change is a natural phenomenon, which has happened for billions of years before, even without the interference of humankind. One million years ago marked the beginning of carbon emission, when humankind learned how to light up fire in order to survive. 

“However, probably due to ignorance, highly competitive livelihood and the race to become the number one nation in the world, humankind has overturned the adverse effects of our activities on Earth,” he said during the talks on Green Economy, Renewable Energy and Climate Action for the virtual 2022 Global Muslim Business Forum (GMBF) recently. 

He added that carbon dioxide can hold a lot of heat, which is why the global temperature has increased to more than 2°C compared to the pre-industrial era. This, he said, is the main cause of the current climate change and the extreme weather patterns. 

“How to mitigate climate change — one of the strategies is through environmental sustainability. Climate change can be mitigated if we carry out some of these environmental sustainability strategies,” he added. 

On Sarawak’s efforts to mitigate climate change, he said Sarawak has made a decision in the last two to three years to set up a new ministry, the Ministry for Energy and Environmental Sustainability, solely focusing on climate change and its mitigation. 

“Environmental sustainability strategies include recycling, where the community will have to be thoroughly trained to recycle whatever waste product that we produce. 

“Moreover, recycling can be converted into a bigger scale industry, which is the circular economy. Waste materials like discarded tyres from the transport industry can be recycled into usable, reusable and valuable materials,” he added.

For a circular economy, Hazland said that waste water can also be recycled, as well as sludge from domestic waste, and turned into fertiliser.

“Among our environmental sustainability strategies is the use of renewable energy (RE). Sarawak is blessed with a big land mass (almost as big as West Malaysia) where 65% is forest — all are carbon stocks where carbon emission is absorbed. 

“Now, we can also go into carbon trading and produce carbon credits of these carbon stocks — another source of extra and new economy for Sarawak,” he added. 

Sarawak is also blessed with more than 300 rivers, where dams can be built to produce hydropower (green power), as an alternative to coal, nuclear and fossil. 

Sarawak’s Bakun Dam, which is the size of Singapore, can produce 2,400 megawatts (MW) of electricity. Hazland said the state will also build a cascading dam in other rivers which can introduce more green energy for Sarawak. 

Sarawak is also blessed with plenty of rain and sunshine which can be used to develop and construct hydropower, as well as solar power and floating solar. 

The process of RE is the transition from coal and fossil fuel to electrification. 

“In Sarawak, the electricity is produced by hydropower which is green, hence we provide the people 

with premium power and whatever product that we produce from that power will be deemed as a green product,” he said, adding that Sarawak is also blessed with being outside the Pacific Ring of Fire. 

Sarawak is also able to construct dams and store carbon. 

Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) is another field of the new economy where carbon emitted by another country can be stored inside the state’s used oil wells. 

“Last but not least, we have a stable and futuristic government which enables us to monetise the natural resources that we have. Concurrently, we are contributing to the mitigation of climate change,” Hazland elaborated.

  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition