Climate Change

Temperature to keep increasing

Posted on December 20, 2011. Filed under: Climate Change |

-New Straits Times-

THE increase in temperature, rainfall and sea level is here to stay until year 2050.

Environment Department Acting Director-General Halimah Hassan said the temperature over the last 50 years had increased between 0.6 to 1.2 degrees Celsius and in the next 40 years it was expected to rise between 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius.

She said rainfall intensity had increased by 17 per cent during a one-hour downpour and 29 per cent during a three-hour shower between 2000 to 2007.

“There will be heavier rains and extreme weather by 2050,” she said at the Ensearch National Photography Competition (ENPC) prize giving ceremony here yesterday.

In terms of rise in sea level, she said there had been a 1.3mm rise per year from 1986 to 2006 measured at Tanjung Piai, Johor.

“Hot weather is often associated with increasing mortality, especially among the elderly,” she said, adding that erratic rainfall patterns could affect agriculture and cause flooding.”

Halimah said public awareness should be created to address climate change efficiently.

“In addition to ongoing efforts, outreach approaches offered by blogs, Facebook, and Twitter could be explored,” she said.

The ENPC said in a statement that the competition held from May to August this year had proved that Malaysians were aware of the growing environmental concerns in Malaysia.

The participants were divided into three categories — Nature In My Backyard, Habitat Lost-Habitat Gained and People and Places.

The participants comprised photographers of various of ages, regions and expertise, and some were secondary school students.

A grand prize winner for People and Places category, Chua Chee Eam, 40, from Penang, said the competition was very useful to promote the beauty of Malaysia.

“By having competitions like this, indirectly we can promote our country overseas.”

Chua had taken a photo of the Bajau tribe in Semporna Island, Sabah, who lived as nomad.

Winner in the special award category, Gabriel Peter, 15, said he was interested to participate in the competition because he realised the importance of natural resources in our society.

“My family and I love nature. I thought it was crucial for me to participate in this competition to show my concerns on environment.”

One of the judges, Sanjitpaal Singh, said in order to win the competitor had to take pictures with meaning.

“Photography is not only an art but also carries visual message,” he said, adding that the competition was aimed at depicting the importance of a clean environment.

The grand prize winners in each category walked away with prizes like Nikon D3100, tickets for Cruise Tasik Putrajaya, KTMB Vouchers, coffee-table books on photography and RM2,500 cash.

The competition was organised by Environmental Management and Research Association of Malaysia.

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Get ready for extreme weather, warns expert

Posted on December 6, 2011. Filed under: Climate Change |

-NST-

THE freak storms and heavy downpours which struck certain areas in the country is a wake-up call for  Malaysians to brace for extreme weather.

The floods in the east coast and northern areas of the peninsula were expected, but it was out of  the ordinary for the central region, said  Centre for Environment, Technology and and Development Malaysia (Cetdem) executive director Anthony Tan.

He described the recent heavy rain in Kajang and parts of Klang Valley as the worst  he had ever experienced in his life.

He said the recent extreme weather the country was facing was due to climate change.

“Malaysia has not seen the worst yet,” he said, referring to typhoons and floods which plague Bangladesh, Philippines and,  of late, Thailand  yesterday.

Tan said  climate changes  had affected rainfall patterns.

“The movie The Day After Tomorrow is a mild indicator as to what may happen next as extreme weather events are happening more frequently with devastating effect.

“Many development projects are being carried out from Port Klang to Gombak, and when it rains, drains would be clogged, thus  triggering flash floods,” he said.

“It is a wake-up call to  local councils to make sure the drainage system is clean and clear,” he said, adding that the country needs to invest in a proper drainage system.

The environment expert said proper planning in building construction was vital to prevent flash floods as low-lying  lands would be more susceptible, leading to flash floods.

“We have to change the way we operate and construct buildings.

“The rumah Melayu was built on stilts for a reason. You won’t be much affected by the floods and can tie your boat to the stilts. It’s practical,” he said.

“It is also a matter of land use and choosing where and how to have development projects, especially when it comes to low-lying areas.”

He said Malaysians should understand the concept of global warming and climate change by now and prepare themselves for it.

Tan called on Malaysians  not to panic at the current extreme weather pattern as it was a normal occurrence during the monsoon season.

A check at  the National Security Council website saw the agency place  Ledang (Johor), Manjung (Perak), Alor Gajah (Malacca), Sri Aman and Betong (Sarawak) on the flood watch list.

As of 4pm yesterday, flood victims at relief centres stood at 69 for Perak, followed by Johor (47), Malacca (19) and Sarawak (125).

Only two  two relief centres are operating in Ledang, Johor, and one  relief centre each in Alor Gajah, Malacca;  Manjung, Perak and Sri Aman (Sarawak).

 

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Malaysia hit by unprecedented rain; alert issued

Posted on December 6, 2011. Filed under: Climate Change |

(PTI) Malaysian authorities today advised people to be alert and brace for the worst as the capital city witnessed furious downpour, flash floods and strong winds in the past few days, bringing life to a standstill in some places.

Malaysians have been advised to be alert as flash floods could occur even in areas not usually known to be flood-prone, said Douglas Uggah Embas, Natural Resources and Environment Minister.

Attributing the unpredictable weather to global climate change, he said the public should be prepared for any eventualities, citing how Kajang, Selangor areas in Kuala Lumpur were unexpectedly hit by floods on Friday.

Last evening, powerful winds ravaged the city uprooting at least 100 trees, with strong rains making it impossible for motorists to drive.

Many cars were crushed under falling trees though there were no reports of loss of life or injuries.

As of yesterday, 870 flood victims were evacuated to seven relief centres in five states.

Douglas said he had also called on relevant agencies to be on stand-by to implement mitigation measures quickly.

“They must also ensure that the flood warning system in all states are in proper working condition”, he said.

Douglas said the severe floods in Thailand that lasted for weeks was also a result of global climate change.

Meteorological Department director-general, Dr Yap Kok Seng, said the current La Nina phenomenon provided “favourable conditions” for thunderstorms.

The department has issued a warning on strong winds and rough seas.

Massive traffic jams up to 9 pm were reported all over Kuala lumpur yesterday and highway entry points into the city as motorists were forced to slow down due to fallen trees, debris and minor accidents.

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Malaysia’s World-class Meteorological Infrasructure Ensures National Security – Mosti

Posted on April 29, 2011. Filed under: Climate Change |

CAMERON HIGHLANDS, April 29 (Bernama) — Malaysia’s meteorological infrastructure is world-class and equipped to ensure national security and public safety, said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.

The availability of meteorological stations and a radionuclide station in the country has enhanced Malaysia’s capability to monitor and act early against any adverse impacts from environmental disasters, including the possibility of a nuclear fallout, he said.

“Of course the behavior of the natural environment is not always predictable by the tools of science, so it is important for any government to invest in science infrastructure and trained manpower to attain world-class technical capabilities,” he said when inspecting the Meteorological Services Department (MSD)’s meteorological station at Cameron Highlands, which also houses the radionuclide station operated by the Malaysian Nuclear Agency.

The MSD has two regional Global Atmospheric Watch (GAW) stations located in Cameron Highlands and Petaling Jaya, with a full GAW station situated in Danum Valley, Sabah.

The Cameron Highlands GAW station measures gases at a tropical semi- developed area, the Petaling Jaya station measures gases at a tropical urban area while Danum Valley’s station measures gases at tropical forests.

“The stations contribute to atmospheric monitoring of climate change at various levels of land use change including agriculture and commercial development,” he said.

Meanwhile, the radionuclide station RN42 further strengthens the country’s weather and environmental monitoring capabilities.

The RN42 station is established under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation on nuclear weapon, of which Malaysia is a signatory. It is one of the 80 radionuclide stations in the world.

“The RN42 station is equipped with facilities that have the capability and high sensitivity to detect the presence of the smallest amount of radionuclide (airborne radioactive particles).

“So far, detection shows that our radioactive levels are normal and safe,” he said.

–BERNAMA

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Climate change issue brought to light with an hour of darkness

Posted on March 27, 2011. Filed under: Climate Change |

-The Star-

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians joined millions around the world last night in switching off lights and electrical appliances in a symbolic gesture in support of Earth Hour 2011 – the campaign to create awareness about climate change.

They switched off the lights from 8.30pm to 9.30pm.

In Petaling Jaya, the Sunway Pyramid turned dark for an hour last night in an event jointly organised by WWF-Malaysia.

Children at the Esplanade, Penang, lighting candles after the lights were switched off.

Cheers of “Save the World” were heard before the crowd started singing the famous Michael Jackson song Heal the World with lighted candles in their hands.

“We did not inherit this Earth from our ancestors, we simply borrowed it from our children,” Sunway Pyramid CEO H.C. Chan said.

More than 120 youths also gathered at the Sunway Giza Mall in Kota Damansara to observe Earth Hour.

Participants of the Earth Hour Youth Fest lit organic candles and entertained shoppers with performances.

They also gave away custom-made bookmarks and explained the importance of energy conservation.

The event was the brainchild of 15-year-old Ravyna Jassani, who wanted to do more than just switch off the lights for an hour.

In Sepang, 30% of the lights in some areas of KL International Airport (KLIA) were switched off from 8.30pm to 9.30pm.

The airport management turned off the terminal lights at the main terminal building, contact pier, satellite building and the LCCT-KLIA station.

Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd general manager Moham­mad Suhaimi Abdul Mubin said this would help KLIA conserve 194 kilowatts of electricity.

LCCT-KLIA would see savings of 43.5 kilowatts.

In George Town, the lights at iconic places, including the High Court building, City Hall and Town Hall, were switched off from 8.30pm to 9.30pm.

A downpour failed to dampen the spirit of the people observing Earth Hour at the Esplanade.

Several thousand organic candles were placed at the Esplan­ade field to make out the figure “60” (to represent 60 minutes) and the words “Earth Hour 2011”.

Earth Hour, which kicked off in Sydney in 2007, was organised by World Wide Fund For Nature for concerned individuals around the world to take a stand against climate change and global warming.

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Govt to introduce EPI to gauge carbon dioxide emission Govt to introduce EPI to gauge carbon dioxide emission

Posted on March 17, 2011. Filed under: Climate Change |

-Bernama-

JOHOR BAHARU: The government is to introduce the Environment Performance Index (EPI) in June to gauge Malaysia’s level of success in reducing carbon dioxide emission.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas said every state would have its own EPI and the data would be compiled for the whole country and published annually.

“Right now, only Kuala Lumpur has the EPI. Other large cities, such as Johor Baharu and George Town, do not have it,” he told reporters after launching a campus sustainable programme at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), here.

Uggah said having the EPI for the whole country would provide a clear picture of carbon dioxide emission in Malaysia.

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Production in Cameron Highlands down by 20% due to bad weather

Posted on January 25, 2011. Filed under: Climate Change |

-The Star- PETALING JAYA: Excessive rain over the past few months has affected domestic vegetable production, pushing up prices by as much as 100%.

The production in Cameron Highlands – the nation’s largest vegetable producer – has dropped by 20%, said Malaysian Vegetable Growers Association secretary-general Chay Ee Mong.

The frequent rain has made it difficult for farmers in Ringlet, Tanah Rata, Brinchang and Kampung Raja to plant vegetables.

Vegetable farms most affected by the weather and other contributing factors are the ones growing cabbage, lettuce, leek, red chilli, lotus roots, Chinese parsley, spring onion and coriander.

Biting prices: Prices of vegetables have increased by between 30% and 100% in wet markets. Frequent rains have made it difficult for farmers to plant vegetables.

This has resulted in their prices increasing by between 30% and 100%.

The highest vegetable price increase is registered in Penang where the price of spring onion has more than doubled from RM4 per kilo to RM9 per kilo.

Chay said other factors influencing the price increase were shortage of foreign labour and frequent natural disasters in vegetable supplying countries.

He said the supply of vegetables also depends on foreign imports and with China hit by floods recently, price increase could not be avoided.

“The bad weather is also compounded by the shortage of workers. There are not many foreign workers in the agriculture sector because they generally do not want to work in farms,” he said.

He said the situation was expected to improve later this month as the weather improved.

In Penang, checks at the Bayan Baru, Batu Lanchang and Cecil Street markets showed that the price of Chinese parsley has increased from RM6 per kilo last week to RM10 per kilo, spring onion from RM4 per kilo to RM9 per kilo and coriander from RM7 per kilo to RM10 per kilo.

Lim Kooi Seng, a vegetable dealer at the Batu Lancang market, said he would normally sell 30kg of Chinese parsley, spring onion and coriander per day but due to short supply he could only get less than 10kg daily now.

He also said that the price of lotus root, cabbage and romaine lettuce from China had shot up.

“Previously, lotus root was RM8 per kilo.

“Now it’s RM13 per kilo and the price of romaine lettuce has doubled to RM4 per kilo.”

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M’sia begins cutting emissions by 40%: Douglas Ugah

Posted on November 2, 2010. Filed under: Climate Change |

-The Sun- Following the introduction of the National Policy on Climate Change in August, Malaysia has begun implementing its road map to reduce emissions by up to 40% by 2020.

This follows a pledge by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak during the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen last year.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Douglas Ugah Embas said under this plan, the government would also draw up a comprehensive and detailed road map to address the climate change issue in the long term.

“As part of its ongoing commitment, the Malaysia Energy Centre was re-designated recently as the Malaysian Green Technology Corporation, and this is a further testimony of our efforts to combat climate change,” he said in his closing remarks at the International Conference on Climate Change, Agriculture and Trade Standards here today.

His text of speech was read by the ministry’s Deputy Secretary-General I Datuk Aziyah Mohamed.

Over 150 experts, academic leaders and international agencies are participating in the two-day conference which is co-organised by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) and Environment Management and Research Association of Malaysia (Ensearch).

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Coal-plant reprieve in 2011 budget

Posted on October 26, 2010. Filed under: Climate Change |

By Queville To

KOTA KINABALU: The 2011 budget appears to be another nail in the coffin of the proposed coal-fired power plant on a beach-front in Lahad Datu.

But the government is keeping mum on the plant, whose environment impact assessment was rejected earlier this year in an embarrassing blow to its government-linked proponents.

The coal plant which stirred a fire-storm of protests in the state however is still on the minds of the coalition of anti coal-plant NGOs, Green SURF (Sabah Unite to Re-Power the Future).

They have urged the government to come clean on the status of the plant and on the plans for clean electricity production on the eas coast of the state.

The request from Green SURF comes two months after the federal Department of Environment (DOE) rejected the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) report for the 300 megawatt project.

Green SURF spokesman Wong Tack said the coalition was still waiting for a decision on whether the project will continue.

“We would like to know the stand of the authorities, in particular the Sabah government. Green SURF wrote to the Sabah government over three weeks ago, but we have yet to get feedback.

“We hope the state government will take a stand based on the importance of the east coast of Sabah as a marine habitat. A huge amount is now being invested for activities in these areas, including through the national Budget for 2011,” he said in a statement issued here Monday.

Wong said there was still anxiety over the proposed plant.

“The public is asking for the state to focus on developing energy from renewable and green sources,” Wong said.

He said that while the power shortage problem in Sabah was still serious, time had been wasted on pushing for a controversial power plant, which has already been shifted three times.

Expedite projects

Green SURF has also received indirect support from Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak who spoke recently on the need to make a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy as a way to create a firm foundation for a greener economy.

Wong said the Renewable Energy Policy and Action Plan and a dedicated statutory body called the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA Malaysia), must get to work quickly.

He said the construction of a 300-megawatt Combined-Cycle Gas Power Plant in Kimanis as announced in the recent budget must be expedited to increase electricity generation to meet rising demand.

The budget also listed pioneer status and investment tax allowance for the generation of electricity from renewable sources and energy efficiency activities to be extended until Dec 31, 2015.

It further listed the implementation of a tariff mechanism under the Renewable Energy Act to allow electricity generated by individuals and independent providers to be sold to electricity utility companies.

“This is not the time to just talk, but to do something. We are glad that better feed in tariffs are being considered for implementation.

“Such initiatives are needed for investors to take up renewable energy projects.

“The Government has to make it attractive for the private sector to play a role in developing green energy,” Wong said.

Green SURF comprises the Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA) of which Wong is president, Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP), WWF-Malaysia, Partners of Community Organisations (PACOS) and the Malaysian Nature Society (Sabah branch).

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Govt in talks with Proton to supply hybrid cars to its officials

Posted on October 18, 2010. Filed under: Climate Change |

-The Star-

MIRI: Government officials will soon be provided with hybrid electric cars in another effort to go green.

The Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry is now in discussions with Proton Holdings Bhd to replace the current fleet of government vehicles with hybrid cars, said its minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin.

“If we really want to see the country go green, the Government must take the lead and show by example. We cannot keep telling the people and the private sector to go green if we do not do the same,” he told The Star yesterday, explaining the rationale behind the change.

A hybrid vehicle uses two or more distinct power sources to move the vehicle. It combines an internal combustion engine and one or more electric motors.

Chin said vehicles using electric engines could save up to 40% of fuel and also drastically cut down on carbon emission.

He pointed out that the abolishment of import and excise duties for electric vehicles under Budget 2011 would see a big drop in prices.

“The present price of electric vehicles manufactured by Toyota is about RM175,000 in Malaysia because of the import and excise duties.

“Now, with the abolishment of these duties, we expect the price to go down by a big margin in Malaysia soon,” he said.

On Friday, during the tabling of Budget 2011, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the Government would continue to provide incentives in a move to ensure sustainable development.

This would include granting exemption to full import duty and 50% excise duty to franchise holders of hybrid cars and hybrid electric motorcycles up to Dec 31.

To spur ownership of hybrid cars, import duty and excise duty exemption will be extended until Dec 31 with excise duty given full exemption.

Chin said the talks with Proton was focused on how it could supply cars with electric engines for his ministry, the Prime Minister’s Department, Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, and the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry.

The exercise would be extended later to other ministries and departments, he said.

However, he declined to set a target date as discussions with Proton were ongoing.

Chin said ordinary Malaysians would also be able to afford electric cars when more models were imported from other countries.

The Government, he said, could also possibly source for new models of hybrid electric cars from the United States.

At present, Honda and Toyota have models of hybrid cars in Malaysia.

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