Sabah to be first Malaysian state to deal in carbon trading

Sabah is a step closer to becoming the first state in Malaysia to get into the business of carbon trading amidst growing global concerns on climate change.

Last week, the state legislative assembly approved an amendment to its Forestry Enactment, paving the way for the Sabah Government to collect revenue for carbon sequestration – which is a process of storing carbon from the atmosphere – by maintaining its forests.

Scientists have blamed the high levels of CO2 for the rise in global warming, which leads to climate change.

“We are now in a position to deal in carbon trading,” said state Forestry Department director Datuk Sam Mannan here yesterday.

Sabah, he said, would offer its existing Class 1 forest reserves or forests undergoing rehabilitation such as those in Ulu Segama on the east coast for carbon sequestration.

“It has been shown that forests in equatorial zones such as ours are the most efficient in sequestering carbon and this is required in tackling global warming,” added Mannan.

He said the state had recently signed a Memorandum of Under­standing with a British-based firm on carbon trading as part of an ongoing international interest in reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, industries in developed countries are allowed to pay for the reduction of CO2 in developing countries as a way to offset their own emissions.

Mannan said the firm had six months to come up with a business plan on carbon trading, which the state would adopt should it find this satisfactory.

During the tabling of the Forest Enactment Amendment, Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Ellron Alfred Angin had said that the Bill would allow the definition of forest produce to include “carbon commodity embedded in the forests”.

He said the amendment would allow the state government to collect revenue from carbon sequestration, noting that there was a huge untapped potential in carbon trading in Sabah.

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