In Kuala Lumpur, traffic is starting to build up again as we return to work from the festive break, and seeing all the petrol-powered cars on the road makes me worried about the amount of greenhouse gases and pollutants they release into the air.
Electrification is widely accepted as the most viable way to decarbonise Malaysia's transport sector, but massive investments in electric vehicles are needed to meet the country's decarbonisation targets. Right now, high EV prices and a lack of infrastructure still stand in our way. Logistics firms that want to optimise their transportation routes find that they even have to persuade their staff and internal stakeholders that adopting greener practices doesn't cost more.
Speaking of traffic, the Penang government has been looking to mitigate worsening road congestion by transforming the state's transport system. Its master plan is tied to the financing model of the reclamation of three islands along Penang's sleepy southern coast – a controversial project that has received high scrutiny from environmentalists for its potential impact on marine ecology. It receiving a "low-carbon design award" recently has riled up critics as they believe it is greenwash. (I discuss the controversy with Malaysia's BFM radio on one of its latest episodes.)
The issue shows how the pursuit for urban development hinges on making tough choices. Yet as much as building new infrastructure is key to accomodating growing populations, there are instances when we need to pay heed to dissenting voices, especially when the asks are basic – that due process be in place and ecological sensitivity carefully considered.
The project developer, backed by the Penang state government, has produced an ecology offset masterplan to address its environmental footprint, and has recently received accolades for its 'low-carbon' design. Critics say it is greenwashing.
The likely return of El Niño risks a repeat of something like the great haze of 2015, which choked Southeast Asia. Experts say the regional bloc, which is already suffocating in the north, needs to prepare itself for another bad haze event.
To participate in the global supply chain, logistics companies increasingly need to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) best practices into their operations. However, such initiatives are deemed costly to implement.
A regional study of investor appetite for green finance in Southeast Asia finds that waste management is the top priority sector, while Malaysia has the highest proportion of green investors among the countries surveyed.
Energy transition blueprint in the works
Malaysia will launch its national energy transition roadmap by the end of June, and the new strategic plan will bring in more investments and create high-paying jobs, said economic minister Rafizi Ramli. Rafizi also announced that Malaysia has formally joined the Asia Zero Emission Community, an energy bloc comprising Japan, Australia and all Asean countries except Myanmar. The bloc is a new cooperation-based initiative to drive the clean energy transition across the region.
Bursa Malaysia joins global emissions trading network
Stock exchange operator Bursa Malaysia has become a member of the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) through its voluntary carbon market, Bursa Carbon Exchange. As a member of the non-profit, Bursa Malaysia will have access to the latest developments in climate policy and market design, as well as direct contact with a global network of industry experts and stakeholders who are actively engaged in the development of carbon markets and emissions trading systems.
Deep river blues
Recent investigations by Selangor's water management authority found that water in Sungai Gong, a river in one of its towns Rawang, had turned blue due to pollution from a factory in a nearby industrial estate. The state authority has ordered the factory to immediate stop the effluent discharge and carry out cleaning work. The company could be fined between RM200,000 to RM1 million for causing the pollution.
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