Governments and bourses across Asia dealing in voluntary carbon trading have had to reassure the markets that integrity controls are in place, after a story that cast doubts on the credibility of Verra-verified carbon offsets broke early this year. Malaysia's stock exchange has said in this story that credits are screened before being onboarded on their newly-launched carbon trading platform, and that it will work towards accepting other non-Verra carbon standards in the future.
Just last week, we also confirmed that Malaysia's palm oil company IOI Group, along with Singapore's Golden-Agri Resources, have withdrawn from a voluntary framework set up to help forest-risk companies meet their no-deforestation pledges. This has invited criticism from environmental groups that these companies are shirking their responsibility to be transparent about whether they are meeting their sustainability commitments.
It is no wonder that Malaysians are saying that they do not have much faith in what can be done to fight climate change. Budgetary allocations for urgent projects, such as that for flood mitigation, are complicated by political interests. The government has had to reissue tenders for six such projects, after taking into consideration that previous procurements might have been completed without proper scrutiny. The revised 2023 budget also tiptoes around crucial issues, and sidesteps climate change. It would be hard to get the average citizen to care about taking action, if the state itself is slow in providing assurance.
Governments and bourses are warming to working with voluntary carbon markets to help meet their decarbonisation agendas, but are also grappling with integrity controls in a sector known to harbour black sheep.
Only one in ten Malaysians are optimistic that humans can successfully limit climate change, a recent survey found. Scientists are the most trusted sources of climate information, journalists among the least.
The Malaysian government aims to save up to RM2 billion on flood mitigation projects following ‘reckless approval’ by the past government, said Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. Malaysia experienced one of its worst floods in 2021.
If left unchecked, plastic consumption will double by mid-century. A global single-use plastic ban will still see plastic consumption grow one and a half times current levels by 2050, new research warns.
Malaysia's financial institutions are gearing up to make mandatory climate-related risk disclosures over the next two years.
Carbon tax? Not anytime soon
Malaysia’s finance ministry says the government does not plan to implement a carbon tax in the near future. It will, however, study the feasibility of implementing such a tax in the long term to determine its impact on industries and consumers. It said that the carbon tax must be formulated in alignment with fuel subsidies so that the two policies do not contradict each other.
Stop work order for 'cracking and leaching'
Australian rare earth mineral producer Lynas will no longer be able to keep its radioactive waste in its refinery in Gebeng, Pahang. The restriction is part of a set of conditions for renewing the licence of its Malaysia facility, which will be in force from July. Lobby groups and diplomats from the European Union and countries such as the United States and Japan have asked for assurance from the state that this latest development will not disrupt production for the processed rare earths concentrate that is needed for goods such as mobile phones and rechargeable batteries.
US customs authorities have lifted a two-year import ban on palm oil products made by Malaysia’s Sime Darby Plantation after determining that its goods were no longer produced with forced labour. Sime Darby Plantation had appointed an ethical trade consultancy to audit its facilities and set aside US$20 million to compensate some 15,000 current and 19,000 former migrant workers who paid recruitment fees to secure jobs at the firm.
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