Sarawak first in Malaysia to enact climate change law


The Sarawak Legislative Assembly has passed the Environment (Reduction of Greenhouse Gases Emission) Bill on November 20, making it the first state to have legislation to address climate change.

Deputy Minister in the Premier's Department Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said the Bill aimed to protect Sarawak 's environment by implementing strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve net zero emissions in the state by 2050.

New Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Building in Malaysia. (Photo: Wikipedia)

She pointed out that while Malaysia had pledged to reduce emissions by 45% by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 in accordance with the Paris Agreement, Parliament had not passed any laws to implement these obligations.

"Therefore, the state government is taking the initiative to introduce this Bill, aiming to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, promote carbon capture and storage and mitigate climate change effects to achieve net zero by 2050," Sharifah said.

She said measures outlined in the Bill included mandating registered businesses in scheduled economic sectors to submit annual carbon emission reports and establish emission thresholds.

"Where any registered business entity is unable or unwilling to bring their emissions down to the threshold levels, a carbon levy at a rate to be determined by the state Cabinet will be imposed," Sharifah said.

She also said the Bill would institute a robust system for project verification and validation by appointed carbon standard administrators to ensure integrity and credibility for carbon credits issued in Sarawak. She noted that this would allow the state to earn revenue by trading or selling carbon credits.

Upon the Bill's passing, the state government planned to set up an advisory panel on climate change, carbon capture, utilization and storage, carbon credits and pricing, emission thresholds, energy transition strategies, the net zero target and related matters.

"The Bill will also pave the way for Sarawak to have its own complete regulatory framework on clean and renewable energy, underlining our status as one of the clean energy leaders in the world," Sharifah said.

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