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Malaysia lacks research on climate change – Professor

Published on 17 March 2014 Malaysia

KOTA KINABALU: While awareness on climate change has been progressing over the past couple of years, lack of research, which is needed to influence government policies, dims the light for a sustainable future in the country.

Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Work Group 1 vice-chair Professor Dr Fredolin Tangang opined that when it came to dealing with climate change, Malaysia was one of the countries that still lacked research on the subject to push for better policies encouraging sustainable living.

“We’ve heard of many meetings around the world on this issue but not much has been done in terms of agreement on what should be done,” said Tanggang, when met at the Climate Change (Latest Report) public lecture held at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) here yesterday.

Tangang was presenting the key findings of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report and their relevance to Malaysia and the Southeast Asia region.

IPCC is a scientific inter-governmental body set up by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which assesses public knowledge on climate change and compiles them into an annual report.

On the other hand, Tangang however believes that although Malaysia has a long way to go, the country is doing a decent job working towards a sustainable future, citing Malaysia’s recent pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2020 as an example.

Nevertheless, Malaysia’s effort alone will not be sufficient to produce a desirable change to reduce the effects of greenhouse gases.

“I think we still have a long way to go in achieving this. But Malaysia alone won’t be able to do much at stopping climate change because, in terms of countries and emissions, America and China alone contribute to 40 per cent of the emissions.

“But per capita, we (Malaysia) are not that low. Individually, we have as much emissions as the people in larger countries like China,” said Tangang, who is also the Climatology and Oceanography professor at the National University of Malaysia (UKM).

Tangang explained that emissions of greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide and methane prevent the warmth from the sun to be released from the earth’s atmosphere, causing the warmth to be trapped inside the earth’s atmosphere, creating an increase in heat in the atmosphere. This process is known as the greenhouse effect.

He said implications of climate change include a rise in sea levels caused by the melting of ice caps and adverse weather conditions.

“Climate change is real. Climate has always been changing but human activities had caused it to change at a rapid pace. In the last 100 years, temperatures have increased by 0.85-degree Celsius but in the next 100 years in the future, if nothing is being done, the temperature could rise to up to six-degree Celsius more,” he said.

He added that the government also played a role in creating a sustainable future, saying Malaysia was not self-sufficient enough to stand on its own.

“We’re still relying on rice from Thailand, for example. Food security I think is a very important aspect that should be considered along with climate change,” said Tangang.

Source: Borneo Post | 4 March 2014