KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian rainforests absorb about 31% of the carbon dioxide produced in the country, enabling the nation to achieve its target of reducing carbon emission intensity by 40%.
Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr James Dawos Mamit said a large amount of carbon dioxide was absorbed by the country's 20.3 million hectares worth of forests.
"The targeted 40% reduction in carbon emission intensity is something we can achieve or probably have achieved already with the help of our forests," he said during question time in the Dewan Rakyat Thursday.
Dawos was answering a supplementary question by Anuar Abd Manap (BN - Sekijang), referring to the announcement by the Government in 2009 that Malaysia was targeting a 40% reduction of the carbon emission intensity of its gross domestic product by the year 2020.
Last month, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak told a United Nations climate summit in New York that Malaysia would continue to cut carbon emissions through new policies involving climate change and green technology.
However, he said the progress came at a cost and the Government spent nearly US$2.6bil (RM8.4bil) over the last decade adapting to more frequent floods, when such funds could have been used to invest in green industries or slow down climate change.
On ozone depleting substances, Dawos said Malaysia was a country that endorsed the Montreal Protocol, which states how the ozone layer can be protected by phasing out chemical substances that can erode it.
According to the protocol, if all member countries remain committed, the ozone layer would recover substantially by 2050.