PETALING JAYA: Malaysia was not invited to US President Joe Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate because the country is not categorised as one vulnerable to climate change, says Environment and Water Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.
He said the main objective of the summit on April 22-23 was to encourage large economies that
collectively contributed 80% of greenhouse gases to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
He pointed out that many countries that stood out in the climate change agenda such as Sweden, Switzerland and Thailand were also not invited.
“The summit is a one-off event and does not affect negotiations and resolutions under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
“This needs to be seen separately from the recent issue of the importation of plastic waste into Malaysia from the United States, ” he said in a statement yesterday.
Biden has invited 40 world leaders to the summit he will be hosting, which will be livestreamed for public viewing.
In a statement on its website, the White House said the summit would reconvene the US-led Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, which brings together 17 countries responsible for approximately 80% of global emissions.
“The president also invited the heads of other countries that are demonstrating strong climate leadership, are especially vulnerable to climate impacts or are charting innovative pathways to a net-zero economy, ” the White House added.
Two leaders from South-East Asia have been invited – Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and former Vietnamese president Nguyen Phu Trong.
Tuan Ibrahim was responding to media reports alleging that Malaysia was not invited to the summit because the country was seen as a dumping ground for plastic waste.But environmental group Klima Action Malaysia, in a series of tweets, questioned Tuan Ibrahim’s explanation, noting that extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and heatwaves affected the lives and livelihoods of Malaysians.“The South-East Asian region will be hit hard (by climate change), the impacts are already felt, ” it said.
Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim compared the PAS deputy president to former US president Donald Trump in terms of his stance on the environment.
“In the United States, Trump denied the effects of climate change. In Malaysia, we have Tuan Ibrahim, who said the same thing, ” he added.
Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) representatives Aisyah Hanah and Dr Teo Lee Ken, in a statement yesterday, also questioned Tuan Ibrahim’s explanation.
Muda urged Tuan Ibrahim to show serious focus on the Paris Agreement, with Malaysia committing to a reduction of greenhouse gases by 45% by 2030.