KUALA LUMPUR: The conclusion of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) summit in November brought together 120 world leaders to accelerate tangible actions on the road to climate change.
The outcome of COP26 has seen a continuously growing number of countries pledging to achieve net-zero emission by 2050 and 2060.
According to Gamuda Berhad group managing director Datuk Lin Yun Ling, what is of utmost importance is having a clear pathway and roadmap first for the next 10 years.
In a recent press conference, Lin said deadlines are meaningless without a clear roadmap. As a nation fast-tracking its climate change action, an emission reduction of 50% by 2030 should be targeted to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
“Without a clear pathway to achieve these reductions in the next one decade, the game to achieve net-zero by 2050 is almost certainly lost,” he said.
Lin stressed that our number one priority is to decarbonise our electricity in our quest for emission reductions.
In Malaysia, 75% of all greenhouse gas emissions come from three primary sources: electricity generation (40%), road transportation (18%) and industry and manufacturing (17%). Electricity is central to all these three sectors.
“While we are accelerating the shift to electric vehicles (EVs), EVs are still being charged with electricity from coal-fired sources. It doesn’t make sense as this electricity is still very carbon-intensive.
“In the future, industries will need green hydrogen, which requires clean electricity to power electrolysers to produce this green hydrogen. At present, 75% of local electricity generation emissions are from coal-fired plants,” he said.
Lin stresses that to align with the Paris Agreement, Malaysia needs to achieve 50% emissions reduction by 2030.
“First, we need to retire our coal-fired power plants earlier. We need to install at least 8GW of renewable energy (primarily solar) between now and 2030.
“As a nation, we have only implemented 1.5GW of solar photovoltaic capacity to date. Massive upgrades to grid infrastructure and capacity will be required to enable this clean energy transition.
“Meanwhile, in the future, battery energy storage systems will also be required to handle the variability in the grid with an increase in renewables in the energy mix.”
Putting a price on carbon is a vital step. Most Asean countries have started to adopt carbon pricing systems such as emissions trading systems (ETS) or cap-and-trade schemes.
Neighbouring countries like Singapore has set a rate of US$5 per tonne of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) emissions, while Indonesia has a carbon price of US$2 per tonne of CO2e.
“It’s important to get the ETS up and running first, and the price for carbon can be increased gradually after.
“This will kick start many things including a new ecosystem and a much-needed framework in terms of government policies and regulations, clear taxonomy (classification), measuring emissions and performance evaluations,” Lin added.