Sabah can play vital role in country's carbon capture plans, says Kitingan

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah sees itself playing a pivotal role in Malaysia's carbon capture and storage facilities, says Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

He said the state was already in the process of committing some two million hectares of rainforest to a 100-year carbon credit conservation project.

"Recently, Sabah took a momentous step by entering into a Nature Conservation Agreement (NCA). We have committed two million hectares of our rainforest to a 100-year carbon credit conservation project.

"This initiative is expected to become a prominent carbon dioxide sink, reinforcing our proactive stance on climate restoration," Kitingan said in a statement on Wednesday (June 28).

However, he did not make any direct reference to the controversial NCA deal signed with Singapore-based Hoch Standard Pte Ltd in October 2021 for the sale of carbon credit from two million hectares of state forest.

Following the controversy, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor had said that the deal was put on hold and would be studied further.

Kitingan said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had also acknowledged Sabah's role in Malaysia's carbon capture strategies.

"The Prime Minister's emphasis on sustainability is consistent with Sabah's own dedication to environmental conservation and climate change mitigation," said Kitingan, who heads the State Cabinet Committee on NCA implementation.

He said he had also suggested to Anwar that the Carbon Exchange should be anchored in Sabah and the Prime Minister was positive about the possibility.

"We are optimistic that Sabah's trailblazing efforts will secure broader acknowledgment and support from the Federal Government," he said.

The revenue from the carbon credit initiative would bolster Sabah's annual development grant from Putrajaya that will significantly aid the state's infrastructure development and poverty eradication efforts, he added.

Kitingan noted that the Prime Minister, in his discourse at Energy Asia 2023, emphasised the commercial potential of carbon capture, fostering a low-carbon economy, and promoting sustainable socio-economic development.

This aligned with Sabah's aspirations and objectives, he added.

"We anticipate closer collaboration with our neighbours and other stakeholders to reach our shared sustainability objectives," he said.

Kitingan also said Sabah will remain proactive as Malaysia updates its Nationally Determined Contribution to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030 relative to 2005.

He said Sabah's initiatives, like the carbon credit conservation project, would substantially aid in attaining this ambitious objective.

"We are also eagerly waiting for the introduction of the National Energy Transition Roadmap (NETR) and the Hydrogen Economy & Technology Roadmap (HETR).

"We are assured that our collective efforts will not only secure an environmentally sustainable future for Malaysia but will also spur new economic growth trajectories," he added.

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