PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia has debunked an article published by The Washington Post questioning the country's greenhouse gas emissions report to the United Nations, saying that national data and published scientific literature were used to draw up the Biennial Update Report (BUR).
Environment and Water Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said a rigorous process was undertaken to produce the report and all information and values underwent multiple stakeholder consultations.
"A clear institutional arrangement is in place where a bottom-up approach is implemented and these details are reflected in the BUR," he said in a statement responding to an article published by The Washington Post.
The article had questioned Malaysia's report to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), claiming the 285-page report suggested that "Malaysia's trees are absorbing carbon four times faster than similar forests in Indonesia".
According to the article, carbon absorption is not happening on the scale that countries assert, citing discrepancies in Malaysia's report as an example where according to data compiled by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, 422 million tonnes of greenhouse gases were emitted in 2016.
"But because Malaysia claims its trees are consuming vast amounts of CO2, its reported emissions to the UN is just 81 million tonnes, less than those of the small European nation of Belgium," stated the report.
Tuan Ibrahim said Malaysia's BUR was produced according to requirements stated by the UNFCCC, including providing information on mitigation actions and their effects, constraints and gaps as well as related financial, technical and capacity needs.
After such a report is submitted by a country, the UNFCCC's team of technical experts examine the document.
There is a dedicated engagement session between the team of experts and the country party submitting the BUR to obtain additional information and clarification, followed by another round of assessments.
The final process will be the facilitative sharing of views (FSV) session where a country presents its summary report and is subject to another round of questions.
"Upon completing this process, the BUR is subjected to another set of assessments," he said.
Under the UNFCCC BUR process, Malaysia has so far undergone three sessions with a team of technical experts and two FSV sessions.
"The whole process is based on transparency, accuracy, consistency, comparability and completeness principles.
"As such, Malaysia regrets the action of The Washington Post in questioning the integrity of the UNFCCC process and its outcome," said Tuan Ibrahim.