In a report published recently, news publication The Washington Post has claimed Malaysia grossly under-reports its greenhouse gas emissions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The report – titled “Countries’ Climate Pledges Built On Flawed Data” – calls Malaysia’s latest emissions report “from a parallel universe”.
According to the 2016 figures (the last year of which Malaysia submitted to the UNFCCC), it was claimed that Malaysia subtracted a staggering 243 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (C02) from its balance sheet, or roughly 73% of its total emissions.
Malaysian officials purport that this is due to ‘carbon sink’ absorptions by forests in the country. However, The Washington Post says the reduction is at a rate four times faster than the whole of Indonesia, while having less than five times the total forested area.
Besides comparisons with other nations, the report also highlights the incredulity of UN technical reviewers at Malaysia’s figures. The reviewers have called the 243 million reduction as “unusually large”, and that they have been unable to replicate the figures despite the use of three separate models.
According to figures compiled by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Malaysia released more than 422 million tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2016, putting it in the top 25-emitters in the world.
A large proportion of Malaysia’s greenhouse gas emissions come from power generation, with many coal plants forming the backbone of Malaysia’s energy capacity.
In response, the Environment and Water Minister, Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man has dismissed the Post report. He expressed that the process of compiling the figures were done with “transparency, accuracy, (and) consistency.”
“As such, Malaysia regrets the action of the Washington Post in questioning the integrity of the UNFCCC process and outcome,” he said briefly.
Tuan Ibrahim is currently in Glasgow, Scotland, for the 26th Conference of the UNFCCC. Malaysia is also set to become signatory to the Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use, as well as the Global Methane Pledge.