The need to control climate change has been brought to our consciousness since the 19th century. Call by countries regarding the climate crisis and the needed action to be taken has been made and this culminated at the Paris Agreement. However, the green recovery plan has somewhat hit a snag with the emergence of the coronavirus. As the pandemic is dealing with its devastating blow on the global socio-economic activities, the focus has been shifted from the promotion of the use of green energy to the current issue.
While countries are scouring for a COVID-19 panacea, should the need to tackle climate change be abandoned? Now is the time the usage of green energy should be championed, and one of the countries vying for the reduction of the impact of climate change is Malaysia. The Malaysian government has been striving to enable clean and affordable energy that will substitute fossil fuels and facilitate the clean energy transition. According to Malaysia’s 2018 climate change report, Malaysia’s sea level, temperature and rainfall has been increasing for the past four decades and will further increase to 2050.
The current Malaysian environment is likely to face climate change consequences, such as food drought, floods and extreme weather conditions. Also, if climate change is not diminished, more and more Malaysians are expected to be affected by flooding and the rise in sea-level in the future. With this in mind, the need to scale back carbon emissions is certainly obvious.
Clean and sustainable energy will have a significant impact on the Malaysian economy, just as much as it has had on its environment. Take the UK, for example. Carbon emissions were slashed by 43% since 1990 and they have had a cleaner environment and an economy that has grown by two-thirds. Addressing the impact of the pandemic on employment has been one of the government’s measures for economic stimulus and recovery.
The COVID-19 outbreak has led to dwindling oil prices. As of the time of this writing, the cost of oil per barrel is $44 (RM 184.26). Considering that oil revenues make up more than 20% of the country’s GDP, this price decline has taken a huge toll on the economy. Investing in renewable energy sources will be a good way of economic diversification and will relieve the nation of dependence on oil revenue. It will also be a means to see large public investments, which will be needed to restart the Malaysian economy.
The green recovery plan is projected to create jobs directly and indirectly. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) forecasts that the renewable energy industry will create more than 40 million jobs by 2050.
In Malaysia, the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry is building a carbon-free future, estimated to rake RM4 billion into the national coffers and create 12,000 jobs.
To facilitate the transition from carbon-based economy to a green economy, the government must work hand in hand with private key players. The government lays the groundwork for the industry players to execute their innovative green solution ideas. Through the private-public collaborations, the decarbonization plan will be able to be brought to the desired level.
The government should create policies that revolve around recycling, energy efficiency and water management. While the industrial activities have contributed to high carbon emissions. policies to regulate their use of fossil fuels as energy-generating sources will go a long way in enabling a clean and sustainable environment.
The government has to encourage investment in the green energy industry. This is mostly needed in the research and development of green innovative ideas; for example, digitalization of the industry will bring about a great change in achieving energy transition and the government should encourage this.
The pandemic has shown the need for implementing an energy recovery plan in Malaysia. As billions are spent to restart the economy, much consideration should be given to the green recovery plan.
This energy management system will boost solar power in Malaysia, create job opportunities and a cleaner and healthier environment for Malaysians. Additionally, it will contribute to combating climate change and save businesses that have been suffering from the ravaging impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
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