Iskandar Malaysia pioneers in low carbon economy
Published on: Wednesday, March 27, 2019
By: Kan Yaw Chong

JOHOR BARU: Iskandar Malaysia CEO Datuk Ismail Ibrahim said the development of a low carbon society by giving equal importance and equal attention to a troubling issue like climate change can be done under holistic and well balanced development which believes that the parts are inter-connected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

Playing host at the launching of the inaugural Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy held at Double Tree Hilton Hotel here last Tuesday (19 March), Ismail said he felt particularly honoured that Iskandar Malaysia which encompasses five local authorities in Johor is now globally recognised for its environmental initiatives after embarking on its Low Carbon Economy agenda which started in 2012. 

Ismail credited Iskandar Malaysia’s successful low carbon environmental initiatives to robust trans-agency and transboundary actions, co-operation and all round support from State local Government Ministry, the European Union, its International Urban Cooperation (IUC) Asia project under team leader Pablo Gandara, the Secretariat of Global Covenant of Mayors on Climate and Energy as well as cities across Malaysia. 

“Indeed, today’s event (inaugural GCoM) marks another significant milestone in Iskandar Malaysia’s Low Carbon journey as its strives closer towards its vision of becoming a strong and sustainable metropolis on international standing,” Ismail said.

At the GCoM event, one speaker after another assured that a low carbon economy and adaptation to climate change is do-able citing the fact that 70pc of total global carbon emissions comes from cities which occupies only just 2pc of global land use. 

They said via mandatory and voluntary low carbon actions taken by cities across the world, climate change can be brought under control.    

Ismail said that given the understanding that cities are the answer to climate change, Iskandar Malaysia responded to the risks and vulnerabilities by guiding its development under its Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) that emphasized on the Circle of Sustainability, a holistic and resilient ecosystem where economic, social and environmental agendas are taken into account and are given equal importance and receive equal attention.”

“What this means is that while Iskandar Malaysia focuses on attracting investments for the region’s development, we will also ensure that these investments have a positive spill-over effect to the local communities, to ensure that no one is left behind, at no expense to the environment,” he noted.

On investments, he cited RM285.34 billion poured in since 2006 including rm32.23 billion in 2018 alone and close to one million new jobs created , 15pc of which involving skilled workers and professionals.

But the “special pride “ of it all is “ the global recognition of our extensive environmental efforts”, Ismail said, specifically in reference to the Low Carbon Blueprint for Iskandar Malaysia launched in 2012 to reduce the regional development’s carbon emission intensity by 58pc by 2025 for a green and more sustainable yet economically dynamic environment, Ismail a gathering of top EU, regional and Malaysian city planners and mayors.

He said “to speed up” the realisation of the low carbon society in Iskandar Malaysia, it took action to formulate the Low Carbon Society Action Plans 2025 (LCP2025) for its 5 local authorities, namely Johor Bahru, Iskandar Puteri, Pasir Gudang, Kulai and Pontian.

Ismail said since the Low Carbon Society Action Plan of the 5 respective local authorities interlock or  fit together with the regional level Low Carbon Society Blueprint which commits everybody on what they must do, these 5 local authorities play a key role in the implementation of  the Low Carbon Society at the city level.                

According to him, his experience confirmed the importance of trans-agency and transboundary cooperation in achieving the super environmental goals.

“We need to learn from each other, leveraging on each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and work closely together to be more effective from planning to doing environmental issues,” he said.

In particular, the importance of putting science into the action is imperative to achieving the desired results. 

He cited the example in 2018, the Iskandar Regional Development Authority carried out a Low Carbon Society Blueprint Stock-taking  Exercise together with its counterpart — the Low Carbon Asia Research Centre, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), to  determine and review the action progress and status of the Low Carbon Society programmes  in Iskandar Malaysia since the Low Carbon Blueprint was launched in 2012 at COP18, Doha, Qatar.

“The results shows that about 60 of the 281 programmes have been completed by all 5 local authorities and the action reflect those at the regional level,” Ismail noted. 

“Besides that we also did a 3rd Greenhouse Gas Inventory update for the year 2017 using the internationally recognised standard for accounting and reporting greenhouse gas – the Global Protocol for Community Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC)  to track and manage the Reduction of Carbon Emission Intensity within Iskandar Malaysia.” 

“We found that Iskandar Malaysia’s emission intensity by GDP in 2017 showed a reduction of 13pc from its base of 2010,” Ismail noted.

“So although we have come a long way in terms of low carbon society development, there will always be room for improvement to speed up our green agenda and this is one reason Irda officially became a member of the Global Covenant of Mayors at the COP 23 In Bonn Germany, 2017, Ismail said.

“We believe by participating in the GCoM platform, it will raise new possibilities for Irda’s international commitment as cooperation offered by the coalition of cities with the support from the Europe Union and its partners but clearly we have much to learn from so many cities around the world while Iskandar Malaysia also has expertise, practices and information t share with our city colleagues,” Ismail concluded.    


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