British High Commissioner calls for action on climate change
The path to nett-zero carbon requires the world to change the way it consumes and produces electricity. It is important to remember that climate change is everyone’s responsibility.
In making the earth a little bit cooler, many efforts, including the deployment of renewable energy, have been made.
The Clean Power New Energy Conference 2021 on Oct 12-13 highlighted this exciting transition in the energy sector. The virtual event witnessed a gathering of industry players and policymakers discussing the direction of the energy sector, moving towards a greener source of energy.
The guest-of-honour was British High Commissioner to Malaysia Charles Hay, who delivered his opening remarks. Hay highlighted the importance of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland.
“It comes as science continues to warn that the cost of inaction on climate change will be catastrophic to prosperity and development. COP26 will be a critical moment to build new momentum to meet our shared challenge of setting a trajectory for a nett-zero world,” said Hay.
He shared that over 120 heads of government were expected to attend the World Leader’s Summit at the prestigious event, including the Malaysian government delegation. Hay believed the gathering of these leaders was a solid testament to the growing political will to act together on climate action.
Highlighting the critical role of the energy sector in climate action, he then quoted the COP26 president-designate, Alok Sharma, saying: “At COP26, we must consign coal to history”.
“I’m delighted that Malaysia is beginning to move in this direction. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s recent announcement in the 12th Malaysia Plan that Malaysia intends to become carbon-neutral as early as 2050 is an important signal.
“It is one that I’m sure you’ve all taken note. Alongside this, the confirmation of the government’s intention to not build any new coal power plant is an equally important one.
“Making the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, quickly and fairly, is vital if we are to keep alive the Paris Agreement’s goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees,” said Hay.
Accelerating corporate climate action
Hay stated that companies were now examining the embodied carbon throughout their supply chain and looking for clean energy to power their offices, factories, and vehicles.
He shared that these measures increasingly drove investments, and many companies set their climate business strategies.
“The UN’s Race to Zero campaign provides an important structure to ensure that business activity is credible. Those carbon reduction goals are informed by science and represent a genuine transition.
“Sarawak Energy was an early-mover among Malaysian companies in joining the Race to Zero. I want to commend their efforts and invite others to follow their lead,” he said.
Hay then shared about Malaysia Climate Action Week, organised by the High Commission and the British-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce.
During the week, companies were invited to sign a new climate action pledge as part of their climate journey.
“Accelerating the global clean energy transition has been a core focus of the UK’s presidency of COP26.
“Besides the decisions of political leaders, developing the supporting financial framework is vital to properly incentivise clean energy investment, and accounting for the climate risks and costs of dirty development,” Hay said, adding that significant banks such as CIMB and Maybank already indicated their halt to financing for coal.
He then shared with the participants the recent announcement from the UK in which the country aimed to
decarbonise its electricity system by 2035 fully. He emphasised that such
commitment acted as an essential measure to deliver the UK’s net-zero-by-2050 target.
“You may have heard of the disruptions caused by volatile gas prices. But this only underscores the priority of continuing to reduce our use of fossil fuels and to ramp up our investment in innovation and the deployment of green technologies.”
He then shared that his Department for International Trade team would be pleased to introduce the opportunities and partners in the UK to interested parties.
“We are proud to already count TNB as a significant investor in our renewables sector. Earlier this year, TNB launched Vantage, a London-based renewables investment and asset management company.
“Petronas is partnering with Imperial College and Heriot-Watt Universities to research new technologies which
will help them and others deliver decarbonisation commitments. We are helping others and would welcome your interest too.”
Hay then highlighted that keeping the 1.5 degrees goal alive depended on the clean energy revolution.
He said: “This is our task at COP26 and beyond. To consign coal to history and to transition to a clean energy future. It is a great challenge here in Malaysia as it is elsewhere. But it is also a great opportunity. One that I know you’ll be part of.”