The Malaysian Government should pay heed to IPCC’s findings on the potentials of renewable energy

In light of the recent events with significant impact on combating the global crises of energy security and climate change, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) and CAP are pleased that the world is finally taking cognisance of the burgeoning need to curtail the devastating effect of fossil fuels on the environment.

The release of the landmark report by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on May 9, 2011, was a cause to celebrate. Having made headlines, the report outlined huge potentials in renewable energies (RE) in weaning the world away from planet heating fossil fuels (see:

In its media statement, the IPCC said close to 80% of the world’s energy supply could be met by RE by 2050, and its rising penetration could result in cuts of between 220 and 560 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide between now and 2050.

In today’s business-as-usual situation, the world is seen hurtling towards the 450ppm (parts per million) carbon-concentration threshold in the atmosphere, putting humanity on a climate catastrophe pathway.

The 1,000-page Special Report on RE Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SSREN) was launched after the findings were approved by member countries of the IPCC including Malaysia.

Evidently, for the first time, IPCC examined low-carbon energy sources in depth based on more than 160 scenarios of RE implementation assessed by 120 researchers of IPCC and gave solutions (and rightfully so) in meeting our future energy needs. This clearly underscored the significance of the report.

And, as if on cue the next day, the Japanese government announced it will scrap its plan to obtain half its electricity from nuclear power and will instead promote RE following the nuclear crisis. Currently, nuclear power supplies about 30% of the earthquake-prone country’s electricity; and the government had initially planned to raise it to 50%.

Following the disaster, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said the government would now add RE and increase its focus on energy conservation under the country’s energy policy.

While the man-made disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant remains  out of control, and continues to threaten thousands of Japanese lives and their livelihood due to the contaminated environment, the Japanese leader’s sombre statement is undoubtedly the silver lining in this tragic episode.

In view of this, we urge the Malaysian government to take heed of these recent revelations and to re-examine its energy policy that unashamedly stresses on nuclear energy.

Even in the aftermath of the Japanese disaster, the Malaysian government remained undeterred in its pursuit to introduce nuclear power into our energy mix justified by the dwindling fossil fuel reserves, and largely dismissing the potential of RE.

Flowing from IPCC’s encouraging findings and the full embracement of RE by nations that were nuclear forerunners, we strongly call on the Malaysian government to re-analyse its energy policy in a coherent, conscientious and consultative manner.

The IPCC report made clear that the development of RE must be backed by the right-enabling public policies to achieve meaningful results.

Whilst we applaud the recently-enacted Renewable Energy Act 2011, we strongly believe that a more aggressive policy on clean, safe and sustainable energy sources such as solar and mini-hydro should be pursued. The Malaysian government must immediately abandon its costly nuclear power ambition.

Thus, we urge the Government to put paid its own endorsement of the IPCC report by ensuring that the right government policies are put in place for the safety and prosperity of the nation.


Letter to the Editor,  13 May 2011