The Declaration of a National Climate Emergency
Faris Ahmad Fadzil
As of June 2021, the Malaysian government has yet to declare a national climate emergency. A climate emergency declaration is defined as the action taken by the government and scientists that acknowledges that climate emergency. Without the declaration of climate emergency, climate issues in Malaysia will not be a top priority that will be addressed in the country. While the effects of climate change will be felt by everyone, marginalized groups will be disproportionately affected.
As such, there needs to be an urgency for climate justice in Malaysia. Climate justice is a term that focuses on the causes and effects of climate change and relates to environmental and social justice. Those who are vulnerable to the effects of climate change are termed as Most Affected People and Areas (MAPA) which includes but is not limited to women, the indigenous people and farmers. Furthermore, those who are heavily affected by the effects of climate change (i.e. the indigenous group) do not have the right of voice when it comes to decision-making of climate policies and advocacy.
Value(s) and Belief(s):
MAPA and its protection is important as it ensures the opportunity for the affected stakeholders to have a voice when it comes to climate change. As such this creates an inclusive environment and a safe space for all.
Proposal of Solution:
Declaring a national climate emergency would prepare the public on how climate change could affect the different stakeholders � specifically affecting the agricultural yield for farmers. Alongside the declaration of climate emergency, the Malaysian government needs to highlight its plans to mitigate and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions in Malaysia through effective policymaking. In addition to this, there needs to be thorough plan on measures to adapt to climate change (i.e. flood mitigation systems, decrease de-forestation to increase carbon sinks, etc).
As climate justice attempts to promote transformative justice, it ensures that the advocacy of climate change reflects upon structural injustices in society, such as the exclusion of marginalized groups from decision making and non-existent climate adaptation livelihoods. As such, the Malaysian government must identify the regions and groups of people in Malaysia that are heavily affected by climate change. Feedback can be gathered from affected groups, and a thorough mitigation plan can be constructed and implemented in the future. Such adaptation can include climate education, the mitigation plans to rising sea levels for coastal residents, the protection of farm food production and supply for farmers and since Malaysia has a yearly monsoon season, flood mitigation methods (such as planting native trees to create natural buffer zones, stop deforestation to reduce surface water flows in affected areas and improve drainage systems) must be seen as a priority.
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