Archive for December, 2009

Credibility of green groups questioned

December 31, 2009 12 comments

KUALA LUMPUR: Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth (FOE), Wetlands International and World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) could play invaluable roles in highlighting environmental problems and promote public and corporate oversight. But when these non-governmental organisations become biased and apply double standards in their whistleblowing, many begin to doubt their credibility.

“Public trust and integrity are the essence of any NGO should we want to stay true to our purpose and remain relevant in today’s context,” said Malaysian Nature Society president Tan Sri Dr Salleh Mohd Nor.

“In the last decade, we’ve seen an increasing presence of foreign green NGOs in Southeast Asia. The objective of these foreign green and animal rights NGOs in setting up affiliates here is questionable,” he told the New Straits Times in an interview here.

Examples include Amsterdam-based Friends of the Earth (FOE) giving financial support to Sahabat Alam Malaysia, Swiss-headquartered WWF funding anti-palm oil lobbyist Wetlands, which in turn contributes to Global Environment Centre, a non-profit organisation set up in Malaysia to support the protection of the environment and the sustainable use of natural resources.

There is also the UK-based Oxfam International giving money to Indonesian NGO Sawit Watch that purports to “highlight the negative social and environmental impacts of oil palm”.

Earlier this week, Malaysia’s Registrar of Societies Datuk Mohd Alias Kalil warned that Sahabat Alam Malaysia would be deregistered if in the fight for its cause, it is proven to indulge in extremist acts that threatens the country’s interests.

When asked to comment, Salleh said: “At Malaysian Nature Society, we cherish the right to speak up for the conservation of nature but we’re certainly not an extremist group. In fact, we don’t agree with Greenpeace, FOE, Wetlands, Sawit Watch and WWF’s biased approach, specifically their anti-palm oil lobby.”

“We’re a green NGO but we do not lobby against select industries or seek representation at negotiating tables to set up trade barriers disguised as environmentally-friendly measures.”

Salleh said the Malaysian Nature Society had, throughout its 70 years of existence, stuck to its core activities of expeditions and explorations into the deep jungles and caves to inculcate love for nature among its members. “As the oldest green NGO in Malaysia, we take pride in being transparent. We have never haboured any hidden agenda or ulterior motives. We publish all contributions and expenses in our annual reports. I can assure you every sen is accounted for,” he said.

Today, it is an undisputable fact that financially strong NGOs like Rainforest Action Network (RAN), Greenpeace, FOE, Wetlands, Oxfam International and WWF wield great clout at international decision-making forums on global warming. One would expect that with great power, comes great responsibility.But to date, it is unclear whether these NGOs have institutionalised external oversight of their decision-makings.

Are there independent audits to determine the effects of their policies and practices on the orang-utans and indigenous people they claim to be helping? These NGOs are whistleblowers, judge and jury, all roled into one — a stark contrast to independent boards in corporations.

On the other hand, oil palm plantation companies, whether listed on the stock exchange or privately held are a responsible lot by virtue of the industry being tightly regulated. About 50 corporates involved in palm oil-related businesses are listed on Bursa Malaysia.

Related party transactions and profit/loss accounts are open to public and regulatory scrutiny. Every oil palm planter, miller, refiner, trader and cargo forwarder is subjected to the Malaysian Palm Oil Board’s (MPOB) stringent regulation.

This means the government keeps tab of agricultural land planted with oil palm trees, quality of seedlings that are planted in the estates, how much palm oil is produced and how soon and the quality of oil shipped out. Every shipment is reported to MPOB within 24 hours. Those in the industry who do not comply face heavy penalties.

Sahabat Alam at a loss over Registrar’s warning
KUALA LUMPUR: Sahabat Alam Malaysia, an affiliate of Amsterdam-based Friends of the Earth, does not want to speculate on the motive behind the Registrar of Societies’ warning about its possible deregistration.

Earlier this week, the Registrar of Societies (ROS), Datuk Mohd Alias Kalil warned that SAM can be deregistered as a non-governmental organisation if there is proof that it is involved in activities which threaten the nation’s interests. Speaking from Miri, Alias said ROS is monitoring SAM closely and any other NGOs which acted extremely in their cause.

In a telephone interview from Penang yesterday, SAM secretary Meenakshi Raman said: “We don’t know what motivated the ROS to give such warning. “We were caught by surprise when we saw it in the news. There was no official letter from ROS, so we shall wait and see.”

Friends of the Earth and affiliates have in the last five years blamed the oil palm industry’s rapid growth to deforestation and peatland degradation, which in turn is blamed for species extinction, worsening climate change and the displacement of indigenous people.

It lobbies for a moratorium on the conversion of forests and peat land into plantations be it oil palm, rubber or timber species.

Asked if SAM received funding from Friends of the Earth headquarters in Amsterdam, Meenakshi replied: “Yes, we do … just like other affiliates in other countries. We don’t see any problem with this.”

“We’re a credible organisation and we take our cause seriously.”

To a question whether SAM considered whether lobbying for a moratorium on forest and peatland could serve as trade barriers seeking to limit the growth of the oil palm and rubber industry, she replied: “We stand by the view that agriculture has to be sustainably-produced and we’re concerned about deforestation.”

“We hold the view that our activities are consistent with the government’s policy on environmental protection. We don’t see how we’re acting against the interests of our country.”


Reference materials:-
Friends of the Earth (FOE) & Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) report – Malaysian Palm Oil, Green Gold or Greenwash
Malaysian Palm Oil Council respond to FOE & SAM report
Wetlands International calls for a moratorium on palm oil from tropical peatlands
Greenpeace – How the Palm Oil Industry is Cooking the Climate
Sahabat Alam Malaysia protest against Malaysia’s National Biofuel Policy
WWF Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands report on Rainforest for biodiesel?
Malaysian Palm Oil blog
Malaysia’s Forest – looking ahead to 2020
From food to fuel, synergies in palm oil
Malaysia’s palm biodiesel

More efficient waste-to-energy technologies

December 29, 2009 Leave a comment

GREEN Ocean Corp Bhd, a palm kernel crusher, and process engineering firm Lipochem (M) Sdn Bhd are seeking government funds to help develop more cost-efficient “waste-to-energy” technology beneficial to the oil palm industry.

There are about 400 palm oil mills in the country. These mills emit methane from retention ponds after oil extraction. Estate owners are looking for cost effective ways to trap methane from the mill sludge to fuel up steam turbines and generate electricity, a renewable source of clean energy.

“We’ve approached the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water to be part of a pilot plant project to develop more cost-efficient methods to turn greenhouse gas into clean energy,” Green Ocean managing director Lee Byoung Jin said.

South Korean Ambassador to Malaysia, Yang Bong Ryull, who officiated at the seminar, said that many investors were keen to invest in green technology.

Last week, POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd chief executive Dr Pang Teck Wai disclosed that South Korean investors Global Bio-Diesel Sdn Bhd and Eco Biomass Energy Sdn Bhd, which together had invested some RM500 million at the Lahad Datu Palm Oil Industrial Cluster, were facing difficulties in selling biodiesel and sourcing biomass to generate electricity.

In response, Yang said: “Due to the global economic downturn, the operations have not picked up.” Asked if the investors might give up and pull out of Malaysia, he replied: “Although I’m a bit worried, I’m also quite positive that they will stay. The investment climate (including incentives) here is good. It is actually the global economic slowdown that has affected their operations.”

In South Korea, the Ministry of Environment has announced that it may launch a pilot greenhouse gas emission trading scheme as early as December next year to encourage pollution control.

The Korea Exchange (KRX) will serve as a platform for carbon emission trading, also known as cap and trade.Under the scheme, participating organisations will be issued the right to emit a specific amount of pollutant set by the government. They can trade remaining allowances or buy carbon credits from those who pollute less.

The three-year pilot scheme will see the participation of 14 local governments, 446 public organisations, 29 workplaces and 166 retailers in South Korea.

“Our process engineering partner, Lipochem, has the expertise to build the 21st century pilot plant. But we’ll need some financial assistance from the government because this waste-to-energy project will benefit the overall oil palm industry,” he told Business Times when met at the inaugural Korea-Malaysia Bio-energy Forum in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Also present was Lipochem managing director Koh Pak Meng. “With active involvement from the government, we hope to start work on the pilot plant within the Klang Valley. The enhance digester reactor, capable of generating 500 kilowatts (KW) per hour, can cost up to RM10 million,” Koh said.

Palm biomass to ease Sabah power shortage

December 28, 2009 Leave a comment

My colleague, Jaswinder Kaur, reports on the need for the government to specifically incentivise biomass usage to generate renewable energy for the benefit of people living in Sabah.

SABAH produces over 30 per cent of the country’s palm oil and should be able to generate renewable energy from the crop’s waste, but initiatives to move into this direction must be policy driven.

Currently, there are not enough incentives for oil palm players to consider renewable energy as part of their business plans, said state government-owned POIC Sabah Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Dr Pang Teck Wai.

“The introduction of a biomass policy, driven by environmental concerns, is the way forward. There is no doubt we can generate renewable energy from palm oil mill effluent and empty fruit bunches, but it needs to be policy driven,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Pang was commenting on Malaysian Palm Oil Board’s suggestion of palm oil millers helping to ease Sabah’s power shortage if the government provides better incentives for installation of methane gas capture facility to generate electricity at their mills.

Of the 410 palm oil mills in Malaysia, 117 are in Sabah. Mills emit methane from retention ponds after oil extraction. Methane or biogas can be trapped from the mill sludge to fuel steam turbines and generate power.

Pang said little of the oil palm biomass is being used for commercial purposes as selling empty fruit bunches is not a major part of a mill’s income, and neither is there a serious enforcement of law to compel them to dispose of the bunches, a major contributor of methane gas.

He cited the example of Eco Biomass Energy Sdn Bhd, a South Korean investor at the Lahad Datu Palm Oil Industrial Cluster that is facing difficulties in getting biomass for its proposed biomass power plant. Two years have passed and the company is still unable to secure sufficient long term supply of empty fruit bunches, despite Sabah producing almost a third of the nation’s palm oil.

The POIC Lahad Datu industrial park needs Eco Biomass Energy’s plant to produce power, which can be supplied to a myriad of palm oil-related industries. Pang said a biomass policy will spell out government incentives and strict environmental requirements for the production of renewable energy.

“For example, the estimated RM6 million needed for mills to install biogas-capture structure – unless there are incentives or legislative requirement or both, not many mills will bother to capture methane from their palm oil mill effluent,” he said.

According to Pang, there are only four power plants in Sabah that are powered entirely on empty fruit bunches, either raw or in fibre form, with two 10MW facilities in Sandakan, one 7.5-megawatt plant at Felda Sabahat, Lahad Datu, and one 14MW plant owned by public-listed TSH Resources in Tawau.

However, he said none of these were running at full capacity, either because of inconsistent biomass supply, or technological drawbacks, especially in the build-up of clinker in the boilers, which apparently was a problem unique to empty fruit bunches-burning.

Palm oil millers can help solve Sabah power shortage

December 22, 2009 1 comment

SABAH’S power shortage can be mitigated if the government provides better incentives for palm oil millers to generate renewable energy. There are 410 palm oil mills in the country, of which 117 are in Sabah. Mills emit methane from retention ponds after oil extraction.

“Estate owners can trap methane from the mill sludge to fuel up steam turbines and generate electricity, a renewable source of clean energy,” said Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) chairman Datuk Sabri Ahmad.

“This is one of the cleaner alternatives for Sabah, instead of installing coal-fired power plants. Biomass and biogas technology is available now,” he told Business Times in an interview in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

“What we need is some financial assistance. Millers need around RM6 million to install methane gas trapping and steam turbine generators,” he said.

From January 2010, the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water pledged to facilitate RM1.5 billion worth of cheap loans via local banks for the provision and usage of green technologies. “Relatively cheap loans is a good start but matching grants can make a difference in solving Sabah’s power shortage,” he added.

Currently, utility giant Tenaga Nasional Bhd via its “Small Renewable Energy Programme” is offering to buy renewable energy at only 21sen/KWh. Another stumbling block is the lack of connectivity between neighbouring mills to the national grid. “If the government were to fund the hook-up and raise the price to 30sen/KWh, we can quickly realise this initiative among palm oil millers to benefit neighbouring rural communities,” Sabri said.

A good role model is TSH Resources Bhd. Since 2005, it has been turning dirty methane gas emitted by its mills to clean energy. TSH’s mills generate 14 megawatts (MW), of which they sell 10MW back to Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd and keep 4MW for its own use.

Methane is one of the many polluting gas in the environment that contributes to global warming and depletion of the ozone layer. Therefore, trapping methane gas to generate electricity is an environmental-friendly initiative.

Next year the European Union (EU), a major biofuels consumer, will impose a target to only accept biodiesel that can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 35 per cent versus fossil fuel, which risks cutting out palm oil which the EU considers to save only 19 per cent.

Sabri, who have just returned from Brussels, said the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre – the scientific body responsible for the scientific and technical aspects of EU policy development – is likely to show higher savings for palm oil. “Having received our latest data gathered from 102 estates in Malaysia, the JRC (scientists) say palm oil could show savings of more than 19 per cent,” Sabri said.

Msia, Indonesia reject oil palm planting curb at UN summit

December 21, 2009 2 comments

WHILE the recently-ended climate talks in Denmark may have been met with dismay by environmentalists, oil palm planters are relieved that calls to curb planting have been rejected.

This is said to come under a scheme called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing countries (REDD). The World Bank had wanted this in place after the Kyoto Protocol, the current international pact to combat global warming, expires at the end of 2012.

Under the Kyoto Protocol palm oil millers can earn carbon credits if they install mini power plants at mills powered by biomass. REDD promises to continue this, but with a condition to “avoid deforestation”, a clause that could be interpreted to mean “no more expansion of oil palm plantations”.

Malaysia and Indonesia, the world’s top producers of palm oil, have rejected this proposal at the United Nations Copenhagen Climate Summit. The World Bank scheme highlights how anti-palm oil lobby appears to have been inextricably linked to climate change issues. But there are also bodies that are making attempts to show that green groups like Greenpeace can’t see the forest for the trees.

World Growth (WG), a pro-development NGO, is lobbying against any international binding agreements that seek to curb oil palm planting under the guise of “saving rainforest”. In an interview from Copenhagen, WG chairman Alan Oxley said Greenpeace, Wetlands International and Friends of the Earth’s anti-palm oil lobby was “immoral” because their actions hurt the potential income of some five million oil palm planters in Malaysia and Indonesia.

At the Copenhagen conference, WG released a report titled “Collateral Damage: How the Bogus Campaign Against Palm Oil Harms the Poor”It essentially found that palm oil production, a sustainable vegetable oil and essential food staple, raises living standards and reduces poverty in developing countries.

“Planting oil palm trees help alleviate poverty because palm oil can generate returns of about US$3,000 per hectare (RM10,320) while other food crop generates less than US$100 (RM340),” he said. A former career diplomat, Oxley is also chairman of the national Australian APEC Study Centre, one of Australia’s leading economic researcher based at RMIT University, Melbourne.

Malaysia’s oil palm plantations, which directly employ 580,000 jobs, supports two million livelihoods. “Based on the track record in Malaysia and Indonesia, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (Ifad) is funding a project in Uganda to test the effectiveness of oil palm planting as a poverty eradication tool,” he said.

Greenpeace, Wetlands and Friends of the Earth are currently running elaborate campaigns against palm oil, pressuring developing nations to reduce or even eliminate the land conversion necessary to cultivate this basic food ingredient. These green activists allege that expansion of oil palm plantations into forest and peatland areas poses a serious threat to the global climate.

“No less than 10 million of Indonesia’s 22.5 million ha of peatland have already been deforested and drained,” Greenpeace said in a statement posted on its website. It went on to say expansion plans in Riau province have the potential of triggering a “climate time bomb”. Riau’s peatland forests store a massive 14.6 billion tonnes of carbon – equivalent to one year’s global greenhouse gas emissions.

Without providing data that can be verified, these Europe-based activists also alleged destruction of Indonesia’s peatland forests alone accounts for 4 per cent of global annual emissions. They placed Indonesia as the third biggest polluter, after the US and China.

Greenpeace’s latest posting said it wants President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to submit to international civil society pressures and stop the further destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests and peat lands.

Washington-based WG, a non-governmental organisation that lobbies for free trade, say that not all within international civil society agree with Greenpeace, Wetlands and Friends of the Earth. It considers these accusations and others levied by Greenpeace, Wetlands and Friends of the Earth as wrong, cannot be substantiated or severely exaggerated.

“Our finding reveal, at best, they’re a misunderstandings of facts and economics and, at worst, intentional distortion of the truth in an attempt to advance radical efforts to halt any conversion of forested land,” Oxley said.

In contrast to the green activists’ claims, the fact is oil palm trees are highly sustainable – generating 10 times the amount of energy consumed. Compare that to rapeseed, which produces only three times the energy input; and soyabean which requires 10 times more land to yield the same amount of vegetable oil.

“And if these ‘green’ credentials aren’t enough, the report also shows that oil palm plantations are very effective carbon sinks – a stark contrast to the propaganda by Greenpeace, Wetlands and Friends of the Earth”.

In addition to these surprising revelations, WG’s report demonstrates that poverty and not oil palm planting, is the major cause of deforestation and loss of orangutan habitat.”This latest findings by forestry experts show two-thirds of forest clearance is driven by low income people in poor countries searching for land, habitation and food production,” he said.

Oxley concluded that some green groups are willing to advance potentially devastating propositions so casually – especially when their implementation could cripple an industry that is able to reduce poverty and raise living standards – calls into question their morals. “What Greenpeace, Wetlands and Friends of Earth are doing is not green, it’s simply immoral and hurting the poor.”

“If developed countries want developing nations to sign on to a new global strategy to reduce greenhouse gases, they must advance strategies that raise living standards and not regard poverty increase as unavoidable collateral damage,” Oxley said.

Tim Wilson, founder of, shares the same view. Making reference to an 11-paged report titled “Palming off livelihoods?: The misguided campaign against palm oil” , Wilson said proposals at the UN Copenhagen Conference that stop forest conversion will only keep the world’s poor trapped in poverty.

He talked about Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth’s campaign activities ranging from protesting shipment of palm-based animal feed into New Zealand, to lobbying European officials to ban usage of palm oil as biofuel to getting palm oil advertisements taken off from television networks in the UK.

Although the lobby against palm oil is multi-faceted, it has one clear objective – to reduce palm oil consumption in western markets, like Europe, the US, Australia and New Zealand. “Deliberately reducing consumption of palm oil will only harm poor farmers’ livelihoods and their capacity to lift themselves out of poverty,” he said.

On nutrition, Wilson said palm oil is a necessary dietary staple for the poor because it is a rich source of Vitamin A. “Since palm carotenes is essential in boosting children’s immune system, any deficiency can lead to a million deaths per year among the poor in developing nations,” he said.

Billion-dollar pledge to help poor nations – what it really means

December 19, 2009 Leave a comment

At the United Nations Copenhagen Climate Change Conference 2009, there were detailed talks on pollution reduction commitments, preventing deforestation and transfer of clean-energy technology.

The EU and the US jointly pledged US$10 billion a year from 2010 to 2012 to help poor countries adapt to climate change provided their leaders sign up to a deal.

Very noble and generous of developed countries, isn’t it?

Did you know that, of the US$10 billion pledge …

1. All of it comes from pre-existing aid commitments, so the US$10 billion pledge is not new money. It is just diverting finance from other aid areas, of which US$2.5 billion had already been given by developed countries.
2. So far, 50 per cent of the pledge are in the form of loans, not grants.
3. So far, more than half of the pledge money is channelled via the World Bank, compared to just 1 per cent through the United Nations.

The EU and US said the costs of tackling climate change in developing countries, via mitigation and adaptation, will cost US$100 billion by 2020. This is not the same as saying rich countries will pay US$100 billion by 2020.

How the EU and US expect the $100 billion in costs to be paid:-

1. Between US$20-US$50 billion from public expenditure by governments from both rich countries and poor countries. The only countries not expected to contribute are the “Least Developed Countries”.
2. An unspecified but large amount from carbon offsetting on condition that developing nations prevent deforestation (could mean a moratorium on expansion of oil palm plantations). Even if offsetting did help tackle climate change in developing countries, this is counted towards meeting rich country pollution reduction obligations, so it cannot count towards meeting their financial pledge.
3. The remaining costs will not get any international financial support. Poor countries are most likely expected to bear the costs themselves in buying clean-energy technology from developed nations.

See… technology transfer of clean energy from developed nations is not necessarily a good thing. Technologies (wind and solar) developed in temperate countries are expensive and may not work in tropical (heavy rainfall and humid) weather.

Maybe it is better for Malaysian scientists and process engineers to develop affordable and practical solutions to use palm-based biodiesel, biogas and biomass to generate renewable electricity.

Prime Minister Datuk Najib Rajak was spot on when he said “for Copenhagen to succeed there must be a clear statement that developed countries shall not take trade-related measures such as carbon tariffs and border adjustment measures against the product, services and investments of developing countries.

“Otherwise, we would have a totally unacceptable situation where developed countries give US$1 with one hand and take away US$10 with the other.”

Msia offers conditional 40% cut in carbon emission

December 18, 2009 1 comment

My colleague Mimi Syed Yusof reports from Denmark on Malaysia’s standpoint on possible heavier punishment for factories, refineries and mills that pollute the air.

Earlier, developing countries managed to scuttle Denmark’s initiative that sought “to kill” the Kyoto Protocol. Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen took over COP15’s podium as its new president, after Connie Hedegaard abruptly resigned on December 16.

Rasmussen quickly announced that there will be two texts to be presented to the high level meetings in order to move the negotiations forward.

His announcement aroused suspicion among developing nations that the presidency was trying to present new drafts instead of using the draft texts which the groups had been working on almost around the clock.

The “Danish text” had sought to set unequal limits on per capita carbon emissions for developed and developing countries in 2050; meaning that people in rich countries would be permitted to emit nearly twice as much under the proposals – a move which will effectively kill the Kyoto Protocol.

Rich nations, like Denmark had wanted a fresh treaty, arguing the world has changed and the major emerging economies such and China and India must commit to curbing their huge and fast growing national emissions. But the developing nations argue that rich nations grew wealthy by polluting the atmosphere and must take primary responsibility for it, which can only be guaranteed by Kyoto.

It is a relief that developing countries, like Malaysia, resisted efforts to replace or downgrade the 1997 protocol, which places legally binding commitments on rich – but not poor – nations. Negotiators now move forward on a 2-track basis, one part of which maintains the integrity of Kyoto.

U.S. Climate Envoy Todd Stern, however, reiterated an extension of Kyoto would have to be without Washington. “We’re not going to become part of the Kyoto Protocol.” Former President George W. Bush said the Kyoto Protocol was a straitjacket that unfairly omitted greenhouse gas curbs for developing nations led by China. President Barack Obama has no plans to rejoin even though he wants to step up U.S. actions to fight global warming.

COPENHAGEN: Malaysia will voluntarily slash by up to 40 per cent her carbon emission by 2020 compared to 2005 levels. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who made this commitment today, said this was part of Malaysia’s contribution to global efforts to combat climate change.

The offer to reduce pollution levels, however, was conditional upon technology transfer and adequate financing from developed countries.

Addressing the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 here, Najib said Malaysia was committed to doing its best to combat climate change.

“We realise this is nothing short of a herculean endeavour, but Malaysia is committed,” he said, adding conference presented fair principles of equity and historical responsibility due to the need of parties in the Annex 1 category (industrialised countries and economies in transition) to repay their climate debt.

Najib also said that Malaysia was committed to ensure at least half of its land area remained as forests, as pledged at the United Nations Rio de Janerio Earth Summit in 1992. “Currently our national natural forests and agriculture crop plantations cover 75 per cent of the country’s land area,” he said during the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15).

Stressing the importance of the Kyoto Protocol forged in 1997, Najib said developed countries which were not party to it should take steps in reducing carbon emissions as agreed to in the Bali Action Plan 2007. “Malaysia calls on the developed countries to collectively commit in Copenhagen to an aggregate reduction of 49 per cent by 2017 compared to the 1990 levels,” he said.

“The key to our future cooperation is to recognise, adopt and work out the realisation of the principle of fair shares to the atmospheric space and resource. “At the same time, we must have ambitious environmental aspirations,” he said, adding that these two factors would ensure COP15’s success.

Najib later described the proposed US$10 billion (RM3.4 billion) fast track funding for developing nations to control pollution as a “mere pittance and woefully inadequate”. Developing countries required long-term financing of some US$800 billion a year for adaptation and mitigation of climate change.The funding, he added, was linked to the target of limiting global warming to a 2°C temperature rise.

However, the figure could hit US$1.5 trillion annually based on scientific endeavours to cap the rise at 1.5°C. “If we think about it, this is not too high when compared with the trillions of dollars recently used in bailing out banks and companies.” Najib urged developed countries to commit US$200 billion annually by 2012 until US$800 billion annually, thereafter.

Najib also suggested that the developed nations should commit to cut their emissions by well over 100 per cent compared to the proposed 80 per cent cut. Even if developed countries cut their emissions by 80 per cent, it would imply a 20 per cent cut by developing countries in absolute terms and a cut of 60 per cent per capita because of population growth.

“This was an almost impossible task given the imperative of high economic growth. Therefore, developed countries have to commit to cut their emissions by well over 100 per cent,” he said.

Developed countries must invest more heavily in carbon sinking. In other words, they need to plant more trees to absorb more carbon dioxide than the amount emitted by their factories into the air, “so that developing countries will still have some carbon space,” he said.

He also spoke on the looming threat of trade barriers under the guise of addressing climate change. For COP15 to work, there must be a clear statement that developed countries would not take trade-related measures such as carbon tariffs and border adjustment measures against the products, services and investments of developing countries.

“Otherwise, we would have an unacceptable situation where developed countries give US$1 with one hand and take away US$10 with the other.”