Iskandar Malaysia and in particular Riverria Iskandar will be in the forefront of ‘Low Carbon Society.’
What constitute a Low Carbon Society? According to Iskandar Malaysia, “A Low Carbon Society is a society where people live a simple but high quality lifestyle, emphasizing family and community ties, and in harmony with nature, with minimum emission of CO2 (carbon dioxide). The values of a Low Carbon Society according to Iskandar Malaysia are as follows:
CARBON MINIMIZATION IN ALL SECTORS
“All sectors minimize their CO2 emission, including transport, industry, residential (consumer), agriculture and so forth.”
TOWARDS A SIMPLER LIFESTYLE THAT REALIZES A RICHER QUALITY OF LIFE
“Society forgoes mass consumption and places more value on family, health and interaction with nature towards building a better quality of life.”
COEXISTENCE WITH NATURE
“Humans are a part of the global ecosystem. As such we need to maintain and restore the rich and diverse natural environment, in order to achieve a LCS by securing CO2 absorption to adapt to global warming.”
The move towards a low carbon society is triggered by the adverse effects of climate change and global warming. It was during the Conference of Parties 15 (COP 15) by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2009 at Copenhagen, Denmark, the Prime Minister of Malaysia announced Malaysia’s voluntary initiative to achieve up to 40% in emissions reduction intensity of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2020 based on 2005 levels.
According to BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2019, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from energy use grew 2% last year, the fastest growth in seven years. The acceleration was attributed to growing demand for energy, due largely to weather-related effects, especially in the US, China and Russia, and a further unwinding of cyclical factors in China.
According to BP’s research, Malaysia’s CO2 emissions amounted to 250.3 million tonnes last year, up from 241.6 million tonnes in 2017. The main sources of the emissions were energy (electricity consumption), mobility (vehicles) and waste (municipal solid waste that ends up in landfills).
At the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as 2015 Paris Climate Conference and Conference of Parties (COP) 21, held in Paris, France, Malaysia made a commitment to reduce by 2030 its CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 45% from the level in 2005.
According to GreenTech Malaysia acting CEO Syed Ahmad Syed Mustafa, the attainment of low carbon framework is primarily used by the local authorities to guide the transformation of the cities under their jurisdiction into low carbon cities.
“The framework contains several components that include a low carbon city design guideline, a measurement and reporting methodology as well as an assessment and recognition programme,” he says.
LCCF was developed to get cities, which are responsible for up to 70% of greenhouse gas emissions, to address the problem and take concrete action on it.
The vision is that Malaysia and in particular Greater Iskandar Malaysia must reduce CO2 emissions by 45% by 2030. According to former Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin in an 2019 announcement, “Malaysia had achieved a 33 per cent reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) intensity of the gross domestic product (GDP), relative to 2005 levels, putting Malaysia within reach of Malaysia’s 2015 Paris Agreement target of a 35 per cent reduction.
Greater Iskandar Malaysia’s Action Plan for a Low Carbon Society:it is proposed that Iskandar Malaysia will attain a 1,916 ktCO2 equivalent (15% 0f total emission reduction) by 2025.
1. Integrated Green Transportation – Mobility Management System
2. Green Economy Guidelines
3. Eco-life Challenge Schools (another category for corporates for being main economy driver) Project
4. Green Portal for Greater Iskandar Malaysia
5. Trees for Urban Parks
6. Responsible Tourism and Biodiversity Conservation
7. Bukit Batu Eco-community
8. Green Accord Initiative Award – GAIA
9. Low Carbon Village Felda Taib Andak
10. Pasir Gudang – cleaning up the mess of uninhibited industrialisation
What will RIVERRIA ISKANDAR MALAYSIA do for its duty to green Malaysia?
1. Mobility - introduction and organising of new transportation means like drones, vehicle sharing (advance version of Grab) and ground effect airplanes. As like other intelligent cities, Riverria Iskandar Malaysia will introduce air taxis connections between the various strategic places like hospitals, airports and administrative centres. It is also looking into the building of elevated highways for rapid transits and ground effect monorails, this just to alleviate the heavy congestions on the roadways. You can't build roads forever even though there will be a place for autonomous vehicles.
2. Workstyle - to change the way you go to the office for work; maybe you don't need to go to an office that often as epitomised by the way people work from home during lockdowns. What is shown during the coronavirus pandemic is that people can adapt to changes without having to burn more fuel!
3. Environments – enhances the use of natural habitats near home ground. Perhaps we can build more underground sport facilities without having to dig out our scarce habitats to build gaming sites. Of course we have to look at the air ventilation system for our underground arenas as shown how the provision of viable ventilation can prevent the spread of pathogens epitomised by covid pandemic.
4. Waste – better manage waste by recycling. We will need to access and analyse waste as it could give us a early warning sign to the precense of dangerous pathogens in our society.
4. Environmentally Friendly Building – inside and outside features that help save energy as well as creating green energy. We should build green energy sources as long as the sun is still able to shine.
But what is the elephant in the room that is causing us to burn more fuel?
There is no doubt about. It is that we are all obsessed with using our cars (it is the norm here to posses more than one car per family) to move around to do our jobs. Indeed we have been spoilt by comfort and you need only to see the large number of obese people on the roads to realised that people are just horified with exerting their muscles. According to Datuk Dr Mustaffa Embong, Executive Chairman of National Diabetes Institute (Nadi), Malaysia has the largest number of diabetes in the Asia and one of the highest in the world, probably next to Saudi Arabia; it would be an up hill battle to wean our people of using cars. But we can't build enough of roads to accomodate all those busy fellows driving around towns, do we. So we really have to scratch our heads to solve this problem which in most probability is caused by our uninhibited industrialisation.
What we then propose:
1. We propose the building of 'elevated walkways' connecting the different parts of the city.
2. We propose a heavier dose of 'work from home' which is especially urgent in the aftermath of COVID-19 pandemic.
3. We will need to restructure the way we buy or sell our things.
4. We will need to expand and innovate the way we use the waterways.
5. We should look into the introduction of Airships for intra city transports and not forgeting that we can build underground facilities for our recreations and water storage.