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Malaysia

Malaysia is a Southeastern Asian country split into two major land areas of about the same size, separated by the South China Sea. The western part is connected via Thailand to the Asian continent and is home to the capital, Kuala Lumpur. East Malaysia sits on Borneo, a large island which it shares with Indonesia and Brunei. 


At about 330,000km² it is close in size to Vietnam or Finland and is home to just over 32 million people. Both areas of Malaysia share a fairly similar geography, characterised by stretches of coastal plains (which reach a width of 50km on the peninsula) that grow into hills and mountains as you move inland. These hills and mountains are often heavily forested and peppered with underground drainage systems, caves and sinkholes - all created through erosion of the igneous rocks that make up the landscape. 


As a megadiverse country, Malaysia is home to a huge range of species, and many of them are endemic. Large expanses of rainforest (almost 60% of total land area) provide a perfect habitat for this biodiversity - although this means there is a serious threat from deforestation for resources and agriculture. In Sarawak (on Borneo), over 80% of forestry has been destroyed which has crippled the flora and fauna and increased soil erosion and flooding risk.  


Human presence in Malaysia stretches back 40,000 years and is largely characterised by various Malay Kingdoms and, more recently, being a subject of the British Empire from the 18th century. It is a very diverse country, with a range of ethnicities, religions and languages. Balancing differing interests has been a consistent challenge in Malaysian politics, and whether the state should be secular or Islamic in basis in an ongoing topic of debate. 


TOTAL POPULATION

30.2 million YEAR 2014

CO2 EMISSIONS

240,800 kt COUNTRY, YEAR 2014

14,272,100 kt East Asia and Pacific, YEAR 2014

"Reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity of GDP by 45% by 2030, relative to 2005."

PARIS AGREEMENT TARGET

Created by potrace 1.10, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2011

MALAYSIA | ALL PROJECTS

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CLIMATE SIGNIFICANCE

Malaysia is located quite close to the equator, and so has a typical equatorial climate characterised by heat, rain and humidity. It is, however, a tropical pattern which means that rain falls in big dumps (usually in the afternoon) and in monsoons - so there is still plenty of sunshine to enjoy. The high temperatures are quite stable, typically varying from 25-33°C depending on the time of year. 

Malaysia is quite well protected from natural disaster. Its location means that in many places it is shielded by other land masses from tsunamis and is out of reach of most tropical cyclones. It is also seismically stable, minimising the risk of earthquakes and volcanic activity. The climate and heavy rainfall do, however, mean that flooding and landslides are a persistent problem. In 2006/7, flooding on Johor displaced 110,000 people and caused major economic damage. 

With extensive coastal regions and hundreds of islands, Malaysia is at real risk from sea level rise. The country does not yet have an accurate map of how sea level change will hit its coastal areas, but with many of them less than 0.5m above sea level the threat is real. A better understanding of the risks will help target preventative and adaptive measures. Reforestation and development of mangroves along coastlines will create effective natural defences. This is also the case inland: forest cover reduces soil erosion and flood risk - helping to minimise landslides. 

Looking forward with climate change in mind, the success of Malaysia in both human and environmental terms is at risk. In many ways, the human, animal and plant biodiversity are facing the same challenges - and will by conservation efforts. Less than half of the population associate these developing problems with climate change, but as time passes this will be hard to ignore. 

The good news is that, in late 2018, Malaysia announced its plans to draft a climate change act over the next 30 month. It will study scenarios based on a 2°C temperature rise, devising adaptation and prevention measures. With this new focus and international support, we can help Malaysia rise to the challenge of climate change, and find its place in the movement for a more sustainable future. 


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DATA INSIGHTS

The World Bank classifies Malaysia as an upper middle-income country. Malaysia's position in the fight against climate change is better understood by observing its historical of carbon emissions and exposure to climate risk. The following plots provide an overview of Malaysia’s historic greenhouse gas emissions in perspective with global emission levels, as well as the country’s relative vulnerability and preparedness to climate change. 

Malaysia Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Malaysia’s timeline of total GHG emissions and the percentage change from 1990

This plot combines 3 pieces of information measured from 1990 - 2012: The bar chart indicates the volume of the country’s GHG emissions, the dotted line shows the variation of this volume compared to the baseline 1990, and the full line presents the same variation, but globally.


Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and fluorocarbons are the main drivers of global warming. Between 1990 and 2012, the world’s emissions grew by 40%.


Between 1990 and 2000, Malaysia witnessed its emissions fall by 14% as the country’s emissions from the agriculture sector (especially methane emissions from livestock, manure and rice production) were drastically reduced. However, from 2000 to 2009, Malaysia’s emissions increased significantly due to a rise in energy demand (led by rapid economic growth). Malaysia’s emissions continued to rise since 2010 and increased by 40% from its 1990 level. 


In 2012, Malaysia produced nearly 280 million tonnes of CO2 eq. GHG emissions, which is more than 1.5 times that of neighbouring Philippines (three times populous than Malaysia). The energy sector is responsible for the largest share (76%) of Malaysia’s emissions. A high dependence on fossil fuel heat and electricity production (accounting for over 96% of Malaysia’s energy supply in 2014). As such, Malaysia has the opportunity to curb emissions by transitioning into renewable technologies and start to progressively move away from pricier and less efficient oil fields. (Source: WRI, 2018; World Bank, 2018) 


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Malaysia Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Malaysia’s timeline of total GHG emissions and the percentage change from 1990

graph

This plot combines 3 pieces of information measured from 1990 - 2012: The bar chart indicates the volume of the country’s GHG emissions, the dotted line shows the variation of this volume compared to the baseline 1990, and the full line presents the same variation, but globally.


Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and fluorocarbons are the main drivers of global warming. Between 1990 and 2012, the world’s emissions grew by 40%.


Between 1990 and 2000, Malaysia witnessed its emissions fall by 14% as the country’s emissions from the agriculture sector (especially methane emissions from livestock, manure and rice production) were drastically reduced. However, from 2000 to 2009, Malaysia’s emissions increased significantly due to a rise in energy demand (led by rapid economic growth). Malaysia’s emissions continued to rise since 2010 and increased by 40% from its 1990 level. 


In 2012, Malaysia produced nearly 280 million tonnes of CO2 eq. GHG emissions, which is more than 1.5 times that of neighbouring Philippines (three times populous than Malaysia). The energy sector is responsible for the largest share (76%) of Malaysia’s emissions. A high dependence on fossil fuel heat and electricity production (accounting for over 96% of Malaysia’s energy supply in 2014). As such, Malaysia has the opportunity to curb emissions by transitioning into renewable technologies and start to progressively move away from pricier and less efficient oil fields. (Source: WRI, 2018; World Bank, 2018) 


Malaysia Climate Vulnerability and Readiness (CVRI)

Malaysia's vulnerability and readiness to combat climate change

This graph ranks a country’s climate performance by measuring its readiness (x-axis) and its vulnerability (y-axis). Both are measured from 0 - 1 (1 being the most ready or most vulnerable). This index combines indicators of a country’s exposure to climate change and others that measure the country’s potential to withstand those shocks. 


Each dot in this plot represents a country. The countries in most urgent situations are on the top left of the graph whilst the most resilient ones stand at the bottom right.


Relative to the other countries, Malaysia is categorized as the country with manageable vulnerability, yet, lack of preparedness makes it less adaptable to unavoidable climate change consequences. The agricultural capacity of the country is weakening and dependency on food imports is more. Medical staff capacity is poor which impacts the quality of health-related services. There is a constant threat of a sea level rise in Malaysia, and thus a strong commitment to adapt to sea-level rise is required.(Source: ND-GAIN, 2018)


The impacts of climate change vary by country and region. But wherever you are, local-level adaptation projects are necessary. You have all the cards in hand, now go explore our live projects and be one of the good guys.


TAKE ACTION

Malaysia Climate Vulnerability and Readiness (CVRI)

Malaysia's vulnerability and readiness to combat climate change

graph

This graph ranks a country’s climate performance by measuring its readiness (x-axis) and its vulnerability (y-axis). Both are measured from 0 - 1 (1 being the most ready or most vulnerable). This index combines indicators of a country’s exposure to climate change and others that measure the country’s potential to withstand those shocks. 


Each dot in this plot represents a country. The countries in most urgent situations are on the top left of the graph whilst the most resilient ones stand at the bottom right.


Relative to the other countries, Malaysia is categorized as the country with manageable vulnerability, yet, lack of preparedness makes it less adaptable to unavoidable climate change consequences. The agricultural capacity of the country is weakening and dependency on food imports is more. Medical staff capacity is poor which impacts the quality of health-related services. There is a constant threat of a sea level rise in Malaysia, and thus a strong commitment to adapt to sea-level rise is required.(Source: ND-GAIN, 2018)


The impacts of climate change vary by country and region. But wherever you are, local-level adaptation projects are necessary. You have all the cards in hand, now go explore our live projects and be one of the good guys.


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