Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has made it clear that climate change is a top priority for his government, and in September he addressed the UN General Assembly for the first time, calling for urgent global action to reduce emissions and help developing countries adapt to the effects of climate change.
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and the main component of natural gas. It is the main cause of current global warming, and there is more methane in the atmosphere today than at any time in modern history. At least 25% of today’s global warming is caused by methane produced by human activities, and the world’s oil and gas industry is a major contributor of methane.
Malaysia is already experiencing many adverse effects of climate change, including higher temperatures, increased monsoons and erratic weather patterns. As a major oil and gas producer, Malaysia has a responsibility to take action to reduce methane emissions.
The good news is that there are many cost-effective ways to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. In fact, about 80% of the free methane reduction actions come from the industry.
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to leading the scientific effort to focus world attention on the importance of reducing methane emissions. Our research shows that concerted global action using existing technologies could slow the rate of warming by as much as 30 percent by 2030.
Malaysia has already taken some steps to reduce methane emissions. For example, the government and Petronas have committed to reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. However, more needs to be done.
The upcoming COP28 in Dubai, UAE is an ideal opportunity for Malaysia to demonstrate its leadership in methane emissions reduction. The Prime Minister could announce innovative policy programs such as the
National Methane Emission Reduction Policy. This will provide a comprehensive framework for reducing methane emissions from all sectors such as oil and gas, agriculture and waste management.
A domestic fee on methane emissions from oil and gas facilities. This would incentivize the industry to minimize emissions.
Provide policy support for methane innovation. This may include funding R&D projects to develop new technologies to reduce methane emissions.
By taking these steps, Malaysia can show the world that it is serious about reducing methane emissions and helping to mitigate climate change.
The government could partner with the UAE to establish a methane innovation center in Malaysia. This would be the first South-South cooperation in decarbonization and help accelerate the development of new methane emission reduction technologies.
The Malaysian government could work with key trading partners such as Japan and South Korea to develop a low-emission LNG supply chain. This would help reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas industry and make Malaysian LNG more attractive to international buyers.
By taking these steps, Malaysia can become a global leader in reducing methane emissions and help create a more sustainable future for all.