Malaysia has been accused of underreporting its greenhouse gas emissions to the United Nations, according to an investigative report posted by The Washington Post.
According to the US publication, Malaysia’s submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) “reads like a report from a parallel universe”.
The 285-page document also suggested that Malaysia’s trees are absorbing carbon 4 times faster than its neighbour Indonesia, despite having similar forests, and was able to slash 73% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2016.
Meanwhile, the investigation examined the reports from 196 country and uses Malaysia as an example that had a humongous gap between values they declared and actual emissions.
“Malaysia, for example, released 422 million tons of greenhouse gases in 2016, placing it among the world’s top 25 emitters that year.”
“But because Malaysia claims its trees are consuming vast amounts of carbon dioxide, its reported emissions to the United Nations are just 81 million tons, less than those of the small European nation of Belgium.” The Washington Post said.
The publication also said that Malaysia’s estimate of 29 million tons of carbon dioxide emission from drained peatland in 2016 was too low, and the expert’s estimate came closer to 100 million tons.
“In other words, Malaysia’s peatland emissions could easily be about three times as high as the country is claiming.” they said.
In response, the Environment and Water Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man defended Malaysia’s greenhouse gas emissions report and data, adding that the report was produced via a “very rigorous process” that is in line with all UNFCCC requirements.
“The whole process is based on transparency, accuracy, consistency, comparability and completeness principles.”
“As such, Malaysia regrets the action of The Washington Post in questioning the integrity of the UNFCCC process and outcome.” he said.
He also explain that the process includes “multiple stakeholder consultations” with experts, academics, NGOs, the private sector and data providers.
Tuan Ibrahim also pointed out that UNFCCC-appointed experts were in the midst of scrutinising Malaysia’s report.
“Under the UNFCCC BUR process, Malaysia has undergone three sessions of international consultative and analysis and two sessions of facilitative sharing of views thus far.”
However, the report by The Washington Post had questioned the data integrity of countries, but not the UNFCCC process.