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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Forum on ‘Climate Change: A Catastrophe in the Making’ 22.02.2011 at Bar Council Auditorium, Kuala Lumpur

The KL Bar Environmental and Humanities Committee organised a one- day forum on climate change entitled Climate Change: A Catastrophe in the Making on 22 February 2011 at the Bar Council Auditorium, Kuala Lumpur.

The forum drew an attendance of 100 participants comprising of members the Bar, environmental activists, NGOs, civil society, government agencies, the private sector and students from local and foreign universities.

The event was fully sponsored by KLS Energy Sdn Bhd, an organisation which promotes usage of alternative sources of energy such as windmills and solar panels.

Six invited speakers presented their papers in 2 separate sessions in the morning, focusing on topics such as After Cancun 2010 what next? and The Real Nature of Climate Change. Why is it everybody’s problem? The speakers were Ms Chew Swee Yoke of the Malaysian Bar, Mr Muru Loganathan of the British High Commission, Mr Adrian Yeo of Malaysian Youth Climate Justice Network, Mr Gurmit Singh KS of Centre of Environment, Technology and Development, Malaysia, Prof Chan Ngai Weng of University Sains Malaysia and Ms Lim Li Ching of Third World Network. Their presentations and the ensuing question-and-answer sessions had served to heighten much public awareness in climate change as an area of international concern from many aspects and perspectives.

In the afternoon, a video presentation of David Suzuki, an award-winning scientist and environmentalist, gave the audience some insight into the challenges humankind has to face in terms of moving away from the illusionary nature of economic growth towards the reality of a sustainable ecosystem.

Central to the problem of Climate Change, is the control of global greenhouse gas emission. The push and pull forces seem to unfold during the forum, between scientific necessity, on one hand and political possibility on the other.

This led to a lively seven-member panel discussion comprising 4 of the speakers as well as 3 representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) namely Dr Che Abdul Rahim Nik, Dr. Teddy Lian Kok Fei and Dr Elizabeth MP Philip. The participants took part as well in engaging the panel members with their questions, some of which are very penetrating and thought-provoking.

The forum was closed by Dato’ Sri Douglas Uggah Embas, Minister of the Natural Resources and Environment, who delivered a closing address.

As an appropriate conclusion to the forum the Kuala Lumpur Bar Committee issued a communiqué as follows:

‘Believing that it is imperative to act rather than talk, and BEING ALARMED by the time running out on humankind, WE CALL ON THE GOVERNMENT AND CITIZENS FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE to join hands and initiate positive and meaningful measures in the form of peoples’ initiatives, policies, legislation and financial incentives to achieve the Prime Minister’s undertaking to the Copenhagen Summit 2009, that Malaysia is committed to reduce its carbon emission intensity by 40% by 2020.’

Contributed by Roger Chan Weng Keng

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