Minister Defends Data After Malaysia Is Accused Of Underreporting Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Washington Post said Malaysia's submission to the United Nations (UN) "reads like a report from a parallel universe".

Cover image via Bernama/New Straits Times & Financial Tribune

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Malaysia has been accused of underreporting its greenhouse gas emissions to the United Nations

The allegation comes from an investigative piece by The Washington Post, which questions the validity of the reports submitted by countries to the United Nations to make their climate pledges.

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 article said it was surprising that Malaysia claimed in its 286-page document that the country's forest carbon sink was able to absorb carbon four times faster than its neighbour Indonesia, despite having similar forests, and was able to slash 73% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2016.

Their investigation examined 196 country reports and used Malaysia as an example of a nation that had a giant 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," said The Washington Post.

"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 publication also disputed Malaysia's estimate of emissions from drained peatland, saying that the country's estimate of 29 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2016 was too low, and had experts instead calculating figures 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.

However, Environment and Water Minister Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man has defended Malaysia's report and data

In a three-page statement on Facebook on Tuesday, 9 November, Tuan Ibrahim said the country's report underwent a very rigorous process and followed all of UNFCCC's requirements in its production.

He said the report has also gone through various assessments, including a 43-week analysis by a group of experts in the UNFCCC to examine and verify the values, methodologies, and action taken to produce the inventory report.

"The whole process is based on transparency, accuracy, consistency, comparability, and completeness principles," he said.

 "As such, Malaysia regrets the action of the Washington Post in questioning the integrity of the UNFCCC process and outcome," he concluded.

Environment and Water Minister Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.

Image via Bernama/New Straits Times

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