WCSC 2021: Kuala Lumpur to gear towards a carbon neutral city by 2050

Kuala Lumpur, 27 September 2021 – World Class Sustainable Cities conference 2021 kicked off today. The event will last for two days on 27-28 September 2021, held virtually for the first time since its inception in 2009. YB Dato’ Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim Federal Territories Minister delivered his keynote speech earlier today in the opening ceremony.

According to Dato’ Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim, Malaysia’s urban settings such as Kuala Lumpur contribute the majority of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—at 80 per cent of total emissions, released mainly from electricity and transportation. As such, Kuala Lumpur aims to reduce the intensity of GHG emission to 70 per cent by 2030 through the use of 10 action plans, 82 measures and 245 programmes—to gear towards a carbon neutral city in Malaysia by 2050.

Dato’ Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim

The Climate Action Plan identifies initial set actions across strategic areas that are prioritised for implementation by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (KLCH). The actions have been developed based on reviews of existing policies and programmes as well as consultation with key government agencies. Together, these priority actions provide firm steps towards a carbon neutral and climate resilient future for the city.

YB Dato’ Seri Ir Dr Zaini Ujang, Secretary General of Ministry of Environment and Water (KASA), believes that we need to create cleaner and healthier cities because cities produced 80 per cent of world’s GDP and consume two third of global energy supply. He said, “Cities are responsible for 70 per cent of GHG. More than half of the world’s inhabitants live in cities and this migration trend is expected to continue. By 2050 more than two thirds of the world will be urban dwellers.”

Dato’ Seri Ir Dr Zaini Ujang

Despite the city’s existing and planned climate mitigation actions, global warming trends highlight that the city of Kuala Lumpur is already witnessing the impacts of climate change. Three key climate hazards have been identified as posing the greatest threat to those living and working in the city—heat, flood and drought—and the increasing risks and associated impacts from these climate hazards include:

  • Heat Risk: Increased incidences and severity of heat-related illness, air pollution and energy usage
  • Flood Risk: Increased incidences and severity of traffic and road accidents, landslides and infrastructure damage
  • Drought Risk: Increased incidences and severity of economic disruption, drinking water supply and water pollution

    Datuk Seri Haji Mahadi bin Che Ngah

The execution of the prioritised climate actions is expected to require a strong public-private partnership (PPP) mechanisms, including project financing to come from all parties. While infrastructural projects will largely be funded through KLCH’s annual budgets as well as Federal budgets, private sector funding and international donors will play a large role in establishing projects and programmes within organisations as well as community-level projects. Overall, the climate strategies and prioritised climate actions in Kuala Lumpur Action Plan 2050 are:

Mobility & Infrastructure :
Street Design to Prioritise Active Mobility
Comfortable & Safe Pedestrian Networks
Accessible Affordable Housing in Priority Area
Dedicated Bus Lane Network

Green Adaptive City:
Deploy Low Impact Development
Depave Public Space with the Community
Protect Parks & Increase Biodiverse Areas

Energy Efficient & Climate-Proof Buildings:
Building Vegetation Covering
Low Carbon Building Checklist Validation
Building Performance Benchmarking & Rating
Near Zero Emissions Building Roadmap

Smart Waste Management :
Solid Waste Reduction through a Waste Masterplan

Disaster Management:
Flood Management & Response Plan
Heat Management & Response Plan
Drought Management & Response Plan

According to Datuk Seri Haji Mahadi bin Che Ngah, Mayor of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia needs to strengthen its commitment and plans to achieve sustainability and to improve its ranking among the 193 UN member states (currently the overall performance ranking is 75). He mentioned Wangsa Maju Growth Centre as an example of the programmes that the government is currently undertaking to reach the sustainability goals. The programme aims to create:

  • Floating solar PV on lakes;
  • Solar PV installation on house/mall rooftops;
  • More green spaces and walkable areas;
  • Anaerobic digester and pyrolysis plant; and
  • EV buses near LRT stations.

He also believes that collaboration and partnership, including in education, are an important driver to the success. As an example, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Air Panas, Kuala Lumpur, is now implementing international problem-based learning under the world-wide learning consortium. This is to equip young generation with knowledge about sustainability and climate actions.

Established since 2009, the ‘International Conference on World Class Sustainable Cities (WCSC) annual series aims at providing a constructive and inclusive platform to educate and encourage community engagement among the public and private sectors, as well as community groups and city residents. The 12th conference will continue tomorrow with more presentations and panel discussions.

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