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Understanding the economics of climate change

Understanding the economics of climate change
Public Lecture on “Economics of Climate Change: From the Global to the Malaysian Perspective”

28 November 2017
Institute of Climate Change, National University of Malaysia (UKM)
UKM – Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) Chair in Climate Change

Global climate change threatens human wellbeing due to the adverse impacts on ecosystems functioning, biodiversity, and health. The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC)’s fifth assessment report shows unequivocal and unprecedented changes in the worldwide phenomenon. More than half the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951-2010 was caused by anthropogenic increases in greenhouse gases (GHGs), and continued emissions would cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system.

The Asia- Pacific for instance is the most dynamic and fast growing region in the world in terms of development. Based on current trajectories, it will account for more than half of the total global gross domestic product (GDP), trade, and investments by 2050; alongside, it would be the main contributor to rising environmental threats if appropriate measures are not taken to abate harmful emissions.

Climate change economics offer insights and empirical evidence to facilitate designing policies on reducing, avoiding, and adapting to the phenomenon. The analyses would shed light on mitigation benefits, improve understanding of the costs involved in related market distortions, as well as allow for the adoption of better tools for making practical and effective policy and management choices. The economics of climate change have in fact influenced the formulation and implementation of a range of climate change policies at national, regional, and international levels.

These were among the points made in a lecture by Assoc Prof Dr Rawshan from UKM. She elaborated on the various efforts and measures undertaken at the national level on addressing GHG emissions, besides linking disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. The Malaysian policy targets to emission reduction i.e., pledge to cut emission intensity per unit of GDP by up to 40 percent by 2020 compared to 2005 levels were elaborated. Specific emphasis was made on mitigation, adaptation, vulnerability, and policy measures to address issues and challenges.

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During the programme

Government agencies, students, and NGOs attended the programme. MIMA was represented by the Centre for Coastal and Marine Environment (CMER). The talk enabled a deeper understanding of the perspectives of climate change economics, as well as links to the maritime sector – where there are still gaps to address. Amongst others, the direct contribution made by MIMA on the subject is through involvement in the preparation of the Biennial Update Reporting (BUR) and Third National Communication (TNC) on climate change for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

MIMA hopes to continue with the useful engagement with local expertise and research institutions on this important area in generating implementable policy suggestions for addressing gaps in the national maritime field.

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