Malaysia, a Carbon Sink?
A report of UNDP showed that Malaysia's carbon emissions grew by 221 percent from 1990 to 2004, the largest growth in emissions among the top 30 emitters. Malaysia is ranked 26th on a global league table of emitters. Studies by Wetlands International and its partners have indicated that emissions from degraded peatlands alone in Malaysia are remarkably high, around 100 million tonnes annually.
Forest cover is very unlikely to compensate for these emissions. Analysis from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) show that Malaysia's annual deforestation rate jumped almost 86 percent between the 1990-2000 period and again between 2000-2005.
The organisation sees good opportunities to reverse the trend of emissions through working with the Malaysian government. In particular, Wetlands International believes that halting peatland degradation is a cost effective way to reduce emissions. Wetlands International’s extensive experience in peatland restoration has shown that on average one tonne of carbon dioxide can be sequestered at 1 euro per tonne. With future initiatives to include peatlands in the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) mechanism, Malaysia should have a strong environmental and financial impetus to ensure protection and restoration of tropical peatlands in the country.
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