The topic of climate change has never been hotter, but with all the predictions, trending articles and heated debates by politicians claiming ‘aye’ or ‘nay’ about its existence and effects, it can be hard to get one’s head around the topic. So, in this article, we’ll get back to basics and review what the fuss is all about – with the key points that everyone should know about climate change.
Issue 13 / 2017
Climate change is an unequivocal fact and many of the observed changes are unprecedented. More than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature was caused by the increases in greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations due to human activity. Malaysia is also experiencing a warming trend with an increase of mean surface temperature from 0.6°C to 1.2°C and facing an increase of rainfall intensity and sea level rise. To tackle climate change, Malaysia has voluntarily pledged to cut its emission intensity (per unit of GDP) by up to 40% by 2020 and 45% by 2030 compared to the levels in 2005, with some conditions applied. How is Malaysia doing to achieve this emission reduction target?
Prof. Dato’ Dr. Mazlin Mokhtar is a Professor in Environmental Chemistry. He is currently the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation Affairs) of the National University of Malaysia (UKM). He is also the Chairman of the Environmental Quality Council. His research expertise is in Sustainability Science and Governance.
This short personal essay is based on my experiences traveling in Canada as an undergraduate, and how I began to understand the effects of climate change on northern regions of the country. In this essay, I discuss the rapidly changing climate in the Yukon Territory and the rise and fall of Fort McMurray, an oil boomtown, as told through my travel experiences in search of the aurora borealis, or northern lights.
Palm oil has been unfairly labelled as ‘dirty oil’ by some, but the industry is making a stand and changing its practises to overcome negative perception. Palm oil plantations have implemented various measures to reduce the environmental impact, and the palm oil mills are following suit, using science and technology to convert their waste to wealth. The palm oil mills of today no longer just extract oil, but are now able to turn solid waste into products, and liquid waste into energy.
In recent years, geoengineering has drifted away from being labelled as taboo to becoming a more viable plan in the eyes of scientists and engineers. The future of climate engineering might not be too far off; however, it currently lacks public awareness and strong governance. To succeed, it must first tackle certain legal issues and garner more public support. Advocates of it believe that, in conjunction with emissions cuts, geoengineering is our best response to climate change.
What if our efforts to stop climate change are too little too late? The way we live would change drastically if we are forced to abandon fossil fuels and utilise all the renewable resources and energy we have just to survive. In this story, each reference links to a technology that we currently have or are developing in real life, which may help to reduce waste or provide energy. So read on, imagine living in a harsher world, and see how many of these technologies you recognise and may want to use yourself, now or in the future!
Coral reefs around the world are facing unprecedented damage due to global warming. The Great Barrier Reef of Australia, a world heritage-listed natural inspiration has recently captured the attention of the media with its gradual depletion over the past few decades due to anthropogenic activities. In this article, the causes of this reef ecosystem destruction are explored. Loss of marine species could be an indication of a potential mass extinction in the near future.