UTM@COP26: BEYOND THE NEGOTIATION HALL, DESPITE COVID-19, UTM FORGES AHEAD WITH CITY-LEVEL CLIMATE ACTIONS

After being postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the much anticipated 26th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) finally took place on 1-12 November 2021 in Glasgow, UK.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), through the UTM-Low Carbon Asia Research Centre (UTM-LCARC) that is based in the Faculty of Built Environment and Surveying, staged a week-long virtual exhibit on the COP26 Platform; co-organised an Official Side Event with the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES); delivered speeches in two Japan Pavilion Side Events; and promoted and launched climate initiatives by two major Malaysian cities and an NGO.

Prof. TPr. Dr. Ho Chin Siong (UTM-LCARC Director) and TPr. Chau Loon Wai (UTM-LCARC Co-Director) from the Urban and Regional Planning Program led UTM’s participation at COP26, which attracted some 39,500 delegates from 197 countries and observer parties as well as almost 2,000 observer organisations. UTM remains the only Malaysian university with an accredited Observer institution status at the COP.

The virtual exhibit on the COP26 Platform (https://cop26platform.unfccc.int/cop26/page/dashboard) marked UTM’s 10th exhibit installation at the COP since participating in COP17 in Durban, South Africa in 2011. UTM continues to showcase its proven science-to-action (S2A) approach to developing, through research and consultancy, evidence-based and actionable climate policies and action plans for cities.

To date, UTM-LCARC has contributed to the development of 14 low carbon society (LCS) blueprints and climate action plans (CAPs) for one economic region and 13 cities of various sizes in Malaysia. The policies and plans, which are at various stages of implementation in different cities, are estimated to jointly lead to an annual GHG emission reduction potential of over 78 MtCO2eq (million tons of CO2 equivalent) by the year 2030.

The virtual exhibit also highlighted UTM-LCARC’s key international and national research and consultancy activities in 2020-2021 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
1. Global Covenant of Mayors (GCoM) Climate Action Plan (CAP) Pilot Cities for Malaysia;
2. Tokyo-to-Kuala Lumpur Low Carbon System (T2KLLCS);
3. Malaysian Climate Action Plan Guidebook (European Commission Joint Research Centre);
4. Malaysia’s National Report on Climate Change contributing to the ASEAN State of Climate Change Report (ASCCR);
5. Malaysia-Japan Policy Dialogue on Technology and Capacity Building for Sustainable Development;
6. RCE Iskandar (Education for Sustainable Development); and
7. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) Collaboration on Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM) for Kuala Lumpur.

UTM’s virtual exhibit sits among those of top universities and world-renowned institutions on the COP26 Platform (https://cop26platform.unfccc.int/cop26/expohall?fid=6419)
UTM-LCARC’s international and national research partners and collaborators working on advancing the low carbon society agenda in Asia
UTM-LCARC’s international and national sponsors and clients on low carbon society projects