Malaysia has sought US$3 million from the United Nations’Green Climate Fund (GCF) to adapt to current and future climate crises, an appeal spurred by weeks of torrential rainfall and heavy floods that have affected 125,000 citizens and left 50 people dead. 

This is the first time Malaysia has requested funds for climate adaptation, according to Reuters

While floods are customary in the Southeast Asian nation during this time of year, environmentalists say the recent climate events are unusual and the worst the state has seen in decades.

Climate change expert Renard Siew said the correlation between the weather events and climate change is undeniable. 

"When we pump out carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, what tends to happen is that this creates a global seeping effect where greenhouse gases trap heat, and under warmer conditions, our atmosphere is able to hold more vapour and moisture,” Siew said, according to Channel News Asia. “When you have an accumulation effect, the longer-term impact of this is that you have [a] sudden downpour of rain in certain localised areas, and that is what you have seen in the floods over Malaysia.” 

The GCF is the world’s largest fund established to aid developing countries to fight climate change.

In 2009, at the COP15 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, wealthy nations promised to provide US$100 billion each year over the next five years to fund adaptation projects. So far, 190 GCF projects and programs have been approved across 127 countries: 47 in Africa, 41 in the Asia-Pacific region, 31 in Latin America and the Caribbean and eight in Eastern Europe.

These investments are thought to have stopped 2 billion metric tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. 

Malaysia has already pledged over RM$9 billion (around AU$3.2 billion, or US$2.2 billion) from its budget for national flood mitigation plans, like establishing flood disaster relief machinery, deepening rivers and creating flood forecasting and warning systems. 

The requested GCF funds are expected to help the nation create a National Adaptation Plan. The plan — which will sit alongside Malaysia’s mitigation efforts — will likely incorporate the water, agriculture, food security, public health, forestry and infrastructure sectors, according to Reuters

Malaysia has promised to stop building coal-fired power plants, and vowed to reach net-zero emissions “as early as 2050.”

Disclosure: The Green Climate Fund is a funding partner of Global Citizen.


Defend the Planet

Malaysia Seeks UN Green Climate Adaptation Funds as Floods Affect 125,000 Citizens

By Madeleine Keck