Brunei faces four degree Celsius temperature rise by 2100

James Kon

Brunei is vulnerable to the changing climate due to its size and location although it only contributes to about 0.025 per cent of the global greenhouse gas emissions.

Brunei’s average temperature has increased by 1.25 degrees Celsius and is expected to further increase up to four degree Celsius by 2100. The country also recorded its warmest year in 2016 and the new highest daily rainfall in September last year. Year 2019 also saw the highest forest fire cases reported in the last 10 years.

The climate impact in Brunei Darussalam was outlined by Minister of Development and Co-Chair of the Brunei Darussalam National Council on Climate Change Dato Seri Setia Ir Awang Haji Suhaimi bin Haji Gafar at the launch of the Brunei Darussalam National Climate Change Policy at the Banquet Hall of the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday.

With the country already experiencing a climate change impact, the minister said, “Climate change is happening here at our very home, leaving our livelihood, environment, infrastructure, wildlife, health and most importantly food security at stake. We must enhance our ability to better cope with the impacts of climate change and most importantly, we must mitigate our own greenhouse gas emissions to effectively reduce the risks from the source point.”

Dato Seri Setia Ir Awang Haji Suhaimi bin Haji Gafar, also cited that most of Brunei’s greenhouse gas emissions is from the energy sector accounting to more than 80 per cent of the total emissions.

Brunei has among the highest annual carbon footprint per person in the region at 10 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, needing about 200 trees to offset. The minister also stressed on the need for transition to low carbon.

Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong, Minister of Development and Co-Chair of the Brunei Darussalam National Council on Climate Change (BNCCC) Dato Seri Setia Ir Awang Haji Suhaimi bin Haji Gafar, Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof and Acting Minister of Energy Dato Seri Paduka Awang Haji Matsatejo bin Sokiaw in a group photo with BNCCC committee. PHOTO: JAMES KON

He said; “Brunei Darussalam has come a long way as an oil and gas country for over 90 years now. As we progress our development into realising the Brunei Vision 2035 aspirations, for our economic growth and local employment, more and more energy-intensive industries are emerging. With the ongoing investments, we will see our greenhouse gas emissions to surge more than double in the next 15 years.

“With that we must advance Brunei Darussalam towards a low carbon transition to further stimulate its development moving forward.”

He said it is crucial that we start decarburisation efforts now, before we are locked into a future with higher climate change risks.

“The very step to this would be through our first policy instrument on climate change – the Brunei Darussalam National Climate Change Policy,” the minister added.

The Brunei Darussalam National Climate Change Policy (BNCCP), Dato Seri Setia Ir Awang Haji Suhaimi explained “seeks to support and advance Brunei Darussalam’s economic growth in a low carbon manner while achieving resilience against the changing climate, by paving the necessary pathways through the 10 key strategies with potential areas for greenhouse gas emissions education, within our national circumstances.

“These reduction objectives are articulated based on the principles of the Maqasid of the Syariah to ensure that our climate change actions, support the preservation and promotion of faith, life, intellect, progeny and wealth respectively.”

In addition, the BNCCP intends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through reducing emissions including zero flaring, forest cover, electric vehicles, renewable energy, power management, carbon pricing and waste management. It is also intended to increase Brunei’s capacity to adapt to climate impacts and in achieving resilience.

As a tool to ensure that both mitigation and adaptation efforts could be successfully implemented and fully participated, the BNCCP seeks to make greenhouse gas inventory reporting, mandatory and most importantly to increase awareness and education surrounding both climate mitigation and adaptation.

He added, “The BNCCP also emphasised the vital role of rainforests, peat forest and mangroves that act as the country’s natural carbon sinks absorbing most of the greenhouse gas emissions at the same time, reminding us the richness of biodiversity in Brunei Darussalam.

“The BNCCP also has the potential to reduce Brunei greenhouse gas emissions to more than 50 per cent by 2035 compared to the business as usual scenario. This will open up opportunities for a low carbon or green industry growth in Brunei Darussalam and subsequently unlock multiple potentials such as local business development, local employment and competencies, digital technologies as well as Research and Development and FDIs.”

With a whole of nation approach, he mentioned “the BNCCP is an amalgamation of efforts and commitments from the four key ministries through the council, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications and Ministry of Development.

These four ministries whose areas are responsible for Brunei’s greenhouse gas emissions, carbon sinks and climate adaptation, came together to establish a comprehensive, integrated and cohesive policy on tackling issues related to climate change at a national level.” He said 39 members of the climate policy drafting committee comprising different government agencies, private sector, research and higher institutions, professional associations, academic and NGOs formulated the strategies.

“It was further reviewed by over 50 youth representatives. The deliberative process that was adopted, the level of inclusivity and transparency and the commitment that transpired from all different levels of stakeholders throughout the preparation of the BNCCP is a milestone of a nationwide partnership in Brunei Darussalam,” the minister said.

The minister said it is hoped that with the BNCCP, we would be able to achieve low carbon and resilient Brunei Darussalam and join hands with the international community to keep the global temperature increase below 1.5 degree Celsius under the Paris Agreement.