Vulnerability of Climate Change and Hardcore Poverty in Malaysia
Joy Jacqueline Pereira
Malaysia is also experiencing adverse effects of climate change that lead to impacts on water resources, food supply, coastal zone, public health, human settlement and others and necessitate national and international responses to face climate change. The economic resilience of nations to weather the climate change effects differ between countries. To further compound this, within a particular country there are different levels of vulnerability resilience reflecting differences in location, socio-economic circumstances and level of preparedness. As resources are limited, particularly in developing countries, there is a need to prioritise which vulnerable groups should receive the assistance to increase their level of preparedness. This study briefly highlights an overview of GHG emissions and incidence of poverty and hardcore poverty in Malaysia. The study also identifies the risk and vulnerable factors and demonstrate the possible vulnerable states based on present and future climate projection undertaken by National Hydraulic Research Institute of Malaysia (NAHRIM) and hardcore poverty in Malaysia.
Received: March 01, 2010;
Accepted: April 08, 2010;
Published: August 21, 2010
Malaysia is experiencing a warming trend for the past few decades. In the southern
areas of peninsular Malaysia, the frequency of long dry periods tended to be
higher with a significant increase in the mean and variability of the length
of the dry spells whereas, all the indices of wet spells in these areas show
a decreasing trend (Deni et al., 2008). Increasing
temperatures would result in more extreme weather and climate variability. In
Malaysia, the temperature and rainfall are projected to increase between +0.6
to 3.4°C and -1 to +32% in 60 years respectively (INC,
2000). The rise in sea level is about 13-94 cm in 100 years (INC,
2000). These can lead to impacts on water resources, food supply, coastal
zone, public health and others and necessitate national and international responses
to face climate change. To address the climate change issues, government has
taken many initiatives including promoting utilisation of renewable energy,
energy efficiency in industry, building and transport sector, restructuring
public transport system, cleaner fuel, stringent emission standards and alternative
industrial processes technique. In 2008, a cabinet committee on climate change
has been instituted which chaired by the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Establishment
of this committee exhibits Malaysias higher commitment in addressing climate
change and is important to integrate the issue of national development planning.
This study briefly highlights an overview of GHG emissions and incidence of
poverty and hardcore poverty in Malaysia. The study also identifies the risk
and vulnerable factors and demonstrates the possible vulnerable states based
on present and future climate projection undertaken by National Hydraulic Research
Institute of Malaysia (NAHRIM) and hardcore poverty in Malaysia.
GHG EMISSIONS IN MALAYSIA
Malaysia has been classified as a transition economy and there is no longer
traditional approaches (donor support) as an option for the development activities.
This rapid development has brought about significant impacts to the natural
environment (Begum and Pereira, 2009). In Malaysia,
the primary energy supply and demand have been increasing in tandem with economic
growth from 1990 to 2005 (Ninth Malaysia Plan, 2006),
showing the economic development and energy consumption have yet to be de-coupled.
Final energy demand, which was 14,560 and 29,996 ktoe in 1991 and 2000, respectively,
increased to 34,586 ktoe in 2003 (Jaafar et al.,
2008). Begum et al. (2009) also demonstrated
energy consumption as one of the largest contributor to the ecological footprint
for each Malaysian. The escalating consumption of energy that heavily relied
on fossil fuels had resultant significant increment in emission of greenhouse
gas (GHG) mainly carbon dioxide from the sector (Begum and
Pereira, 2009). Over the years, GHG emissions have been increasing in Malaysia.
In 2000, the total CO2 emission from energy sector is 118,806 kilotonne.
Per capita emission rose from 4.21 tonnes in 1994 to 6.29 tonnes in 2001 (Tiong
et al., 2007). Figure 1 shows the sectoral CO2
emissions from energy sector in 2000. Industrial and transport sectors are the
biggest CO2 emitters in Malaysia.
INCIDENCE OF POVERTY AND HARDCORE POVERTY IN MALAYSIA
During the Eighth Malaysia Plan period (2000-2005), the concept and measurement
of poverty were reviewed to take into account the social and economic changes
that have taken place in Malaysia since 1977 when the Poverty Line Income (PLI)
was first formulated. The PLI was substantially revised in 2005 and made up
of two components, i.e., the food PLI and the non-food PLI. The PLI is defined
separately for each household in the Household Income Survey (HIS) based on
its size, demographic composition and its location (state and stratum). A household
is considered poor if its income is less than its own PLI, that is, it lacks
the resources to meet the basic needs of its individual members. A household
is considered hardcore poor if its monthly household income is less than the
food PLI. The food component of the revised PLI is based on the advice of nutritionists,
dieticians and medical professionals (Ninth Malaysia Plan,
2006). Table 1 shows the incidence of poverty and hardcore
poverty by state using the 2005 methodology. The incidence of poverty and hardcore
poverty among Malaysians decreased from 8.5 and 1.9% in 1999 to 5.7 and 1.2%
in 2004, respectively, due to the successful implementation of poverty eradication
programmes and favourable economic growth. In Malaysia, the incidence of hardcore
poverty shows higher for the states of Sabah, Terengganu, Perlis, Kedah and
Kelantan compared to the other states.
||Sectoral CO2 emissions (Energy-2000), (Azman,
|| Per capita Poverty Line Income (PLI), incidence of poverty
and hardcore poverty, 2004
|1Includes Wilayah Persekutuan Labuan, 2Based
on 2005 methodology, 3Based on gross PLI, 4Based on
gross food PLI and 5Less than 0.05%. Ninth
Malaysia Plan (2006)
VULNERABILITY TO CLIMATE CHANGE AND HARDCORE POVERTY
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines vulnerability
as the degree to which a system is susceptible to and unable to cope with, adverse
effects of climate change, including climate variability and extremes. Vulnerability
is a function of the character, magnitude and rate of climate change and variation
to which a system is exposed, the sensitivity and adaptive capacity of that
system (IPCC, 2007). Abidin and Begum
(2008) emphasised that within a particular country there are differing levels
of vulnerability and resilience reflecting differences in location, socio-economic
circumstances and level of preparedness. Literature shows that populations
vulnerability to climate change depends on various factors (WHO,
2003; Lemmen and Warren, 2004; Ebi
et al., 2006; Haines et al., 2006;
Confalonieri et al., 2007) such as; age distribution;
population density; income level and distribution; food availability; local
environmental condition; geographical position; economic development; pre-existing
health status; and quality and availability of public health care.
Among and across the communities and demographic subgroups, the most affected
and risk groups are children, elderly people, indigenous populations and native
peoples, nomadic populations, chronically ill people, people with a low income,
homeless people and coastal communities (Lemmen and Warren,
2004; Ebi et al., 2006; Confalonieri
et al., 2007). Table 2 shows the future climate change
projections in Peninsular Malaysia based on the study undertaken by the National
Hydraulic Research Institute of Malaysia (NAHRIM). The data represent the maximum
monthly values of two climate factors i.e., temperature and precipitation (rainfall).
Table 2 reveals that in the future, there is a substantial
increase in temperature and rainfall over the North East region compared to
the other regions of Peninsular Malaysia.
|| Future climate change projections in peninsular Malaysia
|*Difference = Average 2025-2034 and 2041-2050 minus Average
1984-1993. NAHRIM (2006)
Table 3 demonstrates the possible vulnerable states based on climate change projection undertaken by NAHRIM and hardcore poverty in Malaysia that is basically drawn from the Table 1 and 2. It can be assumed from Table 3 that Terengganu, Kelantan, Perlis, Kedah and Perak are the most possible vulnerable states in terms of hardcore poverty and projected temperature and rainfall changes. It also shows that the most vulnerable peoples due to climate change are the poor and hardcore poor who have relatively larger household members.
The economic resilience of nations to weather the climate change effects differ between countries. To further compound this, within a particular country there are different levels of vulnerability and resilience reflecting differences in location, socio-economic circumstances and level of preparedness. Coincidentally, it shows that Terengganu, Kelantan, Perlis, Kedah and Perak are the most possible vulnerable states based on present and future climate projection undertaken by NAHRIM and hardcore poverty in Malaysia. The most vulnerable peoples due to climate change are the poor and hardcore poor. As resources are limited, particularly in developing countries, there is a need to prioritise which vulnerable groups should receive the assistance to increase their level of preparedness.
In Malaysia, there is lack of comprehensive research to determine the most vulnerable areas and groups due to the climate change and poverty. So, this can be a future research to be undertaken by the Climate Change Research Group in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). Furthermore, immediate responses through adaptation and mitigation approaches are necessary to reduce current vulnerability to the climate change that has already occurred.
The authors are greatly acknowledged to the research grant Dana Operasi Universiti Penyelidikan (OUP) in the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (Ref. No. UKM-OUP-PI-25-111/2009). An earlier version of this article was presented at the International Conference on Climate Change and Urban Poverty-Infrastructures of Development organized by the University of Manchester Brooks World Poverty Institute and BRAC University in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 28 January 2009.
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