BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The government on Tuesday announced it will be reviving the National Council on Climate Change (BNCCC) to align with global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and honour its commitments under the Paris Agreement.

Originally established in 2011, the council convened its first meeting in October last year, the Ministry of Energy, Manpower and Industry (MEMI) disclosed during the eighth day of the Legislative Council meeting.

“According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global temperatures will continue to rise by 1.5°C from the year 2030 to 2052, if global warming continues to persist at its current rate,” said MEMI minister YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mat Suny Hj Md Hussein.

Even though Brunei’s contributes just 0.017 percent to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, it is not immune to the global nature of climate change, he added.

The minister stressed that the impact of climate change will become “more “aggressive” as temperatures rise, causing environmental phenomena such as rising sea levels and flash floods. Some low-lying parts of Brunei are already 12 metres below sea level.

The council will ensure efforts to address climate change will be implemented through a “whole-of-nation approach”, he said in response to a question from LegCo member YB Khairunnisa Hj Ash’ari on Brunei’s Climate Action Plan.

The government outlined the country’s intended nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement in a proposal submitted to the United Nations in 2015.

By 2035, it aims to reduce Brunei’s total energy consumption by 63 percent; reduce carbon dioxide emissions from morning peak hour traffic by 40 percent; and increase total gazetted forest reserves to 55 percent of total land area, compared to the current level of 41 percent.

YB Dato Dr Hj Mat Suny said “strategic actions” will be taken to reach these goals, including upgrading oil and gas facilities to reduce the amount of emissions they produce. He added they aim to reduce emissions from venting and flaring activities by 30 percent.

During Tuesday’s LegCo session, YB Khairunnisa Hj Ash’ari also asked if environmental impact assessments (EIA) are required in private sector projects, such as the construction of the Hengyi oil refinery and petrochemical plant in Pulau Muara Besar.

The Minister of Development, YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Suhaimi Hj Gafar, responded that an assessment is required in any project with potential environmental impact.

With regards to the Hengyi refinery on Pulau Muara Besar, the EIA has been carefully examined, including impact on water quality, he said.