It's Global Heating, Not Global Warming!
Text of speech by Tan Sri (Dr) Francis Yeoh
It is our pleasure to be here this afternoon to say a few words about YTL’s initiatives in CSR and climate change and sustainability. Thank you for your kind invitation.
Some of you will have noticed the weather patterns in recent weeks – no snow in the Alps, heatwave in New York in the middle of winter, second warmest January in London and strong winds creating havoc and taking lives in Europe.
Of course, I am not here to talk about the weather. I am here to talk about the climate. And the difference, as we all know, is that climate is what you expect. Weather is what you get. But if the abnormal weather that we are getting over the last few years becomes the norm as a result of climate change, it will have profound implications for this generation and future generations to come.
Just over a week ago, the IPCC – the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – a group of over 2,500 scientists from 130 countries issued their latest scientific report. They not only claimed a 90 per cent chance that humans are responsible for climate change, they also produced an updated projection of climate change by the end of this century – up to 6 degrees Centigrade. Ladies and gentlemen, this is not global warming, this is GLOBAL HEATING!
Global heating means that we have to take DRASTIC action – whether it is the man in the street, the biggest multinational or the smallest country in the world. The fact of the matter is that mankind has historically had a voracious appetite for resources which had accelerated to this present day. It is now science that our planet’s consumption of resources exceeds our ability to replace them.
Last year, according to the New Economic Foundation, we went into Ecological Red on 9th October – meaning that, for the rest of the year, mankind are living beyond our environmental means. This is on top of the existing ecological debt we have built up in the past. More alarmingly that Ecological Red Day gets earlier each year.
In effect we end up treating the planet as if it were a business in liquidation. If you were managing a business, you would be considered grossly negligent if you had no idea of your assets or cash flow. Yet this is how we manage our environmental resources.
In running up such ecological debts on our planet, we are firstly, denying poorer nations who already lack access to sufficient land, food and clean drinking water the chance to meet their needs and secondly, we are putting the planet’s life support mechanisms in great peril.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have only one planet – it is therefore imperative that our actions TODAY and TOMORROW are sustainable for our own economic welfare otherwise we are cursing future generations with our negligence as we are now cursed by previous generation of political and business leaders that did not pay attention to sustainability.
At YTL, we are in the infrastructure business, we build things that will last 30, 40, 50 years whether it is a power plant, residential homes, hotels, water sewage infrastructure, high speed rail link. In situations such as this, we have no choice but to take a very long term view. Taking a long term view has been embroidered in our culture not myopism.
We call it the Generation Test. Will the next generation and the generation after them, look back on the decisions we made TODAY and say: “Dad made wise decisions; Grandad made wise decisions!”
I see from your packed agenda that you have been discussing the CDM, Clean Development Mechanism process – the role of project developers, and the validation and verification process this morning. This afternoon you will be talking about the funding process. Now, this is all about project-based credits. This is about compliance-based carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol.
Recently Malaysia has had first hand experience of the extreme effects of man-induced climate change. Unprecedented levels of rainfall have caused the worst floods in over a century causing massive displacement and large scale damage to property. We are delighted to respond to the Prime Minister’s call for donations.
It is very timely to have the UK delegation in Kuala Lumpur today. 2 Malaysians who have studied in the UK have brought together a major international book entitled “Cut Carbon, Grow Profits". They received tremendous support and forewords from, among others:
Margaret Beckett, UK Foreign Secretary;
David Cameron, Conservative Party leader;
Sir Martin Laing and of course,
our very own Prime Minister, Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
This is a book about the business response to climate change – it is possible to cut carbon AND grow profits.
Today I am also delighted to announce the creation of the YTL Foundation for Climate Change. This will do for climate change what the Bill Gates Foundation is doing for health in developing countries.
The Stern Review mentioned that early effective action outweighs the costs – 1% GDP investment could avoid up to 20% fall in GDP if we sit back and do nothing.
Climate change is here to stay – we need to adapt to the coming climate change. Funding this global adaptation could involve thousands of billions of dollars. To fund these major infrastructure projects in the developing countries that will help in the adaptation efforts to climate change, we are promoting “Climate Bonds” where triple rated bonds will be issued in the capital markets backed by 15-year irrevocable commitments by sovereign governments. This is about frontloading vital climate change adaptation projects in water, food production, flood defences in the next 10-20 years with investors monies which will be repaid from the commitments.
I am delighted to be here this afternoon to share with you some of the things that YTL are doing in climate change.
And I applaud your interest in these issues and your commitment to solutions. At YTL, we are definitely committed to solutions, too.
May God bless you in your deliberations and your actions.
Text of speech by Tan Sri (Dr) Francis Yeoh, CBE
at the "Cutting Carbon To Increase Profits" Conference
on 12 February 2007, 1.00pm
at the Banquet Hall, Carlton Conference Centre,