"Coal is the single greatest threat to civilization and all life on our planet." – James Hansen, NASA's top climate scientist
We are getting stronger tail end of the typhoons when they lay their destructive paths across the Philippines bringing bigger and more intense waves hitting our shores, eroding shorelines, damaging seashore settlements and bringing with it heavier rainfall causing floods and landslips.
Many shorelines on Sabah's western seaboard have changed in form due to heavier waves and stronger sea current pounding the shores.Coral reefs are dying, habit and habitat of marine creatures are a changing due to rising sea temperature.
Where there used to be land are now part of the sea.
The most noticeable adverse reaction of global warming and man's foolhardy actions of fouling up divine creations is the disappearance of most of my family land at Meruntum Bay, just about 12 km from Kota Kinabalu city.
Almost 50 percent of what used to be our land with beautiful stretch of beach and casuarina trees lining the beach have now disappeared under water impacted by global warming and indiscriminate land reclamation of Kota Kinabalu sea front over the years, done with EIA approval.
I suspect the huge reclamation at Sutera Harbour might have altered the sea current causing erosion that seriously damaged proximate shorelines over the years.
Sabah, is no more "Land Below The Wind" as described by Agnes Keith in her book of the same name.The weather pattern has completely changed.When it is supposed to be dry it's wet, when it's supposed to be wet it's dry.
We are getting more freakish weather bringing stronger winds whipping up huge waves pounding our shores, heavier rainfalls causing landslips and flash floods and hotter days during the dry months bringing drought and widespread bush fires are happening more often than not.
The past two weeks Kota Kinabalu and surrounding areas have been pounded daily by heavy rainfalls causing flash flood and landslips.
Climate change, I guess have impacted the changes.Even more disturbing strange things are happening below the sea surface, destroying beautiful coral reefs and changing the habits and habitats of marine creatures.
Just two weeks ago widespread coral bleaching occurred in marine parks throughout Malaysia.Pulau Redang,Pulau Tioman and Pulau Tayar in Peninsula Malaysia was temporarily off-limit to divers and snorkelers.Widespread bleaching was also notice at Sepanggar Bay at Kota Kinabalu in Sabah.
Being a blue water angler for the past 30 years I can't help but noticed changing sea conditions in the areas I am familiar with.We are getting more unpredictable storms coming out of nowhere anytime of the day or night, whipping up waves from zero to almost 3 meters in a matter of hours.I have been caught out by such freakish weather on number of occasions, one with almost tragic consequence.
My fishing trips with friends would take us one to two nights to about 30 to 50 miles offshore. Reason being, both pelagic and sedentary fish are more active at night which give us better and bigger catch.The past three to four years something unusual is happening below the sea surface.There is a complete reversal of the fish eating pattern changing them to be more active during the day and more difficult to find at night.Could global warming be the cause of this strange phenomenon?
Even more disturbing is the dwindling catch and disappearance of certain specie of fish due to over fishing. The waters of Sabah's coast are over fished by fish bombing, fish poisoning, indiscriminate trawling and to lesser extent subsistence fishing and the increasingly popular recreational fishing.
Men are having mortal combat with the environment, killing it slowly but surely, ignoring that we are on an island in the universe surrounded by ocean of emptiness and neighbours without life-supporting environment should we one day need to leave this planet, we really have no where to go.
Sciences have not yet found a formula to take us to the far edges of the universe where life-supporting planets might exist. So, we should make the best and take care of the environment to save this planet from destruction.
Having said all that we again are going to face another environmental disaster that would add to the already highly-strained environment we live in if the Federal government continue to ignore the wishes of Sabahans of not wanting the proposed coal-fired power plant that would smear not only the environment but also the people's health.Worst still, the plant is in close proximity to one of the biggest and most delicate coral reef formation in the region in a highly fragile eco-system.
The Federal government has the option of diverting offshore gas for power generation that is kind to the environment but instead placed more importance to channeling the gas to Bintulu for export instead of giving Sabahans what rightly belong to them to use for clean power generation that is friendly to the people's health and clean to the environment.
For many years and until now the gas have been flared, in layman's term, burned.The moment Sabahans wanted it for power generation it raises eyebrows in the Federal capital suddenly making it commercially viable to pipe the gas all the way to Bintulu but not viable to pipe to KotaKinabalu for power generation to supply electricity to the whole state.
If West Malaysians have accepted coal powered stations in their midst without any questions it doesn't mean Sabahans are made from the same mould and should accept such wilful act of the government trying to shove down our throat something we found repulsive and dangerous to our health.We certainly still love,cherish and care about our environment and the clean air that we breath.
We don't want to be like Kuala Lumpur with perpetual blanket of smog hanging over the city and yet the city dweller are happy to drive their cars into the city contributing more pollutants to the already unhealthy air environment. This city has one of the most screwed up public transport system of a modern city in the world, a mass transit, if you can call it one, that do not connect.Three different systems that do not meet on a common interchange.To change system one has to cross roads,streets ,longkang and what not. The city dwellers have been shafted by nothing less than their own government.Inilah "Malaysia Boleh"
Adding chaos to the already dysfunctional system are the worst taxi drivers of the world who cheat passengers at their whims and fancies and the government seems helpless to do anything. Are they really helpless, or they are just apathetic? Who is the minister in charge, should not he be ashamed that for donkey years they have not been able to discipline the crooked taxi drivers?
The diversion above is to show that these are people who pretended to be clever and have proven to be not.They have screwed up aplenty.
These are the same people who admitted being misled by one minister making the whole cabinet looking like a bunch of fools and now allow the pseudo-technocrats in Tenaga to shove crap down Sabahan throats that there is clean coal. Like everything else, there is only clean coal if there is discipline.Knowing Malaysian maintenance culture, who can't even keep their public toilets clean, can you expect them to keep coal clean? Just visit any of our major airports and see how clean and nice smelling the toilets are.The ministers don't know because they all go through VIP rooms.Even if they do know, they probably do not care, after all they are not the one using it.
The story would have been different if there have not been safer and cleaner alternative.We have and we are being deprived of it for reason of greed and couldn't care less attitude of the government.
You can call us stupid, uncultured, anti-development and anti-progress but that's the way we are.
All we asked for is to give us back what rightfully is ours in the first place.
Investments in conventional coal-fired power plants without carbon capture and storage (CCS) have to stop immediately in order to limit global warming below 2°C. Key investment areas for power and heat production should be renewable energies, storage systems, and grid development.(Photo: Reuters)
I don't believe there is absolutely clean coal technology, it may reduce some CO2 emission into the atmosphere but it can create other problems. The sludge and effluence of dewatering low grade coal has to go somewhere? Where?
Holding ponds? For how long? Read the disaster in the US here.
A home in eastern Tennessee is partially buried in contaminated waste from a coal-fired power plant. View a slideshow of the damage caused by the billion-gallon spill on Dec. 22, 2008. Courtesy: United Mountain Defense