Press Release

KOTA KINABALU (3rd October 2010): A Sabah event to raise awareness on climate change and renewable energy joins over 5,200 Global Work Parties that will be carried out worldwide on Oct 10 to push for a cut in carbon dioxide emissions.

Green SURF (Sabah Unite to Re-Power the Future), which has seen growing support from individuals who want clean energy, is holding events at the Tanjung Aru beach here and in Kampung Sinakut, Lahad Datu, ground zero for a proposed 300 megawatt coal-fired power plant.

The coalition of non-governmental organisations registered its Borneo-Global Work Party: Coast2Coast with, an international grassroots campaign aimed at mobilizing people to bring carbon dioxide emissions back down to and below the scientifically-determined safe level of 350 parts per million (ppm), from the current 390ppm level.

Green SURF’s Ms. Cynthia Ong said that being part of the worldwide network with more than 5,200 events in 175 countries is significant for Sabah, combining local efforts and coming together globally to fight dirty energy and promote clean energy.

“We are changing the energy conversation and we are excited to be part of a global climate change movement with,” Ong said in a statement issued by Green SURF today.

Green SURF members will work alongside the people of Kota Kinabalu and Kampung Sinakut to collect trash at both locations and spell out “350” on the beach. A local recycling plant will take the trash when the event ends.

Ong said the two beaches were chosen as venues to highlight their vulnerability to rising sea levels resulting from climate change.

She said the event that starts at 10.10am is also a platform to celebrate the first anniversary of the founding of Green SURF which has in a short span strengthened the civil society movement to address energy and related environmental and social justice issues.

“Our initial focus was on mobilizing around the coal-fired power plant issue in the east coast of Sabah and advocating for clean energy options. Within a year, we held numerous events, produced a clean energy options for Sabah report and built both local and global movements to support our campaign.

“The civil society voice is crucial for accountability and we want and need to be an integral part of the conversation; a civil society taking ownership and responsibility is a sign of an evolving society. We intend to stay, we intend to engage and we intend to influence,” she said.

Green SURF is made up of Land Empowerment Animals People (LEAP) of which Ong is Executive Director, WWF Malaysia, Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA), Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Sabah branch and Partners of Community Organisations (PACOS).

The five NGOs came together after the Federal Government announced the construction of a coal plant at Kampung Sinakut, at the shores of the Coral Triangle.

In mid August, the federal Department of Environment rejected the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment for the proposed project.