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Malaysia Current situation

What is Malaysiaʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

Emissions profile

Emissions in Malaysia grew by 18% between 2008 and 2017.

Malaysia’s key emitting sector is the energy sector, accounting for 75% of total GHG emissions excluding LULUCF. Within this sector, power accounts for the largest share (30%) of emissions. Electricity generation is emissions intensive, with 45% of power generated from coal and 37% from natural gas.5 Other GHG emissions from the energy sector are from: transport (17%), fugitive emissions (15%), and industry energy use (10%).

The second largest contributor to emissions is the waste sector with 13% of GHG emissions excluding LULUCF. The largest subsector in waste emissions is industrial waste water, mainly related to palm oil mill effluent (POME).6

Industry GHG emissions have seen high growth in recent years, (up 34% from 2010 to 2017), and growth is to a large extent related to cement demand.6

1 Malaysia Government. Report on Peninsular Malaysia Generation Development Plan 2020 (2021 – 2039). (2021).

2 The Edge Markets. Environment ministry to develop LT-LEDS for UNFCCC consideration. The Edge Markets. (2021).

3 Global Forest Watch. Malaysia Interactive Forest Map & Tree Cover Change Data. (2021).

4 WWF. Deforestation Fronts, Drivers and Responses in a Changing World. (WWF, 2021).

5 IEA. Malaysia. International Energy Agency. (2021).

6 Ministry of Environment and Water. Malaysia Third Biennial Update Report to the UNFCCC. (2020).

7 Greenpeace. Southeast Asia Power Sector Scorecard.(2020).

8 British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce. BMCC Sector Report 2018/2019: Oil, Gas & Energy. (2018).

9 Susskind, L. et al. Breaking Out of Carbon Lock-In: Malaysia’s Path to Decarbonization. Front. Built Environ. 6, 21 (2020). doi:10.3389/fbuil.2020.00021/full

10 KeTTHA. Green Technology Master Plan Malaysia 2017-2030. (2017).

11 Mustapa, S. I. & Bekhet, H. A. Analysis of CO2 emissions reduction in the Malaysian transportation sector: An optimisation approach. Energy Policy 89, 171–183 (2016).

12 Malaysia Government. Malaysia Third National Communication and Second Biennial Update Report to the UNFCCC. (2018).

13 Using Global Warming Potential AR4.

14 While global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C provide useful guidance for an upper-limit of emissions trajectories for developed countries, they underestimate the feasible space for such countries to reach net zero earlier. The current generation of models tend to depend strongly on land-use sinks outside of currently developed countries and include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches. The scientific teams which provide these global pathways constantly improve the technologies represented in their models – and novel CDR technologies are now being included in new studies focused on deep mitigation scenarios meeting the Paris Agreement. A wide assessment database of these new scenarios is not yet available; thus, we rely on available scenarios which focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology. Accordingly, we do not yet consider land-sector emissions (LULUCF) and other CDR approaches which developed countries will need to implement in order to counterbalance their remaining emissions and reach net zero GHG are not considered here due to data availability.

15 LULUCF emissions are projected to be -227 MtCO₂e in 2030 following a business-as-usual scenario reported in Malaysia’s Second Biennial Report.

16 As stated in the NDC. However, Malaysia participated in the Clean Development Mechanism and Voluntary Carbon Market, but these are not accounted as national mitigation actions as noted in the Biennial Report 3.

17 Fuel-efficient vehicles is defined as hybrid, electric vehicles and alternatively fuelled vehicles such as Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), biodiesel, ethanol, hydrogen and fuel cell.

18 The total financial support required totals USD 71,900,000, in additional to technical and capacity building support.

19 In some of the analysed pathways, the energy sector assumes already a certain amount of carbon dioxide removal technologies, in this case bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

Malaysiaʼs current GHG emissions


Displayed values

By sector

  • Power
  • Transport
  • Fugitive emissions
  • Industry (energy use)
  • Other
  • Buildings
  • Waste
  • Industry (processes)
  • Agriculture
Energy (75%)0

By gas

  • CO₂
  • CH₄
  • N₂O
  • Other

Sectors by gas

Industry (processes)

Energy system

To be 1.5°C compatible, Malaysia would need to transition its economy away from fossil fuels. The Malaysian government relies on oil and gas revenue from the state own Petronas company, and the oil and gas sector accounts for 20% of Malaysia’s GDP.7,8 It also relies on coal imports for power generation but has the opportunity to become energy independent through phasing out coal.5

Malaysia’s total primary energy supply (TPES) is 97% fossil fuels. TPES is dominated by natural gas (41%), oil (31%) and coal (24%). Reliance on fossil fuels make the country vulnerable of price fluctuations as experienced recently from COVID-19 impacts.7

Renewables represent 3% of the TPES and 17% of the power generation mix – mainly sourced from hydropower. Malaysia has a target for renewable energy to represent 31% total installed capacity by 2025 and 40% by 2035. It has implemented a feed-in-tariff mechanism to increase renewable energy share in the power mix and a Green Technology Financing Scheme (GTFS) to support green technology projects in all sectors, including energy.6 The feed in tariff, net metering scheme and the GTFS have so far driven renewable energy investments.9

The National Energy Efficiency Action Plan also aims to increase energy efficiency in residential and commercial buildings, and in industry.6 Malaysia also plans to increase use of public transport and reduce demand on road infrastructure.6 Other actions include promoting energy efficient vehicles, palm based biodiesel in blended petroleum diesel, promoting natural gas for vehicles, and biogas recovery from POME treatment.6

Targets and commitments

Economy-wide targets

Target type

Base year intensity target

NDC target

Unconditional NDC Target:

  • Reduce the GHG emissions intensity of GDP by 45% relative to the emissions intensity of GDP in 2005 (incl. LULUCF) of which 35% are unconditional. Translates in 11% GHG emissions above 2015 by 2030 (excl. LULUCF).

Conditional NDC Target:

  • Reduce the GHG emissions intensity of GDP by a further 10% relative to the emissions intensity of GDP in 2005 (incl. LULUCF) conditional on the receipt of climate finance, technology transfer and capacity building.
  • Translates in 6% GHG emissions below 2015 by 2030 (excl. LULUCF).

Market mechanism

  • No use of international market mechanisms.20

Long-term target

  • None.

Sector coverage


Greenhouse gas coverage


Sectoral targets


  • 31% of total installed capacity by 2025 to come from renewable energy. 40% by 2035. i.e. 1178 MW of renewable energy by 2025. 2414 MW by 2035.6
  • 30% of solar penetration by 2039.4
    *Reduction in electricity consumption of 10% by 2025 and 15% by 2030.10
  • A reduction in the emissions intensity per GDP of the power sector:4
    • 45% below 2005 or 0.053 kgCO₂/RM by 2030
    • 65% below 2005 or 0.033 kgCO₂/RM by 2039

(For reference: 0.084 kgCO₂/RM in 2021)


  • Number of green manufacturers (with green energy, products, and processes).10
    • 10,200 by 2025.
    • 17,000 by 2030.


  • Increase the Protected Area Network to at least 20% by 2025.6


  • 40% modal share of public transport in urban areas by 2030.6
  • 40% modal share of public transport in cities by 2025.10
    • (Note: different targets in competing documents).
  • 85% energy efficient vehicles by 2020 and 100% by 2030.10,21


  • 16 common appliances to have minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) rating by 2025.10
  • All appliances to have MEPS rating by 2030.10
  • 1750 buildings to have certified green building design by 2030.10


  • 25% recycling rate by 2025.10
  • 28% recycling rate by 2030.10
  • Three waste-to-energy thermal plants by 2030.10
  • 100% wastewater sludge to be recycled by 2030.10
  • 33% treated wastewater effluent to be recycled by 2030.10