Make climate change the basis for Penang Structure Plan review

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It seems that Penangites these days feel jittery every time it threatens to rain. Will there be floods and landslides this time, they wonder – as they did just yesterday.

People here are so worried that they are circulating regional weather forecasts, times for high tides and satellite images via their phone messaging apps.

The state government has conceded that no amount of flood mitigation work can deal with extreme weather such as “one month’s rain in one day”.

It looks as if “one month’s rain in one day” is now the ‘new normal’. This is climate change.

No one should be surprised. We had been warned. Those who think we will be spared from the impact of climate change are kidding themselves.

So be prepared for more intense and frequent rainfalls – like “three months’ rain in one day” or “five months’ rain in one month”.

Does that mean there is nothing we can do?

No. It means it is all the more crucial that we acknowledge and mitigate and adapt against climate change in all areas of our planning and development and act as if our lives depend on it.

It means we think a hundred times before we chop down any trees for road-widening. It means we think a hundred times before we strip our hillsides of vegetation or cut our hills. It means we stop pouring concrete and tar on our green spaces – if anything, we should be removing concrete and tar and creating more green spaces.

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It means we stop approving higher density development projects on sensitive hill slopes or if we don’t have the supporting infrastructure (like proper drainage) in place.

It means we protect our hills and make sure no development takes place on our hills above the threshold of 250 feet above sea level.

It means we shelve plans to build highways on hills such as the paired road and the RM8bn six-lane Pan Island Link. This would mean opting for more sustainable transport opetions, and drop the heavily flawed RM46bn transport infrastructure shopping list. We need to go back to the drawing board (the original Halcrow transport masterplan – before the consultants were asked to include the highways and the tunnel).

It means we have to think about food security instead of relying on agricultural imports from other countries, whose output may also be affected by climate change in the medium term.

It means we have to think about rising sea levels. Otherwise, while we are busy reclaiming land all over the place, rising sea levels could hit closer to home when we least expect.

Finally and most important, climate change has to be the considered in all aspects of the Penang Structure Plan (which is now being reviewed) – and the structure plans of all other states in Malaysia as well. They should not be ‘stand alone’ plans. If the National Physical Plan takes into account climate change, so should the structure plans – and they should then integrate into the local plans. Otherwise, all this would be a big FAIL.

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If we don’t factor in climate change into our structure plans and local plans, we are only kidding ourselves that all is well. Rest assured, the chickens will come home to roost again – we had a taste of that only recently and it wasn’t fun.

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16 Comments on "Make climate change the basis for Penang Structure Plan review"

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Hanafi Ali
Hanafi Ali

More green areas need to be developed. It seems that the current 10% reserve for green area in any development is not enough.

These green areas should also act as water detention ponds to hold the water for a specific time and control its release into the main drain therefore preventing flash floods.

Detention ponds alone may not be enough to combat the effects of climate change but it does help to reduce the amount of time it takes for a major flood to subside.

Shriek
Shriek

Pg lang good in taking videos but can’t see the sea level is very close to the level of the hotel. Can’t see how rivers can discharge the flood waters quickly when the tides are high? Instead the seawater will come into the mid and upper stream. Who is bigger? Pg rivers or the sea? The sea water will force it’s way inland.

Hanafi Ali
Hanafi Ali

Need more stormwater detention ponds to detain the water for some time before releasing it to the sea.

Wengleng Goay
The Geological composition of the soil structure for the hill lands in Penang are reminders that the loading capacity are very limited. The many landslides and brownish water from the hills during the rainny spell are testament to these. If you venture up the hills through the jungle trek, hugh granular boulders can be seen jutting in clusters all over, waiting to be released and roll downhill if periodic exposure to the elements are accelerated by man-made activities. Very often the Public are led to the false resemblence of the immense hill development in Hongkong. The foundation of the structures… Read more »
Shriek
Shriek

Writer suggest to include climate change in plan. How to include when there is no data?engr. and planners cannot simply taroh. In end if who pays for extra cost? PG. Forum? Or PG. Gomen can cut services to pay for the extra cost

Shriek
Shriek

Whether on rock or soil, what can Macao people do when typhoon no 10 or kartini struck N.Orleans. Climate change not restricted to penang.

Heng
Heng

Granular vs bed rocks distinction not clearly defined for safety aspects during feasibility study for hilly condo projects on island?
Engineer sleeping on job or busy cybertrooping?

tunglang
tunglang

In the frenzied pursuit of Cosmopolitan Penang, anything goes?
Remember the Pg Botanic Garden’s 2 arches approved by the Feds?
They were brought down b’cos one of them was leaning!
Not sure if any recalcitrant hill condo project will face the same stern measure of CAT.

Jerome
Jerome

How You Can Stop Global Warming

https://www.nrdc.org/stories/how-you-can-stop-global-warming

Healing the planet starts from you – in your kitchen, and at your dining-room table, your choice of transportation. The goal is simple. Carbon dioxide is the climate’s worst enemy. It’s released when oil, coal, and other fossil fuels are burned for energy—the energy we use to power our homes, cars, and smartphones. By using less of it, we can curb our own contribution to climate change while also saving money.

glissantia
glissantia
Consider these: 1. Reduce animal-based foods. 51% of all GHG comes from directly or indirectly livestock and meat – a 2009 study (for Worldwatch Institute (the study also claimed by World Bank). All the propaganda on such food being essential is a great lie. Not only is it destroying the world, it brings early, painful and severe illnesses. 2. Reduce all food waste. Buried (in landfills or plastic), it generates methane which is far worse than CO2. 3. Stop destroying and poisoning your immediate environment with obsessive cleaning out of conformity. This entails dangerous chemicals and wasted water, in the… Read more »
glissantia
glissantia

How can climate change be the basis of planning? Climate change itself began due to human change (development) to the environment.

More renewable energy = Less fossil fuel = Less recycled Petro-Dollars = Less money for Imperialism.
Less “development” = Less foreign debt = Less bloodsucking.

This is why, as the politicians appear to clash furiously with one another over trivial issues and artificial animosities (sensitive issues), they continue to evade climate change.

Shriek
Shriek

Highway not for cars only. Suburb express buses can also use highway. E.g. Batu muang to GT. Express with two or 3 stops along the way. If express bus can run at 50 to 70 mph , burn less fuel. If trunk road, everyone stop to turn at junctions all the way

Heng
Heng

BinChui factor could derail whatsoever wonderful plan you could think of for Penang Transport Plan, hence there should be a paradigm shift in mindset and Penang Forumers can lead by example, riding bicycles to meetings instead of driving fanciful cars.

Heng
Heng

Anil, you probably notice … big underground tunnel to divert water to prevent flooding in Sg 2 university vicinity?

Heng
Heng

Mindset change to counter climate change.

LESS private driving for less carbon emission causing global warming (weather havoc) MORE public transport or car pooling.

Penang Forum’s Dr Lim cycling pose can be the poster to promote more manual instead of fossil-burning mode of transport.

Shriek
Shriek

Now China is using electric buses. Go and tell Mca transport minister to update. Why rapid buses under bn gomen not improved? P. Forum only good in bully the opp. State gomen

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