Environmental Activist Renard Siew On The Urgency Of Climate Action
Renard Siew, climate reality advisor at the Centre for Governance and Political Studies in Malaysia, on the devastating impacts of climate change—and how we need to act now to reverse course
Renard Siew is an outspoken advocate in the war against climate change. His drive comes from witnessing the impact of some of the worst floods to ever hit his hometown, the city Kuantan, on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
“It is often the marginalised communities that have to bear the consequences of natural disasters and climate change,” says Siew.
He also credits his environmentally conscious grandparents for setting him on the path to be the climate activist he is today. Growing up, he'd see his grandparents grow and harvest their own fruit in the garden, and watch documentaries on the National Geographic channel with his grandmother. "It was such moments that exposed me to the concept of sustainability," says Siew, who is now the climate reality advisor at the Centre for Governance and Political Studies in Kuala Lumpur. He is also co-founder of the Accelerating Climate Action initiative, which seeks to raise US$1 billion for climate entrepreneurs in Asia.
Given the position he holds today, and where he came from, Siew can't help but emphasise the human impact on the climate crisis. In December 2020, the Malaysian government estimated that the country's total greenhouse gas emissions sit at around 316 million tonnes. The biggest contributor to this number is the transportation industry—79.4 percent—followed by the manufacturing and waste industries.
Siew is confident that this can change. "Clearly, the transportation sector needs to transform," he says. "I genuinely believe that the solution lies in electric vehicles, which will reduce tailpipe emissions." This is why electric vehicles such as the Volvo S90 Recharge could be a game-changer, offering fun with quick acceleration, and function with fast charging times, all while promising a lower carbon footprint.
To Siew, sustainability is a matter of survival. He says, "There is hope, as long as everyone acts in their own capacity to correct the course of climate change."
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