A silver lining of global warming is that it is forcing every nation to rethink its future, to open its mind to new possibilities. The latest IPCC report gives the world only 12 years to radically cut greenhouse gas emissions or condemn future generations to climate change catastrophe. There is no choice but to act.

For developed and developing countries alike, this shatters old certainties of foreign policy and national development trajectories based on the exploitation and use of fossil fuels. The human death toll and ecosystem and infrastructure collapses worldwide blow away the argument from the fossil fuel industry that it costs too much to change. Inaction is costing us far more.

As a planetary community, we are in a new era, with all the hopes, risks, opportunities, and insecurities that letting go the past brings. As the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)’s latest report, A New World, states: “[J]ust as fossil fuels have shaped the geopolitical map over the last two centuries, the energy transformation will alter the global distribution of power, relations between states, the risk of conflict, and the social, economic and environmental drivers of geopolitical instability.”

Malaysia sits at a unique crossroads. Last year’s election was a wake-up call for the powers that be, with more than 60 years of entrenched power coming to an unexpected and abrupt end. While much of our region, Australia included, slips further into the pockets of fossil fuel interests, Malaysia has the opportunity to position itself as Southeast Asia’s clean energy and renewable industries leader.

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