Climate Correspondent, Southeast Asia
Thomson Reuters Foundation
Michael is a Climate Correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Malaysia. Originally from Yorkshire, Michael has about 20 years of journalism experience reporting from various countries across Asia on climate change and human rights, from deforestation to natural disasters and food security.
May 16, 2023
As electric vehicle (EV) production and sales pick up pace in much of the world - with climate-conscious drivers looking to go green - the mining of a key metal is threatening communities and nature in Indonesia and the Philippines, a report has warned.
Most of the EV uptake to date has been in the United States, Europe and China, but as more governments strive to meet their global climate pledges and switch to renewable energy, financial incentives are being ramped up to help manufacturers and drivers make the switch, especially in untapped Southeast Asia.
May 12, 2023
Asep Rohimat beamed with excitement as he sprinkled a bucket of dried coffee-bean skins over a vegetable patch and a row of coffee trees thriving on his small farm high up in the forest-rich hills of Indonesia's West Java province.
The 30-year-old farmer from Ibun village, about 200km (124 miles) from the capital Jakarta, is part of an initiative that helps communities conserve forests and restore degraded land.
May 01, 2023
Cynthia Ong heads up Forever Sabah, a nonprofit that works to advance conservation, climate resilience and land rights on Malaysia's lush rainforest island of Borneo.
The 58-year-old grew up in the 1960s in rural nature-rich Sabah, where she enjoyed playing on the beach, in trees and streams, and catching fish. Building on a childhood spent outdoors, Ong has amassed three decades of experience working in entrepreneurship, environmental justice and community activism.
April 28, 2023
Malaysia is in talks with richer nations, hoping to follow its neighbours Indonesia and Vietnam in striking a finance deal to transition away from polluting coal power towards more renewable energy, the country's climate change minister said.
Malaysia, which relies on coal and natural gas for 75% of its power needs, is trailing its Southeast Asian neighbours on clean energy expansion - and climate experts say the new government should tap more global green funding to cut carbon emissions, tackle the effects of warming and protect nature.
April 11, 2023
Malaysian palm oil farmer Reta Lajah is one of only a few in her village to be certified green and ethical, after a year-long journey to join a global scheme that she hopes will help her navigate a new European Union law to curb deforestation.
Yet, while Reta's farm in Sungai Judah village on Carey Island, about 60 km (37 miles) from Kuala Lumpur, will protect wildlife and forests, aim to resolve any land disputes and use green growing methods, there is no guarantee she will be able to sell to Europe's premium-paying buyers in the future.
March 31, 2023
With the world's largest reserves of nickel, used extensively in making batteries, Indonesia is aiming to become an electric vehicle powerhouse, not least by courting Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
But to attract the investment needed to become an electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing hub, experts say Indonesia must avoid repeating environmental mistakes from the past, when decades of unregulated mining turned parts of its main tin-producing islands into a lunar landscape.
March 20, 2023
More intense heatwaves and heavier rainfall are among the extreme weather that will increase the risks to human health and natural ecosystems unless action to slash emissions is stepped up by 2030, scientists said in a key climate report on Monday.
Keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels - a goal of the 2015 Paris Accord - will require deep, rapid and sustained greenhouse gas emissions reductions, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in a report approved by 195 governments.
February 23, 2023
For self-confessed tech geek and adrenaline junkie Farhan Abdul Rahim, becoming one of the first Malaysians to own an electric car in 2020 was a no-brainer - but he didn't simply stop there.
Last June, Farhan embarked on a three-day journey around the Malay peninsula in his Tesla - covering about 1,700km (1,050 miles) - seeking to prove that electric vehicles (EVs) can operate beyond cities and in rural parts of the Southeast Asian nation.
February 15, 2023
With many developing nations facing a triple whammy of rising debt loads, climate change and nature loss, conservationists say the answer could lie with a financial instrument enabling them to tackle all three at once: "debt-for-environment swaps".
The world's poorest countries owe $62 billion in annual debt service, a year-on-year increase of 35%, the World Bank said in December, warning of a rising risk of defaults.
February 09, 2023
Transforming how countries produce and finance food in ways that protect both nature and poor farmers will be one of the biggest challenges of a landmark global deal to halt biodiversity loss agreed late last year, said U.N. officials who led the process.
At the COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal in December, about 195 countries adopted ambitious targets to halt and reverse harm to plants, animals and ecosystems, while respecting the rights of indigenous peoples.