Climate Change is a global phenomenon and all states small and big will face the brunt of it if no action is taken. Singapore, though a small island state, has a role to play. Beyond our own survival, Singapore has the moral duty to take action and to influence others into taking action that will not only benefit ourselves but also the many other small island states like ours.
Singapore has crossed many milestones. We are a nation that has developed and achieved first-world living standards, even with the presence of very scarce natural resources. We have taken concrete steps towards overcoming our water and land scarcity – a miracle Singapore prides itself on. But with climate change, this scarcity may convert into absence.
Climate change puts Singapore at the risk of rising sea levels and increasing temperatures. This not only puts Singapore’s domestic environment at risk but also Singapore’s competitiveness. Climate change, being a global phenomenon, will undoubtedly lead to changes in trade routes and migration patterns. There would also be a race over resources, as well as increased risks to political and social security.
Further, as reflected in the Asian Development Bank (ADB) report, climate change is perhaps one of the challenges confronting South East Asian development. From an economic perspective, it is projected to face a loss of 7-8 per cent in GDP if climate change is not addressed. Basically, our daily life as we know it will change.
Being economically focussed, to maintain our competitiveness, the Singapore Government has taken some industrial measures towards climate change. This has included promoting energy efficiency among industries and a move towards sustainable energy promotion. The Government has also promoted focus in green technology research. However, there is much room for more to be done.
We want Singapore Government to address the climate change issue with greater fervor. Beyond economics, we believe that Singapore ought to have a stronger political stance towards measures in combating against climate change.
These are the areas we hope to see greater Government efforts:
- Further reduction of carbon emission growth beyond the 16% reduction from 2020 base year the Government has proposed and to peak our carbon emissions before 2020.
- To act on the above regardless the outcome of COP15 (i.e. action must be taken even in absence of a legally binding global deal).
- Introduce a regulatory framework – to promote minimum standards in emission reductions and increased efficiency, especially in key industrial sectors. Monitoring should be frequent and persistent, to ensure strict adherence.
- Funding assistance for green technology adaptation, for all key sectors of the economy.
- Regional support, especially for less-developed nations, in the form of technology transfer, training, collaboration in research, implementation of know-hows, etc.
- Mediate global discussions to ensure needs of small-island states are not drowned out by the bigger players, and follow-through to ensure such needs are clearly represented in the final text of the climate convention agreement.
- To catalyse the creation of a common voice among South East Asian states, so as to strengthen focus on our interests as a region during negotiations.
- Greater focus on technology research in the area of environment sustainability to adapt Singapore better against climate change.
- Raising awareness among the people, private and public sectors on the impacts and opportunities arising from climate change and to guide them in adopting greener standards.
While it has been argued that Singapore has low absolute emissions rate, our per capita emission is among the highest in the world. Though it is true that impacts of our reduction may not have much value on a global scale, we can lead the way by being an example of an economy and society that works on the values of sustainability.
We urge the Government of Singapore to step up to the immense challenge of climate change. We want Singapore to lead our nation to join the rest of the world in the fight against Climate Change.
Please… lead, so we may follow.
This article was originally published at http://unfcccecosingapore.wordpress.com/