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Singapore reveals its latest plan to fight climate change

Singapore President, Tony Tan Keng Yam has revealed two documents at the opening ceremony of the World Cities Summit, the Singapore International Water Week and the CleanEnviro Summit Singapore to tackle effects of warmer weather due to the climate change on Sunday (July 10).

The two documents are entitled “Take Action Today : For a carbon-efficient Singapore” and “A Climate-resilient Singapore : For a sustainable future“.

Both documents include strategies to reduce greenhouse emissions and preparing for the impact of climate change are two areas that Singapore wants to address.

As part of the historic global agreement and to fulfill its own pledge made at December’s Paris agreement, Singapore has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 36 per cent compared to 2005 levels by 2030. It is also working to stabilise its emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030.

“The Climate Action Plan outlines bold steps that Singapore is taking to achieve our 2030 carbon mitigation plan, as well as to strengthen our resilience to climate change,” said Dr Tan. “We will reduce emissions from power generation, by raising solar power in our system to 350 Mega Watt peak by 2020, an 18 times increase as compared to 2014. This would constitute about 5% of Singapore’s expected peak electricity demand.”

“Singapore’s Climate Action Plan will fit within the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint, the country’s broader sustainable development framework to guide our sustainability efforts until 2030.”

“The Blueprint outlines our national vision, and plans for our home, environment and future through 5 key thrusts of building ‘eco-smart’ towns, going ‘car-lite’, working towards a zero-waste nation, pushing for a leading green economy and encouraging civic participation for an active and gracious community,” he added.

Deputy Prime Minister Theo Chee Hean, who is also the chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change, said, “Energy efficiency is one of the key strategies because we are an alternative-energy-disadvantaged country because we do not have hydroelectricity (or) nuclear power. Even if it (nuclear power) is an option, it is a very long-term option because of our density.”

These documents were produced by National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS).

One key strategy mentioned in the first document is that Singapore wants to develop is to improve energy and carbon efficiency. In Singapore, industries made up 40 per cent of total primary emissions. Improving the energy efficiency rates by 1 to 2 per cent per year for the period 2020 to 2030 is one of the aim.

The document also cover various actions, such as reducing carbon emissions, improving building sectors, piloting water treatment technologies that use less energy, and encouraging the uptake of public transport.

The second document touches on strategies to tackle possible heat waves that may attack this country in years to come. Temperatures are projected to be risen by 1.4 to 4.6 degree Celcius by the end of the century.

Singapore will develop heat stress system to put people in better awareness of the heat so they can prepare themselves and plan their outdoor activity better. Heat stress can lead to mild heat rashes, heat cramps or more serious cases of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

The water level are also projected to be rise up around 0.25 to  0.76 meter by the end of the century compared to what they were between 1980 to 1999. Singapore’s future Tuas Terminal, which will consolidate Singapore’s port operations, will be built 2 meters higher than the past recorded water level.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force, National Parks and the Meteorological Services Singapore are developing fire probability index so they can anticipate the risk of fire and to help prioritize emergency responses.

They also manage to deal with the disposal and removal of dried leaves and dead woods in selected areas. Bush fires need to be handled in a proper way or else they can cause the loss of energy and biodiversity, damage property, and endanger people.

Local weather patterns such as temperature, humidity and rainfall, and their implications for rife risks are being studied closely. The agencies are learning from the experiences and risk indexes used in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. Although the difference between the weather and land use profiles may require the agencies to customize the index to the local context.

The prototype against different weather conditions will be tested from late this year and next year.

The two climate action plan documents are available online on the NCCS website. Copies will also be distributed to public libraries, and subsequently to secondary schools and higher institutions.