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Workers’ Party supports concerns on climate change, outlines contributions in Parliament

On Tuesday (29 October), the Workers’ Party (WP) expressed its support towards concerns raised on climate change and environmental issues, outlining the party’s contributions in Parliament in a statement shared on their Facebook page.

Referring to Singapore’s first climate rally that happened last month at Hong Lim Park, Members of Parliament (MPs) from the party said that they “note and agree with the many concerns” at the rally “about the Climate Emergency facing our planet”.

“The Workers’ Party has spoken up about excessive carbon emissions and the grave danger this poses to humanity in our speeches in Parliament, including on the Resource Sustainability Bill, Carbon Pricing Bill and Energy Conservation Act, to name a few,” the party said in its statement.

Additionally, the party stated that its MPs and NCMPs have also highlighted concerns about “climate change mitigation and adaptation”.

One of the proposed suggestions that was mentioned was to look at climate change “holistically”, the statement read.

“Among the suggestions put forward was one to look at climate change holistically and going beyond the emissions intensity indicator that forms Singapore’s first Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) under the Paris Agreement to reduce our Emission Intensity by 36% from 2005 levels by 2030, and to stabilise our emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030,” it said.

In addition, other issues that were raised by the party in Parliament include questioning and calling for action over enhancing “drainage capacity and technologies to withstand possible higher levels of rainfall in future”, “urban planning measures to reduce the impact of the Urban Heat Island effect” as well as maintain terrestrial, freshwater and marine biodiversity in order to make nature reserve and marine parks become sustainable ecotourism and research.

The party also mentioned that other topics that its MPs have brought up in Parliament include strengthening local farming sector to safeguard unpredictable overseas weather pattern affecting imported food supply, the adoption of research and development to fight against vector-borne diseases and sharing of detailed data-driven climate change research by the Government, said the statement.

“We have also asked the Government if they would consider setting a goal for the share of renewables’ contribution to total energy production in the longer-term and to publish data on the emissions trend of large emitters, for greater transparency and to allow the public to benchmark the carbon intensity of our economic activities against global norms,” WP said.

It added, “Increasing the share of renewables will give greater meaning to existing efforts, such as the drive to increase share of electric vehicles on the roads.”

To emphasise this, WP’s chief Pritam Singh even called for “stronger measures to promote electric vehicles and for government to specify a date in the long-term future for banning all fossil-fuel vehicles”.

If that’s not all, the party stated that decarbonisation of the Republic’s economy will require efforts to increase the country’s share of renewable energy, while improving energy efficiency across industry and households.

“However, we should also remain cautious that legal requirements can result in unintended consequences such as a larger compliance burden on companies and government administration,” it said.

The party added that environmental resilience is another big concern for the country. As such, Mr Singh had talked about planning infrastructure for climate change and rising sea levels in his Budget speech in 2019.

“Singapore could also face potential disruptions to our food supply due to climate change and natural resource risks. WP NCMPs have raised concerns about mitigating rising food prices that fuel increases in cost of living and the need to address household food insecurity in Singapore,” it noted.

The party also said it recognises the importance of soft-engineering solution like rehabilitation of coastal environments, and the ecosystem services provided by Singapore’s coral reefs, mangroves, and mudflats.

“To this end, in 2018, the WP questioned the government on its plans for soft-engineering and on protecting these ecosystems which are themselves vulnerable to impacts of climate change such as sea level rise and ocean acidification, and to other human stressors such as land reclamation.”

WP also suggested compulsory Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) to be conducted for all development projects affecting green areas, to accompany the land use masterplan and to be made permanently accessible to the public, it added.

Apart from that, the party had also suggested mandatory environmental impact assessments be done for all development projects affecting green areas to accompany the land use masterplan and to be made permanently accessible to the public, it added.

“We have also called for urban planning to consciously take into account the importance of preserving green spaces, so as to mitigate the urban heat island effect, among other reasons.”

The party welcomes dialogue with the people of Singapore on the issue.

“The Workers’ Party actively welcomes dialogue with all Singaporeans with a view to leaving a sustainable Singapore for future generations of Singaporeans,” it said.