This year’s General Election (GE) showed an encouraging start on the climate crisis issue, but there is still a need for political parties to articulate more comprehensive plans on the issue, said young climate activist, Tim Min Jie, in the Ethos Books’ gathering of civil society.
She was among the panellists in the Ethos Books’ gathering of civil society that aimed to bring together activists from different areas. The gathering, which titled The Ground Speaks: Civil Society After GE2020, was live-streamed on Facebook on 26 July.
Ms Tim, who is an undergraduate at Yale-NUS College, noted that this year’s GE was the first election where the climate crisis was being mentioned in most of the political parties’ manifestos.
She added that the People’s Action Party (PAP), Workers’ Party (WP), Singapore People’s Party (SPP), Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), Reform Party (RP) and Red Dot United (RDU) had dedicated a section in their GE manifestos to address the climate crisis issue.
“I think this really shows that the climate crisis is recognized as an issue that requires political’s will to effectively tackle and it cannot be solved simply by individuals’ action like recycling or turning off your light bulb,” said Ms Tim.
“In terms of the policy, I think over the past few years we definitely see an increase in environmental-related parliamentary questions being asked,” she continued.
Previously in February, the Government announced its pledge to halve the amount of emissions by 2050 after they peak in 2030. Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean said that Singapore will commit to an absolute peak emission level of 65 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent around 2030.
This also indicates a shift to a target with an absolute cap, from a target to reduce emissions intensity which measures carbon emissions per Gross Domestic Product (GDP) dollar.
Referring to that, Ms Tim said, “This indicator means that even if emissions intensity were to decrease, absolute emissions continue to rise as long as our GDP keeps increasing which doesn’t make sense from a climate point of view. And so this change indicator is something that the movement had been explicitly calling for.”
Moving forward, the 21-year-old activist opined that the political parties need to “articulate more comprehensive plans” on the climate crisis in the future GE.
“I think even though this GE was quite an encouraging start, we are definitely still looking for parties to articulate more comprehensive plans on the climate crisis,” she noted.
Some of the key areas that Ms Tim highlighted were the position on the fossil fuel industry – which she claimed is one of the largest polluters in Singapore – a concrete plan for decarbonization and a transition plan with specific measures to protect the livelihoods of those who might be affected by the transition.
Additionally, she believes the movement and the political parties also need to determine how to make environmentalism “a much more intersectional issue”.
“And what I mean by intersectional environmentalism is an inclusive version of environmentalism that advocates for both the protection of the people and the planet,” she stated.