SINGAPORE: From improving the energy efficiency rates of the Republic's manufacturing industry, to a 'heat stress information system' that could inform the public on managing their outdoor activities in warmer weather - the Republic's plan to tackle the effects of climate change while meeting its obligations under the Paris climate change agreement has been set out in two documents, launched by President Tony Tan Keng Yam on Sunday (Jul 10).
Dr Tan launched it at the opening ceremony of the World Cities Summit, the Singapore International Water Week and the CleanEnviro Summit Singapore, held at Marina Bay Sands.
Called the Climate Action Plan, the documents address two areas: setting out strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and preparing for the impact of climate change. As part of the historic global 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."
CARBON CUTTING, CLIMATE CONDITIONING
The first document, entitled, "Take Action Today: For a carbon-efficient Singapore", sets out the ways in which Singapore can meet its targets, and one key strategy is to improve energy and carbon efficiency. In 2012, industries made up more than 40 per cent of Singapore's total primary emissions. To address this, the Climate Action Plan aims to improve the energy efficiency rates of the manufacturing sector by one to two per cent per year for the period of 2020 to 2030. The energy efficiency rate stood at about 0.7 per cent per year in 2014 and 2015.
Singapore has embarked on various other initiatives to reduce its carbon emissions, including improvements to the buildings sector, and implementing plans to encourage the uptake of public transport.
The second document, called "A Climate-resilient Singapore: For a Sustainable Future" sets out ways in which the island can prepare for the effects of climate change, which could include more intense rainfall and warmer days during the hot months. Sea levels around the island are expected to rise between 0.25m and 0.76m by the end of the century compared to what they were between 1980 and 1999.
The construction of new projects is taking this into account, including the development of the Tuas Terminal, developed over the next 30 years. The Terminal, which will consolidate Singapore's port operations, will be built more than two metres higher than the highest water level ever recorded.
In addition, the document also sets out plans to help the public adapt to warmer weather. The Health Ministry is working with the National Environment Agency to develop a heat stress information system so the public can better plan their outdoor activities, as temperatures are projected to rise by 1.4 to 4.6 degrees Celsius towards the end of the century. This will be ready by the end of the year.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force, NParks and the Meteorological Services Singapore are also in the process of developing a fire risk index, to identify the risk of bush fires under different weather conditions, and in the various parts of Singapore. The National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) said a prototype will be tested from late this year to 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.
Added Dr Tan: "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.”