Parliamentary reply by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, 14 April 2014
PARLIAMENTARY REPLY BY DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER TEO CHEE HEAN, 14 APRIL 2014
ENHANCING COMMITMENT TO CLIMATE CHANGE
Ms Faizah Jamal asked the Prime Minister what development plans and past strategies need to be reviewed as a “whole-of-Government” approach to ensure that the recommended solutions of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are heeded and our commitment strengthened in dealing with climate change.
Response from Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean for Prime Minister:
According to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), global warming could increase risks of flooding, food insecurity, insufficient access to drinking water, heat-related mortality, breakdown of infrastructure networks and services from extreme weather events, and loss of biodiversity. The report highlights the importance of countries taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while enhancing their resilience to climate change. It is an authoritative document based on the collective assessment of scientists worldwide.
I chair an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change (IMCCC) to oversee how Singapore can help arrive at a global agreement, how to build resilience in the face of climate change, and how we can bring down or mitigate our greenhouse gas emissions. These policies, plans and actions are reviewed regularly to take into account international developments and the latest information such as from the AR5.
Climate change can impact Singapore’s physical environment. The Centre for Climate Research Singapore (CCRS) was established in 2013 to build local expertise in climate science and help inform policy decisions. The CCRS is collaborating with the UK Met Office, Hadley Centre to undertake our 2nd National Climate Change Study, which will draw on AR5 and develop more detailed projections for Singapore – on climate parameters such as rainfall, temperature, and sea-level rise. These will in turn advance the understanding of local impacts of climate change and the necessary measures.
We have adopted measures to future-proof our assets. For example, in 2011 we raised the minimum reclamation levels for all new coastal lands by 1 metre to at least 2.25 metres above the highest recorded tide. We have developed our Four National Taps to ensure a robust and diversified water supply, and embarked on drainage improvement works to better manage flood risks. To address the challenges of food security, our key strategy is to diversify our food sources, supported by other measures such as reducing food wastage and boosting our industry production capacity and resilience.
Singapore contributes to global efforts in emission reductions. We have made an unconditional commitment to reduce emissions by 7-11 per cent below the business-as-usual (BAU) levels for 2020. When a legally binding global climate change agreement for all countries is reached, we will work towards a deeper 16 per cent reduction from the 2020 BAU.
As Singapore has limited access to renewable energy, our key strategy in reducing emissions is to improve energy efficiency. We have programmes and incentive schemes in the various sectors to promote energy efficiency. We introduced the Energy Conservation Act last year to require all large energy users in the industry and transport sectors to appoint energy managers, report energy use, and submit energy efficiency improvement plans.
Singapore supports multilateral negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) where countries are working towards a post-2020 global agreement. As part of this effort, we are studying how we can stabilise our long-term emissions.
Addressing the global challenge of climate change requires the participation of all countries. Singapore is committed to working closely with the global community to address this challenge together. Everyone has a part to play whether through lifestyle adjustments or changes to business processes. Every individual effort, such as using more energy efficient appliances and modes of transport, will count.