S’pore must take early action against climate change, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

S’pore must take early action against climate change

This article is more than 12 months old

As a small, low-lying island state, Singapore will continue to take preventive action against the impact of climate change, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean said yesterday.

Mr Teo drew attention in particular to the Republic's efforts in going low-carbon and managing rising sea levels in a speech at the sixth Asian edition of the Shell Powering Progress Together Forum.

Singapore raised the minimum level for newly reclaimed land by 1m in 2011, a move that preceded the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's most recent report in 2014 by three years.

The report projected that global sea levels - relative to Singapore's sea levels from 1986 to 2005 - will rise 1m by 2100 if the world's current carbon emission trajectory remains unchanged.

But sea waters could potentially rise even further, Mr Teo noted, as the report did not factor in the impact from the possible collapse of melting Antarctica ice shelves.

"We are currently studying what further measures we need to take, such as reclamation, sea walls or pumping stations, to better protect our coastal areas," said Mr Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security.

"By planning early, we can phase in the necessary measures so that the cost can be spread out over many years."

The focus of this year's forum was on sustainable energy use in future cities. At the forum, Shell launched its first global City Solutions Living Lab, to be located here.

A multi-disciplinary team will develop technological solutions aimed at helping cities move people and goods with lower emissions and switch to cleaner energy options, while working together with city authorities.

The team currently has 10 members and is expected to grow further as it gets into gear.

Shell said it chose to base the lab in Singapore due to the city-state's active push for energy transition and sustainability, its pro-business environment and Shell's longstanding presence here going back to 1891.

The company also signed a partnership with the Energy Market Authority in May to set up an incubator programme to nurture promising local energy start-ups.

When asked about how big oil companies like Shell continue to be criticised for worsening climate change through the use of fossil fuels, Shell's City Solutions general manager Emily Tan said that given increasing global energy demand, it was important to strike a balance with renewable energy.

She said: "It is companies like Shell that can make a difference because we recognise the importance of transiting to renewable energy."