Govt launches ‘bold’ plan to tackle climate change

SIAU MING EN Today Online 11 Jul 16;

SINGAPORE — With climate change projections pointing to more warm days in Singapore, the authorities are developing a set of guidelines to manage heat stress and prevent heat-induced illnesses.

A fire probability index will also be created to identify the risk of bush fires, which could occur more frequently with prolonged hot and dry weather, in different weather conditions and regions here.

These are among various strategies the Government is adopting to prepare Singapore for climate change.

And they were in the Climate Action Plan launched yesterday by President Tony Tan at the joint opening ceremony of the World Cities Summit, Singapore International Water Week and CleanEnviro Summit Singapore.

Dr Tan said: “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.”

The plan fits within the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint, a broader development framework to guide Singapore’s sustainability efforts until 2030, he added.

The plan is split into two publications, one on how Singapore will take steps to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 2030 and the other on the Government’s strategies to adapt to the impact of climate change until 2100.

Based on climate change projections, Singapore will face rising sea levels, higher temperatures, more pronounced dry seasons and more intense rainfalls.

National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) senior director Tang Tuck Weng said the publications were timely and would update the public on how Singapore intends to fulfil its pledge made at December’s Paris agreement.

To prepare Singaporeans for hotter weather, the National Environment Agency and the Ministry of Health are developing a heat stress information system, expected to be ready by year end, to help members of the public plan and manage outdoor activities.

Heat stress can lead to mild heat rashes, heat cramps or more serious cases of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. To manage this, the publication listed measures such as sponging with cold water and wearing loose-fitting, heat-permeable and light-coloured clothing.

Likewise, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), the National Parks Board and the Meteorological Service Singapore are now developing the fire probability index, which will trigger and help prioritise emergency responses.

It will also improve the removal and disposal of dried leaves and dead wood in selected areas. Bush fires, when not dealt with promptly, can spread and cause the loss of greenery and biodiversity, damage property and endanger people.

A study is being done to analyse local weather patterns such as temperature, humidity and rainfall, and their implications for fire risks. The agencies are also learning from the experiences and risk indices used in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.

However, differences in weather and land use profiles, among others, mean that the indices might not be directly applicable to Singapore, and the index would need to be customised to the local context.

A prototype will be tested against different weather conditions from late this year and next year. In addition, the SCDF will step up patrols at fire hot spot areas to detect fire risks.

Other climate change strategies include strengthening the resilience of critical infrastructure, such as power stations, telecommunication and transport infrastructure, against localised flooding and temperature changes.

For example, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore has plans to construct the new Terminal 5 at Changi Airport 5.5 metres above the mean sea level, which is higher than the flood protection level stipulated for other areas in Singapore.

Given that climate science and projections will continue to evolve, the NCCS said the Government will continue to review the adaptation plans to ensure optimal solutions are in place.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is the chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change, said he hopes more will understand Singapore’s comprehensive strategy to address climate change and, more importantly, how they can play a part.

“Our goal of building a more carbon-efficient and climate-resilient Singapore can only be achieved when the community and businesses work together with the Government in making climate-friendly habits and practices a way of life,” he said.

Documents detailing Singapore's climate action plan launched by President Tony Tan
Monica Kotwani and Liyana Othman Channel NewsAsia 10 Jul 16;

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.”

- CNA/mo/jo



Singapore unveils latest plans for addressing climate change
National Climate Change Secretariat press release 10 Jul 16;

President Tony Tan Keng Yam has announced the release of Singapore’s Climate Action Plan at the joint opening ceremony of the World Cities Summit, Singapore International Water Week and CleanEnviro Summit Singapore this evening.

Take Action Today: For A Carbon-efficient Singapore

The Climate Action Plan is explained in two documents. The first document entitled “Take Action Today: For A Carbon-efficient Singapore” spells out the key strategies that Singapore would be taking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to fulfill the pledge it made in support of the Paris Agreement. Singapore has set a goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 36% compared to 2005 levels by 2030. Singapore is also working towards stabilising its emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030. These are ambitious targets, given Singapore’s limited options for renewable energy.

Improving energy efficiency will continue to be Singapore’s key strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and plans have been made to expand the scope of current initiatives across all sectors, namely the power generation, industry, buildings, transport, household, waste and water sectors.

On industrial energy efficiency, a study commissioned by the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) projected that 20% energy savings could be achieved by 2030 compared to business-as-usual levels. Significant opportunities were identified in the petroleum, petrochemical, and semiconductor sub-sectors.

Besides improving energy efficiency, Singapore will also invest in cutting edge low carbon technologies and scale up low carbon solutions for deployment in Singapore. For instance, our national water agency PUB is testing new technologies, such as electrochemical desalting, with the aim of halving the energy used in the seawater desalination process. The National Environment Agency (NEA) is developing new Waste-to-Energy plants that optimise resource and energy recovery. The Building and Construction Authority (BCA), Energy Market Authority (EMA), Housing and Development Board (HDB), Economic Development Board (EDB), NEA and PUB have also developed various programmes to increase solar energy adoption in Singapore. Our plan is to raise the adoption of solar energy to 350 MWp by 2020, compared to 60 MWp today.

A Climate-resilient Singapore: For A Sustainable Future

Singapore is a low-lying, densely populated tropical island state. We are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change such as sea-level rise, higher temperatures and more pronounced dry seasons, as well as more intense rainfall. Some of these may cause daily inconveniences, whilst others could be more severe. The second document entitled “A Climate-resilient Singapore: For A Sustainable Future” explains how Singapore may be affected by climate change and the Whole-of-Government strategy to prepare for them.

The government has already started to strengthen Singapore’s defence against climate change. At the same time, given that climate science and projections continue to evolve, the government will continue to review our adaptation plans to ensure that we put in place optimal solutions to protect Singapore and Singaporeans. Some of the key initiatives are listed below:

To reduce the impact of sea level rise, seawalls and rock slopes have been built near coastal areas. Selected roads, such as a stretch of Changi Coast Road and Nicoll Drive, have been raised to mitigate coastal erosion and seawater inundation. BCA is also in the process of conducting a detailed Coastal Adaptation Study to enable us to better protect our coastal areas in the long term.

To mitigate the possibility of flooding due to intense rainfall, PUB has adopted a comprehensive, system-wide approach (known as the “Source-Pathway-Receptor” approach). Measures include the widening and deepening of drains, on-site detention tanks as well as the raising of platform levels and flood barriers.

To prepare Singaporeans for hotter weather, NEA and Ministry of Health (MOH) are developing a heat stress information system to help the public to better plan and manage outdoor activities. NEA already has in place a nation-wide programme to fight dengue, which may become more prevalent.

To strengthen our food supply resilience as climate change could cause crop failure and supply disruptions, Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) pursues a diversification strategy and aims to minimise potential food supply disruptions by importing food from different regions.

To better understand the impact of higher temperatures and strong winds on buildings and building attachments, BCA and the HDB are conducting studies that will recommend appropriate adaptation measures.

To strengthen the resilience of our critical infrastructure such as power stations, telecommunication and transport infrastructure against localised flooding and temperature changes, EMA, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), Land Transport Authority (LTA), Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) are also in the midst of reviews.

Call to Action: Individuals, Community and Businesses

“With the release of the Climate Action Plan, we hope that more people will understand Singapore’s comprehensive strategy to address climate change, and more importantly how they can play a part. Our goal of building a more carbon-efficient and climate-resilient Singapore can only be achieved when the community and businesses work together with the government in making climate-friendly habits and practices a way of life,” said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change.

Jointly Issued by: National Climate Change Secretariat, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, and Ministry of National Development

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