Feedback portal launched to help draft Singapore's climate change strategy

Chip in with ideas to make Singapore greener
Teams from the NTU and NUS tied for the top prize in the inaugural National Climate Change Competition. (From left) NTU teammates Tong Sian Choo, Tan Jia Yi and Candice Neo Jia Ying; and NUS teammates Siew Ying, Chua Xin Rong and Goh Jean Woon. -- PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
Jessica Cheam Straits Times 8 Sep 11;

HAVE an idea you are burning to share about how to make Singapore greener? Here's your chance.

The National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) has launched a nationwide feedback exercise which will be used to draft the country's first comprehensive climate change strategy.

Speaking at the launch of the new feedback portal yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said the National Climate Change Strategy 2012, as it is called, will set out detailed plans on how Singapore can reduce its carbon emissions and how it can prepare against effects such as sea level rises.

Carbon emissions are widely considered to be the cause of climate change, which affects long-term weather patterns and can result in extreme weather events.

Acknowledging that the concept of climate change may be too abstract for the average person, DPM Teo said the consultation also aimed to raise awareness.

'The purpose of this is to firstly create awareness... among people, and we want to seek ideas from people on how they can contribute to solving the climate change problem, and to motivate action,' he told reporters.

The new feedback portal at is the first of a series of initiatives led by the NCCS to gather ideas and feedback from citizens. The NCCS will conduct focus groups and community forums to reach out to the public in the next few months. The four areas it will focus on are households, transport, industries and clean technology opportunities.

The document, due to be released in the middle of next year, will build on the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint, a five-year plan launched in 2009 to help Singapore become greener and more energy efficient.

Industry observers such as Associate Professor Simon Tay, chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, welcomed the public consultation. 'There are times where the Government is looking for a variety of ideas, having set a macro target... It's a good example of consultative government, (where) different sectors of society can contribute ideas,' he said.

Ms Olivia Choong, founder of the Singapore chapter of Green Drinks, an environmental movement, said she was looking forward to giving her views.

'I think we need more incentives to drive greener transportation, such as taking buses or switching to electric vehicles,' she said.

DPM Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs, yesterday also gave prizes to winners of the inaugural National Climate Change Competition at a ceremony held at the Environment Building.

Two teams, from the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University, tied for the top prize, which is a trip to Durban, South Africa, at the end of the year to attend the United Nations climate change summit.

The NUS team won for their initiative to remove rubbish bins on the campus for a day to raise environmental awareness, and the NTU team won for their idea of a green mobile application that will help households monitor their energy usage.

The competition, which drew more than 140 entries, invited students and young people to contribute ideas on how they could address climate change.

Additional reporting by Feng Zengkun

Views sought on dealing with climate change
The National Climate Change Secretariat's feedback portal will be open till mid-October
Lynn Kan Business Times 8 Sep 11;

BUSINESSES and the public can now contribute to how Singapore should best deal with the ongoing problem of climate change.

The National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) has opened its website to input on the National Climate Change Strategy 2012 document. Until mid-October, the feedback portal will be open to Singaporeans to give their views on four topics: household, transport, business and clean technology.

The 2012 document, when officially launched next year, will detail how Singapore can reach its voluntary target of reducing carbon emissions by seven to 11 per cent below business-as-usual levels by 2020.

Moreover, it will highlight the impact of climate change on the island-state, and what policies Singapore must implement to mitigate and adapt to the changing climate.

Lastly, it will show how Singapore companies can seize commercial opportunities brought about by new environmental issues.

Energy-intensive companies may find it in their interest to give their views about a mooted Energy Conservation Act, which may take effect in 2013.

The ECA may make it mandatory for companies that produce more than 15 gigawatt hours of electricity to appoint an energy manager, submit energy data and provide energy efficiency improvement plans.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who opened the NCCS portal yesterday, said: 'The NCCS-2012 is the important foundation to our long term strategies and actions needed to tackle climate change beyond 2020. We will need to do so in a manner that addresses our international competitiveness and cost of living considerations.'

Smaller focus group discussions about the 2012 document will start in late September. Community and grassroots members will also be engaged by the government from late September till January 2012.

Those who wish to contribute proposals or ideas can log on to from now till mid-October to gain access to the online consultation channel.

Government seeks views on climate change issues
S Ramesh Channel NewsAsia 7 Sep 11;

SINGAPORE: The government is embarking on a series of public consultations to get feedback on climate change related issues.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who kicked off the process on Wednesday, said the results of the feedback will go towards developing the national climate change strategy 2012.

This document is targeted for release by the middle of next year and will elaborate on Singapore's sustainable development strategy, and how the country intends to meet the target to reduce emissions by seven to 11 per cent, below the business-as-usual level in 2020.

Mr Teo said the 2012 document will be an important foundation to the long term strategy and actions needed to tackle climate change beyond 2020.

He said: "Sea levels are expected to rise by 0.59 metres by the end of the century. The studies are ongoing to see whether better predictions can be made. These have implications on us and if we take action today on our reclamation levels, this will enable us to prepare for the future.

Mr Teo said the government is studying Singapore's vulnerabilities so as to put in place appropriate measures in key areas such as coastal protection, drainage and urban infrastructure to enhance Singapore's resilience to the long-term physical impacts.

He added: "The Government will continue to do its part on climate change but the Government's efforts alone in this endeavour will not be sufficient. Every individual's actions matter. Singapore's plans to reduce emissions and to prepare ourselves for the impacts of climate change can only be met by concerted and sustained efforts from everyone."

Several ideas have already been received from younger Singaporeans who bagged prizes for the National Climate Change Competition.

For instance, one of the student groups at the National University of Singapore has put up a campaign to generate greater awareness of climate change on campus while other student groups have also come up with creative ways to raise awareness and encourage their peers to take action.

The climate change consultation exercise will focus on four key areas - households, the transport sector, business industry and evolving clean tech opportunities in Singapore.

Singapore Institute of International Affairs' chairman, Professor Simon Tay, said the consultation exercise is timely as Singaporeans have been waiting since the elections to see if the government will consult the people on various issues.

He said: "Especially at this time after the elections, people want to see that the government is listening to the people. Whether it is a big political issue or a big climate change issue, it is good to consult people. If active citizens are there, we want to see what ideas they have."

Views can be channelled either through the Secretariat's website or the government's feedback portal REACH.

There will also be discussions with industry and the grassroots organisations so that those who are not so web savvy can attend them to share their views on climate change.

Mr Teo said: "Climate change is a global issue which affects us all. Addressing it requires a national approach - one where everyone can play a part. We will need innovative ideas to modify the way we live, work and play in order to reduce our energy emissions. Indeed, what matters most are the actions and contributions of every individual and business, because each of us can make a difference to our future and our future generations."

Mr Teo, who will also be attending the climate change conference in Durban, South Africa later this year, hopes that there will be more concerted action to address the problem by the international community.

He said: "We hope there will be some move towards more concerted action by all countries to address this problem. But as it stands, the chances of a global agreement bringing all countries together seems a little bit difficult to achieve in Durban but we will do our part to achieve such a global agreement."

- CNA/fa

Government seeks views on climate change issues
Esther Ng Today Online 8 Sep 11;

SINGAPORE - With just nine more years to the target of reducing Singapore's carbon emissions by 7 to 11 per cent below business-as-usual (BAU) levels in 2020, and climate change remaining a threat, the Government will be consulting the public on achieving this goal, which was set two years ago under the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint (SSB).

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean yesterday launched a website seeking suggestions in four key areas, including clean-tech opportunities, greener transport and how businesses and households can be more energy-efficient.

"The results of your feedback will contribute towards the refinement and development of the National Climate Change Strategy 2012 (NCCS 2012) ... and put forth our national strategy to address climate change," he said.

Targeted for release in the middle of next year, NCCS 2012 will bring together previous climate change measures - the Singapore Green Plan, the 2008 iteration of the NCCS and the SSB - as one initiative, while leveraging on past efforts.

Additionally, the document will address adaption measures to rising sea levels and temperature, such as coastal protection and better drainage.

"If we take action today, say, on our reclamation levels, it will enable us to prepare for the future," said Mr Teo, who took over from Senior Minister S Jayakumar as the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change chairman in May.

Also to be examined are potential business and R&D opportunities that Singapore could exploit from climate change, "much in the same way as we have done in the water industry", Mr Teo added.

These measures should put Singapore on track to achieving its 2020 target, he said.

Energy efficiency and green building consultant Lal Jayamaha is cautiously optimistic that the target can be reached. Over the last two years, his client base has increased "two-fold", mainly from pharmaceutical, chemical companies and especially local building owners.

"There's a lot more awareness in making buildings green and many want to get the Green Mark award," said Dr Jayamaha.

Phoenix Solar managing director Christophe Inglin agreed, noting the demand for solar panels has "doubled" in the last two years, with much of the growth driven by the Green Mark scheme - which is aimed at encouraging the building of environment-friendly buildings.

Since 2008, new buildings and existing ones that undergo major retrofitting have also been required to meet standards equivalent to the Green Mark Certified Level.

"I've not come across a Singapore minister announcing a target that we cannot meet," said Mr Inglin of the 2020 target.

If legally-binding global agreement on reducing carbon emissions is reached, Singapore's target will become 16 per cent below 2020 BAU levels.

Mr Teo, who heads to Durban, South Africa, in November for the Convention on Climate Change, fancies the "chances" of a global agreement "a little bit difficult" to achieve but said Singapore will do its part.

Give your feedback at the National Climate Change Secretariat website