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The Singapore parliament has acknowledged that climate change is a global emergency, in a move aimed at calling on the government, private sector and civil society to accelerate action on the issue. Among some of the proposals discussed by MPs include fast-tracking the decarbonisation of Singapore’s energy mix, which will add to the city-state’s existing commitments to build a more resilient and sustainable food supply chain and tackle waste.
After a debate on Monday (February 1), the Singapore parliament has approved a motion put forward to accelerate the country’s climate change response by declaring the issue a global emergency. The motion also recognised that the climate crisis is a “threat to mankind” that requires a concerted effort to “deepen and accelerate efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and to embrace sustainability in the development of Singapore”.
Dennis Tan MP of the Worker’s Party says that the move will “send a clear signal to Singaporeans and the world that our nation is committed to seriously addressing one of the most long-term threats we face in the 21st century,” as reported by the Straits Times.
Tan added that investments must now be made to adapt “before it is too late” and “foster public buy-in and support for these efforts”.
[This] send[s] a clear signal to Singaporeans and the world that our nation is committed to seriously addressing one of the most long-term threats we face in the 21st century.Dennis Tan MP
Among some of the measures that MPs debated during the session to further boost climate action in Singapore included drastic changes to green the country’s energy mix, which is currently still heavily reliant on fossil fuels. Louis Chua MP of the Worker’s Party, for instance, argued that solar energy is forecasted to make up just 3% of the city’s electricity supply under the existing targets.
“Are we genuinely pushing the boundaries, or simply setting benchmarks we can easily hit?” said the lawmaker.
Other policy suggestions include fast-tracking sustainable coronavirus recovery programmes, such as moving up the date of the government’s current proposal to phase out internal combustion engine vehicles by 2040, to 2030 or 2025.
While still under discussion, more ambitious climate action policies are likely to take place in Singapore following its declaration, which will again position the country as a leader within the region when it comes to the environment. Singapore famously launched a S$100 billion (US$72 billion) plan to adapt to a climate-stricken future last year, and put forward extra investment into sustainable food production in the wake of the pandemic, a move many credit for Singapore’s lead in food tech innovation.
In 2019, the city pronounced a “year of zero waste”, launching a master plan to slash its landfill waste by 30% by 2030 as part of its sustainability efforts.
Singapore’s latest climate commitment comes amid a slew of sustainability pledges that states have made across Asia and around the world in recent months, including China, South Korea and Hong Kong’s net-zero plans, as well as the Philippines’ moratorium on new coal projects, suggesting shifting priorities towards renewable energy.
Since President Biden took office, the U.S. has also swiftly taken to undo the Trump administration’s disastrous climate record, starting off by rejoining the Paris agreement in his first day in office and committing to hosting a climate summit within the first 100 days.
Lead image courtesy of Pexels.