The much-anticipated National Climate Change Strategy 2012 (NCCS-2012) document was launched today by DPM Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change (IMCCC).
The 140-page document outlines Singapore’s strategy and plans to address climate change and is published by the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) in collaboration with the IMCCC agencies, and after private sector and public consultations.
Key Points in NCCS-2012
The NCCS-2012 document first outlines the challenges and impacts of climate change in Chapter 1 – Climate Change and Why It Matters, and highlights the current efforts by the world and Singapore’s own efforts in sustainable development and the constraints we face in Chapter 2 – Sustainable Development: Singapore’s National Circumstances.
The subsequent chapters describe Singapore’s approach to addressing climate change in 4 key areas:
- Chapter 3 – Mitigation: Reducing Emissions
- Chapter 4 – Adapting to Climate Change: A More Resilient Singapore
- Chapter 5 – Opportunities for Green Growth
- Chapter 6 – Building Our Future Together: Local and International Partnerships on Climate Change
Mitigation: Reducing Emissions
This chapter describes Singapore’s policies and measures to reduce our emissions by 7% to 11% below 2020 BAU (Business-As-Usual) level. The BAU level refers to a projection without policy intervention.
Singapore has also pledged to reduce emissions by 16% below 2020 BAU level if there is a legally binding global agreement.
Singapore’s BAU emissions are expected to reach 77.2 million tonnes (MT) in 2020, projecting from 2005, and based on projected economic growth of 3% to 5% per annum. Figure 3.2 shows the emissions contribution from the key sectors.
Our core strategy to reduce carbon emissions is through energy efficiency, and the objective is to achieve a 35% reduction in energy intensity (amount of energy required to produce each S$GDP) by 2030, as set in the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint.
The various mitigation measures to reduce emissions in the key sectors include:
With the implementation of the above mitigation measures in the key sectors, Singapore’s commitment to reduce our emissions by 7% to 11% is expected to be met by 2020. Figure 3.3 shows the estimated reduction by the key sectors based on a 11% reduction (or 8.5 MT).
The power generation sector is expected to contribute the bulk of the emissions reductions (about 50%). The contributions are 11% to 13% each from the industry and transport sectors, 11% to 16% from the building sector, 10% to 16% from the households, and 2% to 3% from other sectors.
If a legally binding global agreement on climate change is reached, additional measures would have to be implemented to achieve the 16% reduction below BAU by 2020.
Adapting to Climate Change: A More Resilient Singapore
Singapore’s annual mean surface temperature has risen from 26.8°C in 1948 to 27.6°C in 2011. Rainfall data between 1980 and 2010 indicate that the daily rainfall totals and frequency of days with heavier rainfall show an uptrend. Mean sea level has increased by about 3mm per year over the last 15 years.
In addition, the 2007 Climate Change Study which examined the long-term effects of climate change on Singapore, show that the mean sea level around Singapore could rise by up to 0.65m, and temperatures could increase by up to 4.2°C in 2100.
In light of these potential effects of climate change, the NCCS-2012 document describes the implementation of various adaptation measures:
For coastal protection, all new land reclamation projects since 1991 have to be built to at least 1.25m above the highest recorded tide level. In 2011, the minimum land reclamation level for new projects was raised by an additional 1m.
BCA has commissioned a Risk Map Study to better identify the specific coastal areas at risk of inundation and the potential damage associated, which is expected to be completed by end 2013. Research would also be conducted in “soft” coastal protection practices including the use of plants (such as mangroves and sea grasses) for coastal protection.
For water resources and drainage, PUB has developed a diversified and robust water supply through the Four National Taps (local catchment water, imported water from Malaysia, NEWater and desalinated water) to ensure a sustainable water supply. NEWater and desalinated water will meet about two-thirds of Singapore’s water demand by 2020, and will be further increased to meet up to 80% of our water demand by 2060.
PUB announced in January 2012 a multi-pronged plan to strengthen Singapore’s flood resilience, which includes higher drainage design standards, more holistic solutions that consider the entire drainage system, better modelling capabilities and stakeholder engagement to improve overall preparedness.
For biodiversity and greenery, NParks will investigate the potential impact of climate change on biodiversity and greenery in greater detail. Tree management and maintenance will also be enhanced, and the current health checks on our trees will be conducted more thoroughly and frequently, while more suitable species which are less vulnerable to storms and strong winds will be planted along our streets.
For public health, NEA is collaborating with MOH to study the relationship between climatic factors (such as temperature, humidity and rainfall) and public health risks such as dengue fever, and heat disorders and respiratory diseases.
For energy demand and urban infrastructure, EMA and BCA are studying Singapore’s urban temperature profile and the energy consumption of our buildings to understand how temperature increase and wind changes will affect us.
URA is working with HDB, NUS and A*STAR on a Climatic Mapping Study to understand how the built environment and urban greenery could affect micro-climatic conditions such as air flow and temperature. The island-wide study will also provide recommendations on the planning and design of public spaces and buildings.
Opportunities for Green Growth
While climate change poses a challenge, it also provides opportunities for Singapore to develop the cleantech industry as a regional hub for research and innovation and as a test-bed for urban solutions, in areas such as clean energy, energy efficiency, green buildings, smart grids, carbon management, and waste and water management.
The innovations being developed in Singapore will help us to address our energy and climate change challenges, bring about economic opportunities, create high-value jobs, and also provide solutions to help other cities address climate change.
Building Our Future Together: Local and International Partnerships on Climate Change
Everyone — as individuals, as employees, as members of a family and as a wider community — has a stake in helping to reduce our emissions and in preparing for the effects of climate change. The government will continue to work with stakeholders in the People, Public and Private (3P) sectors on climate actions and outreach efforts.
Singapore will also continue to collaborate actively with international partners through various multilateral, regional and bilateral platforms.
Our vision for Singapore is a climate resilient city that is well positioned for green growth. We are building a modern city within a garden in spite of our natural and geographical realities as a small city-state. The steps we take collectively as a nation today will ensure that Singapore remains a vibrant and liveable nation, a home that is flourishing and enduring for this and future generations. – NCCS-2012
Source and Images: NCCS-2012