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How can Singapore respond to the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming ?

10 Oct 2018

Earlier this week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC from its meeting in South Korea. According to todayonline.com officials from Singapore’s Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) and the National Climate Change Secretariat attended the IPCC meeting in South Korea, supported by Assistant Professor Winston Chow from the National University of Singapore’s geography department.

The report states that limiting global warming to 1.5°C requires both “‘rapid and far-reaching’ transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050”, meaning that any remaining emissions need to be balanced by removal of CO2 from the air”. Some of these actions are already under way around the world but they need to accelerate to reach the target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels. Just half a degree more of warming (2°C above preindustrial levels) would mean a doubling of the extinction rate of plants and animals, loss of 99% of coral reefs and significantly higher sea level.

Asst Prof Chow, who is a lead author for the IPCC’s sixth assessment report, tells todayonline.com that Singapore gets about 95% of its electricity from natural gas, and for mitigation of climate change, more power would need to be generated from renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power. Singapore has already committed to a wide range of mitigation measures to reduce emissions as part of its Paris Agreement pledge. Improved industrial energy efficiency, greener buildings and a carbon tax from 2019 are examples of that.

ASE’s Professor Benjamin Horton says to todayonline.com that “urban planning is much needed” in Singapore. He points out that the existing climate research here is too focused around technologies, such as air quality, water, fuel cells and biofuels, and that a broader approach is needed for South-east Asia.  There is also a lack of teaching programs on climate change, despite an urgent need for education on how to plan for climate change. Prof Horton, who is also a review editor of the IPCC’s sixth assessment report due in 2021, says to todayonline.com: “Asia is rapidly catching up in understanding the causes of environmental problems and solutions. South-east Asian policymakers may be aware of the challenges facing the fragile ecosystems, but there are few places they can turn to for insight and advice”. However, the Asian School of the Environment at NTU, where Prof Horton is chair, “aims to provide broad-based guidance on environmental policies in the region”.

Prof Horton emphasised the importance of upholding and strengthening the Paris Agreement, including radically cutting global carbon emissions, to prevent weather like what we have seen in earlier this year, like heatwaves and Typhoon Mangkhut, from becoming the new normal, causing, flooding and destruction and threatening human societies.

According to todayonline.com Singapore’s Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) says it will update the country’s climate projections in 2021, the year when the new full IPCC report will be published.

Read the article from todayonline.com here: https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/singapore-will-update-climate-proj...

Read the special report from the IPCC here: http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/