Climate Change Impact On Singapore

Climate Change Impact On Singapore

by REACH Singapore

09 Oct 2018 03:40PM

The findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released yesterday (8 Oct) in Incheon, South Korea, showed that half a degree of warming could have significant impact on many countries - especially for small island states like Singapore. For instance, the report said there would be a 0.1m difference in sea level rise under a 1.5 deg C warming scenario versus a 2 deg C one.  For context, Singapore’s Second National Climate Change Study had projected mean sea level in the Republic to go up by about 1m by 2100. The Singapore study had also found that the nation will experience an elevated risk of more extreme temperatures with a 2 deg C warming compared to 1.5 deg C.

The IPCC report laid out four 1.5 deg C scenarios on how best to fight climate change. These include a plunge in energy demand and making major changes in consumption habits, such as eating less meat and abandoning cars with internal combustion engines.

Two other strategies involve sucking massive amounts of carbon dioxide out of the air though large-scale reforestation, use of biofuels, or by directly capturing carbon for storage.

Ms Sarah Ichioka, a volunteer from the Singapore chapter of international climate group, urged individuals in Singapore to play their part too, by taking steps to reduce carbon footprint and improve health.

She said: "Two examples are mobility and food. In terms of mobility, we can get around by bike, public transport and on foot, all much healthier and more sociable options than driving private cars. Individuals can also make a large impact by choosing to eat a plant-based diet, and treating greenhouse gas-intensive, and less healthy ingredients, such as meat and dairy, as optional indulgences rather than everyday staples."

In similar vein, Dr Peter Newman of the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute in Perth said that the most significant thing that people can do is reduce their power consumption and use of motor vehicles which are oil-based.

"There are things you can do with electric cars, but you can also change to using more public transport or biking or walking more or reducing the need for heating and cooling," he told reporters in a briefing ahead of the release of the United Nations climate panel's special report on limiting global warming to 1.5 deg C.

He gave the example of rooftop solar installations expanding rapidly in many countries, including Australia. In Perth, about 30 per cent of homes have rooftop solar panels.

Eating less beef and switching to chicken and fish and more locally grown vegetables are other simple steps. Cattle farms require large volumes of water, and cows and sheep produce a lot of methane - a powerful greenhouse gas - in their digestive systems.

Combined, many of these efforts lead to healthier lifestyles and save money. For example, energy audits and use of smart electricity meters can be effective in promoting energy conservation because consumers can see the value.

Education is also key, said the panel's report. The report found that education, information and community approaches could accelerate large-scale behaviour changes needed to limit warming to 1.5 deg C.

Community approaches, where change is initiated from the bottom up, can promote steps to adapt to climate change and to cut emissions, especially when community ties are strong.

“Big impact on S’pore with extra 0.5 deg C rise” and “Ordinary people can play a big part, says expert”  (The Straits Times, 9 October 2018)

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