Speech by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, at the Launch of the “R.I.S.E. to the Challenge” Public Outreach Programme on 4 November 2020
Mr Loh Chin Hua, CEO of Keppel Corporation and Chairman of Keppel Land
Mr Tan Swee Yiow, CEO of Keppel Land
Ladies and Gentlemen
1 A very good afternoon. I thank Keppel Land and Sustainable Singapore Gallery for organising the “R.I.S.E. to the Challenge” programme. This is a meaningful community project to raise awareness of the impacts of climate change and to encourage sustainable habits that will make a positive difference to our environment.
Climate change, an existential challenge for Singapore
2 Recently, scientists in Europe reported that the Arctic sea ice cover this September had shrunk to its second lowest extent since the late 1970s. The extent of Arctic sea ice also hit a record low for October, as unusually warm waters slowed the recovery of ice.
3 The climate obviously affects a place very far away from us but at the same time, it has an impact on us. It is not just affecting far-flung areas. It is also in Singapore that we are worried about our own existential challenge. As a low-lying island city-state, we are particularly vulnerable to the effects of sea level rise. While our immediate priority is to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot afford to lose sight of our battle against climate change.
Strategies to tackle climate change and develop sustainably
4 This exhibition that we are launching today is very aptly named. We must indeed unite as one people, take collective action and rise to the challenge of climate change. Only then can we ensure that Singapore remains a sustainable, vibrant and liveable city for current and future generations.
5 Singapore is tackling climate change on three fronts. First, we have been investing in climate science to understand how climate change will affect Singapore, so that we can develop meaningful solutions. We have launched a $10 million National Sea Level Research Programme to develop more robust projections of rising sea levels, and have set aside an initial funding of $5 billion for the Coastal and Flood Protection Fund to protect Singapore against rising sea levels. We will soon launch a Climate Science Research Programme Office to drive efforts to formulate Singapore’s national climate science research masterplan.
6 Second, we are stepping up our efforts in climate mitigation. On the clean energy front, we achieved our 2020 solar deployment target of 350 megawatt-peak (MWp) in the first quarter of this year. We aim to deploy at least 2 gigawatt-peak (GWp) by 2030. To overcome our land constraints, we are investing in innovative solar technologies such as floating solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on our reservoirs. In fact, three of our reservoirs will have such PV systems very soon.
7 At last week’s Singapore International Energy Week, the Government announced a new $49 million Low-Carbon Energy Research Funding Initiative to support the research and development of low-carbon technologies such as hydrogen and carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) over the next five years. These efforts will go a long way in reducing our carbon footprint and achieving our emissions targets.
8 Third, we are taking measures to adapt to climate change. As climate change will affect access to critical resources, we are strengthening our water and food security by investing in weather-resilient sources, and finding ways to produce more with less. We will also help companies engage in sustainable production and consumption by pursuing circular economy approaches.
9 Our pursuit of sustainable development will not only benefit the environment, it will also create economic opportunities and jobs for our companies and Singaporeans, in areas such as agri-food, climate science, environmental services and waste.
Building a Sustainable Singapore together
10 The Government cannot fight climate change, or build a sustainable Singapore alone. We need everyone to come on board this national effort and take collective action together — whether you are a business, a community group, or an individual. Each of us can start with simple positive habits everyday — using less disposables, conserving water and electricity, and recycling where possible.
11 We also want to hear from Singaporeans what building a sustainable Singapore means to you, and how we can work together to achieve our shared vision. To this end, my Ministry has organised a series of Emerging Stronger Conversations and invited Singaporeans to share their perspectives on sustainability. We have also convened three Citizens’ Workgroups to co-create solutions to improve recycling, reduce excessive use of disposables, and increase demand for local produce.
12 Let me conclude. Today’s launch of “R.I.S.E. to the Challenge” is another step towards having more meaningful conversations on climate change. I commend and thank Keppel Land and Sustainable Singapore Gallery for this initiative, and hope to see more outreach programmes and activities by organisations to sustain the momentum on climate action. I encourage all individuals and organisations to join us in co-creating and co-delivering solutions to achieve our long-term environmental goals. Together, we can build a Sustainable Singapore for our future generations.