OPENING REMARKS BY MS GRACE FU, MINISTER FOR SUSTAINABILITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT, AT THE LAUNCH OF THE CLIMATE ACTION EXHIBITION ON 14 JULY 2021
Ladies and Gentlemen
1 A very good afternoon to all. I thank CDL for inviting me to launch the “Change the Present, Save the Future” exhibition held in collaboration with NParks.
IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
2 Much has been said about climate change and how it has impacted countries around the world. In recent years, we have witnessed an increasing occurrence of extreme weather events globally, from heavy rainfalls and large storms, to heat waves, droughts, and wildfires.
3 Singapore is no exception. As a low-lying city-state, we are vulnerable to rising sea levels and extreme weather patterns. Based on our estimates, sea levels could rise by more than 1 metre by 2100, which is particularly concerning given that 30 per cent of our island is less than 5 metres above sea level.
4 The consequences of inaction are very real. More frequent extreme weather conditions will increase the risk of loss of properties and biodiversity, affect the global food and water supply, and public health, with the emergence of new diseases. Unless we act fast, the world will head towards a bleak future.
SINGAPORE GREEN PLAN 2030
5 Over the years, Singapore has implemented a wide set of adaptation and mitigation measures to fight climate change. These include extensive investments in drainage networks, investments in our public transport system, and the implementation of a carbon tax, to name a few. On the international front, Singapore submitted our enhanced 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution and our Long-Term Low-Emissions Development Strategy in 2020.
6 In order to achieve our long-term net-zero emissions aspiration as soon as viable, the Government launched the Singapore Green Plan 2030 in February this year. The Green Plan is a whole-of-nation movement to advance Singapore’s national agenda on sustainable development. Building on our past and current sustainability efforts, the Green Plan sets out ambitious and concrete targets for the next 10 years to strengthen our commitments under the UN’s Sustainable Development Agenda and Paris Agreement. Let me share some examples of what we are doing.
7 First, we are improving the energy efficiency of our buildings, which account for over 20 per cent of our emissions. Under the Green Plan, we have the 80-80-80 target — to green 80 per cent of our buildings by 2030, push for 80 per cent of new buildings to be Super Low Energy Buildings, and for best-in-class green buildings to see an 80 per cent improvement in energy efficiency levels.
8 Second, we will work towards a Green Economy, and harness sustainability as an engine for jobs and growth. We aim to attract companies to develop new sustainability solutions and anchor their research and development activities here. The Government will also introduce an Enterprise Sustainability Programme to help local SMEs develop capabilities in sustainability.
9 Third, we will create a green, liveable and sustainable home for Singaporeans by extending nature throughout our island. In the next decade, we will double our tree planting efforts to plant one million trees across Singapore and increase nature parks’ land area by over 50 per cent. Our goal is to add 1,000 hectares of green spaces by 2035. This is equivalent to more than 1,800 football fields.
10 Fourth, we will enhance our flood resilience and strengthen our food security. PUB has embarked on the first of a series of coastal protection studies, along the City-East Coast, to identify and develop solutions to protect us from rising sea levels. The Singapore Food Agency is also working with stakeholders on the Lim Chu Kang Masterplan to transform the area into a high-tech, high productivity food hub from 2024. The aim is to increase our capability and capacity to produce 30 per cent of our nutritional needs in a resource optimal, and sustainable manner.
11 Finally, to address e-waste, packaging waste and food waste, we will promote “reduce, reuse and recycle” as a norm for citizens and businesses. The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme for e-waste was implemented this month, and will be expanded to cover packaging waste by 2025. The National Environment Agency is also working with industry partners on feasibility studies for chemical recycling and a Plastics Recovery Facility with an aim to improve our plastics recycling rate.
NURTURING A GREEN CITIZENRY
12 Driving these sustainability initiatives requires a whole-of-nation effort. Earlier this week, I announced that the Government will lead by example with a new GreenGov.SG movement. Under GreenGov.SG, the public sector will strive to attain a new set of ambitious targets, in order to cut and peak carbon emissions around 2025, ahead of the national target. It will incorporate environmental sustainability into its core functions and seek to catalyse green practices in the private sector.
13 We are thankful for the support of partners from the 3P (Private, People and Public) sectors which are with us on Singapore’s sustainability journey. This week is Climate Action Week. More than 60 partners have joined us to organise over 130 activities to help raise awareness of climate change and sustainability issues, and rally the public to take collective action for the environment. This Climate Action Exhibition is one of the many interesting initiatives lined up this week. I am glad to hear that CDL has even created a virtual, 3D version of the exhibition to widen its reach to both local and foreign visitors.
14 Let me conclude by congratulating CDL and NParks for launching this meaningful exhibition. I encourage everyone to visit this exhibition, either in person or online, and hope that it will inspire all of us to build a more sustainable Singapore for the future.
15 Thank you, and I look forward to the upcoming panel discussion.