Written Reply by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Plans to Mitigate Higher Temperatures and Sea Level Rise
Ms Poh Li San: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment in light of the latest report of the United Nation's Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (a) what are the plans to mitigate the higher temperatures that will be experienced in Singapore, particularly to alleviate the impact on residents, fauna and flora; and (b) what measures will be taken to mitigate the more extreme sea level rise events especially in the low-lying regions.
1 Singapore is clear-eyed about the risks of climate change and takes the recent IPCC findings seriously. The Centre for Climate Research Singapore (CCRS) has started work on the Third National Climate Change Study, which will contextualise the IPCC findings and derive localised projections for Singapore.
2 The latest IPCC findings underscore the urgency to press ahead with our climate adaptation plans outlined under the 'Resilient Future' pillar of the Singapore Green Plan 2030.
3 To address rising temperatures and the urban heat island effect, the Government has been developing a heat mitigation action plan, informed by science. This includes increasing urban greenery and green buildings and scaling up the use of cool materials. For example, the Housing & Development Board (HDB), together with the Tampines Town Council, have launched a pilot project to paint some 130 HDB blocks with cool paint to reduce ambient temperature. We are also intensifying greenery in our urban environment as part of our City in Nature efforts under the Singapore Green Plan 2030. For example, as part of our OneMillionTrees movement, we are planting 170,000 more trees in our industrial estates over the next 10 years, nearly tripling the current tree population. This can help to cool these industrial estates and create a more conducive work environment.
4 Climate change can also affect Singapore's biodiversity and natural ecosystem processes. Under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise Plan 2025, NParks will lead research on the impact of climate change on terrestrial, coastal, and marine ecosystems and biodiversity. Such research can guide our nature conservation efforts.
5 Another key area is strengthening Singapore's coastal protection and flood resilience. Site-specific studies to determine feasible measures for coastal protection are being carried out progressively, beginning with more critical and vulnerable regions such as the City-East Coast. PUB is also developing a Coastal-Inland Flood Model that can assess the combined flooding effects from extreme sea levels and intense rainfall.
5 To enhance flood resilience, PUB has invested almost $2 billion on drainage works in the last decade and will invest another $1.4 billion over the next five years. Drainage design standards were raised in 2011, which called for an increase in drain capacities by up to 50% to cater for more intense rainfall.
6 The Government will take a science-based and proactive approach to climate adaptation. The Government will review and update Singapore's long-term coastal protection plans based on the latest data, by adopting a flexible approach in planning protection measures and evaluating the plans across a range of scenarios. However, it will not be prudent or feasible to build infrastructure to accommodate every extreme climate scenario. The recent extreme climate events worldwide have highlighted that the collective response to such occurrences is just as important. We will seek to strengthen community resilience, in partnership with our local communities and stakeholders.