National Youth Environment Conference Opening Ceremony
OPENING REMARKS BY MS GRACE FU, MINISTER FOR SUSTAINABILITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT, AT THE NAN HUA HIGH SCHOOL NATIONAL YOUTH ENVIRONMENT CONFERENCE ON 17 MARCH 2022, 8.30AM
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good morning everyone. It is my pleasure join you today for this National Youth Environment Conference. The conference is timely, as climate change is an existential crisis for the world, and countries need to work together now to overcome the crisis. At the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, countries agreed to strengthen their climate pledges to align with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
2 Arriving at this common ground was not easy. Leaders at the negotiation table had to balance the diverse needs and challenges of each country. The process is tedious but necessary to ensure that every country can do their part for climate change while still being able to pursue economic development for the well-being of their people.
3 Recently, Minister Lawrence Wong in his Budget Statement announced that we will raise our ambition to achieve net zero emissions by or around mid-century. This is a significant move. Unlike other countries, Singapore is highly disadvantaged by limited options for renewable energy. Nevertheless, we are investing in R&D to find new green technologies. We are hopeful to find more alternative solutions emerge, like carbon capture, utilisation and storage technologies, and green hydrogen.
4 Last year, we launched the Singapore Green Plan 2030 to catalyse Singapore’s move towards a greener future. The Green Plan outlines concrete and ambitious plans over the next ten years towards our net zero emission goals and sustainable development. Our efforts to transition to a low-carbon future include:
a. Reducing the waste we send to Semakau Landfill by 20 per cent in five years (by 2026).
b. Lowering our household water consumption to 130 litres per person per day in 2030.
c. Quadrupling our solar energy deployment by 2025.
d. Phasing out internal combustion engine vehicles by 2040 and have all vehicles run on cleaner energy.
e. Anchoring new and high-quality green jobs in the financial sector and ancillary services.
f. Planting 1 million more trees across Singapore by 2030
5 Schools provide a great starting point for every one of us to do our part for sustainability. The Ministry of Education is developing an Eco Stewardship Toolkit, which will include a repository of resources to further support your schools in strengthening your sustainability journey. I am heartened to see that schools are working with community partners to provide opportunities for our students to learn about sustainability.
6 Today’s conference is one such opportunity for students like yourselves to not only learn about climate action but also get involved in negotiations, just like the United Nations. Over the next two days, you will take on the roles of delegates to discuss and solve a variety of issues related to transport, water, energy, and crisis management, some of which are key elements of the Green Plan. I hope this experience will help to broaden your perspectives on nation-building, as well as inspire you to continue conversations and contribute ideas towards a sustainable future for Singapore.
7 I encourage you to transform your ideas into action. You can start small within your network or community and build your ideas over time. If you need support, you can tap on government funds such as my Ministry’s SG Eco Fund to get your initiative started. The process to apply is simple.
8 I wish you a meaningful conference, and I look forward to your questions.