OPENING REMARKS BY DR AMY KHOR, SENIOR MINISTER OF STATE FOR SUSTAINABILITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT, AT SG PERSPECTIVES (ITE COLLEGE CENTRAL) ON 14 APRIL 2022
Good morning, everyone. Thank you for having me here.
Impacts of climate change
2 Last week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a major report warning that the impact of climate change on countries is worsening, and that without immediate and deep emission reductions, limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is beyond reach.
3 You would have felt the impact of climate change. Last year was both our second wettest and 10th warmest year on record. This year, we have already recorded above-average rainfall for most parts of Singapore in the first half of February, with Sentosa experiencing rainfall of 200 per cent above average.
4 Our weather conditions are expected to get more extreme. Researchers estimate that Singapore may experience a rise in mean temperature of up to 4.6 degrees Celsius and 1 metre rise in sea level by the end of the century.
Singapore Green Plan 2030
5 To galvanise climate action across the whole of nation, we launched the Singapore Green Plan 2030 last year. The Green Plan signals our continued commitment to sustainable development, despite our limited land, resources and alternative energy options.
6 Under the Green Plan, we aim to make Singapore a greener and more sustainable home through initiatives which will change the way we work, live and play. For example, we aim to:
a) Increase our green cover by planting one million more trees
b) Ensure every household is within a 10-minute walk from a park
c) Improve our infrastructure to ensure that all HDB towns will be electric vehicle ready
d) Have 50 per cent of our public buses and taxi fleets run on electricity by 2030
e) Ensure a resilient supply of safe food for our people by building capacity and capability to produce 30 per cent of our nutritional needs locally and sustainably.
7 With new breakthroughs achieved at the United Nations Climate Change Conference last year, global momentum for climate action has accelerated and Singapore is keeping pace with these changes. We have raised our ambition to achieve net zero emissions by or around mid-century, and we will be raising our carbon tax to accelerate the adoption of low-carbon solutions.
8 As we work to realise the Green Plan, and position ourselves to be a carbon services hub, a leading centre for green finance, and a regional centre for sustainability solutions, there will be new jobs and opportunities to look forward to.
9 As citizens, each of us can play our part to support the Green Plan by adopting sustainable habits. For instance, we can bring our own bags and containers when shopping or packing food. This will reduce the use of disposables. At home, we can also reduce our water consumption and use more energy efficient appliances.
10 Individually, our actions may seem insignificant, but collectively we can make a huge difference. For instance, taking the MRT reduces our carbon footprint by close to 90 per cent, and if we walk or cycle, the carbon footprint is practically zero. There will be inconveniences, such as spending more time on the commute or limiting our choices. However, these actions can reduce our collective emissions and create a sustainable, liveable home for our future generations.
ITE’s sustainability efforts
11 I note that ITE College Central was a recipient of the President’s Award for the Environment in 2014. This is the highest environmental accolade in Singapore for educational institutions, organisations and individuals, and is a most commendable achievement for your school.
12 I visited your Rooftop Urban Farm earlier and understand that the school is exploring the possibility of integrating other disciplines, such as engineering, IT, and media into urban farming. There will also be a Green Entrepreneur Challenge later this year to encourage ideas for sustainability. Indeed, multiple disciplines can and should be involved in transforming technology and operations in our farms.
13 As our future generation, you have an important role in Singapore’s sustainable development. There are various events and activities that you can participate in to advance your interests in sustainability. Outside of school, you can take part in community events organised in your constituency, or in events organised by the National Youth Council and youth groups such as the Singapore Youth for Climate Action. You can be an influencer amongst your peers and community to rally them to practise sustainable habits. You can also work with us to co-create solutions to address our environmental challenges, and develop your skills and capabilities to contribute to a green economy.
14 I hope you will find meaningful opportunities to be a part of the national sustainability movement.
15 Thank you and I look forward to our dialogue session.