Singapore to shore up defences as mercury and seas rise

By On November 03, 2018

Singapore to shore up defences as mercury and seas rise

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(From left) Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Mohamad Maliki Osman, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Emeritus
(From left) Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Mohamad Maliki Osman, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong at the Clean & Green Singapore launch ceremony on Nov 3, 2018.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong emphasised the threat of climate change and the steps Singapore has to take in order to combat this threat at the Clean and Green Singapore launch ceremony at Wisma Geylang Serai, on Nov 3, 2018.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong emphasised the threat of climate change and the steps Singapore has to take in order to combat this threat at the Clean and Green Singapore launch ceremony at Wisma Geylang Serai, on Nov 3, 2018.
Published4 hours ago

Govt looking at long-term plans amid hottest year and 2nd driest year here recently: PM Lee

The threat of climate change to Singapore and the world has become increasingly serious, and the Republic must act to shore up its defences.

This means having more than just clean waters and lush greenery, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.

Pointing out that Singapore is already feeling the effects of global warming, having recorded its hotte st year and second driest year over the past few years, he noted that the threat posed by rising sea levels is of particular concern.

"Many South-east Asian countries, including Singapore, are also vulnerable to rising sea levels because of our long coastlines and low-lying areas," he said, adding that government agencies were studying this carefully.

PM Lee was speaking at a ceremony to mark the launch of the Clean and Green Singapore carnival at Wisma Geylang Serai.

"In due course, we will come up with long-term proposals to adequately prepare and protect ourselves," he said.

He highlighted the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report published last month by the United Nations that warned that world temperatures could rise by 1.5 deg C from pre-industrial levels in the next 12 years, if global warming continues at its current pace.

This in turn would have an impact on sea levels.

In stressing the need to guard against the long-term threats of climate change, PM Lee said: "We must consider the far-reaching implications of climate change for our city, our economy and our people."

For example, higher temperatures in this region could spread tropical diseases such as dengue fever, affect agricultural crops, and hurt Singapore's economy.

The Government has already taken steps to protect Singapore against the adverse effects of climate change and rising sea levels, he said.

Low-lying roads near coastal areas, including those in Katong, Geylang and Bedok, have been raised.

The Stamford Detention Tank and the Stamford Diversion Canal were built to prevent flooding in areas like Orchard Road.

The tank can store up to 15 Olympic-size swimming pools worth of storm water to be discharged into the Singapore River via the diversion canal.

The future Changi Airport Terminal 5 will be built on a higher platform than the existing terminals to allow for rising sea levels, he said.

Singapore has also invested heavily in infrastructure as a means to manage its water supply. This includes building the Marina Barrage as well as desalination and Newater plants to expand and diversify Singapore's water supply.

"We priced water correctly, to make Singaporeans conscious of how precious water is, and therefore value every drop," said PM Lee.

Research projects and the testing of new technologies are also underway at 10 living laboratories across Singapore, including the CleanTech Park. Successful projects from these labs can be scaled up and applied nationwide, he added.

Singapore also launched the Climate Action Plan in 2016, which outlines some of the measures being taken to mitigate climate change, including a carbon tax that will come into effect next year.

Besides infrastructure and policies, Mr Lee said, mindsets and lifestyles also nee d to be changed.

While opting for public transport or energy-saving appliances may not seem significant to the individual, it would have a cumulative effect if everyone adopts it.

"Just like our 'Save Water' campaign where every drop counts, every climate action counts," PM Lee pointed out.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 04, 2018, with the headline 'S'pore to shore up defences as mercury and seas rise'. Print Edition | Subscribe Topics:
  • CLIMATE CHANGE
  • ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
  • LEE HSIEN LOONG

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