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Singapore To Strengthen Capabilities In Climate Science

Singapore To Strengthen Capabilities In Climate Science

New Programme Office to lead climate science research

 $10 million National Sea Level Research Programme launched

 

Singapore, 17 July 2019 – Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Masagos Zulkifli, has announced plans to set up a new Climate Science Research Programme Office in 2020. He made the announcement at the Ministry for the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR)’s 2019 Partners for the Environment Forum (PFE) today.

2. The Programme Office will lead and drive efforts in formulating and implementing the National Climate Science Research Masterplan, to strengthen climate science capabilities in Singapore.

i. The Programme Office will focus on five key research areas with significant impact on Singapore, namely: sea level rise; the impact of climate change on our water resources and flood management; the impact of warming trends on human health and the energy sector; biodiversity and food security. It will engage in cross-cutting research, such as the interface between science and policy application and risk management approaches;

 ii. To be set up under the Centre for Climate Research Singapore (CCRS), a research unit established in 2013 under the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) in the National Environment Agency (NEA), the Programme Office will collaborate closely with Scientists and Researches in our local Research Institutes and Institutes of Higher Learning in its work. Please refer to Annex A for more details.

3. Minister Masagos made two other announcements related to efforts to address climate change:

i. CCRS will be launching a $10 million National Sea Level Research Programme over the next five years, to strengthen our understanding of sea levels around Singapore, and help develop more robust sea level rise projections in future. CCRS will issue a call for proposal in August 2019.

 ii. Singapore will host the Scoping Meeting for the Synthesis Report (SYR) of the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the 57th Session of the IPCC Bureau Meeting for the first time. The Scoping Meeting will further develop and scope the content of the IPCC AR6 SYR and ensure that it responds to the needs of policy-makers around the world. Please refer to Annex B for more details.

4. On Singapore’s climate action efforts, Minister Masagos said: “The Government has been strengthening our adaptation and mitigation measures against climate change. An integral part of this is building up our climate science capabilities. We also want to partner businesses and stakeholders to uncover creative, cost-effective and resource-efficient solutions. This will spur the growth of new industries and create new green jobs for Singaporeans.

5. The Government has initiated the momentum for action. But we cannot do this alone. We need everyone to play their part and, as one nation, overcome the existential challenge that climate change poses, which can threaten our way of life. If we put our heads, hearts and minds together, we will come out of this for the better and will leave behind a more resilient and prosperous Singapore for our children, grandchildren and many generations to come.”

Partners for the Environment Forum 2019

6. The PFE forum is an annual platform for MEWR’s partners from the People, Private and Public (3P) sectors to come together to explore ideas and collaborations on environmental issues. This year’s forum was co-organised with the British High Commission, under the Singapore-UK Partnership for the Future. In line with Singapore’s Year Towards Zero Waste, the forum focused on initiatives and partnerships to achieve Singapore’s vision of becoming a Zero Waste Nation. Insights from the latest climate change research was also shared by distinguished guest speakers such as Professor Benjamin Horton, Chair, Asian School of the Environment, Nanyang Technological University.  

7. In her remarks, Her Excellency Kara Owen, British High Commissioner to Singapore, shared that “The UK has a strong track record of climate action, being the first country to introduce legally binding, long-term emission reduction targets through the Climate Change Act in 2008. We also produce over 36 per cent of the world’s offshore wind and, through a £61.4 million fund announced at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2018, work with Commonwealth countries to address marine plastic pollution. Climate action must be a joint endeavour and we are pleased to align synergies and efforts with Singapore who share our commitment to this.”

8. Launched in 2007, the Singapore Packaging Agreement (SPA) is a joint initiative by the government, industry and non-governmental organisations to reduce packaging waste. The SPA Awards 2019 were also presented at PFE 2019 to recognise businesses which have done well in reducing packaging waste. Resorts World Sentosa and SG Hotels (Six Senses Singapore) were amongst 19 companies which were lauded for their efforts. For more details on the SPA Awards, please refer to the accompanying media release issued by the National Environment Agency.

9. PFE Forum 2019 also kicked off the Climate Action Week 2019, which runs from 17 to 23 July. Building on the Year of Climate Action in 2018, a series of partner events have been planned for the week to galvanise the community to take climate action.

-End-

 

ANNEX A

 

THE CLIMATE SCIENCE RESEARCH PROGRAMME OFFICE

 1. The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) plans to set up a new Programme Office focussing on research in climate science in 2020, under the Centre for Climate Research Singapore (CCRS). The CCRS was set up in 2013 under the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS), with the aim of building in-house capabilities within Government to advance the scientific understanding and prediction of tropical climate and weather affecting Singapore and the wider Southeast Asian region. 

2. As a small, low-lying country, climate change poses existential challenges for Singapore.

i. Mean sea levels are currently projected to rise by up to around 1 metre by 2100. However, with the melting of ice sheets or collapse of the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, sea-level rise could be higher and this could happen at a more rapid pace.

 ii. Singapore’s annual mean temperatures have also continued to climb steadily at 0.29C per decade in the last 40 years (1979 – 2018). Based on Singapore’s Second National Climate Change Study, it is projected that Singapore could face an increase in daily mean temperatures of between 1.4C and 4.6C by 2100.

 iii. It is also projected that by 2100, Singapore could face more intense and frequent heavy rainfall events. The contrast between the normally wetter months and drier months is likely to be more pronounced. 

3. The Programme Office, which will be a new set-up and an expansion of CCRS’ roles, will drive and lead efforts to develop and implement the national climate science research masterplan and build up climate science capabilities in Singapore. The Programme Office will help to fill a gap in the international climate science landscape as most of the research done today is focussed on the temperate regions and climates. There is thus greater need for Research and Development to understand the effects of climate change in our tropical region. The Programme Office will work closely with scientists and researchers in our Research Institutes and Institutes of Higher Learning to harness their expertise and develop cutting-edge climate science research. 

4. For a start, the Programme Office will focus on these five areas: 

i. Sea Level Rise: Enhancing our understanding of sea-level rise around Singapore and the wider region, taking into account extreme-sea level events

 ii. Impact of Climate Change on Water Resources and Flood Management: How changing rainfall and temperature patterns will impact our water supply and drainage infrastructure

 iii. Impact of Warming Trends on Human Health and the Energy Sector: How the urban heat island effect will be affected by climate change; and how extreme temperatures and other changing weather patterns will affect human comfort and health, and energy demand

 iv. Biodiversity and Food Security: Impact of changing rainfall and temperature patterns on Singapore’s biodiversity and food security

 v. Cross-cutting Research: Forging tighter linkages between the science-policy interface and translation of climate science to policy application and adaptation planning.

National Sea Level Research Programme

5. The Climate Science Research Programme Office will also oversee the National Sea Level Research Programme (NSLP), a five-year programme (2019 - 2023), with the aim of enhancing our understanding of how the various factors of sea-level rise affect Singapore and the Southeast Asian region.

6. Sea-level rise is a complex, multi-disciplinary issue which involves many areas of domain expertise — in atmospheric science (storm surges), cryosphere (ice-sheet dynamics), oceanography (circulation and thermal expansion of ocean), and geoscience (vertical land movements). The science in this field is also constantly and rapidly evolving. The NSLP will bring together both local and international experts across the research community to integrate and analyse these various domains and customise it to our local geographical context, to provide a more robust understanding of sea-level rise. 

7. The NSLP will focus on and build local research capabilities in four key areas, namely: regional sea-level changes due to ocean dynamics; extreme sea levels (e.g. storm surges); local vertical land movement and changes in coastal sea levels due to ice mass loss from the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. These capabilities will help ensure that sea-level rise projections are robust and informed by the latest scientific knowledge in the field. The NSLP will also enhance our current capabilities in projecting and adapting to the risks posed by long-term sea-level rise affecting Singapore.

8. Findings from the NSLP will contribute to Singapore’s Third National Climate Change Study due in 2022, which will provide an updated and more robust sea-level rise projections for adaptation planning. The CCRS will be issuing grant calls to local Research Institutes to seek research project proposals that address NSLP priorities in August 2019.

 

ANNEX B

 

IPCC Scoping Meeting for the Synthesis Report (SYR) of the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6)

1. Singapore will be hosting the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Scoping Meeting for the Synthesis Report (SYR) of the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) (21-23 October 2019) and the 57th Session of the IPCC Bureau Meeting (24-25 October) for the first time.

2. The IPCC AR6 SYR will integrate, build on and complement Special Reports and IPCC Working Group contributions prepared during the Sixth Assessment Cycle. The IPCC AR6 SYR is due to be completed in the first half of 2022, and will provide policymakers around the world with scientific information to develop climate policies and serve as a key input to international negotiations to tackle climate change.

3. The IPCC Bureau is one of the highest bodies in the organisational structure of the IPCC. The IPCC Bureau provides guidance to the IPCC Panel on scientific and technical aspects of its work and advises on related management and strategic issues. The IPCC Bureau currently has 34 members and comprises the IPCC Chair, IPCC Vice-Chairs, the Co-Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the three Working Groups and the Co-Chairs of the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. 

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