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.
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
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.
Masagos made two other announcements related to efforts to address climate
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.
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.
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
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.”
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
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.
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
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
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
and Food Security: Impact of changing rainfall and temperature
patterns on Singapore’s biodiversity and food security
tighter linkages between the science-policy interface and translation of
climate science to policy application and adaptation planning.
National Sea Level
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.
IPCC Scoping Meeting for the Synthesis Report
(SYR) of the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6)
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.