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Parliament Q&A

Written reply by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, to Parliamentary Question on Climate Change, on 4 June 2020

Mr Kwek Hian Chuan Henry: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources whether Singapore will stay the course on fighting climate change and meet our climate change commitments despite the current upheavals in the energy market and the potential long-term economic impact arising from the COVID-19 situation.

 

Answer:

1.         The Government’s current priority is to manage the COVID-19 outbreak and ensure the lives and livelihoods of Singaporeans, as well as those of our migrant worker community, are well taken care of. We are all in this together and we will spare no effort to make sure that Singapore comes through this COVID-19 crisis much better than before.

2.         Even as we continue with our efforts to suppress the outbreak and prepare our economy to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must not lose sight of the other global challenge of climate change, which remains the biggest threat facing humanity over the long term. As a small island city-state, Singapore remains highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. This is why we cannot let up our efforts to address climate change.

3.         Recently in March, we released our long-term low-emissions development strategy and enhanced our 2030 climate pledge in support of the goals of the Paris Agreement. They contained bold aspirations and plans to guide our long-term development and ongoing work to effect a well-managed transition to a low-carbon economy. Despite the uncertainties presented by the COVID-19 situation, we decided to press ahead with these plans and submitted them early to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in March, as we wanted to send a strong signal to Singaporeans and the international community that Singapore remains fully committed to tackling climate change. They demonstrate our seriousness and commitment to support global climate action and move towards a low-carbon and climate resilient future. We hope that our early submission to the UNFCCC would encourage other Parties to do likewise and jump-start the process of early submissions, thereby strengthening the momentum of global climate action at this critical time.

4.         We also remain committed to climate action and are making good progress on our climate plans. Just last month, EMA announced that we had achieved our 2020 solar deployment target of 350 megawatt-peak. We are now pressing ahead with our plans to reach our more ambitious solar target of at least 2 gigawatt-peak by 2030. MEWR will play our part. As earlier announced at the Committee of Supply (COS) 2020, PUB will be deploying floating solar photovoltaic systems at Bedok, Lower Seletar, and Tengeh Reservoirs by 2021. With this, Singapore will be one of the few countries in the world to have 100% green waterworks.

5.         In the face of climate change challenges, Singapore cannot take food security for granted and we have made early moves to prepare ourselves. As early as 2019, my Ministry announced an ambitious “30 by 30” goal to produce 30 per cent of Singapore’s nutritional needs locally by 2030. The COVID-19 situation has underscored the need to further enhance our food security and resilience. To this end, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has just launched a $30 million “30x30 Express” grant call to accelerate the ramping up of local food production over the next six to 24 months.

6.         We are also pressing on with plans to protect Singapore from sea-level rise. PUB has taken on the role of the national Coastal Protection Agency from April 2020. With this new responsibility, one agency, PUB, will study both coastal and inland flooding holistically and develop models to guide our flood protection response.

7.         To facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy, we are continuing our investment in low-emissions solutions and are partnering the industry and our research community to explore pilot projects to evaluate and improve the feasibility of technologies to drive the decarbonisation of our electricity grid and industrial processes. EDB and EMA have launched energy efficiency incentives and schemes to help our companies to be best-in-class globally in energy and carbon efficiency, and are bringing companies within a sector together to achieve systems-level efficiency gains across the sector. We urge companies to use this period of lowered activities to consider implementing energy efficiency improvement projects where possible, so that companies can be more cost-competitive and emerge stronger when the economy picks up again.

8.         As we work to prepare Singapore to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, members of this house can be assured that the Government will keep climate change high as a priority. We will work assiduously to build a more resilient Singapore to withstand the test of future challenges, notably climate change. We encourage all Singaporeans to join us and play their part to ‘game change’ climate change.

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