Set clear targets to fight climate change

I applaud Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for his recent speech at the United Nations General Assembly (Leaders have a duty to youth to act on climate change: PM Lee, Sept 28).

As a parent, I am very concerned about climate change.

Most of the estimated $100 billion bill needed by Singapore to adapt to rising sea levels will be borne by future generations. But the threat posed by rising sea levels is only one of the many potential adverse effects of global warming.

The true cost for our future generations could potentially be much higher.

Therefore, I hope Singapore can do more to combat climate change.

Singapore should start by setting an absolute limit on the amount of greenhouse gas it emits by 2050. Today the limit is based on carbon intensity, or emissions per dollar gross domestic product.

Singapore should also set a deadline to phase out the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles. Many countries and cities have already announced such moves.

Just as the Pioneer generation sacrificed so much to create a better future for Singaporeans today, this generation should do the same for the next. This is our duty to them.

As a major aviation and shipping hub, Singapore should set a deadline for transport companies to use fuels from only renewable sources.

The moves should be set on a 20-to 30-year timeline to give companies ample time to adjust to the changes. The measures will create demand for green solutions, encouraging innovators and entrepreneurs to develop solutions that are either too expensive or do not exist today.

Just as the Pioneer generation sacrificed so much to create a better future for Singaporeans today, this generation should do the same for the next. This is our duty to them.

Tok Meng Haw

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 01, 2019, with the headline 'Set clear targets to fight climate change'. Print Edition | Subscribe