SINGAPORE - Singapore can do three things to tackle climate change: understand the issue, take measures to mitigate it, and adapt to it, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at this year's National Day Rally.
It is also the grand challenge for young Singaporeans, as the Republic needs more problem solvers, innovators, scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to deal with this global threat, said PM Lee in his overview of how Singapore might tackle climate change in his Rally speech on Sunday (Aug 18).
Finding solutions begins with understanding what climate change means specifically for Singapore, said PM Lee. Playing an important role in this process is the Centre for Climate Research Singapore (CCRS), where a team of scientists and meteorologists use super-computers to model the weather and do research.
The CCRS also cooperates with its counterparts in neighbouring countries to study in more detail the impact of climate change on the region, and it is finding that Singapore, being near the equator, is more vulnerable to climate change than the global model suggests, said PM Lee.
Singapore must also do its part to mitigate climate change, specifically, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Mr Lee said.
"We have joined international efforts to reduce emissions. We are part of the Paris climate agreement, and have committed to slow down and ultimately cap our CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions by around 2030," he noted.
One of the ways that will help Singapore achieve this reduction in emissions is the carbon tax, which was introduced last year, on industrial facilities with emissions beyond a threshold level. The carbon tax will help Singapore fulfil its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.
"Although Singapore may not be able to stop climate change by ourselves, we can contribute solutions, and we must do our fair share. Then we can be credible asking others to reduce their emissions too, and work towards a global solution to climate change," said PM Lee.
"Unfortunately, such a global solution is still very far off, so we must work for the best, but be prepared for the worst."
The third thing Singapore must do is work towards adapting to climate change, particularly rising sea levels. For instance, critical infrastructure like Changi Airport Terminal 5 and Tuas Port will be built on higher platforms, at least 5m above sea level.