Collective action needed to manage resources, fight climate change: Masagos

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said on May 2 that economic growth need not be at the expense of environmental sustainability.
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said on May 2 that economic growth need not be at the expense of environmental sustainability.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Dealing with the impacts of climate change and fundamentally transforming the way we produce and consume is an urgent global issue that calls for collective and integrated action, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli on Thursday (May 2).

This strong global and regional effort must come from all segments of society, he said.

"The world is at a critical turning point. We must adopt a more integrated approach to the way we develop our economy, cooperate with other countries in the region and globally, and work together in a society to build a sustainable and enduring home for all. Only then can we safeguard our planet for future generations," he said.

He was speaking at the sixth Singapore dialogue on sustainable world resources, organised by the Singapore Institute of International Affairs think-tank.

He emphasised that economic growth need not be at the expense of environmental sustainability.

He added that new global challenges are posed by the clear and present danger of climate change, coupled with the competition for scarce resources caused by rapid urbanisation and unbridled consumerism.

Mr Masagos also suggested three new focus areas to combat these new challenges.

 
 
 

First, operating in silos must become a thing of the past, with new systems located together and working in tandem to maximise resources and reduce carbon footprint.

For instance, the Tuas Nexus plant, projected to be completed in 2027, integrates processes to save more than 200,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

Integrating resource streams might also help to transform trash into treasure, he said.

Second, global cooperation must become part of the national agenda.

This includes having effective global responses, and better cooperation in support of global, inclusive, and universal multilateral forums and agreements, such as the United Nations, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Paris Agreement.

Third, Singapore must also integrate ground-up actions with government initiatives, Mr Masagos said.

"For example, businesses can support more sustainable consumption and production practices," he said, highlighting as well the role of civil society groups such as Zero Waste Singapore in encouraging positive changes in consumer patterns and behaviour..