Call for Asean to work together for low-carbon future

The urgent need for Asean to deal with climate change was highlighted yesterday by two Singapore ministers, who called on the regional bloc to work together for a low-carbon future.

Both Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, cited Asean's vulnerability to the changing environment as a key reason for the countries to take steps to deal with climate change.

"Asean countries such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam could see a 70cm rise in sea levels by 2100. There is an urgent need for all countries to take steps to be low-carbon and more climate resilient," DPM Teo said. He was quoting a report by the Asian Development Bank that also said regional temperatures could rise by about 6 deg C by 2100 if no significant actions were taken to reduce greenhouse gases.

Mr Teo also noted that while Asean member states were already taking measures to reduce their emissions, adapt to climate change and grow the green economy on their own, there was scope to work together at the regional level. "At the Asean level, we can share our experiences and work with our dialogue partners to build a low-carbon future," he said during a meeting on climate change that included ministers and representatives from Asean countries.

Yesterday evening, Mr Masagos told the media that member states agreed to work together. Reiterating that Asean was particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change, he said Singapore will do its part. "We have proposed a climate action package where we will bring Asean members to Singapore to build up capacity and capability, and to share our experiences on how we mitigate as well as adapt against climate change," he added.

Audrey Tan

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2018, with the headline Call for Asean to work together for low-carbon future. Subscribe