Temasek conference: Solutions to climate crisis to be focus of sustainability event

The event will spotlight the solutions that can be used to reduce the global carbon footprint and adapt to the changing climate.
The event will spotlight the solutions that can be used to reduce the global carbon footprint and adapt to the changing climate.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SINGAPORE - Taking urgent action to weather the climate change storm will be a key focus of a sustainability conference organised by state investor Temasek this week.

With recent events and scientific evidence showing how climate change is no longer just a problem for the future, the event will spotlight the solutions that can be used to reduce the global carbon footprint and adapt to the changing climate.

Discussions during the three-day Ecosperity Week, which kicks off on Tuesday (Sept 28), will focus on issues such as decarbonisation technologies, including sustainable fuels for the aviation and maritime sectors, nature-based climate solutions, and tools that can help divert capital to meet climate goals.

The event will gather global business representatives, policymakers, investors and civil society members from the region.

Mr Frederick Teo, managing director of sustainable solutions at Temasek, told The Straits Times: "It is no longer about persuading people about why we need to address climate change, or why it makes good business sense. The evidence is now clear - the climate emergency will be the existential challenge of our generation."

That is why this year's Ecosperity Week - the seventh edition of the annual event - will focus more on how and what needs to be done to address the "existential threats of the climate emergency and nature loss", Mr Teo added.

In a major report released last month, the United Nations climate science body sounded the alarm bells for humanity, warning that unless immediate, rapid and large-scale actions are taken to reduce the release of planet-warming gases into the atmosphere, the world faces a dire future.

The report was preceded by a spate of extreme weather events around the globe. The human fingerprint was apparent in some.

For example, the heatwave that fried the Pacific North-west of the United States and western Canada in June was virtually impossible without human-caused climate change, scientists say.

Ecosperity Week will also have a regional focus, said Mr Teo, with discussions on the business opportunities and needs to address climate change and nature loss.

In terms of financing, research has shown that South-east Asia needs to increase green investment by 400 per cent each year to protect its people and economies from climate change and other environmental shocks.

The inaugural Singapore Sustainable Investing and Financing Conference - to be held during Ecosperity Week - will explore the levers needed for bridging the sustainable financing gap in Asia, Mr Teo said.

During the event, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, a co-founder of Microsoft, will also explain via a virtual link how the "green premium" for sustainable products can be reduced. Said Mr Teo: "We need to make sustainability sustainable too."

Dr Vinod Thomas, a visiting professor at the National University of Singapore who was a former World Bank vice-president, said the agenda items for the event are compelling.

"It is also vital to raise the stakes of climate inaction, and this event plays a part in that," he noted. "As the window on acting is closing, it is essential to blend innovative solutions, like voluntary carbon pricing, with agreements on command and control, like restriction on polluting fuels, that will move the needle."

Singapore plans to have its emissions peak at 65 million tonnes by 2030, and achieve net-zero emissions "as soon as viable in the second half of the century".

• All Ecosperity Week plenaries will be available for on-demand viewing within 24 hours at this website.