Introduction In 2009, Singapore pledged to undertake mitigation measures leading to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 16% below 2020 Business as Usual (BAU) levels. The BAU level refers to a projection without policy intervention. Projecting from 2005, Singapore’s BAU emissions are expected to reach 77.2 million tonnes (MT) in 2020. As of now, the main contribution to Singapore’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is carbon dioxide (CO2) from the use of energy to meet development and human needs.. Singapore incinerates all her waste and the little methane emitted from the existing landfill is flared off with electricity production and industries making up 54% of her CO2 contribution. Impact on Singapore Singapore is uninsulated from the effects of Climate change. Since 1948, global temperature has risen over 0.8 degrees Celsius; the mean sea level in the Straits of Singapore has also increased by about 3 mm per year over the past 15 years. Rainfall has become more intense in recent years. In 2001, the first recorded cyclone near the equator, Typhoon Vamei, swept north of Singapore and caused major flooding in the region. There is much speculation that tropical cyclones near the equator will occur more frequently in the future. From the effects of sea level rise, as a low-lying island, the rise in sea level poses the most immediate threat to Singapore. Much of our nation lies only 15 m above the mean sea level, with about 30% of our island being less than 5 m above the mean sea level. Climate change may directly impact Singapore’s water resources as an increase in the intensity of weather variability could present significant challenges to the management of our water resources. Periods of drought can affect the reliability of Singapore's water supply, while sudden episodes of intense rainfall could overwhelm our drainage system and lead to flash floods. Effect on public health will pose a challenge to tropical regions such as Singapore. Singapore is situated in a region where vector-borne diseases are endemic. Most cases of vector-borne diseases like dengue are observed during warmer periods of the year. In addition, frequent and severe instances of warm weather may lead to more occurrences of heat stress and discomfort among the elderly and sick. Lastly, the issue of Food security is of utmost importance to all countries worldwide, not just Singapore. The effects of climate change, such as intense storms, flooding and prolonged droughts, are one of the trends threatening global food security. In Singapore, we are particularly vulnerable to fluctuations in global food supply and prices, as we import more than 90% of our food. Reduction of GHG emissions Singapore reduces her GHG emissions through (a) Increasing energy efficiency; (b) Using less carbon-intensive fuels; and (c) Increasing carbon ‘sinks’ such as forests.
Adaptation strategy a) Flooding The development of drainage infrastructure in Singapore over the last 30 years has also reduced flood-prone areas from 3200 ha in the 1970s to 124 ha today. PUB will reduce it to less than 66 ha by 2011 through the development and improvement of drainage infrastructure in Singapore (e.g. widening and deepening of drains and canals), the completion of the Marina Barrage, as well as other flood alleviation projects. This will reduce the possibility of increased inland flooding due to climate change. b) Heat Stress Measures that can lower ambient temperature include increasing the amount of greenery in the city (e.g. city parks, rooftop gardens, vertical greening in buildings) and modifying building layouts and designs (e.g. using building materials with better thermal properties, lighter-coloured building surfaces, designing building interiors and exterior building layouts for better ventilation and maximising the wind tunnel effect). The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the National Parks Board (NParks) have been working closely to plan and provide greenery islandwide, such as providing parks and green open spaces, and planting along roads and around developments, such as the latest Gardens by the Bay. URA and NParks have also been promoting rooftop and vertical greenery on our residential and commercial buildings buildings through planning guidelines and incentives. The Housing Development Board (HDB) is in the process of introducing rooftop greenery to multi-storey carparks and residential buildings where feasible. c) Water Resource Scarcity Rising global temperatures can also change rainfall patterns and affect the amount of water stored in reservoirs. The unpredictability in rainfall can cause difficulties in capacity planning of water resources. However, the introduction of NEWater and desalination, which are not rainfall dependent, has diversified and increased the resilience of our water supply, even during prolonged dry spells. Conclusion: All in all, Climate change is a long-term phenomenon and its impacts will be felt for decades. In Singapore, The Ministry of National Development leads an inter-agency Taskforce to review existing infrastructural adaptation measures, as part of the overall government's approach to address climate change. Government agencies will continue to work closely together to assess the possible impacts of climate change on Singapore, regularly review the sufficiency of Singaporeâ€™s existing adaptation measures, identify new measures as necessary and establish national systems to actively monitor and manage these impacts. References/ Credits: 1. Singaporeâ€™s Second National Communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (November 2010) 2. NCSS National Climate Change Secretariat Prime Minister's Office Singapore
3. Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources: Singaporeâ€™s National Climate Change Strategy