The world is already committed to a two degree rise in global average temperatures, despite our very best mitigation efforts, due to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission generated by the developed countries in their course of industrialisation.
Leading climate scientists have already warned that the world has already passed the tipping points of climate change, i.e. in the Arctic region, and has about a decade or two before humanity is put on a path of no-return, or irreversible and runaway climate change.
Recent studies to the scientific findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) revealed that actual observations recorded are on the upper boundary of IPCC projects, such as recent global GHG emissions trends, melting of the Arctic and Greenland ice sheets etc.
The possible impacts of global climate change are well-documented in the climate science literature. The question is how will climate change affect Singapore? According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) 2009 report on “The Economics of Climate Change in Southeast Asia: A Regional Review”, the temperature in Singapore has increased 0.6 degree Celsius between 1987 and 2007 or about 0.3 degree Celsius per decade.
NUS’ analysis of long term weather data in Singapore has shown that the ambient air temperature has increased by about 1 degree Celsius over the past 20 years. IPCC (2007) estimates that the temperature rise in Singapore by the end of this century is likely to be similar to the projected global mean temperature rise of 2.5 degree Celsius with a range of 1.7 – 4.4 degree Celsius.
A recent local climate change study commissioned by the National Environment Agency (NEA) and conducted by the NUS Tropical Marine Science Institute (TMSI) revealed that the change in average temperature for Singapore is in the range of 2.7 to 4.2 degree Celsius.
A temperature rise of such proportions, coupled with the well-documented urban heat island effect, without even considering the prospect of dangerous climate change, is going to severely affect our livelihoods, natural ecosystems and biodiversity.
The Sustainable Singapore Blueprint also states that “All cities, including Singapore, may experience more extreme temperatures, heat waves and heavy rainfall more frequently.” Besides rising temperatures, Singapore will face rising sea levels, water resource scarcity, worsening food security and spread of diseases such as dengue, to name a few.
The failure to anticipate, adapt and prepare for adverse climate impacts will have grave and profound implications for our country, our generation and generations to come. Therefore, the preparation to adapt to climate change is of paramount importance given our island’s limited geographical boundary, scarce resources and increasing population.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
7:30pm – 9:30pm
Red Dot Traffic Building, 28 maxwell road, #01-04
About Loo Deliang
Deliang is a graduate student of environmental management with the National University of Singapore. He also holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences Honours in Economics, with a focus on the Economics of Climate Change.
In his free time, he serves as advisor to the NUS Students Against Violation of the Earth (SAVE) and is the interim Chairperson of the Youth Coalition for Sustainable Development (Singapore), a new youth environmental NGO. He currently works with the National Environment Agency.
Deliang’s interests are in climate change and environmental sustainability. Views expressed in this talk are his own.