Government looking at long-term proposals to prepare and protect against rising sea levels: PM Lee

SINGAPORE – The threat to climate change to Singapore and the world have become increasingly serious and Singapore must take steps to shore up its defences.

This means having more than just clean waters and lush greenery, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday.

Pointing out that Singapore is already feeling the effects of global warming with Singapore recording its hottest year and second driest year over the past few years, he noted that rising sea levels were of particular concern.

“Many South-east Asian countries, including Singapore, are also vulnerable to rising sea levels because of our long coastlines and low- lying areas,” said PM Lee, who was speaking at the Clean and Green Singapore launch ceremony at Wisma Geylang Serai.

Government agencies, PM Lee said, were studying this carefully.

“In due course we will come up with long-term proposals to adequately prepare and protect ourselves,” he said.

He highlighted the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report published last month by the United Nations (UN) that warned that world temperatures could rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels in the next 12 years, if global warming continues at its current pace. This in turn, would impact sea levels.

For example, higher temperatures in our region could spread tropical diseases like dengue fever, affect agricultural crops, and hurt Singapore’s economy.

Already the Government, he said, has taken steps to protect Singapore against the adverse effects of climate change and rising sea levels.

Low lying roads near coastal areas have been raised and the Stamford Detention Tank and the Stamford Diversion Canal were built to prevent flooding in areas such as Orchard Road.

The future Changi Airport Terminal 5 will also be built on a higher platform than the existing terminals to allow for rising sea levels, he said.

Singarpore also launched the Climate Action Plan in 2016, which outlines some of the measure being taken to mitigate climate change, including a carbon tax that will come into effect next year (2019).

Besides infrastructure and policies, PM Lee said, mindsets and lifestyles also needed to be changed.

Opting for public transport or energy saving appliances may not seem significant in an individual scale but would have a cumulative effect if everyone adopted it.

“But just like our “Save Water” campaign where every drop counts, every climate action counts,” he said.

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