Here is why S’pore is committed to fighting climate change 


Perhaps by accident and design, Singapore has been a trailblazer in tackling climate change before Greta Thunberg turned it into a worldwide crusade. Take the much-vilified Vehicle Quota System (VQS) as an example. Implemented in 1990 to prevent excessive congestion on our roads, VQS has the added benefit of limiting our carbon emissions and putting us on the path towards further decarbonisation. 

But as with most conversations on sustainability and the environment, it is littered with big ideas and extrapolated figures. Moreover, with more urgent matters dominating the headlines, any talk about hitting net zero targets might as well be KPIs from another planet. 

Finally, many of us would have probably asked ourselves this question – how much of a difference will our ‘sacrifices’ make? With Singapore contributing around 0.1% of global emissions, would it be that catastrophic even if we continue driving diesel cars, drinking out of plastic straws and taking long showers? 

The long and short of it is yes. After all, what will happen if every country starts to view the environment as someone else’s problem? As part of the international community, Singapore must do its part (however small) to contribute to the global efforts in combating climate change.

But beyond that, the impetus to do so boils down to the need for survival and self-preservation. That is because the unfortunate reality is that any changes to the climate tend to affect small countries such as Singapore disproportionately. 

Today, we are already on the receiving end of erratic weather patterns threatening to turn an uncomfortable humidity into a scorching reality. An unprecedented heatwave in May (which saw the mercury hit a record 37 degrees Celsius) might just be a harbinger of more irregular weather ahead. 

Looking into the future, we would have no hinterland to move to should the sea level rise and destroy our low-lying coastlines. When temperatures increase and disrupt food production, we risk running into shortages because Singapore continues to be highly dependent on imports. As for rainfall, both too little and too much of it cause different kinds of chaos that ends with the same result – a deterioration of our living conditions. 

As we can see, climate change is potentially a calamitous event for us island dwellers. So rather than wait around passively for doomsday, we have the choice to make a difference, starting with some changes to our lifestyle and habits. 

From paying for a plastic bag to reduce waste to sorting out our garbage for recycling, while many of these are likely to feel like a nuisance, the PAP is determined to help Singaporeans foster a more sustainable way of life and build a green, liveable and climate-resilient Singapore for future generations. 

These days, we can find vending machines in our neighbourhoods that distribute BlooBox to promote recycling and an expanding cycling path network to encourage green commutes. On the ground, our MPs are also working closely with their communities to promote environmental stewardship.  

Besides MP Mr Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC), who went literally green to highlight the cause, there is MP Ms Gan Siow Huang (Marymount SMC), who organised weekly food rescue to reduce wastage and MP Mr Ang Wei Neng (West Coast GRC), who kayaked out with residents in Jurong Lake to clear up trash.  

Singapore might be small, but our efforts to combat climate change can have a domino effect to help spread social norms and encourage other countries to reduce emissions. And with climate change being one of the gravest challenges of our time, we must act now. Not just to prevent harm to our local environment but to the world at large. 

Photo Source: Hugh Whyte via Unsplash/ Gan Siow Huang/ Baey Yam Keng/ Ang Wei Neng via Facebook