Intensify efforts to combat climate change, PM Lee’s message to UN –

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Speaking at the UN secretary-general’s Climate Action Summit, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called for all member-countries of the United Nations to combat climate change effects and intensify efforts in dealing with the so-called ‘ultimate global commons challenge.’

“As leaders, we all have the responsibility to do our part to rally our people’s support for sustainable development; to convince and educate our people that these efforts are important, and to safeguard our future, and the futures of our children and grandchildren,” the Singapore prime minister said.

Mr Lee is in New York on a week-long working visit where he is to meet US President Donald Trump and will receive the 2019 World Statesman Award.

“The consequences of climate change are catastrophic and affects all countries. New diseases, more extreme weather events, food shortages, forced migration and even wars,” Mr Lee continued to say.

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Believing that Singapore cannot stop climate change on its own, the country is cooperating with other nations via initiatives like the Southeast Asia Disaster Risk Insurance Facility, with the support of Japan and the World Bank.

The facility provides flood risk-pooling for the region, and the risk pool is meant to provide immediate liquidity to cover emergency response costs in the aftermath of regional catastrophes.

Singapore has also contributed S$5 million to the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre, based in Singapore, for a five-year regional capacity development programme for Southeast Asia. The said programme aims to share technical knowledge and skills in weather and climate prediction and help the region better adapt its policies to climate change.

Apart from these steps, Singapore has also played its part by switching to a cleaner fuel mix, and deploying cleaner energy solutions, Mr Lee added.

For instance, Singapore has implemented a carbon tax set at a rate of S$5 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions from 2019 to 2023. Singapore is also reviewing the carbon tax rate by 2023, with plans to increase it to between S$10 and S$15 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. It has installed large-scale solar panels that float in its reservoirs and off its shores.

“Being small and highly urbanised, we are disadvantaged in terms of alternative energy, but we are developing creative solutions within our constraints,” said Mr Lee. -/TISG

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