“As a global agreement on climate change gets closer to becoming reality, and Singapore gears up to deliver its domestic commitments, a single body will now coordinate two key aspects – the international and the domestic – of the country’s climate change policies” (One Body To Coordinate Singapore’s Climate Change Policies, Parliament).
Referring to the parliamentary report “One Body To Coordinate Singapore’s Climate Change Policies” (March 13, 2010): the administration is moving in the right direction, but more has to be done to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the measures significantly.
Regardless of the world’s progress towards an international consensus and agreement – faithfully facilitated by the United Nations (UN) – Singapore must remain committed to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, coupled by related policies that would not compromise the growth and development of the economy. In fact, Singapore should seize this valuable opportunity to pledge its commitment to move forward sustainably; which would greatly heighten Singapore’s diplomatic standing and prestige. While the short-term ramifications of global warming pale in comparison to the numerous socio-economic challenges that the administration is confronted with, the long-term consequences of unchecked fiscal progression and pure neglect would only promise the future of our country.
Before the reorganised Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change sets its sights on international negotiation strategies, much more has to be done for domestic measures. It is about time committees move beyond mere rhetoric and engage in tangible, effectual policy-making. A two-pronged approach should be adopted: strengthening and coordinating existing awareness campaigns and projects, complemented by initiatives to encourage or enforce households and corporations to live and grow responsibly, respecting notions of conservation and healthy maintenance. There has been a void for the latter, while the former engines of capacity and awareness-building have been sporadic and uncoordinated. The multitude of campaigns by various organisations and agencies have either been repetitive or simply ineffective, providing little incentives and motivation for Singaporeans to effect the necessary changes. Naturally, there should be opportunities provided for more forms of integration, with concerted action plans to implement potential policies and plans.
Progressively, Singapore should not be afraid to make its international presence felt. With inertia and tensions evident amongst the superpower – and the UN struggling out of the climate abyss – Singapore can actively rally middle-power nations to exert effective diplomatic pressures accordingly. Greater participation in global climate conferences and forums would also provide fantastic platforms for local non-government organisations (NGOs) to gather new ideas, generate more hype, and create more synergy back home.
It is imperative for Singapore to grab the climate bull by its horns, instead of remaining hopelessly apathetic and lethargic, and being stubbornly intimidated by the threat of climate change. Change must be the new constant.
A version of this article was published in TODAY.