Singapore faces two challenges linked to climate change, says Minister
SINGAPORE – Singapore faces two challenges related to climate change and is considering a new coastal protection plan to preserve the island’s most at-risk coasts, the country’s environment minister said.
“Our two challenges are coastal flooding … (and) extreme rainstorms which could cause more intense flooding inland. So we need a system that can help us manage both, ”said Grace Fu, Minister of Sustainability and Environment.
The project, launched on Tuesday by Singapore’s national water agency PUB, will bring together science and data on how to best mitigate and adapt to coastal damage before creating an action roadmap, Fu told CNBC “Squawk Box Asia” on Wednesday.
Singapore, a small Southeast Asian city-state smaller than New York City, has worked for years to protect its coastline from rising sea levels and other environmental damage.
Much of the country lies just 15 meters above mean sea level, with around 30% of the country less than 5 meters above mean sea level. This prompted authorities to implement a minimum land reclamation level of 4 meters – a figure that would likely rise soon 5 meters away, Fu said.
“We want to understand the impact of all these climate scenarios on our environment, on the seawater level, and also on the tidal differences that are presented to us,” she said.
The first region to be covered under the plan will be approximately 57.8 km of coastline covering Singapore’s Grand South Waterfront – which includes the city’s central business district, the East Coast and Changi, home to the Singapore Changi Airport.
The skyline of the financial and business center is seen in the background as people surf on the beach at East Coast Park in Singapore on July 17, 2020.
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Singapore’s new coastal protection strategy will offer private developers the opportunity to help rethink its future, Fu said.
The study is launched with a $ 5 billion fund and will be undertaken by a private consortium including Singaporean and Dutch consultants over the next four years. This process will in turn open the door for other private companies to come up with environmentally friendly solutions, Fu said.
“For the investments that the government is making, I am sure the private sector will be able to benefit from the construction and provision of the engineering solutions,” she said.
“Developers along the way will get a feel for the plan we’re following,” she said. “So when they build infrastructure, when they build buildings, when they build offices or when they build recreation facilities, they will have to build with this science, these data, these assumptions in mind.”
The project is part of growing efforts to reduce the impact of climate change around the world.