Snapshot: Climate Adaptation in Singapore
Updated: Oct 7, 2020
Climate vulnerability as a low lying island nation
As a low-lying island, Singapore is vulnerable to rising sea levels, which has been a known consequence of climate change for years. Scientists in the Centre for Climate Research Singapore have projected that by 2100, the mean sea level around Singapore may rise by up to one meter. Coupled with frequent and heavy storms also brought about by climate change, Singapore needs new measures in order to ensure the island state’s survival.
In his Budget Statement on 18 February 2020, Singapore’s Minister for Finance, Heng Swee Keat announced an initial injection of SGD 5 billion into a newly established Coastal and Flood Protection Fund (CFPF). The establishment of CFPF should be seen in the light of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s speech at the National Day Rally in 2019, where he mentioned that investments in climate change adaptation might reach SGD 100 billion or more over the next 100 years (link)
Singapore’s new Coastal and Flood Protection Fund (CFPF)
CFPF will be set up under Singapore’s National Water Agency, the Public Utilities Board (PUB), which - due to the fact that PUB is already responsible for storm water management - makes it possible for PUB to have a holistic approach to the management of inland and coastal flood risks. This means that from 1 April 2020, PUB assumes an additional role as the nation’s Coastal Protection Agency, with a new Coastal Protection Department. The combined responsibility under PUB strengthens Singapore’s overall resilience against climate change.
In the initial state, PUB will focus on creating long-term strategies and solutions for specific areas along Singapore’s most vulnerable coastline areas. They will do so by engaging in studies and working closely with other agencies and stakeholders. (link)
Project identification and evaluation
CFPF’s near-term projects will be focused studying the coastal areas to identify the type, feasibility and scope of the measures required. The coastal efforts will be launched in phases, starting with the City to East Coast stretch and Jurong Island.
The initial funding will also be invested in expansion and improvement of the drainage infrastructure in order to improve resilience against floods.
PUB will, in addition, partner with various stakeholders to explore the possibilities for new opportunities within urban development. At the Committee of Supply Debate, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Masagos Zulkifli, presented the possibility for Singapore to reclaim a series of islands offshore in order to connect these islands by building barrages to create community spaces for Singaporeans and contribute to water resilience (link).
As CFPF is still in the early stages of life, not much information has been released about the actual identification and projects and the evaluation hereof.
CFPF is created to deal with the threat of rising sea levels by setting aside resources earmarked this particular area and will fund initiatives for both coastal protection and drainage infrastructure. As such measures require a significant amount of capital, CFPF is set up to ensure a sustainable and stabile pool of funding. Besides the SGD 5 billion initial injection, more resources will be allocated towards the fund whenever Singapore’s fiscal situation allows.
Given the severity of climate change and the significance of the expected resources needed for the adaptation measures, Singapore’s Government has expressed the need for a combination of funding methods. The CFPF will be just one source of funding. The Government has committed to look into and assess other appropriate sources of funding. Additional sources may include budgets of Ministries, borrowing and tapping on past reserves where land reclamation is involved. (link).
Super Low Energy Buildings - another notable initiative to increase Singapore’s climate resilience
Reducing CO2 emissions are widely accepted as a means to mitigate global climate change. In 2015, Singapore set a national target to reduce its emissions intensity (carbon emissions per Gross Domestic Product (GDP) dollar) in 2030 by 36 per cent from 2005 levels, and to peak by around 2030. In February 2020, Singapore enhanced its climate pledge by committing to an absolute peak emission level of 65 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and halve emissions from the 2030-peak to 33 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2050.
As buildings consume one-third of the Singapore’s total electricity consumption, building energy efficiency is critical in the national’s sustainability agenda. Consequently, Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has set a national target of achieving 80% Green Gross Floor Area (GFA) by 2030. Since the launch of BCA’s Green Mark scheme in 2005, more than 3,300 buildings or 36% of the building stocks by GFA has achieved GM standards. To further push the envelope, BCA launched the Super Low Energy (SLE) Programme on 5 September 2018. Buildings aspiring to achieve the new benchmark need to achieve at least 60% – and preferably up to 80% - energy savings by adopting energy efficient measures and onsite renewable energy based on the 2005 building code level.
In order to achieve the upper boundary of 80% energy savings, BCA have initiated a slew of R&D programs and funding opportunities to improve on current best-in-class technologies. R&D tracks include reinventing air conditioning, mechanical ventilation & dehumidification, hybrid cooling, smart building technologies, advanced insulation, and many more.
Get in touch for more information about business opportunities in Singapore:
Mark Edward Perry
Trade Advisor at Royal Danish Embassy Singapore
Phone: +65 9088 5567