If you don't want to read all of the 39 pages of our climate change policy, here's a summary.
What seems to be the problem and what's it to us?
As the climate change crisis confronting our planet deepens, Singapore will not be spared its consequences. With rising global temperatures, polar ice-caps will melt and sea-levels will rise. This will flood our coastal areas.
It will also heat up our island and cause health risks. Singapore is heating up twice as fast as other parts of the world.
Such a phenomenon will also wreak havoc with the weather in the region such as prolonged dry seasons and excessive rainfall. It will adversely affect agriculture in our neighbouring countries on which much of our food supply depends. Warm sea temperatures will also cause marine life to die. All this will have a profound effect on food prices in Singapore - assuming that there is still enough food to go around.
(SDP's Young Democrats launched the policy today. Read the report here or watch the event here.)
So what's causing the warming?
The cause of climate change is driven largely by the release of greenhouse gases and other pollutants into the atmosphere primarily through the burning of fossil fuels (like oil and gas) to produce power that enables us to go about our daily lives (like driving and turning on the air-con).
The burning of such fuels in Singapore through our oil refineries has made us a major emitter of greenhouse gases.
Is the government doing anything about it?
The PAP's lack of decisive and expeditious action to arrest the problem means that Singapore is woefully underperforming when it comes to meeting emission-cutting targets required to slow down and reverse global warming.
A group called The Climate Action Tracker monitors the progress that countries make in fighting climate change. It ranks Singapore under the "highly insufficient" category.
The present arrangement is untenable and something needs to be done and done urgently if we want to leave the planet and our country habitable for future generations.
So what's the SDP's plan?
Briefly, the SDP will:
- Incentivise and mandate motorists to switch to electric vehicles. To achieve this, we will move to ramp up the installation of chargers needed for such vehicles across the island. The target is to have 25 percent of cars on our roads be electric ones by 2030, 50 percent by 2040 and fully electrified by 2050.
- Expand our use of renewable energy, especially solar power. With technology developing rapidly in harnessing clean energy, prices of electricity from such sources have tumbled making them viable alternatives to oil and gas. SDP will accelerate the installation of solar panels in public spaces, significantly increase R&D funding on solar projects, buy renewable energy from other countries, and collaborate with neighbouring countries to develop clean energy.
- Regulate the escalation of our population size. Our city is already one of the most densely populated spots in the world. With the cramming of more and more people onto an already crowded island through an overly lax immigration policy, forests and nature reserves are being cleared and disturbed to make way for more construction for housing and transportation. The loss of the island's "lungs" as well as our biodiversity is incalculable.
- Firmly enforce the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act by prosecuting business entities operating in Singapore that are linked with companies engaged in forest-burning in Indonesia.
- Significantly upgrade Singapore's Nationally Determined Contributions that we signed under the Paris Agreement to lower and eventually remove harmful emissions.
- Finally, prohibit corporations from manufacturing products that depend on single-use packaging as well as inculcate among our people the desirable habit of recycling.
But didn't Minister Vivian Balakrishnan say that Singapore is a "well-designed future-ready city"?
Yes, but while the PAP talks a good game about taking action on climate change, evidence points to a lack of political will and urgency to ensure a future for Singapore that is smart, sustainable and green. It continues to drag its feet over implementing pressing and meaningful measures to slow down and even reverse climate change. Case in point: Climate Action Tracker's assessment.
This alternative policy is but the SDP's contribution to the on-going struggle to cultivate a Singapore that future generations can live in, free of the ravages of a planet destroyed by our greed and thoughtlessness.
The SDP calls on all Singaporeans, regardless of political persuasion and background, to join in the supreme effort of turning around decades of degrading the very place that we depend on for our continued existence and happiness.
Read our policy Climate Change in Singapore: Taking Urgent Measures Towards a Smart and Green Future here.