The location of Singapore and its geography make it highly affected by the effects of climate change. Hence, the country is implementing various policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the predicted climate. Climate change is an undeniable fact, and its effects are being felt all around the world, including in Singapore.
In recent years, Singapore has experienced several extreme weather events, including heatwaves, heavy rainfall, and flooding, all of which can be attributed to climate change. The city-state is also vulnerable to rising sea levels, which can lead to coastal erosion and flooding. In this blog, we will examine the effects of climate change in Singapore and how it affects people’s lives.
The Effects of Climate Change in Singapore
1. Rising Temperatures
Rising temperatures are one of the noticeable effects of climate change in Singapore. The city-state has experienced more frequent and intense heat waves in recent years. These heat waves can severely impact human health, especially for vulnerable groups such as older people and children. Heat Waves can also lead to an increase in respiratory problems and heatstroke.
2. Rising Sea Level
Singapore is a low-lying island city-state, and rising sea levels significantly threaten its existence. The city-state is already experiencing coastal erosion and flooding in some areas. Rising sea levels can also lead to saltwater intrusion, damaging freshwater supplies and affecting agriculture.
3. Water resources
A rise in the intensity of weather variability could significantly challenge managing our water resources. The drought can affect the reliability of Singapore’s water supply, while sudden rainfall could deluge our drainage system, which can lead to floods.
4. Effect on public health
In Singapore, vector-borne diseases like dengue are observed during the warmer conditions of the year. Besides, severe and frequent warm weather may lead to more discomfort and stress among sick and older adults. Hence, climate change in Singapore affects people’s health.
5. Biodiversity and greenery
A dangerous increase in the temperature of 1.5°C to 2.5° C could influence the natural diversity of the plants and animals of Singapore at risk, as this alters the natural process of the ecosystem like nutrient storage, soil formation, and pollution absorption.
6. Effect of urban heat
Climate change in Singapore affects the urban areas of Singapore. Urban areas tend to be warmer because of replacing the natural land cover with buildings and other infrastructure that produce more heat. Higher annual temperatures can lead to heat stress which demands the greater use of air conditioning, increasing energy demands in Singapore. This situation, in turn, results in higher domestic carbon emissions.
7. Food Security
The effects of climate change in Singapore can affect food security. The impact of climate change, like flooding, intense storms and prolonged droughts, affects food security. In Singapore, we are helpless in fluctuating the global food supply and prices, as we import more than 90 per cent of our food.
What is forest mitigation?
Forests are home to more than half of the world’s land-based animals, plants and insects. They fight climate change because of their capacity to eliminate carbon from the atmosphere and store it, termed forest mitigation.
How do forests mitigate climate change in Singapore?
Forests help slow the rate of climate change by eradicating carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it. As the primary driver of climate change is over-excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, this is considered the direct effect.
Forests are also essential in addressing the effect of climate change in Singapore. Approximately 2.6 million billion tonnes of carbon dioxide and one-third of the CO2 released from the burning of fossil fuels is absorbed by forests in the year.
Mitigation strategies for forests
Mitigation strategies for forests include minimising disturbance during harvesting activities, reducing the width of forest roads and helping trees get the re-establishment faster after harvest.
Creating more forests through afforestation and enhancing growth in existing forests are two ways to increase forests as carbon sinks.
Efforts to combat climate change in Singapore
To reduce the effect of climate change in Singapore, the country is introducing different policies that stop GHG emissions.
Firstly, Singapore is switching from coal and oil and is currently focusing on the electricity needs from natural gas, aiming to increase the role of renewable energy sources. The country will focus on harnessing solar energy and aims to achieve at least 2 GW of solar capacity by 2030. Besides, the country’s future depends on importing renewable energy from the surrounding countries and harnessing other low-carbon alternatives.
Preparing For Inevitable Effects of Climate Change
Even after many efforts, climate change in Singapore is inevitable within the next few decades. Hence to combat these effects, the country is applying different adaptation efforts like:
- Implementation of erosion control methods like stone embankments
- Increasing minimum land reclamation height from 3 to 4 meters
- Developing water resource management infrastructure
- Improving food security by growing diversifying and local important sources
- Redeveloping the stormwater drainage system of the country.
Climate change in Singapore is a global problem, and Singapore is not immune to its effects. Rising temperatures, heavy rainfall, flooding, rising sea levels, and threats to biodiversity are all impacts of climate change that Singapore is experiencing. These impacts significantly affect human health, the economy, housing, and water security.
However, Singapore is addressing climate change by investing in renewable energy, promoting green building practices, introducing a carbon tax, developing climate adaptation strategies, and launching public education campaigns. These actions demonstrate Singapore’s commitment to mitigating the effect of climate change and building a sustainable future.