Thursday 10 December 2015

Singapore pledges environmental commitment at Paris COP21 climate talks

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli pledges to reduce the country's emissions intensity as world leaders enter the second week of COP21 climate talks in Paris.
By Natalie Powell, UK Correspondent, Channel NewsAsia, 8 Dec 2015

PARIS: Singapore on Monday (Dec 7) pledged its commitment to the environment, as global environment ministers attended a second week of COP21 climate talks in Paris.

Singapore’s Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli joined a series of high-level voices and promised to reduce the country’s emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels. The clock is ticking for a binding deal to be reached by the end of the week to stop the planet’s temperature from increasing by above 2 degrees.

“Reducing GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions is not only about mitigating emissions from our industrial sectors, it can also be about protecting our forests and preventing peat land fires,” said Mr Masagos. “Peat lands are major carbon sinks. However with peat land fires caused by slash and burn practices of errant companies, they are no longer carbon sinks but a source of carbon dioxide emissions.”

Some studies have estimated that fires in Southeast Asia have released more than a gigatonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere just this year, and it is something that has become a major concern for campaigners.

* Historic climate change deal agreed at COP21

“Recently the massive fires in Indonesia is just a huge ecological catastrophe, both in terms of the biodiversity but also for our planet because a lot of the forests are on peat land and sending up a huge amount of carbon,” explained Campaign Against Climate Change’s campaigns coordinator Claire James. “So as well as thinking about long-term targets, we need real practical steps of shifting things now, building the right kind of infrastructure for clean energy.”

The message from most countries attending the summit in Paris was that there is a difficult task ahead, but now is the time to take action.

“It will take time, it’s a period of 15 years, but I think if we understand what and how big this problem is, facing not just us but the world and particularly Singapore being an island, we all ought to be serious about it,” said Mr Masagos.

"Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is not only about mitigating emissions from our industrial sectors; it can also be...
Posted by Climate Change SG on Monday, December 7, 2015

938LIVE Bubble: Paris Climate Talks
WATCH: We're almost there...or are we?It's the final stretch for talks in Paris, and climate negotiators from around the globe are meeting for their 21st annual talks. But just what have they been up to all these years before Paris? And what’s it all about?We tell you how we got to Paris in the latest #938LIVEBubble.#climatechange #COP21
Posted by 938LIVE on Sunday, December 6, 2015

Wondering what’s happening at COP21? Mel Low, a researcher at NUS, gives us an insider’s look.
Posted by Climate Change SG on Thursday, December 10, 2015

Paris climate talks: Singapore youths hope to see more environmental activism
By Albert Wai, TODAY, 9 Dec 2015

The Singaporean youth delegation at the ongoing Paris climate talks are a clued in and engaged lot – they want to see an ambitious agreement with major emitters such as China and India taking on concrete goals and targets.

At the same time, they hope to see more Singaporeans take concrete personal actions to address climate change, they said in an interview today (Dec 9).

The more than 20-strong Singaporean youth activist contingent hails from different walks of life and several networks, including the Environmental Challenge Organisation (ECO Singapore) and Singapore Youth for Climate Action (SYAC), among others.

“Ideally, I would like to see a 1.5°C goal (in the new agreement) instead of 2°C we are using now,” said Nor Lastrina Hamid of the SYAC, who delivered a speech on behalf of YOUNGO (the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – UNFCCC observer constituency of youth non-governmental organisations) during yesterday’s high level segment of the talks.

Lastrina's speech at the High Level Segment of #COP21 which has making the rounds on the internet ;)
Posted by Singapore Youth for Climate Action - SYCA on Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Negotiators are aiming to stop global temperatures rising more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels but some countries are pushing for a more ambitious 1.5°C target.

“But realistically, I would like to see the five-year review cycle being implemented and also more information about how we are going to operationalise the green climate fund,” added Ms Lastrina, referring to ongoing discussions on a proposed five-year cycle to review countries’ climate pledges and the funding mechanism set up within the UNFCCC framework to help developing countries deal with climate change respectively.

Ms Juliana Chia, a lead activist with Team Young NTUC Affinity Group added: “China and India should have concrete goals and targets that they are going to set and meet, because right now they have the biggest impact (on global emissions).”

For some of the activists, attending the Paris Climate Conference entails significant investment of personal time and financial commitments, with some of them taking leave from their jobs to attend the ongoing talks to negotiate a global climate change framework after the current Kyoto Protocol pact expires in 2020.

They say that while climate change awareness among young Singaporeans is growing, Singaporean youths need to be more proactive in terms of making changes to their daily lives.

“Young Singaporeans do care about it (climate change) but we never had this culture of taking things into our own hands,” said Melissa Chong of the WWF Singapore. Ms Chong was a former environment reporter with Channel NewsAsia.

“We are always very reliant on the government and other people to do things for us. This sense of empowerment that I can change things on my own rarely gets support from other people.”

Wilson Ang, Founder of ECO Singapore which runs a year-long fellowship on environmental issues and takes a small group of youths to attend the negotiations every year, said that “the takeaway for them to attend COP (Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC) is for them to understand the process, understand how the issue relates and hopefully when they leave, they will walk the talk and eventually become champions in their own communities.”

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