Singapore National Climate Change Secretariat

Global warming now threatens the destruction of everything that we hold dear about our lives and our heritage, from our coastal cities, our food systems, our indigenous communities and the beauty and biological productivity of the planets ecosystems such as coral reefs and keystone species - Indonesian Tiger and Orangutan. We are the first generation to feel the effects of global warming, and the last generation that has the opportunity to do something about it[2]. All of us are aware of the risks, we also acknowledge that current action at a global level is less than adequate. What we also know is that built into our heritage is a set of fundamental values about right and wrong, and as children we are taught that when everybody else is doing the wrong thing, we still have a choice in how we choose to act.

We now are presented with a real threat of permanent loss of all that we cherish about our world and our society. This threat is a direct consequence of choices that we make today about our pollution of greenhouse gasses by unrestricted burning of fossil fuels, agriculture and deforestation. Our climate is now at a level of atmospheric carbon dioxide of >415 ppm that is far beyond what is considered a safe climate condition, never observed before in the past 400,000 years of recorded history and believed that the last time that the Earth was at such a level there was no Arctic ice and sea level was +5-35 meters higher than now[1]. Current climate models predict that we will begin to observe dramatic shifts towards that equilibrium and it is undeniable that we are pushing into dangerous territory. Scientists are warning us that continuing with business as usual risks pushing into a tipping point of no return, and we may already have crossed that line. The threat of global warming and urgency for action has thrown us as a civilization into an existential crisis and urgency for action at a global level that has only been seen two times before in history matched only by the crisis of the aggression of the Axis powers of Germany and Japan in World War II in 1939 and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

The Paris Agreement is a landmark achievement of global cooperation and recognition that bold and decisive leadership is needed to prevent a catastrophe. The Paris Agreement SR1.5[4] to keep to a warming of less than +1.5C above pre-industrial levels calls on leaders of nations such as yourselves to peak emissions by 2020, 47% reduction by 2030 and zero emissions by 2050. The Agreement accounted for differences in development status between member states and pressed developed economies with a higher burden of responsibility to lead, with a chance for developing economies to catch up as fast followers. Singapore’s current pledge to the Paris Agreement is not measured in emissions or emissions per capita, falls short of the requirements and is rated as highly insufficient on track for a dangerous +4C warming. Accounting for forecasted GDP growth, Singapore’s current pledge is estimated to be an increase in emissions [5].

National policy commitments and investments that are defined in terms of science based targets in technology and infrastructure as opposed to national income can create real economic gains that continue to pay dividends in national income long afterwards. Examples include the NASA space program from the US and China’s build-up of solar PV industry from 2007 until present day. The challenge to reach net zero emissions presents numerous innovation opportunities for Singapore such as industrial carbon capture, electric vehicles, district cooling, science based financing, net positive buildings, plant-based protein, vertical farming and circular manufacturing. A nation that has passion and purpose around a common singular goal can provide the right context environment for fundamental elements of a healthy economy such as trust, social cohesion, workforce participation, household savings and specialization of labor. Often programs such as these initially do not appear to have a straightforward connection to a sure and clear path to measurable changes in national income, but with dedicated commitment to the goal, the real long term economic prosperity and innovations created through the process can continue to bear fruit long after the program has achieved its stated goals.

Not everything can be predicted with certainty, however that should not be a rationale to be fearful, but an inspiration to take on the challenge. to quote the words of John F Kennedy in his going to the moon speech[3] :

We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win

For other cities, the threat of global warming may seem as an impossible challenge, but for Singapore, we know what to do.

[1] http://sealevelstudy.org/sea-change-science/whats-sea-change-science/when-was-the-pliocene
[2] https://www.globalo.com/barack-obama/
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_choose_to_go_to_the_Moon
[4] https://report.ipcc.ch/sr15/pdf/sr15_spm_final.pdf
[5] https://climateactiontracker.org/countries/singapore/


Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong
Mr Teo Chee Hean, Senior Minister and Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change
Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs
Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources
Mr Benedict Chia, Director (Strategic Issues) for the National Climate Change Secretariat

We are concerned Singapore citizens and residents, young and old writing to you on behalf of our generation and of generations of fellow humans of the world yet unborn. We look up to you and trust you as capable leaders, who have inspired us in many ways to uphold a prideful image of Singapore. Thanks to the vision, determination and resourcefulness of our leaders present and past, the city we are building is an opportunity to showcase a model of economic prosperity that is in harmony with the living planet. Singapore has come a long way from third world to first, and has matured from a role as a follower adopting ingenuity from others, to innovating and leveraging our capabilities to create positive impact at the global stage.

As Singaporeans and as humans the current pledge of emissions reduction to the Paris Agreement does not reflect the image we hold of ourselves. Our values taught us in school to endure to meet or exceed the marks for our assignments. We are a proud city and up to the challenge to take on the role of innovative and economic leaders of the world and we are calling on you to join us as a source of inspiration not only to meet these emissions targets, but to beat them. Transitioning our economy to net zero emissions is an opportunity for us to build resilience to future climate economic uncertainty by undertaking greater responsibility and taking on greater leadership regionally and internationally.

We call on you, as our leaders, to three specific actions that are the minimum that we believe would be sufficient for Singapore to be a leader in its action on the climate emergency

1) Revise the measure of our reporting and reduction metric of our National Declared Emissions to be in scientific biological units of Net Greenhouse Gas Emissions per person -- CO2eq/capita. The current metric - Energy intensity of GDP should be kept as it is a useful metric in understanding how we are achieving that goal but should not define our goals.

2) Align our emissions target to be appropriate as our status as a fully developed influential global city-state and lead by peaking emissions in 2020, 47% reduction by 2030 and zero emissions by 2050.

3) Set an emissions drawdown plan that will ensure high confidence of meeting these targets. We leave it to the creativity of the Singapore leadership and participants from industry and the public to define what this means. We have full confidence that the leadership is capable and already on their way with examples of ambitious 30% food self-sufficiency by 2030 and continued investment in walkable city infrastructure.

Singapore is known as the Garden City and has captivated the imagination of the world in its ability to develop urban infrastructure together with plant biology in a seamless and beautiful way. As an analogy to that heritage, a unique feature of many plants growth and development life cycle is the distinct transition at the onset of flowering from the phase of growth, to a period of stable size, and fruit bearing capacity. From its inception until today Singapore has experienced spectacular growth, and now it is time for Singapore to bear fruit for the rest of the world to benefit and share in the prosperity.

GoPetition respects your privacy.

The Singapore NCCS full commitment to Paris Agreement 1.5C carbon emissions reduction petition to Singapore National Climate Change Secretariat was written by Taylor Hickem and is in the category Justice at GoPetition.