11 July 2016

Singapore's Climate Action Plan and our shores

The Climate Action Plan for Singapore was unveiled yesterday. Great to know that last year's mass fish death is highlighted among the key warning signs of climate impacts to Singapore!
My comments on biodiversity and marine aspects are below. What do you think of the Plan? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


Unfortunately, the response to deteriorating water quality is not focused on reducing impacts such as industrial littering, pollution, fresh water pulses. Instead, it is to separate the fish. How sustainable is this?
Also good to know that it is acknowledged that the Number One risk Singapore faces is rising seas.
The response to rising seas is to protect our coastline with engineered structures. How sustainable is this?
Another example of engineering solution to rising seas.
Another response to rising seas is to raise reclamation heights even more. How sustainable is this?

There is mention of protecting biodiversity against climate change, but no mention of the role of biodiversity in protecting Singapore against rising seas and climate change.

"To protect Singapore’s marine biodiversity, NParks established Singapore’s first marine park at the Sisters’ Islands in 2014. The marine park is an ecosystem inhabited by rare and endangered marine animals. Other measures to protect Singapore’s biodiversity include restoring mangrove areas in Singapore."
Good to see mangrove restoration gets mention in The Climate Action Plan. Mangrove restoration at Tekong is featured. Hopefully, mangrove restoration at Pulau Ubin will also be accepted as part of the Plan.
It's good to know that temperatures are being monitored at the Sisters' Islands Marine Park. But is monitoring of the impact of temperatures being done? At the Park and the rest of Singapore's shores? Isn't it important to monitor and understand the impact of this year's mass coral bleaching if we are to be better prepared for future bleaching events?

In the summary, it is also acknowledged that rising seas is the Number One risk Singapore faces. It's not just 'communities and property' along Singapore's coastlines that could be affected. But key industries such as container terminals, shipbuilding, petrochemicals and industries on our Southern Islands, and our only landfill and Changi airport.


Meanwhile, in this Wired article, New York is looking at some serious coastal protection that incorporates biodiversity instead of just engineered hard surfaces.

"For Geuze, who trained as an agricultural engineer, none of this is new territory. “This is what I’ve done for 90 percent of my projects,” he says, pointing to works like the New Hondsbossche Dunes in Petten the Netherlands, designed as a natural landscape as opposed to a sandy dike. “There is a lot of talk about sustainability in the media. But in my profession—landscape architecture—sustainability has been the core issue since the 19th century. Without it your project will fail.”

Related links

Full publications on the National Climate Change Secretariat website https://www.nccs.gov.sg/resources/publications

Media articles on The Climate Action Plan compiled here 

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