I've been reading through the Singapore government's Climate Change Strategy recently, & I'm actually quite impressed by it. The panel seems to have explored every possible area in which the climate change issue can be addressed, & the policies mentioned seem sound & pragmatic (of course, reports like these are often beautifully written but don't reveal the entire reality, however in this case I'm being positive & giving them the benefit of the doubt ).
I found much of the report interesting, having never realised that some of these measures have been implemented or for that matter, really thought much about the climate change issue locally. The technology is also fascinating. Have jotted down those parts that I found interesting :
- Singapore became a Party to the Kyoto Protocol in 2006.
- Being an island in the tropics, Singapore 's key vulnerabilities to climate change are likely to be:
*Land loss and flooding
*Water resource impacts
*Higher energy demand and heat stress
*Public Health Impact from Resurgence of Diseases
*Impacts on island and marine biodiversity
Land Loss and Flooding
A sea level rise of 88cm by 2100 could result in some coastal erosion & land loss in Singapore. A higher sea level would also make it more difficult for rainwater to drain into the sea and this could aggravate inland flooding during storm surges and thunderstorms.
In order to minimise the impact of this sea level rise, the Public Utilities Board (PUB) has been requiring all coastal land to be built to a level 40cm higher than the new sea level after an 88cm sea level rise. PUB also has a storm water management system in place to minimise flooding, and has been reducing the amount of flood-prone area by raising platform levels in the country and implementing a pumped drainage system where it is not possible to raise the platform level.
Water Resource Impacts
An 88cm water level rise in 100 years could also result in seawater flowing into some coastal reservoirs. Additional steel plates on tidal gates will be installed in the future to address this issue.
Higher Energy Demand and Heat Stress
Warmer temperatures would result in greater use of air-conditioning and thus higher energy demand.
A range of measures exist that can lower ambient temperature, such as increased amount of greenery (e.g. city parks, rooftop gardens, vertical greening in buildings) and modifications to building layouts and designs (e.g. using building materials with better thermal properties, lighter-coloured building surfaces, designing building interiors and exterior building layouts for better ventilation and to maximise the wind tunnel effect).
The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the National Parks Board (NParks) have been promoting rooftop and vertical greenery in our buildings through the planning guidelines. URA also works closely with NParks to encourage greenery along our streetscape islandwide, such as providing parks and green space, as well as planting strips along the road reserve and developments. The Housing Development Board (HDB) is in the process of introducing rooftop greenery to multi-storey carparks and residential buildings where feasible.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions The main contribution to Singapore's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is carbon dioxide (CO2) from the use of energy to meet development and human needs. Unlike other countries, Singapore's methane production is negligible, as Singapore has no agricultural base. We also incinerate all our waste and the little methane emitted from the existing landfill is flared off.
POWER GENERATION SECTOR
The power generation sector is the single largest primary source of CO2 emissions in Singapore, accounting for about 50% of our carbon emissions in 2004. The electricity generated is then consumed by secondary users such as industries, commercial buildings, and residential homes.
The strategy for power generation is to improve the power generation efficiency as well as to encourage the move towards cleaner, less carbon-intensive fuels (e.g. natural gas, renewable energy) while keeping in mind the need to keep electricity costs affordable.
Our Efforts and Achievements
Use of Cleaner Fuels
In meeting our energy demand, we have always made a conscious effort to safeguard environmental interests. This was one of the reasons why conventional coal, with its environmental impacts, was never encouraged for power generation.
In recent years, we have made significant progress in the power generation sector to make it even cleaner. Our electricity market was liberalised in 2001, thus introducing competition among the gencos. This created incentives for gencos to use the most efficient technology for power generation and created a market in which environmental interests are aligned with economic interests. Investments were also made in natural gas (NG) pipeline infrastructure. These measures have facilitated a significant switch from burning fuel oil to natural gas for power. Within just 5 years, the proportion of electricity generated by gas in Singapore has grown from 19% in 2000 to 74% in 2005, one of the highest levels in the world. This has led to significantly lower CO2 emissions from the power sector, as natural gas emits 40% less CO 2 than fuel oil per unit of electricity generated.
Use of Energy-Efficient Generation Technology
At the same time, the adoption of more efficient technologies such as combined-cycle gas turbines (CCGT) in gas-fired power plants has improved our overall generation efficiency from 37% in 2000 to 44% in 2004, reducing our CO2 emissions even further.
Waste-To-Energy Singapore is also one of the few countries that incinerates all of its incinerable waste and recovers energy through the process. Since 2000, our waste-to-energy plants have contributed up to 2% of our energy supply. Thus, unlike other countries, Singapore produces negligible amounts of methane from landfills.
Renewable Energy In terms of renewable energy, solar energy offers the greatest potential in Singapore . However, the cost of generating solar energy through photovoltaic (PV) cells is still higher than conventional grid electricity, and Singapore has been involved in various research efforts on renewable energy technologies to increase the yield and lower the cost.
The National Environment Agency (NEA) encourages private and public sector partners to explore and test-bed new technologies (e.g. solar energy, fuel cell) through schemes such as the Innovation for Environmental Sustainability (IES) fund, which co-funds innovative environmental projects and the Environmental Test-bedding Initiative, which allows access to public infrastructure for test-bedding purposes. For instance, NEA, together with the Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Energy Market Authority (EMA), facilitated the installation of a 14.5 kW p grid-connected PV system at the German European School in Singapore.