As we celebrated our nation’s 56th National Day on 9th August, the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report was published. Titled “AR6 Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis”, the report indicates new insights for all regions and countries in the world, including Singapore, with regards to climate change. Amidst the atmosphere of country pride and gratitude for 56 years of growth and success as a nation, we were also presented with new challenges that we need to prepare this nation for. According to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the recently published IPCC report was “a code red for humanity” as it confirmed that we are observing unprecedented changes in the Earth’s climate “in every region and across the whole climate system”.
The IPCC report warns that should planet-warming emissions not come down to net-zero by around 2050, there will be more punishing heatwaves, severe coastal flooding events, and bouts of heavier rain. In Singapore that would mean even higher temperatures in the coming decades according to the Centre for Climate Research Singapore. This raise in temperature can be especially uncomfortable and undesirable for both humans and wildlife due to Singapore’s humid environment, as humidity can magnify thermal discomfort.
With regards to sea level rise, a topic critical to low-lying coastal regions like Singapore, the IPCC report states that “extreme sea level events that occurred once per century in the recent past are projected to occur at least annually at more than half of all tide gauge locations by 2100”. Beyond that, severe heat waves which used to happen only once every 50 years have become 5 times more frequent, occurring approximately once a decade. Tropical cyclones are also getting stronger, severe droughts are happening 1.7 times as often, and fire seasons are increasing in duration and intensity.
While the report may spell out severe consequences of climate change in the near future, we must not lose heart in doing our part to protect the collective future of our planet and our lives in the long run. Despite the IPCC report acknowledging that irreversible changes have been done to some of our planets’ systems, others can be slowed and even halted by limited warming, especially if all nations do their part in limiting large-scale greenhouse gas emissions to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 or earlier if viable. In Singapore, the government has started taking steps to build our city’s resilience to impending impacts of climate change, including planned feasibility and environmental studies for the protection of our coastline to rising sea levels and associated impacts.
At TEMBUSU Asia, we provide services to help businesses and corporations begin their sustainability journey towards carbon neutrality through reducing their carbon footprints and carbon offsetting. With our efforts, we hope to play our part in guiding and advising clients towards a low-carbon path that is viable for business operations and continual development as part of our efforts in fulfilling SDG 13: Climate Action.