Govt to invest more to protect S'pore against climate change & rising sea levels

Threatens our existence.

Zhangxin Zheng| February 18, 06:44 PM

Minister of Finance, Heng Swee Keat announced in his Budget 2019 speech that the government will plan to invest more for Singapore to adapt to climate change.

Planning for climate change & rising sea levels

As part of the speech, Heng acknowledged Singapore's vulnerability to climate change and rising sea levels.

"Climate change and rising sea levels threaten our very existence. As a low-lying nation-state, there’s nowhere to hide when sea levels rise."

Using the Maldives as an example, he highlighted that this global phenomenon should not be taken lightly as other small island nations are already facing the implications of climate change, such as the risk of flooding.

As such the government will be studying the implications carefully and implement preventive measures to protect Singapore adequately.

Carbon tax will also be applied to this year’s emissions to signal companies and households to reduce emission and adopt energy-efficient practices.

Protecting coastal infrastructure

The Climate Action Plan was charted out in 2016 to set out mitigating and adaptive measures for climate change, especially on infrastructure.

Heng announced that roads along low-lying coastal areas have to be raised and critical infrastructures like the Terminal 5  have to be built at 5.5m above mean sea level.

This is higher than other newly reclaimed lands that have to be raised to four metres above mean sea level since 2011.

Polders and dikes are also piloted on Pulau Tekong to help us learn how to deal with rising sea levels.

Invest more

Although it is difficult to project spending needs way into the future, Heng announced that the government will have to invest more to prepare Singapore for climate change.

Together with the existing infrastructure needs, this will increase the total spending on infrastructure significantly.

Different ministries have done preliminary estimates to develop fiscal plans in advance to finance long-lived major infrastructure.

Zero Waste Master Plan will be rolled out in the second half of 2019 by the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources.

Heng also said that each generation contributes a fair share on measures against climate change.

Top photo collage from CNA video and Clean and Green Singapore