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8 in 10 S'poreans say climate change is real, Govt should invest in fighting threat: Reach

SINGAPORE — Eight in 10 Singaporeans believe that climate change is real and Singapore should put resources into tackling the threat before it is too late, a government feedback exercise has found.

8 in 10 S'poreans say climate change is real, Govt should invest in fighting threat: Reach

More than 5,000 Singaporeans have taken part in the government feedback exercise on issues raised in the National Day Rally speech. The exercise is ongoing.

SINGAPORE — Eight in 10 Singaporeans believe that climate change is real and Singapore should put resources into tackling the threat before it is too late, a government feedback exercise has found.

The exercise by Reach, the Government’s feedback unit, canvassed responses on the issues raised at the National Day Rally on Aug 18 from more than 5,000 Singaporeans aged between 15 and over-70.

The findings were released on Thursday evening (Aug 29) before a closed-door dialogue on the rally chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.

Speaking to reporters before the dialogue at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre, Mr Heng noted that the need to tackle the climate threat has resonated, especially with young Singaporeans.

“Several of them told me that they have been discussing this a lot in schools as well as in the universities,” Mr Heng said.

“They felt it was important for us to tackle long-term challenges, even though these are not imminent today.”

In his National Day Rally speech, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said it would cost Singapore S$100 billion or more in the next 50 to 100 years to protect itself against rising sea levels.

The sum will be spent mainly on coastal defences, because significant parts of Singapore are 4m above mean sea level or lower. These areas will be increasingly at risk of going underwater when sea levels climb.

Among the respondents to the Reach exercise, nine in 10 of those below 30 believed that the threat is real and the city-state should invest in mitigating efforts. For 30- to 54-year-olds, eight in 10 respondents felt that way.

The feedback exercise, which is still in progress, gathered responses mostly from mobile feedback booths set up in places such as business parks and educational institutions.

Asked how the Government plans to build consensus on the climate threat among older Singaporeans, Mr Heng said Singapore’s seniors were encouraged by the measures set out by the authorities, and were responsible citizens who want a better future for their children.

“They, too, are supportive of this,” he added.

Away from climate change, Mr Heng was also asked about the concerns Singaporeans may have over other policies announced at the National Day Rally, which is widely seen as the most important political speech of the year.

He replied that the Government has not received many concerns, but there have been requests for more details about the announcements.

For instance, on the upcoming extension of the retirement and re-employment ages, some have asked how senior citizens can be reskilled, so that they may take up new and different jobs.

There were also questions about how the country could continue to restructure its economy as technology advances apace, while enabling seniors to stay employed.

The retirement age is set to rise from 62 to 65, and the re-employment age from 67 to 70, by about 2030. In 2022, the retirement age will first go up from 62 to 63, and the re-employment age from 67 to 68.

Ms Jessica Chong, 50, was one of 200 participants at Thursday’s dialogue with Mr Heng.

She attended the session because she wanted to find out about the Government’s plans to support companies and older workers as the retirement and re-employment ages are raised.

“I am happy to get a chance to work longer as I can keep my brain active,” said Ms Chong, an assistant supply chain and operations manager.

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