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Global climate conference important for S’pore, countries must decisively resolve differences: Masagos

SINGAPORE — Arriving in Poland for high-level climate talks, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said on Tuesday (Dec 11) that the critical meeting will determine how the world comes together to address climate change.

Global climate conference important for S’pore, countries must decisively resolve differences: Masagos

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli will deliver Singapore’s national statement at the Katowice climate conference in Poland on Wednesday, between 5pm and 8pm.

SINGAPORE — Arriving in Poland for high-level climate talks, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said on Tuesday (Dec 11) that the critical meeting will determine how the world comes together to address climate change.

Mr Masagos said in a Facebook post that the Katowice climate conference — called the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change — is important for Singapore for many reasons. They include Singapore’s vulnerability to rising sea levels as a low-lying city state, as well as the far-reaching impact of climate change on the global economy, food supply and Singapore’s way of life.

He is expected to deliver Singapore’s national statement at the summit on Wednesday, between 5pm and 8pm (Singapore time).

Resolving disagreements that have flared up at the conference will be “neither quick nor easy”, but it takes global commitment to fight climate change, said Mr Masagos.

He wrote: “I continue to hope that Parties will be able to come to a consensus at this week’s meetings. We have to decisively resolve our differences to take the world another step forward in undertaking urgent climate action.

“There is no time to waste”.

Officials from Singapore arrived about two weeks earlier, and the negotiating team comprises around 20 officials from nine government ministries and agencies. This shows the “wide-ranging issues” that countries have to deal with in order to meet their climate targets, added Mr Masagos.

In 2015, Singapore pledged to reduce its greenhouse gases emitted per dollar of gross domestic product by 36 per cent (from 2005 levels) by 2030, and to stabilise emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030.

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN KATOWICE

The Katowice conference is billed as the most important UN conference since the Paris 2015 agreement on climate change.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, a United States-based non-profit, three main agenda items at this year’s negotiations include:

  • Agreement on a robust rulebook to implement the Paris Agreement

  • Acknowledging the need for nations to strengthen their nationally-determined contributions under the Paris Agreement by 2020

  • Enhancing climate finance commitments

Over the weekend, parties failed to reach an agreement on whether to “note” or “welcome” a UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report published in October. The United States, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait were against welcoming the findings of the report — an unsettling move criticised by scientists and some countries.

The report had said there would have to be “unprecedented” changes to the way people generate and consume energy, use land and live, in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

On Monday, global investors managing US$32 trillion (S$43.9 trillion) also called on governments to phase out thermal coal power, put a “meaningful price on carbon”, and phase out fossil fuel subsidies.

WHAT PM LEE SAID RECENTLY

Singapore must do more to protect the environment as the threat of climate change becomes increasingly serious both locally and globally, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last month at the launch of the Clean and Green Singapore carnival at Wisma Geylang Serai.

On the threat of rising sea levels, he said: “In due course, we will come up with long-term proposals to adequately prepare and protect ourselves.”

Singapore is already feeling the effects of more extreme weather, recording its hottest year and second driest year in recent years.

“We must do our part to contribute to global efforts such as the Paris Agreement to slow down climate change, and at the same time we must take timely and concrete steps to protect ourselves against the adverse effects of climate change,” Mr Lee said.

Related topics

Masagos Zulkifli climate change rising sea levels

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