Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

New research office to boost Singapore’s climate science capabilities: Masagos

SINGAPORE — The Government will set up a new office to strengthen Singapore’s capabilities in climate science, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said on Wednesday (July 17).

In his speech Mr Masagos stressed that climate change is a “pressing priority and an existential challenge”.

In his speech Mr Masagos stressed that climate change is a “pressing priority and an existential challenge”.

Singapore

Follow us on Instagram and Tiktok, and join our Telegram channel for the latest updates.

SINGAPORE — The Government will set up a new office to strengthen Singapore’s capabilities in climate science, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said on Wednesday (July 17).

The new Climate Science Research Programme Office, set up under the Centre for Climate Research Singapore (CCRS), will lead and drive efforts to formulate Singapore’s national climate science research masterplan, as well as to build up local capabilities in climate science.

“The Programme Office will work closely with scientists and researchers in our research institutes and universities to harness their expertise for cutting-edge climate science research,” said Mr Masagos, who was speaking at a forum to promote environmental collaboration among partners from the community, public and private sector.

The research will focus on key issues that will have a significant impact on Singapore, including the rise of sea levels, the impact of climate change on the Republic’s water resources and the impact of rising temperatures on human health and the energy sector.

Mr Masagos noted that the Government had established the CCRS in 2013, under the Meteorological Service Singapore in the National Environment Agency, to meet the challenge of climate change with actions based on “robust science”.

“Climate science, where it is developed specifically for the tropics, is a new and complex area of research. There is limited amount of expertise and experts in this area,” said Mr Masagos, who added that more work needs to be done.

In his speech Mr Masagos stressed that climate change is a “pressing priority and an existential challenge”.

“At stake is nothing less than the physical preservation of our island nation and its inhabitants,” he said.

S$10 MILLION FUNDING FOR NATIONAL SEA LEVEL RESEARCH PROGRAMME

Mr Masagos also announced that the CCRS will set aside S$10 million in funding over the next five years for the National Sea Level Research Programme.

The programme, which was announced earlier this year, will help Singapore strengthen its understanding of sea levels around the country and help it develop more robust projections of how sea levels will rise in the future. 

The CCRS will also issue a request to local research institutes for their project proposals next month.

Mr Masagos said that Singapore’s mean sea levels were projected to rise by up to around one metre by 2100, although this could occur earlier if ice sheets melt more rapidly or if ice shelves in Antarctica were to collapse.

Such a scenario was one of the most worrying “black swan” scenarios for low-lying countries such as Singapore, said Mr Masagos.

“CCRS has considered what might happen if we see high mean sea levels, high tide, and high surge all at the same time — even though this would be a rare scenario.”

“Sea levels could reach almost four metres above current mean sea levels, and overwhelm our low-lying coastal areas,” he said.

"And if we push our imaginations further, in the extremely rare occurrence that a tropical storm happens at sea — sending us surge waters that we can’t keep out — and a heavy rainstorm happens inland — bringing down rainwater we can’t drain away — both at the same time, we could have the ingredients of a ‘perfect storm’," he added, noting that such a scenario "could possibily not be inconceivable in the future".

The minister said that climate science has given policy makers guidance on the need to protect critical infrastructure against rising sea levels and extreme events. This was why Singapore was already building new projects such as the Tuas Port Terminal and Changi Airport Terminal 5 at higher platform levels.

With the CCRS’ climate science tailored for the tropics, Mr Masagos added that Singapore would share what it knows to help its neighbours plan for their adaptation to climate change as well.

S’PORE TO HOST GLOBAL SCIENTIST MEETING

Mr Masagos also announced that as part of efforts to collaborate with scientists around the world, Singapore will be hosting a Scoping Meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Singapore in October this year, together with a meeting of the IPCC Bureau, one of the highest decision-making bodies in the IPCC.

The IPCC is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. 

“This is the first time that Singapore will be hosting an IPCC meeting. It signals our strong support for the commitment to climate science and climate action,” said Mr Masagos.

The string of announcements by Mr Masagos were made at the Partners for the Environment forum held at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

Into its third year, the annual event is organised by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources. It is also co-organised by the British High Commission in Singapore for the first time. The collaboration is in support of the Singapore-United Kingdom Partnership for the Future launched earlier this year which will see both countries broaden and deepen their ties.

Related topics

climate science Masagos Zulkifli environment

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.