GLASGOW – As young people take to the streets of Glasgow on Friday 5 November to mark Youth Day at the COP26 climate summit, young people in Singapore are also making their demands for climate action heard.
On Friday morning Singapore time, a group of young people here released a statement of 18 recommendations on how to make the Republic more livable for future generations.
Entitled An Urgent Call From Singaporean Youth On The Environmental Crisis, the statement was co-authored by six youth-led organizations, including the Singapore Climate Rally and FiTree, as well as 10 people from different sectors of society.
They include marine biologists Pavarne Shantti and Sam Shu Qin; co-founder of the environmental group LepakInSG Ho Xiang Tian; Firdaus Sani, defender of indigenous culture and the environment; as well as environmental communicator Woo Qiyun, who manages the @theweirdandwild Instagram account.
Calling the effort an “unprecedented initiative,” the co-authors said the statement was drafted by environmental and climate youth organizations with diverse interests, coming together to collaborate for the first time.
Their recommendations cover six areas – emissions, nature, energy, corporate responsibility, community empowerment and inclusion, and economy and people.
A key recommendation was that Singapore set itself a bolder emissions target to reach a peak emissions before 2025 instead of the current 2030 target.
The earlier the timeline, the sooner the country must take action to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases it produces, even as the economy continues to grow.
Longer term, young people say the amount of global warming emissions produced by Singapore is expected to reach net zero by 2050, in line with recommendations from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) .
Singapore is currently planning to reach this milestone “as soon as viable in the second half of the century”.
The IPCC has said global emissions should reach net zero by mid-century so that the world has a better chance of avoiding more severe climate impacts such as floods, forest fires and more heat waves. extremes.
On nature, the young people urged the government to protect Singapore’s remaining natural habitats, such as Clementi Forest, and to ensure that nature conservation efforts are science-based.
Natural habitats can serve as nature-based climate solutions, they said, as these ecosystems can absorb carbon and protect the country’s coasts.
“Mature habitats are much better at providing these solutions, and destroying them would be counterproductive to our efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change,” they said.
Ecosystems such as mangroves, for example, are huge stores of carbon. By trapping carbon in the soil, these habitats prevent carbon from reaching the atmosphere, where it can trap heat and lead to climate change. Mangroves also have the ability to keep pace with sea level rise if the rate of rise is not too rapid, and can act as natural dikes against sea level rise.
Signatories to the declaration also echoed the voices of young people around the world, who want greater interest in shaping policies that will affect how their generation will experience the impacts of climate change in the future.
They called for more government engagement with youth communities in an “expansive and strategic way”, citing how young people in the European Union are involved in consultations related to the energy transition through initiatives that form networks between interested young people and key players in the energy sector.
“The government can reach out to energy-focused youth groups in Singapore or create initiatives to involve young people in our energy transition conversations and long-term plans,” they said.
The statement has been approved since Nov. 4 by 93 people and 75 organizations and entities, including associate professor Jason Lee of the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore and the Nature Society (Singapore).
“While we recognize that the government has released various initiatives and made progress on various environmental issues over the years, we know our actions are not yet where they need to be,” the co-authors said.
As climate change and biodiversity loss are existential crises with far-reaching consequences that change the world, humanity is at an inflection point, the authors noted.
“Times like this also give us the opportunity to reflect on the values we want to hold onto and the world we want to leave behind for our future generations,” they wrote.
“Singapore aims to honor the values of justice and equality. This means that our approach to alleviating the climate crisis must logically be anchored in these same values.”
Mr. Louis Ng, MP for Nee Soon GRC, said he had contacted the co-authors of the statement to get their views on the issues raised.
He told the Straits Times: “I am encouraged by their commitment and passion to tackle climate change. I look forward to continuing to engage young people and help bring their concerns to Parliament.
Sustainable Development and Environment Minister Grace Fu said in a Facebook post that she was encouraged that young people in Singapore are advocating for sustainable action. “Their activism and willingness to drive the change they want is important in moving our agenda for sustainable development and climate forward,” she added.
Ms. Fu said the government has set the direction and broader policy goals and will lead sustainability efforts across the public sector.
“However, sustainability cannot be achieved by government alone,” she added. “I encourage our young people to continue their advocacy for greater responsibilities all around, including from businesses, communities and individuals themselves. “
The full set of recommendations and statement is available at SG Youth Cop26.