betty July 12, 2022

SINGAPORE – A $23.5 million programme was launched on Tuesday (July 12) to uncover the long-term impacts of climate change on Singapore – from sea-level rise to food insecurity – and to help guide policies to tackle these issues.

The Climate Impact Science Research Programme – helmed by the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) Centre for Climate Research Singapore (CCRS) – will focus on five key priorities.

These are sea-level rise, water resource and flood management, biodiversity and food security, human health and energy, and cross-cutting research to bridge science and policy.

Professor Dale Barker, director of CCRS, said on Tuesday that the new programme will partly address gaps from the existing $10 million National Sea Level Programme, which was launched in 2019 to address knowledge gaps in past and present sea-level changes.

He was speaking at the third Sea Level Conference of the World Climate Research Programme, held at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre from July 12 to 16.

Prof Barker said that the new programme will deepen research on the impacts of climate change in Singapore in order to come up with practical solutions to guide possible adaptation measures.

This new programme adds to the Republic’s existing investment in climate science, such as the $25 million Marine Climate Change Science programme, which looks into marine habitats and ecosystems to enhance their resilience against climate change.

Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu, who was also speaking at the event on Tuesday, said the programme will bring together research in climate science and focus on knowledge gaps.

Ms Fu cited a recent United Nations climate change report which found that in the worst-case scenario, more than 30 per cent of global crop and livestock areas could become climatically unsuitable by 2100.

“By downscaling global climate projections and producing localised, high-resolution models of wind, rainfall and temperature, we can better assess the impacts of climate change on local crop and aquaculture yields,” she added.

This could involve the development of climate-resilient crop varieties or choosing sea spaces with more suitable habitat conditions for aquaculture, she noted.