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MP He Ting Ru highlights urgency in addressing Singapore’s escalating heat crisis

WP MP He Ting Ru, in an adjournment motion, emphasizes the urgent need for Singapore to combat escalating temperatures and adopts a science-based heat resilience plan, focusing on national cooling strategies and community empowerment.

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he ting ru & amy khor talked about heat crisis in parliament

SINGAPORE: In an adjournment motion presented on 7 February, Member of Parliament He Ting Ru emphasized the imperative for Singapore to address the escalating temperatures due to their significant social and economic repercussions.

She stressed that conventional approaches to mitigating these impacts should be pursued, and the nation should not defer action.

Opening her speech, He Ting Ru acknowledged the prevailing perception among Singaporeans that climate change might feel distant from their daily lives in the country.

She highlighted the latest Met Service report, indicating that the 10-year period from 2013 to 2022 marked Singapore’s warmest on record, with the man-made urban environment being a notable contributing factor.

“While we cannot on our own stop the climate from getting hotter, we can reduce the impact global warming has on the immediate environment around us,” Ms He said.

She stressed the urgency of this action by emphasizing two key points.

Firstly, the substantial social and economic costs that will be incurred if mitigation measures are not implemented.

Secondly, the consequences of postponing action, leaving the predicament for future generations to grapple with, thereby burdening them with increased costs due to path dependency.

Singapore urgently addresses urban heat challenges with strategic socio-economic measures and regulatory actions

Ms He noted in 2019, the government announced a potential expenditure of $100 billion or more to protect the island from rising sea levels.

While such spending might not be necessary for heat mitigation, strategies to adapt to urban heat in Singapore need to consider socio-economic issues.

These strategies should be accelerated and strengthened through regulatory measures.

Firstly, socio-economic dimensions of the urban heat problem must be addressed to identify principles and priority areas.

Last year, MSE and NEA introduced a new heat stress advisory and rules to reduce heat stress risks for outdoor workers, marking significant progress in workplace safety.

However, attention should now shift towards indirect but heat-related safety issues.

Humid heat exposure significantly impacts sleep quality, contributing to potential adverse effects on mental and physical health, as well as an increased risk of workplace injuries.

The impact of urban heat on vulnerable groups, particularly those less well-off, requires urgent attention.

While better-off Singaporeans can easily combat heat through air conditioning or passively cooled buildings, less affluent individuals often resort to cooling measures such as cool showers.

Initiatives like the Home Improvement Program and Climate-Friendly Households Program should be expanded to encourage heat-resilient efforts, such as providing subsidies for fans or blackout curtains.

The need for a decent living standard concerning heat becomes paramount, acknowledging that vulnerable groups contribute the least to climate change-related carbon emissions and are least able to adapt to climate change.

Secondly, the importance of acting quickly in tackling urban heat involves considering pathway dependency and making informed decisions.

Initiatives such as the pilot study coating HDB blocks with heat-reflective paint exemplify preventive measures.

The government should consider subsidies for successful outcomes and explore feasible concepts from other cities for trial in Singapore.

Preserving green spaces is pivotal, given their impact on environmental temperatures and property prices.

The URA’s Master Plan review should prioritize the retention of green cover, considering its socio-economic impacts.

Accelerating the implementation of building standards and retrofitting targets, such as the Singapore Green Building Master Plan, is vital, particularly for public sector buildings, to lead the way in sustainability.

Lastly, regulation plays a pivotal role in addressing heat-related challenges.

New legislation, such as facilitating solar panel installations in condominiums and requiring climate change impact assessments for new infrastructure, should be considered.

Intermediate solutions, like ensuring access to free tap water in public spaces, can pave the way for future regulations, benefiting outdoor workers and the general public.

“Every day our environment gets hotter is a pivotal day for our country,” said Ms He.

She stated that balancing timely actions, effective measures, and careful consideration of future choices is essential to ensure a sustainable and resilient future, avoiding adverse consequences for the upcoming generations.

Singapore adopts science-based heat resilience strategy to tackle rising temperatures and urban heat

In response, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Amy Khor said the government adopted a science-based and proactive heat resilience strategy.

“Indeed heat resilience is an important issue for Singapore,” said Dr Khor.

Rising temperatures in Singapore will be exacerbated by the urban heat island (UHI) effect, stemming from the densely built environment absorbing and retaining heat, along with heat-generating activities.

Dr Khor said that the government’s proactive and science-based heat resilience strategy comprises three key aspects.

Firstly, national-level cooling strategies are being implemented to benefit all segments of society, with a special focus on the vulnerable.

Transforming Singapore into a city in nature involves the creation of a network of green spaces across the island, ensuring that every household will be within a 10-minute walk from a park by 2030.

This effort includes planting trees along roads, the 1 million trees movement, and intensifying greening measures beyond parks, such as sky-rise greenery and building facades.

Additionally, specific measures, such as environmental modeling for new towns, aim to optimize wind flow and reduce heat gain in HDB flats.

The second aspect involves strengthening community resilience, particularly among vulnerable population segments.

She gave examples of initiatives like the Heat Stress Advisory guide the public on minimizing heat stress risks, providing real-time heat stress levels through the My Environment app.

Access to clean drinking water is emphasized by Dr Khor, noting the widespread availability of water dispensers and a crowd-sourced map created to locate them.

The third prong of the strategy involves deepening scientific understanding of the impact of rising temperatures.

Dr Khor also noted that the government collaborates with experts and conducts research and development (R&D) projects to enhance heat resilience.

The Cooling Singapore 2.0 project, for instance, is developing a digital model to simulate urban climate and assess cooling strategies’ effectiveness.

Researchers explore innovative solutions, like smart systems adjusting fan wind speed and air-con temperature, to mitigate the impact of warmer nights on sleep quality.

As the government takes steps to address rising temperatures and the UHI effect, the public is encouraged to participate in building a more heat-resilient Singapore, said Dr Khor.

Individual actions, such as using public transport and energy-efficient appliances, can collectively contribute to reducing heat emissions.

“As a community, we can look out for one another and co-create solutions, such as setting up community cool spaces to beat the heat together,” she added.

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The cooling effects of forests is well known. In Bukit Batok, the ruling government has been demolishing plots of secondary forest to build HDB flats. There will be a “heat crisis” there soon. Tengah “Forest Town,” is looking remarkably like a Concrete town. There will be a heat crisis there too. Also whatever strips of remaining “forest” will likely die back as the undergrowth is exposed to intense directly sunlight, likely leading to forest fires during the dry season. What exactly do the wealthy millionaire elites know about “nature” anyway? They spend most of their time engorging themselves on man-made… Read more »

The very Classic Reality of cutting down 10s of 100 year old trees acted upon by Millionaires and supported by slaved servants – are the Enormously Old trees worthless politically or PRICELSS Horticulturally and Sustainabilitily) speaks volumes.

The obvious shade, the coolness offered by trees, the eco systems of the the areas habitat, the relative impact and effects on the area of Queens town, Margaret Drive, Holland, Bukit Timah, Tanglin ARE ALL DISREGARDED by Self Consuming PAP Detrimental to SG.

If there is a environmental court with IMPARTIAL judges – THESE PAP BASTARDS SHOULD BE JAILED.

C’mon, … where this nation’s ultimate pastime is shopping and eating, and both are fully powered and conditioned by the “bestest human invention” according to the “dead one”, … the air~conditioner !!! How and “mana” d’ya even begin to tackle any environmental issues, … never mind the heat !!! Add to that, … this lazy, dozy and convenience and mega~consuming centric lot who’d rather call up any and all delivering services for their food, shopping and products. Imagine the petrol usage and fumes permeating into the SillyPore space, … from all of these delivering vehicles !!! Unless there’s a drastic… Read more »

If this He Ting Ru bitch can’t stand the heat in Singapore, then just get the fuck out of Singapore! We 70% of Singaporeans believe in our PAP government and trust our government to protect us. No need for this oppie opportunist bitch to tell us what to do.

Sengkang people, if you don’t repent and vote this bitch out, your estate will surely suffer! Your estate will become a slum! Prostitutes will be prowling your place soon. Your kids will not be safe. There will be no schools or playground for U until you repent!

Look at the issues and problems SG faced and READY to be RESOLVED, IMPROVED, Squarely – the PAP Party Will NOT move to improve IF IF IF IF IF it does NOT NOT keep their DICTATOR power NO MATTER NO MATTER NO MATTER SG and Singaporeans BENEFIT or NOT.

PAP Administration INTERESTS, their MEGA SALARIES is their MOST important Political Prizes, they PRETEND to be Politicians.

My solution: stop the population growth which in turn will save our forests as lesser Public Housing would be needed. Just stop building concrete all around us!

The Singapore PAP government Ministers have their air con in her luxurious home with maids, use the reserve money to pay her electricity bill can already,not need to propose national cooling strategy for others

as much as i like to shit on pappies for “green” nonsense(only help increase energy costs and inflation), this “cooling” nonsens isn’t much better. how much money we already wasted to tear down brand new bus stops just to grow grass on top for “cooling”.

Guess is Me He proposing that all low income, low ses locals be given air conditioning and their electricity bill be footed or partially subsidised by the PAP gov?
Ms Eggy Khor as pictured is definitely against this as she feels if one isn’t paid to the tune of close to a million a yr like a Mayor, one should not be complaining about what heat crisis!😆😆😆🤣🤣🤣

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