Singapore Democratic Party launches policy paper on climate change

SINGAPORE – The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) on Saturday (Feb 8) launched its policy paper on climate change, with party chairman Paul Tambyah saying it would be an issue raised during the upcoming General Elections which must be held by April next year.

The 39-page paper set out the political party’s views on climate change, and outlined eight areas where climate change policy can be further developed.

They includes areas such as waste reduction, the greater enforcement of Singapore’s anti-haze law that aims to punish firms responsible for causing unhealthy levels of pollution here, and the construction of green buildings.

Some of SDP’s policy proposals are in line with current Government measures aimed at reducing emissions – such as scaling up the deployment of renewable energy here. But the party said the paper called for such strategies to be scaled up more quickly and with more ambitious targets.

On renewable energy, for instance, SDP said that while Singapore may be constrained in terms of wind energy or hydropower, the nation could consider tapping these sources in neighbouring countries.

The idea behind a regional grid was also raised last year by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing during the Singapore International Energy Week.

Another area which the SDP recommended was the boosting of infrastructure to promote the use of electric vehicles in Singapore. This, the paper said, could include the installation of more electric vehicle charging points here, and reducing the road tax quantum for electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles are powered by charging points that are powered by electricity from the national grid, which is generated from burning natural gas. This is still considered cleaner than the combustion of petrol in cars.

The party also highlighted population size in their climate policy proposal, saying the ever-growing population numbers has led to forests in Singapore being cleared for infrastructure and homes.

Ms Nor Lastrina Hamid, a member of the Singapore Youth for Climate Action, was consulted by the SDP on the policy proposals. She said it was heartening to see climate policies a focus of SDP.

“It shows that the party is aware of the climate crisis and wants its voters to be aware of these issues too,” said Ms Lastrina.

“The fact that they proposed alternative pathways to reducing emissions, was also a good reminder that there are many low-carbon pathways. Whether or not it is feasible is another issue.

“But at least we are shown there are various pathways, and that it is the responsibility of the various political parties and key stakeholders to show us what’s possible.”

SDP’s climate paper was on Saturday presented by four members of the party’s youth wing – the Young Democrats.

Due to concerns over the coronavirus situation in Singapore, members of the public were urged to watch the press conference over a livestream.

Members of the media also had to take their temperatures before entering the SDP office in Ang Mo Kio.

Dr Tambyah later told The Straits Times that the party would be meeting to discuss its activities in the lead-up to the elections, now that Singapore has ramped up its disease outbreak response by a notch to orange.

Under the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (Dorscon), orange means the outbreak is deemed to have moderate to high public health impact.

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