Our World in Crisis: What our Climate May Look Like
By Natalie Tham
May 11, 2020
As COVID-19 sweeps across the planet, most of us have, understandably, forgotten about a greater crisis: climate change. Unfortunately, recent climate studies have shown that the climate crisis will hit us more severely than previously expected.
In a study conducted by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it is forecasted that by 2050, about 30% of the world's population will live in extreme heat – defined as an average temperature of 29 degree Celsius. 1.2 billion people in India will have to get used to average temperatures of 32 degree Celsius, which is shockingly comparable to the weather conditions in the scorching Sahara Desert. Closer to home, the Meterological Service Singapore has shared findings that our sunny city-state is heating up twice as fast as the rest of the world, and that Singapore's maximum daily temperatures could reach 35 to 37 degree Celsius by the year 2100, if carbon emissions continue to rise at the same rate. Besides just rising temperatures, by 2050, Singapore may expect to face never-before-seen extreme climate events, such as severe rainstorms and droughts. Some scientists have even suggested that Singapore may become "unlivable" city by 2050, owing to the high heat, humidity, and aforementioned climate events. This means that our current and future generations will be forced to relocate, or learn to adapt to the extreme weather conditions, albeit facing direct threats to health and survival. If that isn't a cause for concern, what is?
And why is Singapore heating up so quickly? We can attribute it to a few reasons. For one, our urbanization has produced a local "heat island" effect. Because our city is packed with buildings, heat is trapped within these infrastructures, thus pushing up temperatures. Have you ever noticed how hot it is in Orchard Road, as compared to parks or beaches, at night? Another major factor contributing to our quick spikes in temperature is greenhouse gas emissions. It is not a stretch to say that Singapore is over-reliant on air-conditioning – Our addiction to air-conditioning has even prompted local author Cherian George to title one of his books on Singapore "Air-Conditioned Nation – Essays about Singapore". From malls to offices to our own homes, Singaporeans almost always use air-conditioning to escape the heat, and the biggest irony is that our use of air-conditioning will catch up with us in decades' time to create an almost unbearable heat for us and our future generations.
Another area of concern is rising sea levels. The National Climate Change Secretariat has indicated that Singapore is particularly vulnerable to climate change, especially in the area of sea level rise, as 30% of our island is less than 5 metres above sea level. This has prompted Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to state the need to channel $100 billion over the long term to protect ourselves from the rising tides. And while our Government has allocated funds to shelter us from the effects of climate change, we cannot get complacent. Prevention is better than cure, after all. Why wait for a solution when we can make simple efforts every day to prevent a scenario where our livelihoods are threatened due to sea level rise?
During this Circuit Breaker period, you might have noticed that you are using much more plastic than usual. Bringing along a food container for takeaway may be one of the easiest yet most sustainable practices you can do. Don't forget to bring your own recyclable bag when you grocery shop as well. As the root cause of climate change lies in manmade activities that emit greenhouse gases, the best way to help mitigate climate change is to sign an electricity plan with Sunseap. Zero greenhouse gases are produced when you use solar energy. By choosing to use solar energy to power your home appliances, your carbon footprint will be reduced drastically. If you're one who cares about the planet, turning on your air-conditioner will become a guilt-free experience.
Mother's Day was over recently, and we hope that it was a day of gratitude and love for you and your families, and all the mothers you know in your lives. Let us also pay tribute to our Mother Earth, and continue to protect and love Mother Earth just as how we would for our very own mother.