Singapore at flood risk due to climate change

If you’re still here in 2050, get ready to swim because Singapore is predicted to be underwater by that time.

Climate change has now reached a crisis point. Greenhouse gas emissions caused by the excessive burning of fossil fuels have been rapidly altering the temperature of the Earth. This drastic increase in temperature is melting the ice caps and raising water levels. Many parts of the world are low lying and will be severely affected by the sea rises that follow.

GIN (Global Issues Network) club member Annie Kim said, “I think we need to have a sustainable system so that we can slow down this process of climate change. Climate change is our future now, if we are going to be submerged underwater by the time we are adults all of this hard work that we put into our studies will be useless. I think we should take more interest in sustaining the environment so we can help decrease the amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.”

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A brief explanation on what climate change is and how global warming occurs. Infographic by Alyssa Renert using Piktochart.

Climate central created a “Surging Seas” map that shows which parts of a country will be overflowed if the global temperature rises above 4 degrees celsius. The areas that will be flooded are highlighted in blue. If the speed at the current climate change continues, Singapore will be partially flooded by 2050 and will be completely underwater by the end of the century.

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Diagram of the threat rising sea levels has to Singapore. Comparison between a 4 degrees and 2 degrees celsius rise. Taken from Climate Central. Visit the interactive map here: Surging Seas Mapping Choices

This serious topic had previously been left untouched mainly due to the fact that world leaders could not all agree on a plan to address the issue. However, as of Dec. 12, 2015, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21/ CMP11) in Paris, 187 countries for the first time all agreed on a solution to climate change.  

Melanie Sung-Clarke, a member of the Students Against the Violation of the Environment club (SAVE) commented, “It’s pretty cool, I didn’t think it would happen. I didn’t think the world leaders would agree on such a serious topic.”

This agreement confirms the target of keeping the rise in temperature below 2°C. The agreement even establishes that we should be aiming for 1.5°C to protect island states, which are the most threatened by the rise in sea levels. The agreement will be open for signing by the countries on April 22 in New York. The agreement can only enter into force once it has been ratified by 55 countries, representing at least 55% of emissions.

Even though the individual country’s legislature must also ratify the agreement, it is a bold new step in resolving the climate change issue.  To read more, check out the official COP21 website to learn more about the conference.

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Closing Ceremony of COP21, Paris. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (second left); Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Photo by United Nations Photos

With the drastic changes in our environment, we should be getting people to start helping out. The more people who can help out, the more likely it is for this problem to be resolved faster.

Nadia Hasan, another SAVE member, said, ”I think that people should be aware of the facts of global warming, I personally didn’t know that by 2050 Singapore will be partially submerged. If you tell people the facts, it will usually shock them into reality and do something about it.”

Students at SAS should be aware that Singapore is at risk, as well as the surrounding Southeast Asian countries. Even though there are now some government climate change decisions, we still need to take individual action to help save our planet. A way to do this is to take public transport more often and reduce pollution caused by cars. Biking and walking help even more. Buy organic and locally grown foods. Avoid beef and dairy products since 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from meat and dairy production. Encourage your friends to do the same. Every little bit can help save our planet from flooding.

Author: Alyssa Renert

This is Alyssa’s first year reporting for The Eye. She moved to SAS in 8th grade from Beijing and is now in 10th grade. She has lived all over the world. Alyssa loves to write as well as travel. She wants to make her last year at SAS interesting and exciting. Alyssa can be contacted at renert45824@sas.edu.sg.

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