SPEECH BY MR BAEY YAM KENG, SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR SUSTAINABILITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT, AT THE LAUNCH OF SUSTAINABILITY EXCHANGE SEASON 3 ON 17 MARCH 2023
Ladies and gentlemen
1 Good afternoon. Thank you for inviting me to launch the third season of the Sustainability Exchange. I am glad to learn that this initiative has grown over the years and continues to groom our youth to be ready for the green transition and low-carbon future.
URGENT NEED FOR CLIMATE ACTION
2 Many of you would need no introduction to climate change and its devastating effects. With extreme weather conditions getting more frequent and intense, the need for climate action is more urgent than ever.
3 Globally, climate action has been gaining momentum, but more can be done. Based on a report released by the United Nations last year, the world is bending the curve on greenhouse gases emissions downwards. However, we remain on track for 2.5 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of the century. This is still a distance away from the 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius target under the Paris Agreement.
4 Despite contributing only 0.1 per cent of total global emissions, Singapore is committed to doing our part for global climate action. In 2021, we launched the Singapore Green Plan 2030, setting ourselves bold and ambitious targets in sustainable development. Last year, we raised our climate ambition to achieve net zero by 2050 and was among few countries to submit our revised Nationally Determined Contributions ahead of the 27th Conference of Parties.
RIDING THE GREEN ECONOMY WAVE
5 With these goals and plans in place, we are now pressing ahead with actions. For instance, the carbon tax will be progressively increased from next year onwards to encourage adoption of low-carbon solutions and improvements in energy efficiency. We are also implementing the disposable carrier bag charge from July this year to promote responsible consumption of resources.
6 The world is transitioning towards a low-carbon economy. It is estimated that industries driving the global shift to net zero emissions could be worth up to $10.3 trillion by 2050. Singapore is riding the wave and harnessing sustainability as a new engine of growth. This includes positioning ourselves as a carbon services hub, a leading centre for green finance and regional centre for developing new solutions.
7 As we move towards the green economy, it is essential that our current and future workforce are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge. Under the Enterprise Sustainability Programme, the Government is working with industry partners to help companies develop capabilities in sustainability. We are heartened to know that leaders in their respective fields have come onboard the programme to share their expertise and experience.
SUSTAINABILITY EXCHANGE SEASON 3
8 Beyond developing our workforce, we need to build a pipeline of green talent that can ride on this momentum, accelerate the transition and sustain our development. We have seen efforts to impart relevant skills and knowledge through formal education in the Institutes of Higher Learning, but it is also imperative that youths are provided the opportunities to address sustainability challenges in the real-world context.
9 I am heartened to learn that EB Impact has been actively empowering our youths and developing their skillsets through its various initiatives, including the Sustainability Exchange. Into its third season, this mentorship programme has been a platform for youths to learn from sustainability professionals. This year, it will focus on addressing challenges in food production, urban planning, tourism, technology, sustainable consumption and education, all of which are relevant to the Green Plan.
10 With support from my Ministry’s SG Eco Fund, Sustainability Exchange Season 3 will include new capacity building and networking components that will bring our aspiring youths’ solutions closer to fruition. These sessions will benefit both current and past participants of Sustainability Exchange. I urge youths and industry practitioners to sign up and be part of our larger community movement to advance environmental sustainability in Singapore.
11 Let me conclude. Singapore is committed to doing our part for climate action. We have set ourselves ambitious goals and targets, and are taking concrete actions to achieve them. As we transition to a low-carbon future, new growth opportunities will arise. Our current and future workforce need to be equipped with the right skills and knowledge to leverage these opportunities and remain relevant in the green economy.
12 Our youths, who are our future, need to be given the opportunity to develop their capabilities, whether through formal training or hands-on experiences. I thank EB Impact and your partners for your continued dedication in nurturing our youths, and congratulate you on the successful launch of Sustainability Exchange Season 3. Over the longer term, I hope our participants and mentors will apply your solutions in the community for greater impact.
The SG Eco Fund is a resource for participants to realise their projects developed through this programme.
13 Thank you, and I look forward to a meaningful afternoon with all of you.