Venue: Seminar Room 3-1, Level 3, Manasseh Meyer, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, 469C Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259772
Speaker: Prof Arvind Subramanian, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development Senior Research Professor, Johns Hopkins University
Um Woochong, Deputy Director General, Regional and Sustainable Development Department Asian Development Bank
Synopsis: Thus far, international negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have focused on emission reductions, the “targets and timetables” for doing so, monitoring and compliance regimes, and incentives in the form of finance and carbon markets. The failure of the recent UNFCCC meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009 has highlighted the limitations of this approach. Read more
Speaker: Dr Elspeth Thomson, Senior Fellow, Energy Studies Institute (ESI)
Venue: ISEAS Seminar Room II
According to the fourth assessment report (AR4) of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the effects of climate change have already been observed. Climate change is considered to be one of the most serious threats to sustainable development, with adverse impacts expected on the environment, human health, food security, economic activity, natural resources and physical infrastructure. Scientific findings indicate that precautionary and prompt action is necessary.
Singapore is almost totally reliant on cross-border trade for raw material and food stuffs. W e are also directly affected by the environmental and ecological challenges facing our neighbours. Our small land area and close proximity to neighbouring ASEAN countries makes our economy even more vulnerable to the extremes of climate change and serve to remind us that our environment is tied to the environmental changes of our Southeast Asian neighbours.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) w ith the support of the Government of the United Kingdom recently released a Regional Review of the Economics of Climate Change in Southeast Asia. Dr Thomson will present highlights from the Singapore contribution to this report.
For more details on the seminar, visit the ISEAS website.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has recently published the Asian Water Development Outlook 2007, which discusses the current situation in water management in Asia, and the future challenges and solutions. The report is available for download at the ADB website. We share some key points from the report.
The misconception on the scarcity of water in Asian developing member countries (DMCs):
We can confidently predict, on the basis of current assessments of water resources, expected water demands of the future, available technology, knowledge, and experience, that Asian DMCs should not experience, or expect, a crisis in the future because of physical scarcity of water.
The problem is not about scarcity but management of water:
It is likely that if there will be a water crisis in the future, it will not come because of actual physical scarcity of water, as many predict at present, but because of continuing neglect of proper wastewater management practices. Continuation of the present trend will make available water sources increasingly more contaminated, and will make provision of clean water more and more expensive, as well as more complex and difficult to manage.
Climate change will make water management more difficult:
… climate change is likely to introduce high levels of risks and uncertainties that the water profession simply may not be able to handle with any degree of confidence, at least over the near term. All this will make efficient water planning and management an exceedingly complex and difficult task during the post-2025 period.
Some requirements for better water managment:
… solving the water problems of the future will require additional skills, innovative approaches, and new mindsets. It will also require a more holistic approach that can successfully coordinate the energy, food, environment, and industrial policies of a nation, all of which have intimate linkages to water. Each will affect the others and, in turn, be affected by the others.
… there are two key needs to make measurable progress. One is to collect better quality and more comprehensive data, especially from water utilities, so that real problem areas can be pinpointed. … The other is to implement and enforce existing policies and legislation – policy development is not the issue. This can only happen if there is accountability and a strong regulation/monitoring regime in place.