US – China climate pact ‘strong signal’ that both are willing to put aside differences: Heng Swee Keat – Mothership.SG – Community News
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US – China climate pact ‘strong signal’ that both are willing to put aside differences: Heng Swee Keat – Mothership.SG

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Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said the climate change pact between China and the US is a “strong signal” that the world’s two largest economies are willing to put aside their differences and “exercise global leadership to jointly tackle the climate crisis”.

Speaking at the 2021 Caixin Summit in Singapore on November 12, Heng referred to the recent surprise joint statement by China and the US on November 10 at COP26, the global climate summit.

The two largest carbon emitters have announced that they will work together to enhance climate action to reduce carbon emissions.

“Existential Issue for the World”

Heng said climate change is an “existential problem for the world” and that extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and wildfires have become “mundane”.

“In Southeast Asia, the impact will be severe — sea levels in this region are rising faster than elsewhere,” Heng said.

According to earth.orgSingapore is one of the cities that will be vulnerable to extreme flooding due to rising sea levels.

Green transition will not be easy

Citing the involvement of “sharp trades”, the former finance minister noted that the “necessary” green transition will not be easy.

To illustrate his point, Heng cited the example of carbon taxes, which he believes are the most economically efficient mechanism for curbing climate change.

He believed that raising carbon taxes is necessary to “take bold steps” that will create a more sustainable future in the long run, but the measure will also affect Singapore’s cost of living and competitiveness in the short term.

“The ongoing global energy crisis is a reminder that transitions are not always seamless and we need to accelerate our transition well,” Heng added.

R&D in sustainability a “key priority”

Given the potential of “sustainable technology”, Heng said Singapore has made sustainability R&D (research and development) a “key priority”, in areas such as making low-carbon hydrogen and carbon capture more feasible.

He also mentioned that researchers from Singapore and France have teamed up to establish a “world-first” research center to develop greener ways to recycle e-waste.

These researchers have developed new ways to increase the efficiency of recycling valuable metals from lithium-ion batteries.

For context, lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable batteries commonly used in cell phones and laptops.

The world generates more than 50 million tons of e-waste every year, which is equivalent to the weight of 350 cruise ships.

Top image via Lim Sin Thai/MCI