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Grace Fu: Both China and Singapore can galvanize climate action

Decision Makers


Editor's note: The highly anticipated UN COP28 Climate Conference commenced on November 30in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Extreme weather events occurring globally, ranging from floods to wildfires, highlight the critical nature of the climate crisis. What are the most concerning and difficult challenges facing humankind on climate action? What experiences can China offer to the world in this regard? How can China and Singapore cooperate to address the climate crisis? Singapore's Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, Grace Fu, shares her insights on the green cooperation between China and Singapore. The views expressed in the video are her own and not necessarily those of CGTN.

CGTN: What do you see as the most concerning and difficult challenge to deal with from a government's perspective – the rising sea levels or general climate change?

Grace Fu: It's really about our lives and our properties. And if Singapore, as an economic hub, is inundated for a week or two, it is going to bring the economic activities of Singapore down to a grinding halt. And that will really hurt us badly. So that's sea level rise. Coastal protection, protecting ourselves, our properties, our livelihoods from sea level rise is but one area of addressing the impacts of climate change. How do you get it right? With a very flexible, adaptive, and yet effective strategy and implementation. I think this is the challenge for us.

If you are going to spend so much money in adaptation, why are we not looking at mitigation first to reduce the impact of climate change? Is it not worth more than the amount of money that we are going to need to adapt to climate change? So climate mitigation is also something that we pay a lot of attention to. We do not have all the answers on hand, and we are searching for new technologies. We are searching for new solutions.

CGTN: Do you see that solution involving China?

Grace Fu: Very much so in many, many ways. Human beings, (or) humanity is trying to decarbonize after using carbon fossil fuels for hundreds of years. How do we restructure and change the systems across everything that we do, from the way that we travel and move things, to the way that we make things, and to the way that we communicate with our headphones or laptops, for example? How do you change everything that we do and take carbon out of the equation? China is a leader in many of these green technologies. You are big in solar panels, for example; you are big in EVs. And I think you have a lot to offer. So, part of my purpose here is to really look for opportunities, for cooperation at the political level with your Ministries, but also hope to bring opportunities for businesses to collaborate.

I have noted the revised nationally determined contributions to climate change made by China. As you say, there is the "Shuang Tan:""Tan Zhonghe" and "Tan Dafeng," which is carbon peaking in 2030 and also net zero neutrality in 2060. I have also read several of China's policies in detail, including those on the deployment of renewable energy and on responsible consumption and production.

The plans are very detailed and very comprehensive. And it's really a good model for many policy makers. At the same time, you are deploying renewable energy, as well as solar panels at a capacity that I think no other countries in the world can match.

CGTN: Are you optimistic about people being able to handle the climate change challenge?

Grace Fu: I must say that at the rate that we are going, we have a significant gap. If you just look at Southeast Asia, it is a relatively young region with many people that are young, that are in search of economic development, and that want better things in life. If you look at the energy supply in Southeast Asia or in Asia, in general, we are seeing a gap between what is available right now and what is required for the projected growth.

And that is really part of the discussions that we have in Beijing, at the "Friends of the Paris Agreement" meeting. How do we activate more finance? I think what China and Singapore are doing in terms of green finance is really to try to leverage funds, from the government and also activating from the banks, investors, pension funds, insurance companies, and philanthropies – really all segments where there are available resources to try to meet these needs.

China has a lot to offer. I think in the Global Development Initiative (GDI), there are about seven or eight items; you have an item on public health, such as vaccine and management of COVID for example; you also have an item on climate and green transition; you have an item on digital connection and digitalization. These are all areas where the Chinese government and Chinese industries have lots of capabilities and resources.

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at opinions@cgtn.com. Follow @thouse_opinions on Twitter to discover the latest commentaries in the CGTN Opinion Section.)

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