DPM Teo Chee Hean at the Launch Of Shell “Make The Future” Festival

SM Teo Chee Hean | 20 March 2017

Speech by DPM and Coordinating Minister for National Security, Teo Chee Hean, at the launch of Shell's "Make The Future” Festival on 20 March 2017 at the Changi Exhibition Centre.


Mr John Abbott, Royal Dutch Shell Executive Committee Member,
Ms Goh Swee Chen, Shell Singapore Chairman,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning,

Today, close to 55 per cent of the world’s population lives in urban areas and this is going to increase to about two thirds by 2050. The search for sustainable urban solutions is urgent, particularly in emerging economies where urban populations are growing the fastest. But also in developed economies where cities are sometimes weighed under by old infrastructure, the old systems of transportation, and they are looking for new ways to become more efficient and more liveable.

Co-ordinated action by all governments is needed to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and provide a more sustainable environment for our current and future generations. This will also drive many green growth opportunities for clean and smart technologies.

Singapore has always been at the forefront of sustainable development. Our policies since independence in 1965 have contributed to the transformation of Singapore into a vibrant global city, distinctive for being clean and green. In 2016, the Sustainable Cities Index placed Singapore in second spot among 100 cities worldwide, and the top in Asia.

We are investing more in energy-efficient and low-carbon urban solutions to ensure that we can continue to be a City in a Garden, do our part to address global warming and seize new green growth opportunities. We have also reviewed and updated our Sustainable Singapore Blueprint and the Climate Action Plans.

I chair our Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change in Singapore. It is a matter which we take very seriously. We bring together different ministries to make sure that we do our best to help contribute to the global move to reduce greenhouse gases. And we make sure that when we make these commitments, we can live up to them. This has been a process that we have been going through for some time, in tandem with the global climate change negotiations which culminated in the Paris Agreement. We have been a facilitative and constructive player and have ratified the Agreement which is now in force globally.

We studied the matter very carefully, lined up the different measures to mitigate greenhouse gases, and studied the cost and efficiency of addressing each one of them – how much from the economic cost perspective and how much it will contribute to reducing greenhouse gases. From that matrix, we set out different policies to help us achieve our commitment.

We are incentivising investments in energy efficiency and clean energy, including introducing a carbon tax. Our universities and research institutes, companies and civil society can work closely together to drive the adoption of such urban solutions.

First, our universities and research institutes can work with companies to translate research outcomes to new products and services for the green economy.

Under the Research, Innovation, and Enterprise plan, urban solutions and sustainability is one of four priority areas where we have a strong national need, and where we already have a scientific and research community doing cutting-edge work.

For instance, we are investing to find more innovative and effective ways for the smooth flow of goods and people. This is not just vital to our economy but also for a better quality of life. With artificial intelligence, advanced data analytics and more efficient deployment of vehicles, we can break new frontiers in urban mobility.

We are also looking at other areas, for instance, alternative energy. We have a major solar cell research centre in Singapore and several major plants manufacturing solar cells here. We are looking into increasing the efficiency and conversion of energy from more advanced solar cells, and also how to develop smart grids to address the issue of intermittency from alternative energy to be handled by the grid.

We are also working through a number of research institutes to study how the industry, including the petrochemical and energy industry, which are major industries in Singapore, can be more energy efficient and emit less greenhouse gases.
Second, our companies can play a leading role to drive energy efficiency in operations, and raise the capabilities of the ecosystem of suppliers.

I am heartened that many major companies in the energy, chemicals and power sector have sharpened their focus on low-carbon, energy-efficient solutions. Shell, I know, has invested in co-generation and is studying how its plants can be best-in-class in energy efficiency. To develop next-generation energy solutions for Singapore and the region, Singapore Power has established a living lab platform in 2015 with other energy companies.

Third, it is important to have people understand the need for energy efficiency. Civil society can help raise public awareness of the energy and climate change challenge, and help consumers make informed choices and behavioral changes.

For example, the Northwest and Southwest Districts have been particularly active in working with corporate partners and environmental groups to drive energy efficiency-related initiatives in their communities. Such collaboration has helped to promote eco-habits among Singaporeans such as using energy-efficient appliances; and put bright energy ideas into action such as helping families in need switch from incandescent to LED lights. The residents know that when the lights have been changed, their energy bills will come down. The initial step to make that change is a hurdle for them and we are helping them to make that change.

Shell’s youth festivals have excited many to take up careers in science and engineering, and to use their skills to develop innovative solutions for the future.The “Make the Future” Festival will further contribute to Shell’s and our efforts to make urban living sustainable, clean and green. It needs the efforts of everyone in Singapore and around the world to make this a beautiful world that all of us can live in for generations to come.

Singapore has always been at the forefront of sustainable development.

DPM Teo Chee Hean

It is my pleasure to declare the Shell “Make the Future” Festival open. I hope that everyone here has an enjoyable time.

Thank you.