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$23.5 Million Climate Impact Science Research (CISR) Programme Launched to Support Long-Term Climate Change Adaptation Planning

09 Jul 2022

The CISR Programme is led by NEA’s Centre for Climate Research Singapore (CCRS) to better understand the long-term impact of climate change on Singapore

Singapore, 12 July 2022 – The Centre for Climate Research Singapore (CCRS) under the National Environment Agency (NEA) has launched the Climate Impact Science Research (CISR) Programme to better understand the long-term impact of climate change on Singapore. The S$23.5 million CISR Programme will focus on five key priority areas – sea level rise; water resource and flood management; biodiversity and food security; human health and energy; and cross-cutting research to bridge science-policy translation.

2          The announcement was made by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, in her opening address at the World Climate Research Programme’s Sea Level 2022 Conference. The CISR Programme will be funded under Singapore’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2025 Plan.

Overview of Climate Impact Science Research Programme

3          The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports show that climate change has increased the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, and its impact on economies, livelihoods, and security of essential resources such as water, food, and energy. Singapore, as a highly urbanised, densely populated, and low-lying country, which is reliant on international trade, is vulnerable to these effects. While mitigation action remains a key focus of our contribution against climate change, equal importance must be placed on climate adaptation, informed by the latest climate science.  

4          Policies must be evidence-based and draw on robust, credible, and objective scientific assessments. Hence, the CISR Programme aims to improve understanding of climate impact science in the following areas:

  • Sea level rise, coupled with extreme tides and surges, could flood our coastline, and pose a long-term existential threat to low-lying Singapore. Results from scientific assessments could help evaluate the risks of coastal floods and inform the adequacy of protection measures.

  • More extreme weather events, such as droughts and intense rainfall, would affect Singapore’s water resource and our flood management practices. For example, studies on the impact of water runoff from increased precipitation can help us better plan our flood mitigation measures, such as local detention tanks and right-sizing of our drainage network.
  • Our biodiversity and food security would also be impacted by more extreme weather events, affecting local and regional crop yield and supply chains. Better knowledge on climate extremes can help us understand the impact on local food supply and key food imports and help with our food diversification strategy.

  • Future warming may also exacerbate the urban heat island effect, causing energy demand surges which could impact supply and grid transmission. An increase in the threat of vector-borne diseases could also impact our health. Understanding such implications of climate change could help enhance public sector planning and decision-making under future warming scenarios.
  • Science-policy translation is also needed to allow agencies to make sense of projected climate change risks, in order to plan effective interventions.

Long-term impact of climate change on Singapore

5          Climate change is a multi-faceted and interdisciplinary problem, with far-reaching implications on Singapore, the region, and the world. By adopting a multi-pronged research approach and addressing different facets of climate change, Singapore can better understand our imminent challenges and formulate effective adaptation measures.

6          Professor Dale Barker, Director of CCRS said, “We are excited to embark on new areas of climate impact research underpinned by CCRS’ latest climate projections. Preliminary findings from the National Sea Level Programme (NSLP), launched by CCRS in 2020, have shed light on the uncertainty of probable sea levels in Singapore. We hope that research outcomes from the CISR Programme will help to provide a more accurate understanding of climate impact science to provide a firm foundation for downstream policy and infrastructure implementation. For example, allowing policymakers to make more informed decisions on optimising adaptation infrastructure costs.”

7          Professor Chan Eng Soon, co-chair of the CISR Scientific Advisory Panel said, “I have partnered CCRS in working together with international sea level rise scientists to provide advice on the NSLP and its relevancy for Singapore since 2020. I look forward to providing further guidance on the broad-ranging research areas under CISR. I strongly encourage the local research community to contribute to the national urgency of understanding the impact of climate change on Singapore through the CISR grant calls.”

8          In the upcoming years, CCRS will continue to work closely with stakeholders from the CISR Programme, to strengthen and build local research capabilities in climate impact science in alignment with our national priorities. CCRS welcomes innovative proposals from public and private entities, research institutes and institutes of higher learning, to expand the breadth and depth of our knowledge base for this important endeavour.

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