The best times are usually unplanned, random and spontaneous!
I would need to agree on this for the time when we (Emily, Jasmine and I) were heading to Singapore to attend a training session organised by Singapore Youth for Climate Action (SYCA). The trip was planned last minute (to be specific, one night before), but the outcome is truly fruitful and #YOLO.
I will start with the #YOLO first. The training session fall on Saturday morning. As all of us need to work on the Friday, we decided it is a good idea to take bus to Singapore during the midnight. Indeed, it is a good idea due to lesser carbon footprint and cheaper … until we reached Singapore.
We missed the bus station we suppose to arrive at and heading straight into the heart of Singapore. Well, this is not that bad after all. At least we get the chance to go sightseeing. Walking around the street of Singapore make me realise that street lights are almost everywhere. I am wondering how much energy did they consume per day just to light up the every corner of the streets. Thanks to the MRT that start operating as early as 5.30 am, we were able to reach our accommodation before sunrise. Not forgetting to mention that we only manage to sleep for 3 hours, thus the YOLO-ness enhanced.
By taking their public transportation, I realised it is much more cheaper if go cashless which roughly can saved up to 30%. In Malaysia, going cashless only saved us a few cents. I think Prasarana Malaysia should learn from them.
The training session held at Red Box. Red Box is run by Youth Corps Singapore which is part of government initiatives with the objective to provides volunteering opportunities for youths through ad-hoc, regular and project-based service projects.
Still remember I said that the outcome is fruitful and #YOLO at the beginning? This is where the fruitful part comes in.
Mr. Sandeep started the training by giving us an overview of the history timeline of COP from the very first Earth Summit to the infamous COP15 until the recent COP21. He raised his concern on the misconception from both the public as well as the media thinking that Paris Agreement is the first climate agreement. In fact, even before the Paris Agreement, we already has Kyoto Protocol, a legally binding agreement which commits its Parties by setting internationally binding emission reduction targets.
He then pinpointed the key feature of the Paris Agreement. He also mentioned about the limitation of Paris Agreement i.e no finance figure in the text after 2020. Ultimately, he told us on the expectation on COP22.
To reiterate, Paris Agreement requires all countries to prepare nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to outline the climate action plans and report on progress. Countries must submit updated NDCs every five years and must be more ambitious than previous NDC. As of now, 162 out of 190 countries already submitted their NDC. Based on the current submitted NDC, the temperature would still increase 2.7°C above pre-industrial level. Thus, starting from COP22, huge efforts will be needed to overcome the gap between the ambition of the agreement and the emission reductions pledged by the Countries.
Personally I felt this session is refreshing as he helped me to recall what I had studied since I joined MYD last year.
Melissa session focused on Singapore position and role in UNFCCC process. Albeit the points are not directly related to Malaysia, they are still some good to know facts. Singapore contribute only around 0.11% of global emission while Malaysia contribute approximately 0.6% of global emission (based on NDC).
During her session, one of the audience raised up an interesting point about the global emission contribution. Countries need to submit their national GHG inventories. The GHG data reported by the countries are estimated from direct GHG only. In other words, the data only calculate from point source emission and indirect GHG is not taken into calculation.
Singaporeans have high purchasing power which leads to higher consumerism. Most of the products are imported from other countries like China but the carbon footprint that produced before reaching Singapore are not included in the calculation. One of the solution suggested is to urge the corporates and organisations to adopt and implement Greenhouse Gas Protocol in managing and reporting their GHG emission. 3 different categories of emission (Scope 1,2,3) were established to avoid ‘double-counting’ of emissions, and is also intended to help organizations categorize GHG into those that they control (e.g. Scope 1) versus those that they can influence (e.g. Scope 3). For more info, please click HERE
When comes to UNFCCC climate conference, the plenary is not just about negotiating the what and how of climate change but instead it is an international battleground for the diplomats. Countries such as Singapore sending out national delegates who are representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affair. Most of the time, the representative from Ministry of Foreign Affair are well trained in communicating with foreign governments and international organisations as well as coordinating and carried out policy. In regardless of this conference, these are also part of their job scope.
Since Paris Agreement had been adopted last year, the major “talking” part consider over. Starting from COP22 onward, the focus will be more on the implementation of the agreement itself. Due to these, the national delegates of Singapore for this coming year will be coming from Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources. *geddit?*
In a nutshell, this short getaway rekindles my passion for climate change negotiation process. It’s also really feel great to reconnect with my like-minded friends. Aside from these, it is also a pleasure to meet Miss Lastrina again. She recently won the EcoFriend Award 2016 (Youth and Student Category) for her dedication towards environmental conservation. #proudofher
p/s: I interviewed here right after we get back from COP21. Wanted to know more? Click HERE.