Remembering, reflecting and pushing ahead
We hope you had a great January! To those who made New Year’s resolutions, hopefully you’re some way towards completing them ;).
At SGCR, we’ve been making our own resolutions as well. We will try to explore new forms of media (aka more than just writing articles), so please be patient with us while we experiment! We’re also looking to collaborate more with more green groups and the wider civil society. If you’re interested in collaborating with us, feel free to send us a message on our social media.
The core of our message, however, remains that of pushing for a just transition. We hope that in the coming months, we’ll see more plans by the government to not only make greater strides in reducing carbon emissions, but also to ensure those that are the most affected by the climate crisis are adequately compensated. With the new GST hike taking effect and rising cost of living being a key issue, pushing for a just transition remains timely as ever.
We'd also like to draw your attention to two events coming up this month. A few days ago, many in civil society marked the 60th anniversary of Operation Coldstore with a statement by over 50 former political prisoners, and an upcoming gathering on 18 Feb to honour these heroes and reflect on the lessons that their struggle and sacrifice hold for us (sign up here). One example of how their fight for the working class continues is the Tak Boleh Tahan townhall series, which began in Jan and has its next event on 26 Feb, where one of our members will speak on their experience as a food delivery rider. We hope to see you there!
For a better world,
SG Climate Rally
It’s been a quiet month for us as we embarked on planning for the new year ahead of us (it’ll be a busy one!), though we published a summary of what we achieved in 2022. You’ll notice the title of this section has also changed - reflecting our desire to showcase more works other than writing and give space to our creatives. Watch this space.
🤥 At the annual World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres slammed oil firms for peddling a ‘big lie’ on the role of fossil fuels on climate change, as a new study on ExxonMobil showed the firm’s scientists had modelled global warming but the firm continued to dismiss climate science. In a big irony, however, the head of the UAE’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Company was named as the president of this year’s COP28 climate talks.
🪧 Greta Thunberg was briefly detained after joining a climate protest against a coal mine expansion in Lützerath, Germany. The expansion comes amid controversy about the expansion of local mining in Germany, and how this may increase Germany’s carbon emissions, which they have pledged to decrease. Tragically, in another climate protest in Atlanta, Georgia (the US state), Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, a climate activist protesting against the building of a training facility in the South River forest, was shot and killed by police. Officers claim Manuel shot first, though no video has been released. This is the first high-profile death in the environmental land defense movement in the US.
💨 A new investigation into Verra, the world’s leading carbon markets program, has found that “more than 90% of their rainforest offset credits…are likely to be “phantom credits” and do not represent genuine carbon reductions”. The investigation found that “only a handful of Verra’s rainforest projects showed evidence of deforestation reductions, according to two studies, with further analysis indicating that 94% of the credits had no benefit to the climate.” Verra is one of the organisations that the Singapore NEA has signed Memorandums of Understanding with for the use of their carbon credits to meet carbon tax obligations for companies. We had earlier mentioned Verra’s standards in our response to the public consultation on Singapore’s climate ambition last year when we were unaware of this, and hope this investigation will spur more accurate accounting of carbon credits in future.
The ambitious project by Sun Cable to send clean energy from Australia to Singapore via a 4,200km long cable is no longer viable, according to the project’s investor. Though the project has not been adopted by the Singapore government, it is one less option for clean energy imports for Singapore.
🥬 Uglyfood, a local food waste start-up, has closed down after seven years, citing a lack of funding. The online grocer took in food that was ‘blemished’ from importers, wholesalers, and supermarkets, and resold them online, also educating consumers on their social media on food waste.
🐌 Jason Hickel, degrowth proponent and author of Less Is More, has compiled a tweet thread of research published on degrowth and its relationship with colonialism, capitalism, and other concepts.
🔥 Climate activism has come a long way since the watershed year of 2019, which is when we held Singapore’s first climate rally as well. Many protests are driven by the youth, and so there needs to be an active push to build the capacity for youth leadership. This article in Time proposes four ways that government, corporate, philanthropic, and NGO leaders can build this capacity, namely i) providing funding and accommodation, ii) expanding formal roles and spaces for youth, iii) giving youth the political power they have earned, and iv) embracing their voices and energy.
🎤 CNA has a new episode out on their podcast series ‘The Climate Conversations’, focusing on climate activism. In it, Ho Xiang Tian (LepakinSG) and Rishika Selvan (SYCA) talk about their journey so far in climate activism, challenges, experience at COP27 and interactions with the government amongst other things. Give it a listen, and perhaps you might find inspired to join us (if you haven’t already done so!)