Seen and heard this week


Seen and heard this week is a weekly column highlighting thought leadership from the NUS community


NUS Geography Assistant Professor Winston Chow wrote a commentary for The Straits Times’ Science Talk on 6 September on Singapore’s vulnerability to climate change. Examples of hazardous climate impacts that Singapore can experience are increased temperature, changing rainfall patterns and rising sea levels, he said. Asst Prof Chow, who also holds a position in the Institute of Water Policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, described the adaptations that Singapore has in place for managing these impacts, including raising minimum land reclamation height to address rising sea levels and the Cooling Singapore initiative to address the increase in temperature. These adaptations have a limit, however, Asst Prof Chow warns, and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions is sorely needed.

Sustained economic growth, human development, urbanisation and industrialisation in the ASEAN region has led to increased energy demand. Professor Philip Andrews-Speed from the Energy Studies Institute at NUS, together with Mr Harsh Vijay Singh from the World Economic Forum Geneva, penned an opinion piece in Khmer Times on 6 September discussing the increased need for energy in the region. To address the challenges such as energy security, investment, access and sustainability, the writers propose a shared vision and increased regional cooperation between all the ASEAN countries that would optimise energy system performance. The writers opined that sustained political will, a suitable investment environment and appropriate institutional frameworks that will support cross-border integration of physical infrastructure and energy markets are needed in the region.

NUS Engineering Professor Seeram Ramakrishna wrote a commentary in Tabla! on 7 September on the need to find and develop circular-material alternatives via research and innovation. Circular materials are made from regenerative resources and are biodegradeable, as well as being easy to recycle, refurbish, reprocess and reuse. The drive towards a circular economy will involve reducing the consumption of virgin materials, reducing waste and improving recycling rates, said Prof Ramakrishna, who is also Director of the Centre for Nanofibers and Nanotechnology at NUS, and Chair of the Circular Economy Taskforce at the University. He added that accomplishing this goal requires innovative product designs, improved material selection, substitution with ecofriendly materials, manufacturing innovations and new business models. He urged critics, advocates, researchers, industries, businesses, policy makers and communities to make a more conscious effort to develop sound and robust methods to measure progress towards a circular materials economy.

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