Sustainable everyday choices in the Year of Climate action

Transboundary haze has contributed to the region’s air pollution is a direct result of deforestation techniques using fire for land clearing. Peatlands are being cleared for palm oil production and for timber used in paper manufacture. When dried out, peatlands release stored CO2 and become highly flammable.

New temperature record for Singapore in 2017, another sign of climate change, is the headline news in the last couple of days.

2017 was the warmest year on record not influenced by El Niño. According Meteorological Service Singapore “This is indicative of the long-term temperature rise that Singapore has been experiencing due to factors such as global warming and urbanisation.” The agency said the 27.7°C mean annual temperature was also 0.2°C warmer than the long-term average.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, while designating 2018 as Year of Climate Action, outlined progress on reducing vehicular air pollution and stressed that climate change is closely interlinked with air pollution. So, reducing greenhouse gas emissions also reduces air pollution.

 Palm oil and climate change

 Transboundary haze has contributed to the region’s air pollution and is a direct result of deforestation techniques using fire for land clearing. Peatlands are being cleared for palm oil production and for growing timber used in paper manufacture. When dried out, peatlands release stored CO2 and become highly flammable.
Peatland and carbon emissionSource : Friends of the Earth

Palm oil is one of the major causes of the haze that has affected Singapore evert year since 2013. People in Singapore use palm oil and paper products every day. Palm oil is widely used as a cooking oil here. We surveyed popular restaurant and fast food chains and found that 32 out of 33 were using cooking oil containing palm oil.

During the recent Senior Minister of State Roundtable Engagement Session with environmental NGOs and civil society groups, on 3 Jan 2018, a “Climate Action 2018” brochure was disseminated (see below). We are excited to see two haze-related action items, namely “contribute to regional co-operation in upholding the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution” and “Buy from companies that do not engage in forest burning practices to clear land” under the responsible production and consumption category.

Climate Action 2018 - marked.001

PM Haze is actively campaigning to educate consumers and restaurants in the use of sustainable palm oil, that is not grown on land cleared by burning. PM Haze has been directly involved in supporting communities in Riau and Malaysia to rehydrate peat and reduce the threat of fires by blocking drainage canals dug by palm oil and paper companies.

Every one of us can do something to protect our atmosphere, reduce haze and to slowing global warming through our sustainable choices as consumers and investors.