Singapore considers issuing bonds to finance combat against climate change: minister
SINGAPORE, Aug. 22 -- Singapore is considering measures including the issuance of government bonds to fund the 100 billion Singapore dollars (72 billion U.S. dollars) it might take to fight rising sea levels over the next century, according to the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli. In an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday, Masagos said in the short-term, funding for projects such as a 400 million-Singapore dollar upgrade to the city-state's drainage systems to boost flood resilience will come from ministry-level expenditures, while longer term spending could require the government to tap its national reserves and issue state bonds. "For those that have to be spent that will benefit future generations, we're talking about borrowing so that whatever we spend for the future will also be paid for by the future generations," Masagos said. Actually, 100 billion Singapore dollars is a lot of money even if spent over 100 years, the minister noted. The climate change issue was one of the key points of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's speech at the National Day Rally on Aug. 18, where he urged Singaporeans that "everything else must bend at the knee to safeguard" the country. In fighting rising sea waters in wake of climate change, Lee said his government will consider building polders to protect existing low-lying areas. Singapore doesn't see climate change as a "tree hugging" issue. "It is based on science and research for which we have spent a lot of money on, getting supercomputers, scientists, and putting all the data that we have to enable us to make proper policy decisions," Masagos said.