The Improbable Aircon: Why Singapore Should Care About Antarctica

By Sandra Marichal

A month ago, I found myself harnessed to a rope held by an expedition crew member who was, at the time, wearing five layers of clothes shielding from the -15°C winds. I, on the other hand, was wearing my two-piece bikini, ready to jump into the -2°C waters off the Antarctic Peninsula. Why you ask?

It all started in December 2015 with COP21. The successful international outcome gave me hope and made me realise that I, too, had a responsibility to do something. It got me thinking about the ways that I could get involved to help Singapore achieve its commitment of reducing its carbon intensity by 36% by 2030 from its 2005 levels. I could have joined an organisation that fights the haze or help raise awareness about food waste or clean beaches.

However, something bothered me even more about Singapore’s environmental impact: its air conditioning.

It was the first thing that struck me when I landed on the Little Red Dot a few years ago: the unnecessarily cold indoor temperatures, the freezing air in shopping malls and the feeling of slow cryogenisation inside the cinema.

Air conditioners in Singapore are a major contributor to global warming. They represent nearly 40% of our buildings’ total energy consumption, which is adding to the amount of fossil fuels being burnt out to produce that energy in the first place!

And what an impact! In March 2016, the average land and ocean temperature was the highest in records, which was 1.22°C hotter than the average month since 1880 according to the NOAA. So, not only are we too hot in Singapore, the overuse of air conditioners is making the world hotter! And that has an impact on the place that is supposed to keep us cool: Antarctica. If it were to melt completely, it would increase sea levels by 60 metres, submerging most of Singapore.

We do need to stop the melt before it is too late, and the way to do so is to hold the unavoidable increase in the global temperature to well below 2°C. That is why I founded #up2degrees — a local movement to raise awareness about climate change in Singapore. The aim is to get people to set the temperature of their air conditioning up by 2°C.

Join the #up2degrees movement, turn the temperature of your air conditioning up by 2°C so the planet does not have to do it for us!

Celebrate Earth Day at Science Centre Singapore!

Falling on this Saturday 22 April 2017, here are some  things you can do at Science Centre Group of Attractions!

  • Check out the Earth exhibition at Science Centre Singapore.
  • Bring your toddlers to KidsSTOP for some ground activities on our planet Earth.

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