Earth Observatory Blog
An INSIGHT Dialogue: The Flip Side of Clean Energy
Channel NewsAsia held a dialogue session on 24 January 2018 at the Funan Showsuite. Associate Professor Adam Switzer, a Principal Investigator at the Earth Observatory of Singapore, together with a panel of speakers, shared their thoughts on CNA’s INSIGHT episode, Fukushima — 6 years after the Daiichi disaster. They explored topics that looked at how safe it is for residents to return to Fukushima, the damage to the ecosystems there, as well as its clean-up.
Assoc Prof Switzer led the discussion on the long-term damages from alternative energy sources, and if clean energy might be the solution. “There is a rising demand for energy in Singapore due to growing industries. But what are the acceptable risks?” he asked. “The hazard zone of a nuclear power plant is the size of Singapore. If a nuclear disaster were to happen at the plant, we are gone.”
When asked why Singapore can’t be more like Norway or New Zealand in terms of developing and consuming renewable energy, Assoc Prof Switzer explained that Singapore is limited by its geographical location and size. “Wind is not a viable option, and there isn’t enough space for solar energy,” he explained. “There are also no ocean currents that can be used as hydropower.”
However, he believes that the limitations faced by Singapore present unique opportunities. “I often tell my students this — you can look at climate change as a doom and gloom story, or you can choose to see it as an opportunity for Singapore to take the lead and make great strides.”