Singapore's great weakness is that it is an absurdly small nation.
Paradoxically, one great strength of Singapore is that it is an absurdly small nation.
Hence, Singapore can try things out on a national scale that few other nations can dream about. Let me suggest one such bold national project. Let Singapore become the first country in the world to have an all-electric fleet of vehicles: cars, trucks, taxis, buses, etc. Singapore can create a new chapter in world history by becoming the first country in the world not to have petrol-fuelled engines on the road. And why should Singapore do this? There will be at least three massive benefits from doing so. Healthier population
First, Singaporeans will breathe much cleaner air. Without petrol and diesel engines, there will be much less carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, particulate matter and other pollutants in the air. As a result, I have no doubt that the health of Singaporeans will improve.
There will be fewer instances of asthmatic attacks, and incidents of cancer may also go down. Singapore will also become the quietest city in the world.
Economists have not yet established simple and easy ways of measuring such "positive externalities" that will flow from an all-electric fleet in Singapore. Yet, there is no doubt that the environment will improve massively. Singaporeans will become a happier nation and Singapore will become an ever more attractive destination for the best global talent. (Oops, maybe I shouldn't say this!) Second, Singapore would be positioning itself for the day when a global carbon tax or emissions trading system is introduced. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just released its latest climate change report.
The evidence is now irrefutable.
Human activity, especially in the form of greenhouse gas emissions, is warming the planet. Many countries will suffer the negative effects of rising sea levels and bouts of extreme weather. Singapore will be one of the biggest losers if the worst-case scenario unfolds. While Singapore is too small to make a large difference to climate change mitigation efforts, an all-electric fleet would help us deal with a global carbon tax, thus boosting national competitiveness.