Consider this question, for example:
“What steps [are] Singapore taking to (i) address climate change (ii) prioritise green and sustainable living and (iii) reduce food waste in Singapore.” —asked to MEWR (8 July 2019)
Vaguely phrased questions such as this one may emphasise environmental action, but they leave out what more should be done and specific policies that an MP might want to see implemented. Instead, check out what former Nominated Member of Parliament Mahdev Mohan asked the Prime Minister instead:
In light of reports that Singapore banks have provided loans to multiple coal power projects totalling more than US$2 billion over the last five years (a) whether these investments have any impact on the Government's proposed measures to reduce carbon emissions including that of a carbon tax; and (b) whether the banks will be required or encouraged to make public pledges to restrict lending to such projects. (19 February 2018)
Sharp questions such as Mohan's are specific, and the way questions are phrased informs how they are answered. It’s important to ask why certain questions are directed at specific ministries; do these questions build on previous work on the issue? Are ministries clarifying misconceptions and sharing data, or are they simply reiterating efforts and publicly available information?
Parliamentary Questions are a great way to shape the discussion around climate policy, help the public understand policy intentions, and figure out how to best make change happen.
The mainstream media bring important climate topics to the public, especially since Parliamentary debates are not live streamed. They thus have the potential to amplify key climate issues and policies of the day, but they also miss these out at times. Though it helped raise awareness about the role of local corporate entities in climate change issues, Mohan's question received barely any coverage in local news.