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 S'pore to reduce emissions growth by 16% below projected 2020 level

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PostSubject: S'pore to reduce emissions growth by 16% below projected 2020 level   Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:34 am

By May Wong, Channel NewsAsia
Posted: 02 December 2009 2048 hrs

SINGAPORE: It will no longer be "business as usual" for Singapore, as the country commits to reduce carbon emissions growth by 16 per cent below the projected 2020 level - if a global agreement is reached and other countries implement significant targets of their own.

Senior Minister S Jayakumar, who chairs the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change, announced this at a news conference on Wednesday.

Singapore needs to come up with measures for reducing emissions growth, in order to prevent low-lying parts of the country from submerging due to adverse effects of climate change.

Professor Jayakumar said: "We are not starting off with a low base because despite all of our constraints, all our difficulties, we have done a lot.

"In fact, long before climate change became a global issue, Singapore has taken considerable efforts - increasing of green cover, transport policies, fuel switch to natural gas, enhancing of energy efficiency, recycling our waste. And the significant efforts have led to considerable reductions of our emissions."

The government said that 16 per cent is a stretch target, but it can be reached.

Mah Bow Tan, Singapore National Development Minister and Co-Chair, Inter-Ministerial Committee on Sustainable Development said: "When we mention the figure of 16 per cent, this is not like opening a gambit in a chess game or part of a negotiation.

"No, this is derived at, based on fundamental evaluation of what we have done and what we can realistically do. Eventually, government will have to come up with a set of measures in order to incentivise as well as to encourage behaviour to achieve this target.

"Our commitment is done in good faith; it is something we believe is achievable. It is not something that we just throw up on the table for negotiation."

Measures on how the government intends to reduce emissions growth will be announced after the Copenhagen climate talks next week. It will mean additional costs, but the government will buffer the impact.

Professor Jayakumar said: "The measures which we will take to reduce our emissions growth will entail both economic and social costs and will require considerable domestic adjustments.

"There will be impact on industries and households. The government will do what is necessary to buffer this impact and to help them adjust to the new low carbon environment.

"We will do our best to keep the cost to the minimum and to achieve the emissions growth reduction in the best possible efficient way."

Besides looking at costs, the government will also ensure that economic growth is not compromised.

Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Singapore Environment and Water Resources Minister and Co-Chair, Inter-Ministerial Committee on Sustainable Development said: "It must grow. The question is at what rate? How fast and how big it will be - that is what is being studied at this point in time.

"If we do this at the expense of our economic competitiveness, then we are shooting ourselves in the foot. We must do it in conjunction with economic growth.

"But how that growth will be, as mentioned by Minister Mah, we have to look at the total package. Which are the sectors we have to bear? Is there a need to restructure some sectors of the economy? These are being studied intensely."

Professor Jayakumar said Singapore has no historical responsibility for climate change and it contributes less than 0.2 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. In spite of this, he said that Singapore is making a major effort to tackle climate change.

He added that this is because Singapore is a responsible member of the international community, and wants to play its part in reducing emissions.

Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stori...022090/1/.html

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