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Asean should work together on common energy grid


November 5, 2008

Asean should work together on common energy grid
Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has said Asean will need to cooperate to have a common grid and pipeline, especially in the face of the world's immense environmental problems, reported city-state’s broadcaster Channel News Asia on its website.

Lee was speaking at the Inaugural Singapore Energy Lecture, part of the International Energy Week, which drew some 2,500 participants.

He acknowledged that removing government subsidies for electricity and fuel will be a difficult step for Malaysia and Indonesia. But citing Singapore's example, he said pricing is an effective tool to control consumption.

"I hope our neighbours also come to the conclusion that we are forced to cooperate. If we understand the complexity and immensity of the problems the world faces, (and which we will face in Southeast Asia), then we should have a common grid, common pipeline so that it's transferable," he said.

On Asia's giants, he said China and India need to realise that if they despoil the environment, their actions will impact them.

"If they get that message within 10, 15 years, then I think there's hope, all is not lost. If it comes too late, if it comes 30, 40 years we are all in trouble, because I do not believe that they will be able to reach European levels of sensitivity (to the environment) any time within one or two decades."

Lee's comments on India drew a question from India's Science and Technology Minister, Kapil Siba, who stood up to defend his country's commitment to preventing climate change.

Lee replied that India, like China, subsidises energy, which does nothing to curb consumption.

Nevertheless, China is showing interest to do something in the medium term as seen in its joint eco-city project in Tianjin with Singapore.

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