ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Singapore will do its part to combat climate change: Vivian Balakrishnan
SINGAPORE: The Republic has achieved a 30 per cent decrease in carbon intensity, for a 10-year period between 2000 and 2010.
Speaking at a UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru on Wednesday (Dec 10), Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said this compares favourably with the global average decrease of 0.12 per cent over the same period.
Singapore is a member of the Small Island Developing States. On a global scale and at an aggregate level, the Republic contributes very little to global emissions. It is ranked 113th out of 140 countries, when it comes to carbon emissions generated per GDP dollars.
However, every little bit counts when it comes to combating climate change and Singapore will do its part, said Dr Balakrishnan.
Through various Government initiatives, the country has achieved a substantial decrease in carbon intensity, such as the move in the Year 2000 to switch from fuel oil to natural gas - a cleaner form of fossil fuel.
Today, close to 90 per cent of power in Singapore is produced by natural gas. There have also been moves to encourage the development of green buildings with energy-saving features and getting industries to take up machinery to reduce electricity consumption.
A reduction in carbon intensity essentially means that even as the nation develops, Singapore has managed to keep the levels of pollution in the country low. The challenge is in getting consumers and industries to reduce their reliance on energy and switch to clean energy sources.
In Peru, Dr Balakrishnan underlined the importance of encouraging universal participation and recognising each country's unique national circumstances in order to build a durable and effective global agreement on climate change.
“So for Singapore, we are a small island, we import almost 100 per cent of our energy needs and at the same time, we are alternative-energy constrained. By which we mean we have no access to renewable energy sources,” said director of the National Climate Change Secretariat, Mr Yuen Sai Kuan.
“For us, the most likely renewable energy source that we can tap on is solar, but even then, with the current state of technology, there are some limitations. For example, if there is thick cloud cover, which we often encounter in Singapore, this limits the effectiveness of solar power," he added.
CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECTS EVERYONE
Mr Yuen said: "Climate change is a global issue and the inter-governmental panel on climate change has over the last year released its projections for what the world's climate will be like in the Year 2100.
"So as a small island, we will certainly be affected by all the climate change that will happen, and if you look at some of the recent weather phenomenon that we see, dry spells, more intense rainfall, Singapore will certainly be affected. So as a responsible member of the global community, and in our own interests, we would want to reduce our own carbon emissions to help address this problem."
The meeting in Peru sets the stage for member states to finalise a new climate change agreement by 2015. It will come into effect from 2020 and Dr Balakrishnan said Singapore is committed to support this new global initiative.
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