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Govt agencies, industries to work on achieving S’pore’s emission targets

SINGAPORE – If an agreement is reached at the ongoing climate summit in Paris, agencies here will start the ball rolling by working with industries in various sectors to implement measures towards achieving Singapore’s carbon emission reduction targets, said Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli today (Dec 1).

Govt agencies, industries to work on achieving S’pore’s emission targets

The COP21 in in Le Bourget, north of Paris. Photo: AP

SINGAPORE – If an agreement is reached at the ongoing climate summit in Paris, agencies here will start the ball rolling by working with industries in various sectors to implement measures towards achieving Singapore’s carbon emission reduction targets, said Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli today (Dec 1).

Mr Masagos who, along with Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, will be leading the Singapore delegation to 21st annual Conference of Parties (COP) summit, added that he was hopeful that the participating nations could reach a universal agreement. However, he acknowledged there would still be some “tough negotiations” in the days ahead.

“All of us have put out some commitments – what we call the INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) – to help limit global temperatures rise by two degrees. This is not enough. They are looking at two and a half and better. I think two degrees is still much better than not doing anything at all,” said Mr Masagos, who spoke ahead of a visit  to Singapore’s first metal recovery facility, which is located near Tuas Marine Transfer Station today (Dec 1).

“For Singapore, we will be looking at reducing our Emissions Intensity by 36 per cent by 2030, based on our 2005 levels. This is a very huge commitment … (and) it requires the whole of government as well as the economy to realign, to look at ways to bring down our business-as-usual emissions.”

For industries, Mr Masagos noted that the challenge would be in balancing an economy that can still support people’s livelihood while reducing carbon emissions.

“Most of (the companies) come from international organisations all over the world, so they already have good energy conservation practices in their processes. So what we want to do is ensure what they’re practising overseas start to come to Singapore.”

Beyond regulating industries, Mr Masagos said achieving Singapore’s target would require Singaporeans to play their part by relooking their energy consumption habits like driving cars and at the same time, recycle more.

When asked by TODAY if Singapore will still commit to the 36 per cent target if there is no climate deal in Paris for the post-2020 period, the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) said the INDCs would technically not be translated into obligations without such an agreement, and Singapore would review its options at that point.

Pointing out that this year’s protracted haze episode had released about one gigatonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, Mr Masagos said the amount is equivalent to almost 20 per cent of the global emission reduction targets nations are trying to commit to in 2030.

“So, if the world is trying to reduce the emission but we do not do something about this burning of our forest, which also emits a huge amount of carbon dioxide, it is almost counter-productive,” he said.

When asked about updates on Singapore’s Transboundary Haze Pollution Act, Mr Masagos said the companies linked to the haze have been put on notice, but the “biggest impediment” in pursuing the issue is the lack of any official concession maps.

The Act allows Singapore to impose steep fines on local or foreign companies found to contribute to smoke pollution in the Republic.

Mr Masagos said he had requested a meeting with Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar “in France or anywhere else, even in Indonesia” to discuss further how the two countries can work together, particularly to bring errant companies to task.

At the same time, the Singapore Government is looking at how it can move forward in its cooperation with the Jambi province in Indonesia, he added.

In response to TODAY’s query, the MEWR said Indonesia indicated “its readiness to restart discussions regarding the Jambi MOU (memorandum of understanding) renewal” this month.

The previous MOU, signed in 2007, focused on training for fire-prevention and suppression capabilities as well as capacity-building for alternative livelihoods.

The latest MOU is looking to broaden the scope of cooperation to include more activities that would lead to more effective prevention, detection and mitigation of land and forest fires, added the ministry.

 

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