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Minister calls on S’poreans to save money, not make sacrifices, on energy

SINGAPORE — Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan yesterday (Dec 4) expressed confidence that Singapore will meet its pledge to reduce emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, adding that for many Singaporeans, this will mean having to be more conscious about saving energy on a daily basis.

Minister calls on S’poreans to save money, not make sacrifices, on energy

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan speaks during an interview session on Dec 4, 2015. Photo: Jason Quah/TODAY

SINGAPORE — Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan yesterday (Dec 4) expressed confidence that Singapore will meet its pledge to reduce emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, adding that for many Singaporeans, this will mean having to be more conscious about saving energy on a daily basis.

Speaking to reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before leaving for Paris to attend talks on a post-2020 global climate change regime, the minister said “a concerted and deliberate long-term plan has been put in place to ensure that we can all save money, at the personal, national and industrial level”. “I’m not asking you to make sacrifices. I am asking you to save money. We all need to pay attention to the way we use (electricity) and, more importantly, go back to the age-old wisdom about not wasting.”

He said that if Singaporeans paid more attention to their household electricity bills, they may find it possible to cut electricity consumption by 10 or even 25 per cent. Technological solutions such as the possible introduction of smart electricity meters in the home would also facilitate the process.

As for the industry, he noted there are grants, incentives and technology transfer schemes to help companies use the most efficient equipment.

The Building and Construction Authority has also been encouraging the construction of more green buildings with lower energy requirements.

The Republic has pledged to reduce emissions per gross domestic product dollar by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, and stabilise emissions with the aim of peaking it around 2030. Dr Balakrishnan said the pledge is unconditional, regardless of whether a new global climate deal is agreed upon in Paris next week.

He characterised Singapore’s pledge as “ambitious” and “difficult targets for us to achieve”. “We feel that this is the right and responsible thing to do. In typical Singapore fashion, when we set a target, we go all out to achieve it,” he said.

Dr Balakrishnan said that while Singapore’s carbon footprint is being reduced, “there are some adjustment transitions we have to make”, including schemes such as the National Environment Agency’s Mandatory Energy Labelling Scheme that awards more ticks to energy-efficient products to “gently guide the market”.

“What we have in Singapore is a well-designed future-ready city built on sound economic principles. And we can actually show the world how you can save money, make a living and save the world at the same time,” he said.

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