Ministry to work with firms in ‘green’ growth aim: Masagos

KELLY NG Today Online 22 Jan 16;

SINGAPORE — Industries and vehicles will have to adhere to tougher emissions standards, while the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) will work with businesses to adopt greener practices and enhance their energy efficiency, to achieve environmentally sustainable economic growth.

In his ministry’s addendum to the President’s Address to Parliament last Friday, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli noted that economic growth and environmental sustainability are not mutually exclusive, and pledged to partner interest groups and regional governments to realise this vision.

According to the International Energy Agency’s 2014 Key World Energy Statistics report, the energy and transformation industries in Singapore contributed 46 per cent of carbon emissions from fuel combustion in the energy sector in 2010, while industrial activities accounted for 38 per cent.

Mr Masagos said yesterday that his ministry will not hesitate to “take tough action” against errant businesses. The minister cited the Republic’s experience with transboundary haze as one that has shown “devastating” environmental, social and economic impact of irresponsible businesses.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who chairs the Inter-ministerial Committee on Climate Change, echoed calls for industries to step up efforts in re-examining their operations. These will be complemented by regulations under the Energy Conservation Act, which targets a 35 per cent improvement in energy intensity by 2030 from 2005 levels, as well as by various capability-building programmes, incentives and financing schemes, said Mr Teo in the National Climate Change Secretariat’s addendum to the President’s Address.

Singapore has made an “ambitious” pledge to combat global climate change in the deal adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention Climate Change last month. In it, the Republic committed to slash emissions intensity (the amount of greenhouse gas emitted per dollar of GDP) and stabilise emissions by 2030.

This calls for a concerted effort by all stakeholders, including the Government, businesses, households and individuals, he stressed.

Both government bodies are also committed to investing in good environmental infrastructure and technology to address the wide-ranging impacts of climate change.

For instance, the MEWR has undertaken a review of the Water Master Plan to ensure a reliable water supply for future generations.

As the Republic’s base of “green companies” expands, Singaporeans can look forward to jobs in areas such as solar energy, energy storage solutions and clean transportation, said Mr Teo. At the household level, more categories of appliances will be added to the Minimum Energy Performance Standards scheme, which ensures that only household electrical appliances that meet minimum energy performance standards can be sold here. It currently covers air-conditioners, refrigerators, clothes dryers and general lighting.

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