Singapore ratifies global agreement on climate change

Channel NewsAsia 24 Sep 14;

NEW YORK: Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Dr Vivian Balakrishnan on Wednesday (Sep 24) announced Singapore’s ratification of the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change action.

The Doha Amendment, rolled out in 2012, extends to 2020 the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty that establishes binding obligations on countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In his address to the UN Climate Summit, Dr Balakrishnan said the ratification is a “further sign of Singapore's continued commitment to the multilateral system”.

The Republic has shown its commitment to climate change with various domestic initiatives, taken in the belief that “every small nation can help with a meaningful contribution towards combatting climate change”, he said.

Efforts include encouraging building owners and companies to adopt energy efficient building designs, equipment and processes by offering incentives and grants. Energy use is priced at market cost without any subsidy, so that households and businesses use energy judiciously, he added.

Singapore has also invested heavily in public transport infrastructure, and restrained vehicular growth and usage, Dr Balakrishnan said, adding that the Republic is targeting a 70-30 per cent modal split for public-private transport by 2020.

Singapore also plans to increase its solar deployment from around 15 megawatt-peak (MWp) today to 350MWp by 2020, which will meet 5 per cent of its projected peak electricity demand, he said.

“Through these efforts, Singapore generates relatively low levels of carbon emissions per GDP dollar in the world, ranking 96th out of 142 countries,” Dr Balakrishnan said.

In the last decade, Singapore’s emissions grew at an average annual rate of 2 per cent in the last decade, compared to 2.2 per cent globally. Similarly, the Republic’s GDP grew by 76 per cent over the same period, compared with a 22 per cent increase in emissions and a 34 per cent increase in energy use, he noted.

- CNA/cy

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At the United Nations (UN) Climate Summit in New York yesterday, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, also outlined the action Singapore would take to limit carbon emissions and mitigate climate change.

He said Singapore is studying how to stabilise its emissions over the long term and is looking at how its economic strategies and industrial structure can best respond to and take advantage of a low-carbon future.

Singapore is rolling out measures to cut its emissions by 7-11 per cent from 2020 business-as-usual levels, which are estimated to be 77.2 million tonnes.

“Given our constraints in alternative energy and the fact that our actions are all domestically funded, this is a substantial commitment that entails economic and social opportunity costs,” he said.

Plans are afoot to ramp up solar deployment by installing solar panels on rooftops of flats and other areas to meet 5 per cent of Singapore’s projected peak electricity demand by 2020.

With energy efficiency as a key strategy, the Government aims to have 80 per cent of “green” buildings by 2030, in addition to other measures such as energy-efficiency standards for household appliances.

Singapore’s emissions grew at an average annual rate of 2 per cent in the past decade, marginally lower than the 2.2 per cent globally.

Over the same period, the country’s carbon intensity — emissions per dollar of gross domestic product — decreased by about 3.6 per cent per annum, compared with the 0.01 per cent global average decrease.

Earlier this week and in the lead-up to the UN Climate Summit, a group of non-governmental organisations called for a stronger response by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to weather calamities made worse by climate change.

In a policy brief, the group, called ASEAN for a Fair, Ambitious and Binding Global Climate Deal, which includes Oxfam and Greenpeace South-east Asia, urged the regional bloc to ensure the ASEAN Economic Community is low-carbon.

It also urged ASEAN to consider policy support for renewable energy and phase out subsidies for coal and oil.