'Difficult choices' help Singapore curb greenhouse gas emissions: DPM Teo

Decisions such as not subsidising energy costs and introducing the world's first urban traffic congestion pricing scheme mean Singapore accounts for just 0.11 per cent of global emissions, says Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.
Chan Luo Er Channel NewsAsia 20 Nov 15;

SINGAPORE: Singapore accounts for 0.11 per cent of global emissions today, one of the lowest in the world, and this is due to the "difficult choices" it made in its early years to support sustainable development, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

Speaking at a prize presentation ceremony for the National Climate Change Competition 2015 on Friday (Nov 20), he said these choices include not subsidising energy costs so that the industry and households will consume energy judiciously.

Singapore also implemented the world’s first urban traffic congestion pricing scheme in the 1970s to reduce car usage and emissions through a package of measures such as quotas for new cars and significant fuel taxes, he noted.

"We made these difficult choices because we believe they are the right things to do – for ourselves, and for the world, so that Singaporeans can commute conveniently, and not fume away in endless traffic jams, so that Singaporeans can enjoy a clean and green living environment, so that we can have fresh air all year round, and do not ourselves pollute the air that we breathe," said Mr Teo.

In July this year, Singapore had submitted a new climate pledge to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to reduce its Emissions Intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030. Singapore will also stabilise greenhouse gas emissions and aim to peak around 2030.

Next month, a new global agreement that will cover greenhouse gas emissions from all countries after 2020 will be negotiated in Paris. It is a step up from the current Kyoto Protocol, which governs only emissions from developed countries.

"If we are able to reach a new global agreement, it would be the first time that all signatories to the UNFCCC have committed to undertake actions to address climate change. The target is for the collective actions of all countries to help limit global temperature rise to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100," said Mr Teo, who is also the chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change.

The National Climate Change Competition 2015 saw more than 170 entries from schools, institutions of higher learning and members of the public. Participants created short videos on the impact of climate change and the actions people can take to reduce their carbon footprint.

S’pore to act on climate change even without accord: DPM
STACEY LIM Today Online 21 Oct 15;

SINGAPORE — Ahead of the coming 21st annual Conference of Parties (COP) climate summit taking place in Paris next month, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said that even if no consensus is reached, there are many measures and practices that “make sense for us to do anyway”, such as using more energy-efficient appliances.

Mr Teo, who is chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change, spoke about Singapore’s participation in the meeting on the sidelines of the annual National Climate Change Competition (NCCC) award ceremony yesterday.

“We are looking for a universal agreement, that’s important. So for every country that’s in, we want to have an agreement that is legally binding so that there will be obligations from all countries,” he said. “And we also want an agreement that is durable, that will stand the test of time, and because this is a long-term agreement, we will be looking at climate-friendly actions to be taken by all countries (that will) go out till 2100, that kind of time frame.”

Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan and Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli will be leading the delegation to Paris for the climate-change talks, where nations will seek to reach a legally binding and universal agreement on how to cut fossil-fuel use.

Countries will have to put forward a detailed domestic policy plan to limit its emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases, which would form the basis of the accord to be signed next month and enacted by 2020.

If an agreement is not reached, Singapore will review its position, said Mr Teo. “There are many things which make sense for us to do anyway, to use more energy-efficient appliances, to save energy usage ... but other measures need to be done in tandem with other countries, so we will have to look at what climate change agreement actually comes up with.”

He also noted that Singapore is already one of the most efficient countries in terms of emissions intensity, and reiterated that the aim is for a 36 per cent reduction in emission intensity from 2005 levels as well as for carbon emissions to peak by 2030.

He added: “Our negotiators have been playing a facilitative role in helping to arrive at a good global climate change agreement throughout the negotiation progress over the last few years … and to try and help bridge the differences between these countries. So, we hope that (with) these efforts, along with the efforts of the other countries, (it) will enable us to arrive at a good climate change agreement.”

Yesterday, a total of 24 awards were given to winners of the NCCC competition, which was organised by the National Climate Change Secretariat. The winning videos will be adapted for use by the secretariat in its public education and outreach efforts.