Singapore adopts new climate strategy

June 19, 2012 at 1:55 PM
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SINGAPORE, June 19 (UPI) -- Singapore, as part of its efforts to tackle climate change, will use a "whole-of-nation" approach.

Key elements of Singapore's new climate strategy include reducing emissions across various sectors, harnessing opportunities for green growth and forging partnerships on climate change action, Channel News Asia reports.

Singapore's business-as-usual emissions are projected to reach 77.2 million tons by 2020 without any policy intervention. Refining and chemical industries are expected to account for about half of those emissions.

The island country aims to reduce carbon emissions 7-11 percent by 2020.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, in announcing the new strategy said, "Ultimately how well Singapore does in our response to climate change will depend on the collective efforts across the people, private and public sectors."

"Everyone has a part to play whether through lifestyle adjustments or changes in business processes. This could be through buying more efficient appliances, taking public transport, using less air-conditioning or simply switching off the lights when we leave our homes, classrooms or offices."

Teo said Singapore is an "alternative energy-disadvantaged country" because it doesn't have hydroelectricity or nuclear power. Even if nuclear power were an option, he says, it isn't a choice for the near future because of the country's density of land mass.

About 80 percent of the country's power generation comes from natural gas, says Singapore's Energy Market Authority.

Singapore's Energy Studies Institute, a government-linked think tank, says wind, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal on a large scale aren't viable options because of the country's physical size.

Singapore has the biggest per person carbon footprint in the Asia Pacific region, says a 2012 World Wildlife Fund for Nature report.

"If everyone in the world enjoyed the same level of consumption as the average Singaporean, we would need close to 3.5 planets to meet the demands placed on our resources," states the report.

But Singapore's Environment Minister Vivian Balakrishnan told the BBC that the measure is inaccurate because it attributes emissions to the country where carbon is consumed, instead of where it is produced. Because Singapore is a resource-poor nation, it must import nearly everything needed by the population.

"If you look at our utilization of resources, the way we generate electricity and way we organize our transportation system, we're not perfect yet but we've actually done more than our fair share," says Balakrishnan of the country's carbon footprint.

Balakrishnan says Singapore's total emissions at a global level accounts for 0.2 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions, noting that it is "a very small almost insignificant number."

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