SINGAPORE: The Government decided to impose a carbon tax of S$5 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions, instead of the previously announced range of between S$10 and S$20, so as to give affected companies time to adjust, Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said on Thursday (Feb 22).
“We considered a few things,” he said. “Number one: To make sure that the cost of compliance is comparable to the tax being paid. We impose it only on the highest greenhouse gas emitters. This means that to cut off at 80 per cent of the total emission, about 40 companies will be affected by this.”
On the decision to implement flat rates without exemptions, Mr Masagos said: “These companies also ask us to be transparent, to know what the rates will be like in the long term as well as to make it simple so compliance costs are not difficult. Because of that, we made the rates flat."
Mr Masagos was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the launch of JOULES Smart Centre, a green classroom at Bukit View Secondary School.
The centre will be used for the school's environmental classes, as well as other events and functions.
The school also plans to use the JOULES Smart Centre to help senior residents in the neighbourhood learn to use electronic devices.
The centre itself uses sustainable products, such as tables made from repurposed pallets, and a thermal air conditioning system that harnesses solar and ambient heat to reduce electricity.
It has an indoor green wall that purportedly gives better air quality and reduces noise levels by absorbing acoustic energy.
The Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC), which had a hand in building the JOULES Smart Centre, said it hopes to use the facility to make the case for greener, healthier classrooms.
“Green building should not be adopted by just the building and construction industry alone,” said the council's president Tan Swee Yiow. "Research has shown that Green Mark-certified buildings are not only better for the environment, but also have positive effects for the building occupants.”
BVSS has a strong focus on sustainability education. Its students attend a four-year enrichment programme, where they learn about key environmental issues and developments, how to build a solar car, as well as coding.