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

'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.

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.

DPM Teo on climate change competition winners

DPM Teo Chee Hean with the first-prize winners from Juying Primary School, under the Primary School category. (Photo: Chan Luo Er)

Source: CNA/kk