The Straits Times: New measures lined up to fight climate change

The government this week announced plans to introduce measures to address climate change issues, these will be documented in a National Climate Change Strategy 2012 report, to be released mid year. The budget set aside by the Prime Minister’s Office is $344,416,000. The Straits Times reports.

New measures lined up to fight climate change

THE Government will be introducing more legislation and policies to tackle climate change, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Teo Chee Hean said yesterday.

While progress has been made in greening the country, more must be done to prepare, he told Parliament.

For example, new guidelines will push consumers to choose more eco-friendly options – such as an emissions-based vehicle scheme that will give buyers a financial incentive to choose a greener car.

Air-conditioners and refrigerators will also be subjected to more stringent energy performance standards from next year, and lighting products from 2014.

These and other measures will be announced by the relevant ministries at their upcoming Committee of Supply debates, said DPM Teo

Policies to help industries go greener will also be introduced.

The Trade and Industry Ministry, for instance, will pilot repayable financing schemes to boost private sector investments in energy efficiency.

Mr Teo, who chairs the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change (IMCCC), was responding to questions by MPs Teo Ho Pin, Lam Pin Min and Charles Chong on Singapore’s strategy for fighting climate change.

He said plans to do so will be detailed in a National Climate Change Strategy 2012 report, to be released in the middle of this year.

It will spell out not just the Government’s efforts to deal with climate change, but also what individuals, households and businesses need to do.

Should tougher legislation translate into additional costs, the Government will step in with grants and rebates where appropriate, especially for the needy, DPM Teo assured.

A working group under the IMCCC will also study how the country can stabilise its long-term emissions.

It will be a challenge, given that Singapore faces restrictions in tapping alternative energy sources such as solar, wind or nuclear power.

‘The government will adopt a pragmatic approach and pace the implementation of policies appropriately, so that our economy and our people will adapt to the new environment,’ he said.

The working group will study Singapore’s post-2020 emissions path, and suggest options that will reduce emissions as well as identify the capabilities, infrastructure and policies needed for the long term.

The group will be represented by several ministries – Trade and Industry, Transport, Environment and Water Resources, National Development and Finance, as well as the National Research Foundation and the National Climate Change Secretariat.

As to whether nuclear energy is still on the cards, a question posed by Nee Soon GRC MP Lim Wee Kiak, DPM Teo said it is an option which cannot be ruled out, but it is a ‘very long-term possibility’.

‘I think nuclear plants will have to be many times, a couple of orders of magnitude, more stable, safer than they are today, before we will feel comfortable having a nuclear plant in Singapore,’ he said.

Image taken from SorbyRock

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