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Post-Copenhagen – Where is Singapore heading?

Despite the disappointing outcome of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, where no legally binding outcome was reached, and where no real targets to achieve emissions reductions were set, Singapore has proactively continued with the implementation of its Sustainable Singapore Blueprint (β€œBlueprint”) which aims to achieve a 7% to 11% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions below Business-As-Usual (BAU) scenario by 2020.

Singapore has also committed to reduce its emissions in 2020 by 16% from BAU if a global agreement on climate change can be reached. As such a global agreement appears imminent, Singapore will be ramping up measures to further cut emissions and a single body, The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change, will be coordinating both the international and the domestic aspects of the country's climate change policies from March 2010. The Committee will formulate climate change policies which aim to strike the right balance between regulatory and fiscal measures, and sustained economic growth.

The comprehensive S$1 billion 5-year Blueprint has already been activated to improve resource efficiency, develop capabilities, and enhance Singapore's environment. Since the launch of the Blueprint in April 2009, a slew of investments in sustainable development have been announced, including S$100 million to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings, S$43 million to implement cycling infrastructure in some HDB towns and S$31 million to test-bed solar technology. There are also separately funded initiatives that contribute to sustainable development, such as the budget for the expansion of the rail network, park space and the transformation of waterways.

A multi-agency taskforce, co-chaired by the Energy Market Authority (EMA) and the Land Transport Authority (LTA), is also spearheading the test-bedding of electric vehicles (EVs) in Singapore, with S$20 million set aside to support infrastructure development and test-bedding activities. The taskforce has ambitious plans to test EVs on Singapore roads from 2010 to pave the way for larger-scale adoption of EVs in future.

As for solar investments, although the cost of solar-generated electricity is currently around twice that of conventional grid electricity, the Government acknowledges that evolving technology may well help solar systems to achieve grid parity, and Singapore should be ready to tap into the benefits of solar technology. An island-wide test-bed is therefore being implemented to deploy solar technology within 30 public housing precincts by 2015.

Building new environmental and technological capabilities is clearly one of Singapore's key strategies in response to Copenhagen. This not only delivers a long term solution to Singapore's sustainability challenge, but also creates a wealth of economic opportunities for the private sector to buy into sustainable development.



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