Date Published: 06 Mar 2007
Engaging our 3P Partners
4-1 My Ministry has been actively promoting environmental consciousness among our 3P sectors as it is not sustainable to have the government manage our environment and water resources alone. We have come a long way in working with our 3P partners in managing our environment and water resources.
4-2 We are seeing an increase in cooperation amongst the 3P sectors in promoting environmental awareness and activism. Earlier in my speech, I had mentioned how public agencies are working together in initiatives such as the Inter-Agency Dengue Taskforce and the Committee on Youths for Clean and Sustainable Environment. My Minister will touch on the private sector’s involvement in the environmental and water sector later.
4-3 For the people sector, it is important for the community to play a big part to maintain and improve their living environment. MEWR, NEA and PUB have been working closely with NGOs on various initiatives to reach out to the public. These initiatives are carefully thought through and implemented to either raise awareness on environmental and water issues, or enhance the general state of our living environment, For example, the Singapore Environment Council has been our partner in programmes such as the 10 Litre Challenge; and the Climate Change Awareness Programme. As for the Waterways Watch Society, we have been partnering them to promote litter-free waterways and catchment areas. The Waterways Watch Society is also putting in place a 5-year plan to reach out to the youth community, schools, national sports associations and corporate organisations. We have also been supporting the Restroom Association of Singapore in programmes such as the Happy Toilet School Education Programme and the Portable Toilet Research Project.
4-4 We want to have more of such partnerships to further strengthen our outreach efforts. But I must emphasise that even as the Ministry does so, we will ensure that public monies are spent well and outcomes achieve our objectives. In all instances, we have the responsibility to evaluate proposals carefully, and work with our partners to shape the desired deliverables. We should not indiscriminately endorse and fund all ideas coming to us.
Recognising our 3P Partners
4-5 Over the past years, my Ministry has introduced various awards, including the Singapore Green Plan 2012 Award, to honour worthy individuals and organisations for their significant environmental contributions to Singapore. Past winners of the Singapore Green Plan 2012 Award include Senoko Power Ltd, Mr Jack Sim from the Restroom Association of Singapore, and Nan Hua Secondary School. Last year, we elevated the SGP2012 Awards to a Presidential level and renamed it as the President’s Award for the Environment. This is the highest accolade in Singapore’s Environment and Water Resources field and gives top-level national recognition to individuals, organisations and companies for their outstanding efforts that have contributed towards Singapore achieving environmental and water sustainability. The inaugural winners for this award are Professor Tommy Koh, Dr Geh Min and the Waterways Watch Society.
4-6 To complement the President’s Award, PUB and NEA will also introduce the Friends of Water - Watermark Award and the EcoFriend Award in 2007 respectively. The Friends of Water-Watermark Award is a 3P initiative to get individuals and organisations interested in water and develop an interest to do things to sustain Singapore’s water supply. The Eco-Friend Award aims to give due recognition to proactive individuals such as school teachers, NGO volunteers and grassroots who have contributed selflessly to the environment through efforts beyond their immediate job scope. Through these Awards, we hope to recognise role models who have made a difference to our environment and water resources in their own unique ways and encourage them as well as inspire others to do the same.
Our Youths: Future Owners of Our Environment
4-7 I am glad to note that there is a growing awareness and concern over environmental and water issues among our youths. My Ministry, together with our 3P partners, is committed to creating more avenues to engage our youths. Through annual dialogues with youths and initiatives such as the Environment Champions and Youth Environment Envoy Programmes, we hope to inculcate the value of environmental ownership in them.
4-8 I am also heartened to learn about the range of environmental activities being driven by our youth. Let me mention two such individuals. The first is 26-year-old Angela Lee. Her passion for the environment started as early as in Secondary School and she has since been sharing ideas at youth exchanges in countries like Switzerland, Malaysia and Northern Ireland. She has also helped organise an International Water Forum which saw 150 participants from 8 countries discussing water issues.
4-9 Our second environmental youth ambassador is 20-year-old Oliver Goh. He has been passionate about environmental conservation since he was young. Oliver and members of the Building and Environment Green Volunteer group have been managing an educational and fun-filled programme on nature conservation for the public and school students at Hindhede Nature Park. As trained guides, they also provide a guided tour for visitors to the Bukit Timah nature reserve. The programme has so far benefited over 300 members of the public, 150 secondary school students and a 13-member Swiss delegation.
4-10 My Ministry has a great challenge ahead of us. A recent survey by NEA has shown that despite greater awareness of environmental issues among the youth, individual responsibility and action is still not high. My Ministry will continue to explore more creative ways to convert this awareness to action, and to encourage more youths to come forward to organise themselves and make a difference to their environment.
Construction Noise Regulations
4-11 To maintain our quality living environment, NEA works closely with various agencies to monitor noise levels and address noise pollution from different sources such as construction sites and factories. NEA also engages construction industry associations in regular dialogues, and takes in feedback from the general public.
4-12 Over the past few years, the NEA has received an increasing number of complaints on noise from construction sites. In particular, there has been a significant increase in the number of complaints against construction noise at night and on Sundays and Public Holidays. Noise measurements by the NEA, however, showed that for more than 90% of the complaints received in 2005 and 2006, the noise levels were actually within the legal permissible limits.
4-13 Nonetheless, in view of public concerns, my Ministry has reviewed the noise regulations for construction sites which were last tightened in 2001. For construction sites within 150 metres of residential premises, my Ministry, in consultation with key stakeholders from the construction industry, will further tighten the permissible noise limits for night time and on Sundays and Public Holidays. The noise limits for these periods will be revised to be the same as those for hospitals and schools.
4-14 Singapore is a highly urbanized and compact city, and noise cannot be eradicated completely. The increased level of construction activities is a sign that our economy is booming, but it may bring with it more construction noise. We therefore need to strike a balance by allowing some level of construction activities to carry on without depriving our population of a good rest during the night and on Sundays and Public Holidays. NEA will review the construction noise regulations regularly to ensure that they are in line with international practices.
4-15 Singaporeans throw away a lot of waste, about 7,000 tonnes of it every day. In many countries, much of their waste ends up in landfills. In Singapore, we do not have the luxury of land for landfills, given the many competing demands for our limited land space. In fact, our only landfill, Semakau Landfill, was constructed in the sea at a cost of $610 million. However, it is not sustainable for us to keep building new landfills. Hence, it is important that we take actions to reduce waste and thereby extend the lifespan of our existing landfill. We must move towards a sustainable waste management system.
4-16 We are glad to note that the waste disposed of in Singapore has decreased from a peak of 7,600 tonnes per day in 2000 to 7,000 tonnes (equivalent to about 1,000 refuse truck-loads) per day last year. This decrease is significant against the backdrop of continued growth in GDP, population and tourist arrivals. It indicates that efforts to reduce waste through recycling are working. I am pleased to announce that our recycling rate reached a new high of 51% in 2006, up from 40% in 2000, and we are on track to achieve our Singapore Green Plan recycling target of 60% by 2012. For some waste streams such as metals and construction and demolition waste, we have achieved high recycling rates of over 90%. These efforts have reduced the amount of waste going to Semakau Landfill and increased its projected lifespan by 10 years to 2040.
4-17 While the results are encouraging, our GDP, population and tourism arrivals will continue to increase. There are also many major development projects including the en bloc projects. All these bode well for our economy and quality of life, but will inevitably generate even more waste.
4-18 We must therefore continue to push for more recycling. There are still lots of food waste, plastic waste, wood waste and used slag that are disposed of at the incineration plants and landfill. NEA has been facilitating the private sector in setting up recycling facilities. We expect a number of new recycling facilities for food waste, wood waste and household waste, among others, to start operation in the next 1-2 years. This would further boost our capacity in waste recycling.
4-19 Given the booming construction industry, more of this waste can be expected in the next few years. NEA has helped a number of companies to set up recycling facilities in Singapore to treat C&D waste into recycled aggregates for construction materials such as non-structural drain slabs and road kerbs. I am glad to inform the House the recycling rate for construction and demolition waste has reached 98% last year through the various recycling efforts.
4-20 But recycling cannot be left to the government and industry alone. Each and every Singaporean should do his or her part to reduce the amount of waste we throw away as a nation. To make it easy for residents to practise recycling at homes, my Ministry introduced the National Recycling Programme (or NRP) in 2001 to provide residents in HDB flats and landed estates with recycling services at their doorsteps. During Recycling Day 2005, it was announced that we are putting in 1 recycling bin for every 5 blocks of flats in HDB estates. This means that the majority of HDB residents will need to travel not more than 150 metres to reach a recycling bin. I am pleased to inform the House that all HDB estates will have these centralised recycling bins by end 2007.
4-21 Residents in condominiums and private apartments are not covered in the National Recycling Programme as their estates are managed by Management Corporations. But they are certainly not forgotten. NEA is currently working with Management Corporations to provide recycling facilities for their residents. We would consider making it mandatory for condominiums to provide recycling facilities if need be. Our target is for all households in Singapore to have access to recycling facilities.
4-22 We are also addressing the waste generation problem at source. Last year, Minister Yaacob announced that my Ministry is working with manufacturers and distributors to develop a voluntary packaging agreement for the food and beverage industry to reduce the amount of packaging used and enhance the recovery of used packaging materials for recycling. I am pleased to announce that to date, 5 industry associations representing more than 300 companies and another 10 food-related companies have agreed to participate in the voluntary packaging agreement. They aim to have the agreement ready for signing in June 2007. This is a good example of how the government and industry can work together to jointly tackle common challenges such as waste reduction.
4-23 In many countries where waste is landfilled directly, plastic bags pose an environmental problem as they are non-biodegradable and hence remain in the landfills for many years. However, in Singapore, used plastic bags are disposed of at our incineration plants together with other wastes and the heat produced is used to generate electricity. Moreover, many Singaporean households re-use plastic bags for their refuse and this is a good habit which we want to encourage.
4-24 What we are concerned about is the excessive and unnecessary usage of plastic bags. We are tackling this by raising awareness and educating the public. Last February, NEA, together with the Singapore Environment Council, launched a “Why waste plastic bags? Choose reusable Bags!” Campaign. This campaign was aimed at educating shoppers as well as cashiers at retail outlets to reduce the use of plastic bags and promote the use of reusable shopping bags. Then in November, we launched the “Spot the Green Shoppers” contest. Volunteers from the Singapore Environment Council were stationed at supermarkets to spot shoppers who used reusable bags. Those who were spotted received a shopping voucher each. This year, we will be launching a “Bring Your Own Bag” Day to encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable bags to bag their purchases. We hope to make this an ongoing event so as to drive home the message of not wasting plastic bags.
4-25 All these efforts will help us reach the overall recycling target set under SGP 2012, and bring us nearer our goal of having a sustainable solid waste management system.
Climate Change and Energy Efficiency
4-26 The National Research Foundation (NRF) has identified the environment & water sector as a key growth area, and has committed $330 million over 5 years to promote strategic R&D in this area. To spearhead the growth of this industry, we have formed the Environment and Water Industry Development Council (or EWI) under the Ministry in May 2006.
4-27 The main aim of the Council, which includes key agencies such as PUB and EDB, is to grow our economy and create more jobs. By 2015, employment in the water industry in Singapore is expected to double to 11,000 with the value-add to the economy tripling to $1.7billion. As the industry grows, it will need more specialist technical manpower, which means more jobs for Singaporeans.
4-27 Over the past year, we have also attracted value-added investments from major global water players to Singapore. Now, we have Siemens Water, GE Water, CH2M Hill, Black & Veatch, just to name a few. The presence of these global MNCs will help increase the vibrancy of our water industry and create job opportunities.
4-28 Our home-grown companies have also achieved good success overseas. For example, Keppel, Hyflux and SembCorp made further inroads into the Middle-East market in 2006 and clinched large water and environmental projects in Qatar, Algeria and UAE respectively. My Ministry, together with other government agencies, will continue to support the expansion of our companies to overseas markets, for example through trade missions to key markets like China, Middle East and India.
4-29 Going forward, technology will be a key enabler in growing our environment & water industry. To ensure that Singapore stays on the forefront of R&D developments, we launched the Environment and Water Research Programme (EWRP) in September 2006. The programme will support R&D projects in Environment and Water Technologies (EWT) with funding of S$100 million over 5 years. There was good response to the 1st Request-For-Proposal under the programme, with more than 120 proposals received from the universities, public and private sectors. We have also recently launched the TechPioneer scheme to encourage early adoption of new technologies that may come through the R&D pipeline.
4-30 In addition, we will have schemes to help individuals and entrepreneurs capitalize on the opportunities in the EWT sector. The EWI plans to provide post-graduate scholarships to train professionals and researchers in EWT. For new companies and technology start-ups, a new funding scheme, known as Fast-Tech, will provide assistance in transforming ideas and research into commercially feasible prototypes. More details on these will be released in the coming weeks.
4-31 Our efforts to promote EWT will also have a positive spin-off on the MICE and tourism sector. Plans are being finalised for the staging of an International Water Week (IWW) in Singapore starting in 2008. The IWW will be an annual event to showcase water technologies, and create business and networking opportunities among water experts and industry players from all over the world. The event will help strengthen Singapore’s position as the hub in the Asia Pacific for leading water technologies, as well as the gateway for business opportunities in the regional and global water sector. Some 800 delegates and 5000 trade visitors are expected to attend the inaugural IWW, and this figure is estimated to reach 2000 delegates and 25,000 trade visitors by year 2015.
4-32 Through investing in R&D and growing the EWT sector, we can reap the opportunities that our environment presents to attract more investments, talent and jobs to Singapore.
4-33 The many questions raised by my fellow members, including those questions raised during Budget Debate last week, indicate growing concern over climate change.
4-34 The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC, established by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organisation, projected in its latest report released earlier this year that global temperatures and sea levels are likely to increase, while extreme weather patterns that have been associated with climate change also often dominate headlines worldwide.
4-35 Like other nations, Singapore will not be spared from the effects and impacts of climate change. We have already put in place measures in response to earlier IPCC studies, for instance to safeguard against anticipated sea level rises. Today, all our reclaimed land are designed with a platform level of about 125cm above the highest recorded tide. This should be sufficient to address a sea-level rise of 59cm, which is the worst-case scenario in IPCC’s latest report. But to ensure that we address all the key risks, we have commissioned a study to better understand the possible long-term effects and impacts of climate change on Singapore such as changes in rainfall patterns, sea levels and extreme weather conditions. This study, which is conducted by a team of local and foreign experts, will incorporate the latest scientific research on climate change, including the latest IPCC report. In fact, a number of the foreign experts we have engaged have been actively involved in the drafting of IPCC reports. We expect that this detailed study will be completed within 2 years, with preliminary findings expected next year. NEA will continue to work closely with other government agencies to monitor and manage Singapore’s vulnerability to climate change.
4-36 Sir, I also announced last year that my Ministry would be carrying out public consultation on the National Climate Change Strategy (or NCCS for short). I am pleased to inform the House that the consultation has been completed. We have received more than 1300 responses in our online consultation. We also conducted dialogue sessions with companies, industry associations, academics, environmental groups and youths. The feedback received has made the NCCS more robust. A notable theme from the consultation was the need to make Singapore an energy efficient nation.
Energy Efficiency as a Strategic Priority
4-37 Improving energy efficiency is a strategic priority within the NCCS. Singapore is reliant on fossil fuels for much of its energy needs at present, but this does not mean we cannot do anything about greenhouse gases. Efficient energy use is a proven way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Using more energy-efficient equipment and appliances, or designing more efficient buildings, can save significant amounts of money in the long run without sacrificing comfort. As noted in a recent Newsweek magazine article, energy efficiency is “one of the hottest topics in business – and a way to add billions of dollars to the bottom line”.
4-38 Becoming energy efficient is not just good for the bottom line. It is also an important aspect of sustainable development for Singapore. Energy is a critical resource used by many different sectors such as industry, building and transport. My Ministry has been co-ordinating the initiatives for energy efficiency under the National Climate Change Committee or N3C chaired by my colleague, Dr Amy Khor. The N3C provides a valuable consultative forum to discuss views and feedback from members who comprise public sector representatives, industry leaders, NGOs and also academics.
4-39 Drawing from the N3C inputs, there is a need for a central agency to ensure effective implementation of energy efficient measures. Just as PUB oversees water conservation, NEA will be the lead agency on energy conservation and efficiency. Both water and energy conservation are critical for Singapore to remain a sustainable and economically competitive country. NEA will take the lead through a focused effort to promote and monitor Singapore’s performance in energy efficiency. Much more can be done, including working together with the other government agencies to implement targeted sectoral measures. For these efforts on energy efficiency to be successful, we also need to cultivate a culture of energy consciousness among industry and consumers.
4-40 We can learn from the experience of other countries. In Japan, a country that also faces resource constraints, the industrial sector nearly tripled its output between 1973 and 2005 while keeping its energy consumption almost constant. Denmark too, has seen its Gross National Product increase by 70 percent from 1973 to 2004, with almost constant energy consumption over this period.
4-41 Energy efficiency can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce costs, and enhance our economic competitiveness at the same time. Yet we know that for a variety of reasons, energy efficient choices are not made. Perhaps this is because energy savings are often not immediately obvious, and so we tend to focus on the price tag and not the long-term savings. For example, many of us do not realise that the cost of energy to run a fridge is often greater than the purchase price of a fridge itself over its useful lifespan. This is where Government programmes can help address these market failures, by bridging the information gap and by demonstrating the benefits of energy efficiency. Let me take this opportunity to elaborate on some of our planned initiatives.
Energy Efficiency in Industry
4-42 Industry is the largest energy-consuming sector, accounting for about 54% of Singapore’s carbon dioxide emissions. To promote energy efficiency in industry, NEA launched the Energy Efficiency Improvement Assistance Scheme, or EASe, two years ago. EASe co-funds energy audits in the manufacturing and building sectors to identify potential areas for energy efficiency improvement. As a result of the scheme, 54 manufacturing facilities and buildings have identified energy efficiency measures which will result in $13 million in annual energy cost savings, and reductions of about 111,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
4-43 To further encourage companies to implement recommendations from energy audits, NEA will promote EASe with EDB’s Investment Allowance or IA Scheme. The IA Scheme gives an incentive to companies that invest in improving the efficiency of resource utilisation or bring new technology into an existing industry. Under the IA, energy efficiency investments can enjoy a tax exemption on income of up to 50% of the qualifying fixed capital expenditure. This should improve the return on investment for energy efficiency projects.
4-44 NEA has also been actively promoting energy efficient technologies through the Innovation for Environmental Sustainability or IES Fund. For example, NEA recently supported two projects with IES funding to demonstrate tri-generation technology. The two projects will help reduce carbon emissions by 23,200 tonnes annually and provide significant savings in energy costs to the facility owners. The annual savings for one of the facilities has been estimated to be over $900,000. I am pleased to announce that we will extend the IES Fund for a further four years up to Financial Year 2010, to continue to support innovative environmental projects.
Government Taking the Lead on Energy Efficiency
4-45 Buildings also consume a significant amount of electricity. The public sector alone accounts for almost 20% of the electricity consumed by commercial and institutional buildings in Singapore. Having energy efficient buildings is in the Government’s long-term interest as it not only reduces carbon dioxide emissions, but also reduces our expenditure on energy.
4-46 Sir, I am pleased to announce that the Government will lead by example by making our buildings more energy efficient. All large air-conditioned Government office buildings, as well as polytechnics and ITEs, will conduct energy audits to improve their energy efficiency by March 2010. Some agencies, including MEWR, MOF, and MOM, have already completed their energy audits, and are projected to reap combined savings of $240,000 annually.
4-47 We will also ensure that new Government buildings are designed with energy efficiency and environmental sustainability in mind. As MND MOS Grace Fu announced late last year, all new large government buildings and new schools will meet the Green Mark certified standard.
4-48 We hope that with government taking the lead, the private and people sectors will be encouraged to be more energy efficient. Some have already done so. For instance, I understand that Alexandra Technopark has undergone an energy audit and is in the process of implementing the energy efficiency measures identified by the audit. They expect to realise total potential savings of about $600,000 annually. Aljunied Town Council has also conducted an energy audit on 40 blocks, with co-funding of about $60,000 from the IES fund. The recommendations from the audit which include the use of more energy efficient lights and power saving devices have been shared with the other Town Councils. I am heartened to note that several Town Councils have started implementing these recommendations. Even our Singapore Zoo and Night Safari have managed to reduce their electricity consumption by about 8 percent. They achieved this through a range of energy-saving practices such as installing automated lights and fans at their visitor areas, and switching to solar-powered as well as more energy efficient light bulbs.
Helping Consumers Make Informed Choices
4-49 One key NCCS feedback on improving energy efficiency was to provide more information to the public. One of the ways in which all of us can help play our part in addressing climate change is by using energy efficient household appliances. A consumer who chooses a three-tick air-conditioner instead of a one-tick one would save about 1400 kg of carbon dioxide emissions and $525 a year.
4-50 I announced last year that the voluntary Energy Labelling Scheme for air-conditioners and refrigerators will be made mandatory. This will begin as scheduled on 1 July this year. NEA will give the industry a 6 month grace period to comply with the mandatory labelling scheme. I hope that consumers will make use of these labels to lower their electricity bills.
4-51 We will also extend the existing voluntary energy labelling scheme run by the Singapore Environment Council to include other appliances such as clothes dryers in the coming years. These energy labels will be made mandatory later on if necessary.
4-52 Besides buying efficient appliances, we can also save energy by adopting good practices. Yesterday, Mr Sam Tan had brought up the need to help households reduce their energy consumption. I would like to take this opportunity to commend the new South West Community Development Council (CDC) initiative called Cool@South West. Cool@South West encourages residents to conserve electricity and cut their utilities bill at home, such as switching off appliances at the mains when they are not being used, and using energy-saving light bulbs. As yesterday’s Straits Times aptly pointed out, each energy-saving bulb can save $24 a year and I am glad to note that South West CDC residents have taken energy efficiency to heart. A survey conducted in Hong Kah found that about 80% of households are already using energy-saving light bulbs.
4-53 Similarly, choosing more fuel-efficient vehicles leads to lower fuel costs and a cleaner environment. In 2003, we introduced a voluntary fuel economy labelling scheme. The fuel economy label helps car buyers identify more fuel-efficient cars, although actual fuel consumption also depends on individual driving patterns. As of the end of 2006, 84 vehicle models are labelled under the scheme. For the fuel economy labels to be more effective, car buyers need to be able to compare fuel economy figures of all available models. My Ministry will look into making it mandatory for all passenger car models to display the fuel economy label at the showroom.
4-54 In addition, my Ministry is encouraging the use of green vehicle technologies. Hybrid cars are more fuel-efficient and less pollutive than conventional ones. Indeed, such green vehicle technologies are becoming more widely accepted internationally. More models are being introduced, and our motor traders are doing their part by bringing them into Singapore. While the decision to purchase a green vehicle is a lifestyle choice, I am heartened to note that more car-owners are embracing these green vehicle technologies. Since the enhancement of the Green Vehicle Rebate in January 2006, the number of green vehicles has gone up substantially from about 200 to 700 and I know at least two owners of such cars.
4-55 I am therefore glad to announce that the Government will continue to support green vehicles, and the Green Vehicle Rebate (GVR) will be extended for another two years to Dec 2009. With growing awareness, better technology driving down costs, and more models available in the market, I am hopeful that the take up rate of green vehicles will continue to rise.
4-56 I believe our energy efficiency initiatives will enhance economic growth. We can make Singapore a more energy-efficient economy, by helping manufacturers, building owners, drivers and ordinary citizens reduce energy consumption, increase savings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Promoting Renewable and Clean Energy
4-57 Energy is a scarce resource that we must use as efficiently as we can. For this reason, NEA has invested in state-of-the-art waste incineration plants that also recover energy to generate electricity. In total, energy from incineration contributes about 2-3% of the total electricity consumed in Singapore.
4-58 Increasing worldwide concerns over climate change will mean an increase in demand for renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Renewable energy will also help to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. While the costs of renewable energy still need to be brought down. NEA has been encouraging private and public sector partners to explore and test-bed renewable energy technologies through schemes such as the IES Fund. For example, NEA had provided $1million through the IES fund to test-bed solar photovoltaics at the Biopolis.
4-59 We have identified clean energy as a strategic growth area for Singapore and are working towards growing a vibrant industry in this field. In recent years, Singapore has had pioneering investments in solar energy, biofuels, wind energy and fuel cells. One important strategy in growing this industry is to build up the R&D and technology base on clean energy. My Ministry will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Trade and Industry to research on and test-bed clean energy technologies in practical settings in Singapore. For instance, NEA and EDB have brought together companies such as Robert Bosch and DaimlerChrysler to test-bed the use of biodiesel in our local setting.
Developing Singapore into a Centre for Carbon Trading
4-60 The Government has put in place the necessary processes to help companies take advantage of the economic opportunities associated with emissions trading and CDM. NEA has been appointed the Designated National Authority for the approval of CDM projects that support sustainable development in Singapore.
4-61 NEA will work closely with IE Singapore which is the lead agency to establish Singapore as a Centre for Carbon Trading. NEA and IE Singapore have facilitated dialogue between project developers and financiers to create greater awareness of these economic opportunities. In June 2006, Singapore joined the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership, an international partnership of governments and businesses that promotes clean energy. Following this, a Renewable Energy Exchange was set up in Singapore to bring together investors looking for projects and developers looking for financing.
4-62 We have also supported the formation of the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS) to grow the energy services and technologies sectors in Singapore.
4-63 Our efforts to tackle climate change will make Singapore not just clean and green, but lean. We can be environmentally sustainable and play our part in the global effort on climate change, while making Singapore more economically competitive. But we have to be realistic. We cannot do it alone. Climate change actions require all countries to play a part. Singapore acceded to the Kyoto Protocol last year, and we will continue to be active in international discussions to work with the international community on this global challenge.
4-64 In summing up, I thank MPs who have raised concerns and offered views. We have come thus far in the environment and water areas because of far-sighted policies and consistent practices through four decades. And these have been achieved even as we grew our economy. We are a small city-state that has shown that is possible to safeguard our environment while we chalk up economic growth.
4-65 But we should not rest on our laurels or even throw up our hands to say there is nothing we can do more or that our efforts are too small to make an impact. MEWR will continue to lead with other government agencies and like-minded partners, hand-in-hand with members of public who care for and want to do more for the environment. Where necessary we enforce against law-breakers to protect the public but we do so with some sadness as it is a breakdown of responsibility. We must continue to promote ownership of our environment in both our young and old. I hope MPs too can also encourage residents to continue to be responsible for our environment and waters and choose habits that are environmentally-friendly. It's OUR environment, so let's all play our part.