Date Published: 09 Mar 2010(i) Sustainable Development – Overall Approach to Resource Efficiency and Mitigating Climate Change
(Minister Yaacob Ibrahim)
Copenhagen Accord and International Developments
1-1. The Copenhagen Conference did not produce a legally binding agreement.
However, countries agreed to continue the work through this year to the next
Climate Change Conference in Mexico in December 2010. Countries also took
note of the Copenhagen Accord, which outlines elements of a global framework
on climate change, including long-term goals, mitigation of greenhouse gases
by both developed and developing countries, financing, adaptation and technology
1-2. At Copenhagen, Singapore supported the Accord, and has since written
to the UNFCCC Secretariat to associate ourselves formally with the Accord
as a good basis for advancing negotiations towards reaching a legally binding
global agreement on climate change. Though the Accord as it stands does not
create legal obligations, it contains important elements that can facilitate
the on-going negotiations. To date, about 100 out of the 194 Parties to the
UNFCCC have associated themselves with the Accord. About 30 non-Annex I countries,
including Singapore, have also tabled their emission reduction targets.
1-3. Countries will now need to work hard to reach a global agreement. Developed
countries should take the lead by continuing to fulfil their commitments
under the Kyoto Protocol to substantially reduce their emissions. Developing
countries too have a responsibility to play their part by taking actions
to reduce their carbon emissions. I met the Mexican Environment Minister
at the informal high-level Ministerial meeting on climate change in Bali
recently and we had a good exchange on the way forward. I told him that Singapore
stands ready to be a constructive player to help move the process towards
a successful outcome in Mexico. The Mexican Minister shared his view that
Singapore plays an important role in the negotiations and commended our domestic
actions in the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint and our offer of 16%.
1-4. Climate change is a key issue for many ASEAN countries as we are vulnerable
to the adverse impacts of global warming. In November 2007, ASEAN leaders
endorsed the ASEAN Declaration on Environmental Sustainability, and committed
to the goal of addressing climate change and preventing dangerous changes
to the world’s climate system. ASEAN Environment Ministers also established
an ASEAN Working Group on Climate Change to enhance cooperation and collaboration.
1-5. ASEAN members are part of the larger G77/China developing country group
which has called for developed countries to contribute 0.5% to 1% of GDP
to fund mitigation and adaptation. Developing countries, like Singapore,
are not obliged to contribute, but can help on a voluntary basis, for instance
through technical cooperation programmes. For example, through NEA’s
Singapore Environment Institute, we have conducted programmes for participants
from developing countries on green energy and climate change.
1-6. Singapore has also contributed towards reducing carbon emissions arising
from forest fires in the ASEAN region. We have collaborated closely with
Indonesia, in particular Jambi Province, on fire prevention and suppression.
These efforts are also important to our air quality. Singapore's air quality
has been in the 'good' range since the start of this year. Nonetheless, due
to dry weather conditions, our air quality was recently slightly affected
by bush fires in the northern and eastern parts of Singapore. I understand
there were also bush fires in Johor. Our neighbours are doing their best
to battle forest fires in their areas and we will continue to engage them
through the Sub-regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary
Haze Pollution. I also urge Singaporeans to dispose of litter responsibly
as carelessly discarded items like lit cigarette butts or matches could lead
to bush fires.
Singapore’s Mitigation Efforts
1-7. To play our part in international efforts to mitigate climate change,
Singapore has pledged to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 16% from
the 2020 business-as-usual scenario. This target is contingent on a legally
binding global agreement in which all countries implement their commitments
in good faith. Our target is credible and rigorous given our past efforts
to reduce emissions and the constraints we face as a city-state, including
our limited potential to adopt renewable energy.It is a substantial commitment
by Singapore. Achieving it will involve considerable costs, and changes in
lifestyle and business practices.
1-8. In her speech at the opening session of the Copenhagen Conference, the
COP-15 President Danish Minister Connie Hedergaard cited Singapore as one
of the developing countries that announced national targets and commented
that these were examples of "ambitious national actions" that developing
countries could take in order to contribute towards the global mitigation
effort. Singapore was commended in the EU statement at Copenhagen. Aside
from the EU and the Mexicans, the Swiss, US and some of our ASEAN counterparts
also told our delegation that Singapore's offer was appreciated.
1-9. While the detailed emissions reduction measures for each sector are
still being firmed up, I wish to assure that our approach will be to phase
in the measures gradually. The government will also help cushion the impact
and lighten the burden on households and businesses.
1-10. A key part of our strategy to achieve the 16% target is energy efficiency,
and Singapore is implementing plans to improve energy efficiency even while
the international negotiations are on-going. Members spoke about the importance
of energy efficiency. This was also underscored by the Economic Strategies
Committee (ESC) in its recommendations last month. Energy efficiency reduces
costs, enhances energy security, and makes our economy more competitive.
The ESC proposed that Singapore should be a Smart Energy Economy. This includes
stepping up measures to promote energy efficiency across key sectors.
1-11. In April last year, we launched the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint
which sets out Singapore’s strategies to achieve a more vibrant economy
and a more liveable environment for future decades. The blueprint is a comprehensive
plan to improve resource efficiency, enhance our environment, grow capabilities
and build a culture of environmental responsibility in Singapore. One of
the targets under the blueprint is to reduce energy intensity by 35% from
2005 levels by 2030. To achieve this, the government will play a key part
and I will outline the measures being implemented in each sector.
ii) Improving Energy Efficiency
(Minister Yaacob Ibrahim)
Promoting Energy Efficient Choices – Buildings and Transport
1-12. The Ministry of National Development shared during its COS debate
that efforts are underway to improve the energy efficiency of our buildings,
which account for more than one-third of national electricity consumption.
Last year, BCA launched its second Green Building Masterplan which aims
for 80% of our buildings to be green by 2030, and introduced a $100mil
incentive scheme to encourage the retrofitting of existing buildings.
BCA will increase the mandatory minimum energy efficiency standards for
Green Mark certified new buildings by 10% from today’s standards
by the end of this year, and will also mandate the submission of building
energy usage data from 2011.
1-13. Transport is another sector which utilises a fair amount of energy.
As public transport is the most efficient mode of transport, the government
set aside more than $40 billion to improve the public transport system
to encourage more people to switch to public transport. To manage the
use of private transport, the vehicle population growth rate was lowered
to 1.5% last year and improvements to the off-peak car scheme were recently
implemented. MOT and LTA will continue to assess other measures and implement
them at an appropriate time.
Promoting Energy Efficient Choices – Industry
1-14. There is significant potential for industry, the largest energy
consuming sector, to save energy and reduce costs by investing in energy
efficiency. We have various incentives to encourage the adoption of energy
efficient technologies and practices. For instance, the Grant for Energy
Efficient Technologies (GREET) co-funds up to 50% of the cost of energy
efficient equipment. Funding of about $2.5mil has been approved for five
projects which are estimated to result in annual energy savings of over
$700,000. NEA also introduced the Singapore Certified Energy Manager
Training Grant to co-fund the cost of energy management training.
Mandating Energy Management Practices
1-15. Building on these efforts, we will take more robust measures to
spur industries in Singapore to be leaders in energy efficiency. From
experiences in other countries, the implementation of energy management
programmes is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve energy efficiency.
Studies indicate that a company can expect to reduce energy consumption
by at least 10 to 15%, with many companies able to achieve larger reductions.
This is why some countries mandate energy management practices.
1-16. In Denmark, energy-intensive companies have to pay higher energy
taxes unless they put in place energy management systems, identify and
implement energy efficiency improvement measures and submit annual reports
on their progress. In Japan, industrial facilities are required to adopt
energy management practices and have in place training for workers and
processes to be more energy efficient. Similarly, we want our companies
to have the right processes and people to ensure prudent use of energy.
Some companies in Singapore already adopt a robust approach to managing
energy use. For instance, Merck Sharp & Dohme set the target of reducing
energy use by 7% this year as part of its energy efficiency plan. Such
practices ought to be the norm.
1-17. Our consultations with large energy users indicate that a wide
range of energy management practices exists today. We therefore see the
need for minimum standards to ensure greater management attention is
paid to energy. While this will ultimately benefit companies in terms
of cost-savings, we also recognise the need to give companies sufficient
lead-time to prepare.
1-18. By 2013, we will require companies in the industry sector consuming
more than the equivalent of 15 GWh of energy each year to appoint an
energy manager, monitor and report energy use to NEA, and develop and
submit energy efficiency improvement plans. NEA will be consulting the
companies involved on the detailed requirements.
1-19. To ensure a smooth transition, NEA will introduce the Energy Efficiency
National Partnership, or EENP, in April to help companies build up the
necessary capabilities before the mandatory energy management practices
come into effect. We will also be reviewing our incentive schemes and
exploring long-term energy efficiency financing options to cater to the
needs of companies.
Energy Conservation Act
1-20. These energy management requirements for industry and energy efficiency-related
legislation in other sectors will be consolidated in an Energy Conservation
Act that will come into force in 2013. The Act allows for a co-ordinated
approach to standards-setting for energy efficiency across all sectors,
and will represent a major milestone in the government's efforts to develop
energy efficiency as a competitive advantage for Singapore.
Promoting Energy Efficient Choices – Households
1-21. In Singapore, electricity and water are priced to reflect their
full cost to send the right pricing signals to consumers and minimise
wasteful consumption. Households that use these resources efficiently
enjoy direct benefits by having smaller utility bills.
1-22. We will continue to raise awareness of energy efficiency in households.
In April 2008, we introduced the 10% Energy Challenge to encourage households
to adopt energy-saving habits. Household appliances such as refrigerators,
air-conditioners and clothes dryers in stores now carry the mandatory
energy label so that consumers have sufficient information to make energy
1-23. NEA also entered into a voluntary agreement with retailers and
suppliers to promote energy efficient appliances. Signatories such as
Best Denki and Harvey Norman are retiring their stock of energy inefficient
models and introducing more 3- and 4-tick ones so that energy efficient
models form a larger percentage of models on sale.
Minimum Energy Performance Standards
1-24. As I announced last year, minimum energy performance standards
or MEPS will be implemented for household air-conditioners and refrigerators
in 2011.MEPS will remove the most energy inefficient air-conditioners
and refrigerators from the market. Depending on the appliance category,
all 0-tick models and some 1- and 2-tick models will be removed, representing
about 20% of current sales volumes. A sufficient range of brands and
models will remain available for consumer choice.
1-25. MEPS will help consumers save on electricity bills and is not expected
to significantly increase the upfront cost of air-conditioners and refrigerators.
A more efficient fridge that costs the same as one phased out by MEPS
can save a household about $130 a year. When all the existing air-conditioners
and refrigerators in Singapore comply with the MEPS standards, consumers
will enjoy a total energy savings of about $20milannually.
1-26. We will tighten the MEPS standards over time. We will also consider
extending MEPS to more appliances, such as lighting and televisions.
Public Sector Taking the Lead in Environmental Sustainability
1-27. Improving energy efficiency is Singapore’s key strategy to
mitigate climate change. Since 2007, all large public sector buildings
have been required to conduct energy audits to identify areas where energy
savings can be reaped. All public agencies are also to ensure that the
ambient indoor air temperature of their premises is in the range of 22.5
to 25.5 oC, to maintain comfort without overcooling the premises.
1-28. As at end 2009, 12 out of 56 public sector buildings have completed
their audits and implemented the recommendations, achieving $3mil in
total annual savings. A further $1.5mil in total annual savings could
be realised when improvement works in the pipeline are completed. There
will be more savings when the remaining buildings complete their audits
by end FY11.
1-29. Major infrastructure facilities have also improved their energy
efficiency. PUB is carrying out measures to reduce energy consumption
at its installations by 10% in FY10 compared to BAU projections. NEA's
waste disposal facilities also implemented measures which reduced electricity
consumption by about 9% and achieved an average savings of over $3mil
annually over the last ten years.
1-30. I am also pleased to inform that NEA has been working with organising
committees of national events such as the National Day Parade, to help
reduce the environmental impact of these events. NEA also developed a
set of green event guidelines which are available on its website.
1-31. The public sector will continue to take the lead on environmental
sustainability measures. From FY11, all Ministries will set energy savings
targets. We will continue to study new measures that can be implemented.
(iii) Singapore’s Vulnerability
to Climate Change
(Minister Yaacob Ibrahim)
1-32. In 2007, NEA commissioned a study involving local and foreign experts
to understand our vulnerabilities to climate change.
1-33. The first phase of the study covering the physical impacts of climate
change has concluded. The results have been peer reviewed by international
experts who noted that the study adopted well-established methodologies
and that the findings are plausible.
1-34. The study projects that the average daily temperature in Singapore
could increase by between 2.7 to 4.2oC from the current average of 26.8oC
by 2100 and the mean sea level around Singapore could rise by 24 to 65
cm by 2100. These findings are within the range of our expectations and
consistent with global projections by the Intergovernmental Panel on
1-35. These findings are not the last word on this subject as climate
science is a complex and evolving subject. We are not certain, for instance,
about the impact of ice sheet melting. NEA will continue to keep abreast
of developments in this area. We will improve our understanding as more
information and data become available and climate change models become
1-36. As a result of our long-term approach to infrastructure planning,
we already have some measures in place which will help address the potential
impacts of climate change. For example, PUB’s current requirements
for reclaimed land to be constructed to a platform level of 125cm above
the highest tide level should give us an adequate buffer against the
projected sea level rise in the short to medium term. In addition, we
are enhancing our response to the impact of floods by expanding our network
of water level sensors, and we will be studying if our drainage design
standards need to be revised to cater for heavier storms.
1-37. NEA has embarked on a second phase of the Vulnerability Study to
investigate in detail the impacts of climate change on public health,
urban temperature and urban biodiversity. This will inform future adaptation
measures that the government will put in place to address the longer
term impacts of climate change. MND leads an inter-agency Adaptation
Taskforce to review the sufficiency of Singapore’s existing adaptation
measures and identify new measures as necessary.
(iv) Managing Our Water Resources
(Minister Yaacob Ibrahim)
1-38. Like energy, water is a key resource and we will ensure that a
sustainable supply continues to be in place to support economic growth
and population needs.
Ensuring Sustainable Water Supply
1-39. By 2011, Singapore’s water catchment area will increase to
two thirds of our land area with the completion of the Punggol and Serangoon
1-40. In addition, when Changi NEWater Factory is fully completed in
2010, NEWater will be able to meet 30% of our current water needs. As
a source which is independent of rainfall, NEWater enhances the resilience
of our water supply by supplementing local water stocks in the event
of extended dry spells, like what we are experiencing today.
Managing Water Demand
1-41. So far during this current dry spell, we have managed to keep our
reservoir levels high by tapping our NEWater and desalination capacity.
However, increasing our water supply is only half the picture. The current
dry and hot weather has seen Singaporeans using more water. To ensure
a sustainable water supply for all, I urge everyone to do your part and
use water wisely.
1-42. Water pricing is an important element of our water conservation
efforts. The price of water recovers the full costs of producing and
supplying it, and also factors in the higher cost of additional water
supplies. Thus, on top of the tariff for potable water, the government
levies a water conservation tax from the first drop. The volumetric structure
of the water tariff and water conservation tax ensure that the less water
you consume, the lower your water bills. Singaporeans therefore benefit
directly in cost savings through prudent use of water resources.
1-43. Singaporeans have been supportive of water conservation, enabling
us to reduce per capita domestic water consumption from 165 litres per
day in 2003 to 155 litres per day in 2009. We should not let up on our
water conservation efforts as we work towards the Sustainable Singapore
Blueprint target of 140 litres in 2030.
Water Consumption Lifestyle Study
1-44. To better understand the drivers behind water use, PUB is conducting
a water consumption lifestyle study, which is expected to be completed
by end 2011. As part of the study, a survey was conducted to understand
the public’s attitude towards water conservation. It is encouraging
that most respondents perceive water conservation to be important. Moving
forward, the study will focus on finding ways to further promote water
Water Efficiency Management Plans
1-45. To help non-domestic customers such as industries, hotels and schools
to better manage water use, PUB will work with them to prepare Water
Efficiency Management Plans. These plans will include an analysis of
current water use, identify potential water saving measures and an implementation
timeline. Customers will be able to tap our existing Water Efficiency
Fund to implement these measures if they meet the funding criteria. To-date,
20 companies have submitted their plans, with water saving targets of
up to 10%.