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Speech by Dr Amy Khor Lean Suan, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Water Resources, at Carbon Disclosure Forum 2010, 16 March 2010, 9:15 am at Singapore Business Federation Seminar Room 2


Date Published: 16 Mar 2010

Your Excellency, Mr Paul Madden
British High Commissioner to Singapore

Mr Vijay Iyengar
Vice Chairman, Singapore Business Federation

Mr David St Maur Sheil
Joint Executive Director
Association for Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Asia

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning

 

I am pleased to join you this morning at the Carbon Disclosure Forum 2010, jointly organised by the Singapore Business Federation, the Association for Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Asia, and the Singapore Compact for Corporate Social Responsibility.

Collective Efforts to Address Climate Change

2 Over the past few years, climate change has generated much heat, both figuratively and in reality. Human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels for energy use are contributing to the rise in global greenhouse gas emissions. To address the challenges brought about by climate change, collective efforts by all will be necessary. Companies need to play their part, and there will also be demands from governments, consumers and investors that companies manage their energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and make appropriate disclosure of such information.

Singapore's Response to Climate Change

3 Singapore is fully committed to the international effort to address climate change. We have associated ourselves with the Copenhagen Accord, which provides a basis for further negotiations towards a legally-binding global framework on climate change. Singapore has also committed to a target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 16% from the 2020 Business-As-Usual scenario, provided that a global agreement is reached and other countries implement their targets. This commitment is significant, given the efforts we have already taken to reduce our emissions and the unique constraints of a city-state like Singapore where there is limited access to renewable energy.

4 Achieving the 16% target will require changes in lifestyle and business practices. The Government is engaging our companies to bring about lower greenhouse gas emissions from the industrial sector, mainly through the increased adoption of energy efficient technologies and practices.

These technologies and practices are already available. By becoming more energy-efficient, companies not only lower their greenhouse gas emissions, they also become more competitive in the global economy, and can better meet investor expectations on corporate social responsibility.

Current Incentives for Energy Efficiency

5 There is significant potential for manufacturing, our largest energy consuming sector, to save energy and reduce costs by investing in energy efficiency. The Singapore Government has already put in place several schemes to help companies adopt energy efficient technologies and practices. These include the Grant for Energy Efficient Technologies or GREET, which helps to co-fund up to 50% of the qualifying costs for energy efficient equipment and technologies, the CDM Documentation Grant, which helps to co-fund the costs of hiring carbon consultants to develop greenhouse gas emission reduction projects that can earn carbon credits under the UNFCCC's Clean Development Mechanism, and the Energy Efficiency Improvement Assistance Scheme or EASe scheme, which helps to co-fund energy audits for buildings and facilities to identify potential energy cost savings.

New Initiatives

6 Looking ahead, the Government plans to do even more to encourage our companies to become leaders in energy efficiency. We will take more robust measures to spur industries in Singapore to be leaders in energy efficiency.

7 Based on the experience of other countries, the implementation of energy management programmes is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve energy efficiency. Case studies from overseas have indicated that companies can reduce their energy consumption by 10 to 15% through such programmes. Our observation of companies in Singapore is that while some have adopted energy management practices, the extent of measures implemented differ widely from one company to another. By setting minimum standards, we hope to propagate best practices for all companies, and sustain their interest in managing their energy needs on a day-to-day basis.

8 In particular, we will be working towards getting companies that are large energy consumers to appoint trained energy managers, monitor and report energy use, and submit energy efficiency improvement plans.

My advice to companies is to start preparing themselves early as it would eventually be in their interest and benefit to do so.

9 To smoothen the process, the National Environment Agency is also preparing to launch the Energy Efficiency National Partnership or EENP in April to help companies build up the necessary capabilities to attain higher levels of energy efficiency. This programme is voluntary and aims to help companies improve their energy efficiency by putting in place energy efficiency programmes and fostering a culture of sustained energy efficiency improvements.

10 Through working with the various industry stakeholders in the coming years, we hope that by 2013 -- the year we target to bring in the Energy Conservation Act -- companies would already have the necessary processes in place to meet the regulatory requirements on energy efficiency.

Conclusion

11 Climate change is a challenge that we must address together. As investors and consumers become more aware of the impacts of climate change on their personal and corporate lives, they will seek more information about how companies are mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and addressing the business risks associated with climate change. It is therefore important for companies to understand how climate change will affect them and their operations, and how they can play a part in the global effort to deal with this phenomenon that deeply affects us all. Through such planned and disciplined actions, our companies will become more environmentally sustainable and economically competitive.

12 I am confident that the participants of today's Forum will learn much from each other. I wish you all a fruitful day ahead.



    

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