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Singapore will do its part to mitigate effects of climate change: PM Lee

By Hasnita A Majid, Channel NewsAsia
03 November 2007

SINGAPORE : Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says Singapore will do its part to mitigate climate change but the country cannot afford to do so at the cost of its economic growth.

Global warming has caused extreme weather events like major floods and rising sea levels.

And the situation will worsen if countries do nothing.

Speaking at the launch of the year-long Clean and Green Singapore campaign, Mr Lee says no country can solve this problem on its own but must tackle it collectively.

He says countries are taking this seriously and in ASEAN, this is reflected by the pledge put in recent meetings and will be discussed at the upcoming summit.

Singapore, he adds, will do its part.

But Mr Lee says the country must also be practical and recognise that our direct impact as a small country is limited.

He says: "We contribute less than 0.2 percent of all the carbon emission worldwide...so what we do in Singapore is not going to change the world. And just to give you a sense of it, even if Singapore is to shut down the whole of Singapore, no lights, no fans, no air cons, no cars, buses, MRT, nothing, the amount of carbon saved not generated will be the same as three days of energy consumption in China. So it is not possible for us to solve this problem on our own but we cannot say therefore we will ignore it. We will do our fair share as part of the global effort to reduce greenhouse gases."

Mr Lee says when the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emission expires in 2012, Singapore will contribute to that.

But the country also has to safeguard its national interests.

This is because it is totally dependent on fossil fuels, with no feasible alternative and it is a major manufacturing base for MNCs, whose products are exported.

Also, Singapore is a major air and sea hub.

Mr Lee says: "Every year we have 25 million containers ship through Singapore, ships taking bunker fuels in Singapore. These are not Singapore's consumption, they are international but happens to upload in Singapore and we have to account for this fairly. If there's a treaty, we have to ensure that it's not all put on our account because that's not fair and doesn't make sense."

Mr Lee says that to prepare for the future, Singapore will have to start now, and redouble efforts to conserve energy, and get used to less wasteful habits.

A Ministerial Committee on Climate change has also been set up to coordinate Singapore's efforts.

And the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources has also announced plans to push for greater energy efficiency in Singapore.

One way is to make buildings here more energy efficient.

Households can also make a difference by taking simple and effective measures, such as choosing energy efficient appliances and also switch to energy-saving light bulbs. - CNA/ch

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