Singapore leaders hail historic Paris climate agreement

Singapore leaders hail historic Paris climate agreement
PHOTO: Facebook / Vivian Balakrishnan

SINGAPORE - Singapore leaders have hailed the landmark accord reached in Paris on Saturday (Dec 12) to fight global warming and climate change, saying that it sets the world on a collective journey for climate safety.

In his statement at the Committee of Paris, Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan expressed appreciation to parties at the talks for taking into account the special circumstances of vulnerable, low-lying island states.

"The commitment to hold the 'increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celcius', and to 'pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celcius' will give us, all the islands, some reassurance," he noted.

Mr Balakrishnan, who headed the Singapore delegation at the conference, said Singapore had always emphasised the need for a comprehensive, rules-based and legally binding agreement that was applicable to all.

"I believe the current agreement strikes the right balance between the developed countries and the developing parties, the right balance between mitigation and adaptation, the right balance between means of implementation and ambition," he said.

He added: "It is not often in the lives of politicians, diplomats or [members of] civil society to be present at the genesis of a major earth-changing moment, and we have been blessed to be here, in Paris, on the 12th of December 2015."

 

Very happy that we have successfully clinched the Paris Agreement. Our long negotiations that took many days and nights...

Posted by Vivian Balakrishnan on Saturday, December 12, 2015

In a statement on Facebook on Sunday (Dec 13), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong described the agreement as a "historic deal, decades in the making".

He thanked Mr Balakrishnan, who saw through the agreement previously as Singapore's Environment Minister and now as Foreign Minister, as well as Singapore officers across different ministries and agencies for their hard work and close teamwork.

He reminded Singaporeans that all must play a part in making personal choices to protect the environment. "Reduce, Recycle, Reuse. Let us work together to ensure the future of our planet for our children and generations to come."

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean also welcomed the "fair and comprehensive" agreement.

"Singapore will work towards our pledge to reduce our emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, and to stabilise our emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030," he stressed.

Mr Teo, who is also chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change, added that Singapore was honoured to have contributed to the success of the talks, and that the agreement shows how "with goodwill, commitment and willingness to look beyond individual concerns, cooperation among all countries is possible for the global larger, long-term good".

Meanwhile, current Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli took to Facebook, saying that the deal is "not the end, but the beginning of this global journey. This is a very important step towards mitigating climate change."

The Paris agreement was finally adopted by close to 200 nations on Saturday, after an extra day which followed nearly two weeks of negotiations. It ends decades-long rows between rich and poor nations over how to carry out what will be a multi-trillion dollar campaign to cap global warming, AFP reported.

seanyap@sph.com.sg

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