S'pore's 2030 goal aggressive and ambitious: Masagos

SINGAPORE'S commitment for the climate change talks - to reduce carbon emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 - are "very aggressive, very ambitious", said Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli.

The good news is that most of Singapore's emissions are produced by a small number of players, he said, adding that the government will step up regulation to ensure that their emissions are in line with Singapore's 2030 commitment.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the inauguration of Singapore's first metal-recovery facility on Tuesday, he said: "For Singapore, it is a commitment from the whole of government as well as our industries to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere."

This will be done by adopting mitigating processes as well as by introducing new technologies.

"The good news is that most amount of these emissions is produced by a small number of these players.

"For the industry, we will have to regulate them even more to make sure that the emissions they are producing will add up to our national goals leading to 2030."

Industries contributed 54 per cent of Singapore's carbon emissions in 2005, and are projected to contribute 60.3 per cent in 2020 in a business-as-usual scenario.

Singapore's goal is to hit an emissions peak by 2030. "This is a huge challenge because we still need to have an economy that will support our people's livelihood and at the same time, not produce even more emissions for that purpose," he said.

Being more energy-efficient would not be new for these energy-intensive companies; many are international firms that already have more efficient practices elsewhere.

"We want to ensure that what they're already practising overseas comes to Singapore," said the minister.

Asked what regulations the government might have in mind, he replied that it was "still early days".

There are many laws and regulations that the government will have to look into as it works towards bringing the entire country on board, he said; he added that various agencies led by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean - who chairs the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change - have been working on this for many years, and will start to implement their plans for the various sectors once the Paris accord has been reached.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) will then monitor and execute the policy, said Mr Masagos.

The Energy Conservation Act, which came into effect in April 2013, makes it mandatory for Singapore's most energy-intensive industrial companies - those in manufacturing, utilities, sewage and waste management - to implement basic energy management practices.

About 170 of such firms, which consume more than 54 terajoules (TJ) of energy a year, are required to appoint an energy manager, report energy use and greenhouse gas emissions and submit energy-efficiency improvement plans to the NEA.

In 2013, they accounted for about 83 per cent of Singapore's consumption of primary energy, that is, energy contained within energy sources like raw fuels, and 63 per cent of the consumption of final energy, or energy supplied to consumers.

On Tuesday, Mr Masagos attended the opening of a facility that reduces the weight of incineration bottom ash - what is left after rubbish is incinerated - by 10 per cent by recovering its metal content. This recovery process prolongs the lifespan of the Semakau landfill.

The facility is operated by Remex Minerals Singapore, a subsidiary of German firm Remex Mineralstoff GmbH, which runs similar metal-recovery facilities in the Netherlands and Germany.

The Remex Metal Recovery Facility is a "critical component" of Singapore's long-term plan to becoming a zero-waste nation, a key theme of the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015, said Mr Masagos.

sandrea@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Dec 2, 2015.
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