Singapore pledges environmental commitment at Paris climate talks

Singapore pledges environmental commitment at Paris climate talks

08 December 2015

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Singapore– Singapore on Monday (Dec 7) pledged its commitment to the environment, as global environment ministers attended a second week of COP21 climate talks in Paris.

Singapore’s Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli joined a series of high-level voices and promised to reduce the country’s emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels. The clock is ticking for a binding deal to be reached by the end of the week to stop the planet’s temperature from increasing by above 2 degrees.

“Reducing GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions is not only about mitigating emissions from our industrial sectors, it can also be about protecting our forests and preventing peat land fires,” said Mr Masagos. “Peat lands are major carbon sinks. However with peat land fires caused by slash and burn practices of errant companies, they are no longer carbon sinks but a source of carbon dioxide emissions.”

Some studies have estimated that fires in Southeast Asia have released more than a gigatonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere just this year, and it is something that has become a major concern for campaigners.

“Recently the massive fires in Indonesia is just a huge ecological catastrophe, both in terms of the biodiversity but also for our planet because a lot of the forests are on peat land and sending up a huge amount of carbon,” explained Campaign Against Climate Change’s campaigns coordinator Claire James. “So as well as thinking about long-term targets, we need real practical steps of shifting things now, building the right kind of infrastructure for clean energy.”

The message from most countries attending the summit in Paris was that there is a difficult task ahead, but now is the time to take action.

“It will take time, it’s a period of 15 years, but I think if we understand what and how big this problem is, facing not just us but the world and particularly Singapore being an island, we all ought to be serious about it,” said Mr Masagos.

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