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The Business Times: Singapore Budget 2018: Lower initial carbon tax aimed at helping companies transit: Masagos

By Andrea Soh

The lower initial carbon tax of S$5 a tonne is to allow companies to adjust their processes and also become familiar with the compliance work required, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli.

Companies would take time to adjust, whether in improving their energy efficiency or reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Hence, the S$5 rate for the first five years is a "fair amount" for them, he told reporters.

"We need to take into account that these companies need to transit into the future where they will need time to change their processes, so that when the tax actually takes place at a higher rate of S$10-S$15 by 2030, they are well in place to already have reduced the emissions," he said.

The uniform tax rate - imposed on companies producing 25,000 tonnes or more of greenhouse gas emissions a year - will also help to keep the tax regime simple and compliance costs low, he added.

When asked what the government's plans on carbon tax will be after 2030, Mr Masagos replied that it is "too far away" to say.

Mr Masagos made these comments during a visit to Bukit View Secondary School, where he opened a green classroom called Junior Outstanding Leaders in Environment for Sustainability (JOULES) Smart Centre.

Besides being fitted with green building products including tables and a carpet made from recycled materials, the facility incorporates green design features, such as an air-conditioning system which uses solar energy and ambient heat to reduce electricity usage. It also has an indoor green wall which improves air quality and reduces noise levels at the same time.

The centre, built in collaboration with the Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC), will be used as a learning platform for the school's students to learn about innovation programmes and green products. Besides being used for special curricular classes and school functions, the school has plans to open it for community usage.

SGBC said it is thinking of developing a case study using the JOULES Smart Centre as a benchmark to make the case for green and healthier classrooms.

Said its president Tan Swee Yiow: "Green building should not be adopted by just the building and construction industry alone. Research has shown that Green Mark-certified buildings are not only better for the environment, but also have positive effects for the building occupants."

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Last updated 23 Feb 2018

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