The Straits Times: Achieving UN goal of clean, affordable energy will be challenge, says PM Lee Hsien Loong

By Tham Yuen-C

Singapore fully supports the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, but achieving the aim of affordable and clean energy will be a challenge for the Republic, which does not produce green energy alternatives, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday (April 19).

Even then, Singapore is among the 20 most carbon-efficient countries in the world. It is also committed to addressing climate change, which has a tremendous impact on the country's sustainable development efforts, he added.

Mr Lee was speaking on sustainable development, which is one of the key pillars under the theme "Towards a Common Future" for this year's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm).

Among measures Singapore has taken is to switch to natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel, which generates 95 per cent of the electricity consumed. Energy is also priced at market cost to reflect the scarcity of the resource, he noted.

This year, the Government also unveiled a carbon tax that would kick in from next year without exemption.

Under the Paris Agreement on climate change, Singapore has also pledged to reduce emissions intensity - the pollution caused for each dollar of gross domestic product - by 36 per cent from the levels measured in 2005.

To raise awareness about climate change, this year has been designated the Year of Climate Action.

But governments cannot deal with climate change alone, Mr Lee said, as he called on Commonwealth member countries to work together.

To this end, Singapore has helped to train almost 12,000 officials from developing countries in climate change programmes, among other initiatives.

Mr Lee said Singapore and eight Commonwealth countries have undertaken to do a voluntary national review of their progress at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development this year, to share their experiences in preparing to meet the goals.

"Singapore is committed to do our part in helping our Commonwealth friends pursue the Sustainable Development Goals in accordance with their needs and circumstances," he added.

Copyright Singapore Press Holdings Limited. All rights reserved.

Last updated 30 Apr 2018

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