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WhyItMatters

Getting S'pore to go green

On Monday, the public sector unveiled an action plan to slash its consumption of electricity and water in a bid to fight climate change.

By 2020, the public sector will use 15 per cent less electricity and 5 per cent less water compared with 2013 levels, according to the Public Sector Sustainability Plan 2017-2020.

Meeting the targets could result in cost savings of about $62.5 million a year.

The sector will also embark on green initiatives. These include food waste recycling in public-sector premises and the procurement of sustainably sourced paper products.

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As a low-lying island state, Singapore is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as higher sea levels, hotter weather and more extreme rainfall.

In its Second National Climate Change Study, which was released in 2015, the Centre for Climate Research Singapore projected that the average temperature in Singapore could increase by up to 4.6 deg C by the end of this century.

The study added that the sea level could rise by up to 1m if no action is taken.

The latest move to go green by the public sector demonstrates the Singapore Government's commitment to the Paris climate change agreement.

The Republic has pledged to reduce its emissions intensity - the ratio of carbon emissions to each dollar of the gross domestic product - by 36 per cent from 2005 levels, by 2030.

It has also pledged to stabilise emissions, with the aim of peaking around 2030.

Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean has said that achieving these objectives would require a concerted effort from the Government, businesses and everyone in Singapore.

With the public sector - Singapore's largest employer with about 145,000 officers - taking the lead to go green, the hope is that businesses and individuals will follow suit.

Melissa Lin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2017, with the headline 'Getting S'pore to go green'. Print Edition | Subscribe