Carbon tax a step in the right direction

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat's plan to introduce a carbon tax in Singapore could not come at a more crucial time (How greenhouse gas emitters are charged for pollution; Feb 22).

The major greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, which are all produced by humans in our industrial endeavours and energy sectors.

Due to these gases trapping the sun's energy, the earth is absorbing more of them, which in turn heats the planet up.

Singapore now has a population of 5.6 million, and this is growing. This means that it is a large urban area full of glass skyscrapers, concrete pavements and tarmac roads - all materials that increase absorption of the sun's energy.

A less built-up area would actually experience less absorption because of a reduced concentration of these materials.

This carbon tax scheme is Singapore's way of trying to stop further increases in these levels, and will hopefully stop power stations, refineries and energy sectors from producing high levels of greenhouse gases.

However, implementing a limit to the amount of greenhouse gases that a substantial emitter can produce annually, in addition to the carbon tax, could help decrease levels at a faster rate.

Singapore ratified the Paris Agreement in 2016 and this carbon tax strategy is a positive first step for this country in its contribution to reducing the world's total greenhouse gas emissions.

Anna Pang (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 28, 2018, with the headline 'Carbon tax a step in the right direction'. Print Edition | Subscribe