Financial help needed for firms in green push

Singapore's efforts to reduce carbon emissions in the light of the Paris climate pact are to be lauded (Big polluters to face heftier fines; April 4).

Combating global warming is everyone's responsibility.

As industries contribute about 60 per cent of carbon emissions here, it is a wise move to design policies that target the industrial sector.

However, while taxing companies is a good way of encouraging them to conserve energy, it could also be counterproductive: Industries could pass on the costs to consumers.

If energy-efficient technologies were easily accessible, companies would have availed themselves of these without the Government coming into the picture.

The fact that they continue to release large amounts of greenhouse gases suggests that there are obstacles to attaining and/or implementing these technologies.

One obstacle is likely to be cost, and the Government should continue to offer subsidies and even micro loans to these companies so that they are able to replace polluting technologies.

Alternatively, grants can be provided for companies that wish to set up a division to develop energy-efficient technologies.

Aside from taxation and research, tax deductions could also be offered to companies for every 10 per cent of carbon emissions that they successfully reduce.

With the new green initiatives, Singapore is indeed a Garden City - for it is a city that not only looks green but is truly green.

Lance Tan Yong-Wen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 07, 2017, with the headline 'Financial help needed for firms in green push'. Print Edition | Subscribe