This article appeared in The Straits Times on March 24, 2012.
SINGAPORE will join a prestigious international climate group to learn how to reduce its carbon footprint.
The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, which includes other cities such as Berlin, Hong Kong, London, New York and Tokyo, encourages members to share their best environmental practices.
The Republic’s involvement is timely because it was ranked poorly in a recent survey on countries’ carbon footprints, although the Government has disputed the ranking.
Last month, researchers from Canada’s University of British Columbia ranked Singapore last among 150 countries in terms of ecological health.
The researchers took into account the countries’ economies, consumption and waste, and their local resources such as agricultural land and energy.
Earlier this month, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources Grace Fu addressed the study, saying Singapore fared poorly because it is land-scarce and depends on imported resources.
“From the water we drink to the food we consume... we run an ‘ecology deficit’ to sustain our country,” she said.
As part of the international climate group, the Republic will share its expertise on water management. It will also participate in the group’s initiatives and develop case studies.
The C40 – which now has 58 member cities – also works with organisations such as the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and former United States president Bill Clinton’s Clinton Climate Initiative.
However, Singapore will be an “observer city”, which means it will not be part of statements issued by the group.
This is because Singapore is also a country, which has different constraints compared to cities, said the National Climate Change Secretariat, which coordinates Singapore’s domestic and international policies, plans and actions on climate change.
In 2009, Singapore announced that it would cut carbon emissions by 7 per cent to 11 per cent by 2020 if no global, binding deal was reached, and by 16 per cent if one was.