Straits Times: S'pore buckles down to hard work, post-Bali

20 Dec 2007

By Maria Almenoar

HARD work is the order of the day now that the two-week- long climate change conference in Bali has ended.

Singapore's Minister for Environment and Water Resources Yaacob Ibrahim said yesterday that the Government will have to sit down over the next two years to plan its next steps.

Areas for discussion include how to assist developing countries and the enhancement of national plans. 'The framework is actually quite adequate but the devil will always be in the details.

'So for the next two years, the negotiators now have a very broad parameter ... That's the right spirit, the right framework. So I'm glad we have managed to achieve it even at the 11th hour,' he said.

Mr Yaacob was speaking to reporters after a community event in Kolam Ayer to promote youth involvement in community activities.

The 'Bali road map' launches two more years of formal negotiations to spell out what each country will have to do to slow emissions of global warning gases after 2012, when the current deal, called the Kyoto Protocol, ends.

From Singapore's perspective, the resolution is something the Republic has always wanted, said Mr Yaacob.

'Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has always said that everybody must do their part - we must be a responsible member of the international community. What that part is now, is the part that we will have to discuss.'

He also said that keeping the four 'building blocks' of adaptation, mitigation, technology and finance in mind, countries will then have to go to back to the 'drawing board' to see how funds can be better used, if the money is enough and how it can be used to help developing countries, among other things.

Asked about Singapore's plans to build dykes to combat the rising water levels due to climate change, Mr Yaacob said studies were still being done.

It would take about two years, he said, to study how such a project would affect the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea.

Only then could they look at adapting the technology the Dutch have used to suit our island.

The Government has already made contact with the Dutch to tap their expertise in building dykes.

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