In addition to pledging full government support for efforts to reduce carbon emissions and develop alternative energy sources as part of its long-term plans for sustainable development (MEWR
, 2015), Singapore actively participates in key multilateral initiatives to tackle climate change through regional and international platforms such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
In a parliamentary statement in March, Singapore's new Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Yaacob Ibrahim, mentioned that his ministry was in the process of studying acceding to the Kyoto Protocol (MEWR 2005a).
This target had already been announced as government policy in 2004, and the government had reported having achieved a 17 per cent reduction from 1990 levels by 2003 and a 22 per cent reduction from 1990 levels by 2004 (MEWR 2005b, 2006c).
Later in 2005, MEWR was studying the focus group's recommendations with a view to considering how they could be adopted (MEWR 2005c).
In his parliamentary speech, as part of the annual budget debate, Yaacob Ibrahim, the minister for the environment and water resources, described climate change as "one of the major environmental challenges of our time" and asserted that "Singapore's commitment to climate change" was "consistent with our good record on environmental issues" (MEWR 2006b).
Indeed, Singapore has always been active in supporting the global climate change effort" (MEWR 2005b).
More significantly, highlighting consumer action focuses attention on the least important sector in terms of GHG emissions: in 2004, the household and consumer segment accounted for less than 10 per cent of the country's total carbon emissions (MEWR 2006e).
The business opportunities offered by the protocol were explicitly cited in the ministerial speech announcing Singapore's intention to accede (MEWR 2006c).
As late as 2004, Lim Swee Say, then minister for the environment dismissed the possibility of any major application of solar energy in Singapore due to the country's cloud cover patterns (MEWR 2004a).
(MEWR 2006c) This new readiness to endorse and provide some support for solar energy applications was not driven by proactive government policy seeking solutions to the problem of high GHG emissions (or any change in Singapore's cloud cover patterns).
MEWR (Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources).