Friday, October 14, 2011

SEC calls for a more holistic transport strategy encouraging behavioural change

"11 recommendations to tackle climate change," by Esther Ng. Today, 14 Oct 2011.

Singapore - Free public transport during certain hours, quarterly food, electricity and water rationing, and farmers' markets in housing estates are some recommendations the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) has made to NCCS 2012, the National Climate Change Secretariat's public consultation exercise.

Top on the list of its 11 recommendations is a call for a more holistic transport strategy which encourages "behavioural change as a longer-term solution".

For instance, schools could increase "bicycle parking areas" and get students living nearby to ride to school instead of having their parents drop them off.

Bicycle racks can be installed on public buses, so that people who wish to cycle to work, but live too far from their workplace, can split their commute between bicycle and bus routes.

The Greater Richmond Transit in the United States and bike-sharing schemes in London and Dublin are some successful examples, the council noted.

Free public rides on public transport during peak hours on weekdays or one weekend a month could encourage more people to take public transport.

Said the SEC's executive director Jose Raymond: "Singapore needs a strategy to balance the needs of a growing population with cost effectiveness and environmental sustainability. This balance cannot be achieved simply by growing public transport infrastructure or by continuing to tax vehicle owners heavily."

The SEC said air-conditioning bus interchanges and hawker centres was "unnecessary" and "contributes to avoidable energy wastage" and called on the Government to consider "alternative measures" to cool down public spaces.

With climate change affecting food, energy and water security, the council recommended quarterly food, electricity and water rationing for schools, offices and households. The intent is to "encourage a greater understanding of the energy-intensive and expensive processes that bring food, water and energy ... and that these scarce resources should not be taken for granted".

Additionally, farmers' markets and produce from rooftop gardens in public housing estates will enhance Singapore's food security and reduce the Republic's carbon footprint from food imports.

You can submit feedback to the National Climate Change Secretariat at their webpage.

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