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Singapore top carbon emitter in Asia-Pacific: WWF
by Staff Writers
Singapore (AFP) March 5, 2012

Affluent Singapore had the largest carbon footprint per head in the Asia-Pacific in 2010, conservation group WWF said Monday.

The environmental advocacy group said Singapore's 2010 per capita gross domestic product of more than $40,000 -- one of the highest in the region -- fuelled exorbitant consumption habits.

But the group also fingered the corporate sector and in particular the construction industry for crowning the tiny city-state as the region's top per capita carbon emitter.

Precise figures for various nations in the Asia-Pacific will be released together with the WWF's Asia Footprint Report in June.

But WWF president Yolanda Kakabadse revealed Monday that Singapore topped the list.

"Every member of the population in relation to the size of the country is consuming a lot in food, in energy," she said.

"Singapore... is a society that maybe is one of the best examples of what we should not do."

Singapore emitted 43,454 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide from combustion of fossil fuels in 2010, official statistics showed.

But Kakabadse said it could atone for its excessive carbon footprint by sharing its energy-efficient technologies with the world.

"It has a tremendous capacity to contribute with technology. Technology for energy, technology for water management, technology for whatever, even for food production that would make it more sensible," she said.

WWF spokesman Chris Chaplin told AFP business and industry were responsible for contributing to the high carbon footprint.

"The building sector in Singapore is responsible for 15 percent of the nation's footprint... If you consider the amount of construction going on, it's a substantial number," he said.

Singapore's National Environment Agency has said the city-state is dependent on fossil fuels because its small size limits its ability to switch to alternative sources.

Meanwhile, the per capita carbon footprint of Asian powerhouse China -- which has been accused of rampant pollution as it industrialises -- was around the same level as the Asia-Pacific average and far below Singapore's.

But this was due to the massive population of China rather than efforts to clamp down on pollution, WWF said.

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