COP28: Singapore reaffirms commitment to domestic climate action, global collaboration
Singapore will also announce the Financing Asia’s Transition Partnerships (FAST-P) - an initiative that aims to mobilise up to US$5 billion in green finance - at COP28, says Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean.
SINGAPORE: The 2015 Paris Agreement provided the framework for all the world's nations, including Singapore, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The world, however, is on track to heat up between 2.1 degrees Celsius and 2.9 degrees Celsius by 2100, according to the 2022 report by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The UN also warned earlier this week that plans to expand oil, gas and coal production by major fossil fuel countries would push the world far beyond the Paris deal's global warming limit.
Speaking at the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai on Saturday (Dec 2), Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean referenced the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events of late, including heatwaves in Asia as "clear warning signs".
COP28 will see the conclusion of the first Global Stocktake of the Paris Agreement and the annual climate meeting is a "timely opportunity for the world to keep the target of 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach", said Mr Teo.
As the window of opportunity to tackle climate change is "small and closing quickly", he stressed this was an opportunity to "course-correct" and "take decisive action" to keep the aim set in Paris in sight.
To this end, Singapore "reaffirms its commitment to domestic climate action, regional partnerships and global collaboration", Mr Teo said.
DOMESTIC CLIMATE ACTION
Mr Teo noted that Singapore raised its climate ambition in 2022, having submitted the enhanced Long-term Low Emissions Development Strategy (LEDS) with a goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
Singapore also updated its 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to reduce its emissions to 60 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by that year.
On Singapore's carbon tax, Mr Teo said it covered around 80 per cent of national greenhouse gas emissions - one of the highest coverages in the world.
This carbon tax will be raised five-fold in 2024 to S$25 (US$19) per tonne of emissions, and progressively to S$50 to S$80 by 2030, making it "one of the highest in Asia", he added.
"This will send a strong price signal and drive emitters to decarbonise, while giving companies greater price certainty for forward planning."
He added that Singapore was also developing a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) supply ecosystem, noting that the country was now home to the largest SAF production site in the world, after Finnish energy company Neste completed the US$1.76 billion expansion of its Singapore refinery in May.
Stronger emission standards for the power sector have also been implemented, with all new and repowered natural gas power plants to be 10 per cent more efficient and at least 30 per cent hydrogen-compatible by volume from 2024.
While Mr Teo acknowledged that Singapore is "alternative energy disadvantaged" due to the "lack of domestic mitigation options", it has invested into solar power to overcome those restraints.
He said Singapore is halfway towards achieving its target of 2 gigawatt-peak of solar deployment by 2030, while Southeast Asia’s first floating and stacked Energy Storage System will start operations in Singapore in 2024.
Mr Teo reiterated that Singapore is committed to working with other parties to deliver on its climate action pledges through regional partnerships.
With Asia needing an estimated US$1.7 trillion in climate and infrastructure investments per annum through 2030, Singapore will announce the Financing Asia’s Transition Partnerships (FAST-P) initiative at COP28.
This initiative aims to mobilise up to US$5 billion in finance, bringing together "public and private sector partners to de-risk and finance transition and marginally-bankable green projects in Asia", he said.
Mr Teo added that Singapore has already announced plans to import around 4GW of low-carbon electricity from Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam by 2035, underpinning the joint vision of an ASEAN Power Grid to strengthen energy resilience in the region.
He also touched on other initiatives by Singapore such as the conducting of regional capability-building activities to strengthen collective climate resilience.
These efforts help to "advance adaptation priority areas such as food, water and heat resilience, as well as coastal and flood protection".
Singapore is already involved in the promotion of knowledge sharing and mutual learning among countries, Mr Teo said.
About 150,000 officials from over 180 countries, territories, and intergovernmental organisations have participated in programmes covering topics like climate adaptation and mitigation, disaster risk management, and green finance via the Singapore Cooperation Programme (SCP) and its Sustainability Action Package (SAP).
Among the initiatives that Singapore is supporting at COP28 is the co-sponsoring of the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge, with Mr Teo noting that Singapore’s energy intensity is ranked 11th lowest, when compared to 38 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.
Singapore also supports the COP28 Presidency’s Early Coal Retirement Initiative to reduce global dependence on coal and is "prepared to offtake transition credits if it meets our standards for high environmental integrity".
To support the development of emerging technological and market solutions, Mr Teo also said Singapore will be signing Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) and Implementation Agreements (IAs) on carbon credits and low-carbon solutions cooperation with countries such as Papua New Guinea.
On Saturday, Singapore signed the MOU on Article 6 collaboration with Rwanda, which aims to address "our shared challenge of climate change".
"Under our Article 6.2 bilateral approaches, Singapore is prepared to contribute 5 per cent of our share of carbon credit proceeds to support climate adaptation in Rwanda, ensuring that projects have broader sustainable development benefits," Mr Teo said in a separate speech.
Both countries will collaborate on carbon credits aligned with Article 6.2 of the Paris Agreement and related carbon market initiatives, including the exchange of best practices and knowledge on carbon market mechanisms.