29 September 2022

From 5 to 26 September 2022, the National Climate Change Secretariat (“NCCS”) in the Strategy Group, Prime Minister’s Office, conducted a public consultation on how Singapore can work towards becoming a low-carbon country, given the country’s long-term ambition to achieve net zero by 2050.

The views received during the consultation will be taken into consideration when Singapore makes a formal revision to the Long-Term Low Emissions Development Strategy (“LEDS”) and 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution (“NDC”) before the end of 2022. Singapore intends to achieve net zero emissions by or around mid-century, which is a significant improvement on the previously submitted LEDS to halve emissions from the 2030 peak to 33 MtCO2e by 2050, with a view to achieving net zero emissions as soon as viable in the second half of the century. As announced at Budget 2022, Singapore is reviewing its 2030 NDC which currently pledges to peak emissions at 65 MtCO2e around 2030 to bring Singapore in line with the Glasgow Climate Pact. The Glasgow Climate Pact was signed after the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties, known as COP26. Our article titled “COP26: Commitments from Singapore and the region” provides an overview of the decisions made at COP26. 

Global momentum for climate action

The Paris Agreement Article 6 rulebook for international carbon markets has been finalised, allowing Singapore to access global mitigation opportunities through international carbon credits and providing an additional option for the country to decarbonise.

Building on Singapore’s long-standing emphasis on sustainable development, this decisive move to net zero will ensure that Singapore does its part in the global fight against climate change. In addition, Singapore will be positioned to take advantage of the positive global trends in sustainable financing and corporate net zero targets to make Singapore an attractive place for green economic activities in industry, services, and finance. Repositioning the economy and establishing Singapore’s competitive edge early will grow many good jobs for Singaporeans and enhance Singapore’s value proposition in the future low-carbon global economy.

The consultation paper acknowledges that in reaching these climate ambitions, there will be disruptions to existing business models as the world moves collectively to a low-carbon future. Companies will need to re-orient themselves to grow in a more sustainable manner or pursue new areas of growth that are less carbon intensive, while workers may have to acquire new skills to stay relevant. Individuals will need to change personal habits by consuming and wasting less, reducing energy consumption at home such as using energy efficient appliances and less air-conditioning, and taking cleaner forms of transport.

Many of the measures that would bring Singapore to net zero are contingent on effective international cooperation, as well as the maturity of decarbonisation technologies. Some examples include the import of renewable energy, the availability of Carbon Capture and Storage sites and the sourcing of green hydrogen.

Singapore’s net zero strategy

Singapore implemented a carbon tax, the first carbon pricing scheme in South-east Asia, on 1 January 2019. A carbon tax provides a broad-based price signal so that businesses and individuals will be able to internalise the costs of carbon. The carbon tax level is set at SS$5/tCO2e in the first instance from 2019 to 2023, to give businesses time to adjust. To move decisively to achieve Singapore’s enhanced climate ambition, the carbon tax will be raised to S$25/tCO2e in 2024 and 2025, and S$45/tCO2e in 2026 and 2027, with a view to reaching S$50-S$80/tCO2e by 2030. This will provide a strong price signal and impetus for businesses and individuals to reduce their carbon footprint in line with national climate goals.

The consultation paper notes that working with industries to transform the economy is an important component of the journey towards net zero. Addressing power generation, another major source of carbon emissions, is also a key undertaking. To decarbonise the power grid, Singapore will harness and tap on four switches to transform energy supply - solar power, tapping on regional power grids to import low carbon electricity, utilising low-carbon alternatives, and continuing to use natural gas as the main fuel source for Singapore in the near future as the country scales up other renewable energy capabilities.

Public consultation

The public consultation sought views in relation to three questions:

  • Is net zero by 2050 too ambitious, just right, or not sufficiently ambitious?
  • Should Singapore’s 2030 NDC, which currently pledges to peak emissions at 65 MtCO2e around 2030, be enhanced?
  • In the transition to a low-carbon country, in which areas, including Government, businesses, communities, and citizens, is Singapore doing well and in which areas can Singapore do more?

Reference materials

The following materials are available on the NCCS website www.nccs.gov.sg and the REACH website www.reach.gov.sg: