19 December 2023

On 2 December 2023, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean (“SM Teo”) delivered Singapore’s National Statement
at the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (“COP28”) where he reaffirmed Singapore’s commitment to domestic climate action, regional partnerships, and global collaboration, and set out how Singapore has sought to advance these goals.

This article sets out the initiatives SM Teo highlighted at COP28.

Domestic climate action

SM Teo reiterated Singapore’s commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and referenced the updated 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution to reduce emissions to 60 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2030.

SM Teo stated that Singapore’s climate targets are backed up by concrete policies and plans, including the country’s carbon tax which covers approximately 80% of Singapore’s greenhouse gas emissions, one of the highest in the world. The carbon tax will be raised progressively as Singapore progresses towards
net zero.

SM Teo also touched on the mandated zero vehicle population growth in Singapore, in place since 2018, noting that the Government target is for public, active and shared transport modes to account for nine in 10 of all peak-period journeys by 2040. Singapore is also developing a structural offtake mechanism to support the adoption of sustainable aviation fuel in Singapore.

Also highlighted were Singapore’s stronger emissions standards for the power sector and its endeavours to harness solar power. 

Regional partnerships

SM Teo explained how Singapore has collaborated with regional partners, with the aim to unlock decarbonisation potential across national boundaries more quickly and effectively.

It is key to channel finance to catalyse Asia’s transition as it is estimated that Asia will need US$1.7 trillion in climate and infrastructure investments per annum through 2030. SM Teo noted the launch of Financing Asia’s Transition Partnerships (“FAST-P”), a new blended finance initiative that aims to mobilise up to US$5 billion in finance at COP28. FAST-P will bring together public and private sector partners to de-risk and finance transition and marginally bankable green projects in Asia. It is hoped that through FAST-P, climate action will be realised as an opportunity for collective regional growth.

Singapore has announced plans to import around 4GW of low-carbon electricity from Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam by 2035. This lead demand forms the buildings blocks of the regional vision of an ASEAN Power Grid, which will strengthen energy resilience and decarbonise power generation across South-east Asia.

SM Teo also mentioned Singapore’s efforts in assessing climate impact in specific areas together with its regional partners which complements other capacity building programmes, including for water management, coastal protection, and flood management.

Global collaboration 

Singapore has been providing capacity building through the Singapore Cooperation Programme and its Sustainability Action Package. Close to 150,000 officials from over 180 countries, territories, and intergovernmental organisations have participated in programmes covering topics such as climate adaptation and mitigation, disaster risk management, and green finance.

At COP28, Singapore announced that is co-sponsoring the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge. Singapore’s energy intensity is ranked 11th lowest, when compared to 38 OECD countries.

To demonstrate support for the COP28 Presidency’s Early Coal Retirement Initiative to reduce global dependence on coal, the Government is prepared to offtake transition credits if it meets Singapore’s standards for high environmental integrity. Transition credits are a class of carbon credits that can be generated from reductions in emissions when high-emitting assets like coal fired power plants are retired early and replaced with cleaner energy sources.

To support the development of emerging technological and market solutions, Singapore will also be signing memorandums of understanding and implementation agreements on carbon credits and low-carbon solutions cooperation with countries such as Papua New Guinea.

Reference materials

Singapore’s National Statement is available on the National Climate Change Secretariat website www.nccs.gov.sg.