Sunday, 21 March 2021

What Singapore is doing to combat climate change

Climate Change: A Wicked Problem

US Leaders Summit on Climate 2021: Singapore will overcome constraints, meet emission targets through innovation, says PM Lee Hsien Loong
Despite its small size and limited resources, it will do its part for global climate agenda
By Audrey Tan, Science and Environment Correspondent, The Straits Times, 24 Apr 2021

Singapore may be small and without access to resources, but it will strive to achieve its climate targets through innovation, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.

He was speaking on the second day of the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate, which was convened by United States President Joe Biden.

PM Lee said Singapore was turning to technology to reduce its emissions and adapt to the changing climate.

For instance, the country has limited access to renewable energy options.

"Nevertheless, we plan to quadruple solar energy production by 2025," he said, pointing to how Singapore is home to the world's largest floating solar energy system that can offset 33,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

It was earlier reported that when the floating solar farm at Tengeh Reservoir becomes operational, carbon savings from it will be equivalent to removing 7,000 cars from the roads.

As for adaptation, PM Lee said Singapore is also concerned about the impact of rising urban temperatures on its compact and dense urban environment.

"To moderate this, we are using computer modelling for more climate-responsive urban design, experimenting with special cooling paint on buildings and planting one million more trees," he added.

PM Lee was one of 40 world leaders who attended the two-day virtual summit, which is aimed at galvanising nations to do more to slash emissions.

Speaking during the session on "unleashing climate innovation", PM Lee said that despite its small size, Singapore was doing its part to contribute to the global climate agenda.

It was among the first 20 countries to submit its long-term strategy for emissions reduction to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which the Republic is party to.

Singapore's goal is to halve emissions from its 2030 peak by 2050, with a view to achieving net-zero emissions as soon as viable in the second half of the century.

PM Lee also pointed to the Singapore Green Plan 2030, the nation's road map to sustainable development, which was launched earlier this year.

In his speech, he also talked about how Singapore - as a financial hub - can contribute to the global decarbonisation push.

In 2019, for example, the Monetary Authority of Singapore set up a US$2 billion (S$2.7 billion) green investments programme, to promote environmentally sustainable projects and mitigate climate change risks in Singapore and the region.

Said PM Lee: "This (the green investments programme) will support the development of carbon trading and services, sustainability consultancies and environmental risk management."

He added that one promising area is emissions verification, including the use of new technology to measure the carbon footprint as well as monitor the abatement commitments businesses have made.

"Singapore is happy to share our experience in all these areas," said PM Lee.

Moreover, climate and sustainability have been incorporated in the Singapore-US Third Country Training Programme, he said.

Launched in 2012, the programme leverages the respective strengths of the US and Singapore to provide help in capacity building to South-east Asia.

"As country coordinator for Asean-US energy cooperation, we will work closely with the US to support our region's clean energy transition," PM Lee said.

In his speech, he also thanked Mr Biden for convening the summit, saying it was a "welcome signal" of US leadership and commitment to a multilateral climate solution.

PM Lee added: "We look forward to working with the US and all countries to build a sustainable future."

Asia Regional Commonwealth Leaders' Roundtable 2021

PM Lee details Singapore's green plan
He stresses threat of climate change, says Republic will do its part and support others
By Rei Kurohi, The Straits Times, 25 May 2021

As a small country, Singapore's impact on the global climate is limited, but the Republic will do its part wherever it can and support others too, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday.

"As the world continues to grapple with Covid-19, we must not take our eye off the global climate agenda," he said during a virtual roundtable meeting with fellow leaders of Commonwealth countries.

During the meeting, which was hosted by Britain's Prince Charles, PM Lee outlined four aspects of Singapore's Green Plan 2030 as an example of how Singapore is trying to build back in a sustainable way after Covid-19.

He described the green plan, which was launched in February, as a comprehensive road map towards sustainable development, net zero emissions and a green economy.

First, Singapore will transform the carbon-intensive sectors in its economy, PM Lee said.

In maritime and aviation, Singapore is reducing its carbon footprint through automation, digitalisation, smart technology and the use of alternative fuels, he said.

In energy and chemicals, Singapore is stepping up decarbonisation and resource optimisation, he added.

"For example, we are transforming our petrochemicals hub, Jurong Island, into a sustainable energy and chemicals park that adopts best-in-class technologies."

Second, Singapore will grow the green economy. PM Lee noted that the country aims to be a leading carbon services and trading hub, providing services such as project development, financing, trading and verification.

"Companies are investing in Singapore to develop clean energy solutions, including smart grids; and also renewable energy storage solutions, which can help accelerate our shift to electric vehicles," he said. "We are also partnering the industry and global partners to explore low-emission technologies, including with Australia and the UK."

Third, Singapore will promote green financing to foster sustainable development. This includes financing Asian companies' transition efforts through green bonds, loans and insurance solutions.

PM Lee said: "We are exploring fintech solutions to help companies measure their carbon footprint and abatement measures.

"We are facilitating the origination and trading of high-quality carbon offsets to channel funds towards emission-reduction pro-jects."

Fourth, Singapore will help companies and workers build new capabilities and skills.

Singapore is investing over US$18 billion (S$24 billion) in research, innovation and enterprise over the next five years, PM Lee said.

The country will also launch an Enterprise Sustainability Programme to support companies in capability development, adoption of standards and development of new products and solutions.

"We are establishing the Singapore Green Finance Centre, which will be a collaboration between Singapore Management University and Imperial College Business School," PM Lee added.

"It will deliver Asia-centric research and training programmes in climate science, financial economics and sustainable investing."

PM Lee also said Singapore will support Britain's presidency for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties n Glasgow, which is scheduled for November this year.

As an example of how Singapore plans to support other countries in their climate change goals, he cited the Republic's Climate Action Package, which offers technical assistance in climate science and clean energy to benefit other developing countries, including those in the Commonwealth.


Singapore Green Plan 2030 to change the way people live, work, study and play

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