Budget 2021: Govt to review 'trajectory and level' of carbon tax; outcome at next year's Budget

Budget 2021: Govt to review 'trajectory and level' of carbon tax; outcome at next year's Budget

A view of an oil refinery off the coast of Singapore
A view of an oil refinery off the coast of Singapore. (File photo: Reuters/Vivek Prakash)

SINGAPORE: Singapore will review the "trajectory and level" of its carbon tax, and reveal the outcome at next year's Budget, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Tuesday (Feb 16).

Speaking at the unveiling of Budget 2021 in Parliament, Mr Heng said that the review will be conducted in consultation with industry and expert groups.

"We will announce the outcome of the review at Budget 2022 to give time for businesses to adjust to any revision in the carbon tax trajectory," Mr Heng added.

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Up until 2023, the carbon tax rate will be maintained at S$5 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions as previously announced, Mr Heng said.

"This will provide businesses with certainty in the current challenging economic climate," he said. 

"An appropriate carbon tax level is one of the key levers to spur the reduction of our carbon footprint, promote industry innovation and green growth while maintaining Singapore's overall economic competitiveness."

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Announced at Budget 2018, Singapore's carbon tax rate has been set at S$5 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions from 2019 to 2023. The Government said then that this would be increased to between S$10 and S$15 per tonne by 2030. 

Since then, Mr Heng pointed out the effects of climate change have "intensified" and global momentum to address climate change has accelerated "significantly".

He noted that countries’ climate ambitions have increased, with the number of countries with net-zero targets increasing from four at the end of 2017 to 57 at the end of last year.

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"On Singapore's part, we enhanced our 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution and submitted our 2050 long-term low emissions development strategy under the Paris agreement in March 2020," Mr Heng said.

"We are working towards achieving our long-term net zero aspirations as soon as viable. This House has acknowledged that climate change is a global emergency and has called on the government to take stronger climate actions."

Mr Heng noted that Singapore was in a "new situation" today.

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"As a responsible member of the international community, Singapore will be expected to do more, along with other countries as climate change issues take on greater gravity," he said. 

There have been a number of calls from Members of Parliament for Singapore to increase its carbon tax, most recently at during a wide-ranging parliamentary debate earlier this month. 

This debate followed a motion tabled by members of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Sustainability and the Environment to speak on climate change and its impact on Singapore.

Source: CNA/mt(rw)

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