SINGAPORE: The Government unveiled the Singapore Green Plan 2030 on Wednesday (Feb 10), a “whole-of-nation movement” to advance the national agenda on sustainable development.
The plan, which is spearheaded by the Ministry of Education (MOE), the Ministry of National Development (MND), the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE), the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Ministry of Transport (MOT), charts Singapore’s green targets over the next 10 years.
It also strengthens Singapore’s commitments under the United Nations' 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and Paris Agreement, said the five ministries in a joint media release on Wednesday.
The plan also positions Singapore to achieve its long-term net-zero emissions goal “as soon as viable”.
In a Facebook post, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that while Singapore might be a small country lacking in natural resources, it can still press on with tech and policy solutions for sustainable development.
"We need to ensure a Singapore for our future generations. All of us have to work together, and make Singapore a bright green spark for the world," he said.
In a separate Facebook post, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said that climate change is an existential challenge for Singapore. As such, the country "will be making a determined effort to address this challenge head-on," he said.
"I hope the Green Plan will catalyse a broader national movement to take action to secure a sustainable future for Singapore. With each of us playing our part, I have every confidence that we will be able to build a more vibrant and greener home for future generations," said Mr Heng.
The plan follows the announcement by Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean in February last year that Singapore wants to halve its 2030 peak greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, with the aim of achieving net-zero emissions “as soon as viable in the second half of the century”.
READ: Singapore targets to halve peak emissions by 2050, achieve net zero emissions 'as soon as viable' in second half of century
Some new initiatives under the plan include requiring all new car registrations to be cleaner-energy models from 2030, and more than doubling the targeted number of electric vehicle charging points by 2030.
The plan also builds on Singapore’s 2030 aim to reduce the waste sent to the landfill by 30 per cent, aiming for a 20 per cent reduction by 2026, the media release read.
Singapore will also aim for at least 20 per cent of schools to be carbon neutral by 2030 “for a start”, with the rest of the schools to follow, working towards a two-thirds reduction of net carbon emissions from the school sector by 2030.
In schools, the Green Plan will be supported by the Eco Stewardship programme, to “strengthen the inculcation of informed, responsible and sustainability-conscious” mindsets and habits in youth.
The Green Plan will be a “living plan”, said the ministries in the release, which evolves as they develop and refine Singapore’s strategies. It will take into account technological developments, and incorporate a “continuous national engagement” process.
The ministries will “actively involve” the public and other partners to further develop ideas and undertake relevant initiatives as part of this national engagement process, stated the media release.
This will begin with a series of “Green Plan Conversations” this year to seek the views of Singaporeans and to explore potential partnerships. These sessions will be hosted by the ministers overseeing the Green Plan, with other engagements will also be planned through the year.
CITY IN NATURE, SUSTAINABLE LIVING
The media release detailed how there will be more green spaces and park connectors. For instance, 1,000ha of green spaces will be added, of which 200ha will be new nature parks. The new nature parks will provide more recreational options, such as hiking and birdwatching, and protect nature reserves from urbanisation.
There will also be measures to develop a "Green Citizenry" that consumes and wastes less. This will be achieved by encouraging water conservation and water efficient practices for households and industries.
For instance, there will be shower fittings replacements under the Climate-Friendly Household Programme and a mandatory water efficiency labelling scheme.In addition, “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” will become a norm for citizens and businesses, with a national strategy to address e-waste, packaging waste and food waste.
Commuting will also become greener, with the expansion of the rail network with new stations or lines opening almost every year over the next decade.
Singapore will also purchase only cleaner-energy public buses from now on, and walking and cycling will be encouraged by expanding the cycling network and repurposing roads for active mobility use where possible.
In laying out a vision for a sustainable economy, the media release said that Singapore will ensure new carbon-intensive investments brought into the country are among the best-in-class in terms of carbon and/or energy efficiency, for carbon-intensive sectors. The carbon tax will also be reviewed by 2023.
Sustainability will also be a "new engine" for jobs and growth. This will be achieved by greening industries' production processes and energy usage, such as transforming Jurong Island into a sustainable energy and chemicals park, and improving industries’ energy efficiency.
Singapore will also be developed into a sustainable tourism destination and a carbon services hub, with the requisite capabilities and networks across the value chain.
There will be initiatives to strengthen Singapore as a vibrant location for global and local companies to develop new sustainability solutions for Asia, with research and development as an enabler, in areas such as sustainable packaging, decarbonisation, waste upcycling, urban farming, and water treatment.
Local enterprises will be supported to adopt sustainability practices, solutions and standards, and to enhance their resource efficiency and capture new business opportunities in sustainability.
More details on the Green Plan will be released at the upcoming Budget announcement on Feb 16, as well as during the Committee of Supply Debate in Parliament.