World needs to work together to tackle 'existential challenge' of climate change: Masagos

World needs to work together to tackle 'existential challenge' of climate change: Masagos

Masagos Zulkifli UN climate conference Singapore national statement MEWR
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources delivers Singapore's national statement on Dec 10, 2019 at the UN Climate Conference. (Photo: MEWR)

MADRID: At a time when multilateralism is under strain, the world needs to strengthen global and regional cooperation to address the “existential challenge” of climate change, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli on Tuesday (Dec 10).

“Like all small island states, Singapore is vulnerable to the effects of global warming. We strongly echo the call by many for more action and collaboration,” he said at the UN Climate Change Conference COP 25 in Madrid.

Mr Masagos also reaffirmed Singapore’s commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement to curb global warming as he delivered Singapore’s national statement at the summit.

The conference, which opened last Monday, hopes to resolve issues in implementing the Paris accord, where countries had set goals to cut carbon emissions.

Singapore will play its part and update its post-2020 climate actions as agreed under the accord, the minister said.

READ: Singapore ‘pushing the boundaries’ on mitigating climate change: Masagos

The country had pledged to reduce its emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, and stabilise its emissions with the aim of peaking around that year.

“We will also work with others to support the efforts of developing countries,” he added.

He urged countries to finalise the mechanisms under Paris Agreement which will allow them to cooperate in reducing carbon emissions.

“It is imperative that we adopt a credible, clear and coherent set of rules to govern the effective use of international carbon credits,” he said.

SINGAPORE’S CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION

Outlining Singapore’s actions so far, he said that the nation has implemented a carbon tax, and the revenue from that will be used to help companies become more resource and energy efficient, as well as support projects to reduce emissions. 

It has also adopted a Zero Waste Masterplan and a Resource Sustainability Act to build a “circular economy” – an economic system aimed at eliminating waste.

READ: Zero Waste Masterplan to focus on electronics, packaging, food waste: Masagos

More on Singapore’s efforts and plans were detailed in a full national statement from Mr Masagos which was submitted to the UN. 

The use of solar energy will be ramped up, the statement said. Solar installations have increased a hundred-fold from 30 to more than 3,000 in Singapore over the last decade.

Singapore will continue to find ways to get around its land constraints, such as using floating solar panels, the minister said, adding that the country aims to increase its 2020 solar target by more than five times to at least 2GWp by 2030.

Authorities had earlier announced that this represents 4 per cent of Singapore’s current electricity demand.

READ: Singapore sets solar energy target for 2030 that would provide enough power for 350,000 homes

Singapore is also exploring other energy options such as using regional power grids, and has commissioned studies to evaluate the feasibility of alternatives such as hydrogen and carbon capture technology which can use the gasses to produce electricity. 

A LOW-CARBON FUTURE

In his full statement, Mr Masagos said that the Government also has plans to make transport in the city greener by 2040.

Twenty years down the road, nine out of every 10 peak-period journeys will be made by walking, cycling or on public transport, the statement said. Singapore also aims to have 100 per cent cleaner energy public bus fleets by 2040.

Singapore pledged to actively support international efforts to address the emissions of the aviation and maritime transport sectors.

As a financial hub, Singapore has also issued more than US$4.4 billion (S$6 billion) of greed bonds to date.

READ: Climate change one of the 'gravest challenges facing mankind', impact on Singapore to worsen, says PM Lee

The Singapore Government will help ease the transition to a “climate-resilient” economy and help workers adapt to a low-carbon future, but Mr Masagos emphasised the need for strong multilateral action in the fight against climate change.

One example of Singapore’s efforts is its support of the Southeast Asia Disaster Risk Insurance Facility to improve pre-disaster planning, disaster relief and reconstruction funding in the region.

“To succeed in our efforts to address climate change, we need to work hand-in-hand with youths, businesses and civil organisations to co-create and co-deliver solutions to solve our environmental challenges,” he said.

The minister accepted an invitation from Chilean COP 25 president Carolina Schmidt to be a co-facilitator with Spanish minister Teresa Ribera Rodriguez on the overarching decision texts for the conference.

The role involves canvassing views and inputs on the key decisions of issues that the parties would like to see adopted at COP 25, as well as presenting draft decisions.

Source: CNA/hm

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