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Singapore’s climate strategy goes beyond emission caps, carbon tax: PM Lee at Biden’s summit

Singapore’s climate strategy goes beyond emission caps, carbon tax: PM Lee at Biden’s summit

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Leaders’ Summit on Climate. (Photo: Ministry of Communications and Information)

SINGAPORE: Singapore is committed to tackling climate change and has adopted a strategy that goes beyond meeting emission caps or implementing a carbon tax, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday (Apr 23). 

“Although Singapore is a small island state, we will contribute our share to the climate agenda,” Mr Lee said in his recorded remarks for the Leaders’ Summit on Climate hosted by US President Joe Biden.

“Singapore was among the first 20 countries to submit our long-term strategy to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). This year we launched the Singapore Green Plan 2030, our roadmap towards sustainable development and net zero emissions.”

READ: President Biden invites 40 world leaders to climate summit, including Singapore’s PM Lee

Mr Lee noted that because of Singapore’s size and lack of resources, it must innovate and use technology extensively to achieve its emission reduction goals.

He pointed out that even though Singapore has “very limited” renewable energy options, there are plans to quadruple solar energy production by 2025, as well as to open one of the world’s largest floating solar energy systems that will offset 33,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

READ: Singapore unveils Green Plan 2030, outlines green targets for next 10 years

Another “major concern” for Singapore is rising urban temperatures, said Mr Lee.

To address this, the country plans to use computer modelling for more climate-responsive urban design, experiment with cooling paint on buildings, as well as plant one million more trees.

Given Singapore’s status as a financial hub, it can help the global push for sustainability through green finance, financial technology and capability building, said Mr Lee.

“We have launched a US$2 billion Green Investments Programme. This will support the development of carbon trading and services, sustainability consultancies and environmental risk management,” he said.

“One promising area is emissions verification, including using new technology to measure the carbon footprints and monitor abatement commitments of businesses.”

Mr Lee added that Singapore is “happy” to share its experience in these areas.

READ: Japan strengthens 2030 emissions cut target

“We have incorporated climate and sustainability in the Singapore-US Third Country Training Programme. And as country coordinator for ASEAN-US energy cooperation, we will work closely with the US to support our region’s clean energy transition,” he said.

“We look forward to working with the US and all countries to build a sustainable future.”

The two-day summit convened by Mr Biden involves 40 world leaders. Ahead of the virtual meeting, countries such as the United Kingdom and Japan had announced strengthened new targets as part of their plans to tackle climate change.

On Thursday, the Biden administration also pledged to halve US greenhouse gas emissions to 52 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.

READ: US pledges to halve its emissions by 2030 in renewed climate fight

As previously announced, Singapore aims to halve its 2030 peak greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and achieve net zero emissions "as soon as viable" in the second half of the century. 

Said Mr Lee: “I would like to thank President Joe Biden for convening this summit. It is a welcome signal of US leadership and commitment to a multilateral climate solution, underlined by the US rejoining the Paris Agreement.”

Source: CNA/mt(gs)

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