SINGAPORE: Some governments have walked back on energy commitments as a result of the Ukraine war and are reconsidering the use of coal to counter record fuel prices, said Sustainability and the Environment Minister Grace Fu on Tuesday (Jun 28).
She added that there has also been some scepticism about environmental, social and corporate governance - also known as ESG - investing in the wake of greenwashing scandals.
Greenwashing refers to companies overplaying their environmentally-friendly virtues to appear greener.
Speaking at the 9th Singapore Dialogue on Sustainable World Resources, Ms Fu said that the upcoming UN climate change conference (COP-27) in November will have to tackle the triple confluence of COVID-19, conflict and climate, which has caused economic and geopolitical shockwaves.
“Nations need to rekindle the spirit of partnerships to limit temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius and prevent the setback that we cannot afford,” she said.
To do this, she said, will require nations to challenge limits, collaborate and fulfil commitments.
“By understanding the limitations facing us and others, we can help one another for mutually beneficial outcomes,” said Ms Fu, adding that Singapore has actively assisted other nations where it could.
This includes launching a climate action package in 2018 to support capacity-building efforts in areas such as climate science, mitigation and adaptation, disaster risk reduction and green climate finance.
She added that Singapore has also been at the forefront of developing carbon markets and playing important roles in global carbon initiatives such as the World Bank’s Climate Warehouse on carbon credit trade and the Clydebank Declaration for green shipping corridors.
While Singapore contributes 0.1 per cent to global emissions, Ms Fu said the country will be 100 per cent affected by the remaining 99.9 per cent, due to its vulnerability to rising sea levels, extreme weather and supply chain shocks.
“We benefit when everyone does better, including ourselves,” she said.
“We must act in good faith and meet our obligations – otherwise we suffer a trust and credibility deficit that undermines partnerships,” she added.
She pointed out that Singapore participates actively and contributes to various multilateral instruments. The country has also pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by or around 2050.
Despite the disadvantages that Singapore faces such as limited land, the country has focused on maximising its energy and food resources.
In August last year, the country launched its first large-scale floating solar farm in Tengeh Reservoir – one of the largest in the world.
It also opened its fifth desalination plant to increase water supply resilience in the face of climate change.
“While there were opportunity costs in both endeavours, we pushed ahead because we must address our limitations through innovation and investments,” Ms Fu said.
Last week, Singapore initiated its first multilateral cross-border electricity partnership by importing renewable energy from Laos through Thailand and Malaysia.