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Report which rated Singapore's climate policies as 'critically insufficient' may not have accounted for 'unique challenges': NCCS

Report which rated Singapore's climate policies as 'critically insufficient' may not have accounted for 'unique challenges': NCCS
File photo of mangroves in Singapore. (Photo: Shutterstock)

SINGAPORE: An independent scientific report that found Singapore's climate targets and policies as "critically insufficient" may not have fully accounted for the unique challenges the country faces, said the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) on Friday (Sep 24). 

The report, known as the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), was released on Sep 15. 

It stated that "Singapore's climate policies and commitments reflect minimal to no action and are not at all consistent with the Paris Agreement". It explained that the "globally agreed" agreement has the aim of "holding warming well below 2°C, and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C". 


NCCS addressed the unique challenges that Singapore faces in a statement to CNA. 

"We are reviewing their methodology. Our preliminary sense is that the CAT may not have fully accounted for our unique challenges as a small city-state with limited access to alternative energy sources," said NCCS.

"Singapore's population density is more than 10 times higher than the next densest country in the CAT list, South Korea. Given our lack of land, Singapore is unable to pursue the same types of solutions as the other countries on CAT’s list, for example hydro or nuclear power.

"Within our constraints, we manage our carbon emissions carefully, and strive to overcome our natural limitations through careful long-term planning and innovations in policy and technology. We also have to make well-considered, real trade-offs."

In line with the Singapore Green Plan 2030, NCCS added that while Singapore does not have access to renewable energy sources at scale, the country is committed to the "cleanest form of fossil fuels" even as it explores "greener options". 

"At 1.2 per cent of fuel mix for energy generation, Singapore's coal share remains markedly lower in comparison to other countries in CAT’s list, such as Japan (29.8 per cent) and Germany (29.2 per cent)," said NCCS, citing figures from Bloomberg. 

Under the initiatives as part of the Singapore Green Plan 2030, NCCS is also "exploring ways to diversify our energy mix by harnessing greener options such as solar energy, clean energy imports, and low-carbon alternatives". 

In July this year, Singapore completed a construction of a floating solar photovoltaic (PV) system on Tengeh Reservoir, making it one of the world’s largest inland floating solar PV systems, added NCCS.

NCCS is also "reviewing the trajectory and level of the carbon tax, post-2023, in consultation with industry and expert groups". 

"The carbon tax is a key economy-wide lever to spur the reduction of our carbon footprint, and promote industry innovation and green growth," it said. 

NCCS noted that the Singapore Green Plan is "not static". 

"Even as we implement existing initiatives, we also look to enhancing our sustainability goals and actions. Singapore is committed to doing our part to contribute to the global fight against climate change through tangible action," it added. 


The report elaborated on the "critically insufficient" rating, stating that "Singapore's NDC (nationally determined contribution) target is weak and will be achieved under current policies".

A stronger target was not put forward in the country’s March 2020 NDC update, the report said.

As a result, CAT rated Singapore's target as "criticically insufficient", in comparison to both "modelled domestic pathways and what a fair contribution for Singapore would be".

If fully implemented, it added, "Singapore’s current policies would result in emissions reductions beyond its targets, but still only in line with 3°C warming".

To improve its CAT ratings, the report stated that Singapore would need to set a "more ambitious target" for emissions reductions and "establish associated policies".

The CAT is a collaboration between two German-based research institutes: Climate Analytics and NewClimate Institute. 

Source: CNA/gy(rw)


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