National Statement by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, at the UNFCCC 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) High Level Segment on 15 November 2022
1 Congratulations on your election as President of this Conference. I thank the Egyptian Government, the City of Sharm El-Sheikh, and the UNFCCC Secretariat, for organising COP27 this year. I also thank the UK and Egyptian COP Presidencies for your leadership in advancing discussions in a transparent and facilitative manner.
2 Today, we are at a crossroads. With the Ukrainian war, energy crisis, inflationary pressures, and pandemic insecurity, there is a risk that Parties may focus on the pressing issues of the day but lose sight of the war on the climate crisis. On the contrary, we must take the long-term view, double down on the clean energy transition and give due attention to the existential crisis of our generation. The increasing frequency of extreme weather events around the world – flooding in Pakistan, Bangladesh, fires and droughts in USA, Australia and Europe – are clear warnings that time is running out and that we must take urgent action today.
3 This is why COP27 is pivotal – our choices today will determine our future. Whether it would be a future fraught with worsening climate impacts or, one of low-carbon, climate resilient development. Let me share three aspects of Singapore’s approach which is bringing us closer towards to our goal. These are – commitment, implementation and partnerships.
4 First, commitment from all Parties to Paris Agreement is critical and Singapore calls for collective resolve at the global level.
5 Singapore supports the multilateral framework of UNFCCC, and will work with Parties to deliver on our pledges made in Glasgow. To this end, we need interim targets for the key focus areas of mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, and finance.
6 In response to the Glasgow Climate Pact, we have submitted our strengthened long-term low emissions development strategy (LEDS) with a clear goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and our updated 2030 NDC to reduce our emissions to 60 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2030, after peaking our emissions earlier. The targets are contingent on the maturity of decarbonisation technologies and effective international cooperation, and our ability to fulfil our pledges will depend on the continued international commitment by Parties to the Paris Agreement and their climate pledges.
7 While the setting of goals and pledges is important, Parties need to show that they are delivering real emission reductions that align with their NDCs. Given this year’s focus on implementation, we support the introduction of report-back system for initiatives launched at COP26. We need to enhance accountability and make the Enhanced Transparency Framework work. As part of our efforts to support the ETF, we are pleased to:
a. Release our Biennial Update Report and 5th National Communications, the first developing country to do so; and
b. Submit our 1st Adaptation Communication in support of Glasgow Climate Pact.
8 Second, implementation. Singapore will leave “no stones unturned” in our climate action. Through innovative and integrated solutions, Singapore involves every sector and part of society to move collectively on climate action. Climate change is complex and requires not only a willingness to make decisive moves, but holistic and creative solutions to effectively implement change.
a. We have made legislative changes to raise our carbon tax fivefold from S$5/tonne currently to S$25/tonne in 2024 and 2025, and S$45/tonne in 2026 and 2027, with a view to reaching between S$50 to S$80m, or between US$36.90 to US$59/tonne by 2030. This will send a strong price signal and drive industries to decarbonise, while give companies greater price certainty to plan ahead.
b. We have put in place the policy framework for International Carbon Credits. High environmental standards and Article 6 compliance are some of the requirements to address concern over additionality, permanence and double-counting.
c. We have put in place a National Hydrogen Strategy, to develop hydrogen as a major decarbonisation pathway in hard-to-abate sectors such as power generation, industrial, maritime, and aviation sectors.
d. We are boosting food resilience through improved production technologies, like Temasek Life Laboratory’s variety of rice which can withstand extreme climate conditions such as flood, drought, and resist pests; indoor vertical vegetable farming methods that use 90% less water; or recirculating aquaculture systems for sea-based fish production, that use less energy and upcycles fish waste into valuable products.
e. We are pushing boundaries in frontier urban districts like Jurong Lake District – where ambitious targets in energy efficiency, electrification, and clean energy generation lay the foundation for all new developments within the district to be net zero around 2045. This includes requiring all new developments to achieve a minimum of “Super Lower Energy Standards”, maximising solar deployment on buildings and vacant land within the district, using District Cooling to improve energy efficiency, and achieving our car-lite vision by encouraging greener mobility options.
9 But, it does not stop there – and we will continue to in this search for actionable and effective solutions:
10 These new ideas must be driven by different parts of our eco-system:
a. The Singapore government will lead by example and has committed to achieve net zero around 2045 under GreenGov.SG strategy. This is why we have joined the US’ Net-Zero government initiative, together with other like-minded governments.
b. But, we cannot do this alone and need to work closely with the private sector. Blended finance allows for public and private capital to mobilise financing for worthy transition projects that are marginally bankable. For example, HSBC and Temasek have set up Pentagreen Capital, a sustainable infrastructure debt financing partnership that will deploy blended finance at scale in over US$1 billion of loans within 5 years to unlock such projects in Southeast Asia. The Monetary Authority of Singapore will inject seed capital into an Asia Climate Solutions Design Grant, to provide funding for feasibility studies and proof of concepts work on innovative blended finance solutions. This will build a pipeline of investible projects, with a focus on target sectors that are significantly under-capitalised in Asia, such as early-stage climate adaptation and mitigation technology, clean energy access, sustainable transport, and nature-based solutions.
c. Last, but not least, we are exploring new modalities for international cooperation, a cornerstone to advance concrete progress on clean energy projects. Last month, Singapore and Australia signed the Green Economy Agreement to catalyse economic growth and job creation in green sectors while promoting decarbonisation and supporting our mutual interests. As a first-of-its-kind agreement, it could be a pathfinder for international cooperation in advancing trade and environmental sustainability. We have joined the US’ Net Zero World Initiative, to co-create and implement highly tailored, actionable technical and investment plans that support energy decarbonisation. As part of the initiative, we will partner the US on a Feasibility Study on Regional Energy Connectivity in Southeast Asia, which will assess the benefits, technical feasibility, and economic viability of developing a regional power grid network comprising both land and sea-based interconnections. This will help to facilitate clean energy trade projects which can spur further investments.
11 At COP27, we are particularly proud to be able to bring together a number of different stakeholders at Singapore’s inaugural Pavilion. Through exhibitions and programming, it encapsulates the Singapore approach and showcases sustainability solutions that make an impact on the ground.
12 Lastly, in both implementation and generation of new ideas, Singapore aspires to be the choice partner for countries and businesses alike.
13 Climate change is a global issue that and requires all Parties need to work together. One example of where we put in place rules to encourage win-win partnership is Article 6. We are pleased to share that progress has been made to translate the outcome at UNFCCC on cooperation into partnerships with countries like Colombia, Morocco, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea. In the same vein, other areas of climate cooperation like international trade in renewable energy or CO2 storage could bring us closer to our climate goals.
Win-win cooperation opportunities
14 Singapore is keen to work with global partners to activate decarbonisation potential across national boundaries more quickly and effectively. Being situated at the heart of Southeast Asia, such cooperation will serve as a pathway for decarbonising our region.
a. As cross-border clean energy trade develops, we are building a low-carbon ASEAN Power Grid. This will strengthen energy resilience and decarbonise power generation across Southeast Asia. Singapore plans to import up to 4 gigawatts (GW) of low-carbon electricity by 2035, or around 30% of Singapore’s electricity supply. We will build on the Lao PDR-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore Power Integration Project, which successfully commenced in June 2022, and use it as a pathfinder towards the broader ASEAN Power Grid vision.
b. Through international cooperation, we can bridge the financing gap and reduce barriers to implementation. Win-win cooperation under Article 6 support regional mitigation activities. This not only promotes sustainable development and environmental integrity, but also yields other co-benefits that include adaptation, and supports a just transition through creating green job. Singapore has signed MOUs with regional partners to collaborate on key areas to further climate action – working with Indonesia on nature-based solutions and ecosystem-based approaches, and exploring pilot Article 6 cooperation with Vietnam. On finance, cooperation among central banks and financial regulators, and financial institutions can accelerate the climate transition. This includes the Network to Green the Financial System and the Glasgow Financial Alliance towards Net Zero, where the Monetary Authority of Singapore has assumed leadership roles. Singapore, together with IETA and the World Bank has launched Climate Action Data Trust (CAD Trust) to reduce the risk of double counting, foster transparency and confidence in carbon markets.
c. To improve global responses to issues of food security and water resilience, countries need to come together to understand the science behind the risks and opportunities. Singapore is working closely with the FAO to share climate projections data for the Southeast Asia region which will be incorporated into FAO’s tools so that regional countries can equip themselves better to model the agricultural impacts of climate change at the national level and identify adaptation strategies to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change. We are also pleased to be joining Egypt’s AWARE initiative on water security and UN’s Early Warning System for all Initiative.
Coalitions for action
15 COP26 in Glasgow witnessed the launch of many new partnerships and initiatives, like the Global Methane Pledge and Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use. With continued momentum, we are pleased to support opportunities to enhance collaboration. This is particularly where partnerships can realise technology solutions for a viable net-zero pathway, such as the First Movers’ Coalition which we joined in May.
16 Now at COP27, we are also pleased to be joining a number of new coalitions, including:
a. The UK’s Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership, which aims to provide high-level political leadership on forests, land-use and climate, implement solutions that reduce forest loss, increase restoration and support sustainable development, and ensure accountability for pledges made.
b. The Joint Declaration from Energy Importers and Exporters on Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Fossil Fuels by the US and EU, that focuses on the reduction of fossil energy methane emissions.
c. The Green Shipping Challenge, launched by the US and Norway at COP27. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach and C40 Cities have begun discussions for a Green and Digital Shipping Corridor between the three ports. These shipping corridors support the decarbonisation of global supply chains, and complement efforts undertaken by the International Maritime Organization to drive the decarbonisation and digitalisation transition. Singapore and the Port of Rotterdam have launched the development of the world’s longest Green and Digital Shipping Corridor in August.
17 Even as Parties pledge to various coalitions, we need the world’s largest emitters to lean forward and lead the economic transition to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees. These Parties have the economies of scale and reach to accelerate the development and implementation of science and technology, and put in place new standards and norms to make much needed structural changes to avoid a climate crisis.
18 We need to support one another on our transition to a low-carbon economy, including in building capacities and human capital in decarbonisation. To date, close to 150,000 officials from fellow developing countries have participated in capacity-building courses under the Singapore Cooperation Programme in areas such as sustainable development, urban planning, and transport management. Many of these courses have been structured in collaboration with partners like the UNFCCC, UNICEF and UN Environment Programme. Singapore also launched a dedicated Climate Action Package (CAP) in 2018 to offer capacity-building in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies and green finance, among others.
19 From 2023, we will launch a three-year Sustainability Action Package (SAP), with a greater focus on capacity-building in areas like adaptation and resilience-building strategies, green project management and financing, low carbon development and carbon markets. We will also sponsor longer term advisory projects in Southeast Asia to strengthen our regional capabilities in sustainability. Making a successful green transition is the responsibility of all Parties, and Singapore looks forward to deepening our knowledge sharing and exchange of best practices. We welcome knowledge partners from the public and private sectors, and non-profit and international organisations to contribute to this effort.
20 We have spent much time talking about climate change, and why it is important. Now is the time to act – in line with COP27 Presidency’s call to work Together for Implementation. Will our actions today lead us toward a low-carbon and climate resilient one, or will our inactions lead to one fraught with worsening climate impacts? Our current pledges and commitments are not enough to lead us on the right path. I call on all Parties to muster your courage, affirm your conviction, and exercise your leadership; so that we can change the course of humanity collectively and decisively. Let us keep to our commitment to our children and grandchildren, and deliver on our promise of a sustainable, resilient and bright future.