Oral Reply to Parliamentary Questions on COP28 by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment
Mr Liang Eng Hwa: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment in view of the call by the UN Climate Change Conference 2023 (COP 28) to accelerate zero and low emission technologies (a) what has been the progress in Singapore to increase renewable energy capacity and to improve the overall rate of energy efficiency; and (b) what are the plans ahead to accelerate towards the COP 28 goals.
Mr Chua Kheng Wee Louis: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (a) what are the plans for operationalising the UAE Consensus from COP28 including the transition away from fossil fuels to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050; and (b) what is the timetable for this transition in Singapore.
Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment how will Singapore contribute to global efforts agreed at the global stocktake at the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) to (i) transition away from fossil fuels to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science (ii) triple renewable energy capacity globally and double energy efficiency by 2030 and (iii) phase down unabated coal power, reduce methane emissions and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.
1 Mr Speaker, may I have your permission to address Questions No. 1, 2 and 3 on today’s Order Paper by Combined Reply?
2 At the UN Climate Change Conference 2023 (COP28), Singapore co-facilitated negotiations on mitigation and the first global stocktake that contributed to the successful adoption of the UAE Consensus. The UAE Consensus calls on countries to transition away from fossil fuels, accelerate the phasedown of unabated coal power, phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, and to triple renewable energy and double energy efficiency globally by 2030, among others.
3 Singapore supports the UAE Consensus. As part of our Long-Term Low-Emissions Development Strategy (LEDS), Singapore has committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, despite being a small, alternative energy disadvantaged city state with many natural limitations on our climate action measures. Our LEDS is aligned with the UAE consensus.
4 Over the past few years, many Members have spoken extensively about the urgent need to address climate change - in particular, during the two climate motions that have been endorsed by this House, as well as the debate on the Carbon Pricing (Amendment) Bill. I am glad that Members, including those from the Opposition who advocated for a carbon tax above $100 per tonne, agree that more should be done to support our net zero goals. We have raised our carbon tax to $25 per tonne from 1 January 2024, and will progressively raise it further, to between $50 and $80 by 2030. Our carbon tax ensures that the negative externalities of carbon emissions are properly priced, and is an effective mechanism to spur economy-wide decarbonisation efforts to achieve our net zero ambition.
5 At COP28, Singapore signed on to the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency pledge, which is a collective global effort that aims to triple the world’s renewable energy generation capacity and double annual energy efficiency by 2030. Singapore has been accelerating our energy transition as part of the Singapore Green Plan 2030. We have doubled our solar power deployment since 2021 to over 1,000 Megawatt-peak currently. We aim to at least double again, to achieve our target of at least 2,000 Megawatt-peak by 2030.
6 We are also partnering like-minded countries to import low-carbon electricity from the region. Last year, the Government issued Conditional Approvals for 4.2 Gigawatts of imports from Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam. When implemented, these projects will meet about 30% of our electricity needs. They will also support our neighbours’ development of renewable energy projects and serve as building blocks towards our shared vision of an ASEAN Power Grid.
7 Beyond solar power and electricity imports, we will need to leverage other energy alternatives to further expand our low-carbon energy capacity. We are working closely with the industry and academia to realise the potential of low-carbon technologies. These include research and development as well as industry projects in areas such as innovative solar power deployment, transport and utilisation of hydrogen and ammonia, carbon capture, utilisation and storage, as well as advanced geothermal energy. The Government is progressively updating our regulations to facilitate the adoption of these low-carbon alternatives. Last year, EMA announced new emissions standards for power generation units, which will require all new generation units to be at least 30% hydrogen-ready by volume, with the ability to be retrofitted to become 100% hydrogen-ready in the future.
8 In the area of energy efficiency, Singapore’s overall energy efficiency is already much better than the global average. According to the International Energy Agency, Singapore’s energy intensity in 2019 was almost half that of global energy intensity. This has been achieved through consistent efforts to identify and realise energy efficiency opportunities. For example, NEA enhanced the Energy Conservation Act in 2017 to require energy-intensive industrial facilities to conduct regular energy efficiency assessments. Another example is EDB’s Resource Efficiency Grant for Emissions, which supports businesses in improving their energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For households, our Climate Friendly Households Programme continues to help eligible households offset the higher cost of energy-efficient appliances.
9 Accelerating the energy transition in Singapore will require a whole-of-nation effort. The Government, businesses, communities and individuals must all contribute to this overall goal.
10 Even so, no country can tackle climate change alone. Despite our natural limitations in size and natural resources, Singapore is committed to do our part as a responsible global citizen, and will continue to work with like-minded countries and companies for a cleaner, greener future.