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Budget 2020: Singapore doubles down on low-carbon pledge, aims for net-zero emissions

SINGAPORE — Singapore aims to halve its 2030 peak greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and to achieve net-zero emissions “as soon as viable” in the second half of the century, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean said in Parliament on Friday (Feb 28).

Solar panels at Treelodge@Punggol. Every sector in Singapore will need to put in significant effort to limit emissions, said Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean.

Solar panels at Treelodge@Punggol. Every sector in Singapore will need to put in significant effort to limit emissions, said Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean.

SINGAPORE — Singapore aims to halve its 2030 peak greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and to achieve net-zero emissions “as soon as viable” in the second half of the century, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean said in Parliament on Friday (Feb 28).

This is part of the nation’s long-term Low Emissions Development Strategy (LEDS).

Mr Teo, who is also the Coordinating Minister for National Security, added that Singapore is not only on track to meet its commitment to peak greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, but there are plans to commit to an absolute peak emission level of 65 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent around 2030.

In 2015, Singapore set its 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) target to reduce the country’s emissions intensity in 2030 by 36 per cent from 2005 levels, and to peak by around 2030.

“Constraining our total emissions within this absolute cap up to 2030 means that every sector in Singapore will need to put in significant effort to limit our emissions,” said Mr Teo on the first day of the Committee of Supply Debate.

He was responding to seven Members of Parliament who asked what the Government was doing to combat climate change.

Mr Teo added that all countries are also now required to report on the seventh greenhouse gas, Nitrogen Trifluoride (NF3), by 2024.

“We will go beyond reporting NF3, and commit to including NF3 in our pledge, within this same emissions ceiling.”

While achieving the new 2050 goals will be “very challenging” given Singapore’s limited alternative energy options, Mr Teo said the Government has studied the matter very carefully and developed a strategy which involves three thrusts to do so:

  • The first involved the transformations in Singapore’s industry, economy, and society.

  • The second will draw on technologies which are not yet mature such as carbon capture, utilisation and storage, and low-carbon fuels.

  • The final thrust involves international collaboration in areas such as well-functioning carbon markets and regional power grids.

“Each thrust will contribute to halving our emissions,” said Mr Teo. “We will pursue all three vigorously to achieve our aspiration.”

Mr Teo said that the extent to which potential emission reductions from each thrust can be realised will become clearer in the coming years, as Singapore gains experience from implementing programmes, as technology evolves, and as the modalities for international collaboration become formalised.

“If the actual reductions from each thrust are larger than we now assess, or are available sooner, then we can realise our aspiration earlier,” he said.

“On the other hand, if the potential reductions turn out to be less promising, we will still strive to meet our LEDS aspiration to the best of our ability even though the task becomes more difficult.”

Related topics

greenhouse gas Budget 2020 climate change

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