Singapore’s blueprint on carbon emissions needs to be seen as significant

Almost every country in the world is vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Know what Singapore has been doing to mitigate those effects.

Many nations have lately made considerable commitments to reduce their carbon emissions dramatically and aim to achieve “net zero” in the upcoming years. The phrase is increasingly used as a rallying cry on a global scale, and is regularly cited as a crucial step to successfully combat climate change and the destruction it is wreaking. 

Why is Net Zero important? 

Net zero simply indicates that we are not producing any additional emissions for the climate. There will still be emissions, but they will be balanced out by absorbing a corresponding amount from the atmosphere. Further, avoiding an increase in the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases is referred to as net zero, often known as becoming carbon neutral.

Multiple countries around the globe have ratified the Paris Climate Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. However, if we continue to produce the emissions that fuel climate change, temperatures will rise well beyond 1.5°C and threaten the lives and livelihoods of people around the world.

A historic global climate accord was adopted by UNFCCC parties in Paris in December 2015. The resolve of the international community to advance the UN multilateral framework to confront the issues of climate change was reaffirmed by the Paris Agreement.

Singapore has participated actively in the world’s climate change talks. In 1997, the nation ratified the UNFCCC, and in 2006 joined the Kyoto Protocol. Singapore also ratified the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol in 2014. On April 22, 2016, it signed the Paris Agreement, and on September 21, 2016, it was ratified. The nation has collaborated with other parties in the UNFCCC process and will do so in the future to advance the global climate change agenda.

Singapore’s commitment to lower emissions

Singapore committed to lowering its greenhouse gas emissions by 16 percent below business as usual (BAU) levels by 2020 before the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009. In accordance with the agreement reached in Paris in December 2015, Singapore has further committed to stabilising its greenhouse gas emissions to reach a peak around 2030 and reducing its emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.

Singapore submitted its updated Long-Term Low-Emissions Development Strategy (LEDS) and Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the UNFCCC on March 31, 2020. In its updated NDC, Singapore has set an absolute emissions goal for 2030, with a 65 MtCO2e peak. By aiming to reduce emissions from their peak of 33 MtCO2e by 2050, Singapore’s LEDs build on the improved NDC with the goal of achieving net zero emissions as soon as is practical in the second half of the century.

Singapore announced on 18 February 2022 that it will increase its ambitious goal to achieve net zero emissions by anywhere around mid-century. Before making an official revision of the LEDs later in 2022, the government will seek advice closely from industry and citizen stakeholders involved to firm up and finalise Singapore’s plans.

Focus on long-term impact of climate change

A $23.5-million initiative was started to research Singapore’s long-term climate change effects. The programme will address topics like food security and sea level rise and help to direct policies.

The new research initiative will examine worst-case scenarios where catastrophic weather events might significantly raise the tides, leading to greater floods, in addition to investigating gradual sea-level rise.

The initiative, which is a component of the Climate Impact Science Research Programme and is run by the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) Centre for Climate Research Singapore (CCRS), will concentrate on five major areas, including sea-level rise, water resources, and flood management, biodiversity and food security, human health and energy, and cross-cutting research to link science and policy.

Going by what Dr Dale Barker, the head of CCRS, was quoted in a report earlier, the new initiative will advance and supplement current work on climate change. A $10 million National Sea Level Programme, which was started in 2019, will help fill information gaps about current and previous sea-level variations. He had said in his remarks at the third World Climate Research Programme Conference, which took place from July 12 to 16, that the new programme will lead to useful solutions that may serve as a guide for potential adaptation measures.

India’s climate commitment 

India too has committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2070, falling short of a major objective of the COP26 meeting that called for nations to make that commitment by 2050. Indian government officials set a net zero goal for the first time at the Glasgow conference when they made the promise. 

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