1. What is the main greenhouse gas emitted in Singapore?
The most significant greenhouse gas emitted in Singapore is carbon dioxide, primarily produced by the burning of fossil fuels to generate energy used in the industry, building, household and transport sectors. Details of Singapore’s greenhouse gas inventory can be found in Singapore’s Biennial Update Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
2. Is it true that Singapore has a very high carbon footprint?
Carbon footprint accounting usually attributes the embodied carbon emissions of imports to the importing country. This deviates from the internationally-accepted carbon accounting methodology of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), whereby embodied emissions on imported goods accrue to the exporting country instead. Using the UNFCCC methodology, Singapore contributes around 0.11 per cent of global emissions.
Given our limited land area and scarce natural resources, Singapore is heavily-reliant on imports of food, materials and goods to sustain daily living and economic activity. While we can reduce consumption, improve operational efficiency, and reduce the carbon footprint of activities taking place within Singapore, we have no control over the production and transport of imports - and their embodied carbon emissions.
Some reports also allocate international marine and aviation bunker emissions to each country in proportion to the country’s share of international trade volume. This results in a gross over-estimation of Singapore’s carbon footprint as it sits on a vital global shipping route, and has one of the busiest transhipment ports in the world. The UNFCCC accounts for international bunkers as a separate category without assigning the emissions to individual countries.
3. Are there plans to get big energy users in the industry to reduce their energy consumption?
The Energy Conservation Act (ECA) aims to promote a coordinated approach to energy efficiency that will help large energy consuming companies to identify and address inefficiency gaps within their organisations. Under the ECA, large energy users in the industry and transport sectors that consume more than 15 gigawatt-hours (or 54 terajoules) of energy per year are required to observe the following requirements:
a) Appoint an energy manager;
b) Monitor and report energy usage;
c) Submit plans for energy efficiency improvements to the appropriate agencies;
d) Conduct energy efficiency assessments periodically to identify opportunities for improvements;
e) Implement a structured energy management system;
f) Ensure that new or retrofits of energy intensive facilities are designed to be energy efficient.
Singapore has also introduced Industry Energy Efficiency (IEE) incentives in 2010 to encourage industrial and power generation facilities to be more energy efficient through the adoption of energy efficient technologies and equipment. These incentives were further enhanced in 2018 to give stronger support to companies in their drive to become more energy efficient and reduce carbon emissions. More details can be found here.
4. How will the Government help companies improve their energy efficiency?
The Government is prepared to spend more than what will be collected in the initial five years (i.e., more than $1 billion, from 2019 to 2023), to support Singapore companies to become more energy efficient and improve competitiveness.
The Enhanced Industry Energy Efficiency Package was announced on 30 October 2018 to support companies in their drive to become more energy efficient. For the power sector, EMA’s Genco Energy Efficiency Grant Call will co-fund up to 50 per cent of energy efficiency projects by power generation companies over the next five years. For the manufacturing sector, EDB and NEA are enhancing grants to better support industrial facilities to be more energy efficient and improve competitiveness. The funding support for the adoption of energy efficient technologies under EDB’s Resource Efficiency Grant for Energy (REG(E)) and NEA’s Energy Efficiency Fund (E2F) will be increased from the existing cap of 30 per cent, to 50 per cent of the qualifying costs with effect from 1 January 2019. The grants companies receive will correspond to the abatement achieved, up to the cap. Companies with projects that can achieve significant abatement, those that have made early efforts to be energy efficient, and SMEs may receive higher grant support.
5. What is being done to reduce the power consumption of air-conditioning systems in buildings?
To reduce the power consumption of air-conditioning systems in buildings, the Government has been encouraging the use of efficient air-conditioning systems, reducing air-conditioning consumption by end users and promoting the adoption of good passive building design.
The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) provides financial support for building owners to undertake energy efficient retrofits for their air-conditioning systems. In addition, owners of Green Mark buildings are required to submit three-yearly periodic energy audits of their buildings to ensure that the air-conditioning systems continue to comply with efficiency standards. At the same time, the Government is also promoting R&D efforts to spur the development of energy efficient air-conditioning solutions.
Lastly, BCA has been engaging building users to adopt eco-friendly practices and reduce their reliance on air-conditioning through occupant-centric Green Mark schemes and public outreach programmes.
6. What is the Government’s position on Electric Vehicles (EV)?
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has taken a three-pronged approach to address emissions from the land transport sector, as follows:
a) promoting the use of public transport and active mobility;
b) managing the growth and use of vehicles; and
c) encouraging the adoption of cleaner vehicles including electric vehicles (EVs).
The Government will take the lead in building a cleaner transport system and has committed to a 100 per cent cleaner energy public bus fleet by 2040, like electric or hybrid vehicles. LTA has awarded a tender for the supply of 60 electric buses. The electric buses will be progressively delivered from end-2019 and will be deployed for service by 2020. In addition, LTA has started deploying 50 diesel hybrid buses for service from December 2018. LTA will assess their performance under Singapore’s operating conditions and their cost effectiveness, and may buy more of such buses if the trials prove successful.
Under Singapore’s first EV car-sharing programme, BlueSG Pte Ltd will progressively deploy a fleet of 1,000 shared EVs and install 2,000 charging points nation-wide by 2020, of which up to 20 per cent will be available for public use to lay the foundation for a national EV charging network. While the power EVs consume produces emissions at the power station, most of them are quieter than conventional vehicles and do not have tailpipe emissions, which contribute to a better living environment.
In addition, the Vehicular Emissions Scheme (VES) incentivises the purchase of cleaner vehicles by offering a rebate on the Additional Registration Fee (ARF) paid. As technology evolves, LTA will continue to work with other agencies and partners to review its strategies and regulations on a regular basis to achieve a cleaner land transport system.
7. What is the Government’s position on the idea of reducing meat consumption as a way of reducing carbon emissions?
The choice of consuming less meat or adopting a plant-based diet is a personal one. One approach to reducing the carbon footprint from food consumption would be to reduce food waste along the food chain. For tips on how to reduce food wastage at home and when dining out, please refer to the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) guide to reducing food wastage.
Another approach is to support local produce. The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) encourages consumers to complement the government’s efforts and support the local farming industry by buying local produce. Choosing local produce helps to support the business of our local farmers and the local agriculture community. It also reduces our carbon footprint as local produce are transported over a shorter distance to the retail outlets and consumers.