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National statement of Singapore delivered by Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources at the UNFCCC COP-23/ CMP-13/ CMA1.2 high level, 17 November 2017

Mr President,

I congratulate you on your election as President of COP-23/ CMP-13/ CMA1.2. As a fellow member of AOSIS, we are proud to have Fiji at the helm at this critical time. We would like to thank Morocco for their very able stewardship this past year. We also express our appreciation to the Government of Germany for hosting us and making the first “Island COP” a reality.

Mdm Executive Secretary, we would also like to thank you and the Secretariat team for your tireless work.

Mr President,

The world has seen multiple records. 2016 was the warmest year on record, and the third consecutive year that record temperatures have been set. Sixteen of the 17 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001[1]. This year has brought little relief with the severe drought in Africa, torrential floods in South Asia, hurricanes and cyclones that pounded the Caribbean, Northeast Asia, the Pacific and even North America. Our hearts go out to the families affected and we hope that these areas will return to normalcy soon. The global community needs to work together, urgently and resolutely to stem the warming trend. 

The Paris Agreement sets a clear goal to bring the world towards climate safety. We have to stay within the 2°C/1.5°C global warming limits and achieve net zero emissions in the second half of this century. We are heartened by the resolute global support for the Paris Agreement, despite various challenges. Close to 170 Parties have ratified and the numbers are still rising – showing the continued strong global support for the Paris Agreement. 

Advancing the Paris Agreement Work Programme

Last year, we set ourselves a deadline to complete the Paris Agreement Work Programme by the resumed session of the CMA-1[2] in Katowice in December 2018. With just over a year remaining, we must stay focused to complete this complex task.  

First, it is crucial that Parties start implementing their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as soon as possible, and to progressively improve their transparency and ambition. We have to move expeditiously to finalise the modalities, procedures and guidelines (MPGs) necessary to guide the implementation of the NDCs. Provisions can be made to revisit and improve the MPGs over time.  

Second, we should be flexible and creative in capturing progress. Each negotiating track will have its varying complexities and dynamics. The goal would be to capture progress in a way that can deepen understanding of one another’s positions and clearly articulate options which would move us closer to an outcome.  

Third, we look to the Fijian COP/ CMP/ CMA Presidency, APA Co-Chairs and Chairs of SBI and SBSTA to ensure an open, inclusive, transparent, and coordinated process, so that adequate and balanced progress is made on all tracks in the lead-up to Katowice.

The 2018 Facilitative Dialogue is a key weigh-station on the road to implementing our NDCs post-2020. We thank the Fijian and Moroccan Presidencies for their tireless efforts in consulting Parties regarding the modalities. We fully support the vision put forward by the Presidency. We are confident that the Pacific’s “Talanoa” dialogue process will inspire our discussions towards greater ambition for global climate action and collaborations between all stakeholders.    

Singapore’s Efforts

As a small island city-state vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, Singapore is committed to the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement. Since our early years of nation building, Singapore has placed considerable emphasis on sustainable development. Today, we are ranked the most sustainable city in Asia, and second in the world, according to the Sustainable Cities Index 2016[3]. Even so, we want to do more to instil awareness of climate change amongst our citizens and inspire them to act in partnership. I am happy to announce that Singapore will designate 2018 as the Year of Climate Action.

This will complement the steps Singapore is taking to build resilience against climate change.  The rate of warming over Singapore from 1951 to 2012 was 0.26°C per decade, more than double the global average over the same period (0.12°C). Our daily mean temperature is projected to rise by up to 4.6°C towards the end of the century, and our mean sea level is estimated to rise by up to about 1.0 metre by 2100. We have developed a resilience framework to guide our adaptation efforts - protecting our buildings, coasts, infrastructure and public health, as well as diversifying our water supply and enhancing food security.

Under the Paris Agreement, Singapore has committed to reduce our emissions intensity by 36% from 2005 levels by 2030, and to stabilise our emissions with the aim of peaking around then. Improving energy and carbon efficiency continue to be Singapore’s key strategy to reduce emissions across all sectors. This year, we introduced several enhancements to the Energy Conservation Act, which mandates energy efficiency requirements and energy management practices from 2018. They include strengthening the measurement and reporting requirements for greenhouse gas emissions, requiring companies to undertake regular energy efficiency opportunity assessments, and introducing minimum energy performance standards for common industrial equipment and systems.

Earlier this year, we announced our plans to introduce a carbon tax from 2019. A carbon tax will send an economy-wide price signal to incentivise emissions reductions and adoption of low-carbon technologies. This will generate domestic resources, complement the other mitigation measures in Singapore’s Climate Action Plan, and support domestic measures to reduce emissions and meet our pledge.

Given our unique challenges as a small island nation, innovation will be key for Singapore to continue to develop sustainably. We have developed the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 plan to spur innovation in the urban solutions and sustainability sector, including supporting the piloting, test-bedding, and accelerating the adoption of new technologies.

The scale of solar energy deployment in Singapore is limited by space constraints and issues with intermittency. But we are not easily deterred. Singapore is pushing ahead to increase our solar PV deployment to 350 MWp by 2020, and further to 1GWp beyond 2020. Last year, we launched one of the world’s largest floating solar panel test-bed on one of our reservoirs. Singapore is now conducting engineering and environmental studies into the deployment of floating solar systems to be extended to other reservoirs. Our reservoirs will serve not only as a key source of our drinking water, but also contribute to clean energy as well.

We are making efforts in other sectors as well. Global forecasts show that electric cars could reach cost parity with internal combustion engine vehicles in the next decade[4]. In a month’s time, Singapore’s first electric-vehicle car sharing programme will be rolled out. We will progressively deploy 1,000 electric cars and 2,000 charging points island-wide by 2020. This July, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) launched a new research collaboration to transform BCA’s Zero Energy Building into a positive energy building which will serve as a unique living laboratory for smart building technologies, or an “Office of the Future”. These efforts can serve as references for many other cities, particularly those in the tropics, to adopt similar technologies.

International Collaboration

Singapore collaborates actively with other international partners to exchange these experiences and best practices on climate change and green growth. Under the Singapore Cooperation Programme (SCP), more than 112 000 officials from fellow developing countries have undergone training in key areas such as sustainable development, urban planning, water and transport management. Singapore also joined the NDC Partnership this June. Going forward, we will work with others in the partnership to organise training programmes to promote regional exchanges of best practices on the design and implementation of NDCs. We are also pleased to announce that Singapore will join the Ministerial Declaration on Carbon Markets. International market mechanisms will play an important role in facilitating enhanced delivery of mitigation contributions under the Paris Agreement.

Singapore is assuming the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2018. We will work with fellow ASEAN members and our Dialogue Partners to advance the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation 2016-2025, which among other objectives, seeks to reduce energy intensity in the ASEAN region by 20% from 2005 levels by 2020, and to increase the component of renewable energy in the ASEAN energy mix to 23% by 2025.  As Chair of the ASEAN Regional Energy Policy and Planning Sub-Sector Network, and the Chair of the ASEAN Working Group on Climate Change, we will continue to work with fellow ASEAN members and international partners to expand capacity building programmes and technical exchanges to enhance and drive the respective work programmes under these platforms.

Singapore is also pleased to host the World Meteorological Organisation’s (WMO) Regional Office for Asia and the South-West Pacific. It will bring WMO closer to the 58 states and territories in the two regions, enhance cooperation among national meteorological and hydrological services. This will help WMO better implement its capacity development programmes, particularly those that focus on less developed countries and small island states.

Mr President, I conclude with Singapore’s commitment and support for climate action, a successful conclusion to this week’s very important work and to the work programme leading to Katowice next year. To quote an African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.” We can be true to the Talanoa spirit, have frank discussion, and work towards the sustained and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement – that we may go both fast and far together.

Thank you Mr President.


[1] NASA, “NASA, NOAA Data Show 2016 Warmest Year on Record Globally” [Press release], 18 Jan 2017, accessed 9 October 2017.

[2] The resumed first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA-1).

[3] Joe Myers, “These are the world’s most sustainable cities”, World Economic Forum, 20 Sept 2016, accessed 9 October 2017.

[4] Jess Shankleman, “Pretty soon electric cars will cost less than gasoline”, Bloomberg, 26 May 2017, accessed 9 October 2017.

Source: Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources

Last updated 5 Jan 2018

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