Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli Delivered Singapore's National Statement at COP-21 in Paris
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli delivered Singapore’s national statement at the High-Level Segment of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris, France on 7 December 2015.
In his address to the Conference, Minister Masagos noted that more than 180 countries covering over 95 per cent of global emissions have tabled their INDCs. He called for the pledges to be matched with a global agreement that promotes the ability to raise ambition over time.
Minister Masagos added that reducing GHG emissions was not only about mitigating emissions from our industrial sectors but also about protecting our forests and preventing peat land fires. Peat lands are major carbon sinks, storing up to 20 times more carbon than tropical rainforests on normal mineral soils. However, with peat land fires caused by slash and burn practices of errant companies, they are no longer carbon sinks but a source of CO2 emissions. Minister Masagos shared that some studies have estimated that the peat fires in Southeast Asia this year alone have released over one Gigatonne of CO2 into the atmosphere. This is almost 20 per cent of the expected emissions reductions from INDCs in 2030. Another report estimated that the emissions of these fires by errant companies in Indonesia over this period are more than the total annual CO2 emissions of Germany.
Such peat land fires produce not only GHG emissions but also smoke, resulting in haze pollution. This haze pollution has had serious social, economic and health impacts in countries across Southeast Asia. Hundreds of thousands have been treated for acute respiratory infections; Schools have had to close, and businesses, as well as air travel, have been adversely affected. The burning of forests and peat lands have also resulted in the loss of biodiversity and natural habitats.
He added that “Our region was not the only one to witness such deleterious transboundary effects on our global effort to cut emissions, we strongly support the emphasis for this agreement to bring a robust measurement, reporting and verification system with a facilitative approach to build capacity. Amongst others, capacity to combat illegal burning and other forms of abuse in the land sectors will address this recurring problem”.
Singapore is committed to play its part in the global fight against climate change. Singapore’s INDC pledges to reduce Emissions Intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, and stabilise its emissions with the aim of peaking around the same time. Singapore already generates relatively low levels of carbon emissions per GDP dollar, ranking 113th out of 140 countriesworldwide. Although it only contributes 0.11 per cent to global emissions, Singapore continues to deepen and widen its South-South contributions in technical cooperation, through the sharing of sustainable development experiences.
The full statement delivered by Minister Masagos is enclosed.
Jointly issued by: Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources and National Climate Change Secretariat