Singapore Takes Significant Steps to Curb Emissions Growth, and is Committed to National and Global Climate Action
SINGAPORE’S RESPONSE TO FINANCIAL TIMES ARTICLE (12 MARCH 2021)
We wish to clarify the data and assertions cited in the article “Singapore fails to keep pace with wealthy peers on carbon emissions” (FT.com, 12 March 2021) by Mr Steven Bernard.
First, the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) cited in your article had used an erroneous estimate of Singapore’s CO2 emissions in 2017 at 77.5 million tonnes (Mt). This is 28.4Mt or 58% more than our official record for the same year of 49.1 Mt. As a result, the ranking you cited compared Singapore poorly, and wrongly, with other countries.
Second, your claim that Singapore’s emissions growth rate “has been exacerbated due to deforestation” is also erroneous. Based on our latest official record in 2016, CO2 emissions from changes in land use accounted for only 0.02% of Singapore’s total CO2 emissions. In fact, the greening of our city has been a national priority over the years. We have safeguarded and grown our green spaces through urban planning and sustainable management. This priority continues. We plan to add 1000ha of green spaces by 2035 and plant 1 million more trees by 2030. In the recently launched Singapore Green Plan 2030, a key thrust is for Singapore to be a City in Nature.
Third, the article attributed the reduction in emissions growth of wealthy developed countries to their shift away from coal, and said that Singapore had failed to keep pace. The fact is that our reliance on coal has been very low since independence; since the early 2000s, we also started to shift from fuel oil to the cleaner natural gas for power generation. Today, coal makes up less than 2% of Singapore’s power generation capacity.
The reality is that Singapore has been taking significant steps over the years to curb our emissions growth. Our emissions intensity is among the lowest 20 in the world. Our approach to climate action is to take concrete action early. Our aspiration is to peak our emissions by 2030, halve our emissions from its peak by 2050, and to abate the other half as soon as viable. As a small open economy with limited access to renewable energy, we rely on advances in low-carbon technology and international collaboration, including regional power grids and credible carbon markets, to achieve this aspiration. We are fully committed to playing our part in climate action, and will continue to review our climate goals to be in line with international and technology developments.
Note: The Financial Times has yet to publish this letter, which was sent on 19 March 2021.