Plans to speed up net zero emissions is Party’s commitment on behalf of future generations of S’poreans

In an ambitious and decisive move, Singapore is targeting to achieve net zero emissions by or around mid-century, in line with the Glasgow Climate Pact, said Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean on Mar 8 during the Committee of Supply Debate.

It is a marked improvement on the target, submitted to the United Nations in 2020, of achieving net zero emissions as soon as viable in the second half of the century.

The Chair of the Inter-Ministerial Committee On Climate Change said that the developments at COP-26 where more countries pledged to reach net zero by mid-century and more companies making net-zero commitments marked an inflection point.

“We are making a decisive move: one that is necessary, practical and implementable. We are making a commitment on behalf of generations of Singaporeans to come, spanning several decades into the future,” he added.

Consequently, Singapore will also review its 2030 target and declare it later this year.

The SG Green Plan

It’s no exaggeration to describe the threat of climate change as existential.

“We are already seeing some of these effects – stronger and longer heatwaves, unprecedented droughts and floods, sea-level rise and storm surges affecting communities all over the world,” said SM Teo.

The target of achieving net zero carbon emissions has been in the making for years and requires a whole of government approach – its importance underscored by the number of ministries that spoke during the debate, updating the House on existing measures and introducing new initiatives for SG Green Plan.

The ministries are: Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE), Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), Ministry of Transport (MOT), Ministry of National Development (MND), and Ministry of Education (MOE).

Sustainability and the Environment Minister Grace Fu spoke of efforts to help the manufacturing sector, including small and medium enterprises, mitigate the impact of the higher carbon tax.

Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong then emphasised on plans of a low-carbon economy for Singapore via the Singapore Energy Transition plans and Green Economy Strategy, taking decisive steps to decarbonise the energy sector.

Transport Minister S Iswaran announced the target of reducing peak emissions by 80 per cent by or around mid-century and that every HDB town will be Electric Vehicle-Ready by 2025.

National Development Minister Desmond Lee announced that the Government has committed an additional $45 million of funding for the enhanced Green Buildings Innovation Cluster (GBIC) programme, to support the development, test-bedding and deployment of green technologies and solutions for buildings.

Finally, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing spoke of the important role of the Institutes of Higher Learning, which will make sustainability a priority and will develop skills and competencies to take on new green opportunities.

We can and we should

At the end of SM Teo’s speech, he noted that Singapore can and should make this decisive move to net zero even though there will be costs to bear and trade-offs to be made.

“This move will reposition Singapore and bring significant benefits for generations of Singaporeans to come. By moving decisively now, we are charting the path to a cleaner, greener Singapore for our future generations – with a sustainable environment and lifestyles, a forward looking economy with new green jobs, and a brighter future at the fore-front of a low-carbon world,” he concluded.

Our actions we are taking today will have a profound and positive impact for Singapore and Singaporeans.