Singapore climate action plan 'not conditional on external support'

The artwork "Earth Crisis" by American artist Shepard Fairey is displayed in Paris for the climate talks.
The artwork "Earth Crisis" by American artist Shepard Fairey is displayed in Paris for the climate talks.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS - The Singapore government said on Saturday its climate action plan submitted ahead of the Paris climate talks is unconditional on external support.

But the government also said that if the talks fail to clinch a global deal to fight climate change, then Singapore would have to review its plans.

“Singapore submitted its INDC ahead of the 21st Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to demonstrate our commitment to the anticipated agreement at the meeting,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in response to media queries.

“Singapore’s INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contribution) is not conditional on external support, unlike the INDCs submitted by many non-Annex I parties,” the spokesman said.

Non-Annex 1 countries are developing countries under the UNFCCC.

Under Singapore’s INDC, the government intends to reduce the nation’s emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, and stabilise emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030.

The Ministry emphasised that climate change required a global solution. 

“If the negotiations in Paris do not succeed, not only will the INDCs submitted by countries become nullified, but climate change would worsen,” the spokesman said in a statement.

“Some actions which we and other countries pledged to undertake would only be meaningful if all countries undertook to do the same.  As a city state on a low-lying island, Singapore would have to review our plans at that point.  While we would still proceed with measures to improve energy efficiency and economic resilience, we would have to reallocate our limited resources to deal with increased threats, including sea level rise, floods and droughts.”

In a Facebook posting, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, who is leading the Singapore delegation in Paris, said: “On the way to Paris for the final lap of negotiations for perhaps the most crucial global climate agreement of our generation.

“Many of you have asked me about our chances of success in the negotiations. My answer would be that I cannot guarantee success but am more optimistic than before.”

He said he was pleased nearly 200 countries had submitted their INDCs. 

“If all these pledges are fulfilled, more than 90 per cent of global emissions would be covered. It would probably still be inadequate to attain our ultimate long term target, but it would represent the first time so many countries have committed collectively to lower emissions and achieve sustainable development.”
 
dfogarty@sph.com.sg