Singapore, UK sign green economy pact for sustainable energy, transport and finance

The pact will support economic growth and job creation, while encouraging the decarbonisation of economic activities. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE – Singapore inked a deal with the United Kingdom on Wednesday aimed at creating business opportunities in the clean energy, low-emission transport and sustainable finance sectors.

The UK-Singapore Green Economy Framework will support economic growth and job creation, while encouraging the decarbonisation of economic activities, noted the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).

The cooperation will start with a focus on three key pillars: green transport; low-carbon energy and technologies; and carbon markets and sustainable finance.

The framework will also support collaborations between both countries’ governments, academia and business communities through activities such as enterprise matching and co-innovation projects, as well as green capability development for small and medium-sized enterprises, MTI said.

Singapore’s Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations S. Iswaran noted: “We look forward to catalysing green growth opportunities while also promoting decarbonisation, in partnership with our people, academia and businesses.”

The framework will further strengthen the economic partnership between the two countries, underpinned by the UK-Singapore Free Trade Agreement and UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement.

The UK is Singapore’s largest European investor and its second-largest investment destination in Europe. There is close to $130 billion worth of British investment in Singapore, and almost $65 billion worth of Singapore investment in the UK.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the framework was signed by Mr Iswaran, who is also Minister for Transport, and Mr Grant Shapps, British Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, during a virtual call on Wednesday.

The move follows the Singapore-Australia Green Economy Agreement signed last October.

British High Commissioner to Singapore Kara Owen told The Straits Times that while the green deal is a first of its kind for the UK, both countries have been actively involved in discussions on rules and standards needed to promote decarbonisation.

“I think on both regulation and standards, we are two countries that are good and really respected, and so it absolutely makes sense that we share what we are doing so that we can learn from each other,” she added.

“And if we make a set of decisions around regulation, policy and standards, there is a good chance that that will be influential in the world.”

Ms Owen said both countries will work closely with their private sectors, both large enterprises and small innovative firms, to implement various aspects of the agreement.

“What it’s going to do is that it is going to expose the challenges that businesses are finding. It’s going to help us work on the technology. It’s going to help us help each other on regulation and policy,” she said.

According to a final draft of the framework’s MOU seen by ST, there will be a focus on maritime and air transport decarbonisation measures, including green and digital shipping corridors, sustainable aviation fuels and green airport initiatives.

The framework will also promote continued bilateral and multilateral cooperation in international forums and negotiations on achieving targets for decarbonisation.

Strategies and legal frameworks for zero-emission vehicles and charging infrastructure will be addressed as well.

There will also be a focus on advancing low-carbon hydrogen technologies, and developing certification, standards and wider regulations to support the growth of the hydrogen economy.

Cooperation will be sought on policy, regulatory and technical aspects of carbon capture, utilisation and storage, grid interconnection, cross-border electricity trade and solutions to improve system resiliency and flexibility, such as energy storage systems and smart-grid technologies.

The framework also calls for cooperation on other initiatives such as sustainable finance and increasing transparency in carbon markets, and advancing climate action through high-integrity international carbon markets.

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