Forum: Singapore can aim to be carbon-neutral aviation, shipping hub by 2050

An oil refinery at Pulau Bukomon is seen from Sentosa.
An oil refinery at Pulau Bukomon is seen from Sentosa.PHOTO: ST FILE

It was insightful to learn that 45 per cent of Singapore's emissions come from the refining and petrochemicals sector (Singapore generated 0.11% of global emissions in 2017, Oct 8).

Based on information on the National Climate Change Secretariat's website, aviation and bunker fuel uplifted from Singapore contributed another 144 million tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2014. That is almost three times Singapore's total emissions in 2017.

While the additional emissions are not attributed to Singapore, we can still play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gases emitted by this sector.

Singapore can set targets on biofuel mix in both aviation and marine bunker fuels sold in the country. The ratio of biofuel could be set low initially and gradually increased to 100 per cent over a 30-year period. This would allow shipping companies and airlines time to adapt, and give biofuel producers time to scale up their production and develop cleaner and greener products.

Audits can be established to ensure that the amount of carbon sequestered from the production of the biofuel balances out the amount of carbon emitted when the fuel is burned.

If we can manage this transition well, Singapore can be a major carbon-neutral aviation and shipping hub by 2050, and do our part to achieve the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's recommendation of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Tok Meng Haw

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2019, with the headline 'S'pore can aim to be carbon-neutral aviation, shipping hub by 2050'. Print Edition | Subscribe