Countries should not lose sight of urgency of climate change amid other pressing issues: Grace Fu

Singapore's Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu speaking at the COP27 climate conference on Nov 15, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt - The planet is at a crossroads and facing many pressing issues, but it is important that countries do not lose sight of the urgency in tackling climate change, said Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu on Tuesday.

In an address to the United Nations’ COP27 climate conference, she said the gathering of delegates from nearly 200 nations was pivotal.

“Our choices today will determine our future,” she said during the delivery of Singapore’s national statement on the Republic’s climate actions.

“Singapore calls for commitment, implementation and partnerships for decisive global action in this decade to keep 1.5 deg C within reach.”

The UN’s climate science panel says the world must limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5 deg C above pre-industrial levels to avert the catastrophic consequences of climate change.

The world has already warmed 1.2 deg C and is facing far more devastating floods and storms, deadly heatwaves and wildfires, and faster rising sea levels. Global warming could reach 1.5 deg C if emissions stay at current levels.

Ms Fu said that Singapore has strengthened its long-term emissions strategy to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Singapore also updated its nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement by pledging to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 60 million tonnes by 2030, after peaking between 2025 and 2028 at around 65 million tonnes.

Ms Fu said Singapore’s targets were ambitious and contingent on the maturity of decarbonisation technologies and effective international commitments by the rest of the world.

At COP27, Singapore will be joining a number of coalitions, including the Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership, which entails providing political leadership on forests, land use and climate, as well as to implement solutions that reduce forest loss, increase restoration and support sustainable development.

Singapore is also part of the Joint Declaration from Energy Importers and Exporters on reducing emissions from fossil fuels. The group, which also includes the United States, the European Union, Japan, Canada and Norway, focuses on reducing methane emissions and the need to accelerate the global transition to clean energy.

In the realm of carbon credits, Singapore and Ghana have agreed to develop and trade carbon credits, which could help both countries mitigate the impacts of climate change.

This would allow companies in Singapore to purchase carbon credits from emission-reduction projects to partially offset their carbon tax liabilities.

The implementation agreement will be signed in early 2023, and will enable the bilateral transfer of carbon credits, as aligned with Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.

On Tuesday, Singapore said it would also voluntarily undertake a 5 per cent levy on bilateral carbon trade proceeds, which will be channelled towards adaptation needs for similar agreements. In addition, it committed to 2 per cent cancellation of carbon credits that cannot be used by either country, which will contribute to the overall mitigation of global emissions.

On Monday, Singapore signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate with Papua New Guinea on carbon markets, which are critical to advance global climate action.

In her speech, Ms Fu highlighted the importance of multilateralism for a just and inclusive green transition.

As part of its contributions, the Republic will be launching a three-year Sustainability Action Package in 2023 to build capability and capacity in areas such as adaptation and carbon markets.

“The world’s largest emitters should lead the economic transition, collaboratively,” said Ms Fu.

SPH Brightcove Video
Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu granted The Straits Times access to follow her for a fully packed day at the UN climate conference.

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