US climate summit: Singapore will overcome constraints, meet emission targets through innovation, says PM Lee

Singapore is turning to technology to reduce its emissions and adapt to the changing climate, said PM Lee Hsien Loong on April 23, 2021. PHOTO: ST FILE
(From left) Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Chief Negotiator for Climate Change Joseph Teo. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION

SINGAPORE - The Republic may be small and without access to resources, but it will strive to achieve its climate targets through innovation, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday (April 23).

He was speaking on the second day of the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate, which was convened by United States President Joe Biden.

Mr Lee said that Singapore was turning to technology to reduce its emissions and adapt to the changing climate.

For instance, the country has limited access to renewable energy options.

"Nevertheless, we plan to quadruple solar energy production by 2025," Mr Lee said, pointing to how Singapore is home to the world's largest floating solar energy system that can offset 33,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

It was earlier reported that when the floating solar farm at Tengeh Reservoir becomes operational, carbon savings from it will be equivalent to removing 7,000 cars from the roads.

As for adaptation, PM Lee said Singapore is also concerned about the impact of rising urban temperatures on its compact and dense urban environment.

"To moderate this, we are using computer modelling for more climate-responsive urban design, experimenting with special cooling paint on buildings, and planting one million more trees," he added.

Mr Lee was one of 40 world leaders who attended the two-day virtual summit, which is aimed at galvanising nations to do more to slash emissions.

Speaking during the session on "unleashing climate innovation", Mr Lee said that despite its small size, Singapore was doing its part to contribute to the global climate agenda.

It was among the first 20 countries to submit its long-term strategy for emissions reduction to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which the Republic is party to.

Singapore's goal is to halve emissions from its 2030 peak by 2050, with a view to achieving net-zero emissions as soon as viable in the second half of the century.

PM Lee also pointed to the Singapore Green Plan 2030, the nation's roadmap to sustainable development, which was launched earlier this year.

In his speech, PM Lee also talked about how Singapore - as a financial hub - can contribute to the global decarbonisation push.

In 2019, for example, the Monetary Authority of Singapore set up a US$2 billion (S$2.7 billion) green investments programme, to promote environmentally sustainable projects and mitigate climate change risks in Singapore and the region.

Said PM Lee: "This (the green investments programme) will support the development of carbon trading and services, sustainability consultancies and environmental risk management."

He added that one promising area is emissions verification, including the use of new technology to measure the carbon footprint as well as monitor the abatement commitments businesses have made.

"Singapore is happy to share our experience in all these areas," said PM Lee.

Moreover, climate and sustainability has been incorporated in the Singapore-US Third Country Training Programme, he said.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was one of 40 world leaders who attended the two-day virtual summit. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION

Launched in 2012, the programme leverages on the respective strengths of the US and Singapore to provide capacity building to South-east Asia.

"As country coordinator for Asean-US energy cooperation, we will work closely with the US to support our region's clean energy transition," PM Lee said.

In his speech, he also thanked Mr Biden for convening the summit, saying it was a "welcome signal" of US leadership and commitment to a multilateral climate solution.

PM Lee added: "We look forward to working with the US and all countries to build a sustainable future."

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