UN Secretary-General António
Minister Thani Al Zeyoudi,
UNFCCC Executive Secretary
1. I would like to thank the UN Secretary-General
and the Government of the UAE for organising this summit meeting.
2. I would like to thank in particular the UN Secretary-General
for his leadership and for convening the Climate Action Summit which will be held
in New York on 23 September 2019.
3. The Climate Action Summit is appropriately
framed as an action summit. It is meant to galvanise ambitious actions
from all stakeholders to ensure that we are on track to meet the Paris goals.
4. We are a small and highly urbanised
city state, which
limits our access to alternative clean energy options.
5. But we will not let our constraints be an
excuse for inaction.
6. Singapore will play its part to support the
global effort to address climate change and scale up our climate actions.
7. We participate as a member of the coalition on
Infrastructure, Cities and Local Action, and are actively working with Kenya
and Turkey as well as other coalition partners, to put forward a concrete and
ambitious set of plans and actions on how we can transform our cities and
infrastructure to make them more carbon efficient in support of the Paris goals.
8. We are also looking at how we can support the
initiatives put forward by the other 8 coalitions.
9. We are committed to making a positive
contribution in this process and will support the UN Secretary-General in his
efforts to make the Climate Action Summit a success.
10. But beyond this, Singapore is committed to
taking strong national actions to address climate change.
11. We have put forward an ambitious 2030 climate
pledge under the Paris Agreement. We are currently in the process of
formulating our 2050 strategy with a view to have it ready for submission next
year. We also intend to review and update our 2030 climate pledge as part of
12. The UN Secretary-General has outlined three
key “asks” of all countries, notably to (i) stop subsidising fossil fuels,
(ii) put a price on carbon, and (iii) phase out the use of coal by 2020.
13. I am pleased to say that Singapore is already
responding to this call.
14. First, we do not subsidise fossil fuels and
even apply taxes, such as fuel levies, on some of them. Singapore’s approach
has always been to price our resources to reflect the cost of externalities so
that consumers and businesses take into account the real cost of using these
resources and avoid excessive consumption or waste. Energy, including renewables,
is subject to market pricing to encourage efficient usage.
15. Second, Singapore is the first country in
Southeast Asia to introduce a carbon tax. From the start of this year, we have
introduced a carbon tax to put a direct price on greenhouse gas emissions. The
carbon tax will send a right price signal to our industry and forms an integral
part of our suite of mitigation measures to incentivise emissions reduction
across all sectors, and transition to a low-carbon economy. To support this
transition, we will use the carbon tax revenue to provide grants and incentives
to help businesses reduce their emissions and become more carbon efficient. Although we are starting with a modest carbon
tax, this is an economy-wide tax with no exemptions.
This rate will be reviewed in 2023, with the intention to double or triple the
tax by 2030.
16. Third, since 2005, Singapore has taken
steps to use a cleaner fuel mix for our electricity generation, switching from
fuel oil to natural gas. Currently, natural gas constitutes
about 95% of our fuel mix for electricity generation. Many banks in Singapore
have also declared that they will cease the financing of new coal-fired plants
beyond their existing commitments, and step up financing for renewables instead.
While there are limits to the deployment of alternative or renewable energy
resources in Singapore given our small size, we will continue to invest
actively in research on clean energy technologies and explore other options, including
importing clean hydrogen. However, we recognise that countries
have different constraints and different pathways to energy transition.
17. To conclude, Singapore is committed to
supporting the UN Secretary-General’s efforts to galvanise ambitious climate
actions across the globe. Even though we contribute no more than 0.11 percent
of global emissions, we are committed to playing our part and taking strong
national actions as part of our contribution to the global efforts to address
thank you for this opportunity to contribute to the process, and I look forward
to having a productive exchange with my esteemed colleagues today.