Parliament Q&A

Written Reply by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, to Parliamentary Question on Reducing GHG Emissions, on 3 Feb 2020

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources whether the Government has any plans to reduce greenhouse emissions from our oil refining industry and, if so, what are these plans.

Reply by Minister Masagos Zulkifli:

1. Under the Paris Agreement, Singapore has pledged to reduce our emissions intensity by 36% from 2005 levels by 2030, and to stabilise our emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030. To achieve this, we have to make our economy more carbon efficient.  


2. The industry sector, in particular the energy and chemicals (E&C) sector, is an important pillar of Singapore’s economy.  The E&C sector contributes to about 3% of our GDP and employed about 26,000 workers in 2018. However, the industry sector is also a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing about 60% of Singapore’s total emissions in 2017. Around three-quarters of the industry sector’s emissions are from the refining and petrochemicals sector.   


3. Improving industrial energy efficiency is thus a key pillar of our strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and we have put in place a set of comprehensive measures to achieve this.  From 2019, facilities in the manufacturing, power generation, waste and water management sectors which emit 25,000 tCO2e or more annually must pay the carbon tax.  The current tax rate is set at $5 per tCO2e for the first five years.  We will review this by 2023, with the intention of raising the carbon tax rate to $10 to $15 per tCO2e by 2030, taking into account international climate change developments, the progress of our emissions mitigation efforts, and our economic competitiveness.


4. In addition, since 2013, large emitters are required under the Energy Conservation Act (ECA) to submit annual energy efficiency improvement plans.  From 2021, these emitters must also establish facility-wide energy management systems and conduct energy efficiency opportunities assessments, which must be submitted to the NEA. To incentivise companies to adopt more energy efficient technologies, the Government also provides funding support which has been increased from the previous cap of 30 percent to 50 percent of the qualifying costs since January 2019. 


5. For the oil refineries in particular, the Government works closely with the sector to ensure that they achieve high standards of energy efficiency and adopt sustainable practices. Currently, all three oil refineries in Singapore have set up co-generation plants in their facilities. These are major investments that significantly improve the energy efficiency of the refineries.


6. Beyond particular sectors or industries, all of us have a responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint.  Saving electricity, using public transport and reducing waste are good ways to cut carbon emissions.  All of us can do our part to help address global warming.

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