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Singapore to update climate pledge, go even greener

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Minister tells UN conference that 'climate change is existential' for the Republic

Singapore has indicated that it will do more to cut down its greenhouse gas emissions.

The Republic will update its climate pledge to guide its policies over the longer term, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli.

Already, Singapore has committed to ramping up its use of solar energy and greening its land transport sector, with the aim of having nine in 10 peak period journeys by 2040 made via walking, cycling or rides on public and shared transport.

It also wants to make electric vehicles more viable here.

Mr Masagos reiterated this commitment some five years after the Republic made its first climate pledge - which outlined its plans to limit its planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 - under the historic Paris agreement.

Speaking at the annual United Nations climate conference in Madrid, or COP25, Mr Masagos said Singapore is especially vulnerable to rising sea levels.

"For us, climate change is existential," he added, noting that countries had to update their 2030 pledges by next year.

"Singapore will play our part," said Mr Masagos. "We will update our nationally determined contribution and communicate our long-term low emissions strategy soon."

Under its 2015 pledge, Singapore said it would reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted to achieve each dollar of gross domestic product by 36 per cent from 2005 levels, come 2030.

It also pledged to stop any further increases to its greenhouse gas emissions by the same timeline.


Yesterday, Mr Masagos highlighted the importance of having climate pledges that can be translated into policy action.

He said: "The focus must be on how we can generate and use energy sustainably."

The use of fossil fuels, such as natural gas and coal, is the main contributor to global warming.

Mr Masagos highlighted the ways Singapore - which relies on natural gas, the cleanest form of fossil fuel, for its energy needs - was doing its part to use energy more sustainably.

Ms Melissa Low, a research fellow at the National University of Singapore's Energy Studies Institute and an observer of climate negotiations, welcomed Singapore's intent to update its climate pledge.

She noted that Singapore's first target in 2015 had been described as a "stretch target" - suggesting it was not easy to meet it.

"The next update should be more ambitious than the earlier pledge to achieve a 36 per cent reduction in emissions intensity," she said from COP25.

Mr Eric Bea, a researcher at the NUS Asia Pacific Centre for Environmental Law who is also attending COP25, said Singapore's updated pledge would guide future policies.