Seeking unity for a greener future

Climate conscious: Teo speaking during a plenary session at COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. — AP

The country is leading the charge to create international partnerships that will channel much-needed funding towards greening the region, and hopes to raise US$5bil (RM23bil) to finance the effort.

This was announced by Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean, who delivered Singapore’s national statement at the World Climate Action Summit.

The event was part of the United Nations COP28 climate conference in Dubai, and Teo spoke on behalf of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Amid heightened geopolitical and economic uncertainty, he said, the world is far from achieving its climate goals.

Instead of capping warming at 1.5°C, it is instead heading towards a 2.1°C to 2.8°C increase by 2100.

The first Global Stocktake – an inventory of how countries are taking climate action – presents a timely opportunity for the world to correct its course to keep the target of 1.5°C within reach, he stressed.

“At this critical juncture, we need to foster even stronger multilateral cooperation than before,” he said, noting that Singapore was reaffirming its commitment to domestic climate action, regional partnerships and global collaboration.

Domestically, Singapore has already raised its climate ambition – with a goal of reaching net zero by 2050, and reducing emissions to 60 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2030, after peaking emissions earlier.

The previous target was to peak emissions at 65 million tonnes in 2030, and for emissions to drop to net zero by 2050.

Among a range of measures, its carbon tax will also be increased from S$5 per tonne currently to S$25 per tonne from 2024, and progressively to S$50 to S$80 per tonne by 2030, making it one of the highest in Asia, said Teo.

During the two-day summit on Dec 1 and 2, about 140 world leaders spelt out their actions to tackle climate change, which include new renewable energy investments and fresh finance pledges, to build the momentum on climate action at the start of the two-week conference.

To improve regional cooperation, the nation is doing its part to accelerate Asia’s energy transition by channelling finance to do so, and to facilitate the trade of clean energy regionally.

It will be launching a new blended finance initiative, known as the Financing Asia’s Transition Partnerships, that will mobilise up to US$5bil.

Blended finance refers to getting cheaper sources of funding such as grants, and non-commercial loans from the public sector, to make marginally bankable projects less risky to attract private-sector financing.

Marginally bankable projects are projects which typically do not attract private-sector financing because they may not be as profitable, such as climate adaptation projects like building sustainable infrastructure and mangrove planting.

The US$5bil will be directed to transition projects, which refers to measures by carbon-intensive companies to lower their emissions, and marginally bankable green projects.

It is estimated that Asia will need approximately US$1.7 trillion in climate and infrastructure investments each year through 2030 to decarbonise its economies.Singapore has also partnered with Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam to import around 4 gigawatts of low-carbon electricity by 2035, said Teo.

In addition, the country will be sharing its findings from a local study on climate science and the regional impacts of climate change, so that countries in the region can better adapt to its impact, be it through enhanced food, water, and heat resilience, or through coastal and flood protection – from sea level rise.

“Singapore is committed to helping forge global consensus, to achieve substantive, balanced and inclusive outcomes,” Teo added. — The Straits Times/ANN

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