Singapore

Overall rating
Critically insufficient
Policies & action
Highly insufficient
< 4°C World
Domestic target
Highly insufficient
< 4°C World
Fair share target
Critically insufficient
4°C+ World
Climate finance
Not assessed
Net zero target

year

2050

Comprehensiveness rated as

Poor
Land use & forestry
Not significant

Overview

In November 2022, a few days prior to COP27, Singapore submitted its updated NDC, setting a new target of limiting GHG emissions in 2030 to 60 MtCO2e, down from 65 MtCO2e in the previous submission. While the target is a stronger in absolute number, it is only a marginal improvement over the last and it is still far higher than 1.5°C levels. Singapore’s overall CAT rating remains unchanged at “Critically insufficient”.

In the updated NDC, Singapore has brought forward its emissions peak year from 2030 to before 2030, without clarifying the exact peaking year. With this update Singapore has set a 2030 target lower than what its emissions would be under current policies but still it is 87% higher than its fair share contribution to reach 1.5°C compatible pathways. More stringent target and update in policies are needed for further cut in emissions to reach 1.5°C warming limit.

A small land area and high population density, limited potential for renewable energy and an export-oriented economy largely dependent on the fossil fuel industry is challenging for Singapore’s energy transition. In its updated NDC, Singapore has mentioned that achievement of its updated 2030 target is dependent on international cooperation and technological development.

Singapore has also confirmed 2050 as its target year to reach net zero emissions, and has submitted an addendum of its long-term low-emissions development strategy (LT-LEDS). In its LT-LEDS, Singapore aims to target its efforts across industry, economy and society, and harness emerging technologies including CCUS, international collaboration in technology, innovation and onboarding market-based mechanisms. However the LT-LEDS does not sufficiently provide clear policy guidance on how the government intends to achieve net zero and to what extent its policies and measures will contribute to required emissions reductions.

Recently the government has pointed out that achieving net zero largely depends on CCUS and “low carbon hydrogen”. The high share of fossil gas in the energy mix and the lack of proper policy planning to phase out gas from the energy mix remain critical issues for Singapore’s energy transition. Given the importance of green hydrogen in a 1.5°C compatible world and Singapore's location, it could become a regional storage hub, trading and transportation of green hydrogen.

In recent years, Singapore has moved away from oil (46% in 2000 to 3% in 2021) and shifted towards fossil gas (96% in 2021) in electricity generation, also planning to becoming the world’s largest LNG bunkering hub to service Asia’s growing LNG demand. Fossil gas will need to be phased out quickly under a Paris-compatible pathway.

In the budget of 2022, the carbon tax rate has been reviewed and will gradually increase up to SGD 50-80/tCO2e (USD 35-56/tCO2e) in 2030. Given that until 2023, the carbon tax level will be kept at a low level of SGD5/tCO2e, covering about 43% of emissions (industries and power sector), it is unlikely to generate the needed incentives for a large-scale switch to zero carbon technologies in the medium term.

Singapore has achieved its target of 670 MW of solar capacity by March 2022, where floating solar plays an important role.

Overall rating
Critically insufficient

The CAT rates Singapore’s climate targets and policies as “Critically insufficient”. The “Critically Insufficient” rating indicates that Singapore’s climate policies and commitments reflect minimal to no action and are not at all consistent with the Paris Agreement's 1.5°C temperature limit.

The CAT rates this target as “Critically insufficient” against what a fair contribution for Singapore would be. Singapore’s 2030 emissions reduction target is consistent with more than 3°C of warming when compared with modelled domestic pathways. Singapore needs to set a more ambitious target for emissions reductions and establish associated policies to improve its CAT ratings.

Policies & action
Highly insufficient

We rate Singapore’s policies and action as “Highly insufficient”. The “Highly insufficient” rating indicates that Singapore policies and action are not at all consistent with the 1.5°C temperature limit. If all countries were to follow Singapore’s approach, warming could reach over 3°C and up to 4°C.

Emissions in Singapore are dominated by the energy and industry sectors. The carbon tax, targeting upstream emissions from large emitters, started at 5 SGD/tCO2e from 2019. In the budget of 2022 the tax rate has been reviewed and will be increased to SGD 25/tCO2e in 2024-2025 and further SGD 45/tCO2e by 2026-2027, with a target of reaching SGD 50-80/tCO2e by 2030. Despite this improvement, this carbon tax is still far too low when compared to IPCC estimates for a 1.5°C compatible price. A tax at appropriate level could encourage more renewable energy in place of fossil fuel energy by adding a price for the emitted carbon. However, higher tax levels are needed to encourage a significant shift to decarbonising the power sector.

Under current policies and action Singapore’s emissions will increase to 63 MtCO2e by 2030. Hence to achieve the new NDC target the government needs to improve its policies and action.

While renewable energy capacity has expanded, fossil gas remains the dominant energy source in the power sector, accounting for 96% of electricity generation starting from 45% in 2000. Singapore does not have any hydrocarbon reserves but petroleum refining, storage, and distribution infrastructure is key to its economy. The Asia-Pacific region is responsible for 70% of the world’s LNG demand and, based on this growing demand for LNG in Asian countries, Singapore is investing to remain the world’s largest LNG bunkering hub, now growing its business line to sell ‘other’ fuels such as LNG and biofuel, as well as maritime fuels.

In April 2019, the government-controlled Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) announced it would stop funding new coal-fired power stations globally, yet it continues to be involved in several proposed coal power plants in Southeast Asia. More recently, the bank has announced plans to exit investment in thermal coal by 2039.

Outside the power generation sector, Singapore’s mitigation efforts almost exclusively consist of measures aimed at further improving energy efficiency through programmes like Green Mark standards for buildings, green procurement, public transport, fuel efficiency standards, home appliance efficiency standards, industrial energy efficiency, and waste management. However, with a fossil fuel dependent energy mix, the effect of these policies in emissions is limited and does not compensate for the overall increase in energy demand.

In the transport sector, energy demand and associated emissions are expected to flatten out as a result of multiple measures to promote public transport, modal shifts, and improve the emissions intensity of road transport.

Our full analysis is here.

Domestic target
Highly insufficient

The CAT rates Singapore's NDC target as "Highly insufficient" when rated against modelled domestic pathways. The “Highly insufficient” rating indicates that Singapore’s domestic target in 2030 is not at all consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. If all countries were to follow Singapore’s approach, warming could reach over 3°C and up to 4°C.

With its updated NDC, Singapore’s rating against modelled domestic pathway has improved by one category from "Critically insufficient" to "Highly insufficient", but a stronger target is needed if Singapore is to follow its modelled domestic pathway. The government has improved absolute emissions target to 60 MtCO2e from 65 MtCO2e by 2030, which is 11% above 2010 emission levels. When compared against modelled domestic pathways Singapore’s NDC target is 2.5 times higher than where it needs to be 1.5°C compatible.

Fair share target
Critically insufficient

The CAT rates Singapore's NDC target as "Critically insufficient" when rated against its fair share contribution. The “Critically insufficient” rating indicates that Singapore’s fair share target in 2030 reflects minimal to no action and is not at all consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. Singapore’s target is not in line with any interpretation of a fair approach to meeting the 1.5°C temperature limit. If all countries were to follow Singapore’s approach, warming would exceed 4°C. Singapore’s NDC target is seven times higher than its fair share emissions target to be 1.5°C compatible.

Net zero target
Poor

In November 2022, Singapore submitted an addendum to its LT-LEDS, which brought forward and clearly defined its target year as 2050. In its initial Strategy, submitted in 2020, it had set a later target period, loosely defined as: ‘as soon as viable in the second half of the century’.  Singapore’s LT-LEDS includes information on sector-specific policies but it does not provide details on the mitigation potential of those measures, define an emissions pathway to net zero, or outline the level of dependence on CCUS needed to achieve the target.

Our full analysis is here.

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