Net zero targets
CAT evaluates Singapore’s net zero target as: Poor.
Singapore has committed to net zero GHG emissions by 2050 as part of its Long-Term Low Emissions Development Strategy (LT-LEDS) (National Climate Change Secretariat, 2020, 2022a). In its initial Strategy, submitted in 2020, it had set the target year as ‘as soon as viable in the second half of the century’ (National Climate Change Secretariat, 2020). It amended the target year in its 2022 addendum to the strategy, bringing it forward to 2050.
Singapore has outlined detailed sector-specific policies and measures targeting power, industry, transport, building and waste, but its Strategy does not provide details on the mitigation potential of those measures, outline an emissions pathway to net zero, nor provide any detail on the extent to which CCUS will be used to achieve the target. The Strategy outlines its support for measures taken to address emissions from international aviation and shipping, though it is unclear if these are also included in its target. Review processes for specific sectoral and cross-sectoral measures have been established, but not one for the target overall.
Survey data suggests that Singaporeans think the government could go further and adopt an earlier, more ambition, net zero target year. The current 2050 deadline was found to be “not sufficient[ly] ambitious” enough by respondents (The Straits Times, 2022a).
CAT analysis of net zero target
Ten key elements
- Target year – In its 2020 Long Term Low Emissions Development Strategy (LT-LEDS), Singapore committed to achieving net zero emissions ‘as soon as viable in the second half of the century’. In November 2022, Singapore amended its LT-LEDS bringing forward its net zero target year to 2050 (National Climate Change Secretariat, 2022a).
- Emissions coverage – Singapore’s net zero target covers all gases and all sectors of the economy (excluding international bunkers) (National Climate Change Secretariat, 2022a; Singapore Government, 2022). Its amended LT-LEDS does not discuss gas coverage, however as the NDC covers all gases and the net zero target is also referred to in its updated NDC submission, we assume the net zero target also covers all gases as well.
- International aviation and shipping – The coverage of international aviation and shipping in achieving Singapore’s net zero target remains unclear. In its LT-LEDS of 2020, Singapore expresses it support for the efforts of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to reduce emissions from the international aviation and maritime transport sectors respectively (National Climate Change Secretariat, 2020). However, it does not say whether its efforts in these sectors are covered by its net zero target. It did not discuss international bunker emissions in its 2022 addendum.
- Reductions or removals outside of own borders – Singapore plans to use international market-based mechanisms to acheive its 2050 target (National Climate Change Secretariat, 2020, 2022a). It does not provide details on the extent to which it plans to rely on these mechanisms, but notes that it has already signed MOUs with a number of countries to collaborate on carbon credits (Carbon Herald, 2022; Morocco World News, 2022).
- Legal status – Singapore’s net zero target is covered by its LT-LEDS document, which was first submitted to the UNFCCC in 2020 and updated in 2022 (National Climate Change Secretariat, 2020, 2022a). Singapore has not enshrined its net zero target into domestic law.
- Separate reduction & removal targets – In its LT-LEDS, Singapore committed to the long-term sustainability of its forests area, as well as its ambition to transform into a garden city. Singapore intends that its green spaces would serve as sink, though no specific target is mentioned (National Climate Change Secretariat, 2020).
- Review process – The LT-LEDS provides a timeline for the review of various sectoral and cross-sectoral measures, for example the Singapore Green Building Master Plan and Minimum Energy Performance Standards. In case of the carbon tax, the policy mentions that it would be reviewed in 2023 and increased from its current level of SGD5/tCO2 to SGD50-80/tCO2 by 2030. The earlier timeline for achieving net zero was unclear (“as soon as viable in the second half of the century”), but recently, after a stakeholder consultation, the government set the net zero year as 2050. The government has not yet committed to a legally-binding review process for the target nor to track achieved progress against it at regular intervals.
- Carbon dioxide removal – Singapore intends to use its green spaces as a LULUCF sink but provides little information on its scale (National Climate Change Secretariat, 2020). The government provides no transparent assumptions for other types of removals and storage that it might use.
- Comprehensive planning – In its LT-LEDS of 2020 and addendum of 2022, Singapore provides detailed sector-specific action areas but does not provide details on the mitigation potential of those measures, nor any emissions pathways to net zero.
The LT-LEDS mentions the potential of CCUS to reduce emissions from Singapore’s industries and power sector, critically depending on the cost of capture and suitable geological formation for permanent storage. It remains uncertain as to what extent the government intends to rely on these measures to achieve net zero.
- Clarity on fairness of target – Singapore provides no information on its intention to explain the target’s fairness, though its amended LT-LEDS does note the relative size of its contribution to global emissions and that it has taken early action on mitigating climate change.
The Climate Action Tracker has defined the following good practice for all ten key elements of net zero targets. Countries can refer to this good practice to design or enhance their net zero targets.
Subscribe to our newsletter