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Current situation

What is Singaporeʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

Emissions profile

In 2019, the energy sector is responsible for 78% of Singapore’s emissions , mostly from electricity (35%) and energy consumed by the industry sector (27%). Singapore does not produce oil or gas, but it serves as a major oil refining and petrochemical hub.5 Singapore’s CO₂ emissions are highly concentrated on Jurong island which serves as home to some of the biggest refineries and represents ~60% of the country’s emissions.6,7

Transport contributes 13% of total emissions, mainly from Singapore’s road vehicle fleet of diesel and petrol vehicles that contribute 95% of transport emissions.8

Industrial processes emissions account for 22% of total emissions. Within this, the electronic industry is responsible for over 70% of industrial process emissions.8 Products used as substitutes for ozone depleting substances account for 17%, mainly related to emissions from the use of hydrofluorocarbons in solvent application.8

Waste emissions represent only 1% of Singapore’s total emissions. This is because Singapore’s waste is incinerated in its waste-to-energy plants to reduce waste volumes and to create energy, and these emissions are included in the energy sector.8 Only the ash from these plants and non-incinerable waste is placed in landfill and therefore landfill emissions account for just a small share of emissions.

Agriculture emissions are negligible, as Singapore a city-state relies on imports for its food.8

1 Singapore government. Singapore’s Update of its First Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and Accompanying Information. (2020).

2 Climate Action Tracker. Singapore CAT Climate Target Update Tracker. Climate Action Tracker. (2020).

3 Channel News Asia. Singapore to review its climate change target as world leaders agree COP26 deal. (2021).

4 CAT. CAT Climate Target Update Tracker, Singapore. Climate Action Tracker. (2020).

5 National Environment Agency. Singapore’s Fourth Biennial Update Report. (2020).

6 Lau, H. C. et al. A Decarbonization Roadmap for Singapore and Its Energy Policy Implications. (2021) doi:10.3390/en14206455.

7 EDB: Singapore. Sustainable Jurong Island. 2021.

8 National Climate Change Secretariat. Charting Singapore’s Low-Carbon and Climate Resilient Future. (2020).

9 Strachen, E. & Greening, P. The Singapore Budget 2022 – A Continuing Commitment to Advancing Singapore’s Green Transition – Lexology. (2022).

10 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement. (2021).

11 Duarte, C., Raftery, P. & Schiavon, S. Development of Whole-Building Energy Models for Detailed Energy Insights of a Large Office Building with Green Certification Rating in Singapore. Energy Technol. 6, 84–93 (2018).

12 Climate Action Tracker. Singapore. (2020).

13 Wamsted, D. & Schlissel, D. Petra Nova Mothballing Post-Mortem: Closure of Texas Carbon Capture Plant Is a Warning Sign. (2020).

14 Sun Cable. Sun Cable Website. Sun Cable. (2021).

15 Vidinopoulos, A., Whale, J. & Fuentes Hutfilter, U. Assessing the technical potential of ASEAN countries to achieve 100% renewable energy supply. Sustain. Energy Technol. Assessments 42, 100878 (2020).

16 IEA. Singapore. International Energy Agency. (2021).

17 PIK. The PRIMAP-hist national historical emissions time series. (2021).

18 NCCS. Singapore’s Emissions Profile. (2021).

19 Lewis, J. Shell mulls Singapore carbon capture hub and biofuels plant. (2021).

20 Land Transport Authority. Land Transport Master Plan 2040. (2021).

21 Data excludes Land use, Land use change and forestry (LULUCF) emissions. However, Singapore’s LULUCF emissions account for very little (e.g. 0.1 MtCO₂e/yr in 2014).

22 32 MtCO₂e calculated in AR4 values by the Climate Action Tracker. Source cites 33 MtCO₂e/yr in AR5 GWP values.

23 While global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C provide useful guidance for an upper-limit of emissions trajectories for developed countries, they underestimate the feasible space for such countries to reach net zero earlier. The current generation of models tend to depend strongly on land-use sinks outside of currently developed countries and include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches. The scientific teams which provide these global pathways constantly improve the technologies represented in their models – and novel CDR technologies are now being included in new studies focused on deep mitigation scenarios meeting the Paris Agreement. A wide assessment database of these new scenarios is not yet available; thus, we rely on available scenarios which focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology. Accordingly, we do not yet consider land-sector emissions (LULUCF) and other CDR approaches which developed countries will need to implement in order to counterbalance their remaining emissions and reach net zero GHG are not considered here due to data availability.

Singaporeʼs current GHG emissions

MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values

By sector

  • Power
  • Industry (energy use)
  • Transport
  • Fugitive emissions
  • Buildings
  • Other
  • Industry (processes)
  • Waste
  • Agriculture
  • LULUCF
Energy (78%)0

By gas

  • CO₂
  • Other
  • N₂O
  • CH₄
096%0

Sectors by gas

Energy
099%0
Agriculture
089%0
Industry (processes)
084%0

Energy system

Power, industry and transport account for the bulk of Singapore’s emissions.8 Industry and transport have been electrified to some extent, and the possible scaling up of these sectors could significantly reduce emissions if natural gas is replaced with renewable electricity generation.8

Singapore’s electricity mix is 96% natural gas. Renewable energy accounts for just 2% of the power mix, which is mainly biomass. Coal currently represents 1% of the power mix and could be phased out without delay. Gas also dominates the total primary energy supply with 96% of the mix. The remainder is oil.

Singapore’s Low Emissions Development Strategy highlights energy efficiency and conservation as a key area to transform industry and the economy.8 In terms of power, Singapore’s strategy focuses on a “switch” to natural gas, which will continue to dominate the power mix in the near term, with plans for solar to drive a third “switch”, focusing on regional power grids for energy options, and a fourth “switch” to “low carbon alternatives” including carbon capture and storage and possibly hydrogen.6,8

Singapore’s focus on natural gas as a ‘bridge’ to a low carbon future risks the creation of stranded assets (such as its LNG terminal) and is likely to result in job losses and economic disruption. Singapore’s gas supply is highly dependent on international markets, creating energy and economic insecurity.

Targets and commitments

Economy-wide targets

Target type

Fixed level target

NDC target

  • Peak emissions at 65 MtCO₂e around 2030 (including LULUCF, however LULUCF emissions are negligible).
  • 24% above 2015 levels by 2030 (excluding LULUCF).

Market mechanism

  • Economy wide carbon tax.

Long-term target

  • Aims to achieve net zero emissions as soon as viable in the second half of the century.8
  • Halve emissions from its peak to 32 MtCO₂e/yr by 2050.22

Sector coverage

EnergyIndustryWasteAgricultureLULUCF

Greenhouse gas coverage

CO₂CH₄NF₃HFCsN₂OSF₆

Sectoral targets

Power

  • Solar: 350 MW by 2020; and 2 GW by 2030 (including 540 MW of solar on public housing by 2030).8
  • Energy storage systems: 200 MW beyond 2025.8
  • Phase out coal by 2030s.10

Waste

  • Reduce waste sent to Semakau Landfill per capita per day by 30% by 2030.
  • 70% overall recycling rate by 2030.

Transport

  • Nine in ten of all peak period journeys to be made using Walk-Cycle-Ride (WCR) transport modes by 2040.8
  • Phase out internal combustion engine vehicles by 2040.8

Buildings

  • Green 80% of total building gross floor area (GFA) by 2030.8
  • 35 % reduction in energy use intensities from 2005 levels by 2030.11,12

Footnotes