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In brief

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

Economy wide

A 1.5°C compatible pathway would require domestic GHG emissions to peak immediately, and reach 18-22 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030, or a 56-63% reduction below 2015 levels. A fair share contribution to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions compatible with the Paris Agreement would require Singapore to go further than its domestic target, and provide substantial support for emission reductions to poor countries on top of its domestic reductions.

Singaporeʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values
Reference year
−120%−100%−80%−60%−40%−20%0%19902010203020502070
Net zero GHG excl. LULUCF*
2053
Reference year
2015
1.5°C emissions level
−69%
NDC
+8%
Ambition gap
−77%
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Current policy projections
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Historical emissions

2030 NDC

In March 2020, Singapore updated its NDC by changing its intensity target to an absolute target of 65 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030, or a 24% increase above 2015 levels.1,21 The update did not result in a stronger target despite the country being on track to overachieve its NDC if current policies are implemented.2 Singapore is currently reviewing its NDC.3

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.

Net zero

Singapore aims to achieve net zero emissions in the second half of the century, and halving its GHG emissions to 32 MtCO₂e/yr by 2050.4,22

2050 Ambition

A 1.5°C compatible pathway would require Singapore to reach zero GHG emissions or a 100% reduction below 2015 levels by 2050.23 Decarbonising the energy sector will drive down CO₂ levels, particularly energy combustion, as it accounts for 87% of total GHG emissions (mainly CO₂).

Decarbonisation

Policy measures that could support the transformation could include accelerating the shift in the transport sector to electric mobility, upgrading and electrifying the building and industry sectors, improving material efficiency, and significant scaling up of renewable energy including exploring options for imports, and use or export of zero emission fuels such as green hydrogen.

Sectors

Power

Paris Agreement compatible pathways require Singapore to accelerate renewable energy uptake from 2% of the current power mix to 7-13% in 2030 and 95-97% in 2050.

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Power

Singapore is highly reliant on imported natural gas (96% of the power mix), which would need to be phased out in the 2040s in order to be consistent with 1.5°C compatible pathways. Such a high reliance on natural gas imports poses risks to energy security, creates cost uncertainty, and stranded asset risks as global trends transition towards a low carbon economy. Urban solar, green hydrogen and renewable energy imports through regional interconnections offers Singapore an opportunity to decarbonise.

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Power

Urban solar, green hydrogen and renewable energy imports through regional interconnections offers Singapore an opportunity to decarbonise.

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Power

Singapore has a power emissions intensity of 390 gCO₂/kWh which would need to be reduced to 1-25 gCO₂/kWh by 2040, in order to be 1.5°C compatible. Some pathways show a zero emissions power sector is possible when renewable energy, negative emissions technology and energy efficiency measures are deployed.

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Buildings

Energy demand of the building sector of Singapore has a high share of electricity (91% in 2019) close to 1.5°C compatible pathways requiring a share of electricity demand be 95% in 2030 and 99% by 2050.

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Buildings

All scenarios show a decline in direct CO₂ emissions from the building sector, reaching zero by 2050 from the level of 0.6 MtCO₂/yr in 2019.

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Transport

Singapore’s transport sector is completely dominated by oil accounting for 90% the total fuel mix 2019. All scenarios peak fossil fuel demand across the transport sector by 2020, and aim to reach zero to 4% by 2050.

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Transport

1.5°C compatible pathways require a rapid penetration of EVs, and share of electricity in the energy mix needs to reach 64-90% by 2030, and 96-99% by 2050.

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Transport

Singapore’s government has put forward a strong policy push for the deployment of electric vehicles and promoting active travel.

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Industry

Singapore’s industrial sector accounts for 60% of its emissions, mainly coming from the refinery and petrochemicals sectors.

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Industry

Currently, the share of electricity consumption in the industry sector is 24%, which needs to increase up to 42% by 2050 under different 1.5°C compatible scenarios.

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Footnotes