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Analysis, Curiosity

Singapore leads ASEAN in climate change initiatives

Singapore, ASEAN chairman for the year, is leading the way in fighting back against climate change.

Written by

Updated: April 4, 2018

According to The Straits Times, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli announced last November that Singapore would work closely with its fellow Asean neighbours in order to combat climate change by reducing energy intensity, and increasing the use of renewable energy, as well as continuing to push forward with the Asean Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation 2016-2025.

The city state has been practicing what it preaches, employing a host of measures in recent years in order to build a more sustainable future. Here are three steps the country has taken to go green.

Carbon Tax

In Singapore’s Budget 2018, which was unveiled in Parliament on Feb 19, Finance Minister Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced plans to introduce a new carbon tax.

From 2019, all facilities producing more than 25,000 tonnes or more of greenhouse gases annually will be taxed.

Initially, the tax will be $5 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions, but the tax rate will be reviewed in 2023. The government has plans to increase the tax between $10 and $15 per tonne of emissions by 2030.

Although 67 countries and jurisidictions have implemented, or announced plans to implement, a carbon tax according to The Straits Times, Singapore is the first Southeast Asian nation to employ such a measure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Green workplaces

Singapore currently employs a number of methods to encourage companies to go green.

In March last year, Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) announced that it had made several enhancements to the Energy Conservation Act in a bid to help the country achieve its pledge under the Paris Agreement.

Under the new act, which came into effect in 2018, companies must meet more stringent reporting requirements, including submission of a monitoring plan for NEA’s approval, after which they will submit an enhanced GHG emissions report based on the approved monitoring plan.

In addition, companies will have to review the designs of any new facilities for energy efficiency and report the energy performance of key energy-consuming systems. Companies will also have to implement a structured energy management system for existing facilities to strengthen their energy management practices.

Other changes include the implementation of Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) in order to phase out the use of inefficient equipment and changes to existing incentive schemes and grants to encourage companies to improve their energy efficiency.

Last year, Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority also announced that it would be upping support and funding for SMEs to go green. From Sept 30, its Green Mark Incentive Scheme for Existing Buildings and Premises increased its cap for co-funding for energy retrofits in existing buildings and premises to $40,000, double the previous cap of $20,000.

In addition to funding, SMEs are also able to undergo a free basic feasibility assessment to find out how green their premises are against the BCA Green Mark criteria.


In recent years, Singapore has invested heavily in the research and development of innovations which will allow the nation to develop in a sustainable manner, according to The Straits Times.

Since 2008, the Housing Development Board (HDB), Singapore’s largest housing developer, has been installing solar panels on the rooftops of HDB blocks and floating solar systems are currently being tested in the Island nation’s reservoirs.

So far, testing at the Tengeh Reservoir suggest that the new floating panels are more efficient than those placed on rooftops, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said in a speech at the opening Singapore International Energy Week, according to the Business Times. Singapore also plans to test vertical solar panels on the sides of buildings, he added.

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Nadia Chevroulet
About the Author: Nadia is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network.

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