Singapore’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) and what it means

July 6, 2015 by  
Filed under Insights

Solar Park at Marina Barrage

Singapore has recently submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat. Each country is requested to submit their INDC before the Conference of Parties in Paris in December this year so as to facilitate the development of a new global climate agreement for the post-2020 period.

Singapore’s INDC states that it intends to reduce its Emissions Intensity (EI) by 36% from 2005 levels by 2030, and stabilise its emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030. Singapore’s Emissions Intensity or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per S$GDP (at 2010 prices) in 2005 is 0.176 kgCO2e/S$. A reduction of 36% would mean that Singapore’s EI in 2030 is projected to be 0.113 kgCO2e/S$. Read more

The Use of Coal in Singapore

July 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Insights

coalHere’s an update on the use of coal in Singapore:

Tuas Power’s coal plant

Read the chronology of the clean coal and biomass cogeneration plant by Tuas Power.

Tuas Power’s new coal and biomass plant at Jurong Island would start operations mid next year, and the company has signed a contract with Indonesia’s PT Bayan Resources to supply 13.36 million tonnes of sub-bituminous coal over the next 15 years from Kalimantan, and has also struck a deal with South Korea’s Samtam Co Ltd to supply coal. Tuas Power is also concluding a deal for the palm kernel, which makes up the 20% biomass component of the plant feedstock (the other 80% is coal).

If a calculation is done only for the coal supplied by PT Bayan Resources, and excluding the coal from Samtam Co Ltd and the palm biomass, the combustion of 13.36 million tonnes of sub-bituminous coal would emit about 24 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (using the Greenhouse Gas Protocol’s calculation tool). Read more

Singapore’s Second National Communication on Climate Change Report to the UNFCCC Secretariat

January 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Insights

NCCC - Report CoverSingapore submitted its Second National Communication on Climate Change report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat in Nov 2010. The report is an update of the first National Communication report submitted in 2000, and details the strategies for managing sustainable growth and climate change in Singapore.

The national reports are required for Parties to the Convention to submit to the Conference of the Parties (COP), and serve to provide a consistent, comparable, accurate and complete account of action being taken by Parties to the Convention to address climate change in their own country.

The report reiterates Singapore’s constraints, being:

  • a small, densely populated urban city-state
  • energy-poor and alternative energy disadvantaged
  • an export-oriented economy

But it also points out Singapore’s sustainable growth:

NCCC - Sustainable Growth

The report shows that Singapore’s greenhouse gas emissions for 2000 is 38,789.97 Gg CO2-equivalent, and CO2 accounted for 97.3% of total emissions. Singapore’s 2000 National Greenhouse Gas Inventory is shown below:

NCCC - GHG Inventory

The report highlights Singapore’s vulnerability and adaptation measures, including commissioning a vulnerability study to determine the likely long-term effects of climate change on Singapore, such as rainfall patterns, sea levels, extreme weather conditions, building energy consumption, public health, and biodiversity. The study findings will serve to identify new adaptation measures and review existing measures.

The report also highlights Singapore’s key mitigation measures:

  1. Adopt less carbon-intensive fuels such as natural gas
  2. Increase energy efficiency across households, industry, buildings, and transport sectors (driven by the Energy Efficiency Programme Office)
  3. Invest in research and development for clean energy such as solar energy

Click here to download Singapore’s Second National Communication on Climate Change (2010).

Source and images credit: MEWR and NEA

Singapore to Reduce Carbon Emissions by 16% Below 2020 Business-As-Usual Levels

March 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Insights

Before the Copenhagen Conference

On 2 December 2009, the Singapore government announced that Singapore will reduce its carbon emissions by 16% below 2020 business-as-usual levels, provided that:

Singapore will only commit to this if there is a legally binding global deal that obliges all countries to cut emissions, and if other countries offer significant pledges

Senior Minister S. Jayakumar

This announcement was made in light of the UN Climate Change Conference 2009 (COP15) in Copenhagen, Denmark, which was held from December 7-18, 2009. Read more about the 16% cut and the government’s approach to COP15 from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs news release.

After the Copenhagen Conference

The discussions at COP15 failed to produce a legally binding global agreement and instead resulted in a non-binding Copenhagen Accord. Nevertheless, the Singapore government said that:

When a global agreement on climate change is reached we will implement the additional measures to achieve the full 16 percent reduction below business as usual in 2020

Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources

The next round of climate talks and discussions on a global agreement will be at COP16 in Mexico from November to December 2010. Meanwhile, the government announced that it would still cut emissions by between 7% to 11% below business-as-usual levels, which was planned as part of the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint published in April 2009 (the 7% to 11% cut was not mentioned during the release of the blueprint). The full 16% cut will be implemented when a global agreement is reached in the future.

Our Thoughts on the 16% Cut

Singapore’s target means it will cut roughly 12 million tonnes of CO2 by 2020, said Dr Yaacob.

This is based on a projection that the country’s emissions would reach 75 million tonnes of CO2 by 2020 if no measures were taken.

Straits Times

Singapore’s absolute carbon emissions in 2007 is about 40 million tonnes and from the statement above, it seems that the government projected that carbon emissions will reach 75 million tonnes in 2020 on a business-as-usual scenario. If Singapore takes action to reduce its emissions by 16%, the cut is equivalent to 12 million tonnes, meaning that emissions would reach 63 million tonnes in 2020. This cut is just based on 2020 levels, which implies that there is no peak in emissions and a drop thereafter. What we would expect is a continuous increase in absolute carbon emissions till 2020.

Carbon Emissions from 1990 to 2020

The graph above shows the absolute carbon emissions from 1990 (22 Mt) to 2007 (40 Mt) based on available published data by the government. If we do a projection of the emissions from 2008 to 2020 based on an estimated 5% annual growth (BAU), we would reach 75 Mt, which is the business-as-usual scenario projected by the government.

If we do a projection of the emissions from 2008 to 2020 based on an estimated 3.6% annual growth (pledge), we would reach 63 Mt, which is the 16% cut committed or the we-will-take-action scenario projected by the government.

From 1990 to 2007, the average annual emissions growth is about 3.6%. We would expect a projection for business-as-usual scenarios for the future to use this number but the government uses a higher business-as-usual growth of 5%.

What we find strange is that when the government commits to the 16% cut by 2020, it is reducing the average annual growth in emissions from 2008 to 2020 from 5% to 3.6%, which is the same annual growth as what we have been doing over the past 17 years. In other words, if we continue business-as-usual from 2008 to 2020 without the 16% cut, we would still reach the projected 63 million tonnes in 2020 or the we-will-take-action scenario.

So, are we really reducing carbon emissions by 16% from 2020 BAU levels or are we just assuming a higher BAU level in 2020 and then committing to 16% cuts, which results in a level we would reached anyway if we don’t take any measures to reduce emissions?

Let us know what you think.

True or False: Singapore to Reduce Carbon Emissions Growth by 16% from 2020 BAU Levels

December 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Insights

This post was first published at AsiaIsGreen.

You must have already heard of the announcement yesterday that Singapore will reduce carbon emissions growth by 16% from 2020 business-as-usual levels, provided that:

Singapore will only commit to this if there is a legally binding global deal that obliges all countries to cut emissions, and if other countries offer significant pledges, said Professor Jayakumar. – Straits Times

Read more from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs news release and from the local media.

We were wondering yesterday whether the 16% cut refers to absolute carbon emissions or carbon intensity, and whether the cut is from 1990 or 2005 levels. But having read the news over again, we realised that:

Singapore’s target means it will cut roughly 12 million tonnes of CO2 by 2020, said Dr Yaacob.

This is based on a projection that the country’s emissions would reach 75 million tonnes of CO2 by 2020 if no measures were taken. – Straits Times

Singapore’s absolute carbon emissions in 2007 is about 40 million tonnes and from the statement above, it seems that the government projected that carbon emissions will reach 75 million tonnes in 2020 on a business-as-usual scenario. If Singapore takes action to reduce its emissions by 16%, the cut is equivalent to 12 million tonnes, meaning that emissions would reach 63 million tonnes in 2020. This cut is not based on 1990 or 2005 levels, it is just based on 2020 levels, which implies that there is no peak in emissions and a drop thereafter. What we would expect is a continuous increase in absolute carbon emissions till 2020.

Carbon Emissions from 1990 to 2020

The graph above shows the absolute carbon emissions from 1990 (22 Mt) to 2007 (40 Mt) based on available published data by the government. If we do a projection of the emissions from 2008 to 2020 based on an estimated 5% annual growth (BAU), we would reach 75 Mt, which is the business-as-usual scenario projected by the government.

If we do a projection of the emissions from 2008 to 2020 based on an estimated 3.6% annual growth (pledge), we would reach 63 Mt, which is the 16% cut committed or the we-will-take-action scenario projected by the government.

From 1990 to 2007, the average annual emissions growth is about 3.6%. We would expect a projection for business-as-usual scenarios for the future to use this number but the government uses a higher business-as-usual growth of 5%.

What we find funny is that when the government commits to the 16% cut by 2020, it is reducing the average annual growth in emissions from 2008 to 2020 from 5% to 3.6%, which is the same annual growth as what we have been doing over the past 17 years. In other words, if we continue business-as-usual from 2008 to 2020 without the 16% cut, we would still reach the projected 63 million tonnes in 2020 or the we-will-take-action scenario.

So, are we really reducing carbon emissions by 16% from 2020 BAU levels or are we just assuming a higher BAU level in 2020 and then committing to 16% cuts, which results in a level we would reached anyway if we don’t take any measures to reduce emissions?

Or are we just plainly wrong, make wrong assumptions and mistakes? Or did we get the maths wrong? Or maybe we are just talking rubbish and don’t know what we are talking about? Let us know what you think.

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