Professor Simon Tay, Chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs,
Ladies and gentlemen.
1. Good afternoon. It is my pleasure to be here.
2. Today’s event is a timely opportunity for us to reflect on the outcomes at the COP-26 summit that concluded recently, and to discuss how we can continue making progress towards addressing climate change.
3. We had a good outcome at COP-26.
a. Parties agreed on the Glasgow Climate Pact and emphasised the urgency to tackle the climate crisis.
i. In many ways, this is a success for the multilateral approach and a step in the right direction.
b. A key outcome was the conclusion of Article 6 negotiations.
i. This puts in place a stronger foundation for international cooperation in carbon credits.
4. As a strong supporter of multilateral action to tackle climate change, Singapore also played our part at COP-26.
a. We joined the Powering Past Coal Alliance to phase out unabated coal from our electricity mix by 2050.
b. We signed the Global Methane Pledge with more than 100 countries to collectively reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030.
c. We also joined the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030.
d. These efforts were in addition to ambitious domestic plans that we announced ahead of COP-26.
i. Earlier this year, we launched the Singapore Green Plan 2030.
ii. This is a whole-of-nation movement that sets out sectoral plans and targets over the next ten years, to position Singapore for net zero emissions as soon as viable.
5. Overall, Parties at COP-26 showed commitment to working together to accelerate the momentum of global climate action.
a. For example, we agreed to revisit and strengthen our climate pledges as necessary to align with the Paris Agreement temperature goal.
b. So COP-26 was valuable as a platform to achieve tangible outcomes.
6. Beyond COP-26, however, what might some of our next steps be?
a. Allow me to share my thoughts on three areas – international cooperation, the private sector and ASEAN.
7. First, we need to continue strengthening international frameworks to encourage collaboration and generate win-win solutions.
8. Singapore is currently in talks with Australia on a bilateral Green Economy Agreement or GEA.
a. When concluded, the GEA will be a world-first agreement for trade rules, standards and bilateral projects that create good jobs in green growth sectors.
b. In doing so, it will also strengthen environmental governance and global capacity to address climate change.
9. Innovative frameworks such as GEAs can create new opportunities for international cooperation.
a. They enable like-minded countries like Australia and Singapore to move rapidly and nimbly in developing new solutions.
b. We also hope that the GEA will serve as a pilot to contribute towards updating global policies on trade and environmental sustainability.
Private sector plays an important role in the transition to net-zero
10. Second, we will need to harness the strengths and capabilities of the private sector.
11. I would like to highlight two growth areas where the private sector can help catalyse decarbonization at scale and support countries in raising their climate ambition.
12. First, carbon services.
a. As the world moves to a low-carbon future, companies will require guidance and expertise to manage their carbon footprint.
b. Singapore is keen to partner and support our regional stakeholders in meeting their decarbonisation goals.
i. We are also growing our ecosystem of carbon-related services such as in project development, financing, carbon trading, and low-carbon advisory.
13. Second, low-carbon solutions.
a. There is a need to reduce the cost barriers of technologies such as low-carbon hydrogen, and carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS), so that they can be deployed widely and accelerate decarbonisation in the region.
b. For instance, collaboration on safety standards, regulations, and certifications will be required to enable the growth of global supply chains for low-carbon hydrogen.
c. This will enable exporters to find buyers.
d. It will also allow demand markets to access cost-competitive supplies needed for large-scale applications in the industrial, transport and other sectors.
Working together as an ASEAN community
14. The third point I wish to make is that opportunities in the green economy are tremendous for the entire ASEAN community.
15. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate SIIA on the launch of your special report “Greening the Road Ahead: Building a Collective ASEAN Climate Community”.
a. The report explores opportunities for ASEAN countries to work together and strengthen regional cooperation to tackle climate change.
b. It is an important and timely piece of work, given the immense growth potential for our region, in areas such as the export of green electricity.
16. Today’s roundtable is a useful opportunity to continue our efforts to address challenges and opportunities from climate change, while seizing opportunities in the green economy.
a. I am glad to see the wide range of private sector participants here today, and am looking forward to hearing your ideas at the panel discussion later.
17. I wish everyone a fruitful sharing and discussion this afternoon.