Climate Change

Singapore's Efforts in Addressing Climate Change

Global warming and climate change

The greenhouse effect occurs naturally when heat from the Earth's surface is absorbed by greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs).

Greenhouse gases are naturally present in the air, and allow the Earth's atmosphere to be warm enough to support life. However, human activities such as burning of fossil fuels for energy and industrial production, and clearing of forests to raise livestock, increases the amount of GHGs in the atmosphere. These additional GHGs trap even more heat in the atmosphere, making the Earth warmer. Global warming leads to long-term climate change.

Read more about the possible long-term effects of climate change on Singapore here

International efforts

Climate change is a global challenge that requires a global solution. Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), countries around the world are working together to address the challenges associated with climate change. Singapore ratified the UNFCCC in 1997 and acceded to the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC in 2006.

On 12 December 2015, Parties to the UNFCCC adopted a landmark agreement on climate change in Paris. The Paris Agreement reaffirms the long-term global goal of keeping global warming well below 2oC above pre-industrial levels, and urges Parties to pursue efforts towards a more ambitious 1.5oC threshold. Unlike the Kyoto Protocol which required only developed countries to take on emissions targets, the Paris Agreement will be applicable to all countries. The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016.

Singapore signed the Paris Agreement on 22 April 2016 and ratified it on 21 September 2016.

Singapore’s pledge

In 2009, Singapore pledged to reduce emissions by 16 per cent from business-as-usual (BAU) levels by 2020.

In 2015, building on our earlier commitment, Singapore pledged to reduce our Emissions Intensity (EI) – the amount of GHGs emitted per dollar GDP – by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, and to stabilise emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030. 

Singapore has set ambitious targets under our 2030 pledge, and meeting them will require concerted efforts by the government, businesses, households and individuals. Singapore’s strategies to achieve our 2030 pledge are outlined in the Climate Action Plan: Take Action Today, For a Carbon-Efficient Singapore which can be downloaded here [3.0 MB, PDF]. NEA actively promotes energy efficiency in the industry, household, and public sectors through legislation, incentives, and public education. Read more about Singapore’s 2030 pledge, which was submitted to the UNFCCC on 3 Jul 2015, here. 

On 4 November 2022, Singapore submitted its second update to the 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and an Addendum to Singapore’s Long-Term Low-Emissions Development Strategy (LEDS) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). As part of the revised 2030 NDC, Singapore pledged to reduce emissions to around 60 MtCO2e in 2030 after peaking emissions earlier.  The Addendum to the LEDS captures Singapore’s raised national climate target to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The targets are contingent on the maturity of decarbonisation technologies and effective international cooperation. Singapore’s ability to fulfil these pledges, like all Parties, will depend on the continued international commitment by Parties to the Paris Agreement and their climate pledges.  More information on the second update to the 2030 NDC and Addendum to Singapore’s LEDS can be found here.

Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change

Established in 2007, the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change (IMCCC) ensures Singapore adopts a coordinated approach towards climate change. NEA actively supports the strategic outcomes of the various IMCCC working groups.

More information on the IMCCC can be found here.

Singapore’s efforts in mitigating hyrdrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions

HFCs are potent greenhouse gases which are commonly used as refrigerants in commercial and residential refrigeration and air-conditioning applications. NEA has introduced measures to mitigate HFC emissions.