I’m often frustrated by the need to point out Singapore as a country that gets a lot of things right. It isn’t really a free country and the people there are not really happy.
Nonetheless, they get a lot of things right. For example, their climate change strategy seems spot on. Singapore, the size of a postage stamp and with only 5.4 million, will not change the Earth’s climate–even if they quit using energy completely. But they are determined to contribute.
They have a Climate Change Secretariat and its head wrote a letter to The Straits Times detailing their efforts.
“Singapore submitted a pledge to reduce our Emissions Intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 and stabilise our emissions around 2030.
Since the 1970s, we have managed car usage to reduce traffic congestion and emissions. Over 95 per cent of Singapore’s electricity is generated from natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel. With other measures, Singapore has one of the lowest carbon intensities (carbon dioxide emitted per dollar of gross domestic product) in the world.
Singapore has limited alternatives to using fossil fuel for power generation. Even if all usable rooftops in Singapore were covered with solar panels, it could currently generate about 10 per cent of our total electricity needs. Nonetheless, we will continue to deploy solar energy where feasible, to meet our target of 350 megawatt-peak (MWp) by 2020.
Improving energy efficiency is a key strategy. The Energy Conservation Act imposes energy management practices for large industrial energy users. By 2030, we aim for public transport to make up 75 per cent of peak-hour journeys and for 80 per cent of buildings to achieve Green Mark standards.
We are also taking measures to address climate change impacts such as rising sea levels and extreme weather events. These include raising minimum land reclamation levels, preserving our biodiversity, encouraging diversification of our food import sources, and working with local farms to increase productivity and resilience.”
The solution to global warming isn’t global, as I’ve been known to remark. The top 5 emitters will be responsible for 41% of emissions in 2040, while the second five emitters will only put out 11% of emissions, according to the EIA. Singapore’s emissions are a fraction of a percentage point of the global total now and will be a fraction of a percentage point in 2100 no matter what they do.
Those in smaller countries really should look at Singapore as an example of doing their part, but not over-doing. Their emphasis on building up resilience and focusing on energy efficiency should be the playbook for other countries around the world.
Now about that freedom stuff…