The Republic on Wednesday (Sep 21) formalised its pledge to fight climate change, with Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan depositing Singapore’s instrument of ratification of the Paris Agreement at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York.
The Paris accord, sealed late last year in the French capital, commits countries to make plans to keep global warming at no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels to try to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
Dr Balakrishnan signed the Paris Agreement on Apr 22 together with representatives of 174 other countries. According to a joint media statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) on Wednesday, the ratification is a “further affirmation of our support and commitment for climate action”.
By ratifying the agreement, Singapore formalises its pledge to reduce its emission intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 and stabilise emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030. MFA said this “pledge builds on our existing commitment to reduce, by 2020, greenhouse gas emissions by 16 per cent from the business-as-usual level, which Singapore is on track to meet”.
In July, Singapore released its Climate Action Plan, outlining the various measures to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and enhance resilience to climate change.
What are our main actions to meet the pledge?
The Climate Action Plan says this:
What about Copenhagen Accord and the Kyoto Protocol?
Simply put, all these international agreements are similar. The Kyoto Protocol (1997) and the Copenhagen Accord (2009) are older agreements for the same purpose of fighting climate change.
However, the most recent Paris Climate Agreement is one that is seen very positively especially in light of the progress in negotiations in Dec 2015.
This Paris agreement is also hailed as a success, with the world’s biggests carbon emitters, USA and China, (finally) ratifying the accord as well – something that was not done in previous agreements.
What does ratification mean? Wasn’t the agreement made in Paris in Dec 2015 already?
The meetings in Paris only had representatives from the various nations coming in to discuss and come to a consensus as to what needs to be done. At the end of the meetings, representatives, upon coming to an agreement, will sign the accord. However, at this point of time, countries do not yet pledge to take action to meet the demands of the accord.
The next few months will see the representatives work with their respective governments to consider steps the country can and will take to meet the needs. Once the government agrees, they then ratify the agreement.
For the Kyoto Protocol, though USA signed the agreement, they did not ratify it.