Premier Lee Hsien Loong calls on APEC economies to accelerate their response to climate change

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called on APEC economies to work together to accelerate the pace of tackling climate change in three ways, including investing in new technologies, developing high-integrity carbon markets, and developing new financial models to support the energy transition and decarbonisation.

Lee Hsien Loong is in San Francisco to attend the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting. He spoke at the first informal dialogue on “Sustainability, Climate and a Just Energy Transition” on November 16, San Francisco time.

Lee said it was encouraging that the United States had made sustainable development a key priority of its APEC chairmanship, building on the Bangkok Goals for a Biocircular Green Economy adopted by Thailand’s chairmanship last year. He also said APEC economies can do a lot together to accelerate progress on climate change.

Lee Hsien Loong proposed three suggestions for this, one is to invest in new technologies. He said that low carbon hydrogen and carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technologies have broad prospects. But new technologies must be deployed on a large scale in order for people to afford them, and no economy can do this alone.

Singapore is developing a national hydrogen strategy to green the power sector. Singapore looks forward to working with like-minded partners to scale up the low hydrocarbon supply chain.

The second proposal is to jointly develop high-integrity carbon markets. ‘We need clearer and more harmonised rules, requirements and standards for carbon credits to build trust and confidence in the market, as well as to encourage investment, create jobs and promote sustainable development, including the conservation of biodiversity,’ he said.

Singapore is particularly concerned about the environmental integrity of carbon credits, which means achieving the same or lower total global emissions through carbon credits traded on carbon markets. We have recently published stringent eligibility criteria for international carbon credits to be accepted under our carbon tax system, including a requirement that these carbon credits comply with Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.

Article 6 of the Paris Agreement deals with the operation of the international carbon market and how emissions reductions are transferred between countries.

Singapore welcomes APEC’s “Unconstrained and Just Energy Transition Principles”. Lee said it was important to have a credible, managed coal phase-out plan in place to mitigate the potential impact on unemployed employees and communities.