E. Building A Sustainable Home For All

 

E. Building A Sustainable Home For All

  1. E1. I will now turn to how we embrace sustainability and build a sustainable home for generations to come.
  2. E2. The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that a pandemic can be an existential threat for humanity. Another existential threat is climate change.
    1. a. Unlike COVID-19, which was a sudden and sharp shock, climate change is a gradual and intensifying risk, year after year.
    2. b. It can result in extreme weather patterns, which threaten the world’s food and water supply, disrupt global supply chains, diminish biodiversity, and upset ecological systems.
  3. E3. Tackling climate change needs a global solution. Countries, no matter how big or small, must play their part, and cooperate with one another.
    1. a. We will continue to support international and regional efforts towards climate action, and play an active role at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations.
    2. b. Our emissions may be just a small fraction of the world’s, but we must do our part.
  4. E4. Sustainable development is a major priority for Singapore. This is not new to us. Our earlier generations of leaders laid the foundations of long-term planning and sustainable development.
    1. a. Mr Lee Kuan Yew emphasised the building of a Garden City in our early years, and transformed Singapore from a polluted backwater with mucky rivers in 1965, to one of the cleanest and greenest cities in the world today.
    2. b. And we have continued to devote resources towards our environment. Over recent Budgets, the Government has put together plans to tackle climate change and translated them into action.
      1. i. To improve air quality, we restructured diesel tax in 2017 and 2019.
      2. ii. We introduced a carbon tax, and passed the milestone Resource Sustainability Act in 2019, to encourage enterprises to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and work towards becoming a zero-waste nation.
      3. iii. And in 2020, we enhanced our Nationally Determined Contribution, a commitment to further limit our emissions as part of the Paris Agreement. We also announced our Long-Term Low-Emissions Development Strategy, which sets out our plans for mitigating and adapting to climate change till 2050 and beyond.

Singapore Green Plan 2030

  1. E5. We will build on our strong foundations and run a national movement to build a sustainable Singapore for all generations.
    1. a. As the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment said in our recent debate on the motion to accelerate and deepen efforts against climate change, sustainability is a journey, not a destination. Our work to achieve sustainable development is never done.
  2. E6. Last week, we launched the Singapore Green Plan 2030.
    1. a. This is an ambitious long-term plan that builds on ongoing efforts, to secure a green, liveable, and sustainable home for generations of Singaporeans to come.
  3. E7. Various government agencies are working in concert. For example:
    1. a. MND is bringing even more greenery to our island home, and transforming Singapore into a beautiful City in Nature, while building up carbon sinks by extending nature throughout our island.
    2. b. MOT is pressing on with our efforts to become a car-lite society by improving public transport, encouraging active mobility, while discouraging pollutive vehicles.
    3. c. MOE is strengthening our education on sustainability practices among our young.
    4. d. MSE and MTI are leading the push to become more energy- and resource-efficient, develop the green economy and jobs, and invest in urban solutions.
  4. E8. This is a whole-of-society effort to meet a global challenge. But it is not without constraints and trade-offs.
    1. a. Costs and benefits of projects will change, as climate cost is factored in and as technology advances. We must continue to stay open and adaptive, and carefully balance our development objectives with sustainability considerations.
  5. Technology

  6. E9. Technology is one such game changer and will open new possibilities. We harnessed technology to overcome our water and land constraints, and will do the same for climate change.
    1. a. For example, under the Cities of Tomorrow R&D programme, researchers from A*STAR and HDB led the development of the Integrated Environmental Modeller. This is a tool incorporating wind, solar irradiance, shading, and environmental noise, to forecast how these factors can affect the thermal comfort for residents. It has been used by our urban planners in the planning of Tengah Housing Estate, to maximise thermal comfort for residents. Urban Solutions and Sustainability will be a focus area under RIE2025, with investments going towards research to help us build a more sustainable and liveable environment.
    2. b. One promising story of innovation by our entrepreneur is the Aquaculture Centre of Excellence, which has innovated and patented “Eco-Ark” with funding support from the Agriculture Productivity Fund. With advanced aquaculture technologies, Eco-Ark is able to produce 20 times more output than the average in coastal fish farms. This improves our food resilience, as part of the 30-by-30 goal. (See Annex C-4.)
    3. c. To continue supporting technology adoption in the agri-food sector, I will set aside $60 million for a new Agri-Food Cluster Transformation Fund. This will replace the Agriculture Productivity Fund. The Minister for Sustainability and the Environment will elaborate at the COS.
  7. Transportation

  8. E10. Technology is also changing the future of transport. While we are going car-lite, we can further reduce emissions by switching to cleaner-energy vehicles.
    1. a. Electric Vehicles, or EVs, is the most promising clean-energy vehicle technology today.
    2. b. Last year, I announced the expansion of Singapore’s public charging infrastructure for EVs.
    3. c. We will accelerate the development of our charging infrastructure to better support the growth of EVs in the next decade. We aim to deploy 60,000 charging points at public carparks and private premises by 2030 – more ambitious than our previous target of 28,000.
      1. i. To catalyse partnership between the public and private sectors, I will set aside $30 million over the next five years for EV-related initiatives, such as measures to improve charging provision at private premises.
    4. d. To further encourage the early adoption of electric cars, we will narrow the cost differential between electric cars and internal combustion engine cars, or ICE cars.
      1. i. I will lower the Additional Registration Fee floor to zero for electric cars, from January 2022 to December 2023. This enables mass-market electric car buyers to maximise the rebates from the EV Early Adoption Incentive.
      2. ii. I will also revise the road tax treatment for electric cars, by adjusting the road tax bands so that a mass-market electric car will have road tax comparable to an ICE equivalent.
      3. iii. The Minister for Transport will provide details at the COS.
  9. E11. In tandem, we will further discourage the use of internal combustion engine vehicles.
    1. a. Singapore has taken steps to reduce vehicular emissions and we have seen positive outcomes.
      1. i. In 2017 and 2019, we restructured diesel taxes to shift away from an annual lump-sum tax towards a usage-based tax system.
      2. ii. Taxi companies, in particular, have made strides in shifting towards petrol-hybrid and electric taxis, with the proportion of diesel taxis in their fleets halving from 86% in 2015, to 42% in 2020.
      3. iii. Usage-based tax has helped shape consumer behaviour towards a more efficient use of fuel, or environmentally-friendly alternatives.
    2. b. To build on the momentum, I will raise petrol duty rates.
      1. i. For premium petrol, the duty will be raised by 15 cents per litre.
      2. ii. For intermediate petrol, the duty will be raised by 10 cents per litre.
  10. E12. These changes will take effect today. To ease the transition for Singaporeans, especially for those who rely on their vehicles for their livelihood, I will provide these support:
    1. a. For motorcycles using petrol:
      1. i. I will provide a 60% road tax rebate to all motorcycles for one year.
      2. ii. In addition, individual owners of smaller motorcycles up to 400cc will receive $50 or $80 in cash, depending on engine capacity.
    2. b. For active taxi and Private Hire Car drivers using petrol and petrol-hybrid vehicles, I will provide a Petrol Duty Rebate of $360, given out over four months. This is in addition to a one-year road tax rebate of 15% to all taxis and passenger cars using petrol.
    3. c. For goods vehicles and buses using petrol, I will provide a one-year road tax rebate of 100%.
    4. d. For cars using petrol, I will provide a one-year road tax rebate of 15%.
    5. e. All road tax rebates will take effect from 1 August 2021.
    6. f. The additional Petrol Duty Rebates for motorcycles, taxis, and Private Hire Cars will be introduced by the middle of 2021. More details will be released by LTA in April.
    7. g. Taken together, these measures will offset about one year of petrol duty increases for taxis and motorcycles, and about two-thirds for commercial vehicles and cars.
    8. h. Most of the expected revenue increase from the petrol duty changes in the coming year will be given out through the offsets, estimated to cost $113 million.
  11. E13. Climate change is real and urgent. We must act now.
    1. a. Behavioural changes take time.
    2. b. COVID-19 has also given us an opportunity to change work and travel habits as remote and flexible working arrangements become more common. We must lock in these behavioural shifts.
  12. E14. A car-lite society will continue to be our main goal. Public transport is after all the cleanest and most energy-efficient mode of transport. The Government has been investing heavily in public transportation, and enhancing public transport connectivity. Within this decade, we will be spending more than $60 billion to expand and renew our rail network.
  13. E15. Overall, these measures will work towards reshaping our transport footprint, towards cleaner transport.
  14. Green Financing

  15. E16. Sustainability efforts require capital. Green finance will be an important enabler.
    1. a. The Government will take the lead by issuing green bonds on select public infrastructure projects.
      1. i. The issuance will serve as a reference for the Singapore Dollar corporate green bond market, including the standards and framework applied, and yields achieved.
      2. ii. As an international financial centre, Singapore can catalyse the flow of capital towards sustainable development, not just in Singapore, but in Asia. MAS has been driving Singapore’s Green Finance Action Plan to develop green finance solutions and markets for a sustainable economy.
      3. iii. The issuance of green bonds by the Government will build on these efforts by deepening market liquidity for green bonds, attracting green issuers, capital, and investors, and anchoring Singapore as a green finance hub.
      4. iv. We have identified up to $19 billion of public sector green projects as a start. One such green project to be financed with green bonds is Tuas Nexus. Tuas Nexus integrates waste and water treatment facilities, and maximises energy and resource recovery in the solid waste and used water treatment processes.
  16. Actions of our People

  17. E17. I have talked about two key enablers of our Singapore Green Plan – technology and capital. A third key enabler is the actions of our people – what you and I do, in our daily lives.
  18. E18. The Government will lead by example.
    1. a. In fact, we have been doing so under the Public Sector Taking the Lead in Environmental Sustainability initiative.
      1. i. Ministries have charted out plans to meet resource targets, such as reducing their electricity and water consumption, and achieving Green Mark standards for our buildings.
      2. ii. Some agencies, including the Ministry of National Development, Home Team Academy, and Temasek Polytechnic are switching to low-global warming potential refrigerant chillers, ahead of the mandatory adoption in end-2022. This will reduce 24 kilo-tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual emissions of about 7,400 cars.
    2. b. The public sector will do more.
      1. i. As part of the Singapore Green Plan 2030, the Government will be committing to more ambitious goals under the “GreenGov.SG” initiative for the public sector. This gives renewed focus to the public sector’s contribution towards national sustainability goals, and reminds all public officers that sustainability must be at the core of our work.
      2. ii. The Minister for Sustainability and the Environment will provide further details on the GreenGov.SG initiatives at the COS.
  19. E19. I also urge businesses and households to play their part in protecting our environment.
    1. a. In Budget 2018, we announced a carbon tax level of $5 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions from 2019 to 2023, to be increased to between $10 and $15 per tonne by 2030.
    2. b. Since then, the effects of climate change have intensified and global momentum to address climate change has accelerated significantly.
    3. c. Countries’ climate ambitions have increased, with the number of countries with net-zero targets increasing from four at end-2017 to 57 at end-2020, including Singapore.
    4. d. On Singapore’s part, we enhanced our 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution and submitted our 2050 Long-Term Low-Emissions Development Strategy under the Paris Agreement in March 2020. We are working towards achieving our long-term net-zero aspirations as soon as viable.
    5. e. This House has also acknowledged that climate change is a global emergency and has called on the government to take stronger climate actions.
    6. f. So, we are in a new situation today. As a responsible member of the international community, Singapore will be expected to do more, along with other countries, as climate change issues take on greater gravity.
    7. g. We will therefore review the trajectory and level of the carbon tax, post-2023, in consultation with industry and expert groups. Up until 2023, the carbon tax level will be maintained at $5 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions as previously announced. This will provide businesses with certainty in the current challenging economic climate.
    8. h. An appropriate carbon tax level is one of the key levers to spur the reduction of our carbon footprint, promote industry innovation and green growth, while maintaining Singapore's overall economic competitiveness.
      1. i. We will announce the outcome of the review at Budget 2022, to give time for businesses to adjust to any revision in the carbon tax trajectory.
  20. E20. As demand for green products and technologies increase globally, businesses can seize new opportunities for growth.
    1. a. An example is Durapower, a battery technology and energy storage solutions company that I visited two weeks ago. Durapower is working with NTU as one of their global research partners to develop high-energy density lithium-ion battery cells that are lightweight, and have higher power density for fast charging capabilities in EVs. The batteries by Durapower are used in more than 45 cities in over 20 countries across the world. It is now diversifying into marine and stationary energy storage segments, and further expanding overseas. (See Annex C-4.)
    2. b. The Government will support our businesses to seize new opportunities in the green economy. We will be launching the Enterprise Sustainability Programme. This will help enterprises, especially SMEs, use resources more efficiently and develop new green products and solutions. MTI will announce more details later.
  21. E21. Last but not least, I encourage all Singaporeans to play our part. I am glad that our youth have been especially passionate about this cause and want to be part of this effort.
    1. a. In the spirit of SG Together, the Government will partner Singaporeans and support ground-up projects which aim to build a more sustainable future.
    2. b. We have received more than 200 proposals from individuals, grassroots, and businesses for the first SG Eco Fund grant call. These proposals seek to address a wide range of environmental sustainability challenges.
    3. c. I welcome all Singaporeans with ideas for sustainable development to step forward and make the difference.
  22. E22. Ultimately, building a green Singapore will require a whole-of-society effort, and I hope that we can harness the ideas and energies of the public, private, and people sectors. Together, we can build a sustainable home for all.