National Statement of Singapore delivered by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, at the UNFCCC COP-20 High Level Segment, 9 December 2014, Lima, Peru
Moment for action
The IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report provides a stark warning of the consequences if we do not limit global warming to below 1.5 or 2°C. This COP-20 is a crucial test of whether we stay on-track or let ourselves get distracted. It is incumbent on all of us to be pragmatic and constructive. We need to affirm the concepts of ‘applicable to all’ and ‘universal participation’. Whilst we cannot solve everything here in Lima, it would be negligent of us to delay what we can agree upfront. We must try to build momentum to clear a pathway to Paris next year.
As we work towards a new global agreement, it is important to remember that we are not starting from scratch. We are building on the foundations of the UNFCCC. To build a durable and effective post-2020 regime, we should be prepared to give each other some reassurances:
(i) First, that the principles and provisions of the Convention should be upheld in toto. This means that the previously achieved fine balance in the Convention should not be wrecked by selective cherry-picking of partisan interests. We should simply use the entire Framework Convention, as is, as the durable foundation for the new regime;
(ii) Second, that we recognise each other’s respective and unique national circumstances and that we will all put forward, in good faith, our best efforts in our INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions); and
(iii) Third, that we are all in this together and there will not be any free-riders in Paris. If any country faces difficulties, help can be rendered, but everyone would have to be on board and make a contribution.
In our view, if these three assurances are in place, this will help drive momentum towards achieving significant outcomes in Lima:
(i) First, we can have a decision on upfront information to provide clarity, transparency and mutual understanding of our respective INDCs. But we should not unwittingly create undue burden that would prevent countries from tabling INDCs next year. The idea that it is “without prejudice to the legal form” gives us some room to achieve balance.
(ii) Second, the draft elements of a negotiating text for the 2015 agreement can be resolved. We need to provide assurances that the issues which are important to all different stakeholders will not ignored. At the same time, those of us making demands must be willing to accept a middle path to find consensus. No agreement can be achieved by simply sticking to our original demands.
(iii) Third, the enhancement of pre-2020 ambition. As this is the base for our post-2020 goals, we should not avoid doing more before 2020, but when that happens, the 2015 agreement should recognise the early actions of countries. Otherwise, countries will have perverse incentives to delay action until the new agreement is implemented in 2020.
Singapore is a member of the Small Island Developing States. We contribute very little at aggregate level to global emissions but we will play our part. Singapore generates relatively low levels of carbon emissions per GDP dollar in the world, ranking 113th out of 140 countries1. From the year 2000 to 2010, our carbon intensity decreased by 30%, which compares favourably with the global average decrease of only 0.12%. We ratified the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol and we will submit our INDC in a timely manner before COP-21. We just submitted our Biennial Update Report and we have also launched the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015 which updates our plans, especially in areas such as energy efficiency and climate resilience.
In conclusion Mr President, I assure you of our commitment and support for Peru’s leadership and we look forward to a successful conclusion of this meeting. I would also like to add Singapore’s appreciation to the government and people of Peru for the warm hospitality and meticulous arrangements at this Conference.
1 Source: IEA Key World Energy Statistics, 2014.