Singapore demands climate consensus at UN summit

A strong signal that the world is united against climate change must be agreed at the COP24 UN climate talks in the Polish city of Katowice, Singapore’s representative told the event.
Masagos Zulkifli, Singapore’s minister for the environment and water resources, told the climate summit: “At a time when multilateralism is being challenged, COP24 [conference of parties] will be a key test of the multilateral system to deliver an effective response to the climate.”
The crowded state’s emissions make up just 0.11 per cent of the worldwide total but it faces a disproportionate risk from rising sea levels.
“COP24 must send a strong and unequivocal signal that the world is united in advancing global climate action,” the minister told delegates at the Polish conference which is being attended by 195 nations.
Durable and pragmatic rules must be agreed in the Katowice rulebook to guide participating states on how the climate targets could be reached, Masagos added.
Governments must “stay faithful to the principles and political balance achieved under the Paris agreement”, he said.
Singapore in February this year announced a carbon tax from next year to cut greenhouse gas emissions to help it meet its targets under the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
Under the new carbon tax, Singaporean firms and institutions producing in excess of 25,000 tonnes per year will have to pay an initial tax of US$3.6 per tonne of emissions until 2023. After a review by 2023, there are plans to double or triple the rate by 2030.
This month’s summit in Poland aims to agree a rulebook by Friday that will allow the COP21 Paris agreement to go into force by 2020.
Paris set a three-year deadline to agree the rules, which expires this month.
Sticking points include the issue of differentiation, or whether obligations should differ according to a nation’s level of economic development.
Currently, nations have different transparency mechanisms for the measurement, reporting and verification of emissions data based on their level of development.
But under Paris, all parties could be subject to the same requirements but with developing countries given support with additional finance and extra time to implement reforms.
Masagos told the conference: “Singapore is one of the low-lying island states that is vulnerable to sea-level rise and severe floods from intense storms. Clearly, we need urgent, collective and coordinated efforts by all.”

Low-lying Singapore is vulnerable to rising sea levels. Picture credit: PXHere