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Climate Change & Energy Efficiency

Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change

There is a general consensus amongst scientists and governments that our climate is changing at an unprecedented rate, and that it is largely caused by greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.

Greenhouse gases refer to gases in the atmosphere such as carbon dioxide and methane that absorb the infrared radiation from the sun and warm the lower atmosphere. A certain level of greenhouse gases is necessary to maintain the temperatures at which life on earth can exist. However, the rapid increases in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide since the onset of the industrial revolution has caused the earth to warm beyond these levels, leading to a rise in sea level (from thermal expansion and melting of polar ice caps and glaciers) and various effects on the global climate.

CC and EE Poster

Climate Change in Singapore & Energy Efficiency

The National Climate Change Strategy 2012, outlines Singapore's plans to address climate change through a whole-of-nation approach. The document reflects the key elements of Singapore's climate strategy. They include reducing emissions across sectors, building capabilities to adapt to the impact of climate change, harnessing green growth opportunities as well as forging partnerships on climate change action.

The document may be accessed through this link

As a non-Annex I Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Singapore has submitted our 3rd National Communications (NC) and our 1st Biennial Update Report (BUR) in Dec 2014. The NC and BUR outlines Singapore’s approach in addressing climate change, including on-going and planned mitigation actions till 2020.

The document can be downloaded here (PDF, 2.87MB)

In Singapore, the primary greenhouse gas from human activities is carbon dioxide that is released when fossil fuels such as oil and gas are burnt to meet our energy needs. Our energy demand is expected to grow in the future due to an expanding economy and a growing population. Much of this growing energy demand could be avoided if we use energy more efficiently instead of increasing energy production. Energy Efficiency is therefore an important strategy to reduce our GHG emissions.

In addition to mitigating climate change, there are many benefits to energy efficiency. Energy efficiency goes a long way towards:

  • Enhancing our air quality

    In addition to greenhouse gas emissions, the burning of fossil fuels also generates air pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and particulate matter. By adopting more efficient technologies or practices we can reduce these pollutants, improve our air quality and secure a better quality of life for Singaporeans.     
  • Increasing our economic competitiveness

    Improving energy efficiency will result in overall cost savings to businesses and consumers. This helps to cushion the impact of rising energy costs. A more energy efficient economy can help Singapore maintain its competitiveness over the long term.
  • Reducing our dependence on fossil fuels

    Singapore is almost totally dependent on imported fossil fuels for her energy needs. Prudent use of energy through energy efficiency measures would help to moderate this dependence and defer the need for installing new energy infrastructure.

Climate change is a global phenomenon and as an island state, Singapore is not spared from the effects of climate change such as warming temperatures and rising sea levels.

Findings from Phase 1 of the Second National Climate Change Study , commissioned by NEA in collaboration with the Met Office Hadley Centre in the United Kingdom, show projections of rising sea levels, as well as higher temperatures and more extreme rainfall for Singapore and the surrounding region. Please refer to the infographic below for some of the findings from this study.

climate change in singapore

Singapore’s GHG Emissions Profile

Singapore has long emphasized environmental protection and sustainable development. From 2000 to 2012, Singapore's economy grew at an annual rate of 5.7%, while GHG emissions grew at a lower rate of 2.1%.

Due to our sustainability efforts, Singapore's Carbon Intensity, or carbon dioxide emissions per dollar of economic output, is among the lowest in the world. We rank 123rd out of 141 countries, placing us among the top 20 best-performing countries.

Singapore's GHG Emissions Profile

Singapore's GHG emissions in 2012 totaled 49 million tonnes (MT) CO2 equivalent. The figure below shows the share of direct emissions per sector, as well as the breakdown of indirect emissions from each sector's electricity usage. When combined, these represent the total GHG emissions by sector (For example, the industry sector accounted for about 59 % of Singapore's overall GHG emissions in 2012, of which 41 % was from direct emissions and 18 % from electricity use).

primary and secondary emissions

Last Updated on : 07 November 2017
© 2012 National Environment Agency