Singapore signs Paris Agreement on climate change

The Republic will "now turn to making the necessary domestic preparations to enable us to ratify the agreement and to achieve the objectives under our NDC (nationally determined contributions)", Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Balakrishnan said as part of the national statement.
Channel NewsAsia 23 Apr 16;

SINGAPORE: Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan represented Singapore at the signature ceremony of the Paris Agreement on climate change at the United Nations in New York, announced the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Saturday (Apr 23).

Dr Balakrishnan also delivered Singapore's national statement at the signature ceremony on Friday to "affirm Singapore's support and commitment for the Agreement", added MFA.

In the statement, the Minister noted that Singapore ranks 123rd in emissions intensity out of 142 countries worldwide, but promised that the country will "continue to do more".

"Within the geographical constraints we face, we will pursue renewable energy in the form of increased solar PV (photovoltaic) deployment," he added. "This will supplement our substantial energy efficiency efforts and other mitigation measures to lower our Emissions Intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels, and to stabilise our emissions around 2030."

"We take our pledge seriously, and will now turn to making the necessary domestic preparations to enable us to ratify the agreement and to achieve the objectives under our NDC (nationally determined contributions)."

According to the United Nations, 175 states signed the agreement, while 15 of those states also ratified it. The signature ceremony, organised by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, was the largest ever one-day signing of an international agreement.

While in New York, Dr Balakrishnan also held meetings with American strategic thinkers, including Dr Henry Kissinger, said MFA. Additionally, he attended a dinner hosted by the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael Bloomberg.

The minister was accompanied by officials from the MFA.

- CNA/av

Paris climate deal set to be signed by record number of states
About 170 countries are expected to sign today in a move the UN hopes will ensure early ratification of the deal
Suzanne Goldenberg The Guardian 22 Apr 16;

About 170 countries gathered at the United Nations for a ceremonial signing of the landmark Paris agreement on Friday, in a powerful display of global efforts to fight climate change.

A dozen countries – mainly the small island states at risk of being drowned by rising seas – said they would take the additional step on Friday of ratifying or granting legal approval to the agreement.

The renewed commitments, and the personal appearance at the UN by about 60 heads of state, delivered a sense of momentum to efforts to bring the agreement into force far earlier than had originally been hoped.

The agreement reached in Paris by 196 countries still needs formal approval from 55 countries representing 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions to come into force. In some cases, that means a vote in parliament.

The US, China and India - the three biggest climate polluters - have all committed to join the agreement, possibly as early as this year.

Leaders said the events on Friday were a sign that governments, business leaders and campaign groups were aligned with trying to move swiftly to phase out the use of fossil fuels and move almost entirely to clean sources of energy by the middle of the century.

“Today’s signing ceremony reaffirms the commitments made last December and delivers a jolt of energy to international climate efforts,” Felipe Calderón, the former president of Mexico, said.

The signature ceremony, kicked off by François Hollande, as host of the Paris climate talks, will be an elaborate affair. Leaders will make their way one-by-one in alphabetical order to a special podium at the General Assembly to sign the single copy of the agreement, translated into six languages.

Amid the celebratory atmosphere, with Leonardo DiCaprio scheduled to appear, leaders and scientists agreed: the measures covered by the Paris agreement still fall far short of reaching the goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5C to 2C above pre-industrial levels, and time is running out.

Last year was the hottest year since record keeping began in 1880. Temperatures for the first three months of this year have already demolished that record – confounding scientists by the scale and pace of temperature rise.

In the Arctic, there was almost no winter, with temperatures at the North Pole rising above freezing even in December, the depths of the polar night. Temperatures were 30C above normal.

On Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, some 93% of coral showed evidence of bleaching, because of long term ocean warming due to carbon emissions, and the El Niño weather phenomenon.

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