Singapore ratifies Paris climate agreement at UN

Channel NewsAsia 21 Sep 16;

SINGAPORE: The Republic on Wednesday (Sep 21) formalised its pledge to fight climate change, with Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan depositing Singapore’s instrument of ratification of the Paris Agreement at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York.

The Paris accord, sealed late last year in the French capital, commits countries to make plans to keep global warming at no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels to try to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Dr Balakrishnan signed the Paris Agreement on Apr 22 together with representatives of 174 other countries. According to a joint media statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) on Wednesday, the ratification is a “further affirmation of our support and commitment for climate action”.

By ratifying the agreement, Singapore formalises its pledge to reduce its emission intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 and stabilise emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030. MFA said this “pledge builds on our existing commitment to reduce, by 2020, greenhouse gas emissions by 16 per cent from the business-as-usual level, which Singapore is on track to meet”.

In July, Singapore released its Climate Action Plan, outlining the various measures to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and enhance resilience to climate change.

The Paris agreement received a major boost earlier this month when China and the United States, the two largest emitters, jointly acceded to the deal during a summit between Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping.

For the deal to take effect, 55 parties responsible for at least 55 per cent of global emissions of greenhouse gases must join the accord.

As of Tuesday, 29 parties behind 40 per cent of emissions have given their consent, according to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Singapore is among at least 30 countries submitting their ratification at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday. The global body said other states include Latin American heavyweights Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, as well as Thailand, Bangladesh and major fossil fuel power the United Arab Emirates.

- CNA/AFP/ek


Singapore formally joins Paris climate change accord
Today Online 22 Sep 16;

SINGAPORE — Singapore formally joined the Paris climate change accord on Wednesday night (Sept 21, Singapore time), with Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan depositing the Republic’s instrument of ratification for the landmark agreement at the United Nations.

“Singapore’s ratification of the Agreement is a further affirmation of our support and commitment for climate action,” said a joint statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Climate Change Secretariat under the Strategy Group of the Prime Minister’s Office last night.

“The unity of purpose demonstrated by the international community marks a major milestone in global climate action. It has contributed towards bringing the Agreement into force. Parties will now work towards its universal and effective implementation.”

The deposit of Singapore’s instrument of ratification during a High-level Event on the Entry into Force of the Agreement at the UN Headquarters organised by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon follows the signing of the Agreement by Dr Balakrishnan in New York in April, together with representatives from 174 other countries.

The joint statement noted that by ratifying the Agreement, Singapore has formalised its pledge to reduce its Emissions Intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 and to stabilise emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030.

“This pledge builds on our existing commitment to reduce, by 2020, greenhouse gas emissions by 16 per cent from the business-as-usual level, which Singapore is on track to meet. “

The Republic released its Climate Action Plan in July this year to outline the various measures to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and enhance resilience to climate change. Improving energy efficiency will continue to be Singapore’s key strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, said the joint statement.

There are plans to enhance energy efficiency across all sectors, including the power generation, industry, buildings, transport, household, waste and water sectors, added the joint statement.

The Paris accord, sealed late last year in the French capital, commits countries to make plans to keep global warming at no more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels to try to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

To come into force, 55 parties responsible for at least 55 of global emissions of greenhouse gases must ratify the accord.

While more than 55 parties have now ratified the agreement, they only account for around 48 per cent of global emissions. The UN is pushing for the agreement to come into force later this year.

Paris climate deal poised to come into force
Today Online 22 Sep 16;

NEW YORK — Thirty-one countries, including Singapore, formally joined the Paris agreement on climate change last night, moving the landmark deal closer to reality.

The United Nations is confident that the agreement will come into force by the end of the year. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who sees the climate deal as a centrepiece of his legacy, had begun a sustained push to win the formal approval of 55 countries representing 55 per cent of global emissions — the threshold needed to put the accord into force.

While more than 55 parties have now ratified the agreement, they account for only around 47.5 per cent of global emissions. “We have crossed one of the two thresholds,” Mr Ban declared last night. “We need 7.5 per cent more ... What once seemed impossible is now inevitable. I’m confident that by the time I leave office (at the end of this year) the Paris agreement will have entered into force,” he said.

Among the 31 countries that deposited their instruments of ratification at the UN yesterday were Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Bangladesh, Singapore, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. Before yesterday, 29 countries had ratified the agreement.

Complex and controversial international accords usually take several years to enter into legal force. But the haste on the Paris accord was driven at least in part by the looming American election.

Mr Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, has vowed to pull the United States out of the accord if he is elected. If the deal comes into legal force before the presidential inauguration, it will take four years under the accord’s rules for America to legally withdraw. That would keep the country bound to the measure through the first term of the next administration.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said last night he is confident of reaching the magic number of 55 per cent before the next UN climate conference, which starts on Nov 7 in Marrakech, Morocco. The conference will open one day before the US presidential elections.

Sealed late last year, the Paris accord commits countries to make plans to keep global warming at no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels to try to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

The agreement received a major boost earlier this month when China and the US, the two largest emitters, jointly acceded to the deal during a summit between Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping.

Another breakthrough in the quest for quick ratification came earlier in the month when the European Union, which accounts for about 10 per cent of global warming emissions, set an Oct 9 vote to join the agreement, with or without action by its member states. The bloc has pledged under the Paris agreement to cut its emissions 40 per cent from 1990 levels by 2030, but not all of its 28 member states are prepared to approve their individual climate pledges.

That push gained unexpected momentum earlier this week when Polish President Andrzej Duda declared before the UN General Assembly that he expected his government to legally join the deal this year. It had been widely expected that Poland, one of Europe’s heaviest coal polluters, would object to the broader European body’s effort to move forward without all of its member states.

“What is important is the heritage that we leave to our children and grandchildren — how they will remember us, and how they will write about us in the history books,” Mr Duda said.

“The EU might still be able to be part of history in the making if they endorse a fast-track ratification process and not have to wait for all 28 member states to complete their domestic process in order to commit to the deal. Late ratification would seriously be putting the EU’s reputation as a climate leader at risk,” said Ms Melissa Low, a research associate from the Energy Studies Institute at National University of Singapore .

She added that if the EU does not ratify the agreement soon, more pressure will be put on other major emitters such as Russia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Canada, Australia and South Korea to ratify the deal. AGENCIES WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ALBERT WAI

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