PM Lee Hsien Loong at the Climate Action Summit 2019

SM Lee Hsien Loong | 23 September 2019

Intervention by PM Lee Hsien Loong at the Climate Action Summit on 23 September 2019 at the United Nations.


Mr President,

Secretary-General António Guterres,


Distinguished Delegates,

The consequences of climate change are catastrophic and affect all countries. This include new diseases, more extreme weather events, food shortages, forced migration, and even wars. Like many Small Island States, Singapore is vulnerable, especially to the effects of global warming, and especially the rise of sea-levels. For us, climate change is existential.

Singapore contributes only 0.11 per cent of global emissions. Nevertheless, we have played our part as responsible global citizens to mitigate climate change. We pledged in Paris to peak our carbon emissions in around 2030. We are switching to a cleaner fuel mix, and deploying cleaner energy solutions. Being small and highly urbanised, we are disadvantaged in terms of alternative energy. But we are developing creative solutions within our constraints. For example, we are using solar energy to the maximum extent possible and installing large scale solar panels that float in our reservoirs and off our shorelines in the sea. We also implemented a carbon tax this year, with the intention of increasing it over the next ten years. And we are greening our physical and transport infrastructure. We are aiming for 80 per cent of buildings in Singapore to be green by 2030. And for 90 per cent of peak hour commuting trips to be via public transport, active mobility or shared transport by 2040. We are also developing our long-term low emissions development strategy, as called for under the Paris Agreement.

Singapore will do our full part. But however hard we try, Singapore will not be able to stop climate change on our own. Therefore, we are cooperating with other countries on this common endeavour. We launched the Climate Action Package to offer capacity building programmes. We have contributed S$5 million to the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre, based in Singapore, for a five-year regional capacity development programme for Southeast Asia. We have established the Southeast Asia Disaster Risk Insurance Facility, with the support of Japan and the World Bank, to provide flood risk pooling for the region.

Climate change is the ultimate global commons challenge. As leaders, we all have the responsibility to do our part to rally our people’s support for sustainable development. To convince and educate our people that these efforts are important, and to safeguard our future, and the futures of their children and grandchildren. I therefore call upon fellow member states to redouble our efforts both to mitigate and to adapt to climate change. Thank you.