- 1 What is Carbon Footprint and why is Reducing it Important?
- 2 Current Carbon Emission Situation in Singapore
- 3 Some Upcoming Measures to Tackle High Carbon Emission in Singapore
- 4 6 Ways on How Businesses Help to Reduce Carbon Emission
- 4.1 1. Incorporate eco-friendly practices into your daily life
- 4.2 2. Explore renewable energy investments
- 4.3 3. Use influence to accelerate the transition to a green economy within your sector
- 4.4 4. Consider public transport
- 4.5 5. Be aware of your digital footprint
- 4.6 6. Using energy monitoring devices
- 5 Conclusion
- 6 MORE INTERESTING ARTICLES
In this article, you will learn how human actions affect climate change and how businesses may come up with ideas to help reduce carbon footprints for a better planet and future.
What is Carbon Footprint and why is Reducing it Important?
The total amount of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide and methane) produced by our actions is referred to as our carbon footprint. Carbon footprints are often evaluated in equivalent tons of Carbon Dioxide (tCO2e) over the course of a year and can be linked to an individual, a business, a product, or an event, among other things. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a carbon footprint is a measurement of the influence of your activities on the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) created by the combustion of fossil fuels.
So why is reducing our Carbon Footprint important? Our carbon footprint harms the ecosystem in a variety of ways: it is the primary source of human-caused climate change, it contributes to urban air pollution, it causes deadly acid rain, it contributes to coastal and ocean acidification, and it accelerates the melting of glaciers and polar ice. The sooner we recognize that it is time to focus on how to reduce our Carbon Footprint, the more at ease the world will be in dealing with climate change challenges.
Current Carbon Emission Situation in Singapore
Even if Singapore is a small country in comparison to others, we must not forget how we, as people, contribute to the high carbon emission numbers as well due to our high population. Based on Climate Action Tracker (CAT) analysis on how Singapore action against climate changes, it gave an overall rating of “Critically Insufficient” due to several factors:
To start, Singapore’s policies and actions were evaluated as “Highly insufficient” since they are inconsistent with the 1.5°C temperature target. The CAT evaluates this goal as “Critically insufficient” in comparison to what Singapore should provide. When compared to projected domestic pathways, Singapore’s 2030 emissions reduction target is consistent with more than 3°C of warming. If more countries follow Singapore’s lead, global warming might exceed 3°C and reach 4°C.
Singapore’s emissions are dominated by the energy and industrial sectors. The carbon tax, which targets upstream emissions from large emitters, went into effect in 2019 at a rate of 5 SGD/tCO2e. The tax rate was revised in the 2022 budget and would be increased to SGD 25/tCO2e in 2024-2025 and further SGD 45/tCO2e by 2026-2027, with an objective of reaching SGD 50-80/tCO2e by 2030. Despite this progress, the carbon tax remains much too low in comparison to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) forecasts for a 1.5°C compatible pricing.
With increased renewable energy capacity, Singapore’s fossil gas remains the primary energy source in the power sector, accounting for 96% of electricity output, up from 45% in 2000. Singapore has no hydrocarbon reserves, yet petroleum refining, storage, and distribution infrastructure is critical to the country’s economy. The Asia-Pacific area accounts for 70% of global Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) demand, and Singapore is investing to maintain its position as the world’s largest LNG bunkering center, expanding its business line to sell ‘other’ fuels such as LNG and biofuel, as well as nautical fuels.
Singapore’s mitigation efforts are almost entirely focused on further improving energy efficiency through programs such as Green Mark standards for buildings, green procurement, public transportation, fuel efficiency standards, home appliance efficiency standards, industrial energy efficiency, and waste management. However, with a fossil fuel-based energy mix, the impact on emissions is limited and does not compensate for the total rise in energy demand.
Some Upcoming Measures to Tackle High Carbon Emission in Singapore
Singapore will enhance our climate ambition to achieve net zero emissions by or around mid-century, as declared by Minister for Finance Mr. Lawrence Wong in Budget 2022. To facilitate the transition to a low-carbon future, Singapore will gradually raise the carbon price levels beginning in 2024. This will help achieve their climate goals and provide a greener, more sustainable living environment for future generations while being economically competitive in a low-carbon future.
Improving Our Industrial Energy Efficiency
Improving energy efficiency (EE) is one of Singapore’s primary emission-reduction measures. The International Energy Agency ranks it as one of the 20 best-performing countries in terms of emissions intensity.
Singapore aspires to improve industrial EE at a rate of 1% to 2% per year, equivalent to that of leading developed countries. In 2017, it strengthened the Energy Conservation Act to encourage large energy users to do regular energy monitoring and reporting, as well as develop energy management systems. This assists them in identifying potential energy-saving opportunities.
Singapore implemented the Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for motors in 2018, and the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) for water-cooled chilled water systems in industrial buildings in 2020, to phase out inefficient traditional industrial equipment and systems.
The government provides funds to businesses to help them implement EE measures. In 2019, these incentives were expanded to provide more co-funding assistance to businesses. Singapore also works to expand the industrial EE ecosystem and develop the skills of EE experts.
Increasing Energy Efficiency in Buildings
Singapore has greened more than 40% of its buildings (by gross floor area) and is on track to fulfill their 80% objective by 2030. It has also created the Super Low Energy (SLE) Building Programme in order to push the sector to attain best-in-class building energy performance at a low cost.
Singapore plans to enhance the minimum energy performance standards for all new and existing buildings undertaking major retrofitting activities to help the push toward more energy efficient buildings. It would also identify all buildings in the annual publishing of building energy performance data, facilitating benchmarking and encouraging building owners to improve their structures’ energy efficiency.
There are several ways to increase the energy efficiency of buildings in Singapore:
- Install energy-efficient lighting and appliances.
- Insulate the building.
- Use solar energy.
- Implement a building management system.
- Upgrade the HVAC system.
- Use natural light.
Greening the Transport Sector
Singapore aims for active mobility and public and shared transportation modes to account for 9 out of 10 peak-period journeys by 2040. To that end, it will increase it’s cycling pathways and network to more than 1,000 kilometers, up from 440 kilometers in 2019.
By 2030, the rail network will be expanded as well, with 8 out of 10 residences within a 10-minute walk of a railway station.
Singapore plans to phase out internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by 2040, with all vehicles running on cleaner energy. The government will take the lead in procuring and using cleaner energy vehicles, including for public bus services.
Singapore has implemented the EV Early Adoption Incentive and will improve the charging infrastructure for EVs, particularly in public carparks island-wide, to make electric vehicles (EVs) more accessible and promote their adoption.
Overall, Singapore’s efforts to green its transport sector are aimed at reducing the country’s reliance on fossil fuels and improving air quality, while also supporting economic growth and addressing climate change.
6 Ways on How Businesses Help to Reduce Carbon Emission
1. Incorporate eco-friendly practices into your daily life
Involve employees in sustainability efforts by encouraging them to consider environmentally-friendly options when making purchasing decisions for the company. This can include choosing products with minimal packaging, selecting energy-efficient appliances, and avoiding single-use plastics. Funding is also available to help us kickstart your company journey towards sustainability.
One way to save money and reduce waste is by purchasing used or refurbished mobile phones or computers, as well as used office furniture.
Reducing food waste is an important way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change. The production, transportation, and handling of food waste generates significant emissions, and when it ends up in a landfill, it creates methane, which is 80 times more effective at warming the planet than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.
2. Explore renewable energy investments
One of the most effective and straightforward ways for your company to reduce its carbon footprint is by switching to a green or renewable energy tariff. Many energy providers offer these tariffs or contracts, which means that the amount of renewable energy the provider purchases is equal to the amount of energy you use. When more companies join these programs, we can increase the amount of renewable energy on the grid. This renewable energy can come from sources such as biomass plants, hydroelectric power plants, and solar farms.
3. Use influence to accelerate the transition to a green economy within your sector
Large businesses have the power to influence and inspire their industry partners and suppliers to adopt more sustainable practices. These businesses, which are already making progress towards sustainability, can also help smaller businesses in their field to improve their sustainability efforts. Additionally, businesses can initiate projects to educate and engage their employees and customers about sustainability. By actively involving all of their stakeholders, businesses can play a vital role in driving Singapore’s transition towards a green economy.
4. Consider public transport
Every year, Singapore’s vehicles emit approximately 6.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, accounting for approximately 15% of the city-total state’s emissions.
2019 saw the highest percentage of emissions from land transportation coming from Singapore’s private cars, which are primarily powered by internal combustion engines (ICE).
How so? In fact, each passenger in an ICE car emits 7.2 kg of carbon dioxide during an hour of commuting. Switching to an electric car decreases this by half, whereas taking the MRT reduces it by 85%!
It goes without saying that taking public transportation contributes to a lower carbon footprint!
5. Be aware of your digital footprint
Every internet action we take has some sort of environmental consequence. About 75% of respondents to an OVO Energy survey indicated they were ignorant of their inbox’s digital footprint.
According to research, a normal email emits about 4g of CO2, and one with a larger attachment could emit ten times that much CO2.
Therefore, it’s crucial to use digital technology with awareness.
Encourage your staff to think about whether certain emails need to be sent as a first step. Encouragement of file transfer websites rather than attachments can also assist your business leave a less carbon footprint. You can make a start by encouraging your employees to consider whether sending certain emails is necessary. Encouraging the use of file transfer sites rather than sending attachments can also help to reduce your company’s footprint.
6. Using energy monitoring devices
Using energy monitoring devices can be an effective way for certain business sectors such as building and construction to reduce their carbon footprint. Energy monitoring devices allow building owners and managers to track energy usage in real time, identify areas of inefficiency, and take corrective action to reduce energy consumption. Some specific ways that energy monitoring devices can help reduce carbon emissions in the building and construction industry include:
- Identifying equipment that is using more energy than necessary and replacing it with more efficient models
- Detecting and fixing equipment malfunctions that can lead to energy waste
- Monitoring HVAC systems and adjusting their operation to optimize energy use
- Identifying opportunities to reduce standby power consumption
- Tracking energy consumption over time to identify trends and areas for improvement
By using energy monitoring devices, building owners and managers can gain a better understanding of their energy use and take targeted action to reduce their carbon footprint.
By 2100, Singapore’s mean sea level might increase up to 1 meter due to climate change. According to some predictions, sea levels could reach 4 to 5 meters if storm surges and extremely high tides coincide. This may potentially flood one-third of Singapore because it is so high. It’s extremely crucial that we as businesses or individuals to help take part in reducing our carbon footprint for a better future. Therefore, let’s all do our share as individuals or companies to reduce carbon emissions in order to safeguard Singapore from the threat of increasing sea levels.
- 6 ways companies can reduce their carbon footprint. (2022, November 11). Business West. https://www.businesswest.co.uk/blog/6-ways-companies-can-reduce-their-carbon-footprint
- Singapore. (n.d.). Climate Action Tracker. https://climateactiontracker.org/countries/singapore/
- For Businesses. (n.d.). https://www.greenplan.gov.sg/take-action/what-businesses-can-do/
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