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climate scorecard
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The climate crisis will be the defining crisis of our generation. To truly emerge stronger from the pandemic, we cannot go back to normal. A green and just recovery is the only way to secure a better and fairer society for all of us. Our scorecard summarises each party’s stances on the various issues in our Policy Brief, to provide voters with a guide for the upcoming elections. Each party was scored according to its capacity for action on a scale of -90 to +90: the PAP (+8), on the policies it has implemented; the WP (+14), on its Parliamentary speeches and questions; the SDP (+16), on its climate and other policy papers.

The PAP Government scored well in the transport, adaptation, and buildings sections due to their clear, well articulated plans in these domains. In contrast, the WP and SDP scored well in the collective action section, owing to significant contributions from both parties towards strengthening democracy and encouraging public participation. For championing expanded social welfare policies, they also scored well in the equity section.

All parties have significant areas for improvement, especially their positions on the fossil fuel industry. The PAP was penalised heavily for their clear, continued support for expanding the role of fossil fuels in Singapore. The WP, on the other hand, has no clear stand on the fossil fuel industry. While the SDP has criticised the close ties between the state and Big Oil, it needs clear plans in order to back up its statements of intent.

We look forward to seeing all candidates speak up more about climate issues in the run-up to the elections. As voters, we also play an important role. Join our Neighbourhood Greenwatch initiative to push your candidates for ambitious climate commitments!


PAP

WP

SDP

Climate Ambition

+2

NA*

NA*

Equity

-1

+2*

+3

Energy

-2

+1*

+3

Carbon Pricing

+1

-2*

-2*

Industry

-2

-1*

+2*

Adaptation

+3*

+1*

NA*

Transport

+4

+4*

+2*

Collective Action

-1

+4*

+5*

Nature

-2

+2*

+1*

Waste

+3

+3

+1*

Buildings

+3

NA*

+1*

Total
[-90 to +90]

+8

(1 NA)

+14

(16 NA)

+16

(14 NA)

*At least one question in this section was scored NA, meaning that we were unable to determine the party’s stance on it.





climate ambitions

The PAP has acknowledged climate change as an existential threat to Singapore. In response, it aspires to “game change climate change.” However, its actions have not matched up with its rhetoric. Were all countries to follow the government’s most recent 2030 emissions target, there would be global warming of 3-4ºC. Meeting the government’s 2030 target does not require a major decarbonisation of Singapore's industries and energy supply — the primary sources of local emissions — and is thus inadequate. Though the government scored highly on transport and waste, these sectors contribute relatively less to carbon emissions. While much of the government’s climate policy and spending are focused on adaptation to rising sea levels and food security, it is unclear if these measures will be equitable and targeted to address the needs of disadvantaged communities. On the whole, the government’s policies show a tendency to maintain the status quo. However, its response to the COVID-19 epidemic shows that it is capable of bold action if it chooses to treat the climate crisis like the pressing emergency that it is.


climate ambitions

Since 2011, the Workers’ Party has held 6 elected and 3 non-constituency seats in Parliament. Workers’ Party Members of Parliament (MPs) have used this opportunity to probe the incumbent on stronger environmental and social policies, performing marginally better in overall scoring than the incumbent government. The party performed well in the nature and transport sections because its MPs have consistently raised issues such as conservation, public transport affordability, and electric vehicle infrastructure in parliament, pushing the incumbent to do better in these areas. The party also performed well in collective action, given its long-standing support for transparency and civil discourse. However, the party could have been bolder in many domains, such as climate ambition, energy, industry, and buildings, leading to many gaps in scoring. Furthermore, in spite of its positive contribution in parliament, Greenwatch would like to see the party adopt more ambitious plans in its election manifestos. In its 2020 election manifesto, its only climate pledges were for a 10% renewable energy target and a reduction in single-use plastics. As the largest opposition party, the Workers’ Party can do more to re-center the political discussion on the climate crisis; both in terms of its impacts on vulnerable Singaporeans and the role Singapore plays in creating it.


climate ambitions

In its 2020 climate change policy paper, the SDP rightly emphasises the urgency of the climate crisis, acknowledging both the inadequate status quo and need for bolder measures. The SDP has the political will to tackle environmental issues, and for this it attains a marginally higher score than the incumbent government in Greenwatch’s scoring metrics. The SDP did well in the energy, nature and industry categories, where it calls out the continued support for the extractive fossil fuel and palm oil sectors, and points to the need to expand access to renewable energy. The party also scored well in the collective action and equity categories, owing to its longstanding support for civil society and its advocacy of expanded social welfare policies. However, the party often fell short when it came to the details of their proposals. For example, even though the party said it would “significantly upgrade” Singapore’s pledge under the Paris Agreement, no specific figure was given. In contrast, the current government has put forth an updated target in 2020. However, the SDP should be cautious in linking the population issue with climate change, as this has deep historical linkages with the xenophobic politics of the far right. While the party has explicitly said that it opposes xenophobic discourses, Greenwatch would like to see further assurances that the party does not step down this path.


CLIMATE AMBITION

To overcome the greatest challenge faced by humanity in our lifetimes, three things are required: “Ambition, ambition, ambition.” Every country owes a responsibility, not just to its citizens but all life and future generations, to commit to bold climate change mitigation and adaptation targets, implement measures to achieve those targets, and finance them fully. Singapore is no exception.


Subtopic climate ambitions
PAP
climate ambitions
WP
climate ambitions
SDP

Climate targets & timelines

Overall declarations & legislation

Spending on climate change

Subtotal


2


NA


NA

[Click the individual scores for more details]

EQUITY

The climate crisis will affect various groups of society differently. More specifically, groups that are already disadvantaged in some form will most likely be disproportionately affected by climate change. Policies then, must take these variations into account and ensure that all citizens are adequately taken care of based on their individual needs.


Subtopic climate ambitions
PAP
climate ambitions
WP
climate ambitions
SDP

Wealth inequality

Protecting livelihoods

Social justice

Subtotal


-1


+2


+3

[Click the individual scores for more details]

ENERGY

To reduce our emissions, ambitious efforts will be needed to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels for energy. Currently, 95% of our electricity comes from natural gas. Shifting away from natural gas will require a combination of reducing our energy needs, and improving access to renewable sources through innovation and regional collaboration.


Subtopic climate ambitions
PAP
climate ambitions
WP
climate ambitions
SDP

Domestic consumption

Clean energy

Fossil fuel reliance

Subtotal


-2


+1


+3

[Click the individual scores for more details]

CARBON PRICING

By putting a price on carbon emissions, we ensure that the price of fossil fuels includes the cost of climate disruption and leverage the capacity of the market to enable emissions reductions. That said, carbon pricing is not a silver bullet and must be accompanied by other ambitious policies. Carbon pricing can be evaluated in three aspects: 1) Price 2) Coverage of carbon emitting institutions 3) How the carbon tax revenue is used.


Subtopic climate ambitions
PAP
climate ambitions
WP
climate ambitions
SDP

Carbon price level

Carbon tax coverage

Tax revenue distribution

Subtotal


+1


-2


-2

[Click the individual scores for more details]

INDUSTRY

Industry accounts for about 60% of our total carbon emissions—the petrochemical sector being the single largest contributor—underscoring the importance and urgency of a transition to low-carbon, sustainable alternatives. This section focuses on how national commitments and regulations can instigate this shift.


Subtopic climate ambitions
PAP
climate ambitions
WP
climate ambitions
SDP

Support for fossil fuel industry

Divestment from fossil fuel assets

Green investments

Subtotal


-2


-1


+2

[Click the individual scores for more details]

ADAPTATION

Adaptation measures are key in securing Singapore in the face of climate change. These adaptation measures have to be weighed on their potential impacts to Singapore’s and the region’s physical and social environment.


Subtopic climate ambitions
PAP
climate ambitions
WP
climate ambitions
SDP

Protection from climate change

Adaptation & equity

Subtotal


+3


+1


NA

[Click the individual scores for more details]

TRANSPORT

The land transport sector accounts for about 14% of Singapore’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and is mostly powered by vehicles that run on petroleum. Thus, Singapore urgently needs to reduce car use and convert all vehicles to clean energy in order to reduce emissions from this sector.


Subtopic climate ambitions
PAP
climate ambitions
WP
climate ambitions
SDP

Reducing car ownership

Public transport & active mobility

Zero emissions vehicles

Subtotal


+4


+4


+2

[Click the individual scores for more details]

COLLECTIVE ACTION

The government has acknowledged the importance of collective action in combating the climate crisis. As such its policies must aim to create an environment in which civic participation is possible and encouraged. Additionally, collection action is not possible without collaboration. This means that the government must also aim to be as open and as collaborative as possible with its people.


Subtopic climate ambitions
PAP
climate ambitions
WP
climate ambitions
SDP

Space for collective action

Transparency & openness

Education

Subtotal


-1


+4


+5

[Click the individual scores for more details]

NATURE

Singapore has lost an incredible amount of its rich biodiversity due to development. Protection of whatever is left is crucial for both the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.


Subtopic climate ambitions
PAP
climate ambitions
WP
climate ambitions
SDP

Biodiversity and nature

Procedural safeguards

Subtotal


-2


+2


+1

[Click the individual scores for more details]

WASTE

Although waste makes up a small proportion of Singapore’s total emissions through its incineration, when we account for the entire carbon footprint involved in creating new products, reducing waste can result in substantial emission reductions. Relatively more significant sources of carbon emissions come from hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) and food waste.


Subtopic climate ambitions
PAP
climate ambitions
WP
climate ambitions
SDP

Targeting waste at emissions

Waste reductions

Subtotal


+3


+3


+1

[Click the individual scores for more details]

BUILDINGS

Buildings account for a significant proportion of Singapore’s carbon emissions throughout their lifecycle: in the embodied carbon of their materials, their energy use, demolition and the high global warming potential of the refrigerants used in air conditioning. Due to their long lifespan, immediate action is needed to avoid the lock-in of high emission buildings that will be in use for decades to come.


Subtopic climate ambitions
PAP
climate ambitions
WP
climate ambitions
SDP

New buildings

Existing buildings

HFCs in refrigerants

Subtotal


+3


NA


+1

[Click the individual scores for more details]