Efforts to Reduce Greenhouse Emissions by Industries in Singapore

Anthea Indira Ong
4 min readOct 7, 2019

Parliamentary Question, 7 Oct 2019


Ms Anthea Ong asked the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) whether there are plans to reduce greenhouse emissions by industries; (b) how much fossil fuel is (i) imported into and (ii) refined in Singapore every year; © how do the volumes in (b) measure up against Singapore’s annual carbon emissions; (d) how much percentage increase in carbon emissions is expected following an expansion of refinery facilities; and (e) what is the strategic plan to support industries to make the urgent shifts to changing market and consumer demands to promote climate crisis responsibility.

The Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry (Dr Koh Poh Koon) (for the Minister for Trade and Industry): In 2017, 190 millions tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) of fossil fuels were imported into Singapore. About 55 Mtoe were refined into higher value chemicals and fuels and mostly exported for use in other countries. The rest is largely for power generation and transportation. Singapore generated 52.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2017, of which industries contribute about 60%. Around three-quarters of industries’ emissions is from the refining and petrochemicals sectors.

Under the Paris Agreement, Singapore has pledged to reduce our emissions intensity by 36% from 2005 levels by 2030 and to reduce our total carbon emissions beyond 2030. To achieve this, we have to make our economy much more carbon efficient.

For existing industries, we are encouraging companies to adopt energy efficient technologies. This year, we implemented an enhanced set of Industry Energy Efficiency schemes. From January 2019, the funding support for the adoption of energy efficient technologies under EDB’s Resource Efficiency Grant for Energy (REG(E)) and NEA’s Energy Efficiency Fund (E2F) has been increased from the previous cap of 30%, to 50% of the qualifying costs. From 2021 onwards, companies regulated under the Energy Conservation Act must establish energy management systems and regularly assess energy efficiency opportunities. NEA is also planning to launch a new grant to help companies digitalise their energy management systems.

When firms expand their operations or new firms invest in Singapore, the Government works closely with them to ensure a high standard of efficiency. For instance, the Government supported the Singapore Refining Company (SRC)’s upgrade on Jurong Island, including its co-generation plant, which has led to greater energy efficiency, higher quality products and reduced sulphur oxide emissions. This is also the case for ExxonMobil’s recent expansion of its Singapore manufacturing complex, which is one of the most efficient refineries globally. Beyond the refineries and petrochemicals sector, we also encourage companies in other sectors to be energy efficient. For instance, Facebook’s first data centre in Singapore will be a leader in energy efficiency, with features that also minimise the use of land and water.

But beyond industries, all of us as consumers, as citizens have a responsibility to mitigate climate change, for example, saving electricity, using public transport and reducing waste are good ways to cut carbon emissions. As a country, we will do our part to help address global climate change and global climate challenges.

Ms Anthea Ong (Nominated Member): I thank the Senior Minister of State for the response. Can I just find out if part (d) on how much percentage increase in carbon emissions is expected following an expansion of refinery facilities, has been answered, please?

Dr Koh Poh Koon: Mr Speaker, I think individual refineries’ expansions and their emissions are actually commercially sensitive. So, that is not something that I am able to share with the Member at the moment. But I would say that in principle, when we expand the presence of our refineries here, whether it is a new and or an existing one, the aim is to ensure that they are carbon and energy efficient. And let me just also say that we are committed to our Paris Agreement goals that regardless of industry expansion of new plants, we want to make sure that we still cut our intensity of emissions by 36% from 2005 levels and to peak at 2030, and to reduce beyond that.

Mr Speaker: Ms Anthea Ong.

Ms Anthea Ong: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Can I check also with the Senior Minister of State, in terms of the contribution that we have shared that we contribute 0.11% of carbon emissions globally — does that number include the emissions from the oil refinery facilities, please?

Dr Koh Poh Koon: I believe that takes into account the whole of Singapore’s emissions.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Anthea Ong is a Nominated Member of Parliament. (A Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) is a Member of the Parliament of Singapore who is appointed by the President. They are not affiliated to any political party and do not represent any constituency. There are currently nine NMPs in Parliament.)

The multi-sector perspective that comes from her ground immersion of 12 years in different capacities helps her translate single-sector issues and ideas across boundaries without alienating any particular community/group. As an entrepreneur and with many years in business leadership, it is innate in her to discuss social issues with the intent of finding solutions, or at least of exploring possibilities. She champions mental health, diversity and inclusion — and volunteerism in Parliament.

She is also an impact entrepreneur/investor and a passionate mental health advocate, especially in workplace wellbeing. She started WorkWell Leaders Workgroup in May 2018 to bring together top leaders (CXOs, Heads of HR/CSR/D&I) of top employers in Singapore (both public and private) to share, discuss and co-create inclusive practices to promote workplace wellbeing. Anthea is also the founder of Hush TeaBar, Singapore’s 1st silent teabar and a social movement that aims to bring silence, self care and social inclusion into every workplace, every community — with a cup of tea. The Hush Experience is completely led by lovingly-trained Deaf facilitators, supported by a team of Persons with Mental Health Issues (PMHIs).

Follow Anthea Ong on her public page at www.facebook.com/antheaonglaytheng