A second parliamentary motion has been filed to address climate change and its impacts on Singapore, focusing on effectively transitioning workers into green jobs and industries.
The first motion was filed in Feb. 2021, and was a broader call for the government to deepen and accelerate efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
This second motion comes after continued efforts and conversations with industry experts, academia, environmental groups and Singaporeans.
Leaving no one behind in the green transition
The motion was filed by Deputy Chair of the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Sustainability and the Environment Poh Li San, and is supported by GPC Chair Louis Ng and GPC Members Nadia Ahmad Samdin, Don Wee, Gan Thiam Poh and Hany Soh.
The motion states:
"This House calls for the Government to enhance green financing, create more green jobs, and strengthen corporate accountability, in partnership with the private sector, civil society and community, to advance Singapore’s inclusive transition towards a low-carbon society."
At least 15 People's Action Party (PAP) Members of Parliament (MPs) as well as Nominated MP Koh Lian Pin, a conservation scientist, will be speaking about the motion during the Parliament sitting from Jan. 10 to Jan. 12.
They will suggest ways to transform Singapore into a regional hub for a carbon marketplace, sustainability accounting and reporting, and sustainability R&D.
The motion will also include recommendations to help prepare Singaporeans for jobs created in the sustainability sector, such as a dedicated Green Space Academy to develop sustainability-related R&D and talent.
Poh shared that the second motion zooms in to a specific aspect of the green transition, "which is ensuring Singaporeans are not left behind".
Considering an estimated 55,000 jobs will be created in the green sector by 2030, the motion will help Singaporeans be "front and centre" in taking advantage of these opportunities, Nadia added.
Tiered carbon tax and catalogue of sustainable businesses
Reducing carbon emissions is also on the agenda.
One of the suggestions is a tiered carbon tax. Currently, businesses are being taxed at S$5 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions (tCO2e) generated.
Finance minister Lawrence Wong previously announced that the carbon tax will be reviewed during this year's Budget, and the revised carbon tax will kick in in 2024.
The MPs hope that a tiered carbon tax will help reduce the burden on businesses that produce less emissions.
Another suggestion is to publish a catalogue of firms with low or reduced carbon emissions, which will help consumers make informed decisions when purchasing products, and to nudge them towards firms which conduct sustainable practices.
The catalogue will consist of local firms for now, and the total number of firms featured in this catalogue has not been confirmed.
This will, hopefully, incentivise other firms to follow in these sustainable businesses' footsteps.
The motion has also received support from the GPC for Finance and Trade and Industry.
Other MPs from the GPC — Liang Eng Hwa, Foo Mee Har, Saktiandi Supaat, Derrick Goh, Mariam Jaafar, Edward Chia and Shawn Huang — will also speak on seizing opportunities for green growth, balancing trade-offs for a brighter future and upgrading skills and transforming jobs for an inclusive transition.
Top photo from Jack Lee via Wikipedia