Mr Leon Perera (Aljunied): Mr Chairman, Sir, nature-based climate solutions are powerful methods of carbon capture. They also have the added benefit of protecting ecosystems. As we move to set up our carbon trading hub and companies consider buying carbon credits from overseas entities to offset emission, there is a pressing need to ensure projects are socially sustainable. Lack of local buy-in, poor over-oversight and poor management can result in projects with less carbon capture than what companies pay for.
Indonesia’s Katingan Mentaya project has reportedly been one such case. A Nikkei investigation found that more carbon credits were issued than it could likely make good on. Poor quality credits diminish accountability and reduce the emissions captured. Crucially, they could impact the Singapore brand. Renewable projects funded by Government-link companies (GLCs) should also be accountable for ESG impact. Reports mentioned that the Laos hydro projects could be negatively impacting food production, ecosystems and indigenous communities.
With Keppel recently signing its hydroelectricity import deal, I hope that our GLCs pay attention to such externalities. Impacts can be minimised with the adoption of free prior and informed consent policies. I would like to suggest that the Government step in to recommend consistent, baseline, transparency and traceability, and due diligence process guidelines for such renewable projects. This is important from the standpoint, not only of promoting green outcomes, but for our national brand as well,
Lastly, my Parliamentary colleague, Assoc Prof Jamus Lim previously expanded on the potential soft power benefits of having a foreign aid agency. Such an aid agency could support, targeted cash transfers to indigenous in rural communities to manage and protect forests abroad. NGOs like Cool Earth already do this and one UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report studying Latin America found this to be a cost-effective way to preserve forests. In Indonesia, there are already community-managed forests.
Sir, we should come in to support such efforts as good neighbours on the same pale blue dot.
8 March 2022
Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment