Singapore has announced plans to introduce a new carbon tax from 2019.
The tax will initially be levied at $5 Singapore dollars ($3.8 US) on all facilities which produce 25,000 tonnes, or more, of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
Heng Swee Keat, the country’s Minister of Finance, made the announcement on Monday in the yearly budget proposals.
Agence France-Presse reported Mr Heng saying: "Singapore produces less carbon emissions per dollar of GDP than most countries"
“We intend to further reduce our emissions intensity to make a bigger effort to combat climate change."
“In doing so, we will take into account international climate change developments, the progress of our emissions mitigation efforts and our economic competitiveness…The economically efficient way to maintain a transparent, fair and consistent carbon price across the economy to incentivise emissions reduction", he added.
It’s estimated that 30-40 companies will be impacted by the tax, which contribute up to 80 percent of Singapore’s carbon emissions, according to The Straits Times. These are taken from the petroleum refining, chemicals and semiconductor sectors.
Despite its small size, no larger than a city, Singapore ranks 32nd in the world for carbon dioxide emissions, per capita, just behind Germany, according to data from the World Bank.
The decision to tax companies emitting 25,000 tonnes follows China’s own plans to launch a carbon market on companies producing more than 26,000 tonnes. However, China’s goal is to cover more than 7,000 companies which emit a total of 3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases.
There are also government plans to help power companies and businesses to improve energy efficiency. Mr Heng announced an Energy Efficiency Fund which will prioritise funding towards projects which have greater reductions in emissions.
Published on Climate Action on February 19, 2018
Human rights and environment
In recent years, the recognition of the links between human rights and the environment has greatly increased. The number and scope of international and domestic laws, judicial decisions, and academic studies on the relationship between human rights and the environment have grown rapidly.
Many States now incorporate a right to a healthy environment in their constitutions. Many questions about the relationship of human rights and the environment remain unresolved, however, and require further examination.
As a result, in March 2012 the Human Rights Council decided to establish a mandate on human rights and the environment, which will (among other tasks) study the human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, and promote best practices relating to the use of human rights in environmental policymaking.
Mr. John Knox was appointed in August 2012 to a three-year term as the first Independent Expert on human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. His mandate was further extended in March 2015 for another three years as a Special Rapporteur.
The resolution 16/11 adopted by the Human Rights Council on 12th of April 2011 entitled “Human Rights and the environment” requested the Office of the High Commissioner “in consultation with and taking into account the views of States Members of the United Nations, relevant international organizations and intergovernmental bodies, including the United Nations Environment Programme and relevant multilateral environmental agreements, special procedures, treaty bodies and other stakeholders, to conduct, within existing resources, a detailed analytical study on the relationship between human rights and the environment” (para.1).
See also the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes
Human rights and climate change
In its 5th Assessment Report (2014), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) unequivocally confirmed that climate change is real and that human-made greenhouse gas emissions are its primary cause. The report identified the increasing frequency of extreme weather events and natural disasters, rising sea-levels, floods, heat waves, droughts, desertification, water shortages, and the spread of tropical and vector-borne diseases as some of the adverse impacts of climate change. These phenomena directly and indirectly threaten the full and effective enjoyment of a range of human rights by people throughout the world, including the rights to life, water and sanitation, food, health, housing, self-determination, culture and development.