Oral Reply to Parliamentary Question on Carbon Credits by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment
Mr Chua Kheng Wee Louis: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (a) whether due diligence was done by NEA on carbon credits issued by Gold Standard and Verra before Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) were signed in 2022; (b) if so, what are the findings of the due diligence; (c) what is NEA’s assessment of recent claims by researchers that most of Verra’s rainforest offset credits are phantom credits; and (d) whether the MOUs with Verra will remain in force in light of the recent developments.
1 The MOUs that NEA signed with Gold Standard and Verra aim to facilitate Singapore-based companies in exercising the option to use high-quality international carbon credits (ICC), to offset up to 5 per cent of their taxable emissions from 2024. The MOUs are not legally binding and do not qualify all ICC issued by Gold Standard and Verra, as companies must meet the environmental integrity criteria of the Singapore Government.
2 Gold Standard and Verra were selected as MOU partners as they are two of the largest carbon crediting programmes which have been accepted by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to issue carbon credits for compliance under the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, or CORSIA. CORSIA standards have been developed and backed by a multilateral process led by ICAO, in consultation with green groups and experts, and are widely regarded as being among the most rigorous standards in the industry.
3 The Singapore Government is aware of The Guardian’s report on rainforest credits issued by Verra, and the response and clarification issued by Verra. We take all scrutiny of carbon markets and projects seriously, and are committed to ensuring that carbon credits uphold high environmental integrity standards. We will take these developments into account as we finalise the environmental integrity criteria for the ICC that are eligible for carbon tax offset. We will publish a whitelist of acceptable ICC later this year, which will include eligible host countries, carbon crediting programmes and methodologies.