Clearing the air

Questioning Singapore’s carbon credits decisions

by Gwyneth Cheng
For some time now, Singapore has been relentlessly transforming itself into a global carbon trading hub. What does this entail?
What are carbon credits?
“At a very basic level, a company is trying to fight climate change and can’t do anything more, either scientifically or economically, so it decides to pay someone else to do that. At a more macro level, some people choose to think of carbon credits as a transfer of wealth from the global north, which has been historically responsible for more carbon emissions, to the global south.”
The questionable standards of voluntary carbon credits
The failure of REDD+ projects demonstrates this problem
Too many credits from REDD+ projects
Concerns about human rights violations
“The identification of some underperforming projects does not warrant a conclusion that all projects are of poor quality. We still believe high-quality projects exist.”
Controversies regarding carbon credit suppliers further worsen the issue
Verra: Worthless forest credits
“There are strong discrepancies between what we’re calculating and what exists in their databases, and that is a matter for concern and further investigation. I think in the longer term, what we want is a consensus set of methods which are applied across all sites.”
Global Carbon Council: Greenwashing the World Cup
Singapore’s push to become a carbon trading hub
“Singapore has a clear understanding of what it wants. They want to become the voluntary carbon market hub of the world. It’s clear that the demand side for credits that come through the Singaporean turning plate is not environmentally driven. In my view, [they] want to have as broad a range of credits as possible. They’ve been warned on this, but they don’t care.”
Asking the right questions
Disclaimer: Our stories have been researched and fact-checked to the best of our abilities. Should you spot mistakes, inaccuracies, or have queries about our sources, please drop us an e-mail at
In collaboration with
Earth Journalism Network / Partnership
Developed by Internews in 2004, the Earth Journalism Network is a global network of reporters and media outlets. We aim to improve the quantity and quality of environmental reporting and establish networks between environmental journalists worldwide.
Code / Siti Aishah
Design and Illustrations / Amanda Teo
Editing / Nabilah Said, Loh Pei Ying
Recommended Stories
Kontinentalist's - Latest Stories Stamp