Former central bank chief appointed Singapore’s inaugural climate action ambassador

The former Monetary Authority of Singapore head Ravi Menon has come out of retirement to take on a newly created role, where he will represent the city-state at international climate discussions and advise on nationwide climate policies.

Ravi Menon at COP28
Ravi Menon at the COP28 climate talks in Dubai. He has been appointed Singapore's first climate action ambassador with effect from 1 April. Image: COP28 Singapore Pavilion

Barely three months after retiring from his position as Singapore’s central bank chief, Ravi Menon will be rejoining the civil service as the city-state’s first ambassador for climate action.

In addition to this newly created role, he has also been appointed a senior advisor at the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) under the Prime Minister’s Office, where he will represent the country at international climate discussions and advise on national climate policy.

According to the agency’s press release, Menon will be tasked with driving public-private partnerships within the local business community “to help them seize opportunities to succeed in a low-carbon future.”

Menon served as managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) since 2011 and stepped down in January, making him the republic’s longest-serving central banker. He has since been succeeded by former deputy Chia Der Jiun.

Under his leadership, Menon helped to spearhead many of the country’s sustainable finance initiatives. These include launching one of the world’s first taxonomies to define what counts as “transition” investments, establishing a coalition to develop a novel class of carbon credits in support of early coal phase-outs and setting up a blended finance platform to enhance the bankability of green and transition projects in Asia.

He also leveraged Singapore’s emerging fintech capabilities to improve the transparency and quality of environmental, social and governance (ESG) data through Project Greenprint, which has since been spun off as an independent platform that aims to simplify sustainability reporting for small and medium enterprises.

In 2022, Menon concurrently served as the chair of the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), a network of over 120 central banks and financial supervisors committed to scaling up green finance, until his retirement.

On a panel at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai last year, Menon said that his “top wish” for scaling climate investments is for governments worldwide to implement the “right price” for carbon, which he put at around US$100 per tonne. This would make financing mechanisms like blended finance and carbon credits, which are used to lower the cost of capital for energy transition projects, unnecessary, he said.

While Singapore, which is the first Southeast Asian nation to put a price on carbon, is expected to raise carbon taxes over the next few years, Menon remarked that this increase is “not quite enought” and “needs to go even higher”.

The city-state’s carbon tax increased to S$25 (US$19) this year and will rise to S$45 (US$34) in 2026 before reaching S$50 to S$80 (US$37-60) per tonne by the end of the decade. 


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