Indonesia: Scientists slam govt for giving nod to Batang Toru dam

Kharishar Kahfi and Evi Mariani The Jakarta Post 13 Nov 18;

Scientists have slammed the Indonesian government for giving the controversial Batang Toru hydroelectric power plant the green light, saying that orangutans are valuable to Indonesia, like pandas are to China.

Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said the government believed that the dam would have little impact on the Tapanuli orangutans, the rarest great ape on earth, which environmentalists call the last 800 due to its small number.

The scientists said Indonesia risked its global reputation if it does not protect them.

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Vietnam’s wetlands under threat

VietNamNet Bridge 12 Nov 18;

Wetlands in Vietnam are under threat from both natural factors and human activities.

Wetlands occupy an important place in the development of the country and are a key source of income for local communities.

With a total area of nearly 12 million hectares, accounting for 37 per cent of the country’s total land, wetlands benefit all economic sectors.

At present, many wetland areas have reduced in size. Some have become degraded or polluted, while others are not being used sustainably, requiring effective conservation and wise use.

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World has no capacity to absorb new fossil fuel plants, warns IEA

Watchdog says new projects must be low carbon or existing plants must be cleaned up
Adam Vaughan The Guardian 13 Nov 18;

The world has so many existing fossil fuel projects that it cannot afford to build any more polluting infrastructure without busting international climate change goals, the global energy watchdog has warned.

The International Energy Agency said almost all of the world’s carbon budget up to 2040 – the amount that can be emitted without causing dangerous warming – would be eaten up by today’s power stations, vehicles and industrial facilities.

Fatih Birol, the executive director of the Paris-based group, told the Guardian: “We have no room to build anything that emits CO2 emissions.”

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Best of our wild blogs: 13 Nov 18

Kid's shore activities during the December school holidays
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

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China postpones lifting rhino, tiger parts ban

AFP Yahoo News 12 Nov 18;

China appeared to backtrack on a controversial decision to lift a ban on trading tiger bones and rhinoceros horns, saying it has been postponed, state media reported Monday.

The State Council, China's cabinet, unexpectedly announced last month that it would allow the sale of rhino and tiger products under "special circumstances", a move conservationists likened to signing a death warrant for the endangered species.

Permitted uses included scientific research, sales of cultural relics, and "medical research or in healing".

But in an interview transcript published by the official Xinhua news agency, a senior State Council official said the new rules have been put on hold.

"The issuance of the detailed regulations for implementation has been postponed after study," said Executive Deputy Secretary-General Ding Xuedong.

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Modest warming risks 'irreversible' ice sheet loss, study warns

Patrick GALEY, AFP Yahoo News 13 Nov 18;

Paris (AFP) - Even modest temperature rises agreed under an international plan to limit climate disaster could see the ice caps melt enough this century for their loss to be "irreversible", experts warned Monday.

The 2015 Paris Agreement limits nations to temperature rises "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels and to less than 1.5C if at all possible.

That ballpark of getting 1.5-2C hotter by 2100 is scientists' best-case-scenario based on our consumption of natural resources and burning of fossil fuels, and will require radical, global lifestyle changes to achieve.

For comparison, humans' business-as-usual approach -- if we continue to emit greenhouse gases at the current rate -- will see Earth heat by as much as 4C.

Scientists have known for decades that the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are shrinking, but it had been assumed that they would survive a 1.5-2C temperature rise relatively intact.

However, according to a new analysis published in the journal Nature Climate Change, even modest global warming could cause irreversible damage to the polar ice, contributing to catastrophic sea level rises.

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Best of our wild blogs: 12 Nov 18

2 Dec (Sun): Let’s Act on the Singapore Blue Plan 2018!
wild shores of singapore

Wild fun for kids during the December school holidays!
wild shores of singapore

Butterfly Anatomy : Part 3
Butterflies of Singapore

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Singapore works to tackle threats to food supply

Researchers studying how to develop rice that is more resistant to effects of climate change
Jose Hong Straits Times 11 Nov 18;

Rice plants stand in rows of pots, some stained yellow with fungus infections, others wilting after days without water.

Before The Sunday Times entered the greenhouse, rice researcher Rapee Heebkaew handed over white lab coats and plastic bags to place over shoes. "Wear this," she said. "You'll be fine from whatever's in there, but we need to protect the rice plants from you."

This is the Singapore greenhouse of Germany's pharmaceutical and life sciences giant Bayer, where Ms Heebkaew develops ways to make rice more resistant to rice blast fungus, a devastating infection that annually destroys so much rice that could have fed millions, and will only spread and worsen with climate change.

Since Bayer began operating its seeds laboratory in 2008, it has tested 12 rice varieties that are relatively resistant to the negative effects of climate change.

Though Singapore imports more than 90 per cent of its food, this is among its efforts to help a warming world.

Even local outfits are working on rice resilience.

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Best of our wild blogs: 11 Nov 18

Night Walk At Punggol Promenade Nature Walk (09 Nov 2018)
Beetles@SG BLOG

Singaporeans got eat giant clams!?
Mei Lin NEO

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National sterilisation programme to manage Singapore's 7,000 stray dogs

Tan Tam Mei Straits Times 11 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE- A five-year sterilisation programme to manage the stray dog population in Singapore was launched on Saturday (Nov 10) by Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee.

Stray dogs, or "Singapore Specials" as Mr Lee prefers to call them, have caused occasional "human-animal friction" as they evoke a range of reactions from people with concerns that vary from animal welfare to public safety and public health.

"Some care for them, and feed them out of compassion. Some are oblivious to them. Other people are afraid of them, and will press the authorities to take action," said Mr Lee who was speaking at the Happy Pets, Happy 'Hoodcarnival at Hillion Mall in Bukit Panjang.

To address the different concerns, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) has launched a nationwide initiative known as the Trap-Neuter-Release-Manage (TNRM) programme, which is a humane, scientific and sustainable method of managing the stray dog population, said Mr Lee.

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What can be done to make Singapore buildings more green?

CHRISTINE LI Today Online 8 Nov 18;

The Building & Construction Authority (BCA) launched the BCA Green Mark Scheme in 2005 to encourage building owners to adopt environmentally sustainable practices. The BCA has set a target for 80 per cent of all buildings to be certified by 2030.

Today, more than 3,000 buildings – covering 89 million square metres in gross floor area - have undergone Green Mark certification. However, two-thirds of the current stock remain uncertified.

What’s holding building owners back and what can be done to make buildings here more environmentally friendly?

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Commentary: The Marina Barrage, a dream 20 years in the making

An iconic landmark, a symbol of the city-state’s success in water management, the Marina Barrage is a culmination of decades of visionary foresight, planning and execution, say Cecilia Tortajada and Asit K Biswas.
Cecilia Tortajada and Asit K Biswas Channel NewsAsia 10 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE: The Marina Barrage has become an iconic landmark and a popular social space for many Singaporeans.

Clean, green, open, free and accessible to all Singaporeans and visitors, built at a cost of S$226 million, this impressive infrastructure, with a breath-taking view of the sea, was completed only in four years in 2008.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Barrage. Its objectives range from the functional, like flood control, to the strategic, of ensuring water security, and the symbolic, in providing a landmark waterfront attraction. It has received 16 million visitors since it was built, almost three times Singapore’s entire population.

It is the result of visionary planning at the highest political level, and painstaking planning and implementation by scores of officers at PUB, Singapore’s national water agency.

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