Best of our wild blogs: 3 Dec 12

Latest Green Jobs in Singapore [26 Nov - 2 Dec 2012]
from Green Business Times

Cuttlefish Talk
from Pulau Hantu

Sharing our shores with 5,000 people
from wild shores of singapore

Somewhere Along Yeo Chu Kang Road
from Beauty of Fauna and Flora in Nature

peregrine falcon @ ubin - Dec2012
from sgbeachbum

Fishes and Jellyfishes at Chek Jawa in November
from Adventures with the Naked Hermit Crabs

Common Asian Toad
from Monday Morgue

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Singapore to explore second LNG terminal

It could double fuel storage capacity; proposals for feasibility study sought
Feng Zengkun Straits Times 3 Dec 12;

SINGAPORE will look into the feasibility of building a second liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal which could double its storage capacity for the fuel.

Last week, the Energy Market Authority (EMA) called for proposals for a six-month feasibility study to look into a large LNG terminal as well as a smaller, satellite version.

The project is expected to start by next March and will include studying potential sites identified by the authority, as well as the terminals' economic viability.

EMA said in its tender document: "In anticipation of future power plant developments, a new LNG terminal may have to be constructed and the gas pipeline network expanded to deliver gas to future power plants."

Currently, about 80 per cent of Singapore's electricity is generated using piped natural gas from Malaysia and Indonesia. The gas goes to power-generation companies in Singapore that turn it into electricity and feed it into the national grid.

EMA expects the gas - in both piped and liquefied forms - to make up more than 90 per cent of Singapore's fuel mix in future.

A $1.7 billion LNG terminal on Jurong Island, the Republic's first, is scheduled to start operations next year. It will allow Singapore to import and store liquefied gas from other countries.

This will boost the country's energy security by diversifying its fuel sources.

The terminal is expected to have a capacity of nine million tonnes a year by 2017, but this can be boosted by building more storage tanks to a maximum of 15 million tonnes a year in future.

EMA said a second large terminal should also be able to handle up to 15 million tonnes a year, while the smaller satellite terminal would have a fifth of that capacity.

It wants to know, among other things, how the terminals would affect surrounding areas and if the smaller terminal can be co-located with existing structures.

For each of the potential sites, the consultant will draw up "a conceptual engineering design and layout plan" for the terminal, and estimate its cost and how long it would take to build.

EMA also wants feedback on whether a proposed expansion of the gas pipeline network can meet projected demand of future power plants. It wants studies of various gas supply disruption scenarios, including the failure of the proposed LNG terminals.

Energy Studies Institute energy economist Tilak Doshi said new terminals would allow Singapore to import the gas from more countries. "In one stroke, we will no more be dependent on Malaysia and Indonesia, which are themselves facing shortages for domestic use," he said.

He added that the study was timely because of vast natural gas reserves recently discovered in the United States and Australia.

The recoverable reserves in Australia, for example, are estimated at 396 trillion cubic ft (tcf), but its annual domestic gas usage is just 1 tcf.

Recently, International Energy Agency executive director Maria van der Hoeven said Singapore "was in a good position" to develop the first regional spot trading market for natural gas, due to its location and experience in oil trading.

Such a market would allow gas prices to be set depending on its own supply and demand, without being influenced by other markets such as crude oil. Traditionally, gas prices are linked to oil prices.

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Go fishing at Marina Reservoir

PUB opens up part of area to anglers and expands other sites
Feng Zengkun Straits Times 3 Dec 12;

ANGLERS will now be able to fish at Marina Reservoir with immediate effect.

Last Saturday, national water agency PUB opened part of the reservoir for fishing and expanded the designated sites at three other reservoirs.

These are the Jurong Lake, Bedok and Lower Seletar reservoirs.

The PUB said the move was part of its plan to increase the reservoirs' vibrancy and "encourage greater stewardship of the waterways".

It said: "Since 2004, the PUB has progressively opened up reservoirs for water sports and activities under its Active, Beautiful and Clean Waters programme."

Fishing is also allowed at specific areas in other reservoirs, including the Lower Peirce, MacRitchie and Serangoon reservoirs.

All fishing spots can be found at the agency's website at

Anglers welcomed the news of the new fishing areas but some were concerned about possible over-fishing at the sites.

Mr Tan Tien Yun, president of the local Gamefish and Aquatic Rehabilitation Society, said the group was working with PUB to introduce a pilot sustainable fishing programme at two sites in Lower Seletar.

Part of the programme will encourage anglers to adopt better fishing practices, such as not using live bait and nets to catch the fish.

The project will also look at ways to improve fish habitats, for example by providing shelter under plants, rocks, sticks and stones.

This would give the fish spaces to hide and rear their young, leading to a more sustainable fish population, said Mr Tan.

He said the group and the PUB are still working out details of the pilot project, expected to start next year.

Administrative assistant Jack Chen, 34, who fishes at Bedok Reservoir on weekends, said he has noticed more people taking up the activity in recent years.

"It's good that the PUB is opening up more places for people to fish.

"But I hope the anglers will clean up after themselves and not give us a bad name," he said.

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Pacific nations alarmed by tuna overfishing

Jim Gomez Associated Press Yahoo News 2 Dec 12;

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Pacific island nations and environmentalists raised an alarm Sunday over destructive fishing methods and overfishing that they say are threatening bigeye tuna — the fish popular among sushi lovers worldwide.

Palau fisheries official Nanette Malsol, who leads a bloc of Pacific island nations, said at the start of a weeklong tuna fisheries conference in Manila that large countries should cut back on fishing, curb the use of destructive fishing methods and respect fishing bans to allow tuna stocks to be replenished in the Pacific, which produces more than 60 percent of the world's tuna catch.

The annual meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, which regulates commercial fishing in the vast expanse of waters from Indonesia to Hawaii, is to approve steps aimed at protecting the bigeye and other threatened tuna species, along with giant whale sharks. More than 600 delegates from about 40 Asian and Western countries, along with environmental activists, are attending.

Malsol said she expects heated debate. Proponents of the multibillion-dollar fishing industry have squared off with conservationists in the past over the best ways to protect the bigeye and other species without considerably setting back the lucrative business.

Bigeye and yellowfin tuna, which can grow to 8-9 feet (2.4-2.7 meters) long and weigh more than 450 pounds (200 kilograms), are not in immediate danger of being wiped out, but have been hit hard by overfishing. The fish are used mostly for steaks, and in the case of bigeye, sushi.

The fisheries business in the western and central Pacific region, estimated to be worth about $5 billion annually, has drawn increasing numbers of industrial fishing fleets, which have caused tuna stocks to fall since the 1960s.

"This week it's up to the big fishing nations to show the world what they are going to do to cut overfishing of bigeye tuna," Malsol said.

Repeated telephone calls and messages to industry officials seeking comment Sunday were not answered.

Many fleets are using so-called "fish aggregation devices" — various types of floats which are used to lure vast numbers of tuna. When schools of tuna have massed under the devices, fishing vessels alerted by sensors approach and scoop up their catch with giant nets.

Between 47,000 and 105,000 fish aggregation devices, made from bamboo, palm fronds, plastic or old nets, have been deployed worldwide to attract a wide variety of marine life. The method is used to catch nearly half of the world's tuna and has contributed to the overfishing of bigeye tuna across the Pacific Ocean, according to the U.S.-based Pew Environment Group.

Aside from tuna, sea turtles, sharks and juvenile fish have often been caught and killed.

"The deployment of tens of thousands of drifting fish aggregating devices in the world's oceans with little to no oversight is extremely worrisome," said Amanda Nickson of the Pew Environment Group.

"The fishing industry is not currently required to account for its use of FADs. It is being allowed to gamble with the health of the ocean, and it is time for governments to require full accountability and management of this proliferating and risky fishing gear," Nickson said.

Conservation efforts, however, have been tough to implement and have sparked disagreements.

Greepeace activists said they will submit evidence to the fisheries commission detailing violations of regional tuna fishing rules by Southeast Asian countries including allowing fishing vessels to operate on the high seas without permits and required observers onboard.

A decision by the fisheries commission to exempt the Philippines from purse seine fishing — an industrial technique in which a net is used to surround and capture schools of fish — in a large swath of the Pacific has sparked complaints from other nations.

The exemption was given to discourage Philippine fleets from fishing in territorial waters off the country's eastern coast, which are known spawning grounds for tuna that later spread out to the Pacific.

Philippine Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala asked the fishing commission to extend the exemption, which he said started last October and would end in February next year.

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Carbon emissions are 'too high' to curb climate change

Mark Kinver BBC News 2 Dec 12;

It is increasingly unlikely that global warming will be kept below an increase of 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels, a study suggests.

Data show that global CO2 emissions in 2012 hit 35.6bn tonnes, a 2.6% increase from 2011 and 58% above 1990 levels.

The researchers say that emissions are the largest contributor to future climate change and a strong indicator of potential future warming.

The findings have been published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Meanwhile, the data has been published in the journal Earth System Science Data Discussions.

Many low-lying nations have used the UN conference, which is currently under way in Doha, to call for a threshold temperature rise less than 2C, arguing that even a 2C rise will jeopardise their future.

"These latest figures come amidst climate talks in Doha, but with emissions continuing to grow, it's as if no-one is listening to the scientific community," said Corinne Le Quere, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia.

"I am worried that the risks of dangerous climate change are too high on our current emissions trajectory," Prof Le Quere said.

"We need a radical plan."

The researchers' paper says the average increases in global CO2 levels were 1.9% in the 1980s, 1.0% in the 1990 but 3.1% since 2000.

Recently, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hit a new record high in 2011.

In its annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, the organisation said that carbon dioxide levels reached 391 parts per million in 2011.

The report estimated that carbon dioxide (CO2) accounted for 85% of the "radiative forcing" that led to global temperature rises.

Other potent greenhouse gases such as methane also recorded new highs, according to the WMO report.

Despite weak economy, CO2 emissions to grow 2.6 percent in 2012: study

David Fogarty PlanetArk 2 Dec 12;

Carbon dioxide emissions from industry rose an estimated 2.6 percent in a weak global economy this year, a study released on Monday showed, powered by rapid emissions growth in China and India, which may add urgency to U.N. climate talks in Doha.

The study by the Global Carbon Project, an annual report card on mankind's CO2 pollution, also says emissions grew 3.1 percent in 2011, placing the world on a near-certain path towards dangerous climate change, such as more heat waves, droughts and storms.

Nearly 200 countries are attending the talks in Doha, Qatar, which run until December 7 and aim to galvanize ambition in fighting climate change by limiting warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, a goal nations agreed in 2010. Temperatures have already risen by 0.8 C (1.4 Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times.

"I am worried that the risks of dangerous climate change are too high on our current emissions trajectory. We need a radical plan," said co-author Corinne Le Quéré, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in Britain and professor at the University of East Anglia.

Total emissions for 2012 are estimated to be 35.6 billion tonnes, researchers said in the study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Current emissions growth is placing the world on a path to warm between 4C and 6C, says the study, with global emissions jumping 58 percent between 1990 and this year. The study focuses on emissions from burning fossil fuels and cement production.

A few big developing nations are fuelling the emissions growth, the study says, even though the global financial crisis spawned long-term green stimulus plans by China, India, the United States and others to attempt to curtail CO2 output.

China's carbon emissions grew 9.9 percent in 2011 after rising 10.4 percent in 2010 and now comprise 28 percent of all CO2 pollution compared with 16 percent for the United States.

India's emissions grew 7.5 percent last year versus 9.4 percent growth in 2010, while emissions in the United States and the European Union fell 1.8 percent and 2.8 respectively in 2011.


The study is the work of scientists and research institutes globally and coordinated by the Global Carbon Project, which is hosted by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Canberra.

"Unless large and concerted global mitigation efforts are initiated soon, the goal of remaining below 2 degrees Celsius will soon become unachievable," say the authors.

Globally, the improvement in the carbon intensity of economies, a measure of carbon emissions per unit of gross domestic product, has stalled since 2005, according to the study, which analyzed data from the U.S. government, United Nations and statistics from the oil company BP.

Emissions in 2011 from coal totaled 43 percent, oil 34 percent, with gas and cement production making up the rest.

The authors say while it was technically still possible to limit warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, emissions growth would have to rapidly come to a halt and then fall quickly.

Each year of 3 percent emissions growth made achieving the temperature limit even less likely and ever more costly.

It would require a rapid shift to greener energy and even net negative emissions in the future, where more CO2 is taken out of the air than added.

(Additional reporting by Nina Chestney in London; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Carbon pollution up to 2 million pounds a second
Seth Borenstein Associated Press Yahoo News 3 Dec 12;

WASHINGTON (AP) — The amount of heat-trapping pollution the world spewed rose again last year by 3 percent. So scientists say it's now unlikely that global warming can be limited to a couple of degrees, which is an international goal.

The overwhelming majority of the increase was from China, the world's biggest carbon dioxide polluter. Of the planet's top 10 polluters, the United States and Germany were the only countries that reduced their carbon dioxide emissions.

Last year, all the world's nations combined pumped nearly 38.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, according to new international calculations on global emissions published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change. That's about a billion tons more than the previous year.

The total amounts to more than 2.4 million pounds (1.1 million kilograms) of carbon dioxide released into the air every second.

Because emissions of the key greenhouse gas have been rising steadily and most carbon stays in the air for a century, it is not just unlikely but "rather optimistic" to think that the world can limit future temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), said the study's lead author, Glen Peters at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo, Norway.

Three years ago, nearly 200 nations set the 2-degree C temperature goal in a nonbinding agreement. Negotiators now at a conference under way in Doha, Qatar, are trying to find ways to reach that target.

The only way, Peters said, is to start reducing world emissions now and "throw everything we have at the problem."

Andrew Weaver, a climate scientist at the University of Victoria in Canada who was not part of the study, said: "We are losing control of our ability to get a handle on the global warming problem."

In 1997, most of the world agreed to an international treaty, known as the Kyoto Protocol, that required developed countries such as the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 5 percent when compared with the baseline year of 1990. But countries that are still developing, including China and India, were not limited by how much carbon dioxide they expelled. The United States never ratified the treaty.

The latest pollution numbers, calculated by the Global Carbon Project, a joint venture of the Energy Department and the Norwegian Research Council, show that worldwide carbon dioxide levels are 54 percent higher than the 1990 baseline.

The 2011 figures for the biggest polluters:

1. China, up 10 percent to 10 billion tons.

2. United States, down 2 percent to 5.9 billion tons

3. India, up 7 percent to 2.5 billion tons.

4. Russia, up 3 percent to 1.8 billion tons.

5. Japan, up 0.4 percent to 1.3 billion tons.

6. Germany, down 4 percent to 0.8 billion tons.

7. Iran, up 2 percent to 0.7 billion tons.

8. South Korea, up 4 percent to 0.6 billion tons.

9. Canada, up 2 percent to 0.6 billion tons.

10. South Africa, up 2 percent to 0.6 billion tons.

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New Zealand: forget Kyoto, write new climate deal

Karl Ritter Associated Press Yahoo News 3 Dec 12;

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Highlighting a rift between the rich countries and emerging economies like China, New Zealand's climate minister staunchly defended his government's decision to drop out of the emissions pact for developed nations, saying it's an outdated and insufficient response to global warming.

Other key issues at the conference, now starting its second week, include how to help emerging nations switch to climate-friendly energy sources and charting the course for a new treaty that would replace the Kyoto Protocol, which covers only developed countries.

New Zealand announced before the U.N.'s climate talks started here last week that it would not take part in the second phase of the Kyoto treaty. That angered climate activists and stunned small neighboring island nations, who fear they could be submerged by rising sea levels spurred by global warming.

Climate Minister Tim Groser told The Associated Press on Sunday that New Zealand is "ahead of the curve" by shifting its attention from the 1997 Kyoto deal to a new global climate pact that would also include developing nations.

The U.S. never ratified Kyoto, which expires this year, partly because it did not impose limits on China and other emerging economies.

Australia and European countries want to extend the pact at the current conference in Doha until a wider treaty comes into force. That is not scheduled to happen until 2020.

Groser didn't see a point in that, because those countries together represent less than 15 percent of global emissions.

"You cannot seriously argue you are dealing with climate change unless you start to tackle the 85 percent of emissions that are outside (Kyoto)," Groser said. "We're looking beyond Kyoto now to where we think the real game is."

A majority of emissions of heat-trapping gases that most climate scientists blame for rising global temperatures currently come from developing countries, and China is now the world's top emitter. Beijing argues it must be allowed to increase its emissions as it economy expands, lifting millions of people out of poverty.

It also insists that Western nations bear a historical responsibility for climate change, since their fossil fuel factories spewed emissions into the atmosphere long before China started industrializing.

China therefore wants to retain the sharp division between rich and poor countries that has guided the slow-moving climate talks since they started two decades ago. Rich countries want to get rid of that distinction, which they say doesn't reflect the world today.

New Zealand is on course to meet its Kyoto targets from the first commitment period, but climate activists at home and abroad say its decision to opt out of the extension has tarnished its reputation as a green leader.

"New Zealand's position is contributing to a political stalemate that is distracting from the real issues of these talks," said Simon Tapp from the New Zealand Youth Delegation.

Instead of binding Kyoto targets, New Zealand has offered a voluntary pledge of cutting emissions by between 10 percent and 20 percent by 2020, compared to 1990 levels.

Groser said New Zealand wouldn't firm up its pledge until after the Doha talks. The country wants to know if it can continue using Kyoto's trading mechanism for emissions credits, which some countries say should be available only to those that set emissions targets.

"I have advised my Cabinet, literally I've said to them, 'assume minimum rationally will prevail,'" Groser said. "Then I will come back after this meeting here and make a recommendation as to what unilateral figure we can do."

Negotiators in Doha are also locked in disputes over how to help poor countries switch to renewable energy and adapt to shifts in climate that may damage health, agriculture and economies in general.

China and other developing countries demand that rich countries present a "road map" describing how they will scale up climate financing to $100 billion annually by 2020, a pledge they made at a climate summit in Copenhagen three years ago.

With budgets under pressure from the world financial crisis, rich countries are unwilling to put money on the table in Doha, but they say such financing will become available eventually. They note that they have delivered the $30 billion promised as "fast-start financing" in Copenhagen, though some aid groups say much of it came from loans or previously pledged foreign aid simply relabeled as climate money.

As many of these issues are linked to each other, failure to agree on one could stall progress on others, meaning the Doha talks could end without agreement on anything.

The core climate problem is also receiving attention, and the conclusion is not positive.

A host of reports before and during the talks have underlined that the gap between what science indicates is needed to address climate change and what governments are actually doing is growing wider. One report, by the United Nations Environment Program, showed greenhouse emissions have risen 20 percent since 2000.

"We begin the final week of negotiations in Doha with the sober recognition that time is running out to prevent the loss of entire nations and other calamities in our membership and around the world," a group of small island nations said in a joint statement Sunday.

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Geo-engineering wins scant enthusiasm at U.N. climate talks

Alister Doyle PlanetArk 3 Dec 12;

Cheap, short-cut ideas to cool the planet such as shading sunlight are failing to win support from U.N. delegates looking to improve on the slow progress made by existing technologies.

Many scientists say the proposed solutions, known as geo-engineering, are little understood and might have side effects more damaging than global warming, which is projected to cause more floods, heatwaves, droughts and rising sea levels.

"Let's first use what we know," said Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, dismissing suggestions that it was time to try geo-engineering to halt a rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

"There are so many proven technologies we know exist that are tried and true that have not been used to their maximum potential," she told Reuters. "To begin with, the simplest is energy efficiency."

Geo-engineering options include adding sun-reflecting chemicals to the upper atmosphere to mimic the effect of big volcanic eruptions that mask the sun, or fertilizing the oceans to promote the growth of algae that soak up carbon from the air.

Among other ideas, a giant mirror could be placed in space to block some sunlight or sea spray could be injected into the air to create clouds whose white tops would reflect sunlight.

"Let's face it, geo-engineering has a lot of unknowns," Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the U.N.'s panel of climate scientists, told Reuters on the sidelines of U.N.-led climate change talks among 200 nations in Doha from November 26-Dec 7.

"How can you go into an area where you don't know anything?" he said. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is examining geo-engineering in depth for the first time as part of a major report due in 2013 and 2014.

Still, one study by U.S. scientists in August indicated that planes or airships could carry a million tonnes a year of sun-dimming sulfate materials high into the atmosphere for an affordable price tag of below $5 billion.


That would be far cheaper than policies to cut world greenhouse gas emissions, estimated to cost between $200 billion and $2 trillion a year by 2030, they wrote in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

"If you are looking at solutions you could look at solar energy," said Mira Mehrishi, head of India's delegation in Doha. "It's a little premature to start looking at geo-engineering."

"There's a lot of skepticism" about geo-engineering, said Artur Runge-Metzger of the European Commission. "Research is necessary to see if it could be viable in one way or other."

U.N. negotiations on slowing global warming have been running since a U.N. Climate Convention was agreed in 1992.

One problem is that adding sulfates - a form of pollution - to the air would not slow an acidification of the oceans since concentrations of greenhouse gases led by carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would keep building up.

Some carbon dioxide, absorbed into the oceans, reacts to form carbonic acid. That erodes the ability of creatures from clams or mussels to lobsters and crabs to build their protective shells. In turn, that could disrupt marine food chains.

"You might temporarily delay the warming but you are certainly not going to help the oceans at all," said Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, a vice-chair of the IPCC, of using sulfates. "Ocean acidification is a real emerging issue."

A mask of pollution might help some crops by reducing heat stress but it might have other side-effects, for instance, by disrupting Monsoon patterns. That could bring disputes between countries that benefited and others that suffered.

And Van Ypersele said that, if geo-engineering went wrong and needed to be shut down after a few years, there would be a big, damaging jump in temperatures.

(Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)

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