Best of our wild blogs: 16 Nov 15

Fun field session with the newest Marine Park volunteer guides
wild shores of singapore

Birdwatching in Bidadari (October 31, 2015)
Rojak Librarian

Spotted House Gecko (Gekko monarchus) @ Ranger Station, Central Catchment Nature Reserve
Monday Morgue

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A marine treasure trove at Sisters’ Islands Dive Trail

Singapore’s waters boast an impressive diversity of marine life. Rare and endangered species of seahorses, clams and sponges, and around one-third of all hard coral species worldwide can be found here.
Ray Yeh Channel NewsAsia 15 Nov 15;

SINGAPORE: The reef at Sisters’ Islands Marine Park may be small, but it boasts a rich biodiversity of more than 250 species of hard corals, 100 species of reef fish and about 200 species of sponges waiting to be discovered by keen-eyed divers.

Singapore's first marine park includes the two Sisters’ Islands, the waters around them, as well as the western coasts of Pulau Tekukor and St John’s Island. It spans an area of 40 hectares and a dive trail officially opened to members of the public last weekend.

Dr Karenne Tun is the deputy director of the coastal and marine branch of the National Biodiversity Centre under the National Parks Board (NParks). She has been diving and working in Singapore waters for over 30 years. “If you take it in context, we have in the region – we’re talking about Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia – over 500 hard coral species, in Singapore we have at least half of those, so it is pretty diverse,” she said.

The marine park also provides a safe haven for rare and endangered species of seahorses, clams and sponges, despite being in close proximity to one of the world’s busiest ports. Singapore’s strategic geographical location is why its waters are teeming with marine life.

“Singapore is located at the south of Malaysia, in a conflux of three major water bodies. We get waters coming in from the South China Sea, we get waters coming in from the Andaman Sea through the Malacca Straits, and the waters coming in from Riau. This conflux of waters actually brings in a lot of diversity, so Singapore is naturally centred towards having good biodiversity,” said Dr Tun.

However, the treasure trove of marine animals is often hidden from the untrained eye. Underwater visibility in Singapore is notoriously low, at times shrinking below one metre. Some divers jokingly equate diving in Singapore to diving in tea.

“Go to any nearshore environment fringing the coastline, you tend to have lower visibility, that’s natural. If you have a river flowing out into the coast, it’s going to bring with it sediments,” explained Dr Tun. “Compared to oceanic reefs, or reefs situated away from mainland, we would never get water as clear as them, that’s the reality.”

Massive developments like the construction of Tuas Terminal also impacts marine life. “When there are development projects, there could be elevated levels of sediments. There are a lot of measures to manage the amount of sediments that are introduced into our waters. That being said, there will still be some impact,” Dr Tun said.

Sediments in Singapore waters also may have drifted in from neighbouring countries. “If you look at the satellite map of the region, you’ll see pockets of brown waters around and that brings in sediments. That is part and parcel of being what we are, where we are,” Dr Tun said.

The best months to dive at the Sisters’ Islands Marine Park are November to March, when turbidity decreases and visibility increases to about 3 to 6 metres on good days.

Divers have two separate but connected dive trails to choose from. The shallow trail takes divers around a circuitous loop to a maximum depth of 6 metres, and the deep trail reaches a maximum depth of 15 metres. The entire Dive Trail totals 100 metres, and is marked with underwater signboards that serve as both station markers and educational resources.

“We want to have the opportunity to interact with Singaporeans, in an environment that teaches them about the marine life. The dive trail is essentially to allow divers to have a more immersive experience,” said Dr Tun.

Divers have to have at least 20 dives under their belt in the last two years, at least one of them done locally.

“We need them to have enough experience diving in lower visibility. If you’re an advanced diver, you do night diving. It’s in a way diving in lower visibility, so we have requirement that all divers at least train to advanced level or above,” Dr Tun said of the stringent guidelines NParks put in place.

“We also realised that for divers who dive outside of Singapore might find diving in turbid waters a bit of a challenge, so we do require them to have at least one dive in local waters, outside of the Sisters’ Islands Marine Park. And we ask that they have good buoyancy control, so they don’t fin and damage the reef around them.”

On why she still looks forward to diving in Singapore, Dr Tun said: “I’ve dived in Singapore waters for over 30 years and I find that every time i go diving, it’s always exciting. It’s almost like diving for the first time, because you never know what you’re going to find. We’re always on the lookout for new records, or even new species within our waters, and I think they’re there. Sisters’ Islands is a beautiful place to dive.”

Keen on diving at the Sisters’ Islands Marine Park? Check NParks website for the next dive window.

- CNA/ry

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Malaysia: No end to water woes in Johor

YEE XIANG YUN The Star 14 Nov 15;

JOHOR BARU: As the scheduled water exercise in parts of Johor Baru and Kota Tinggi enters its fourth month, residents and business owners’ patience is wearing thin.

Ponderosa Green Residents Association chairman Datuk Jane Go said that they had managed to adjust to the scheduled water supply in the first two months where taps go dry for 48 hours before water supply resumes for a day since Aug 16.

“Now that SAJ (Syarikat Air Johor Holdings) is extending the exercise for the third time, we are quickly losing patience,” she said.

Go said although she was aware that water levels at the dams supplying water to the two areas were low, residents found it difficult to deal with the situation which had been going on for four months.

“Besides the inconvenience of having to deal with the water disruption, many of us have to fork out extra money to eat outside and send clothes to laundromats because it is difficult to cook and wash clothes at home,” she said.

She was among those who raised their frustrations in a meeting with SAJ staff organised by Pasir Gudang MCA division.

Property sales executive Joe Ng, 32, from Taman Molek, said that it has been physically and mentally draining.

“Even people like us who are able-bodied are finding it tiring to store water and carry buckets of water around the house everyday, what about old folk living by themselves?” he asked.

He suggested that SAJ come up with a better timetable for water supply so that residents would be less inconvenienced.

SAJ corporate communication head Jamaluddin Jamil said they would look into the suggestion.

“SAJ is still finding ways to solve the water crisis.

“Johor Jaya and Damandara Aliff are no longer under the scheduled water exercise as we are using an alternative water source, namely Sungai Johor,” he said.

He added water levels at the depleting Sungai Layang and Sungai Lebam dams would see improvements once the ongoing RM4mil water transfer projects to pump water from Sungai Tiram and Sungai Papan are completed in December.

The scheduled water exercise from Aug 16 until Sept 15 has been extended two more times until November.

For details, call 1 800 88 7474 (SAJ Info Centre), SMS to 019-772 7474 or email

MB: Councils to ensure builders have own water supply
The Star 15 Nov 15;

PASIR GUDANG: Local councils in Johor will be asked to carry out a feasibility study on the proposal for developers to include rainwater harvesting and install water tanks in their development projects.

This, says Mentri Besar Datuk Khaled Nordin, was to reduce their dependency on dam water.

He said the move was part of a long-term solution to ensure that the water levels at dams in the state remained sustainable.

“There is a coastal housing area in Permas Jaya here where the developer has built its own system. And the area itself is not included in the current water rationing sche­dule.

“We believe that it is about time that the local councils studied this and to see whether such systems will help lessen dependence on traditional water supply from SAJ (Syarikat Air Johor Holdings),” Khaled said.

He was speaking to reporters after opening the Duta Jauhar 2.0 and Economy and Human Capital Transformation project in Taman Desa Rakyat here yesterday.

Khaled said the state would also hold a water forum on Tuesday that would gather key players, including experts from the universities, to find a solution.

“The change in the weather has contributed to the current water woes here, and the forum will discuss it. Hopefully, we will be able to find a proper long-term answer to it,” he said.

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Hospital rules out haze link in elderly woman’s death


SINGAPORE — The family of an elderly woman who died from a severe lung infection in October claims she developed the condition because of this year’s prolonged haze episode even though the hospital she stayed at has ruled out the link.

Madam Pang Moy, 86, was warded in the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) after she complained of breathing difficulties in late September, around the time when Pollutant Standards Index readings crossed the 300 mark, her son-in-law Kelvin Ong said.

“She was in the normal ward for about five days. The doctor declared (it was a) lung infection (and) she went into the intensive care unit for about 10 days. And at first, they said she seemed to be recovering ... (but) the next moment she died,” said Mr Ong, a company owner.

Mdm Pang died on Oct 10.

Responding to TODAY’s queries, SGH said Mdm Pang was seen by its emergency department on Sept 25 for a history of cough and was admitted that day after she was found to have a severe lung infection. “Despite our efforts to treat her, Mdm Pang’s condition deteriorated. She later passed on due to the complications brought about by the infection, which is not haze-related,” said Dr Cheah Kee Leong, SGH’s Acting Head for the Department of Internal Medicine.

The hospital did not say how it deduced that the lung infection was not caused by the haze.

“Throughout her hospital stay, we have kept Mdm Pang’s family updated on her condition. We have contacted the family to clarify their concerns,” added Dr Cheah.

But Mr Ong said his mother-in-law had no pre-existing lung conditions. Although she suffered from hypertension and diabetes, she was a relatively healthy woman for her age, he added.

“She was a normal lady. She could go to the market, she could cook for herself,” he said, adding that she was mobile enough to live on her own.

Mr Ong declined further comment on SGH’s statement. LAURA PHILOMIN

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Haze period could be over, says NEA

Today Online 16 Nov 15;

SINGAPORE — The haze episode that has afflicted Singapore for a prolonged period this year is likely to be over, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said today (Nov 15), adding that it will stop issuing daily advisories.

There has been more rain over the past two weeks, which has brought clear skies and clean air in Singapore. The NEA said the more frequent showers signal the end of the traditional dry season in the region, which has helped to alleviate the hotspot and haze situation in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

“More rain can be expected in the coming weeks with the onset of the Northeast Monsoon in December. For the rest of the year, the likelihood of transboundary haze affecting Singapore is low, although there may still be brief periods of slight haze if winds are unfavourable,” the NEA said, adding that the total hotspot count detected in Sumatra was 31. Thundery showers are forecast in the afternoon today and air quality is expected to be in the good to moderate range.

Although most global climate models predict that the prevailing El Nino phenomenon will persist into early next year, studies of past El Nino events have shown that there is less impact on the rainfall pattern in Singapore and its nearby region during the wet phase of the Northeast Monsoon season in December and January, the NEA said.

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Apple to power Singapore operations with renewable energy


Nov 15 Apple announced on Sunday that it has struck a deal to power all of its Singapore operations with renewable energy, the latest in a series of steps from the company to turn its operations worldwide green.

Starting in January, solar energy developer Sunseap Group will provide Apple with 100 percent renewable electricity from its portfolio of solar energy systems built atop more than 800 buildings in Singapore.

The deal will make Apple the first company in Singapore to run exclusively on renewable energy and marks a significant step in its bid to power 100 percent of its facilities and operations worldwide with clean fuel.

The Apple partnership will also give Sunseap financing to complete the solar project, said Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives.

Jackson said in an interview with Reuters that the project was a model in "urban greening" and said it would allow Singaporeans "to get access to energy while we meet our own renewable energy goals."

Apple also announced that it will open its first store in Singapore, which will be powered by the program.

Apple has spearheaded a variety of projects to clean up its operations at home and overseas, announcing plans in October to build 200 megawatts of solar energy projects in China and work with suppliers there to source more renewable energy.

The iPhone maker has also committed to buy power from a California solar farm to supply electricity for its new Silicon Valley campus and other facilities.

Singapore, the site of one of Apple's largest overseas campuses, is small and densely populated, leaving little room for large, ground-mounted solar arrays. That prompted Sunseap to use rooftops to harness power from the sun.

The rooftop solar panels will be placed on both public-owned buildings and Apple's own facilities, generating 50 MW of solar energy, enough to power the equivalent of 9,000 homes, according to Apple.

Apple will receive 33 MW of the project's capacity. The project won the backing of Singapore's development board because it will also provide electricity for public-owned housing, said Jackson.

Sunseap Managing Director Frank Phuan said the Apple partnership may inspire companies to demand more renewable energy.

"We expect a ripple effect for organizations in Singapore to incorporate sustainability practices in their businesses, especially for listed companies," he said in a statement. (Reporting by Valerie Volcovici and Julia Love; editing by Grant McCool and Mary Milliken)

Apple plugs into S’pore solar firm to power its expansion
RUMI HARDASMALANI Today Online 17 Nov 15;

SINGAPORE — Apple is boosting its presence in Singapore and plans to have more than 3,000 employees spread over three locations here, including new premises in one-north and Orchard Road, TODAY understands. The expansion comes as the United States tech giant is expected to spend about S$70 million over a decade to power all of its operations in Singapore with solar energy.

Beginning in January, the iPhone- and Apple Watch-maker will source 40 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of power from rooftop solar installations made by Sunseap Group, the Singapore-based solar energy provider said today (Nov 16). The deal will provide Apple’s facilities with 100 per cent clean energy.

In addition to Apple’s existing office in Ang Mo Kio, two of its other proposed locations — a corporate office at one-north and its own Apple Store providing after-sales service at Orchard Road — will be powered by green energy.

Given that one kilowatt hour of high-tension power in Singapore is priced at about 18 cents, Apple’s energy requirement translates to about S$70 million over 10 years, an industry source told TODAY. This is an estimated value as energy prices fluctuate widely over time, he added.

The deal will make Apple the first company in Singapore to run exclusively on renewable energy, but the US technology giant declined to disclose the dollar value of the investment or the locations of its new premises.

Ms Lisa Jackson, its vice-president of environment, policy and social initiatives, said: “This deal will cover all of our electricity needs in Singapore, including our 2,500-person corporate campus and new retail store. We are thrilled to be working with Sunseap and the Government of Singapore to pioneer new ways to bring solar energy to the country — and bring Apple even closer to our goal of powering our facilities around the world with 100 per cent renewable energy.”

Ms Angela Ahrendts, senior vice-president, retail and online stores, said: “We have more than 900 incredible employees working in our Singapore contact centre and are thrilled to begin hiring the team that will open our first Apple Store in Singapore — an incredible international city and shopping destination. We can’t wait to deliver the service, education and entertainment that is loved by Apple customers around the world.”

Mr Frank Phuan, co-founder of Sunseap Group, said: “Unlike the US, a mature market where carbon credits can be traded, Singapore does not have a carbon credit regime. Our deal with Apple is unique in that sense.”

Sunseap has tailored a solution for Apple, combining on-site rooftop solar leasing of 1.1MW peak from its Ang Mo Kio facility rooftop and up to 40 GWh worth of clean energy delivered via an off-site Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), Mr Phuan said. As a licensed wholesaler and retailer, Sunseap is able to channel solar energy produced in its portfolio of 800 rooftop solar farms into Apple’s facilities under the PPA.

“This solution will allow Apple to be the first company to be 100 per cent powered by renewable energy in Singapore ... Besides Apple, Sunseap is also working with various government agencies and energy service companies to provide new clean energy product offerings, allowing clients to realise sustainability goals,” Mr Phuan added.

This project is a testament to Singapore’s position as the leading clean energy hub in Asia where companies can conveniently develop, test and commercialise innovative energy technologies and business models, said Mr Goh Chee Kiong, executive director of Cleantech at the Economic Development Board.

“We are confident that this pioneering business model of offsite power purchase agreements will help Singapore address our space scarcity challenge and spur even more companies in Singapore to scale their renewable energy usage,” he said.

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New Bidadari estate to promote car-lite culture

NG JING YNG Today Online 16 Nov 15;

SINGAPORE — Taking its green theme a step further, the soon-to-be-launched Bidadari estate will incorporate cycling routes, and bike- and car-sharing schemes to encourage a “car-lite” living environment, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) said.

Among the first 2,139 flats in Bidadari that will be launched as part of a mega sales exercise happening within these two weeks, more than half (1,229) are four-room flats. There will be 567 three-room units, 192 flats offered under the new two-room flexi scheme, as well as 151 five-room units.

These will be spread across three developments — Alkaff CourtView, Alkaff LakeView and Alkaff Vista — with blocks ranging from six to 17 storeys. They will be completed from the third quarter of 2019 to 2020. This Alkaff district — named after the well-known Arab family that opened a magnificent garden in the area — is the largest of four districts planned for Bidadari, which will eventually have 11,000 units.

During a media briefing on Friday (Nov 13), the HDB said bike-sharing schemes have been factored into planning the new estate, which is envisioned to be a “community in a garden” that will feature a 10ha park accompanied by a lake. Space has been set aside for bike-sharing facilities that will be located at convenient spots.

There will also be a 1.6km-long cycling and pedestrian track to get around the estate, to encourage residents to use their cars less. There are also plans to connect the 1.8km-long park connector in the estate to other park connectors or parks.

Despite being a former cemetery, Bidadari has been tipped by property analysts to see hot demand because of its prime location — the estate is bounded by Bartley Road, Sennett Estate, Upper Serangoon Road and Mount Vernon Road. Three MRT stations flank the area — Woodleigh, Potong Pasir and Bartley — and an underground bus interchange will be built in the estate.

Analysts said pricing, which will only be revealed during the sales exercise, will be closely watched by prospective buyers.

Chief executive of Century 21 Ku Swee Yong thinks prices could be high, given hefty investments in infrastructure such as the underground bus interchange and lush green features, on top of the central location and extensive public transport network.

Noting that the majority of the first batch of flats are three- and four-room units, Mr Ku said this suggests the HDB is targeting more first-timers and younger families. Younger families, who might be younger and childless, may have less reliance on cars as well, he said.

Transport consultant Gopinath Menon said proposing a car-lite concept for the estate from the start will help families come round to the idea more easily. “From Day One ... they see a lot of other (transport) options and don’t get too attached to a car, so they start changing their behaviour right from the beginning rather being persuaded to do so later,” he said, adding that cutting the number of parking spaces is a further step the authorities could take to nudge buyers away from using their cars.

Professor Lee Der-Horng from the National University of Singapore said the quality of alternative transport options will be key for whether Bidadari becomes a successful prototype of future car-lite housing areas. “Bidadari as a new estate opens up a brand new opportunity to really inject car-lite right from the start,” he said.

Expect to pay a premium for Bidadari's BTO flats
Janice Heng and Yeo Sam Jo My Paper AsiaOne 16 Nov 15;

THE first Housing Board (HDB) projects in Bidadari, which will be launched this month, will feature lush greenery and social spaces, in line with the area's vision of being "a community in a garden".

Residents of the 2,139 flats in the area will be able to visit a nearby market square and walk around a scenic park and lake.

A highlight of the estate is the 10ha Bidadari Park housing the new Alkaff Lake, named after the Southern Arab family which opened the former Alkaff Lake Garden in the area in 1929.

There will also be a market square that includes a food court and bus interchange.

The first three projects - Alkaff CourtView, Alkaff LakeView and Alkaff Vista - will be completed between 2019 and 2020.

They will feature thoroughfares flanked by social and commercial facilities, roof gardens, elevated walkways and landscaped lift lobbies that extend out of the block facades for scenic views.

Alkaff CourtView will also have garden courtyards and a veranda for community activities.

Bidadari's green nature extends to its "car-light" planning.

Said HDB's director of urban planning Lim Shu Ying: "Residents can cycle safely and conveniently within the estate. We hope to encourage residents to use walking and cycling as alternative modes of transport rather than taking a car."

A 1.8km park connector, for instance, will provide a direct cycling route from Punggol to Kallang through the estate.

Car and bicycle sharing systems, including special parking spaces, will also be provided.

Located in the central region of Singapore, Bidadari is bounded by Bartley Road to the north, Upper Serangoon Road to the west, Sennett Estate to the south and Mount Vernon Road to the east.

Bidadari, located near Serangoon, will have a park a tenth of its total size as well as a cycling path for its six neighbourhoods. These will serve residents of its 11,000 flats.

Bidadari Estate will be a tranquil urban oasis, where residents can relax and connect with family and friends in a garden-like setting.

Some of the plans for Bidadari Estate include six distinctive neighbourhoods, each with unique identities through the use of varied building forms that respond to the different characteristics of Bidadari; and public spaces for community gathering and events within a garden-like setting.
Tampines North is envisioned to be a new "green shoot" and extension of Tampines Town.

The vision for Tampines North is "Tampines in Bloom: Budding Communities within a Green Tapestry".

Guided by this vision, Tampines North will capitalise on its existing greenery and proximity to Tampines Town to create an attractive living environment, through five key strategies.

A "Blossoms Walk" within the Boulevard Park will create a local yet distinct identity; and a 10 ha Quarry Park which could connect to Pasir Ris Town in the future.

Under the Phase 2 master plan for Punggol New Town unveiled in Oct 2012, Punggol will feature seven distinctive eco-town districts, each with a unique identity and character.

Capitalising on its proximity to the waterfront and taking inspiration from its heritage, the Matilda district of Punggol is set to be an attractive waterfront housing district with many flats commanding waterfront views.

Planning for Matilda was inspired by the 'verandah' feature of the old Matilda House and its surrounding lush greenery.

Hence the vision of Matilda District - Verandah by the Waterfront". Some of the new plans for Punggol Matilda include new housing forms with integrated landscaped decks that provide "door-step" accessibility to the precinct amenities; and a Community Street leading to the waterfront, designed as an urban verandah with "living rooms" as rest points for residents to sit and chat.

In addition, leafy walkways will provide seamless sheltered connectivity between the residential precincts and the waterfront promenade; and there will be a vibrant waterfront shopping mall, as well as recreational amenities and parks for community events.

Spanning 93ha, approximately the size of 150 football fields, Bidadari is bounded by Bartley Road, Sennett Estate, Upper Serangoon Road and Mount Vernon Road.

The area will be eventually carved into four districts - the Alkaff District is the largest.

Despite formerly housing a cemetery, Bidadari's central location makes it one of the most anticipated sites in this month's bumper Build-To-Order (BTO) flat launch. A total of 7,000 BTO flats in Bidadari, Bukit Batok, Choa Chu Kang, Hougang, Punggol and Sengkang will be available. Another 5,000 balance units not sold in previous exercise will also be put up for sale.

Prices will only be revealed when these flats are launched, but some property experts expect a premium due to the area's city-fringe location and nearby amenities.

The projects are within a five to 10 minute walk from Woodleigh and Potong Pasir MRT stations, and close to Cedar Primary School and Cedar Girls' Secondary School.

PropNex Realty chief executive Mohamed Ismail Gafoor said the new flats might cost at least a fifth more than those in Sengkang or Punggol.

In the May BTO launch, prices for four-room flats in Punggol ranged from $284,000 to $350,000.

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Malaysia: Underwater video study to be carried out on reef sharks and rays

The Star 16 Nov 15;

KOTA KINABALU: Marine conservationists are hoping to get more information on ways to protect reef-associated sharks and rays.

For a start, they will carry out an underwater video study to look at the influence of humans and environmental surroundings on the sharks and rays.

The pilot project is organised by The Global Finprint Project in collaboration with Sabah Sharks Protection Association (SSPA).

SSPA chairman Aderick Chong said yesterday that they also wanted to study these animals, which play a critical role in coral reef ecosystems, and to drive regional and global shark conservation.

He said The Global Finprint Project was the first global, multi-institutional effort to combine existing “baited remote underwater video (BRUV)” data to create the largest and most comprehensive data collection and analysis programme of the world’s populations of reef-associated sharks and rays.

“We chose Sabah because of its diverse marine life. Field work is set to start later this year and will run over the next three years to 2018.

“The waters of the Malaysian coast are home to some of the world’s most remarkable coral reef ecosystems, which in turn, are home to many species of elasmobranchs.

“We are interested in recording this information via the use of the BRUVs with the Malaysian Government’s consent,” he said.

Chong said the project would use BRUVs which would be deployed at selected sites around the tropical regions of the globe to record elasmobranchs species and populations in these areas.

“The research will not involve the removal of any samples and we are purely interested in what we can record on video,” he said.

He added that the equipment used was compact and lightweight and it would not damage the local habitat on deployment.

He said the team, which would be working with local organisations, hoped to deploy the BRUV equipment in Kota Kinabalu between today and Nov 23 before proceeding to Semporna to carry out studies for about three weeks.

More information about the initiative can be found at

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Malaysia: Boatman arrested for smuggling attempt, 30,000 turtle eggs seized

OLIVIA MIWIL New Straits Times 15 Nov 15;

SANDAKAN: General Operation Force (GOF) has seized more than 3,000 turtle eggs from a pump boat heading towards Sabah waters.

The operation that seen a smuggling attempt foiled was led by Senior Officer Wan Khalid Wan Omar.

Director of Sabah Wildlife Department William Baya thanked the GOF for their success and hoped more can be done to help curb smuggling activities in Sabah waters.

Baya added that the smuggling (of turtle eggs) would taint Sabah’s turtle conservation efforts.

"Smuggling (of turtle eggs) taints the turtle conservation effort in Sabah.

"If all parties can work together in curbing such activity, Sabah will be free of smuggling activity and it will also bring more tourists into the state," he said in statement.

Authority had arrested the boatman to assist investigation and the boat was also seized.

The suspect will be charged under Section 41(1) Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 as soon as investigation is completed.

Under the section, the offense carries fine of RM50,000 or five years jail or both upon conviction.

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Society 'set for climate change woe'

Roger Harrabin BBC 16 Nov 15;

Human societies will soon start to experience adverse effects from manmade climate change, a prominent economist has warned.

Prof Richard Tol predicts the downsides of warming will outweigh the advantages with a global warming of 1.1C - which has nearly been reached already.

Prof Tol is regarded by many campaigners as a climate "sceptic".

He has previously highlighted the positive effects of CO2 in fertilising crops and forests.

His work is widely cited by climate contrarians.

"Most people would argue that slight warming is probably beneficial for human welfare on net, if you measure it in dollars, but more pronounced warming is probably a net negative," Prof Tol told the BBC Radio 4 series Changing Climate.

Asked whether societies were at the point where the benefits start to be outweighed by consequences, he replied: "Yes. In academic circles, this is actually an uncontroversial finding."

But it is controversial for climate contrarians, who often cite Professor Tol's work to suggest that we shouldn't worry about warming.

Managing ecosystems

Matt Ridley, the influential Conservative science writer, said he believed the world would probably benefit from a temperature rise of up to 2C.

"I think we probably will see 1.5 degrees of warming. The point is most people think 2C is when it turns catastrophic. That's not right. The literature is very clear; 2C is when we start to get harm. Up until then we get benefit," he said.

"We've got a greening in all ecosystems as a result of CO2. We've got about 11% more green vegetation on the planet than 30 years ago, much of which is down to the CO2 fertilisation effect."

On fertilisation Matt Ridley refers to unpublished work by Professor Ranga Myneni from Boston University.

But he told BBC News Lord Ridley had accurately quoted his research on the impacts of current CO2 levels, but was unduly complacent about future warming.

"I am worried about how this work is being interpreted, by Lord Ridley. In my opinion, [CO2 fertilisation] benefit of greening is not worth the price of all the negative changes," he said.

Richard Tol from Sussex University believes discussion over the impacts of a 2C temperature rise is largely irrelevant as the world is likely to warm by between 3-5C, because politicians at the forthcoming Paris climate summit won't be willing or able to make the scale of cuts needed to keep temperature rises under 2C.

He says a rise of 4C would be undesirable but manageable for Europe and all nations rich enough to cope with the costs of adaptation. The best way of combating climate change, he told BBC News, was to maximise economic growth.

Warming feedback

Tim Lenton, professor of Earth systems science from Exeter University, told us this was a highly optimistic prognosis under a 4C rise.
"The land surface of central Europe would be quite a lot more than 4C warmer on average, changing potentially the pattern of seasonality over Europe.

"We would have lost the summer Arctic sea-ice, [and] would have sea-ice cover radically thinned in winters.

"We're seeing already that appears to have some connection to changes in the pattern of weather and weather extremes and the changes in the distribution of rivers and river flows.

"We might then speculate about how intense Mediterranean drying might drive... movements of people. It would be a very different Europe."

Johan Rockstrom, director of the Resilience Centre at Stockholm University, warns that the further we go above 2C, the more we risk triggering irreversible effects.

"What takes us to 6C is not carbon emissions, it is biosphere response. Will we be able to maintain the natural carbon sinks in the permafrost, in the rainforests, in the boreal forests, in the wetlands and in the coastal regions? Because that's where the big stores are.

"We emit nine gigatons of carbon per year from our burning of fossil fuels, but there's a 100 gigatons lying just under the Siberia tundra. You have many-fold larger stores of carbon in the topsoil of tropical soils, or under the ice in the Arctic.

"If we don't manage the living ecosystems well enough they could start biting us from behind."

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