Best of our wild blogs: 10 May 18

Return of the King
Singapore Bird Group

Climate Action Grant for NGOs and Interest Groups
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Addenda to President’s Address: 3 population strategies to improve Singaporeans’ lives

These strategies include developing and implementing policies to “enable all Singaporeans to age with purpose and dignity”, says Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.
Kevin Kwang Channel NewsAsia 9 May 19;

SINGAPORE: Three broad strategies by the Government to maintain a population profile in Singapore that “improves the lives of each generation” were outlined by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Wednesday (May 9).

In the Prime Minister’s Office (Strategy Group) addendum to the President’s address, Mr Teo said the country is entering a new phase of nation building in a more complex landscape that will require policy responses to challenges that are “still emerging and therefore not yet well defined”.

“It will require Government agencies to work more closely together because solutions to policy challenges will increasingly cut across ministry domains,” the Minister-in-charge of the Strategy Group said.

One of these issues is the country’s population policy, and Mr Teo said the country’s changing demography has wide-ranging effects on many Government policies including the economy, healthcare, infrastructure, defence planning and social cohesion.

For instance, in the medium term, Singapore’s ageing population presents both challenges and opportunities to sustain a dynamic economy, he said.

“The slower growth of our local workforce provides a strong impetus to press on with economic restructuring,” the deputy prime minister explained. “In the long term, our fertility rates and our openness to others who are willing and able to contribute to Singapore will shape the type of society that future generations of Singaporeans will live in.”

As such, the Strategy Group will focus on three broad strategies: Develop and implement policies to enable all Singaporeans to age with purpose and dignity; make Singapore a great place for families where marriage and parenthood are achievable, enjoyable and celebrated; and maintain a careful balance in foreign worker as well as immigrant flows.

These policies, he said, will support a cohesive society and vibrant economy, and the country will continue to be a place “where Singaporeans are proud to call home”.


Another issue that cuts across ministries is climate change, the deputy prime minister highlighted.

“Singapore must address climate change and safeguard our collective future,” Mr Teo said.

“As a low-lying, tropical island state, we must develop plans to address the impact of climate change such as rising sea levels, higher temperatures, and more extreme rainfall patterns. At the same time, we need to work as part of the international community to reduce our collective carbon footprint.”

To tackle this issue, the minister said Singapore will fulfil its commitment to the Paris Agreement and implement the carbon tax, as well as work to reduce energy use, increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gases.

In fact, 2018 has been designated as the Year of Climate Action to raise awareness and intensify the national effort to bring down emissions and adopt sustainable practices, Mr Teo said.

Singapore had previously stated that it aims to reduce its emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, and to stabilise its emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030.

Source: CNA/kk

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Indonesia: President launches oil palm replanting program in Riau

Antara 9 May 18;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) launched an oil palm replanting program in Rokan Hilir district, Riau, marking the start of the program in the Sumatran province, covering 25,423 hectares for this year.

Thousands of people welcomed the arrival of the President on Wednesday and entourage with warm greeting and many of them sought an opportunity to shake hands with him.

His arrival at the village of Kepenghuluan Pelita, Bakan Sinembah, marked the start of the replanting program in eight districts in the province.

The same program was earlier launched in Musi Banyuasin, South Sumatra, on October 13, 2017 and Serdang Bedagai in North Sumatra on November 27, 2017 and so Riau becomes the third province undergoing the program.

A total of 25,423 hectares of people`s plantations will be refurbished spreading in eight districts - Rokan Hulu, Rokan Hilir, Kampar, Siak, Pelalawan, Kuantan Sengingi, Indragiri Hulu and Bengkalis.

The president said the program was urgent as most oil palm plantations out of a total of 1,58 million hectares in the province have been very old.

He said the government conducted the program so that the production of the people`s plantations would be more productive to increase twice or three times per hectare.

Reported by Angi Romadhoni
Editor: Heru Purwanto

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UN climate stalemate sees extra week of talks added

Matt McGrath BBC 10 May 18;

UN negotiations in Bonn are set to end in stalemate today as delegates have become bogged down in technical arguments about the Paris climate pact.

Poorer nations say they are fed up with foot dragging by richer countries on finance and carbon cutting commitments.

Some countries, led by China are now seeking to renegotiate key aspects of the Paris agreement.

An extra week of talks in September has been scheduled to try and get the process back on track.

The signing of the Paris climate agreement in 2015 was seen as a momentous achievement, but in retrospect doing the deal might have been the easy part.

In the intervening two and a half years, UN delegates have become increasingly stuck as they work through a welter of technical and accounting rules that will make the Paris pact operational in 2020.

Image copyrightIISD/ENB - KIARA WORTH
Poorer countries have become frustrated by what they see as the cavalier attitude of the rich to the urgency of the problem of rising seas and devastating floods and storms.

"The developed world has to lead," Amjad Abdulla, the lead negotiator for the Maldives told BBC News.

"We have a huge void - the action (by rich countries) on cutting carbon before 2020 we haven't really fulfilled that - and we are already embarking on rules for post 2020, that's unfair."

Follow the money

Climate finance is almost always the root of some of the biggest arguments in this process. Here in Bonn the developing world have pressed hard to get commitments from the richer nations about a timetable for the monies to be delivered into the future.

For many delegates like Amjad Abdulla, this question of trust on finance is critical, not just in dealing with the impacts of climate change but in helping developing countries shoulder the burden of cutting emissions and moving to renewable energy.

"The developing world's commitments are unconditional but there are limitations, you have to face the reality, we are living in a limited world. If your hands are tied up there's no way you can move, you need to unlock and money is the key."

These frustrations have led China to try and renegotiate a fundamental aspect of the Paris deal - the idea that all nations, rich and poor alike, will take on commitments to cut carbon.

"The signals they have been giving here have not been really helpful and have on the contrary been quite negative," said Ulrikka Aarnio, an observer from campaigners, the Climate Action Network.

"There are a number of countries that need finance for mitigation, adaption and for impacts and China is part of that group and may want to support them. It may be a negotiation tactic at this point."

Resistance to change?

The Chinese idea that going "back to the future" might be best for developing countries has also shown itself in a dispute over what seems the relatively trivial issue of a name change. The UN proposed last year to alter the clumsy "UN Framework Convention on Climate Change" to the simpler 'UN Climate Change'.

This proposed new wording has caused upset among some delegates because it drops the word convention from the title.

Signed back in 1992, the Framework Convention divided the world into the rich who were obliged to cut their carbon and the poor who were free to continue using fossil fuels.

"Everything we have undertaken is under the Framework Convention. I don't think we are going to change that, it has to stay - the bedrock is the convention, the foundation is the convention. We are working, we are building on that. Changing that would be a very bad idea."

The slow progress here means that an extra session of talks has now been added to the calendar been for September to try and make progress before ministers gather in Poland for the crucial Conference of the Parties in Katowice in December.

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Renewable energy jobs surge above 10 million

AFP Yahoo News 8 May 18;

Abu Dhabi (AFP) - The growing renewable energy industry created 500,000 new jobs globally last year, surpassing the 10 million-mark for the first time, an Abu Dhabi-based agency said on Tuesday.

Harnessing clean energy around the world had created a total of 10.3 million jobs by the end of 2017, a 5.3 percent jump on the previous year, according to the new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Adnan Z. Amin, director-general of IRENA, said the findings showed renewable energy "has become a pillar of low-carbon economic growth for governments all over the world".

"Fundamentally, this data supports our analysis that decarbonisation of the global energy system can grow the global economy and create up to 28 million jobs in the sector by 2050," he said.

China, Brazil, the United States, India, Germany and Japan lead the rest of the world accounting for 70 percent of the jobs, the report said.

The number of jobs represents a 47 percent jump from 2012, with over 60 percent of the jobs concentrated in Asia, mainly China, the report said.

At the end of last year, China had 3.88 million people employed in the renewable energy sector, up 12.1 percent on 2016 and representing 38 percent of jobs worldwide.

The expansion of the renewable energy sector is seen as essential to achieving the goals of a landmark climate pact signed in December 2015.

In order to accomplish the accord's aim of limiting the rise in global temperatures to below 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), IRENA said the renewables share in the global energy sector must double by 2030.

"Investments must be scaled up from some $305 billion in 2015, to an average of $900 billion per year between 2016 and 2030," the agency said last year.

Renewable energies have become drastically cheaper thanks to recent developments in technology, according to IRENA.

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