Best of our wild blogs: 6 Sep 18

15 Sep (Sat): Clean-Up on Kayak
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

16 Sep (Sun): Marine identification workshop
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

Green Drinks: Bees in Singapore
Green Drinks Singapore

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New energy rating to push more buildings to go green

FARIS MOKHTAR Today Online 5 Sep 18;

SINGAPORE — In a push to get more non-residential buildings to go green, the authorities have introduced a new energy rating that aims to make buildings at least 60 per cent more energy-efficient than the current building codes, which were set in 2005.

Under the new rating, called Green Mark for Super Low Energy, buildings cannot use more than 100 kilowatt hour (kwh) per square metre a year, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) announced at the opening day of the Singapore Green Building Week on Wednesday (Sept 5).

The Super Low Energy rating targets new and existing commercial and retail offices, industrial buildings as well as schools, and hopes to get industry players to push boundaries on energy efficiency to “achieve best-in-class building energy performance in a cost-effective manner”.

The authorities are striving to achieve up to 80 per cent energy efficiency for buildings here, though the BCA noted that more research and innovation is needed so that the measures are also cost-effective.

The initiative is voluntary and so far, more than 10 organisations, including the Defence Science and Technology Agency as well as the Singapore Management University have committed to adopt the new rating.

Chief executive of BCA Hugh Lim said that by setting such new performance benchmarks, “Singapore can play an important role in mitigating climate change and doing our part as a responsible global citizen”.

The authorities cited the Keppel Bay Tower, located at Harbourfront, as an example of a building that is trying to adopt the super low energy approach by piloting emerging technologies that include a smart lighting system and an air-handling unit fan that is about 25 per cent more energy-efficient and expected to run at a lower noise level.

BCA launches new energy rating for non-residential buildings
Aw Cheng Wei and Jose Hong Straits Times 5 Sep 18;

SINGAPORE - Solar shades, natural ventilation and renewable energy panels are some of the prospective energy-saving features the national regulator wants to see in more Singapore buildings.

To intensify the move to a greener future, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has launched a new energy rating for buildings that are at least 60 per cent more energy efficient compared with 2005 building codes. This was announced on Wednesday (Sept 5), the first day of the Singapore Green Building Week (SGBW) at Marina Bay Sands.

Under the new rating, called Green Mark for Super Low Energy, office buildings cannot use more than 100 kilowatt hour (kwh) per sq m a year.

To help more buildings qualify for the voluntary rating, the BCA is working with industry professionals, including property developers, to build such super low energy buildings, said its chief executive, Mr Hugh Lim.

The BCA is also doing more rigorous research and innovation to further push the frontier for green buildings, he added.

"By setting such new performance benchmarks, Singapore can play an important role in mitigating climate change," Mr Lim said.

Previously, the highest class under the Green Mark - the BCA's benchmarking scheme - was the Green Mark Platinum, awarded to buildings that save at least half of the energy listed in the 2005 building codes.

More than 10 organisations, including Defence Science and Technology Agency, Singapore Management University and City Developments, have pledged to achieve at least one super low energy project in the next five years, a BCA spokesman said.

The BCA is now working with property developer Keppel Land to convert Keppel Bay Tower, a Green Mark Platinum building, into a super low energy building.

In 2017, Keppel Land was awarded $1.28 million from the BCA's Green Buildings Innovation Cluster to conduct a pilot on super low energy technologies at its building in HarbourFront.

Five technologies to be tested in the 18-storey building later this month include: a smart lighting system, a fresh air intake system that regulates the flow of outside air into the tower, and a cooling tower system that regulates the structure’s temperature without the need for chemical water treatment.

It is not common for buildings in Singapore to have all of these technologies within the same structure.

If successful, the building's annual energy consumption is expected to go down by 20 per cent, from 145kwh per sq m a year to 115kwh per sq m a year, said the company's spokesman on Wednesday. The outcome would help the company save $250,000 a year.

That translates to an estimated overall annual energy savings of about 1.5 million kwh, equivalent to the energy required to power more than 250 five-room Housing Board flats for one year.

It will also mean annual savings of about 7,000 cubic m of water, enough to fill three Olympic-size swimming pools.

When applied to the entire building, annual energy consumption is estimated to fall to 92kwh per sq m, the spokesman added. The pilot is expected to be completed by July 2020.

Speaking at the SGBW opening ceremony, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said that next year's green building week would be in a different format and include areas like smart facilities management.

"We don't just want to continue with the status quo, but we're looking to see how the entire week can be revamped and improved," he said.

"So come next year, we are planning an international built environment week... Essentially, we want to make this bigger and better all under one roof, where there can be a comprehensive showcase of new and innovative technologies."

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Malaysia: Kedah revokes and halts issuing new permits for felling trees

arnold loh The Star 5 Sep 18;

GEORGE TOWN: If trees could speak, those in the Ulu Muda Forest Reserve may thank the Kedah government.

With immediate effect, the state is revoking logging permits in the massive jungle and suspending the issuance of new ones, says Land, Water and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar.

With Kedah sacrificing its revenue from forest premiums for the sake of water security in northern Malaysia, the minister said the Federal Government is now studying how to compensate Kedah for pre­serving Ulu Muda Forest Reserve.

Dr Xavier said he met Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir on Monday during his working visit to the state and was given the good news.

“We are thankful to Mukhriz. This is great news for Perlis, Kedah and Penang because it will protect the future of the region.

“The Ulu Muda catchment area is vital to the water security of the three states, not just for drinking water, but also for agricultural use,” Dr Xavier said when he visited the Sungai Pinang flood mitigation info centre in Lorong Kulit here yesterday.

Twice the size of Singapore, Ulu Muda forest is critical to northern Malaysia both as a catchment area and to hold on to heavy rainfall and prevent flooding in the coastal plains of the three states.

Kedah, however, needs the RM40mil in revenue from the forest premiums it derives from the issuance of logging permits.

Penang, which gets 80% of its water supply from Sungai Muda flowing out of this jungle, has repeatedly called for the Federal Government to compensate Kedah for protecting the jungle.

Dr Xavier also expressed his views on Penang’s desire to buy water from Perak.

“The Federal Government will assist financially, but whether it is raw or treated water, I will let both states discuss and come to a win-win situation.

“Penang wants to buy raw water, but Perak wants to sell treated water. However, both states agree this project must take place so we will let both sides negotiate,” he said.

Asked about Perak’s insistence that it should sell “higher value” treated water to Penang and Selangor because the state has to maintain its catchment areas, Dr Xavier said it was “too premature for any state to insist on anything and they should meet and discuss”.

“Perak has enough water. Studies show the state even has a surplus. “This is just an inter-state water deal for Perak to supply water to Penang. It’s not free. Penang will have to pay and Perak will get revenue,” Dr Xavier said.

Inter-state water deals also exist from Pahang to Selangor and Johor to Melaka, and the prevailing rate is three sen per 1,000 litres.

Dr Xavier also announced that the long-awaited next phase of the Sungai Pinang flood mitigation project would begin in the middle of next year, at the latest. It should be finished by 2023.

Costing RM150mil, it involves widening the river between Jalan Patani and Jalan Ayer Itam, and also the construction of levees, flood walls, water gates, rubbish traps, flow controls and bridges.

The Sungai Pinang flood mitigation project is considered one of the longest delayed in the country andcritical to solving flood woes in George Town.

It was conceived under the Seventh Malaysia Plan in 1996 with a budget of RM650mil.

State Local Government Commit­tee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo, who accompanied Dr Xavier, hailed the commitment of the Federal Government to restart the project, “which has long been sorely neglected by the previous government after the first phase was completed 1999”.

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Malaysia: Filipino charged with possession of protected green turtle's carcasses

ABDUL RAHEMANG TAIMING New Straits Times 5 Sep 18;

TAWAU: A Filipino man was today charged at the Sessions court here with the possession of turtle carcasses weighed 92.5kg.

Junaidi Umarati, 19, pleaded not guilty when the charge read in Bajau language by a translator from Sabah Wildlife Department before judge Awang Kerisnada Awang Mahmud.

He was accused of possessing 73.5kg of the wildlife’s plastrons, 17.5kg scales,1.5kg of tails at Sisipan waters off Semporna on Aug 24 at about 3.30pm.

All of the body parts belonged to green turtle species (Chilonea mydas) that was listed as a total protected species under the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997.

A Filipino man was charged at the Sessions court here with the possession of turtle carcasses weighed 92.5kg. Photo credit: Abdul Rahemang Taiming
Junaidi was accused under Section 41(1) of Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997, punishable under Section 41 (4) under the same enactment.

The offence carries a fine not less than RM50,000 and up to RM250,000 and maximum five years’ imprisonment.

Prosecution was conducted by prosecuting officer Silvester @ Sylvester Saimin from Sabah Wildlife Department.

The court granted prosecution’s application for no bail until the cases management date with grounds that the accused did not have valid identification document.

The judge also ordered the accused to be detained under Section 259 of Criminal Procedure Code.

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Indonesia: Riau Police foil attempt to smuggle 38 cockatoos

The Jakarta Post 5 Sep 18;

The Indragiri Hilir Police in Riau have thwarted an attempt to smuggle 38 parrots worth an estimated Rp 380 million (US$25,340) to Singapore.

The police handed over the cockatoos to the Riau chapter of the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BBKSDA) on Tuesday.

The agency’s head, Suharyono, said on Tuesday that the cockatoos were of various species, including the palm cockatoo, the white cockatoo and the yellow-crested cockatoo.

He explained that the police received information from the community about plans to smuggle cockatoos from Jambi to Riau earlier this week. The police then managed to arrest the suspect in Tembilahan subdistrict, Indragiri Hilir regency, on Sunday.

Suharyono reported that one cockatoo died en route to Indragiri Hilir from Pekanbaru, Riau.

The cockatoos are temporarily being kept in transit cages owned by the agency as they recover. Suharyono said he suspected that the cockatoos had been domesticated, so the habituation process might take a long time.

“If they cannot survive in nature, we will entrust them to people who own a valid care permit,” he said, adding that the agency was also willing to return the protected animal back to its habitat in Papua.

“The cockatoos' [natural] habitat is located only in the eastern part of Indonesia,” he said. (sau)

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Indonesia: Extreme weather imminent ahead of rainy season in October

Kharishar Kahfi The Jakarta Post 5 Sep 18;

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has warned residents across the archipelago about the potential of extreme weather ahead of the rainy season in October.

Agency head Dwikorita Karnawati said in a statement on Tuesday that the rainy season was expected to start between October and December depending on the region, with the peak to occur from January to February 2019.

The agency has been monitoring a weather phenomenon called Madden Julian Oscillation, which occurs in the air surrounding the archipelago, bringing extra water vapor to form clouds in the sky. A decrease in dry and cold air movement from Australia will also affect the upcoming weather.

“Such a phenomenon will push for an increase in the potential of rain clouds forming,” Dwikorita said.

She warned people living in nine provinces — Aceh, West Sumatra, Bengkulu, North Kalimantan, Central Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, Maluku, West Papua and Papua — to prepare for heavy rains accompanied by thunder and strong winds in the next three days.

Moreover, the BMKG also warned fisherfolk and those living in coastal regions to watch for high waves with a height between 2.5 to 4 meters from September to December.

“During the rainy season, people should also be on the look out for natural disasters, such as floods, landfalls, strong winds and tornadoes,” Dwikorita said.

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Climate action could add $26 trillion to world economy: study

AFP Yahoo News 5 Sep 18;

Paris (AFP) - Ambitious action on climate change could contribute an extra $26 trillion to the world economy by 2030, international experts said on Wednesday, urging nations and businesses to step up their engagement.

The economic benefits offered by a shift to a low-carbon economy have been "grossly" underestimated, according to the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, a think tank grouping former heads of government and top economic and business leaders.

"Bold action could yield a direct economic gain of $26 trillion through to 2030 compared with business-as-usual. And this is likely to be a conservative estimate," the commission's annual report found.

Dynamic action on climate could also generate "over 65 million new low-carbon jobs" by 2030 and avoid over 700,000 premature deaths due to air pollution, it said.

But policymakers were "not taking sufficiently bold action to escape the legacy economic systems," the study found, warning that the window for change was narrow.

"We are at a unique 'use it or lose it' moment. Policymakers should take their foot off the brakes and send a clear signal that the new growth is here," said the commission's co-chair Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's former finance minister.

"There are real benefits to be seen in terms of new jobs, economic savings, competitiveness and market opportunities, and improved wellbeing for people worldwide."

Such growth would be driven by the interaction between rapid technological innovation, increased resource productivity and investment in sustainable infrastructure, which is expected to reach $90 trillion by 2030, it said.

- Bold action needed -

The shift would involve change in five key areas: the development of clean energy systems, improved urban planning, a shift towards more sustainable agriculture, smart water management and decarbonising industry.

"Seizing the economic benefits of low-carbon and resilient growth will only be possible if we act boldly over the next two to three years," it said, flagging it as a "critical window" when many of policy and investment decisions will be taken which will shape the coming decade and beyond.

Urging economic decision-makers to move beyond generic proposals or statements, it called on governments to put a price on carbon of at least $40-80 by 2020, and to move towards mandatory climate risk disclosure for major investors and companies.

It also pushed for a much greater emphasis on investment in sustainable infrastructure, with better-designed cities, buildings, transport, energy and water systems as well as investment in forests and wetlands that purify water and offer valuable flood control.

To this end, development bodies and banks should double their collective investment in infrastructure, aiming to invest at least $100 billion per year by 2020, it said.

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World's biggest sovereign fund pleads to save oceans

AFP Yahoo News 5 Sep 18;

Oslo (AFP) - Companies should be doing more to protect the world's oceans, including combatting plastic waste pollution, Norway's sovereign wealth fund, the world's biggest, said on Wednesday.

"The ocean is a vital part of the biosphere and an important part of the global economy," said Yngve Slyngstad, the head of the fund valued at 8.66 trillion kroner (890 billion euros, $1.03 trillion).

"We expect companies to manage the challenges and opportunities related to sustainable use of the oceans," he added.

A heavyweight on the global finance scene, the Government Pension Fund Global published a document outlining what it expects from the 9,000 companies in which it holds stakes.

Among other things, it urged them to integrate environmental ideas into their business strategies, suggesting for example that plastics producers plan a transition to a "circular economy" frugal in raw materials, and that fisheries companies incorporate forecasts on future stocks in their planning.

The recommendations apply to companies active at sea -- shipping, fisheries, fish farms -- as well as others on land whose activities may affect the oceans, such as distribution and plastics industries and agriculture, the fund said.

The fund has in the past laid out its expectations on other issues, including better efforts in water management, anti-corruption, human rights and tax transparency, judging that bad practices in these fields can ultimately hurt companies' profitability.

On Wednesday, the fund also published a document reviewing its support of the United Nations sustainable development goals.

"Our most important contribution is to strengthen governance, improve performance and promote sustainable business practices," Slyngstad said.

In addition to its expectations based purely on financial considerations, the fund also follows ethical guidelines that bar it from investing in, among other things, companies that commit serious human rights violations, manufacture nuclear or "particularly inhumane" weapons, or those in the coal and tobacco industries.

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