Best of our wild blogs: 10 Nov 18

Pacific Reef Egret fish sorting behaviour?
Singapore Bird Group

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The harsh realities behind the rising sugar cane prices in Singapore

With bad weather, small farms in danger of closing, larger ones downsizing and suppliers calling it quits, might Singaporeans even have to go without the popular juice? The series For Food’s Sake investigates.
Derrick A Paulo Channel NewsAsia 10 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE and MALAYSIA: They are too young to have beer. But the many youngsters who go to Chomp Chomp Food Centre at Serangoon Gardens can still drink to their heart’s content from the popular tower dispensers at the hawker centre.

The quenchers on their tables are sugar cane towers, however, and not beer – drink stall owner Brendon Tan’s solution for his thirsty customers.

“We used to sell smaller cups,” he said. “(Gradually) we upsized from 700 millilitres to 1 litre, then 1.5 litres. People were looking for (a bigger) jug, so I thought maybe we can try a (sugar cane) tower.”

In the past year though, he had to raise the prices of the juice – for the first time in the two decades he has been selling the drink. A tower now costs S18, up from S$15.

In fact, the cost of sugar cane in Singapore has risen by much more. Between last November and this July, the price per box rose from around S$16.50 to S$29 – a 75 per cent increase.

With food prices rising by more than 10 per cent over the past five years, the series For Food’s Sake finds out what is behind the hikes in the prices of various foods and beverages.

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Sunseap to build floating solar energy generator off Woodlands

Channel NewsAsia 9 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE: Sunseap, a sustainable energy provider, is building an offshore floating photovoltaic (PV) system in Singapore, it said in a press release on Friday (Nov 9).

The five-hectare development will be located north of Woodlands Waterfront Park, along the Straits of Johor.

"Originally, we were looking around the Straits of Johor; to put it simply, there was a concern about whether the floating platform would float elsewhere," said Mr Frank Phuan, co-founder and CEO of Sunseap Group.

"If you're in the southern waters, it may float to other parts that are unknown but if it's in the Straits of Johor we are restricted by the Causeway, we are restricted (within the waters) between Singapore - and Malaysia and I think the Maritime Port Authority felt that this was a safe location."

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Will lower prices in open market make consumers use more electricity? Experts weigh in

Aqil Haziq Mahmud Channel NewsAsia 10 Nov 18;

SINGAPORE: As electricity retailers in the Open Electricity Market (OEM) dangle discounted tariffs at cost-savvy consumers, experts are divided over whether this could lead to higher consumption.

Some said this could lead to a "rebound effect", which refers to consumers using more electricity because it is cheaper. Others said the OEM would make users more aware of their consumption habits, leading to a decrease in consumption.

On Nov 1, the OEM was expanded to households with postal codes beginning with 58 to 78, such as those in Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Batok and Yishun. This means they can switch to a different retailer that offers a cheaper electricity plan.

After the market was first opened on Apr 1 to households in Jurong, the Energy Market Authority said that roughly a third of consumers there have chosen to switch retailers, enjoying savings of about 20 per cent.

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NUS study: Mangroves can help countries mitigate their carbon emissions

National University of Singapore NewsWise 9 Nov 18;

After examining 14 of the world’s most common ecosystems, coastal environments were found to be the most effective at capturing carbon

Geographers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have found that coastal vegetation such as mangroves, seagrasses, and salt marshes may be the most effective habitats to mitigate carbon emissions.

The study, which was conducted by researchers from the Department of Geography at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, indicates that nations with large coastlines could expand these ecosystems to further counteract their fossil fuel emissions. These findings were published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters on 24 October 2018. With the recent Paris Agreement setting a target for all nations to become carbon neutral in the future, utilising these natural ecosystems could help to achieve this goal.

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