Commentary: Singapore’s climate change fight must be clear about these facts

More needs to be done to reduce carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050 for effective adaptation, say Bertrand Seah, Tim Min Jie, Sarah Ichioka and Wong Pei Chi.
Bertrand Seah, Tim Min Jie, Sarah Ichioka and Wong Pei Chi Channel NewsAsia 27 Jul 19;

SINGAPORE: The commentary “As time runs out on the climate crisis, Singapore prepares to address the cost of adapting” adopts the kind of urgent language appropriate to the climate crisis we are facing now.

It emphasises the importance of adaptation measures, which lower the risks posed by the consequences of climatic changes. One such example is recent measure to build Changi Airport Terminal 5 5.5 metres above mean sea level to deal with rising sea levels.

It is highly disappointing, however, that it downplays the pressing need to adopt more substantial mitigating measures that address root causes, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The commentary notes that the question of mitigation in Singapore has been far simpler and less politically fraught than in other countries, and that Singaporeans have already worked towards more climate-friendly consumption patterns.

This obscures a few important facts about mitigation, unlike what the commentary posits, as the cost of climate change mitigation is very much “inextricably linked to political to political questions of cost, economic restructuring, decline and job losses”.


Firstly, the source of much of Singapore’s emissions is not consumers, but industry.

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Malaysia: Short-finned pilot whales sighted in Terengganu waters

Bernama New Straits Times 26 Jul 19;

KUALA TERENGGANU: Barely nine days after a pair of orcas or killer whales sighted in Terengganu waters for the first time ever, a pod of short-finned pilot whales have been making an appearance in the state waters on Wednesday.

Rantau Abang Fisheries Research Institute (FRI)’s Marine Mammals branch head Mohd Tamimi Ali Ahmad said the short-finned pilot whales were found swimming near the Perhentian Island in Besut waters, at 30 kilometres from the beach and at a depth between 30 and 35 metres.

“The incident was captured by fishermen in a 39-second video clip. Based on the video recording and the fishermen’s conversations, they said the mammals are very large in size and in a big group, I believe they are short-finned pilot whales or its scientific name Globicephala Macrorhynchus because they have this habit of moving in a large group of 10 to 50,” he said in a statement today.

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Indonesia: Riau blanketed in haze as peat fire spreads

Channel NewsAsia 25 Jul 19;

PEKANBARU, Riau: A team has been dispatched to put out peatland fires in Siak and Pelalawan which resulted in a thick cloak of smog engulfing the provincial capital of Pekanbaru on Thursday (Jul 25) and disrupting residents’ daily activities.

Satellites spotted four hot spots which indicated early signs of land and forest fires in Riau, an Indonesian province located on the central eastern coast of Sumatra, state news agency Antara reported.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency said two of the hot spots were seen in the Pelalawan regency while the other two were in Siak.

“Today we conduct damping down operations in Siak and Langgam, Pelalawan. God willing (the fire will be) cleared,” said Mr Edwar Sanger, representative of the task force in-charge of putting out forest and land fires in Riau.

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Indonesia: Burning-free farming project bears fruit in South Sumatra

Yulia Savitri The Jakarta Post 25 Jul 19;

Haze from forest and bush fires has long been a major problem, not only for locals, but also for people in neighboring countries. However, there is good news from South Sumatra that a burning-free agriculture pilot project launched in 2017 has started to bear fruit.

Suka Makmur village head Hartono in Lalan district, Musi Banyuasin regency, South Sumatra, looked proudly at the crops grown in his village on pilot project farms known as demonstration plots (demplots), sponsored by the Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG).

Suka Makmur was named one of the province’s peatland recovery priority areas following the 2015 fires that burned forest and bush land in the village and other areas across Sumatra.

“We have harvested [various crops] in the last two years,” said Hartono Wednesday, adding that Suka Makmur had two demonstration plots — one for horticulture and one for fruit.

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Indonesia: Sea-level rise poses threat to Jakarta, Semarang, Demak coastal areas

Antara 25 Jul 19;

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Rising sea levels and decreasing land surface, driven by global climate change, pose an existential crisis to coastal communities in Jakarta, Semarang, and Demak.

Experts project that this threat will potentially inflict a huge financial and emotional toll on residents in these areas owing to loss or damage to property, among others repercussions.

Experts have forecast sea levels to rise 25 to 50 centimeters in 2050, and by 2100, the seawater will inundate most coastal cities in Indonesia.

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Vietnam: Seven dead tigers found in car

AFP 26 Jul 19;

A haul of frozen tiger carcasses found in a car in Hanoi has led to the arrest of a key wildlife trafficking suspect, Vietnamese state media said Friday, as the country tries to tackle a well-worn smuggling route from Laos.

Nguyen Huu Hue, who is believed to have smuggled animals in from neighbouring Laos for years, was arrested Thursday with two other people after seven dead tigers were discovered in their vehicle at a parking lot, according to Cong An Nhan Dan newspaper.

"Hue set up a company... which sells building material as a cover for the illegal trading of tigers and wildlife," Cong An Nhan Dan, the official mouthpiece of the Ministry of Public Security, reported.

All seven tigers appeared to be cubs, according to photos of the seizure.

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Arctic wildfires: What's caused huge swathes of flames to spread?

BBC 26 Jul 19;

Wildfires are ravaging the Arctic, with areas of northern Siberia, northern Scandinavia, Alaska and Greenland engulfed in flames.

Lightning frequently triggers fires in the region but this year they have been worsened by summer temperatures that are higher than average because of climate change.

Plumes of smoke from the fires can be seen from space.

Mark Parrington, a wildfires expert at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (Cams), described them as "unprecedented".

How bad is it?

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