Issue 221    |   19 January 2017
 I've  been accused of a lot of things in my time as a journalist/editor - 54 years on the go! - but these days  it is usually something like this: "You do go on!" 
 Yes, admittedly, I do write and t alk a lot about climate change, sustainability, clean energy, energy efficiency, waste management, deforestation, air pollution etc. But I also draw attention to innovative ideas and trends. News and comment that you might not be getting or seeing otherwise.
  So my New Year resolution is to keep the express short and sharp, with not so many words and pictures, but links to where to go for more. So this is the new look for a New Year. As the Year of the Rooster is imminent, you can expect us to crow a lot but in a measured,tasteful way! 
  Besides a regular monthly express, we might  well put out  special issues and news announcements from time to time. And we'll certainly communicate often through  our social media groups on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
  H ere's to productive, rewarding and climate-friendly year ahead. - Ken Hickson
Global Focus on Climate Change: UN, World Economic Forum & Commonwealth

The new UN boss António Guterres wants to increase engagement with the private sector, urging “strategic cooperation.” The World Economic Forum in Davos is headlining climate change as a major issue to be dealt with this year, while the Commonwealth, bringing together 52 countries - many in the line of fire of global warming impacts - needs to take on a much bigger role in the coming months. 

Hottest year on record and the heat is on for China to come clean

As the Northern Hemisphere experiences its coldest winter for a long time, Southern Hemisphere cities like Melbourne and Sydney are feeling the heat, as Antarctic ice sheets continue to slip away. 2016 is declared the hottest year on record as far as global average temperatures are concerned. As the world’s biggest emitter, China is under pressure to verify its reductions and deal with worsening air pollution at the same time. Here are two global climate change perspectives – one from the New York Times and once from CNBC. 

Making Cities Liveable:
Singapore & New York

As Singapore commits to a “car-lite” future with liveability and sustainability in mind, more people will cycle or ride their scooters to work in future, given the right facilities and encouragement. Developer Lendlease is leading the way and setting a good example is Dr Hee Limin of the Centre for Liveable Cities. While Singapore is ahead of the game with its superior electrified Mass Rapid Transit system, it is also embracing disruptive mobility providers like Uber and Grab, as well as car sharing. A study in New York shows how car sharing could actually take cars and taxis off the road.  

Indonesia: How to stop the burning one forest at a time

Farmers in a small village in Riau province of Indonesia have been learning to clear their land without burning. Ground up efforts have been encouraged by oil palm and pulpwood companies, environmental groups and industry associations. The Indonesian government is starting its own village-based fire prevention programme, which will be developed in 66 cities or districts and 731 villages across seven provinces. President Joko Widodo has also signed an immediate and total ban on the cultivation of peatland. The Straits Times has the story. 

Back to the Future: Climate and Clean Energy Highlights 
Barrack Obama has his last word as President on climate change and clean energy in Science and The Atlantic. Then there's the most featured papers on the subject - with a distinct American bias - from Carbon Brief covering the last 12 months. For our part, we've highlighted many more good news stories in 2016, including  The Blue Circle on the winds of change in Southeast Asia and Carnegie making waves in Australia and beyond. 

Innovation: Elon Musk's Space Race on Earth 

Elon Musk was very, very busy in 2016 and started the New Year with a successful SpaceX launch of the Iridium-1 rocket.   The man behind SpaceX, Tesla, Solar City and Hyperloop has a lot on his hands, but the technology forecasters at Inverse Innovation predict what more he has up his clean sleeves.  Meantime, Greenpeace is asking the big question: who is winning the race to build a green internet?

Costly Cover-up over Emissions for Fossil Fuel & Car Companies
In a landmark lawsuit in America, a group of youth plaintiffs are charging that the US failed to protect future generations from the dangers of global warming. Central to this is that American Petroleum Institute and companies like ExxonMobil failed to act, despite detailed knowledge of the threats they knew existed. Besides implicating the biggest oil company on earth, it also involves CEO Rex Tillerson, the newly nominated Secretary of State. The emissions cover up case against Volkswagen has come to a head in the US but with costly implications elsewhere in the world and for others in the car industry. 

Designed for Good:

  • 100% Recycled Plastic
  • Plasticity 2017
  • Designathon 2017
Let's design and manufacture products better with less plastic and less packaging. If it has to be plastic, why not make it 100% recycled which is the commitment from Unilever. Doug Woodring has a clear message too. Stop dumping plastic in our oceans. See Ocean Recovery Alliance. The next Plasticity event is in Dallas Texas 21 April. Closer to home, there's a design event with a big difference happening in Singapore. Designathon 2017 is focussing on creative design solutions for those with disabilities. That's art and sustainability coming together. 

Greening the Urban Environment

Green In Future and Sustain Ability Showcase Asia (SASA) are organising for the first time a one day conference on Technology and Sustainable Landscape Design in Singapore on 3 March. This will provide a unique platform for professionals to discuss latest technologies and opportunities covering the landscape industry in Singapore and the region. Key focus is on design and use of new technologies like Building Information Modelling (BIM) and 3D printing. Chairman of the World Green Building Council Tai Lee Siang is guest of honor and other industry experts will be on hand with up to date advice and practical steps.  

Here's more information on the programme/speakers.

Go to Eventbrite to book your place. 

Last Word: What a Circus! Bumble Bees,  Right-Royal Ladybirds & Sundance Films

What a mixed up world we have, with news that the bumble bee is at risk of extinction in the US, the Sundance Film Festival features climate for a change, including Al Gore’s latest, and the very green Prince Charles has joined forces with significant others to produce a Ladybird book on the global issue – for children and adults. Meanwhile, we learn that after 146 years, the curtain is coming down on "The Greatest Show on Earth." The owner of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced the show will close forever in May. There are suggestions that maybe circus-like performances elsewhere will provide an entertaining sideshow in the States. 

Brought  to you by SASA