Issue 227  | 19 February 2018
2018: The Year of Climate Action
This is the Year of Climate Action. Singapore has started the ball rolling and as it's the chair of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) this year, here's hoping its influence will spread throughout region and further afield.
Pledges to Commit to Climate Action
"We feel it is important to raise the level of national consciousness around the need to take individual and collective action to fight climate change," Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said at the launch of Singapore's Year of Climate Action. - Report by Audrey Tan in the Straits Times 27 January 2018. Read More

Make your Pledge - as an individual or an organisation - to the Year of Climate Action. Right here!

"The designation of 2018 as the Year of Climate Action is an opportunity to consolidate the policy changes announced in 2017, and to
take stock of the detailed strategies on mitigation
and adaptation set out in Singapore’s 2016 Climate Action Plan." - Melissa Low of the Energy Studies Institute. Read More

Green in Future & SASA present:
Climate Action Forum
Sustain Ability Showcase Asia (SASA) is joining forces with Green in Future to introduce at least two events to mark Singapore's Year of Climate Action.
The first will be a two day workshop in May this year on Climate Action led by Professor Jeff Obbard. The second will be a Climate Action Forum, at a date to be determined, addressing five major themes: + Climate Science; + Energy; + Food security; + Water Resources; + Green Finance.
Green in Future, with its online newsletter Green Pulse, and SASA. plus ABC Carbon Express, will also support and promote many other events during the year, including the Green Growth and Business Forum, Singapore International Water Week, Clean Enviro Summit and the World Cities Forum in July, as well as the International Green Building Conference in September and Singapore International Energy Week in October. Read More
Timely Introduction of International Sustainable Operations Diploma
 Described as an international sustainability education initiative, a new Diploma of Sustainable Operations is being introduced to fit into Singapore’s Year of Climate Action.
“This programme will fill a much-needed gap in what is currently available by way of education in the business and practice of sustainability in Singapore”, said Ken Hickson, Chairman of Sustain Ability Showcase Asia (SASA).
Starting 16 April, this 10-day intensive Government-accredited qualification focuses in equipping participants with a multitude of critical skills in the management of energy, carbon and sustainability.
It is developed by Australian Centre for Sustainability Studies and Training (ACSST) and will be delivered by industry experts and world-renowned researchers, including Dr Adrian Ward, To register or to get more information, go to London School Business & Finance (LSBF).
Global business taking action
The rest of the world is also making 2018 a big year for action. This year opens a new phase for the Paris Agreement and a historic opportunity to jumpstart action to limit the most dangerous impacts of climate change and set the world on course to a carbon-neutral, sustainable future by 2050. With the  official launch  of the 2018 Talanoa Dialogue in January, countries are now embarking on the first global assessment of collective efforts to achieve  the Paris goals . Global stocktakes are a core part of the regular five-year cycles built into the Agreement to ramp up ambition and action. Read more from World Resources Institute.

Banking on Coal?
In January, when the Government officially launched the Year of Climate Action, news came out that Singapore banks "are bankrolling fossil fuel power projects that are at odds with public promises to fight climate change", Eco-Business and Straits Times reported. The study by Sydney-based financial green group Market Forces shows that DBS Bank, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) and United Overseas Bank (UOB)—Singapore’s big three banks—have provided loans to 21 coal power projects totalling US$2.29 billion over the last five years. For the full story, read Eco-Business.
Climate Refugees
Climate change is being taken very seriously in the Pacific Islands. The New Zealand Government plans to create the  world’s first humanitarian visa for climate refugees . Read More
Global Climate Change Update
The latest Climate Science highlights, including accounts from a leaked draft UN report , sound more alarm bells:
  • There is a “very high risk” that the ambitious target of limiting average temperature rise to 1.5oC is likely to be exceeded by the 2040s under current greenhouse gas emission trends.
  • Only a dramatic and unprecedented shift away from fossil fuels - to renewable energy - will enable the world to limit warming to no more than 1.5oC above pre-industrial times. Coal must be phased out rapidly.
  • Drastic reforms of industrial and agricultural practices - land clearing and deforestation - are required to avoid more heatwaves, droughts and floods, as well as the risks of mass migration of people and even conflicts triggered by a warming climate.
  • At current greenhouse gas emission rates, a breach of the 1.5oC target may only be 12 years away and may even require active removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere - using so-called ‘negative emission technologies’ which are still nascent and prohibitively expensive.
  • There's a risk of crossing "climate tipping points" that would trigger a surge in greenhouse gas emissions from natural sources.
  • Arctic warming has become so pronounced that the WMO believes that this is likely to have profound and long-lasting repercussions on sea levels and weather patterns around the world.
tem chart
The Heat On: Is it Unstoppable?

By Jeff Obbard

The temperature records for 2017 are in.
According to the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA), 2017 was the second warmest year on record.
When compared to temperatures in a ‘pre-industrial’ times, 2017 was 1.17°C warmer than the average global temperature for the years between 1880 and 1920. 
The warmest year to date was 2016, where the average global temperature was 1.24 o C warmer than the 1880-1920 base period.
A sign that the pace of global warming has slowed down? Sadly not, because there is a critical difference between the 2016 and 2017 temperatures.
In 2016, temperatures were boosted by a prevailing tropical El-Niño event which naturally warmed the climate, but this had mostly dissipated by the start of 2017. 
Therefore, 2017 was the warmest non-El Nino year on record, beating the previous non-El-Nino year in 2015 – mostly due to the unusually warm temperatures recorded in the Earth’s polar regions.  Read More

Jeff Obbard, our "scientist-in-residence" and Contributing Editor to ABC Carbon Express, is a Professor of Environmental Science, who's been based at Qatar University for the past three years. He has returned to Singapore and is actively engaged in Singapore and the region. He is also Chairman of the Organising Committee for Singapore's first Climate Action Forum 2018.
EAT Stockholm Food Forum
After the success of EAT Asia Pacific Food Forum last October in Jakarta, Indonesia, EAT Foundation is inviting particpants from around the world to attend the next EAT Stockholm Food Forum on 11-12 June 2018. There experts and enthusiasts from around the world will gather to discuss progress on solving the interconnected challenges of climate, sustainability and health, and take action on transforming our global food system. EAT forums are a breeding ground for uncommon collaborations, new research, new solutions and new connections. EAT is pleased to announce the appointment of Alessandro Demaio, MD, MPH, PhD (pictured) as its new chief executive officer. Currently a Medical Officer at the World Health Organization, Demaio will assume his role on April 16th , 2018. More from the EAT Foundation.
The First Cities of Love Awards
Report by Dr Parvathy Subhadra of Green Future

The inaugural Cities of Love Award (COLA) ceremony was held in January in conjunction with Singapore Management University's SMU Grow’s 3 rd Anniversary. It was a celebration of sustainable efforts made by ordinary individuals and organisations. 
Unlike many sustainability awards that are often given to prominent figures and enterprises who implement large-scale transformational projects, COLA recognises smaller efforts that are creating positive impacts on society. It was initiated by Inception, which was formed in Singapore in August 2010, by Valerie Ang and Tai Lee Siang, Chairman of the World Green Building Council and co-authors of the book "Cities of Love". The award comprised two categories: social sustainability and environmental sustainability. There were 26 Merit award winners and 6 Distinguished award winners across the categories.  Read More
Sustainability Education & Events
Singapore & Southeast Asia: For the first time, the Australian-designed Diploma for Sustainable Operations will be available in Singapore and tailored to the needs of students and professionals in Southeast Asia. This "international sustainability education initiative" by Sustain Ability Showcase Asia (SASA) and the Australian Centre for Sustainability Studies & Training (ACSST) will start at the London School of Business & Finance (LSBF) in April 2018. Read more here and register your interest.

San Francisco, USA: The Global Climate Action Summit will showcase the actions sub-national actors have taken to reduce their emissions already, secure bold commitments from them to do even more, show that decarbonisation and economic growth go hand-in-hand, and galvanise a global movement for climate action that leaves no one behind.The Summit will take place from 12-14 September, 2018 in San Francisco, California. Read all about it.

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia: The 2018 National Sustainability in Business Conference on 8 and 9 March 2018 at Hotel Grand Chancellor, Brisbane. The 2nd annual conference will explore sustainability best practice within organisations, creating resilience in business and ways to implement change. The sustainability topics will include integration, politics, technology, automation, future of renewables, procurement, food security, sustainable construction and waste as a resource.  Read more

Ken Hickson is one of the speakers at 2018 National Sustainability in Business Conference, March 8,9, in Brisbane, Australia, addressing the topic: "The Art of Sustainability in the Age of Digital Disruption". For the full programme go to the Conference site.

ABC Carbon Express and SASA are together supporting this event, along with many other national and international organisations from the public and private sectors. When you Register here , quote this special code for a discount: SASA18.
Are Aviation Emissions Coming Down to Earth?
Attending the Singapore Airshow at Changi earlier this month, Ken Hickson put on his aviation writer/editor hat and met many representatives from the global aviation industry, including the two leaders in aircraft manufacturing, Boeing and Airbus. The International Air Transport Association (IAA) is the only global organisation in any industry to come up with a structured plan for all its member airlines to cut aviation emissions. He also met and questioned Qantas CEO Alan Joyce (pictured) on the how the industry is dealing with its commitment to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions from operations. One very distinct way is by switching to jet bio fuels:

Qantas "cuts the mustard" with jet bio fuel flights
Qantas is not the only airline to introduce jet bio fuel test flights, but it is the first to utilise mustard seed oil and the first to operate a biofuel flight between Australia and the United States.
The 15-hour flight in January 2018 used a blended fuel that was 10% derived from the brassica carinata, an industrial type of mustard seed. The world-first used a Boeing Dreamliner 787-9 on a scheduled passenger service, QF96, and reduced carbon emissions by 7% compared with the airline’s usual flight over the same Los Angeles to Melbourne route. Compared pound for pound with jet fuel, the mustard seed biofuel reduces emissions by 80% over the fuel’s life cycle. Here's the latest Qantas update.

How does IATA plan for airlines to meet its stringent emissions goals?
Aiming for a reduction in net aviation CO2 emissions of 50% by 2050, relative to 2005 levels, IATA has adopted a multi-faceted approach, which involves: 
  • Improved technology, including the deployment of sustainable low-carbon fuels
  • More efficient aircraft operations
  • Infrastructure improvements, including modernised air traffic management systems
  • A single global market-based measure, to fill the remaining emissions gap
Cool Change: IKEA Converts the Sun's Heat
Making renewable energy a part of everyday operations, IKEA has flipped the switch on two very different solar projects in Singapore.
IKEA in Alexandra Road is the first commercial enterprise in Singapore to activate a large-scale solar cooling system - designed and produced by SOLID of Austria - converting solar heat into air conditioning for its store and warehouse. The system reduces the store’s CO 2  emissions by 428 metric tonnes a year – the equivalent of emissions released by 200 jetliners making a trip from Singapore to Sydney.
Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources was on hand to launch the solar project. Here's what she had to say.
Across the city,  IKEA Tampines  called on the Swiss global energy company ABB to set up a solar power system that pumps energy directly into the store to run lights and other electrical appliances. The 3,700 PV (photovoltaic) solar panels on the rooftop will generate an estimated 1.3 million Kwh of renewable energy this year. That’s enough to power the equivalent of 283 four-room Housing Development Board (HDB) flats in Singapore. See "IKEA Singapore flicks the switch on solar projects" on YouTube.

Responsible for Sustainable Development Goals
Since its introduction in 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have provided a global masterplan for ensuring an equitable and sustainable future for all. They present a compelling case for stakeholders to adopt an integrated approach to achieve the SDGs, scaling up action and measuring impact. The 6th Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development, co-organised with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Singapore from 21-23 November 2017, brought together more than 800 participants to serve as a platform for accelerating SDG action. We were there, reporting on the event, along with many other media organisations. But its so refreshing - and helpful - to receive access to a wonderfully comprehensive report produced all about the Forum and its outcomes. Go here to access the pdf.
Brands for Good
CEO Asia launches the inaugural  Brands for Good  in Singapore.
The recognition programme, sponsored by Maybank Singapore and BBX, aims to champion corporate social responsibility (CSR) and recognise forward-looking businesses, particularly Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), which are committed to being stewards of positive impact. CEO Asia hopes to build a network of game-changers to motivate other businesses to move towards achieving a sustainable future. Read More
Last Word: Here's to the Year of the Dog
Celebrate Man's Best Friend: Every dog has its day and this year it's the Year of the Dog . As Man's best friend - and that includes women of course - we can celebrate all the good attributes of dogs, whether as pets, working animals or those performing wonderful work with the blind, in disaster rescues and as therapy for old and young. While we human's make great use of dogs, it's timely to be reminded to treat all animals humanely. To mark the Year, here's a friendly dog in blue and white porcelain by our "in-house artist" M Hickson. Read about dogs at the Humane Society International (HSI).

Art on the Move. A US-based organisation is offering US$21,000 to designers and artists who can create the best and most workable sustainable energy generators. Every two years, LAGI ( Land Art Generation Initiative ) organises a global competition that calls for submissions of art entries which must include a clean energy aspect capable of actual production. This year it's held in Melbourne, Australia, and covers different technologies: solar PV, wind-power, solar thermal, as well as energy from  pressure movement and ocean currents  Read the story on Gaia Discovery.

Key to Saving Rhinos. We talked to Andrew Frank of Key Telematics during the recent UK Mission to Singapore on Urban Living, who told us how technology can be used to keep track of Rhinos in Africa to save the threatened species.
It's sad but true that Rhino poaching has escalated lately and is being driven by the demand for rhino horn in Asian countries, particularly Vietnam. Poachers are being supplied by criminal gangs with sophisticated equipment to track and kill rhinos. Here's hoping Key Telematics can stop the poachers and save the Rhino. Read more .

Don't Waste a Moment! Good advice for all travellers from Gaia Discovery's Mallika Naguran when interviewed for the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA): Plan your travel to keep waste generation as low as possible when you pack. Be a zero waste tourist. Stay at resorts promoting ecological practices and waste management. Pack an eco-bag with a reusable drinking water container, a sealable mug, eating utensils made out of bamboo. Pack a flat reusable bag to take away your rubbish. Read the rest here.
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