ABC Carbon Express 
Climate Change 
 Express 211    21 July 2015 


Yangon, Myanmar

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Weather Goes to the Extreme

Has extreme become the new norm? Looks like it. Take the mid-July news and weather reports from the BBC. Wild fires rage in Greece and California. Typhoons/super storms hit the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan and China. Extreme temperatures are all the rage in Europe. Germany's all-time heat record was toppled on 5 July in Kitzingen, hitting 40.3 degrees Celsius. Spain's been hotter than ever. Switzerland, usually super cool, has seen the mercury rise to 40 C in Geneva. The year is likely to be rated as the hottest in recorded history. It was bad enough in 2014 if you look at the latest report of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with data from 413 researchers in 58 countries. All vital information for representatives from all countries who will meet in Paris in December to decide - yes, they have to decide - on a climate action  plan and commitments for the future. No choice really, but it's obvious that those most vulnerable to the early impacts of climate change - all those in the tropical belt - will be doing their utmost to get help to cope with what's happening now and what they know will get worse. So it's past talking of mitigating climate change. We have to learn to live with it. Resilience, preparedness and adaptation are the words and actions that matter. Extreme actions for a situation that is already extreme. -                                                                 Ken Hickson


Tropical Singapore Could Show Australia a Thing or Two on Climate Control

When Australian Prime Minister was in Singapore to open the new campus of the James Cook University, he heard about the university's work to draw attention to the tropics - a region where the world's future will be decided as it is the most vulnerable to climate change early impacts. He also needed reminding about the state of Australia's tropical gem - the Great Barrier Reef - but that didn't stop his Government as it ploughed ahead with plans to derail Australian's clean energy ambitions. Pity he didn't pick up on what Singapore is doing about climate change, even though it is not blessed, as Australia is, with vast wind, solar, wave, hydro and other clean resources of energy.  Read More

Engineering Change for the Sake of Climate, Planet & People 

Asia watches in awe as the Swiss-invented Solar Impulse breaks a new record for solar powered flight across the Pacific from Japan to Hawaii to illustrate the power of renewable energy. American Elon Musk is reaching new heights of innovation with powerful electric vehicles, accessible solar power and new energy storage systems. Can Asia come up with some innovative means to deal with the global challenge of climate change? When the World Engineers Summit takes place in Singapore this week, you can only hope there's a lot more than talk. A chance for engineers to show their mettle. Read More

Power & Productivity Demands Industry Become Much More Energy Efficient 

Swiss engineering giant ABB, in a roundtable session in Singapore's historic and recently UNESCO-listed Botanic Gardens, went beyond the green setting and such an environmentally-friendly city to highlight the "low hanging fruit" - energy efficiency. Solar Impulse, for all its other achievements, has showed an energy efficiency ratio of 94%. Beyond transport, Singapore needs to show how smart it is in managing and reducing its energy use to meet its emissions intensity targets, when by far the lion's share of it is used by a relatively few very large industries. Read MoreĀ  

Green Purchasing, Sustainable Consumption & Production 

  Informing consumers in Asia about the implications of their consumption decisions and providing sustainable options will help the region maintain quality growth without undermining future development. That's the clear message from Kaveh Zahedi, Regional Director of the UNEP Regional Office of Asia and the Pacific. Next month, on Thursday 13 August at the Singapore Management University, an event will be held to present the report entitled "Sustainable Consumption Guide for Policy Makers: Debunking Myths and Outlining Solutions". It is also the first public event staged in Singapore for the International Green Purchasing Network to create awareness and action for sustainable supply chains, green procurement and production. Read More


More in the Wind in Thailand & Vietnam for The Blue Circle 

The Blue Circle, primarily operating in the Mekong region (Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia), announces the signing of a joint-development agreement with EREN Renewable Energy's Southeast Asian subsidiary to develop more than 300 MW of wind projects in Thailand. Earlier, the Singapore-based renewable energy developer had set up meteorological masts in three different sites in Vietnam (pictured at right) to find the best locations for wind farming in that country and has hired more engineers to do the job. Read More


India Tries Harder, with Foreign Investors' Help, to Come Clean 

India is soon to be the world's third-biggest oil consumer and will overtake Japan, International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates show. Encouragingly, India and the US have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the PACESetter Fund to support the Promoting Energy Access Through Clean Energy (PEACE) to accelerate the commercialisation of off-grid clean energy. On cue, SoftBank will tie up with Bharti Enterprises and Foxconn Technology Group in a US$20 billion solar power venture in India, to add 20 gigawatts of solar generating capacity, as the nation seeks to expand clean energy output five-fold by 2022.  Read More

Where Would We Be Without Bees Doing Their Essential Work? 

We always thought that humble bumble bees, like some politicians, made a lot of noise, but didn't do much good. Not so. They are described as "agriculture's key player" for the pollination of important crops.  And they're dying as habitats get warmer. The honey bee has been taking a beating too. We've reported on this before and the situation appears to getting worse. Reports from the US say both branches of bees are having problems coping with a changing climate, parasites, disease, as well as nasty pesticides. Read MoreĀ  

Deforestation, Land Clearing & Illegal Logging. Who's Watching? 

Ecuador broke the world record for reforestation in May 2015, as thousands of people pitched in to plant 647,250 trees in a single day. Brazil has in recent years done much to tackle the previously rampant levels of deforestation, but the BBC's Wyre Davies reports that "we have seen statistics which show that rates of Amazon destruction are again on the rise". It's difficult to get a clear picture of the current global state of deforestation, even though it accounts for at least 20% of global emissions of greenhouse gases and forests are still being cleared at an alarming rate in Africa, Asia and South America. Chatham House has a report on illegal logging - just one of the associated issues. Read More

The Science of Solar Comes Down to Earth Three Times Over 


1. A new type of solar cell which can convert liquid water into clean hydrogen fuel 10 times more effectively than any other technology has been discovered in The Netherlands. It uses 10,000 times less precious material in the process.
2. Halfway between a balloon and a kite, a flying solar device called Zephyr (from France) is assisting those deprived of electricity in disaster areas.
3. Imagine a tent with an outer solar-powered skin which absorbs solar energy that is then converted into usable electricity, while the inner skin provides pockets for storage - particularly at the lower half of the shelters. Plus a water storage tank on the top. It's the work of Jordanian-Canadian architect and designer Abeer Seikaly. Read More
Last Word:  

What's on Your Mind?


According to the latest survey done by Pew Research Centre in Washington, if you're in Asia, Africa or Latin America, climate change is the number one worry, enough to keep you awake at night. Of course, there are always other issues to bother us, whether they be economic woes, terrorism, regional disputes over territory, among others. But according to the survey, which involved 45,435 respondents in 40 countries, the issue that scored the most number of hits globally was climate change. Read More


Books on the subject: You can purchase on-line your very own copy of any number of Ken Hickson's books by going to, Abe Books, Book Depository or from book stores in Singapore and elsewhere around the world. For more information and purchase options on two of the latest, "Race for Sustainability" (2013) and "Mr SIA: Fly Past" (2014), go to

Ken Hickson
Chairman, Green Purchasing Network Singapore
Director, Blue Asia Group
Managing Director, H2PC Asia 
Editor,abc carbon express
Director, ABC Carbon