Archive for December, 2008

Villagers’ cows become food of tigers

Posted on December 31, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Raub, Malaysia: Residents staying in several villages here are living in fear since eight tigers were spotted roaming near their homes recently.

The tigers, believed to have eaten four cows from Kampung Jeruas, were also responsible for attacking an Orang Asli man at Kampung Ulu Temau last year.

State Wildlife and National Parks Department director Saharudin Anan said department records showed there were three tigers in the forest at Kampung Batu Malim, two each in Kampung Sangli and Kampung Jeruas, and one in Kampung Temau.

“Every month, the department receives complaints from the villagers on the threat posed by the tigers and we consider the matter now as serious.

“We have sent our rangers to set up traps at Kampung Jeruas and this will be done in stages at the other villages,” he said yesterday.

Saharudin said the four villages (Batu Malim, Sangli, Jeruas and Temau) were close to the thick jungle, prompting the animals to sneak in easily.

“Since the cows graze close to the jungle, it makes them easy prey.

“The tigers at the Bukit Taling Forest Reserve were the ones which attacked the cows at Kampung Jeruas.”

He advised villagers not to let their cows roam freely or graze too near the forest. –NST

Advertisements
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

下一站是绿色革命 (Next will be green revolution)

Posted on December 30, 2008. Filed under: Environment and Livelihoods, Environmental Economics |

有一位著名企业家曾经说过一句话,这一句话的大意大概是如此:“你想要很有钱,就要做未来的事业。”

所以,在马来西亚电讯业还不怎么发达,一个手机还要数千令吉的时候,他早就已经投资电讯领域,因为他预见电讯业是未来的事业。

果然,多年以后,电讯领域起飞,手机价格降到人人可以拥有之后,他投资的电讯公司也成为了他属下一只会生金蛋的鹅,他的财富也随着水涨船高。

重新思考未来事业

由此可见,未来的事业虽然必须披荆斩棘,路途孤单寂寞,但是,一旦时机成熟,水到渠成,回报是非常丰厚的。

因此,如果你想要很有钱,现在就得重新思考,哪一个行业才是未来的行业? (more…)

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Water woes will continue to beset Malaysians

Posted on December 28, 2008. Filed under: Environment and Livelihoods, Environmental Economics, Water resource |

water_restrictions_reduceyouruse_logo

Some Malaysians continue to let the water run as they brush their teeth, hose water down their lawns and cars, and flush nine litres down the bowl after each visit to the toilet.

Consumers at home are not the only ones thirsty. As the economy expands, industries are also using more water.

With supply capacity projected to barely meet next year’s water demand in Klang Valley and Putrajaya, the possibility of a shortage is very real, warned Tan Sri Rozali Ismail, president of the water association of Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

(more…)

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Eye in sky to deter illegal loggers

Posted on December 28, 2008. Filed under: Environmental Policy, Environmental Science, Forestry/Wetlands |

SIX hours. That is all the time it takes to detect illegal logging in Peninsular Malaysia, thanks to the Forestry Department’s eye in the sky. Called the ‘Forest Monitoring Using Remote Sensing’ system, it was jointly developed with the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency.Agency director-general Datuk Darus Ahmad and Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia deputy director-general Datuk Razani Ujang talk to SONIA RAMACHANDRAN about the system.

Q: Whose idea was the system?
A: The satellite-based computerised system was mooted by the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency and the Forestry Department and it started on the instructions of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who chaired the 20th National Forest Council meeting in September 2006.

Q: When was it completed?
A: It was completed in August this year and launched in October. The agency manages the system which is used by the department.

Q: What does the system do?
A: It monitors both licensed concession areas to detect compliance with regulations as well as high potential areas for illegal land clearing.

By identifying illegal land clearing, we can detect forest fires and help in haze prevention.

The images are also used to build a national forest inventory of the country’s total area of forest cover.

This can be used to estimate the timber volume from the forests.

Q: Why do we need an inventory?
A: The inventory contributes to the national effort for forest and environmental sustainability.

There is always criticism that our forests are diminishing.

Q: How does it work?
A: We receive the data from the French Spot (Satellite Pour l’Observation de la Terre earth-observing satellites) through our ground receiving centre in Temerloh and it is processed within six hours.

The data is then placed in our database which is linked to the department.

To access any information, the department gets on to the Internet and calls up the specific page to check if logging carried out in that area is legal. The department will also go down to the field to check.

Q: What is considered illegal logging?
A: Logging outside the concession area as well as in protected areas such as riverbanks, areas above 1,000m and slopes of more that 40 degrees gradient. Also illegal is the building of logging tracks outside the logging concession area as well as logging of prohibited trees.

Q: How often are the images taken?
A: For licensed logging areas as well as sensitive areas, we take the images once a week.

Sensitive areas are those with high potential for forest clearing and the Spot satellite, which has a 2.3m resolution which can detect individual trees, passes over the same spot once a week.

For less sensitive areas, which consist of normal forest cover, the images are taken monthly.

Q: Does the system cover the whole country?
A: Currently the system is only for Peninsular Malaysia because we are working with the Forestry Department of Peninsular Malaysia. We can always extend it to Sabah and Sarawak.

Q: How much did the system cost?
A: Only RM120,000. The system was built using existing resources and internal expertise.

Q: Can the images be used as evidence in court?
A: Satellite images have been used to prosecute land owners for open burning so this has potential to be used as evidence in court.
That was a manual system where the image has to be interpreted manually.

This system has all the relevant data incorporated into it, including the template for licensed land boundaries, so it is immediately known that an offence is being committed.

Q: What is the difference between this system and the airborne hyperspectral imaging kit that has a sensor hooked to a computer and global positioning system device?
A: That is an airborne system. Our satellite system is more reliable and cheaper as we don’t need an aircraft to operate it.
Our system will also have more frequent images and cover a wider area and it is linked online to the Forestry Department.

Q: What happens when you receive the images?
A: The satellite images are acquired by the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency and processed.

When the end product is obtained, it will be sent to us and we will access it online. We will then verify the images.

We have a Geographic Information Section (GIS) which will produce hard copies of the images.

Verification can also be done by the state and district offices.

Then, we have to verify the images on the ground. This can be done by state, district or headquarters officers.

The results of this ground check will then be passed on to the enforcement unit.

Q: Why can’t action be taken during the ground check? Why does the information have to be passed to the enforcement unit?
A: We have an enforcement unit at the headquarters and several at state forest departments.

By law, every officer posted to a state has to be gazetted in that state.

Only gazetted officers have the locus standi to carry out enforcement in the respective states.

There are plans to amend the National Forestry Act 1984 where federal enforcement officers will be gazetted to be able to carry out enforcement in the states.

Q: How long will everything take?
A: When the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency receives the satellite images, it is in a raw form. The images can be full of distortions like lines, blurring or even cloud cover.

They have to be cleaned and aligned to the scales and coordinates.
The GIS unit will verify the data within two hours as it has to compare the images with our most current base map because the template used could be outdated due to changes in land use and new issuances of licences.

The verification part is to see if there is abuse. We have to ascertain whether what is on the imagery and on the ground is the same.

Our target is to complete everything within 24 hours.

Q: Do you have enough staff for all this?
A: We need dedicated officers to do the verification work and we need to employ them. At the moment, we have officers from different sections helping out.

Q: Can the images be used as evidence in court?
A: At present, the satellite images are not used to prosecute offenders. Only field evidence is used.

However, it has potential to be used as we have included it as an amendment to the National Forestry Act to be used as evidence.(NST)

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Planting Mangrove,Remembering Tsunami Tragedy

Posted on December 27, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

More than 6,000 mangrove saplings will be planted simultaneously in several parts of the country today in remembrance of the 2004 Asian tsunami tragedy.

Organised by Sahabat Alam Malaysia, the event will be held in Penang, Kedah, Perak and Johor. The group’s president, S.M. Mohamed Idris, said 1,200 participants,including local fishing communities, would start planting at 9am.

“The mangrove forests involved those in Langkawi, Merbok and Kerpan in Kedah; Kuala Kurau in Perak; Pontian in Johor; and Juru in Bukit Mertajam, Penang.

“Each forest will be planted with 1,000 mangrove saplings,” he said.

Mohamed Idris said the Government and relevant authorities must pay serious attention to the country’s aquaculture industry which has resulted in the deterioration of the mangrove forest eco-system.

“According to several researches conducted following the Dec 26 tsunami, areas that were hit by the giant waves like Aceh and Thailand suffered huge losses because the mangrove forests were converted into aquaculture industries.

“These areas also recorded the highest number of deaths and property damage,” he said, urging the Federal Government to stop all aquaculture activities in mangrove forests and nearby coastal areas.

“We must develop strong policies and laws to control the industry as well as rehabilitate damaged mangrove forests,” Mohamed Idris said, adding that abandoned shrimp farms should also be rehabilitated.

“It is shocking that the Perak state government wants to legalise 3,000 illegal shrimp ponds in Manjung’s mangrove forests.

“This is akin to rewarding law breakers and will encourage others to follow suit. The same can be said of the Selangor government’s plan to develop an industrial zone within the mangrove forest in Kuala Selangor,” he said.

“This shows a lack of a national policy and law to control aquaculture development and to protect the mangrove swamps.”

Mohamed Idris added that the tsunami tragedy was a lesson for Malaysia to value our mangrove eco-system.(The Star)

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

SAM: Stop all activities in mangrove forests

Posted on December 26, 2008. Filed under: Bio-diversity, Forestry/Wetlands |

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) has urged the Government to stop all activities in mangrove forests and pay serious attention to the threat posed by the aquaculture industry which has resulted in the deterioration of the mangrove forest ecosystem.

SAM president S.M. Mohamed Idris said there was a need to reconsider the industrial aquaculture zones and prohibit aquaculture activities in mangrove forests.

“The Government should also develop a strong policy and law to control the aquaculture industry as well as to rehabilitate damaged mangrove forests to ensure protection for our coastlines,” he told reporters here Friday.

(more…)

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Serious Pollution will kill Pulau Perhentian

Posted on December 26, 2008. Filed under: Eco-tourism, Ecology |

Terengganu’s Perhentian Islands are “arguably the most beautiful islands in Malaysia,” so says the Lonely Planet guide. Though the islands have dodged major developments so far, they are starting to creak under the strain of burgeoning tourist arrivals.

For the past 16 years, expatriates Bill and Sally Addington have been soaking up the sun and exploring the glorious underwater world in the Perhentian Islands with their family.

Based in Kuala Lumpur, the Addingtons have holidayed in most islands in Peninsular Malaysia, but find Perhentian irresistible.

We used to like Tioman and went there quite a bit. Then a friend recommended Perhentian and we haven’t gone anywhere else since,” says Bill, 52. “Our kids are keen divers, the diving here is superb, and we like the laid-back, peaceful lifestyle.”

Sandy beaches, clear waters and great diving aside, the islands also boast forests that harbours a rich diversity of flora and fauna. This year, herpetologist Dr Lee Grismer from La Sierra University in California discovered a few new gecko species that are endemic to Perhentian.

“We have had tourists who have visited Taman Negara, come here and tell us they wished they hadn’t bothered because they see more wildlife here,” says Peter Caron who manages the Watercolours Resorts and Dive Centre in Perhentian Besar.

Caron, who joined Grismer and a couple of other researches on their expedition this year, says, “You can spot monkeys, monitor lizards, and various insects in a 30-minute stroll just behind our resort.”

Issues cropping up

Though repeat visitors to Perhentian like the Addingtons think the islands haven’t changed dramatically compared to destinations like Redang and Tioman, they are starting to notice the effects from the increasing tourist arrivals and new resorts.

A 2007 Reef Survey done by Reef Check Malaysia (RCM) found the reefs in Perhentian have the poorest health as its live coral cover is only 34% compared to Tioman, Redang and Tenggol which have 50% or more. Also the islands have a high number of algae-coated reef, indicating nutrient pollution, probably from poor sewage treatment.

At low tide, visitors can see the algae-smothered corals in front of the chalets. The algae could be a result of overflowing septic tanks from the chalets/resorts in Pulau Perhentian.

Poorly planned tourism development, ineffective sewage treatment and solid waste disposal, and illegal fishing are some of the factors affecting the health of Perhentian’s reef.

During peak season, in July and August, visitors are likely to spot a mound of overflowing black plastic bags on rickety pontoons scattered around the islands. These are waste left on the pontoons by resort operators. A rubbish barge, sub-contracted by Besut District Council, is supposed to collect the bags daily and dispose the waste on the mainland.

“After an evening storm, you’ll see black bags bobbing in the sea because they fall from the overflowing rubbish platform,” says Caron. “The amount of plastic is phenomenal, and the leachate from the rubbish pollutes the sea.”

The thing is, every resort operator already has to fork out a monthly fee for the rubbish collection.

“Sometimes when there is too much rubbish, the contractor just dumps the rubbish somewhere without bringing them back to the mainland,” claims Azman Sulaiman who runs the Flora Bay Divers. “No one is monitoring. And with the number of tourists here, we need a twice-a-day collection, and not once every couple of days.”

Stinky smells in ‘algaeland’

Originally from Kuala Lumpur, Azman has been running a dive shop in Perhentian for 14 years.

“Thank God, there are no major developments like golf courses and mega resorts here,” says Azman, 35, who also trains dive instructors. “But if you put the number of small chalet resorts together and each has 10 to 15 rooms on average, you end up having a lot of sewage.”

The proliferation of alga-coated reef on the beaches in front of the resorts hint at a problem.

Azman Sulaiman of Flora Bay Divers

“The resort next to ours is so crowded, and when you walk by, you smell the overflowing sewage,” says Sally. “Six years ago, when it’s low tide there was no smell and you don’t see the algae.”

Septic tanks overflow due to the increasing number of tourists and the limited capacity of these tanks. Some resorts apparently release their untreated sewage directly into the sea.

“There was a state initiative last year to try to get resorts together to share the cost of treating their sewage effectively. However, some resorts have 100 rooms while others have five rooms. Not all are owned; some like ourselves are on short leases,” says Caron, a former environmental consultant.

“If we don’t know whether our lease will be renewed next year, why would we invest all this money on tertiary treatment? What we need is the state government’s intervention to hook up the resorts.

“The cost can’t go to the resort operator in one go but it needs a system (like instalments or subsidies) so we can afford it.”

Where is ‘Nemo’?

To some of Perhentian’s regular divers’ chagrin, the fish stock in some of the dive sites are declining.

Peter Caron of Watercolours Resorts and Dive Centre in Pulau Perhentian: ‘After an evening storm, you’ll see black bags bobbing in the sea.’

“No longer can you dive at Tokong Laut, the best site on the island, and see big schools of trevally this year. We heard a local fisherman made an illegal RM15,000-catch on trevally last year,” Caron says.

“Every year, we are seeing less of the big fish,” chips in Sally, 52, an avid diver. “We used to be able to see humphead wrasse and swim along with them but now they’re harder to see.”

Most divers come for the charismatic species like turtles, black-tip sharks and whale sharks, Azman explains. But with the degradation of the reef and rampant illegal fishing, divers may eventually shy away.

“I think the snorkelers are the biggest culprits — they trample on the corals, the smokers will flick cigarette stubs into the water or throw empty plastic water bottles,” says Azman.

“To please their clients, some boatmen gets into the water, grab the turtle by its carapace, pull it up to the surface to show the snorkelers,” adds Caron. “Some snorkelers actually hitch rides on the turtles and hold their fins, distressing the turtles.”

Frequently, kids will scoop up clownfish (popularly known as Nemo because of the Hollywood movie), keep them in small bottles and release them at a different spot later. But the fish, which forms a symbiotic relationship with sea anemones, will die if it’s placed in an environment with no anemones, Caron says.

“It’s all 90% education, but is anyone educating the boatmen on the do’s and don’ts?” Caron asks.

“Can the marine park introduce training schemes for boatmen to be ‘eco’ operators. They can learn how to brief the snorkelers – don’t stand on the corals, touch the turtles, and stop feeding the fish. Resorts can cooperate by using only responsible operators.”

Each visitor to Perhentian has to pay a RM5 conservation fee when they enter the marine park.

“A lot of tourists are annoyed, and I know some who refuse to pay or ask for their money back because they can’t find much information at the marine park centre,” says Caron, who signed up for the volunteer warden programme set up by the Marine Park.

However, there has since been no follow-up activities by the park.

“Where are the patrol boats? Why are some local villagers or operators fishing within the marine park?”

Chalet staff dumping garbage bags on an overflowing pontoon. There are 10 floating pontoons for garbage, scattered around the islands. A contractor picks up the rubbish on a barge and sends them to the mainland. After a rainstorm some of these bags will fall into the sea and leachate from the rubbish will pollute the water.

The Perhentian ‘loyalists’

The lure of Perhentian keep tourists like the Addingtons and Giampaolo Gepesio of Rome, Italy, coming back over and over again. Gepesio, 33, first came to the islands in 1999.

“Of course, there’s a big difference in the number of corals now, and I meet many Italian tourists in other resorts,” says Gepesio.

“Ten years ago, I was probably the only Italian here. Italians are not usually independent backpackers so their presence here means the tour companies are selling Perhentian packages in Italy. I’m a little worried for the islands in the next 10 years. This place is in my heart — the sea, the nature and the people,” Gepesio says.

If you develop the place responsibly, bring in income for the locals and take care of the environment, the islands will remain a sustainable destination, Bill says.

Expatriate Bill Addington of England and his family have been holidaying in Perhentian for the last 16 years.

“A couple of years ago, a friend of ours came here to dive and then he went on to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. And he sends us an e-mail saying ‘I don’t know why I bother coming to the Barrier Reef, Perhentian is so much nicer,’ “ adds Bill.

The Addingtons usually stay for a week each time they are in Perhentian. Two days before they went to Perhentian on the most recent trip, they asked their four kids, ages ranging from15 to 21, where they preferred to go for their holiday.

“It was a choice between going to JW Marriot in Phuket with the Playstation, videos, soft hotel sheets and five-star restaurant, or coming to the basic chalets here and eating local food,” says Sally smiling. “And they go, ‘Oh, Perhentian of course.”

For now, I guess the Perhentian folks are — as Sally concludes — “doing something okay here”.

But if the authorities don’t nip the emerging problems in the bud, this sandy paradise may become yet another casualty of irresponsible tourism.(by Leong Siok Hui, Rethink Travel)

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Kedah oil refinery could fry Khazanah shrimp venture

Posted on December 24, 2008. Filed under: Environment and Livelihoods, Environmental Economics |

Tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukary’s consortium developing a RM7.7 billion oil refinery in Kedah is now looking to set up in the Kerpan shrimp farm, putting out some 200 farmers who are finally making money from the 15-year-old venture once partly owned by the Bin Laden family.

SKS Development Sdn Bhd, a private company linked to the tycoon, is spearheading efforts to buy the 400-ha shrimp farm now jointly owned by the Kedah state government and the Finance Ministry.

It had previously eyed paddy land in Yan and Jerlun but the state government has refused to develop those lands, citing the need to preserve paddy growing areas.

It is learnt that the state government, which can earn up to RM200 milllion annually from the oil refinery through a five per cent royalty, is also looking to monetise its land assets in view of the looming economic downturn already buffeting the world.

“It’s a no brainer. Billions in investment and mllions in annual revenues for the state against some profits for the farmers,” a state government source told The Malaysian Insider here today.

The Kerpan farm is now managed by Blue Archipelago Berhad, a wholly-owned unit of government asset manager Khazanah Nasional Berhad. It took over management of the farm in January 2008 and will invest up to RM50 million in capital and operational expenses.

The 216 farmers there have now produced 500 tonnes of shrimps that has generated some RM7.5 million in revenue. Blue Archipelago expects to triple output and also set up manufacturing facilities to add value to the shrimps that can provide up to RM40 million in annual revenues.

But executives from the consortium met with state government and Finance Ministry officials last week to lobby for the land, which they claim is ideal for the refinery.

Apart from the refinery, the consortium together with their Iranian partners want to build a trans-peninsula oil pipeline to transport the refined crude to the east coast for tankers bound for China.

China has expressed interest in the Iranian crude for energy security purposes when world crude prices spiked to US$147 (RM543.9 million) a barrel in June. Oil prices are now below US$40 a barrel but the project developers say the Kedah refinery is still viable.

Sources said the state government and Finance Ministry officials did not dismiss selling the land to the consortium but Blue Archipelago apparently has a 30 year management contract and first refusal rights.

Another concern is the environment as the Kerpan farm, which is the third largest in the country and now known as Ayer Hitam farm, is close to the Pulau Payar marine park off Langkawi.

“It all depends on the Finance Ministry now whether to go for a mega project or stick to the plan to develop agriculture and take care of the environment,” said an industry official familiar with the discussions.

Apart from SKS Development, the other consortium partners are Merapoh Resources Corporation Sdn Bhd, Hijaz Refinery Sdn Bhd, Trans Peninsula Petroleum Sdn Bhd, Pristine (M) Sdn Bhd, and Capital (M) Bhd.

Merapoh and Hijaz are involved in reclamation works to house their respective oil refinery plants for the entire project valued at RM50 billion including the pipeline to be built by Trans Peninsula. SKS had earlier proposed to build an inland oil storage facility in Kuala Jerlun.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

“White Christmas” Diminished Due To Climate Change

Posted on December 23, 2008. Filed under: Climate Change |

The odds of a “white Christmas” in temperate parts of the northern hemisphere have diminished in the last century due to climate change and will likely decline further by 2100, climate and meteorology experts said.

A Christmas tree illuminates Manezhnaya Square in front of the Kremlin in Moscow December 21, 2008. The odds of a “white Christmas” in temperate parts of the northern hemisphere have diminished in the last century due to climate change and will likely decline further by 2100, climate and meteorology experts said. (REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin)

Even though heavy snow this year will guarantee a white Christmas in many parts of Asia, Europe and North America, a 0.7-degree Celsius rise in world temperatures since 1900 and projected bigger rises by 2100 suggest an inexorable trend.

“The probability of snow on the ground at Christmas is already lower than it was even 50 years ago but it will become an even greater rarity many places by the latter half of the century,” said Friedrich-Wilhelm Gerstengarber, climate researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

In the northern German city of Berlin, for instance, the chances of snow on the ground on Dec. 24, 25 and 26 have fallen from 20 percent a century ago to approximately 15 percent in 2008, he said. By 2100 the odds will be less than 5 percent.

Berlin last had snow on the ground at Christmas in 2001, and even though the German capital is due a festive snowfall, from a statistical point of view, meteorologists say it will not be white in 2008 either.

In cities with more maritime climates, such as London, and mild continental climates like Paris, snow on Christmas is even now fairly rare and will only be a freak occurrence within 100 years, he said. No snow is expected in either city this year.

“The yearning for snow at Christmas seems to grow stronger the rarer it becomes,” Gerstengarber told Reuters, noting cities at low altitudes such as Berlin (30 metres above sea level) will probably almost never see snow surviving on the ground by 2100.

Betting on the fabled “white Christmas” is a pastime in some countries, like Britain, and oddsmakers will increasingly have to factor in global warming’s impact, climate researchers said.

IRVING BERLIN SONG

Evidence continues to mount that mankind is to blame for climate change, according to the U.N. Climate Panel. Drawing on the work of 2,500 experts, it says greenhouse gases, mainly from burning fossil fuels, are blanketing the planet.

Emissions of the gases, led by carbon dioxide, have surged by about 70 percent since 1970 and could in the worst case more than double again by 2050, it says. Rising temperatures will bring more floods, heatwaves, stronger storms and rising seas.

Paal Prestrud, director of the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo, said the sort of “white Christmas” in the 1940 Irving Berlin song made famous by Bing Crosby will be rare in the decades ahead — even in Oslo.

“The probability of snow on Christmas has declined even faster in places like Oslo, where average winter temperatures are closer to 1 degree warmer and the early part of the winter is especially warm,” Prestrud told Reuters.

“The conditions for cross-country skiing have deteriorated. There is now an average of 100 days (a year) with at least 25 cm snow. In 1900 that was 150,” he said. Oslo’s streets were clear of snow on Monday.

The U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center has satellite data collected since 1978 showing northern hemisphere snow cover for the March-April period has declined by about 2 million square km (772,300 sq mile) to 36 million square km.

But Gerhard Mueller-Westermeier, a climatologist at the German Weather Service, pointed out there will still be lots of snow in many temperate zones for decades to come — and there are some areas where the probability has barely changed.

Cities like Munich, to say nothing of Alpine areas, will have high probabilities of snow on Dec. 25 beyond 2100.

“Winters have become milder but at some weather stations, like Frankfurt, the already relatively low chance of snow on Dec. 25 aren’t much lower than before,” he told Reuters. “There will still be the odd white Christmas for quite some time.” (The Star)

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Nuclear Power Trend In Asia

Posted on December 22, 2008. Filed under: Energy, International Watch |

Concerns about climate change are prompting more Asian nations to explore nuclear power — a trend that could have direct implications for Singapore and benefits for some companies here.

Invensys Process Systems, a London-based firm that has operated in Singapore for 30 years, believes it can tap into the region’s nuclear future.

The potential is huge: The number of reactors in Asia is set to grow from about 100 now to almost 40 per cent of the world’s total by 2030, according to the World Nuclear Association.

Such growth could create a bonanza for Invensys, a production technology and energy management group that is a market leader in supplying control systems to nuclear plants.

(more…)

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

« Previous Entries

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...