Monday, January 21, 2019

​Focusing on how individuals can help combat climate change may not be the best approach

By Morten Fibieger Byskov

TODAY

18 January, 2019


What can be done to limit global warming to 1.5°C? A quick internet search offers a deluge of advice on how individuals can change their behaviour.

Take public transport instead of the car or, for longer journeys, the train rather than fly. Eat less meat and more vegetables, pulses and grains, and don’t forget to turn off the light when leaving a room or the water when shampooing.

[And the case for or against vegetarianism (as a solution for climate change? Link here.]
The implication here is that the impetus for addressing climate change is on individual consumers.

But can and should it really be the responsibility of individuals to limit global warming? On the face of it, we all contribute to global warming through the cumulative impact of our actions.

Why I’m (slightly) less pessimistic about global warming

Washington Post

Opinions

By Robert J. Samuelson

January 20, 2019


On global climate change, I’ve changed my mind — just slightly.

I’ve written about this issue for more than two decades, and my theme has been monotonously consistent. As a starting point, I’ve accepted the prevailing scientific view that man-made greenhouse gases contribute to global warming.

But I’ve been routinely pessimistic and skeptical that we can do much about it. That is, we can’t easily control the forces that worsen global warming.

We have yet to discover or create some low-cost fuel that would replace fossil fuels (oil, natural gas and coal), which provide roughly 80 percent of the world’s energy. Most nations aren’t willing to scrap the energy status quo — the very basis of modern civilization — before having a practical substitute.

Thus, despite the enthusiasm for non-fossil fuels (wind, solar, hydro, nuclear), global greenhouse-gas emissions are higher today than, say, in 1990.

This raises the atmospheric concentration levels of those gases, which in turn trap heat above the Earth’s surface. From 1990 to 2018, the concentration level of carbon dioxide rose from 354 parts per million to 409 parts per million.

Chinese economy slows to lowest growth rate in 28 years


By Anna Fifield

January 21 at 6:13 AM

BEIJING — The Chinese economy last year grew at its slowest rate since 1990, adding to the urgency for President Xi Jinping to reach a trade deal with the United States.

Although the trade war is not the main reason for last year’s slowdown, it is not helping.

“The economy is a much bigger problem for Xi Jinping than the trade war. The last thing he wants is a bunch of angry people protesting because they’ve lost their jobs,” said Andrew Collier, managing director of Orient Capital Research, a Hong Kong-based consultancy.

“Slowing economic growth is putting pressure on him to solve as many problems as he can, and the trade war will be top of his list,” Collier said.

Growth in the world’s second largest economy decelerated from 6.8 percent in 2017 to 6.6 percent last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The slowdown is the result of cooling demand both at home and abroad.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Entombed! Thai Cave Rescue. Book by Liam Cochrane


ENTOMBED! Twelve schoolboys trapped deep inside a flooding cave in a drama that gripped the world - as relived in new book by reporter who witnessed every moment
  • The Wild Boars football team and their coach were freed from a Thai cave 
  • The Thai football club had been trapped underground for the past two weeks 
  • They were all brought out in a daring rescue mission that ended on July 10, 2018 

By LIAM COCHRANE

11 January 2019

Australian journalist LIAM COCHRANE covered last year’s dramatic cave rescue of schoolboys in Thailand. Here, he reconstructs the gripping events that had the world on the edge of its seat, praying for a miracle to save a dozen soccer-mad boys and their coach from disaster.


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Workers' Party to win one-third of seats?

[This is the same speech covered by two newspapers. ]


Workers' Party should aim to win one-third of seats in Parliament: Pritam Singh

14 Jan 2019 

By Aqil Haziq Mahmud

SINGAPORE: The Workers' Party (WP) should aim to contest and win one-third of the seats in Parliament as a "medium-term objective", its secretary-general Pritam Singh has said.

"I say one-third in the medium-term because of the past experience of the Workers’ Party in attracting suitable and qualified candidates who are willing to stand in general elections," Mr Singh said on Sunday (Jan 13), according to a copy of a speech he gave at the WP Members' Forum 2019.

"For a small party like ours, it is a high bar."

Dr Mahathir-Anwar succession plan not being handled well, forum told

15 JANUARY, 2019


KUALA LUMPUR — The leadership succession plan between Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim is not being handled well, despite repeated assurances from both leaders, said political scientist Dr Bridget Welsh.

Dr Welsh, a visiting senior fellow at the private university HELP, said it was clear there was a power struggle between supporters of both factions, as evidenced by the ongoing defections within parties of the Pakatan Harapan coalition.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Majority of applications for CPF funds on medical grounds successful: MOM


ByFann Sim@Fann

CNA

15 Jan 2019 


SINGAPORE: In the last three years, about 65 per cent of applications to withdraw money from the Central Provident Fund (CPF) earlier due to medical reasons have been successful said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo in Parliament on Tuesday (Jan 15).

Under the Medical Grounds Scheme, CPF members can withdraw or start their payouts before the stipulated payout age of 65.

Eligibility criteria they have to meet under the scheme include being permanently incapacitated, terminally ill, or having a severely impaired life expectancy due to illness. Such applications have to be accompanied by the relevant doctors’ certification, the minister said.

Mrs Teo was responding to Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC Lee Bee Wah on the percentage of successful appeals for an earlier withdrawal of CPF payouts.

The remaining 35 per cent were not successful because applicants did not meet the eligibility conditions and were referred to help avenues for help, such as Workforce Singapore and the Social Services Office, Mrs Teo said.