Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Scientists published climate research under fake names. Then they were caught.

By Ben Guarino

September 19

The scientists briefly known as Den Volokin and Lark ReLlez thought they had found something big.

It was not data wrung from a clever experiment or a lucky field observation. Instead, the pair had constructed a model, a mathematical argument, for calculating the average surface temperature of a rocky planet. Using just two factors — electromagnetic radiation beamed by the sun into the atmosphere and the atmospheric pressure at a planet’s surface — the scientists could predict a planet’s temperature. The physical principle, they said, was similar to the way that high-pressure air ignites fuel in a diesel engine.

If proved to be the case on Earth, the model would have dramatic implications: Our planet is warming, but the solar radiation and our atmosphere would be to blame, not us.

[I don't know what to make of this report/study. On the one hand, it seems to suggest non-anthropogenic climate change. But there is a critque at the end of this article by a NASA researcher. So not definitive.]

It's the Economy, Stupid

[DPM tries to talk up market sentiment and the economy. 

Despite clear signals that pessimism is more appropriate. 

Oh well. He has to do what he has to do. ]

In Asia’s eyes, world economy not in a funk, says Tharman

Siau Ming En
September 17, 2016

Friday, September 16, 2016

Of sunbirds, hornbills and Singapore ecotourism

Audrey Tan

SEP 15, 2016

The planned wildlife parks in Mandai raise issues of balancing development and conservation.
The Lion City has embarked on an ambitious ecotourism project that involves developing five wildlife parks in Mandai by 2023.

This is ecotourism the Singapore way, though, for it involves clearing forests in the island's north which are home to native birds and mammals to build parks to house - you guessed it - birds and mammals, including those from far-off lands.

A new Rainforest Park, and the Bird Park which will be relocated from Jurong, will be built on secondary forests on two plots of land next to Mandai Lake Road. They will join the existing trio of attractions in Mandai: the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari.

Tourism experts have welcomed the development as one that can help Singapore attract a growing number of ecotourists. But whether such a development meets the International Ecotourism Society's definition of ecotourism, a key component of which refers to "responsible travel to natural areas which conserves the environment", is debatable.

S’pore investors have unrealistic expectations of returns: Schroders

September 15, 2016

SINGAPORE — Singapore investors are unrealistic in their expectations of investment returns, with this over-optimism particularly pronounced among millennials than those approaching their 40s, asset management firm Schroders found in a Global Investor Survey.

The average investor in Singapore, according to the survey, expects a minimum return of 9.2 per cent per year. This is in stark contrast to the current average stock market yield of 3.8 per cent. Millennials were the most optimistic, expecting a 9.6 per cent return on their investment per year, compared with 8.9 per cent for investors aged 36 and above.

[Even the GIC is projecting lower returns over the next 10 years. Their latest report is a 4% return. And these are full-time investors with time to analyse data and trends. And the best they can do is 4%. Of course they will have critics who sneer at their "low performance". These critics are precisely the "CPF bloggers" type who think that they can get 9.2% returns per year.]

“In today’s low interest rate environment, Singapore investors’ return projections are extremely high. In order to minimise income shortfall, investors need to actively consider their investment needs and align their risk-adjusted return profile in light of current market conditions,” said Ms Susan Soh, country head of Schroders Singapore.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Who Has Space for Renewables?

SEP 14, 2016

Project Syndicate

Adair Turner

LONDON – This summer, an electrical power auction in Chile attracted successful bids by wind generators willing to provide electricity at $0.04 per kilowatt hour and solar generators at $0.03 per kwh, easily beating fossil-fuel competitors. That success reflects dramatic cost reductions over the last six years, with the cost of solar power falling about 70% and wind-power costs down more than 30%. Further reductions are inevitable.

Of course, the sun doesn’t always shine, and the wind doesn’t always blow, but intermittency problems are increasingly solvable as the cost of battery and other energy storage falls, and as smart meters and control systems make it possible to shift the timing of some electricity demand. It is now certain that, within 20 years, many countries could get most of their electricity from renewable sources at an easily affordable price.

To be sure, solar and wind farms require large land areas. But at the global level, there is plenty of space.

The 2008 Financial Crisis (Sub-prime boom goes bust) - the Politics

A summary of the Republican position on the 2008 Sub-prime crisis:
It's important to remember that Republicans don't think the financial crisis was a case of bankers blowing up the global economy because that was what maximized their year-end bonuses, but rather the government pushing bankers to blow up the global economy out of a misguided attempt to help poor people buy homes. Never mind that it was Wall Street banks, and not Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, that were behind the subprime boom. Or that even a conservative former Federal Reserve official says there's no evidence that the Community Reinvestment Act, which outlaws redlining, "contributed in any substantive way" to the housing bubble's bad lending.
Just a short entry on an interesting observation on the GOP's perspective.

How Johor’s growing water woes could affect Singapore

Jackson Ewing
Karissa Domondon

September 15, 2016


Since its founding, Singapore has depended on water imports from neighbouring catchments in Johor, Malaysia, through agreements reached in 1961 and 1962.

Over time, Singapore improved its domestic catchment management, created more efficient water-use systems, and brought desalination capacity online. Meanwhile, Johor has transformed itself into a bustling hub second in many ways only to Malaysia’s capital region. These developments have created a new water calculus between Singapore and Malaysia.

Since early 2015, drought, pollution and large discharges to combat salinity have depleted water levels in Johor River dams to historic lows, forcing Johor to seek additional potable water supplies from Singapore on three occasions in 2015 and 2016 and to impose water rations for 
85,000 residents and industrial users in April this year .

This shock to the system is spurring a re-evaluation of cross-border water relations, and reveals Johor’s vulnerability to the resource impacts of its own development and the changing climate.