Winning the future: energy security

This is a recent speech by US President, Obama on its nation’s energy security plans to stay ahead in the 21st century global economy. 

Worth the watch for those who are unfamiliar with this global subject that affects each one of us.

Our Earth, our resposibility

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,

what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.

You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:

all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,

the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8:3-9 (NIV)

Did you know?

20% of the world’s population consumes 80% of the planet’s resources. GEO4, UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) 2007.

The world spends 12 times more on weapons than on aid to developing countries. OECD, 2008 (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).

5,000 people die everyday because of polluted drinking water. 1 billion humans have no access to safe drinking water! UNDP, 2006 (United Nations Development Programme).

1 billion people are going hungry. FAO, 2008 (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations).

75% of fisheries products are exhausted, depleted or are in danger of being so. UN (United Nations).

The average temperature of the last 15 years has been the highest since records began. NASA GISS data.

The ice cap has lost 40% of its thickness in 40 years. NSIDC, 2004.

There could be 200 million climate refugees by 2050. The Stern Review: The economics of climate change part II, chapter 3, page 77.

Over 50% of grain traded around the world is used for animal feed or biofuels. Worldwatch Institutue, 2007.

40% of arable land is degraded. UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme).

Every year, 13 million hectares of forest disappear. FAO, 2005.

1 mammal in 4, 1 bird in 8, 1 amphibian in 3 are threatened with extinction. Species are dying out 1,000 times faster than the natural state. IUCN, 2008 (International Union for Conservation of Nature).

An interesting email conversation

After reading the Living Planet Index, my colleague emailed me and asked me an interesting question. This was extracts of our brief email conversation:

Colleague: Is it really true we have 20 years left at this rate of natural depletion?

Me: The truth is… we really do not know. Reason being is that we do not have the exact figures of what we really have on earth to begin with. It is impossible to take stock of the entire earth’s resources.

Colleague: Hmmm… true.

Me: But back to your question. In my opinion, I don’t think we have 20 years left. My personal belief is that the God who created this earth and people will continue to provide as He has over the generations. The real question is whether some people are hoarding the earth resources for selfish reasons and not spreading it out for others to have equal access to them.

Colleague: I agree with you.

Me:  (:

In 20 Years, We Will Need a Second Earth

This is an alarming report that should arrest our attention. I believe especially as Christians, we ought to play a significant role in being environmentally responsible as stewards of earth and its resources.

If humanity continues sucking up resources at its current rate, we will need a second planet to meet our material needs by 2030 and the equivalent of 2.8 planets by 2050.

That’s the conclusion of the World Wildlife Fund’s biennial “Living Planet Report“, which evaluates our ecological footprint–the total demand on Earth’s ecosystems. The good news is, we can still turn things around.

The WWF’s ecological footprint metric tracks “the area of biologically productive land and water required to provide the renewable resources people use, and includes the space needed for infrastructure and vegetation to absorb waste carbon dioxide (CO2).”

According to the organization, our footprint exceeded the planet’s capacity by 50% in 2007. It has doubled in size since 1966.

Read the full article here>>>

How do I know China wrecked the Copenhagen deal?

The outcome of Hopenhagen had been an expected hopeless charade. Below is an article from The Guardian that ought to explain the power play among nations that took place at Copenhagen that resulted in Hopeless-hagen.

Copenhagen was a disaster. That much is agreed. But the truth about what actually happened is in danger of being lost amid the spin and inevitable mutual recriminations.

The truth is this: China wrecked the talks, intentionally humiliated Barack Obama, and insisted on an awful “deal” so western leaders would walk away carrying the blame. How do I know this? Because I was in the room and saw it happen.

China’s strategy was simple: block the open negotiations for two weeks, and then ensure that the closed-door deal made it look as if the west had failed the world’s poor once again.

And sure enough, the aid agencies, civil society movements and environmental groups all took the bait.

The failure was “the inevitable result of rich countries refusing adequately and fairly to shoulder their overwhelming responsibility”, said Christian Aid. “Rich countries have bullied developing nations,” fumed Friends of the Earth International.

Read the rest of the article here>>>

The Story of Stuff

This is a superb video that gives an excellent presentation on who and what is to blame for the destructive force of globlisation.

Watching it will provide subtle suggestions on the real deal of climate change that I had shared in my previous post.

And it might even change your choices and lifestyle as a consumer.


Climate Change: What is the Real Deal?

The ongoing talks in Copenhagen have no doubt arrested the entire world’s attention on climate change.

To be honest, I was never much fascinated by such issues related to our environment. It was only in the past two years that I got acquainted with climate change issues within the business community that the interest developed.

From what I’ve observed so far, the real deal about climate change and what goes on in COP15 is more inclined toward political interest and economic driven among nations- the fittest survive and the weakest dies.

The real deal on climate change

For a start, there are still a lot of lively debates and controversies surrounding the claims that whether or not emitted greenhouse gases are strongly linked to human activities that are ultimately contributing to global warming.

I mean do only greenhouse gases contribute to global warming?

How is it that carbon emission which is generated by fossil fuels is to blame?

Why the push to resist the use of oil (fossil fuels) and to adopt alternative sources of clean energy?

For certain, the answer does not begin with saving our environment.

In my personal opinion, countries adopting alternative sources of clean energy is similar to what Singapore has achieved with NEWater. Now we no longer feel susceptible to our neighbour across the causeway whom we’re buying water from.

Unfortunately, unlike water, oil cannot be recycled or undergo reverse osmosis. Oil, and not water, powers the economy.

The ugly face of climate change

As one goes deeper into climate change issues, one can become delusional or feel hopeless about the human race especially on discovering the sort of evil that we are capable of.

For instance, it is no secret that the final war against Iraq by infiltrating Afghanistan is all about possessing oil fields and nothing about terrorism.

Terrorism was merely used as a bogeyman to rally public support for the invasion. And till now, no “weapons of mass destruction” have been uncovered in Iraq.

Hence, just as how any criminal case is investigated by considering the motive and sequences of events that transpired. This question begs to be answered: “Was 911 really a terrorist attack or was it an insider’s job?”

I know what I’m insinuating here might be highly contentious. But to me, it does present a stronger and more logical case for what has transpired in our global economy over the years.

Green Opportunities for SMEs amid challenges from Climate Change

The following is an article from City News that I wrote during one of sessions at the recent APEC SME Summit 2009. This session was about how SMEs could capitalise on the green movement.

After a rousing kick off of the APEC SME Summit with keynote speeches by Alibaba Group’s Chairman and CEO, Jack Ma and international movie star and founder of One Foundation, Jet Li, the high-powered conference entered into a series of plenary dialogue sessions.

One of these dialogue sessions —“Opportunities in Green Technology & What does it mean for SMEs?”— was on the subject of sustainable development.

This session featured a panel of green experts such as William Pazos, Managing Director and Head of Carbon, Standard Bank (Singapore), Ralph Dixon, Director of Environmental Investments, YTL Corporation (Malaysia), Edwin Khew, CEO and Managing Director, IUT Global and Chairman, Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS) and Brian Dumaine, Global Editor, Fortune as the panel moderator.

View the rest of the article here>>>