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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 12th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

6 Trump US Administration Climate Claims Exposed As Total Nonsense By Federal Report.

There’s actually no “tremendous disagreement” among federal climate scientists that humans are to blame for accelerated global warming.

By Hayley Miller of Huffington Post – August 12, 2017. (GREEN – 08/11/2017)

There’s little doubt: The climate is changing, human activity is accelerating the process, and the U.S. is already feeling its effects, according to an expansive climate report that dozens of government scientists drafted.

The nonprofit Internet Archive first uploaded the 543-page report, which is awaiting the Trump administration’s approval, in January. But the third-order draft of the Global Change Research Program Climate Science Special Report only garnered mainstream attention after The New York Times published it inside an article Monday.

The National Academy of Sciences has already endorsed the draft report, but many scientists ? including some of the paper’s authors ? have expressed concern that Trump officials might rewrite or suppress the findings.

Trump once famously called climate change a Chinese “hoax,” and he’s filled his administration with several other skeptics, including Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Despite this report (and piles of evidence from previously published studies), Trump administration officials have continued to push a narrative that claims scientists are unsure whether human activity has significantly increased the rate of global warming in recent years.

Here are six statements the Trump team has made about climate change that have no basis in reality, as evidenced by the federal climate science report:

President Donald Trump:

“I’m not a believer in man-made global warming. It could be warming, and it’s going to start to cool at some point.” (September 2015)

What the science actually shows: The science is clear that man-made global warming is not only real, but also one of the greatest threats that humanity faces.

People have released so much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere that the planet will continue to warm for at least the next 100 years ? even if carbon emissions caused by human activity immediately cease.

From the federal report:

The last few years have also seen record-breaking, climate-related, weather extremes, as well as the warmest years on record for the globe. …

Global climate is projected to continue to change over this century and beyond. Even if humans immediately ceased emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, existing levels would commit the world to at least an additional 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit over this century relative to today. …

The magnitude of climate change beyond the next few decades depends primarily on the amount of greenhouse (heat trapping) gases emitted globally and the sensitivity of Earth’s climate to those emissions. …

Longer-term climate records indicate that average temperatures in recent decades over much of the world have been much higher than at any time in the past 1700 years or more.
Trump again:

“Record low temperatures and massive amounts of snow. Where the hell is GLOBAL WARMING?” (February 2015)

What the science actually shows: There may be some outlier days, but overall, climate change has caused extremely cold days to become warmer and it’s increased the frequency of “extreme heat events,” according to the latest report.

Also, research has consistently debunked the claim that “massive amounts of snow” suggest global warming isn’t occurring. In fact, heavier precipitation is the result of evaporating ocean water caused by global warming, the research shows. This phenomena could explain “snowmageddon”-type extreme snow events.

From the report:

Extremely cold days have become warmer since the early 1900s, and extremely warm days have become warmer since the early 1960s. In recent decades, extreme cold waves have become less common while extreme heat waves have become more common. …

The frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation and extreme heat events are increasing in most regions of the world. These trends are consistent with expected physical responses to a warming climate and with climate model studies, although models tend to underestimate the observed trends. The frequency and intensity of such extreme events will very likely continue to rise in the future. …

The increase in extreme weather that accompany global climate change are having significant, direct effects on the United States and the global economy and society.

Scott Pruitt, Head of the Environmental Protection Agency

“Measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do. And there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact. So no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the climate change.” (March 2017)

What the science actually shows: There’s virtually zero disagreement among federal climate scientists that human activity is not only a factor, but also the “dominant cause” driving the relatively recent and dramatic acceleration of global warming. This finding is repeated throughout the report.

From the report:

Human activities are now the dominant cause of the observed changes in climate. …

The global climate continues to change rapidly compared to the pace of the natural changes in climate that have occurred throughout Earth’s history. …

Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are primarily responsible for the observed climate changes in the industrial era. There are no alternative explanations, and no natural cycles are found in the observational record that can explain the observed changes in climate.


Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior:

Glaciers in Montana started melting “right after the end of the Ice Age” and it’s been “a consistent melt.” (June 2017)

What the science actually shows: Scientists have already debunked Zinke’s claim that Glacier National Park’s namesake feature has been melting consistently since “right after the end of the Ice Age.” Glaciers have generally retreated since about 1850, the end of the Little Ice Age, but global warming has caused the rate of retreat to increase in recent decades.

The draft report further suggests that man-made global warming is accelerating the melting of mountain glaciers, snow cover and sea ice worldwide.

From the report:

Observations continue to show that Arctic sea ice extent and thickness, Northern Hemisphere snow cover, and the volume of mountain glaciers and continental ice sheets are all decreasing. In many cases, evidence suggests that the net loss of mass from the global cryosphere is accelerating. …

The annually averaged ice mass from global reference glaciers has decreased every year since 1984, and the rate of global glacier melt is accelerating. This mountain glacier melt is contributing to sea level rise and will continue to contribute through the 21st Century.
Zinke again:

“The evidence strongly suggests that humans have had an influence on higher CO2. However, the evidence is equally as strong that there are other factors, such as rising ocean temperatures, that have a greater influence.” (August 2014)

What the science actually suggests: As we should all know by now, carbon emissions released by human activity are the “dominant cause” of accelerated global warming. Ocean temperatures are rising, but that’s because humans are emitting more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

From the report:

The world’s oceans have absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat caused by greenhouse warming since the mid 20th Century, making them warmer and altering global and regional circulation patterns and climate feedbacks. Surface oceans have warmed by about 0.45°F (0.25°C) globally since the 1970s. …

The world’s oceans are currently absorbing more than a quarter of the carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere annually from human activities, making them more acidic with potential detrimental impacts to marine ecosystems. The rate of acidification is unparalleled in at least the past 66 million years.

Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy

“Most likely the primary control knob [for the temperature of the Earth and for climate] is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in.” (June 2017)

What the science actually shows: Like Zinke, Perry downplayed humans’ role in global warming and blamed “ocean waters” instead. Perry also appeared to suggest that the environment is responsible for changes in the environment, which is somewhat challenging to make sense of.

It’s possible he was referring to previously natural variability, such as El Niño and La Niña, though the draft report found such phenomena have “limited influences” on long-term climate change. Some studies have suggested man-made global warming may “greatly increase the frequency of very strong” El Niño or La Niña events.

From the report:

Since the industrial era, human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and other greenhouse gases now overwhelm the influence of natural drivers on the external forcing of the Earth’s climate… For this reason, projections of changes in Earth’s climate over this century and beyond focus primarily on its response to emissions of greenhouse gases, particulates, and other radiatively-active species from human activities. …

Natural variability, including El Niño events and other recurring patterns of ocean?atmosphere interactions, have important, but limited influences on global and regional climate over timescales ranging from months to decades.
Read the full draft of the climate report here.

For further information included in this article:

 www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/dona…

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 11th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From KIMO’s IISD:

The International Civil Aviation Organization and its 191 member States agreed in October 2016 to implement a Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) to limit future increases in greenhouse gas emissions from the sector.

Now countries are undertaking technical discussions on what types of emission reductions will be eligible for airlines to use under CORSIA. While the discussions are yet to conclude, one potential option could be Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, or REDD+.

Recent IISD analysis, available here, finds that Colombia could meet some of this demand through its current and projected supply of emissions reduced from deforestation and forest degradation, and through forest restoration.

By choosing to participate in the early Phases of this scheme, starting in 2021, the Colombian Government could generate more than $300 million in additional investment at an estimated cost of $23 million to its aviation industry, which represents a small fraction – less than 0.4 percent – of global emissions from international aviation. Depending on the level of participation and other factors, the potential revenues could be much higher.

Key Findings:

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in October 2016 created a potential global demand of more than 2 billion tonnes of investment-grade emissions reductions from 2021 to 2035 that could be partially met through continuing development of programs and projects in Colombia.

Colombia has the potential to benefit by linking this market demand to domestic supply through eligible supply-side activities, including REDD+, structured via existing World Bank and business investment tools and structures and its many on-going long-term international investment supply contracts for emissions reductions.
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The value to Colombia of supplying the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) is, conservatively, around $300 million in additional private institutional investment.

To facilitate this investment, the Colombian national government policy must deliver the necessary institutional and legal conditions for REDD to succeed, at national and subnational jurisdictional levels, building on those currently applied to existing programs and projects.
Colombia can increase the impact of CORSIA and augment the associated demand for offset credits by opting-in to the scheme starting in 2021, and by encouraging others in the region to do the same.

For more information, please check out the full analysis.

Linking the ICAO Global Market-Based Mechanism to REDD+ in Colombia

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 4th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

2 August 2017
A tiny Greek island to become the first energy independent island in the Mediterranean

? Europe, Finance, Smart Cities, Sustainable Energy, Sustainable Innovation Forum, Sustainable Investment Forum

Tilos, a small island in the Cyclades complex in the Aegean Sea, is on set to become the first energy independent island in the Mediterranean by solely relying in renewables.

The initiative under the name TILOS comes by a collaboration of the University of Anglia (UEA) and the University of Applied Sciences in Piraeus, engaging 15 participating enterprises and institutes from seven European countries.

The project’s main goal is to demonstrate the potential of off-grid hybrid mini grids comprised of solar and wind power.

TILOS was launched in February 2015 receiving funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme and is planned to last four years, with its total budget reaching €15m.

So far, TILOS has received €11m from Horizon 2020, €3m from the industry and €1m from private investment.

Konstantinos Chalvatzis, Senior Lecturer in Business and Climate Change at UEA’s Norwich Business School said: “The island’s population is only around 200 in the winter but rises to more than 1,500 in the summer when the tourists arrive”.

He added: “Energy supply is a major issue, with frequent black-outs and power surges. But while its remote location makes traditional ways of providing power so challenging, it also makes Tilos ideal for our pioneering work”.

The project executives underlie the importance of the project in the context of the non-interconnected islands’ electricity regime, which mostly constitutes of expensive and often unreliable oil-fired isolated diesel generators.

Dr. Chalvatzis said: “Most Greek and other Mediterranean islands also depend on unreliable, oil-based electricity, so our goal is to roll the model out to them, as well as to small islands across Europe and beyond”.

The proposed energy solution will comprise 700kW of wind power, 500kW of solar power combined with high? temperature NaNiCl battery storage, residential hot water storage and demand-side management (DSM), all coordinated under a sophisticated energy management system.

Dr Chalvatzis commented: “The uniqueness is not in the way we generate the electricity but in the way we’ve developed the technology to make it cost-effective, reliable and completely green” adding: “For example, normal batteries will last around five years and are filled with non-recyclable chemicals, but ours have a much lengthier lifespan and are completely recyclable”.

Two years into its four-year schedule, TILOS has already received two EU Sustainable Energy Awards, namely the Energy Island Award and the Citizen’s Award- the latter underlying the importance of the public acceptance of renewable energy projects.

Dr Chalvatzis stated: “Tilos is ahead of its time – the islanders welcome new ideas and were open to our initiative”.

“As a result, we now have a blueprint for generating sustainable energy in a profitable and scalable way, so the benefits can be felt across the world, whether that’s other islands, faraway communities or even by providing clean and efficient energy for refugee camps or remote hospitals. This technology could truly change people’s lives”.

RELATED ARTICLES:
— World’s first island micro-grid created in Australia
— First US offshore wind farm powers island
–Rising sea levels force Pacific islanders to evacuate

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 26th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Interfaith-center – Jerusalem Climate Interfaith Event 1


Amidst Violence and Crushing Heat, Jerusalem Religious Leaders Agree on Urgency of Curbing Climate Change

JERUSALEM, JULY 26 – As Jerusalem experiences another wave of violent conflict and punishing heat, Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders came together to urge people of all faiths to help curb climate change.

Rabbi David Rosen, AJC International Director of Interreligious Affairs;
Father Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land;
and Kadi Iyad Zahalha, judge of the Muslim Sharia Courts in Israel
reached a consensus on the religious basis for environmental sustainability and addressing climate change. At the event, a new letter signed by 36 Israeli Orthodox rabbis was released, calling for action on climate change.

Custos Father Patton said, “We are part of creation, so we have to take care of our common home and take responsibility for creation.”


Rabbi Rosen cited Deuteronomy 30:19: “Choose life in order that you and your children shall live.” He said, “today, climate change is a matter of life and death. Because of this, everything else becomes secondary—it’s like rearranging the deck chairs on the ship Titanic as we head for the iceberg.”

Kadi Zahalka spoke to the importance of “taking care of everything for the coming generation. We need to do our part in saving and preserving nature and all the earth.”

The event was organized by The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development (ICSD), which works to catalyze a transition to a sustainable, thriving, and spiritually-aware society through the leadership of faith communities. Overlooking the walls of the Old City, the interfaith event served as a counterpoint to the recent violence in Jerusalem’s Old City. The interfaith event focused on the critical role of faith leaders in increasing awareness about the moral obligation for environmental sustainability and curbing climate change.


Rabbi Yonatan Neril, ICSD’s director, moderated the panel and cited studies linking climate change to increased drought and extreme heat in the Middle East, which are exacerbating conflict and threat multipliers. The event was held at the Jerusalem Press Club.

Photos and video content, and the climate change letter by Orthodox rabbis are available upon request by replying to this message.

 madmimi.com/p/d2567a?fe=1&pact=1…

Press contact: Yonatan Neril: 054-723-4973,  yneril at interfaithsustain.com

Interfaith Climate Panel by ICSD-001

About the Speakers:

David Rosen

Rabbi David Rosen, AJC International Director of Interreligious Affairs, has been advancing understanding and good relations between religious communities for more than 40 years – from the time he served as rabbi of the largest Orthodox Jewish congregation in South Africa, during his tenure as Chief Rabbi of Ireland ; and throughout the last 30-plus years based in Jerusalem. In addition to interreligious representation and education, his work involves mediation and peace-building and he is deeply involved in multi-religious engagement on ecological issues. Widely recognized for his work, Rabbi Rosen was granted a papal Knighthood in 2005 for his contribution to Jewish-Catholic reconciliation and was made a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 2010 by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II for his work promoting interfaith understanding and cooperation.

Custos Fr. Francesco Patton

Father Francesco Patton is Custos of the Holy Land. The Custody of the Holy Land is a custodian priory of the Franciscan order in Jerusalem, founded as Province of the Holy Land in 1217 by Saint Francis of Assisi, who also founded the Franciscan Order. Fr. Patton served in various capacities in his province and also within the Order. He was twice Secretary General of the General Chapters in 2003 and 2009; Visitator General in 2003, Minister Provincial of St. Vigilium (Trent, Italy) from 2008 to 2016; President of the Conference of Provincial Ministers of Italy and Albania (COMPI)
He also served in many capacities outside of the Order: as member of the Diocesan Presbyteral Council and secretary of the Diocesan Pastoral Council of the archdiocese of Trent; professor of Social Communications at the Studio Teologico Accademico Tridentino; collaborator of the Diocesan Weekly, the Diocesan Radio and Telepace Trento; and enrolled with the journalists of Trentino-Alto Adige as publicist since 1991.

Kadi Iyad Zahalka

Kadi Iyad Zahalka is judge of the High Sharia Court of Appeals and Director of the
Sharia courts in Israel. Kadi Zahalka is an accomplished judge, lecturer, author and activist. He has filled several important positions in the Shar’i court system, including that of Director. Kadi Zahalka obtained his L.L.B. from Tel Aviv University, and his M.A. and PhD from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, with his thesis on the Muslim Minority Jurisprudence Doctrine (Fiqh al Aqalliyyat). He also served as the kadi (judge) of Haifa. He is the author of two books and many articles and has spoken widely abroad. Born in the village of Kafr Kara, in the Wadi Ara section of Israel, south of Haifa.

Custos Father Patton
 info at interfaithsustain.comwww.interfaithsustain.com
The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development | P.O. Box 28156, Jerusalem, 9128101

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 10th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

CLIMATE – THE NEW YORK TIMES


• “The cost of electric cars is falling much faster than expected, based in part on a plunge in battery prices and aggressive policies in China and Europe.”


When Will Electric Cars Go Mainstream? It May Be Sooner Than You Think.

By BRAD PLUMER, JULY 8, 2017

The Photo: A Volkswagen e-Golf electric car being charged in Dresden, Germany, in March.

Volkswagen and Tesla each have plans to produce more than 1 million electric vehicles per year by 2025. Credit Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters


As the world’s automakers place larger bets on electric vehicle technology, many industry analysts are debating a key question: How quickly can plug-in cars become mainstream?

The conventional view holds that electric cars will remain a niche product for many years, plagued by high sticker prices and heavily dependent on government subsidies.

But a growing number of analysts now argue that this pessimism is becoming outdated. A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research group, suggests that the price of plug-in cars is falling much faster than expected, spurred by cheaper batteries and aggressive policies promoting zero-emission vehicles in China and Europe.

Between 2025 and 2030, the group predicts, plug-in vehicles will become cost competitive with traditional petroleum-powered cars, even without subsidies and even before taking fuel savings into account. Once that happens, mass adoption should quickly follow.

“Our forecast doesn’t hinge on countries adopting stringent new fuel standards or climate policies,” said Colin McKerracher, the head of advanced transport analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “It’s an economic analysis, looking at what happens when the upfront cost of electric vehicles reaches parity. That’s when the real shift occurs.”

If that prediction pans out, it will have enormous consequences for the auto industry, oil markets and the world’s efforts to slow global warming.

A Boost From Batteries

Last year, plug-in vehicles made up less than 1 percent of new passenger vehicle sales worldwide, held back by high upfront costs. The Chevrolet Bolt, produced by General Motors, sells for about $37,500 before federal tax breaks. With gasoline prices hovering around $2 per gallon, relatively few consumers seem interested.

But there are signs of a shift. Tesla and Volkswagen each have plans to produce more than a million electric vehicles per year by 2025. On Wednesday, Volvo announced that it would phase out the traditional combustion engine and that all of its new models starting in 2019 would be either hybrids or entirely battery-powered.

Skeptics argue that these moves are mostly marginal. Exxon Mobil, which is studying the threat that electric cars could pose to its business model, still expects that plug-in vehicle sales will grow slowly, to just 10 percent of new sales in the United States by 2040, with little impact on global oil use. The federal Energy Information Administration projects a similarly sluggish uptick.

The Bloomberg forecast is far more aggressive, projecting that plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles will make up 54 percent of new light-duty sales globally by 2040, outselling their combustion engine counterparts.

The reason? Batteries. Since 2010, the average cost of lithium-ion battery packs has plunged by two-thirds, to around $300 per kilowatt-hour. The Bloomberg report sees that falling to $73 by 2030, without any significant technological breakthroughs, as companies like Tesla increase battery production in massive factories, optimize the design of battery packs and improve chemistries.

For the next decade, the report notes, electric cars will remain reliant on government incentives and sales mandates in places like Europe, China and California. But as automakers introduce a greater variety of models and lower costs, electric cars will reach a point where they can stand on their own.

Still, this outcome is hardly guaranteed. Governments could scale back their incentives before plug-in vehicles become fully competitive — many states are already beginning to tax electric cars. Battery manufacturers could face material shortages or production problems that hinder their ability to slash costs. And an unforeseen technology failure, such as widespread battery fires, could halt progress.

“But we tried to be fairly conservative in our estimate of where battery prices are going,” Mr. McKerracher said, “and we don’t see barriers to electric vehicles’ becoming cost competitive very soon.”

Other experts caution that falling battery costs are not the only factor in determining whether electric cars become widespread. Sam Ori, the executive director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, noted, “People don’t buy cars based solely on the price tag.”

Consumers may remain wary of vehicles with limited range that can take hours to charge. Even though researchers have shown that battery-electric vehicles have sufficient range for many people’s daily commuting habits, consumer psychology is still difficult to predict. The report does not, for instance, expect electric vehicles to catch on widely in the pickup-truck market.

Charging infrastructure is another potential barrier. Although cities are starting to build thousands of public charging stations — and Tesla is working on reducing the time it takes to power a depleted battery — it still takes longer to charge an electric vehicle than it does to refuel a conventional car at the pump.

Many owners charge their cars overnight in their garages, but that is much harder for people living in cities who park their cars on the street.

As a result, the Bloomberg report warns that plug-in vehicles may have a difficult time making inroads in dense urban areas and that infrastructure bottlenecks may slow the growth of electric vehicles after 2040.

Another potential hurdle may be the automakers themselves. While most manufacturers are introducing plug-in models in the United States to comply with stricter fuel-economy standards, they do not always market them aggressively, said Chelsea Sexton, an auto industry consultant who worked on General Motors’ electric vehicle program in the 1990s.

Car dealerships also remain reluctant to display and sell electric models, which often require less maintenance and are less profitable for their service departments. Surveys have found that salespeople are often unprepared to pitch the cars.

“We’ve seen a lot of announcements about electric vehicles, but that doesn’t matter much if automakers are just building these cars for compliance and are unenthusiastic about actually marketing them,” Ms. Sexton said.

Raw economics may help overcome such barriers, Mr. McKerracher said. He pointed to Norway, where heavy taxes on petroleum-powered vehicles and generous subsidies for electric vehicles have created price parity between the two. As a result, plug-in hybrids and fully electric cars in Norway now make up 37 percent of all new sales, up from 6 percent in 2013.

Fighting Climate Change

If Bloomberg’s forecast proves correct, it could have sweeping implications for oil markets. The report projects that a sharp rise in electric vehicles would displace eight million barrels of transportation fuel each day. (The world currently consumes around 98 million barrels per day.)

A number of oil companies are now grappling with the prospect of an eventual peak in global demand, with billions of dollars in investments at stake in getting the timing right.

Mass adoption of electric cars could also prove a key strategy in fighting climate change — provided the vehicles are increasingly powered by low-carbon electricity rather than coal. The International Energy Agency has estimated that electric vehicles would have to account for at least 40 percent of passenger vehicle sales by 2040 for the world to have a chance of meeting the climate goals outlined in the Paris agreement, keeping total global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

Yet the Bloomberg report also shows how much further countries would need to go to cut transportation emissions.

Even with a sharp rise in electric vehicles, the world would still have more traditional petroleum-powered passenger vehicles on the road in 2040 than it does today, and it will take many years to retire existing fleets. And other modes of transportation, like heavy-duty trucking and aviation, will remain stubbornly difficult to electrify without drastic advances in battery technology.

Which means it is still too soon to write an obituary for the internal combustion engine.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 10th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

10-21 JULY 2017 New York City, US

Fourth Session of the Preparatory Committee on BBNJ

The fourth session of the Preparatory Committee for the development of an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ PrepCom 4) will convene from 10-21 July 2017, in New York, US.

dates: 10-21 July 2017
location: New York City, US
contact: UNDOALOS
www: www.un.org/depts/los/biodiversity…

IISD Reporting Services / ENB 

SDGS
14. LIFE BELOW WATER

ISSUES
Biodiversity, Governance, Oceans & Coasts, International Negotiations.

ACTORS
UNCLOS, Multilateral Environmental Agreement Body, UN Intergovernmental Body

=======================

10-19 JULY 2017New York City, US

High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) 2017

The fifth High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), convening under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), will take place from 10-19 July 2017.

The theme of the session will be ‘Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world,’ as decided in UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution A/70/299.

The set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be reviewed in depth will be:

Goal 1 (End poverty in all its forms everywhere);

Goal 2 (End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture);

Goal 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages);

Goal 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls);

Goal 9 (Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation);

Goal 14 (Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development);

and Goal 17 (Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development), which will be considered each year.

The theme and these SDGs will be addressed in the first week (10-14 July).

The second week will include a three-day ministerial meeting (17-19 July), as part of the High-level Segment of ECOSOC (17-20), during which 44 countries will present Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) on implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

The HLPF is expected to adopt the Joint Ministerial Declaration of the HLPF and ECOSOC High-level Segment and the report of the HLPF on 19 July at 5 pm.

Subsequently, the ECOSOC High-level Segment is expected to adopt the Ministerial Declaration on 20 July at 5:30 pm.

Inputs to this year’s HLPF will include:

SDG progress report of UN Secretary-General;
VNR reports; reports from regional fora on sustainable development (ECA, ECE, ECLAC, ESCAP, ESCWA);
reports from Major Groups and other Stakeholders on the theme and SDGs under consideration; contributions from ECOSOC functional commissions and other intergovernmental bodies on the theme and SDGs under consideration;
report of the Ten-Year Framework of Programmes (10YFP) on sustainable consumption and production;
the Secretary-General’s report on mainstreaming sustainable development into the UN system; reports from preparatory meetings of the SDGs under consideration;
inputs from the UN system and other relevant organizations and stakeholders on the theme and SDGs under consideration;
briefs on the SDGs under consideration prepared by the UN system;
and outcomes of the Ocean Conference.

dates: 10-19 July 2017
location: New York City, US
www: sustainabledevelopment.un.org/hl…

IISD Reporting Services / ENB 

SDGS
1. NO POVERTY
2. ZERO HUNGER
3. GOOD HEALTH & WELL-BEING
5. GENDER EQUALITY
9. INDUSTRY, INNOVATION & INFRASTRUCTURE
14. LIFE BELOW WATER
17. PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE GOALS
ISSUES
Governance, Health, Gender, Sustainable Development, Agriculture & Food Security, Poverty Eradication, Industrial Development, Oceans & Coasts, International Negotiations, National Action, Follow-Up and Review
=============================

10-14 JULY 2017New York City, US

International WCRP/IOC Conference on Regional Sea Level Changes and Coastal Impacts

This conference is organized jointly by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The event will address the existing challenges in describing and predicting regional sea level changes, and in quantifying the intrinsic uncertainties. The conference will serve as a basis for a new assessment of the state-of-the-art on regional sea level research that serve as input to the sixth assessment of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

An outcome from the conference will be an evaluation of the current state of sea level science, an outline of future research requirements for improving our understanding of sea level rise and variability, and a description of the observational requirements.

dates: 10-14 July 2017
venue: Columbia University
location: New York City, US
www: www.wcrp-climate.org/images/WCRP…

SDGS
13. CLIMATE ACTION
14. LIFE BELOW WATER

ISSUES
Oceans & Coasts, Science, Climate Change, Adaptation, Mitigation
ACTORS
UNESCO, WMO, UN Programme, Agency or Fund

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 9th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel once again singled out the United States for criticism Saturday for walking away from the Paris climate agreement, saying that she “deplores” the decision and that she does not believe the Trump administration is open to returning to the deal to reduce international carbon emissions, as President Trump has said.

The United States was alone at the G-20 summit in dissenting from the group’s climate resolution. Leaders from the 19 other countries around the table in Hamburg agreed that the Paris climate agreement is “irreversible” and will take steps to implement the accords “as soon as possible,” said Merkel.

The issue highlighted the cold reception that President Trump’s vision of American self-interest, denial of climate science and threats to throw up trade barriers received at the conference of 20 of the world’s wealthiest countries.

As she has before, Merkel called on European countries to step into the vacuum that Trump is leaving on the world stage. “We as Europeans have to take our fate into our own hands,” she said.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 9th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Sunday July 7, 2017 – in Washington they expect the Republican legislators back from home will declare that the Health Care Plans they forged to favor the rich are unacceptable to the folks back home. The World at large will be forgotten, so will be Hamburg and the G-20 minus one.
On TV only Fareed Zakaria will still remember that there is the real world out there.

As an epitaph to Hamburg we present the following:

Trump’s mistake in his meeting with Putin
CNN on-line, Sunday, July 9, 2017.

Ed Lucas says the American president engaged in a dialogue that put Russia on the same moral plane as America — that’s a mistake.

Read the full story

Edward Lucas is a senior editor at The Economist, at which he was the Moscow bureau chief from 1998 to 2002. He also is senior vice president at the Center for European Policy Analysis, a Washington think tank. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.

(CNN) The first day of the G20 summit in Hamburg was notable for the attention given to Donald Trump’s first face-to-face meeting with Vladimir Putin and the ferocity of the day’s protests.

It would be nice to think that the protesters were particularly irked by the sight of two autocratic, media-hating leaders with dodgy business connections getting together. Sadly, the Trump-Putin meeting is a sideshow as far as the anti-globalization movement is concerned. They object to the whole idea of the G20, seeing the summit as the epitome of a global system based on a rapacious economic model and run by unaccountable elites.
Edward Lucas
Edward Lucas
While they are catching their breath from attacking the police and burning things down, the protesters might like to think how much worse they would fare if the summit were in Moscow or Beijing. Western democracies have many faults, but they do allow peaceful protest. Russia — and China — treat dissent much more harshly.
The protesters are greatly fired up by imperialism. Yet the biggest imperialists at the G20 are not the Western countries but the Russian and Chinese leaders. Xi Jinping’s Communist Party occupies Tibet (and East Turkestan and Inner Mongolia). Mr. Putin’s Kremlin has savagely crushed the Chechens, and pursues a chauvinist Russians-first policy in republics of the Russian Federation such as Tatarstan, Bashkiria, Mari-El and Komi. I doubt the protesters have ever heard of these places.
It is also odd that protesters hate President Trump, as he shares their disdain for the global trading system. Admittedly, they disagree about the nature of that unfairness — Trump dislikes the rules-based international order because he thinks it is unfair to America, the biggest and richest country in the world, while the protesters object to the way the system is tilted against poor countries. But that is a secondary point.
The Trump-Putin meeting went on longer than expected — for two and a half hours rather than the planned 30 minutes. That is apparently good news. I disagree. Half an hour was more than adequate for the necessary messages, which should have been on the lines of “Mr. Putin, we know what you are up to. Stop it.” If further elaboration were needed, it could have included the line, “We know where you and your cronies keep your money. If you want to see it again, back off.”
Instead, Trump seems to have decided to treat Putin as an equal. This is a big mistake. Russia’s population is less than half of the United States. Its GDP is less than a single good-sized American state. It has a lot of nuclear weapons, true, but most of them are obsolete. Russia’s defense modernization is ambitious, but running out of money. Russia’s only real asset is that Putin can act quickly — recklessly some might say — in foreign policy, exemplified by invading Ukraine and propping up the regime in Syria.
A great day for Putin, a good one for Trump
A great day for Putin, a good one for Trump
Yet in the bilateral meeting, the leaders met as equals. Each was accompanied only by a foreign minister — Sergei Lavrov for Russia, Rex Tillerson for America. That looked odd. America has colossal expertise on Russia, but Trump disdains it. And Tillerson is an able oilman but a newcomer to diplomacy. The Russian duo, by my count, had 62 years of experience between them; the Americans had just under a year.
Trump, under fire at home for many shortcomings and missteps, craves adulation. He reveled in his reception in Warsaw, where he delivered an incoherent and bombastic speech about Western civilization (main point: don’t let people push you around).
Now he has pulled off a meeting with Putin, which he can portray as a diplomatic breakthrough. The Kremlin leader promised him that Russia had not meddled in American politics. Trump, himself dubious about those claims, has accepted the assurance. The two countries are going to cooperate in some vague project on cyber-security, and keep talking on Ukraine and Syria.
The Russian duo, by my count, had 62 years of experience between them; the Americans had just under a year.

This is not the “grand bargain” of European nightmares six months ago, in which Trump would abandon NATO in return for Russian help in other trouble spots. I doubt very much that Trump’s administration will find it any easier to make practical progress with Russia than previous efforts: remember the “reset”? Or before that the Gore-Chernomyrdin commission?
But it is still troubling. One especially concerning part of the apparent agreement was that their countries should not meddle in each other’s affairs. That puts America and Russia on the same moral plane. Big mistake: Western efforts to promote democracy in Russia — for example by helping civil-society groups monitor elections to stop them being rigged — are hardly the same as Russia’s use of cyber-attacks to steal and leak private e-mails in order to smear politicians and sow mistrust and discord.
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Amid all the sound and fury in Hamburg, the real point is that the Western democracies are facing a severe challenge from varying blends of authoritarian populist crony-capitalism. Russia and China are the most egregious examples, Turkey is becoming one, with Hungary, Poland and the Philippines all in the same orbit.
On the other side are Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, along with Justin Trudeau and some other Western leaders, championing and reviving the Western liberal order. The Hamburg protesters are setting fire to the city while the world that protects them is on the brink of conflagration.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 9th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

This is just an impression from watching how the Energy industry does not come up with investment money for drilling for oil, even though there is an oil-friendly President in the White House.

Following the announcement by Elon Musk that Electric Tesla-3 vehicles will start running,
he also announced the building in Australia of a large solar electricity storage facility
to be duplicated for independent cities transportation. This is a decentralized system.

A different approach took Warren Buffett who is investing $29 Billion in buying a Texas
electricity distributor for his solar energy. This system allows for the incorporation of Nuclear Electricity, if available, as he considers this source also as benefitting reduced
CO2 Emissions. This is then a centralized electricity network.

In both these cases – obviously, well experienced business people show their readiness
to take risk in the future world as driven by the Paris Accord – reinforced by the now
G-19 – in disregard of the US President’s departure from global consensus.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 8th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Elon Musk: Model 3 passed all regulatory requirements for production two weeks ahead of schedule. Expecting to complete SN1 on Friday – 1:48 AM – 3 Jul 2017

Tesla’s Model 3, its mass-market car, expected to roll off factory floor Friday July 7, 2017.

The $35,000 electric car passed regulatory requirements two weeks ahead of schedule, and the first 30 owners will receive their cars at the end of the month, chief executive Elon Musk said.

Everything you need to know about Tesla Model 3, which is starting production today.

We’re gonna rock down to Electric Avenue, and the stakes couldn’t be any higher.

by Andrew J. Hawkins@andyjayhawk Jul 7, 2017,

Today’s the day for Tesla. The automaker says it expects to complete production of “SN1” (or “Serial Number one”) of the Model 3, its first electric car for the masses. But the Model 3 isn’t just any car. Everything for the success of Tesla as a viable car company has been building up to this point. The Model 3 will define the future of the company — and the stakes for Tesla and CEO Elon Musk couldn’t possibly be higher.

Earlier this week, Musk tweeted that Friday was the day the first Model 3 would be rolling off the assembly line. In subsequent tweets, he added that the first 30 Model 3 customers will receive their new Teslas on July 28th at a handover party hosted by the automaker.

“I think I can say, without irony of mawkishness, that this is the most important electric car ever produced,” said Michael Ramsey, research director at Gartner. “That’s because if it meets expectations of hundreds of thousands of sales, it changes the global landscape for electric cars. And if it fails, it relegates the move toward electrification to the trudging march that it has been so far.”

“I THINK I CAN SAY, WITHOUT IRONY OF MAWKISHNESS, THAT THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTRIC CAR EVER PRODUCED.”
Skepticism about Tesla’s ability to meet the enormous demands of mass production is extremely high. Practically no one believes Musk will be able to meet the benchmarks he has set for the Model 3. Tesla’s share price has been savaged over the last week, losing nearly 20 percent of its value, while Wall Street analysts predict that demand for Tesla’s two other current vehicles, the Model S and Model X, has already peaked. Other experts say that Musk will need to reduce costs by as much as 60 percent if it wants the Model 3 to be profitable.

And then there’s the fact that most auto startups throughout the 20th century eventually failed and fell into obscurity. Tesla, a 15-year-old company, could be poised to challenge those odds. The manufacturing and quality challenges of starting a brand-new automotive company are titanic.

“The Model 3 is critical for Tesla’s long-term viability,” said Karl Brauer, executive publisher at Kelley Blue Book. “The company had been around for almost 15 years yet has never turned a profit. The Model 3 will be Tesla’s first attempt at a high-volume car meant for mainstream consumers. If Tesla can satisfy the Model 3’s pent-up demand with a dependable and profitable vehicle it will finally justify a stock value that has it rivaling GM in capital value. If it can’t, Tesla will confirm many critic’s suspicions that it’s never had a truly sustainable business model.”

Tesla’s sky-high valuation — it recently surpassed BMW’s market cap — depends largely on Musk’s ability to sell his vision of sustainable, battery-powered driving to a much broader population. The Model S and Model X are both extremely expensive. Even with tax incentives, both cars easily push $100,000. The Model 3 will start at $35,000, making it the cheapest in Tesla’s range. In order for Tesla to sell 10 times as many cars as it does now, it needs a much cheaper automobile.

But the marketplace for affordable electric vehicles is suddenly much more crowded than it was when the Model 3 was first announced in 2016. GM was able to grab first-mover status when it released the Chevy Bolt, a $36,620, 238-mile-per-charge, electric vehicle, last December. Other midlevel electric vehicles include the Volkswagen e-Golf ($36,415), Ford Focus Electric ($29,995), and Nissan Leaf ($37,675).

These companies have the infrastructure in place to maintain quality and dealer service networks, however. There are signs that Tesla is rethinking its approach to selling and maintaining cars. (Most car dealers now act as the service arm for new buyers.)

Tesla can’t survive on its buzz-worthiness alone, but it’s certainly helped buoy its stock price. The number of people who plunked down the $1,000 deposit to preorder the Model 3 after it was first announced last year blew away pretty much everyone’s expectations. It took less than a week for the company to receive 350,000 preorders, leading Tesla to claim the Model 3 had the “biggest one-week launch of any product ever.” Eat your heart out, Apple.

But Tesla still has a long way to go before it can stick the landing. Musk says production is expected to grow exponentially: 100 cars in August, more than 1,500 by September, and then 20,000 per month by December. If the company fails to hit these marks or runs into manufacturing issues that happen at higher scales, or demand for the Model 3 drops, analysts argue it would be a setback not just for Tesla, but perhaps the entire electrification movement.

BY 2040, ANALYSTS SAY THAT 54 PERCENT OF ALL CARS SOLD ON THE PLANET WILL BE ELECTRIC
In 2016, Bloomberg’s new energy think tank predicted that electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles would make up about 35 percent of the world’s auto market by the year 2040. This year, the group upped that figure considerably: by 2040, analysts now say that 54 percent of all cars sold on the planet will be electric. France’s environmental minister said yesterday his country would ban the sale of all fossil fuel-burning vehicles by 2040. And Volvo said it would stop selling gas-only cars by 2019.

The world is trending toward battery-powered, electric vehicles, thanks in no small part to Musk’s vision and ingenuity. Tesla has helped spur the biggest automakers to accelerate their electrification plans. “The Chevy Bolt might not exist now were it not for Tesla,” said Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst at Navigant. “VW Group is running as fast as it can to move from diesel to electric.”

But the timing of the Model 3’s release could spell doom for Tesla, which still sells a fraction of the automobiles produced by the world’s biggest OEMs. Auto sales are stagnant in the US, while most consumers are trending toward SUVs and crossover vehicles rather than sedans. Tesla faces the problem of introducing a compact sedan when the market is running headlong away from this form factor to sport utilities. “Their timing couldn’t have been worse,” Abuelsamid said.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 8th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The Austrian daily Salzburger Nachrichten has today a cartoon showing the G20 roundtable
with one chair not in correct position. This leads to a second Round Table on which sits
a farting big yellow cat.

Governor Jerry Brown of California is ready to lead where an alternate leader is needed.


California’s Governor Just Followed Trump To Hamburg And Stole His Spotlight.

BY BENJAMIN LOCKE
POLITICS | Washington Journal, JULY 8, 2017

In a call to action, California Governor Jerry Brown told an international audience at a climate conference going on in Hamburg, Germany at the same time as the G-20 conference that “President Trump doesn’t speak for the rest of us,” as he announced plans for a global environmental summit next September in San Francisco.

Speaking via video to attendees at the Global Citizens Festival, Brown sent a strong signal that there are Americans ready to take a leadership role in combatting climate change despite the president.

“It’s up to you and it’s up to me and tens of millions of other people to get it together to roll back the forces of carbonization and join together to combat the existential threat of climate change,” Brown said.

His next statement drew loud applause from the crowd: “Yes, I know President Trump is trying to get out of the Paris agreement, but he doesn’t speak for the rest of America.”

“We in California and in all states across America,” continued Brown, “believe it’s time to act, its time to join together and that’s why at this climate action summit we’re going to get it done.”
When California becomes the first state to host a global climate summit, it will precede the 14th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which will be an even larger effort to bring together state, city and municipal governments to promise to fight climate change and then follow through by making good on their pledges, Brown’s staff told the Mercury News.

Trump thumbed his nose at the climate change advocates by scheduling his first sit-down with Russian President VBladimir Putin at the same time the G20 countries were scheduled to discuss issues around climate change.

Trump was not invited to speak at the Global Citizens Festival, but attendees did hear from other world leaders including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Argentina’s President Mauricio Marci.

There were also musical performances during the event by Coldplay, Shakira, Pharrell Williams and others.

Brown was introduced to the conference by Christiana Figueres, the former UN climate chief, who called the California Governor “a stubborn optimist from a surprising country.”

Figueres said the message that the conference will send to the world is that Trump does not speak for all Americans, most of whom do believe that climate change is real and that it is a real danger to the entire planet.

Brown has been a leader on the need to address climate change for a long time, helping shape policies in California that emphasize renewal energy sources and a respect for the planet nad its people.

Last December, Brown said if Trump took away the satellites that monitor world climate change, California would put “it’s own damn satellites” into the sky to do the job.
Brown has amped up his campaign since June when Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Shortly after that Brown took a trip to China where he met with President Xi Jinping to deliver his message that “disaster still looms,” unless governments take action, says the Mercury News, while predicting Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement would only be a temporary setback. He said Europe, China, individual U.S. states, and cities, among others, would take over the leadership role that has been abandoned by Trump.

Brown told the Mercury News just before his China trip that if Trump stays on his current course, “California will just redouble its efforts and the people of the world will have to rise up and take action. And I think in a paradoxical way, that’s exactly what Trump is stimulating – the very opposite of climate denial is climate activism.”
Brown met earlier this week with other municipal and state leaders from Germany, Argentina, Australia and other countries as part of the Under2 Coalition, to urge G20 leaders to stand by the Paris agreement and welcome the role of states, cities and regional governments in working to address climate change.

“All over the world,” Brown said in a statement, “momentum is building to deal seriously with climate change. Despite rejection in Washington, California is all in. We are fully committed to the Under2 Coalition and the Paris agreement.”

Brown said the steps he is taking are designed to build a consensus and encourage negotiations at every level. He told the Los Angeles Times that given the scope of the challenges, finding solutions will not be “a walk in the park.”

“Decarbonizing the world,” added Brown, “it’s like going from the Roman Empire to Christianity. It’s a total paradigm shift.”
Brown is showing real leadership even in the face of constant criticism from his Republican opponents and their surrogates, and he is making the entire world aware that the U.S. is not going to give up on addressing climate change just because the current president is a science denier.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, current New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio, Governor Kate Brown of Oregon, and progressive leaders from more than 30 cities, three other governors, university presidents, business leaders and others across the country are joining with Brown.

They are determined to not let commercial interests with huge lobbying budgets who are in the pocket of corrupt Republicans pollute freely and destroy the world while they stand by.

Take that, Koch brothers.

In the twilight of his political career, Brown is taking action and inviting the whole world to join with him.

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BENJAMIN LOCKE
BENJAMIN LOCKE IS A RETIRED COLLEGE PROFESSOR WITH AN UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE IN INDUSTRIAL LABOR AND RELATIONS FROM CORNELL UNIVERSITY AND AN MBA FROM THE EUROPEAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT.

California’s Governor Just Followed Trump To Hamburg And Stole His Spotlight


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please see also:

 www.alternet.org/news-amp-politic…

Is Jerry Brown the ‘President’ of Anti-Trump America? He Shows Up in Germany for the G20
Trump “doesn’t speak for the rest of America,” says the California governor.
By Tom Boggioni / Raw Story July 7, 2017,

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 5th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From the GREEN PROPHET – Sustainable News For the Middle East.

Build your next home with dirt (and a robot!)

Posted on July 4, 2017 by Faisal O’Keefe in Design

Build your next home with dirt (and a robot!)

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created a mobile robotic system that can build a dome-like habitat in half a day. It’s a new spin on 3D printing that could revolutionize homebuilding, allowing for faster, cheaper and more adaptable construction compared to traditional building methods.
The four ton Digital Construction Platform (DCP) is solar-powered and features a large robotic arm for reach and a smaller arm for dexterity. The design is based upon an Altec aerial-lift system, much like the bucket lifts commonly used by workers on electrical power lines. In this case, the bucket has been replaced by a robotic arm.

Different tools can be attached to the smaller arm, such as a grinder or welding system or a nozzle that can mix and spray viscous building materials such as mud, foam, or concrete. The DCP is fitted out with special sensors to gauge site metrics ranging from radiation to topography. It sits atop tank treads for easy mobility on all types of building sites.

Steven Keating, of MIT’s Mediated Matter Group, took inspiration from trees, which grow on their own volition using readily available local resources such as sunlight energy and soil. A tree structure is efficient, its trunk tapers towards the sky, supported by strong outer rings which allow for a less dense core. It adapts to local conditions.

“With this process, we can replace one of the key parts of making a building, right now. It could be integrated into a building site tomorrow,” said Steven Keating, co-author of a paper published in the journal “Science Robotics.”

The system can be deployed anywhere and takes minutes to set up. It can operate for eight hours on one charge, longer if connected to diesel backup motors. DCP can fold up small enough to drive through a set of standard double doors.

The project, which began in 2011, has evolved to a point where it can create objects ia all sizes. DCP recently completed a dome-like structure (see lead image) that measures 50 feet in diameter and 12 feet tall. It was built in 13.5 hours using a stock insultating foam spray. While this is not exactly a “house”, the dome can serve as a mold for poured-in concrete or mud that would provide structural heft.

“This one technique allows us to get our foot in the door on a construction site,” Keating told FastCoDesign. But his long-term vision is to deploy the system in the developing world or in disaster areas, for example after a major earthquake, to provide quick shelter. The team sees this happening within the next 10 years. Their ultimate aim is to work in remote places such as Antarctica, the moon and Mars to make buildings out of local materials such as ice or moon dust. Keating said technology like this could be ready in 50 years or sooner.

The lab isn’t writing off corporate opportunities, but it did put all of its hardware specs and digital software online for anyone to freely take and use, or expand upon. “We’ve shown how we could do [it],” Keating told CNNTech, “and NASA is very excited to use ice for printing on Mars because ice absorbs a lot of cosmic radiation.”

There is also potential to feed the DCP organic building materials, such as animal proteins and photosynthetic E. coli, to print living buildings. Mediated Matter Group has already synthesized living plastics from squid and cuttlefish. Combining robotic construction with evolving materials that can change color in the presence of carbon dioxide, or self-diagnose and repair cracks points to a future where buildings adapt to their environments and grow to nurture themselves and their cohabitants, just like trees do.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 4th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Info from UN ENVIRONMENT – the US Independence weekend.

3 July 2017
Record 66 million trees planted in 12 hours in India

links to: Asia, COP 21, COP 23, Policy at UN Environment.

Around 1.5 million volunteers planted more than 66 million trees in just 12 hours as part of a record-breaking environmental campaign.

The volunteers planted an average of 44 saplings each along the Narmada River in the central state of Madhya Pradesh on Sunday 2 July.

The previous record was also set in India, when volunteers in Uttar Pradesh state set a world record by planting over 50 million trees in one day in July 2016.

Elsewhere in the country, volunteers in the state of Kerala planted more than 10 million in 24 hours in June this year and Maharashtra is set to plant 40 million later this year as part of the nationwide reforestation campaign.

Deforestation in India is a growing issue with its increasing population of 1 billion people in need of more agricultural land and housing.

Under the Paris Agreement, India has pledged to increase its forests by 95 million hectares by 2030, costing around $6.2 billion.

The record-breaking environmental campaign – which saw the planting of over 20 different species of trees – was organised by the Madhya Pradesh government.

Observers from Guinness World Records monitored the mass plantation, and are expected to confirm the new record within the coming weeks.

Shirvraj Singh Chouhan, the State’s Chief Minister, described the efforts as a “historic day”.

He went on to say: “The world talks of global warming and climate change, but Madhya Pradesh has taken a concrete step to deal with it.”

Taking to social media, Shirvraj Singh Chouhan praised the volunteers which included children and the elderly.

He stated that between the hours of 7am and 7pm 66.3 million saplings had been planted.

He added: “By planting trees we are not only serving Madhya Pradesh but the world at large.”

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RELATED ARTICLES
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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 4th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


The world looks past Donald Trump

By Stephen Collinson, CNN, Tuesday July 4, 2017

(CNN) Foreign policy, increasingly, is what is happening around the world while the United States is making other plans.

More than five months into Donald Trump’s presidency, American adversaries and allies alike are adjusting to a new era in which Washington seeks its own idiosyncratic and unpredictable “America First” path.

In Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, governments are assessing shifting US priorities and in some cases seeking alternative sources of leadership and partnership in the belief that America has stepped back.

Trump’s unpopularity abroad is forcing leaders to consider their own political positions, before getting too close to the American President — even if they seek to preserve Washington’s still vital global role as the guarantor of liberal market economics and democracy.

That dynamic will be on display during Trump’s second visit to Europe this week, just weeks after his first transcontinental trip opened new gaps between Washington and some longtime allies.

Trump starts in Poland, which is hoping for his strongest affirmation yet of NATO security guarantees. Then he will head to the G20 summit in Germany, where he may confront hostility deepened by his decision to exit the Paris climate accord.

The Trump administration refutes the notion that it has downgraded American leadership, arguing that Trump’s foreign trips, flurry of meetings and frequent calls with foreign presidents and prime ministers shows intense engagement.

But increasingly, top foreign policymakers from Germany to Iraq and Canada to Asia are contemplating a period when US leadership that many took for granted may be less evident in global affairs, after Trump turned his back on multilateral trade deals and downplayed multinational institutions and agreements.

“Whoever believes the problems of this world can be solved by isolationism and protectionism is making a tremendous error,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told parliament last week, in a clear shot across Trump’s bow.

It was not the first time the German leader, running for a fourth term in September’s election, had rebuked the President.

After Trump visited Europe in May, and declined to reaffirm NATO’s Article 5 principle of mutual self defense during a visit to the Western alliance headquarters, Merkel said US allies needed to rethink their place in the world.

“We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands,” she said.

Canada, America’s closest geographical ally, is also watching.

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland profoundly thanked the United States for being “truly the indispensable nation” that had ensured 70 years of peace and prosperity in a speech to parliament last month.

But she acknowledged that halcyon period was ending.
“The fact that our friend and ally has come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership, puts into sharper focus the need for the rest of us to set our own clear and sovereign course,” Freeland said.

“For Canada that course must be the renewal, indeed the strengthening, of the postwar multilateral order.”

It is not just America’s most traditional allies that sense that America is pulling back from the world, amid a perception that diplomacy has been de-emphasized and the State Department downgraded in a Trump administration more respectful of military leadership.

Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour last week that the United States was “absent” in maintaining global security and that there was a “vacuum in the overall leadership in the world.”

“The Americans need to … get back to their role as an international power, an important international power.” Allawi said.

Despite an impending victory over ISIS by Iraqi forces in western Mosul, with US support, Allawi argued that Washington lacked “clear cut policies” for tackling extremism and a future strategy for the Middle East.

Some American competitors see an opening.

At the Global Economic Forum in Davos, a few days before Trump was inaugurated, China’s President Xi Jinping, offered a vision of a world turned on its head when he offered his own nation as a guardian of free trade, globalization and efforts to combat climate change — areas where the United States had formerly taken the leadership role.

“Whether you like it or not, the global economy is the big ocean you cannot escape from,” Xi told delegates at the Swiss mountain resort.


‘America First’ or ‘America alone?’

Over the last few days, Trump has spoken to leaders of US allies in the Gulf, amid a showdown over terrorist financing that has led to the isolation of Qatar, and has also had conversations with counterparts in Germany and Italy.

In contrast to the way Trump’s first trip to Europe was seen across the Atlantic, national security adviser H.R. McMaster argued that the President had reinvigorated US alliances which Republicans believed eroded under the Obama administration.

“America First … does not mean America alone. President Trump has demonstrated a commitment to American alliances because strong alliances further American security and American interests,” McMaster told reporters last week.

While much of America’s future foreign policy course remains uncertain to foreign states, Washington has made some clear moves.

It significantly stiffened resistance to Iran in the Middle East, a reorientation that was the underlying theme of Trump’s first stops in Saudi Arabia and Israel.

But at the same time, there is no real clarity on the Trump administration’s strategy on Syria following the apparently imminent eradication of ISIS strongholds. Iran envisages a future Shiite crescent of influence, that would stretch from Tehran through Iraq, Syria and into Lebanon, backed by Russia, and would change the balance of power in the region.
It is unclear how actively the Trump administration plans to resist such a scenario, in concert with allies like Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Egypt and Jordan.

In Afghanistan, the Pentagon dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb on ISIS targets and plans to use its new autonomy under Trump to send more troops to train and assist Afghan soldiers.
But the administration has yet to lay out a detailed vision of how it sees Afghanistan’s future or long-term US war aims.

In Asia, Trump dropped his hostility toward China in an effort to convince Beijing to do more to rein in its volatile ally North Korea amid a nuclear and missile crisis. But he now seems to have concluded the effort failed, and imposed sanctions against a Chinese bank with links to the pariah state, and approved a $1.4 billion arms package to Taiwan, heightening tensions with Beijing.
But Trump, despite saber rattling, has yet to explain to Americans any new approaches on how he will thwart Pyongyang’s bid to put a nuclear warhead onto a weapon that could reach the US mainland.

It’s not just uncertainty about American global strategy that is convincing some allied leaders to look past the United States.
Trump’s unpopularity makes it much more difficult for them politically to support him. The recent Pew Global Attitudes poll showed Trump with rock bottom approval ratings across the world. Only in Russia and Israel did more people trust him to do the right thing than former President Barack Obama.

The former President, meanwhile, has stayed mostly out of the limelight. But Monday, Obama couldn’t resist during a Seoul conference organized by South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo media group, saying the Paris climate accord won’t vanish despite the “temporary absence” of American leadership.
“The Paris agreement,” Obama said, “even with the temporary absence of US leadership, will still be a critical factor in helping our children solve the enormous challenge in civilization.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 3rd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

PostPartisan Opinion — Why Trump wants a war on the media?

By Colbert I. King July 3 at 12:12 PM THE WASHINGTON POST

President Trump’s latest salvo in his anti-media campaign is a doctored video clip posted to his personal Twitter account showing him beating up a man with a CNN logo on his face. The tweet has drawn predictable outcries: “It’s not just anti-CNN. It’s anti-freedom of the press,” said CNN political analyst and Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Bernstein on Sunday. Ana Navarro, an ABC and CNN commentator, also criticized Trump’s tweet as “an incitement to violence. He is going to get someone killed in the media.”

What do we have on our hands? A budding authoritarian who is resorting to demagogic assaults to manipulate news coverage of his administration? Or are we talking about a 71-year-old president who, in terms of emotional growth process, is stuck in his adolescent years — hence his juvenile Twitter behavior.

It’s none of that.

There is a strategic calculation to Trump’s war on the press. I covered this ground in a post blog nearly six months ago [“Trump’s war on the press is a strategic calculation,” Feb 21]. It’s territory worth trodding again in light of his relentless attacks.

Trump regards the mainstream media as rivals — dangerous adversaries that stand between him and what he wants to achieve.

In the world of Trump, only his version ought to be told. White House stand-ins, such as Kellyanne Conway, believe administration-spun stories and press releases should be treated as gospel. Hence the media earns their wrath because, except for one cable network, the Fourth Estate doesn’t do Trump’s bidding.

We are, after all watchdogs, not lap dogs.

But, to Trump, we are the enemy. It follows, therefore, that we must be brought down, especially in the public’s eye.

That means denigrating and defaming the media so that, regardless of the evidence, the public summarily dismisses our reporting and analyses.

Denouncing us as the “most dishonest human beings on earth” and “scum” while repeatedly declaring “the news is fake,” aren’t off-the-cuff invectives.

These are essential weapons in his war arsenal. It’s called branding. And it worked like a charm for Trump during the election cycle.

A New York Times riveting account of Trump’s lesson on branding is worth repeating.

“You know, you have to brand people a certain way when they’re your opponents,” Trump told an outdoor rally in Boca Raton, Fla., in March 2016.

“Lyin’ Ted,” Trump said to the audience about Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), spelling it out letter by letter: “L-Y-I-N-apostrophe.” “We can’t say it the right way,” he explained. “We’ve got to go — Lyin’! Lyin’ Ted.”

He held up Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) as another example. “Little Marco,” he called him. Then Trump spelled out his preferred nickname for his opponent: “L-I-D-D-L-E. Liddle, Liddle, Liddle Marco.”

He branded Jeb Bush as “low energy.”

“We started off with 17 people who were up on this stage,” Trump reminded the crowd. They were all favored, he said. “’Now,’ he finished with a flourish, as the crowd roared, ‘Trump is favored.’”

“But you’ve got to brand people,” he told the crowd.

Remember the “crooked Hillary” branding iron that Trump kept applying to Hillary Clinton? It stuck.

Think about Trump’s belittling of the intelligence community’s work, and his questioning of their motives? Notice how it coincided with intelligence community reports concerning Russian interference and influence in our presidential election. That was Trump at work, branding and degrading.

That is what Trump’s disparagement of the media is all about — to take us out before the in-depth reporting on him and his administration really sinks in. Make no mistake: Whether launched by tweet or in rallies or on talk shows, Trump’s media assaults, personal attacks and harassment aren’t unplanned.

Our response should be no less deliberate.

Just do our jobs. That means providing nothing less than blanket coverage of Donald Trump. Count on the public to ferret out the facts about what is positive and responsible, and what is reckless, foul and untrustworthy, about the current White House.

Persistent, nonstop reporting may drive Trump out of his mind, but, tweets be damned: The public trust deserves no less.

———————————————-
Colbert I. “Colby” King writes a column — sometimes about D.C., sometimes about politics — that runs on Saturdays. In 2003, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. King joined the Post’s editorial board in 1990 and served as deputy editorial page editor from 2000 to 2007.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 3rd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

06 June 2017 THE RELEASE OF A IIASA STUDY titled:

Ambiguous pledges leave large uncertainty under Paris climate agreement

Emission reduction pledges made by individual countries under the Paris Agreement leave a wide range of possible climate outcomes, according to new research. Without stronger pledges, the study shows, the climate goals may not be possible to achieve.

Under the pledges made by countries under the Paris Agreement on climate change, greenhouse gas emissions could range from 47 to 63 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent (GtCO2e) per year in 2030, compared to about 52 GtCO2e in 2015, according to a new analysis. That range has critical consequences for the feasibility of achieving the goal of keeping warming “well below 2°C” over preindustrial levels, according to the study published in the journal Nature Communications.

The pledges, known as National Determined Contributions (NDCs) lay out a roadmap of how individual countries will reduce their emissions, with the intention of adding up to a global emissions reduction sufficient to achieve the Paris targets. Yet the new study shows that these individual maps leave out key details that would enable policymakers to see if they are headed in the right direction.

“Countries have put forward pledges to limit and reduce their emissions. But in many cases the actions described in these pledges are ambiguous or imprecise,” says IIASA researcher Joeri Rogelj, who led the study. For example, some pledges focus on improving “emissions intensity,” meaning reducing the emissions per dollar of economic output, but assumptions about socioeconomic growth are often implicit or unknown. Other countries focus on absolute emissions reductions, which are simpler to understand, or propose renewable energy targets, which can be expressed in different ways. Questions also remain about how much land-use-related climate mitigation will contribute, such as reducing deforestation or preserving forests.

The study finds that the emissions implied by the current NDCs can vary by -10 to +20% around the median estimate of 52 GtCO2e/yr in 2030. A previous study, also led by IIASA, had found that that the emissions reductions set out in the NDCs would not put the world on track to achieve the Paris targets.

The new study confirms this finding. It shows in a quantitative way that in order to keep warming to below 2°C, countries should either increase the stringency of their NDCs by 2030 or consider scaling up their ambition after 2030 by a factor 4 to 25. If the ambition of NDCs is not further increased by 2030, the study finds no pathways for returning warming to 1.5°C by the end of the century.

“The new results allow us to more precisely understand what is driving the uncertainty in emissions estimates implied by the Paris pledges,” says Rogelj. “With this information at hand, policymakers can formulate solutions to remediate this issue.”

“This is the first global study to systematically explore the range of emissions outcomes under the current pledges. Our study allows us to identify the key contributors to the overall uncertainty as well as potential clarifications by countries that would be most promising to reduce the overall uncertainty,” says IIASA Energy Program Director Keywan Riahi, a study coauthor.

The researchers find that uncertainty could be reduced by 10% with simple, technical clarifications, and could be further reduced by clearer guidelines for countries on building their NDCs. The study highlights the importance of a thorough and robust tracking process of progress made by countries towards the achievement of their NDCs and the Paris Agreement goals as a whole.

Reference

Rogelj J, Fricko O, Meinshausen M, Krey V, Zilliacus JJJ, Riahi K (2017). Understanding the origin of Paris Agreement emission uncertainties. Nature Communications.  pure.iiasa.ac.at/14631]

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 3rd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

PostEverything Perspective // The Washington Post

The Declaration of Independence, as read by President Trump
There’s a very fine line between parody and reality in 2017.

By Daniel W. Drezner July 3, 2017

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a regular contributor to PostEverything.

Thank you very much for coming, including the members of the horrible Fake News Media, to this tradition that I have started, another beautiful first for this administration, the reading of the very famous and well-known Declaration of Independence, one of the greatest declarations in the history of the world. Here we go:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one group of people to dissolve the political bands — really, bands? Is it “bands” or bonds”? Who knows? — which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God, and our God, too, our wonderful and very Christian God, entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. That was a long sentence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, so much happiness, such tremendous amounts of happiness, we are doing so well with the happiness, aren’t we? — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, I, too, received the greatest consent of the governed, the most consent of any president in a long time, despite the unfair electoral college being rigged against a Republican.

There’s a lot of stuff on “Prudence” here that I’m skipping because prudence is what got this country into trouble in the first place. We need to be bold!

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. But you know, I have to say here, that King George III, say what you will about him, at least he was a tough leader. He fought very hard and very tough to keep the United States, you have to admire him.

To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. I certainly hope these are real facts, not the fake facts that CNN, or, as I now call it, the Fraud News Network, has been reporting.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. You know, this fact sounds fake to me. A good leader needs to be tough and smart and get things done quickly.

Did you know that this part of the Declaration is just a long list of complaints? Not many people know that at all.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with Manly Firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. “Manly firmness,” I like that. I just came up with that phrase, I think it improves the Declaration. It was manly firmness that got me elected despite the whining of the failing New York Times and #AmazonWashingtonPost.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. Believe you me, the King was on the right track!! Why would the Colonies want so many disgusting migrants coming from non-English countries? George III was just looking out for the forgotten colonists who didn’t want the great unwashed to come to this country!!

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers. Our courts are so horrible, except for my Supreme Court pick, Gorsuch, that I really can’t blame the King. He’s making a lot of sense and the colonists sound like crybabies. All they’re doing in this is complaining about a strong leader. Weak!

Skipping a few of these minor complaints.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power. But we need a strong Military! Our Military was very weak when I became president, but now it is strong!

Skipping, skipping … boy, this is a corny list …

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world?! The Founders probably wanted free trade, but I bet the powerful George III wanted fair trade — that makes more sense.

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent. I’ll agree with the colonists on that one. But I have to say, so far the King seems to be winning this argument!

Let’s see what else is here … suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. I would love to do this, it would be so beautiful. Look at how slowly Congress moves on health care, and they won’t give it enough heart. I would give it heart! I alone can fix health care!!

More corny stuff here, I’m skipping it …

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is strong enough to rule a people if you ask me. George III moved very strongly against these colonists, just as I am moving strongly against all of America’s enemies, including ISIS and the Fake News Media.

I know what the fake news will say that my reading of this Declaration is not historically accurate. But it is MODERN-DAY ACCURATE! I am not being politically correct, like our Failing Founders, I’m just being with truth here: I think the colonists were too hasty in rejecting a strong King!!

Therefore, I, the Very Strong Leader of the united States of America, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People, but ONLY the good people, not the bad losers and haters of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That I should have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent Kings may of right do. And for the support of my wonderful Declaration, with a great reliance on the protection of divine Providence, my subjects mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor, our very sacred honor indeed.

My Declaration makes America Great Again. I am accomplishing so much. Tryanny!!!

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 1st, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


the Republican party’s de-democratization strategy is the one of calling for a strategy of
“one Anglo-Saxon, financially successful person, one vote”.

Trump’s Next Attack on Democracy: Mass Voter Suppression

By Russ Feingold, Guardian UK
01 July 17

The Trump administration’s ‘election integrity’ commission is declaring war on voters – our democratic legitimacy be damned

he most important aspect of any democratic election is participation. A democracy gains its legitimacy through elections only so far as those elections represent the will of the people. Limit voter participation, and there is a direct correlation between the legitimacy of an election and the democratic system. President Trump and Vice-President Pence’s “election integrity” commission is unequivocally declaring war on voters – our democratic legitimacy be damned.

The commission recently sent a letter to all 50 states asking that they provide all the names and associated birthdays, last four digits of social security numbers, addresses, political parties, and voting histories since 2006 of people on their voter rolls. This letter is helping to lay the groundwork for nationalized voter suppression.

The commission is requesting the same information that Republican state governments have used to create hyper-partisan gerrymandering and enact restrictive voter ID laws. Such measures have been disturbingly successful at suppressing voting of minority and low-income citizens, groups that tend to vote with Democrats. This assault on voters might seem farfetched, except that we’ve seen this strategy too many times before to claim ignorance now.

After slavery ended, white elites invented felony disenfranchisement as a means to delegitimize black citizens and prevent them from gaining influence. We saw Jim Crow gut-punch our democracy in yet another attempt to disenfranchise minorities. We are witnessing history repeating itself.

Nationally, the Democratic party is gaining support as the country’s demographics become increasingly diverse. The majority of black, Native American, Hispanic and Asian voters vote as Democrats. The Republican party has known for several years now that its best tactic to cling to power is not to build a party worth supporting, but to deny participation in the political process to Democratic party voters.

Making matters worse, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Office, long heralded as the ultimate guarantor of civil rights, including voting rights, might unknowingly be supporting the commission’s efforts. The Civil Rights Office sent out a letter on Wednesday, the same day as the commission sent its letter, seeking information from states on how they maintain their voter rolls. The office charged with upholding the 1965 Voting Rights Act must resist playing a leading role in further dismantling this most fundamental democratic right.

I would expect these actions from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or any of the other authoritarian regimes we have sanctioned around the world – regimes that stay in power by suppressing their people and manipulating election results. We must not lie to ourselves when we see the warning signs here at home. This commission is a harbinger of a top-down, White House-endorsed assault on voters, specifically Democratic voters: the same voters who denied Trump the popular vote.

State leaders have a moral and constitutional obligation to our democracy and to their citizens to refuse to cooperate with this commission.

States should refuse to hand over any of the requested voter information, as California, Virginia, Rhode Island and Kentucky have refused to do at this writing. The Connecticut, Oklahoma and North Carolina secretaries of state, on the other hand, have agreed to send “publicly available” information to the commission. This is a mistake.

Our democracy cannot afford to turn over any information now and ask questions later. States turning over any information, including publicly available information, legitimize the commission and betray the trust and privacy of voters. Having publicly available information for in-state use is different from providing information for a national voter database that will be placed at the hands of nefarious actors. States must take a stand to protect their voters’ most fundamental democratic right.

Additionally, Democrats must refuse to participate in the commission. The secretaries of state for New Hampshire and Maine should step down from the commission immediately. Participation risks granting legitimacy where there can be none. Two lone Democrats on this commission will stand no chance of preventing the pre-cooked outcomes. Instead, they and their states are being used to cloak the commission in the guise of bipartisanship. If Democrats refuse to participate, the commission will be left with no clothes on.

The litany of research on voting in recent years has failed to come up with but a handful of voter fraud cases. On the other hand, voter suppression techniques, such as those employed by the Republican party, effectively disenfranchise scores of voters across the country. If the real goal of the administration is election integrity, the stated objective from day one should have been to maximize voter participation.

Rather than target minority voters with a modern gloss on McCarthyism, we should be prioritizing a 21st-century Voting Rights Act to protect voting rights and increase access to the ballot box.

Rather than voter ID laws that disenfranchise certain demographics, a new Voting Rights Act could set a national ID standard, granting maximum flexibility to voters. It could also ban felony disenfranchisement in national elections and require publication of new electoral changes to help educate voters.

The options are there to strengthen our democracy and truly protect “one person, one vote”. Instead, this commission appears intent on nationalizing the Republican party’s strategy of “one Anglo-Saxon, financially successful person, one vote”.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 30th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From The Pelikan Web/ Mother Pelikan , run by Luis Gutierrez <the.pelican.web@gmail.com>

for July 2017


Cultural Evolution for an Integral Ecology
— Articles:

How Do We Humans Change Course?, by Susan Paulson

Reflections and Chronicles From The End of Time: The Con-God, by Carlos Cuellar Brown

The Future Is What We Make of It—But What Will That Be?, by Jeremy Lent

Civilizational Paradigm Change: The Modern/Industrial Case, by Ruben Nelson

Coal is a Dinosaur and so is the Growth Economy, by Richard Heinberg

Degrowth: The Case for a New Economic Paradigm, by Riccardo Mastini

Beyond ‘No’ and the Limits of ‘Yes’: A Review of Naomi Klein’s ‘No Is Not Enough’, by Robert Jensen

Is Trump Launching a New World Order? The Petro-Powers vs. the Greens, by Michael Klare

Saving Humanity from Itself, by Yehezkel Dror

Paris Accord: Quantitatively Trivial Impact + Intense Political Symbolism, by Judith Curry

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 30th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

E&E News on EPA

Pruitt will launch program to ‘critique’ climate science

Emily Holden, E&E News reporter
Climatewire: Friday, June 30, 2017

Scott Pruitt, U.S. EPA Administrator, of the Trump Administration, favors reopening the endangerment finding on greenhouse gases, according to Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy Corp. @EPAScottPruitt/Twitter

U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is leading a formal initiative to challenge mainstream climate science using a “back-and-forth critique” by government-recruited experts, according to a senior administration official.


The program will use “red team, blue team” exercises to conduct an “at-length evaluation of U.S. climate science,” the official said, referring to a concept developed by the military to identify vulnerabilities in field operations.

“The administrator believes that we will be able to recruit the best in the fields which study climate and will organize a specific process in which these individuals … provide back-and-forth critique of specific new reports on climate science,” the source said.

“We are in fact very excited about this initiative,” the official added. “Climate science, like other fields of science, is constantly changing. A new, fresh and transparent evaluation is something everyone should support doing.”

The disclosure follows the administration’s suggestions over several days that it supports reviewing climate science outside the normal peer-review process used by scientists. This is the first time agency officials acknowledged that Pruitt has begun that process. The source said Energy Secretary Rick Perry also favors the review.

Executives in the coal industry interpret the move as a step toward challenging the endangerment finding, the agency’s legal foundation for regulating greenhouse gases from cars, power plants and other sources. Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy Corp., said Pruitt assured him yesterday that he plans to begin reviewing the endangerment finding within months.

“We talked about that, and they’re going to start addressing it later this year,” Murray said in an interview. “They’re going to start getting a lot of scientific people in to give both sides of the issue.”

But another person attending the meeting said Pruitt resisted committing to a full-scale challenge of the 2009 finding. The administration source also said Pruitt “did not promise to try to rescind the endangerment finding.”

Climate scientists express concern that the “red team, blue team” concept could politicize scientific research and disproportionately elevate the views of a relatively small number of experts who disagree with mainstream scientists (Climatewire, June 29).

Pruitt told about 30 people attending a board meeting of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity yesterday morning that he’s establishing a “specific process” to review climate science, the administration official said. Murray and two other people in the room interpreted Pruitt as saying he would challenge the endangerment finding.

Challenging the endangerment finding would be enormously difficult, according to many lawyers. The finding is built on an array of scientific material establishing that human health and welfare is endangered by a handful of greenhouse gases emitted by industry, power plants and cars. It stems from a Supreme Court ruling in 2007.

If Pruitt somehow succeeded in rolling back the finding — an outcome that many Republicans say is far-fetched — the federal government would no longer be required to restrict greenhouse gas emissions.

Power companies have told Pruitt they don’t want him to wade into a protracted and public legal battle that he would likely lose. Many have said that if EPA rescinds its carbon standards for power plants — the Clean Power Plan — the agency should write a substitute rule and try to avoid court fights that might confuse their efforts to make long-term business plans (Climatewire, June 22).

Murray yesterday commended President Trump’s announcement that he would try to boost some coal exports, but he said that ultimately what the sector needs is for EPA to nix the endangerment finding.

Perry also has touted carbon capture and sequestration technologies for coal plants, even as he questions whether climate science is settled.

Murray said carbon capture won’t help, either.

“Carbon capture and sequestration does not work. It’s a pseudonym for ‘no coal,'” Murray said while waiting for a ride outside DOE headquarters. “It is neither practical nor economic, carbon capture and sequestration. It is just cover for the politicians, both Republicans and Democrats that say, ‘Look what I did for coal,’ knowing all the time that it doesn’t help coal at all.”

Murray acknowledged that the legal fight over the endangerment finding would be “tough.” He thinks that’s because climate activists and renewable power producers want to keep making money off climate change.

“All these people will be jumping on this on the other side because it’s all about money, but it is not about America. America needs reliable, low-cost electricity, and that is a mix of different fuels,” he said.

Murray also wants Perry to use emergency authority to stop coal and nuclear plant closures, although lawyers have said that is unlikely to happen (Energywire, June 19).

Still, Murray, who is close with the president, said he thinks Trump would be “receptive” to the idea.

Reporter Rod Kuckro contributed.

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