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Posted on on November 22nd, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (

The French have extended the State of Emergency till Monday November 30 – the day the Climate Conference COP 21 is opening, but
an added statement has been issued on the official French Presidency’s COP 21 website – that says:

The COP21 conference should enable a global mobilization for climate and civil society is expected to play its full role.

Civil Society will therefore be present on-site at the venue Le Bourget, where the “Espaces Générations Climat” will host, for the whole duration of the Conference, from November 30 to December 12, more than 300 events, debates and conferences. A major mobilization, with many events, is planned throughout France. All these events will continue, except for school trips to the venue in Le Bourget.

However, the situation created by the heinous attacks on 13 November and the investigations carried out since then require that security measures be improved. In this context, all events taking place in closed spaces that can easily be made secure will be maintained. On the other hand, in order to avoid any additional risk, the Government has decided to not allow the climate marches planned in the streets of Paris and other cities throughout France on 29 November and 12 December.

The Statement continues with – “This is a difficult decision to make that will probably disappoint some of those who had planned to take part, but in the current context, safety requirements prevail.”

The leadership of the UNFCCC has seized on this to warn those it does not like – activists and media not sanctioned by them – to stay away. They also continue to argue that the Conference will conclude with a global agreement – something that is factually not in the cards.

The French decision does not, in any way, put into question the need for COP21 to widely welcome civil society and its organizations, who will play a major role at the conference.

The Conference will conclude with individual countries voluntary commitments – by now over 150 such Statements – and it is the role of Civil Society alone – to catalyze the governments forthcoming with substantial commitments. The UNFCCC – working by UN rules of consensus – hardly has a part in this. A decrease in the size of country delegations or in the number of UN officials will not harm the outcome, and Civil Society hopefully will realize the importance of orderly meetings.



Jan Lundberg
 jan at

Submitted on 2015/11/25 at 8:03 am

Hi Pincas, thank you for that clear rundown on what’s up.
See you in Paris, old Kyoto roomie?
We have a flyer and a poster for promoting sail power as legitimate renewable energy, for which poor countries can gain aid from the UN and the EU. And we have an alternative, more flexible, more carbon-reducing wording for the shipping emissions Option in the Draft Agreement.
Please contact me through or via email.
Thanks, and be well,



Posted on on November 5th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (

*Urge Congress to Vote NO on the TPP* ]

Stop the TPP

Berkeley, California November 5, 2015

Dear Pincas,

We at Tikkun’s Network of Spritual Progressives are part of the Citizens Trade Campaign coalition of forces that have challenged the Clinton Administration and now the Obama Administration in their proclivity to create trade policies that are destructive to the environment and to the well being of working people here and around the world. The way it would restrict countries from passing important environmental and health care related legislation that might interfere with corporate profits is one more reason we need the ESRA–Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment which would, among many other important measures, overturn any such international agreement that has been approved by the U.S. government or will be approved in the future–please help us get it endorsed after you read it

at ]

Rabbi Michael Lerner issued the following response to it:

*The TPP agreement violates a basic command of the Bible: that human beings must protect and act as stewards for the earth. Instead, it provides a path for corporations to overturn the most moderate environmental restraints on corporate avarice, much less the far more stringent actions that environmentalists tell us are needed to even begin to reverse climate change and preserve the earth for future generations. This is selfishness and materialism taken to a new height, and every religious communityu should stand up against it.*

–Rabbi Michael Lerner


Posted on on November 4th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (

A Slick Gambit by the Makers of the Keystone Pipeline

By Adam Chandler, The Atlantic

04 November 15

Why TransCanada, the company angling to build the controversial $8 billion oil project, asked the State Department to delay its application?

In a move that further complicates an already protracted drama, TransCanada, the company behind the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline, has formally asked the State Department to delay its review of the controversial project.

“In order to allow time for certainty regarding the Nebraska route, TransCanada requests that the State Department pause in its review of the presidential permit application for KeystoneXL,” the company’s president wrote in a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Invoking Nebraska, where landowners have long been haggling with the company over possible routes for the pipeline, is a piquant twist in the years-long political saga. As my colleague Russell Berman reported in January, after Nebraska’s Supreme Court threw out a legal challenge to the project, the pipeline’s Republican supporters urged President Obama to approve it without delay. “No more excuses for President Obama,” former House Speaker John Boehner tweeted at the time.

The more likely rationale for the request is that the State Department appears poised to finally shoot down TransCanada’s bid.

“TransCanada’s move comes as the State Department was in the final stages of review, with a decision to reject the permit expected as soon as this week, according to people familiar with the matter,” reported Amy Harder at The Wall Street Journal.

With global oil prices low and new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, seen as a less ardent supporter of the project, now in office, the surprise decision to request a delay is being viewed by some as a gambit to stall a decision until more favorable conditions return—like when President Obama is no longer in office.

The proposed 1,200-mile conduit, which would carry oil from the Canada sands to the Gulf of Mexico, has so far only carried venom between the consortium of liberal politicians and environmentalists that vigorously oppose it and the conservatives that vigorously support it. That latter camp includes all Republican presidential candidates.

Back in September, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who oversaw the early stages of the recommendation process, finally announced her opposition to the project. On Tuesday, her rival Bernie Sanders, who has opposed the project since in 2011, reiterated his disapproval.

In the meantime, TransCanada’s request doesn’t mean that the State Department is obligated to stop its review of the project. However, should the delay be granted, the company may have just assured that the issue finds its way back into the 2016 spotlight. (Update: White House officials told reporters that President Obama intends to decide on whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline before he leaves office.)

BREAKING NEWS – November 6, 2015
Secretary of State John Kerry has recommended that the United States reject the Keystone XL pipeline, senior administration officials told CNN, concluding it is not in the country’s national security interest.

Kerry’s determination spells almost certain death for the massive project, a seven-year political fight that has pitted oil companies and Republicans against environmentalists.

President Barack Obama is expected to speak from the White House at 11:45 a.m. ET. Watch him on CNN.


Posted on on October 28th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (

AG Globale Verantwortung, Dreikönigsaktion, IUFE, KOO, Paulo Freire Zentrum.

Die Transformation unserer Welt? Die Umsetzung der UN-Ziele für Nachhaltige Entwicklung in Österreich und Europa

29.10.2015, 19 Uhr, VHS Urania, Dachgeschoß, Uraniastraße 1, 1010 Wien

Anmeldung unter:



Posted on on October 27th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (

A Sensible Version of Donald Trump.

OCT. 27, 2015

by David Brooks – Op-Ed Columnist of the New York Times.

The voters, especially on the Republican side, seem to be despising experience this year and are looking for outsiders. Hence we have the rise of Donald Trump and Ben Carson. People like me keep predicting that these implausibles will collapse, but so far, as someone tweeted, they keep collapsing upward.

But imagine if we had a sensible Trump in the race. Suppose there was some former general or business leader with impeccable outsider status but also a steady temperament, deep knowledge and good sense.

What would that person sound like? Maybe something like this:

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m no politician. I’m just a boring guy who knows how to run things. But I’ve been paying close attention and it seems to me that of all the problems that face the nation, two stand out. The first is that we have a polarized, dysfunctional, semi-corrupt political culture that prevents us from getting anything done. To reverse that gridlock we’ve got to find some policy area where there’s a basis for bipartisan action.

The second big problem is that things are going badly for those in the lower half of the income distribution. People with less education are seeing their wages fall, their men drop out of the labor force, their marriage rates plummet and their social networks dissolve.

The first piece of good news is that conservative and progressive writers see this reality similarly, which is a rare thing these days. The second piece of good news is that we have new research that suggests fresh ways to address this problem, ways that may appeal to both Democrats and Republicans.

The studies I’m talking about were done at Harvard by Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren and Lawrence Katz. They looked at the results of a Clinton-era program called Moving to Opportunity, which took poor families and moved them to middle-class neighborhoods. At first the results were disappointing. The families who moved didn’t see their earnings rise. Their kids didn’t do much better in school.

But as years went by and newer data accumulated, different and more promising results came in. Children who were raised in better environments had remarkable earnings gains. The girls raised in the better neighborhoods were more likely to marry and raise their own children in two-parent homes.

The first implication of this research is that neighborhood matters a lot. When we think about ways to improve the lot of the working class, it’s insufficient to just help individuals and families. We have to improve entire neighborhoods.

Second, the research reminds us that to improve conditions for the working class it’s necessary to both create jobs and improve culture. Every time conservatives say culture plays a large role in limiting mobility, progressives accuse them of blaming the victim.

But this research shows the importance of environment. The younger the children were when they moved to these middle-class environments, the more their outcomes improved. It’s likely they benefited from being in environments with different norms, with more information about how to thrive, with few traumatic events down the block.

I know the professional politicians are going to want to continue their wars, but I see an opportunity: We launch a series of initiatives to create environments of opportunity in middle-, working- and lower-class neighborhoods.

Recent Comments
gemli 2 minutes ago

David Brooks has been writing this same column for years. It’s just an old whine in a new bottle, offering nothing new and repeating the…
Meredith 6 minutes ago

What ‘social fabric’ has produced the radical rw that David has long made excuses for? A social environment which normalized greed,…
Expat Annie 7 minutes ago

Wow, Mr. Brooks, this article is full of so many great suggestions: improve entire neighborhoods! Improve schools! Expand early childhood…

This will mean doing some things Republicans like. We’ve got to devolve a lot of power from Washington back to local communities. These neighborhoods can’t thrive if they are not responsible for themselves. Then we’ve got to expand charter schools. The best charter schools radiate diverse but strong cultures of achievement. Locally administered social entrepreneurship funds could help churches and other groups expand their influence.

This will mean doing some things Democrats like. We’ve got to reform and expand early childhood education programs, complete with wraparound programs for parents. They would turn into community hubs. Infrastructure programs could increase employment.

Basically we’ve got to get socialist. No, I don’t mean the way Bernie Sanders is a socialist. He’s a statist, not a socialist. I mean we have to put the quality of the social fabric at the center of our politics. And we’ve got to get personalist: to treat people as full human beings, not just economic units you fix by writing checks.

Then we’ve got to get integrationist, to integrate different races and classes through national service and school and relocation vouchers. And finally, we have to get a little moralistic. There are certain patterns of behavior, like marrying before you have kids and sticking around to parent the kids you conceive, that contribute to better communities.

Look, I don’t know if I’m red or blue. If you want a true outsider, don’t just pick someone outside the political system. Pick someone outside the rigid partisan mentalities that are the real problem here.


Posted on on October 26th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (

Convening from 19-23 October 2015, the Bonn Climate Change Conference was the last in a series of meetings under the UNFCCC in preparation for the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21), scheduled to take place in November-December 2015, in Paris, France.

In their scenario note  ADP.2015.7.InformalNote), ADP Co-Chairs Ahmed Djoghlaf (Algeria) and Daniel Reifsnyder (US) identified the objective of the session as intensifying the pace of text-based negotiations among Parties, with a view to preparing the draft Paris climate package for presentation at the opening of COP 21.

At the end of the week-long meeting, Parties issued two non-papers, one containing draft agreement text and draft decision text related to the agreement (workstream 1 of ADP’s mandate) and the other containing draft decision text related to pre-2020 ambition (workstream 2).

The full and best reporting of what went on in Bonn can be found at:…
Summary of the Bonn Climate Change Conference, 19-23 October 2015, Bonn, Germany.

Going over the Summary it becomes clear – if it was not before – that there will be no UN document ready for the Paris meeting and that UN bickering will continue – be assured that some Arab State will find space to bash Israel. All what the UN can do is to bring the problem to the public’s attention, and it is left to the public to push their governments to make a commitment, that is in those countries where a public opinion counts.

Paris COP 21 of the UNFCCC will not be a wash. This thanks to the fact that over 150 countries have already presented their commitments to act on Climate Change. Take for instance the US where by now commitments from companies that are joining the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, bringing the total number of US companies that have signed onto the pledge to 81. Together, these companies have operations in all 50 US states, employ over nine million people, represent more than US$3 trillion in annual revenue, and have a combined market capitalization of over US$5 trillion.

And yes, in the EU, Japan, Brazil there are similarly industry commitments – pushed by the public. In China and India as well, the public pushes for government action on pollution of any kind and this includes a better understanding of Climate Change disasters.

In a more general way see the The International Energy Agency’s evaluation of the situation:

The IEA’s “Energy and Climate Change: World Energy Outlook” tells us that full implementation of the intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by mid-October would decouple power sector emissions from electricity demand but would still lead to an average global temperature increase of around 2.7°C, which falls short of the declared “major course correction necessary” to stay below an average global temperature rise of 2°C.

The Outlook Special Briefing for COP21′ analyzes INDCs submitted by more than 150 countries, accounting for close to 90% of global energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and assesses in particular their energy sector-related impacts.

According to the briefing, given that energy production and use account for two-thirds of global GHG emissions, “actions in the energy sector can make or break efforts to achieve the world’s agreed climate goal” of staying below a 2°C temperature rise.

The briefing examines what the energy sector will look like globally in 2030 if all INDCs are fully implemented, and whether this will place the energy sector on a path consistent with the 2°C goal.

If implemented, the INDCs will lead to an improvement of global energy intensity at a rate almost three times faster than the rate since 2000. Emissions will either plateau or decline by 2030 in countries accounting for more than half of global economic activity at present. Of new electricity generation through 2030, 70% will be low-carbon.

The IEA estimates that the full implementation of the INDCs will require US$13.5 trillion in investments in energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies through 2030.

And excerpted from a bright blogger for Huffington Post (UK):

Over the past three decades annual climate talks under the United Nations banner have become part of the Zeitgeist of a large movement. They draw government officials, think tanks, civil society, journalists and the occasional hipsters into negotiations over which ride trillions of dollars and our future well-being on Earth.

Expect a lot of drama at the next instalment, taking place in Paris in late November – early December.

Heads of state will make grandiose pronouncements.

Negotiators from 190 countries will huddle, whisper, argue over words for days and bargain in stuffy rooms in a style that would make bazaar traders proud.

Civil society will push for strong outcomes, prod for more climate finance, demonstrate occasionally (a welcome activity in Paris), express anger followed by frustration before going home let down again.

The press and the public will turn an inattentive, occasional eye to the 45,000 people gathered in Paris, then turn their attention away.

The private sector, two-thirds of global GDP and employment, will be largely absent (it is not formally represented in the negotiations) and mostly ignore the whole thing.

At the end, governments will cobble together a weak agreement to set emission reduction targets. Some will declare a major win, others will accurately note that we need to do much, much more. Then everyone will go home in time for the Christmas holidays and most of COP21, as the Paris UN gathering is known, will be forgotten.

Deeply buried in this cacophony are two emerging themes with the potential to significantly impact the private sector.

National Low Carbon Business Plans

A Paris climate agreement, no matter how wobbly, will involve more than 150 countries publishing mini business plans for their economy describing what each will do to help limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius by 2030. In typical UN jargon, these low-carbon business plans are known as INDCs, short for “intended nationally determined contribution.”

The INDCs are the driving force of COP21 and will become the development pathway for all countries. Weak and general at first, they will become stronger and more detailed over time.

Two major consequences will follow.

First, multi-trillion dollar investment opportunities for the private sector will be clearly delineated, while others, far from where the country is heading, should be avoided.

For example, India’s business plan shows it wants to increase its clean energy generation capacity from 36 GW today to a whopping 320 GW by 2030. Similarly, China wants an extra 775 GW of renewables by 2030, on top of its existing 425 GW, the US wants to add an extra 179 GW and the EU another 380 GW.

Taken together, that’s double the world’s current renewable energy installed capacity (excluding hydropower) in investment potential, all of which comes with strong institutional support now that it is anchored in an INDC.

Second, the breadth of these INDCs means that within a few years, all finance will be climate finance; and all bonds will be green bonds.

We already know the commitments in Paris are nowhere near enough: The US, Europe, and China alone use up the world’s entire carbon budget by 2030. Therefore it’s reasonable to expect that they will get tougher, tighter and more precise with time because countries will be under increasing pressure to deliver, as climate change hits all of us harder and harder.

Post-2020 (the INDCs will most probably be reviewed in five year cycles), there is therefore likely to be a “wall of shame” hitting anyone who invests in non-INDC compatible, non-climate friendly technologies. In fact perhaps we will see “black bonds” emerge, highlighting investments that are increasingly unacceptable and at risk of being stranded because of their high emissions.

INDCs will make green investments even more mainstream than they are today and ensure that dirty investments are avoided on a long-term scale.

Loss and Damage

“Loss and damage,” another major theme in Paris, could have enormous financial consequences.

“Loss and damage” refers to the need to account for the impact of climate change, for example on a small island nation losing territory because of sea level rise. An element of climate negotiations for several years, its significance could be enormous for insurance companies, reinsurers, financial analysts and the markets.

Governments will continue to argue whether loss and damage is a euphemism for liability and compensation. Richer nations will end up ensuring that the answer is vague, and that therefore they can’t be held liable and won’t have to pay compensation.

However, the door is likely to be kept open for clever lawyers to use the “loss and damage” aspects of a climate change agreement to launch claims against companies: Victims of climate change will aggressively try to go after corporate polluters for compensation, particularly the likes of Exxon, Shell and BP who have known about climate change for decades but either buried the evidence or ignored it to accumulate profits at the expense of our collective health and well-being.

The results of these claims could be shocking for many. The Dutch proved earlier this year that climate liability lawsuits can stand up in courts.

The business and the financial world will be markedly absent from Paris, but should closely monitor the evolution of INDCs and of “loss and damage” in Paris. These could upend how they currently do business.

From the above, we conclude that COP 21 of the UNFCCC in Paris will have picked up from where COP 15 of Copenhagen left the Climate Change issue. Copenhagen was where the Kyoto stillborn Protocol was buried by Obama bringing for the first time the Chinese on board, now it will be the Obama-Xi alliance that will bring most true Nations on board. And let us not forget Pope Francis and the ethics of “we are the creation’s wardens.” This resonates very well with much of the public and helps the businesses that will move green.

We will not go to the opening of the Paris meeting, but will be there for the end – this so me can evaluate the outcome which promises to have practical value.


Posted on on October 26th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (

An Economist Explains How Money Has Caused the Climate Crisis

The economy is undergoing a structural crisis for two reasons: greenhouse gas emissions and the income gap.
By Liz Pleasant / YES! Magazine
October 26, 2015

In this video, Juliet Schor, professor of sociology at Boston College, explains what she sees as a “structural crisis” within the United States.

Our economy, says Schor, is failing for two reasons. First, our current economic system generates dangerous levels of greenhouse gases. Second, the income gap between the richest and poorest Americans continues to rise, forcing more and more families into poverty.

“The reason I say it’s a systemic crisis or a structural crisis is that typically, the solution to that economic problem is to expand the economy,” Schor says. “But that makes the climate problem much worse because emissions move pretty closely with economic activity.”

Her solution? Find ways to change our economic system to be more financial and environmentally sustainable.

RELATED: The Economic Cost of Climate Change Has Been Recalculated — and the New Figure Is Staggering.


Posted on on October 26th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (

We liked the following because we like Obama’s intervention on Climate Change where he decided to go to China in order to engage them in tackling the issue – something that follows Nixon & Kissinger in their opening up of China.


Los Angeles Op-Ed

Niall Ferguson: Think Kissinger was the heartless grandmaster of realpolitik? What about Obama?

October 26, 2015

PHOTO: Henry A. Kissinger–then President Nixon’s National Security Adviser–stands with Le Duc Tho, a member of Hanoi’s Politburo, outside a suburban Paris house in June, 1973.

Most Americans still think of Barack Obama as a foreign policy idealist. That is certainly how he presents himself: Just replay the tape of his recent speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

Some argue, he said, “for a return to the rules that applied for most of human history … the belief that power is a zero-sum game; that might makes right; that strong states must impose their will on weaker ones; that the rights of individuals don’t matter; and that in a time of rapid change, order must be imposed by force.”

The president said he would much rather “work with other nations under the mantle of international norms and principles and law.” He prefers “resolving disputes through international law, not the law of force.”

Yet that speech ended oddly. Having berated both Russia and Iran for their misdeeds, Obama invited them to work with him to resolve the Syrian civil war. “Realism,” he concluded, “dictates that compromise will be required to end the fighting and ultimately stamp out ISIL.”

Wait — realism? Isn’t that the hard-nosed — not to say amoral — approach to foreign policy commonly associated with Henry Kissinger?

Having spent much of the last decade writing a life of Kissinger, I no longer think of the former secretary of State as the heartless grandmaster of realpolitik. (That’s a caricature.) But after reading countless critiques of his record, not least the late Christopher Hitchens’ influential “Trial of Henry Kissinger,” I also find myself asking another question: Where are the equivalent critiques of Obama?

Hitchens’ case against Kissinger, which is as grandiloquent as it is thinly documented, can be summed up as follows: He was implicated in the killing of civilians through the bombing of Cambodia and North Vietnam. He failed to prevent massacres in Bangladesh and East Timor. He fomented a military coup in Chile. Also on Hitchens’ charge sheet: the wiretapping of colleagues.

In history, no two cases are alike. The Cold War is over. The technology of the 2010s is a lot more sophisticated than the technology of the 1970s. Still, this president’s record makes one itch to read “The Trial of Barack Obama.”

Take the administration’s enthusiastic use of drones, a key feature of Obama’s shift from counterinsurgency to counter-terrorism. According to figures from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, drone strikes authorized by the Obama administration have killed 3,570 to 5,763 people in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan, of whom 400 to 912 were civilians and at least 82 were children.

And those are just the strikes by unmanned aircraft. The Oct. 3 attack on an Afghan hospital run by Doctors Without Borders is a reminder that U.S. pilots also stand accused of killing civilians, not only in Afghanistan but also (since August 2014) in Iraq and Syria. One estimate puts the civilian victims of the U.S.-led air war against Islamic State at 450.

This is a lawyerly administration, so it insists on the legality of its actions, even when drones kill U.S. citizens. But not everyone is convinced. In the words of Amnesty International, “U.S. drone strike policy appears to allow extrajudicial executions in violation of the right to life, virtually anywhere in the world.”

Critics such as Hitchens also hold Kissinger accountable for lives lost as an indirect result of U.S. policy. So what about the number of lives lost as an indirect result of Obama’s policy in the Middle East, where he helped topple a dictator in Libya but failed to do so in Syria? Estimates vary, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights puts the death toll of the Syrian civil war at 330,000, of whom nearly 112,000 have been civilians.

And let’s not forget Egypt, where Abdel Fattah Sisi has restored a military dictatorship. In 2013, Sisi’s first year in power, Egyptian courts handed out 464 death sentences. This year former President Mohamed Morsi — democratically elected in June 2012 and overthrown 13 months later — was sentenced to hang, along with more than 90 other Muslim Brotherhood members. Yet Obama restored U.S. military aid to Egypt in March. Help me out here: In what way does Gen. Sisi differ from Gen. Pinochet?

As for wiretapping, there really is no contest. Kissinger is said to have bugged 13 government officials and four reporters. Edward Snowden’s revelations make it clear that Obama is in a different league. On his watch, the National Security Agency collected not only the metadata of phone calls by 120 million Verizon subscribers but also — thanks to the PRISM surveillance program — the content of email, voice, text and video chats of an unknown number of Americans. Between April 2011 and March 2012, according to an internal NSA audit leaked by Snowden, there were 2,776 breaches of the rules supposedly governing surveillance of citizens and foreigners in the U.S.

There is disenchantment with Obama’s foreign policy these days. In recent polls, nearly half of Americans (49.3%) disapprove of it, compared with fewer than 38% who approve. I suspect, however, that many disapprove for the wrong reasons. The president is widely seen, especially on the right, as weak. In my view, his strategy is flawed, but there is no doubting his ruthlessness when it comes to executing it.

As Hitchens surely would observe if he were still around, a great many liberals today apply a double standard when they judge the foreign policies of Nobel Peace Prize laureates Henry Kissinger and Barack Obama. If you think Kissinger didn’t deserve his Nobel, then neither did Obama.

Niall Ferguson is a professor of history at Harvard University and senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford. He is the author, most recently, of “Kissinger 1923-1968: The Idealist.”


Posted on on October 25th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (

The movie was shown this weekend twice (23rd and 25th of October) to sold out audiences at Vienna’s Film Festival – the Viennale. Another Israeli movie- maker plaid it safer – he showed killings in Indonesia. In an interview with the “Wienner Zeitung” – Gitai said that he does not want to end up the same way as Rabin.

The problem is that in the Middle East there seems to be a practical alliance between those that do not want peace. Be those extremist Palestinians or extremist Jews.

The movie includes that stairway scene where Rabin was supposed to pass to the car waiting for him after he spoke at the peace rally. The media film showed in real time the killer coming towards him and shooting.

Every action and every word uttered in the film to be released is what really happened and what was said. Gitai says he checked everything for at least two sources. The film is therefore freitening in its truth that extends to today’s situation in the Middle East.

Let me mention here that Vienna these days is also the locus where the situation in Syria is openly on the operational table and not much hope is there either. The Austrians, after years of denial to themselves – are now clearly embracing the guilt of the Holocaust and this puts them in a situation that they will not be themselves if rejecting true refugees that escape the Middle East mayhem. All this points at this movie becoming a true document
and those in Israel that hatted Rabin for his attempt to lead to peace, can be counted on hating this retelling of their deeds.


Posted on on October 22nd, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (

Demands Increase For Investigating Exxon’s Funding Of Climate Denial

October 22, 2015
by Dave Johnson of Campaign for America

Exxon and other fossil fuel companies may have committed a crime of enormous proportions, and more and more elected officials and others are demanding an investigation.

The charge is that Exxon scientists and management knew since the late 1970s that the company’s product was helping cause our planet to warm “catastrophically,” but management responded by covering this up and disseminating disinformation – joining with other companies to commit an enormous fraud on the public for profit.

For some time, environmentalists have been warning that oil and coal companies were behind a broad campaign to deceive the public and block the government from regulating or taxing carbon pollution. Sites like ExxonSecrets, the Union of Concerned Scientists, SourceWatch and their Coal Issues portal, CoalSwarm and many others have been exposing, warning, documenting and working to get the word out.

This campaign is said to have included strategic use of misinformation, propaganda disseminated through front groups disguised as ideological organizations and purchased political influence to turn a substantial portion of the public against their own government. This was so that the companies could continue to profit from selling a dangerous, destructive product.

Recent investigative reporting has been able to access internal Exxon documents and statements from company scientists that confirms what the environmentalists have been telling us.

Exxon Knew:

In September Inside Climate News (ICN) broke a story they called “Exxon: The Road Not Taken.” Using internal Exxon documents, Climate News showed how “Exxon conducted cutting-edge climate research decades ago” that its executives suppressed as it went about “manufacturing doubt about the scientific consensus that its own scientists had confirmed.” The report begins:

At a meeting in Exxon Corporation’s headquarters, a senior company scientist named James F. Black addressed an audience of powerful oilmen. Speaking without a text as he flipped through detailed slides, Black delivered a sobering message: carbon dioxide from the world’s use of fossil fuels would warm the planet and could eventually endanger humanity.

According to the reporting, beginning in the late 1970s Exxon scientists repeatedly warned management that their product was contributing to warming the planet, and that this could be “catastrophic.” A senior Exxon scientist, for example, warned in 1977 that “Present thinking holds that man has a time window of five to ten years before the need for hard decisions regarding changes in energy strategies might become critical.”

That was in 1977. Exxon scientists continued sounding the alarm and at first the company responded responsibly by launching an ambitious carbon/climate research effort.

Within months the company launched its own extraordinary research into carbon dioxide from fossil fuels and its impact on the earth. Exxon’s ambitious program included both empirical CO2 sampling and rigorous climate modeling. It assembled a brain trust that would spend more than a decade deepening the company’s understanding of an environmental problem that posed an existential threat to the oil business.

The Los Angeles Times looked at that research effort, in “What Exxon knew about the Earth’s melting Arctic,” part of a year-long project “researching the gap between Exxon Mobil’s public position and its internal planning on the issue of climate change.” The Times’ investigation was extensive, with broad access to documents and experts:

As part of that effort, reporters reviewed hundreds of documents housed in archives in Calgary’s Glenbow Museum and at the University of Texas. They also reviewed scientific journals and interviewed dozens of experts, including former Exxon Mobil employees.” The LA Times report found that Exxon scientists – and management – understood clearly that carbon was contributing to climate change and that the effects were real and severe.

From the ICN report:

Exxon’s research laid the groundwork for a 1982 corporate primer on carbon dioxide and climate change prepared by its environmental affairs office. Marked “not to be distributed externally,” it contained information that “has been given wide circulation to Exxon management.” In it, the company recognized, despite the many lingering unknowns, that heading off global warming “would require major reductions in fossil fuel combustion.”

Unless that happened, “there are some potentially catastrophic events that must be considered,” the primer said, citing independent experts. “Once the effects are measurable, they might not be reversible.”

Exxon knew. The company was part of an industry that was profiting from a product that was polluting the planet with potentially “catastrophic” consequences that “endangered humanity.”

So what did Exxon do with that knowledge?

What Exxon Did

What did Exxon do after company scientists provided indisputable evidence of the risks their product posed to the planet and humanity? The ICN report continued:

Then, toward the end of the 1980s, Exxon curtailed its carbon dioxide research. In the decades that followed, Exxon worked instead at the forefront of climate denial. It put its muscle behind efforts to manufacture doubt about the reality of global warming its own scientists had once confirmed. It lobbied to block federal and international action to control greenhouse gas emissions. It helped to erect a vast edifice of misinformation that stands to this day.

Exxon hid its corporate lobbying effort using a network of front groups disguised as ideological organizations and “think tanks” to disseminate disinformation and anti-government propaganda. They worked to sow doubt about the science – including smearing scientists and environmental activists – and to delegitimize potential efforts by governments to regulate its product. They also funded politicians who would help block efforts to regulate them. The ICN report explains:

Exxon helped to found and lead the Global Climate Coalition, an alliance of some of the world’s largest companies seeking to halt government efforts to curb fossil fuel emissions. Exxon used the American Petroleum Institute, right-wing think tanks, campaign contributions and its own lobbying to push a narrative that climate science was too uncertain to necessitate cuts in fossil fuel emissions.

Exxon and other companies utilized a network of front groups to push what has come to be called “climate denial.” The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) looked at what they call Global Warming Skeptic Organizations and warned,

These organizations play a key role in the fossil fuel industry’s “disinformation playbook,” a strategy designed to confuse the public about global warming and delay action on climate change. Why? Because the fossil fuel industry wants to sell more coal, oil, and gas — even though the science clearly shows that the resulting carbon emissions threaten our planet.

The Union of Concerned Scientists’ “Climate Deception Dossiers” examine a “coordinated campaign of deception” that is “underwritten by ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, Shell, Peabody Energy, and other members of the fossil fuel industry.” ExxonSecrets has mapped the networking of many of these organizations. And from 2007, New report from Union of Concerned Scientists documents ExxonMobil’s disinformation campaign:

Smoke, Mirrors & Hot Air: How ExxonMobil Uses Big Tobacco’s Tactics to “Manufacture Uncertainty” on Climate Change, a report released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists, details how ExxonMobil has adopted the tobacco industry’s disinformation tactics, as well as some of the same organizations and personnel, to cloud the scientific understanding of climate change and delay action on the issue. The section of the report on “Buying Government Access” includes discussion of documentation we made available in 2005 and issues we have raised since then.

The Tobacco Model:

The Exxon/industry campaign strategies and tactics did not come out of nowhere. Tobacco companies had paved, refined and perfected the way.

After scientists and doctors began to warn that tobacco was causing cancer in people, tobacco companies came up with a plan to block the government from regulating their product. They created a campaign to convince the public that the science was not certain. They pioneered the use of organizations disguised as political and ideological organizations to disseminate anti-government propaganda aimed at preventing regulation of their product.

More than 480,000 Americans still die every year because of what the tobacco industry did. But their campaign to keep the profits rolling in didn’t just kill people; it turned a substantial portion of the American public against their own government. They disguised their propaganda as “limited government” ideology, but it was really just a plan to limit the government from regulating them.

The tobacco campaign worked for decades – bringing billions more in profits after the dangers of the product were known. Now that strategy serves as a model for other corporations that push products that injure, kill, scam, cheat or otherwise hurt people and worry that the government might try to do something about them.

In 2008 Chris Mooney wrote at The American Prospect about companies using the tobacco industry’s model in, “The Manufacture of Uncertainty,” reviewing the book “Doubt is Their Product: How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health” by David Michaels. Mooney wrote:

The sabotage of science is now a routine part of American politics. The same corporate strategy of bombarding the courts and regulatory agencies with a barrage of dubious scientific information has been tried on innumerable occasions – and it has nearly always worked, at least for a time. Tobacco. Asbestos. Lead. Vinyl chloride. Chromium. Formaldehyde. Arsenic. Atrazine. Benzene. Beryllium. Mercury. Vioxx. And on and on. In battles over regulating these and many other dangerous substances, money has bought science, and then science – or, more precisely, artificially exaggerated uncertainty about scientific findings – has greatly delayed action to protect public and worker safety. And in many cases, people have died.

Tobacco companies perfected the ruse, which was later copycatted by other polluting or health-endangering industries. One tobacco executive was even dumb enough to write it down in 1969. “Doubt is our product,” reads the infamous memo, “since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.”

A Wider Conspiracy?

This may be a wider corporate conspiracy that involves more than just one company. The massive campaign to block carbon regulation by turning Americans against their own government was not just an effort by Exxon. Meteor Blades explains at DailyKos, in “Former DOJ attorney beat Big Tobacco, wants probe of Exxon and others who buried climate change info“:

One of Exxon and other fossil fuel companies’ efforts included helping to establish the Global Climate Coalition in 1989 shortly after the first meeting of the U.N.-created Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Among GCC’s efforts was a tendentious video it provided to journalists at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in which it claimed, among other things, that more CO2 in the atmosphere would boost crop yields. So, something to cheer rather than worry about.

Until 1997, according to SourceWatch, GCC operated out of the offices of the National Association of Manufacturers. Among its members besides Exxon: the American Forest & Paper Association, American Petroleum Institute, Chevron, Ford, General Motors, Shell Oil, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The organization was disbanded in 2002, although neither Exxon nor other former members gave up their propaganda war against climate science.

That organization was disbanded, but the funding of these anti-government, science-denial front groups continues.

Demands Grow For An Investigation:

Last week, representatives Ted Lieu and Mark DeSaulnier, who serve on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, requested a Department of Justice investigation into Exxon.

“In this case, Exxon scientists knew about fossil fuels causing global warming and Exxon took internal actions based on its knowledge of climate change,” Lieu and DeSaulnier wrote. “Yet Exxon funded and publicly engaged in a campaign to deceive the American people about the known risks of fossil fuels in causing climate change.”

“If these allegations against Exxon are true then Exxon’s actions were immoral,” they added. “We request the DOJ to investigate whether ExxonMobil’s actions were also illegal.”

On Friday presidential candidate Martin O’Malley joined in, tweeting “We held tobacco companies responsible for lying about cancer. Let’s do the same for oil companies & climate change.” The tweet linked to a New Republic report on the Lieu/DeSaulnier letter.

Climate Progress wrote Tuesday that Sharon Eubanks, a “former U.S. Department of Justice attorney who prosecuted and won the massive racketeering case against Big Tobacco thinks the agency should consider investigating Big Oil for similar claims: engaging in a cover-up to mislead the public about the risks of its product.”

Sharon Eubanks, who now works for the firm Bordas & Bordas, told ThinkProgress that ExxonMobil and other members of the fossil fuel industry could be held liable for violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) if it’s discovered that the companies worked together to suppress knowledge about the reality of human-caused climate change. She said that, considering recent revelations regarding ExxonMobil, the DOJ should consider launching an investigation into big fossil fuel companies.

“I think a RICO action is plausible and should be considered,” she said.

Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders brought more attention to the charges this week, sending a letter to the Justice Department asking for a probe of Exxon, bringing attention to an issue that has been bubbling up for some time. Sanders’ press release explains the reason a probe is in order:

“Exxon Mobil knew the truth about fossil fuels and climate change and lied to protect their business model at the expense of the planet,” Sanders said. He likened Exxon Mobil’s conduct to claims by the tobacco industry about the health risks associated with smoking.

From Sanders’ letter:

“These reports, if true, raise serious allegations of a misinformation campaign that may have caused public harm similar to the tobacco industry’s actions — conduct that led to federal racketeering convictions.”

Polluting Democracy, Too:

This propaganda and the money that propelled it has polluted our entire political system. Look into almost any organization (or political party) promoting “limited government” and complaining about “burdensome government regulation” and you will find oil money. This is not ideology; this is corruption. This is giant corporations trying to keep the government from doing something about their dangerous, destructive products.

This is a crime against our country and the world. It is a crime against our democratic system. The companies behind this enormous fraud on the public must be investigated for possible criminal activity. The front groups that disseminate anti-government, anti-regulation propaganda at their behest should be exposed as frauds and brought under control.

Now we have to move forward as quickly as possible to limit the burning of fossil fuels. Because of these companies and their fraud and disinformation, it is too late to stop the climate from changing – but it might not be too late to ward off the worst effects.


Posted on on October 19th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (

We post the following without reacting to it

BBC – Business, Science & Environment
Paris climate summit: Major oil producers back ‘effective’ deal

By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent, BBC News

16 October 2015

From the BBC section Science & Environment

Topped by Getty Image caption Shell, one of the signatories of the declaration, met protests as it attempted to drill in the Arctic

The leaders of 10 of the world’s biggest oil companies have offered their qualified support for a new global treaty on climate change.

The producers of 20% of the world’s oil and gas say they share the ambition to limit warming to 2C.

They promise to work to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of the global energy mix.

But green groups were dismissive, saying that “arsonists don’t make good firefighters”.

The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative represents major producers including BP, Shell, Saudi Aramco and Total among others.

Sometimes in all these discussions you have the impression that all fossil fuels are the bad guys. But the bad guys are part of the solution
Patrick Pouyanne, CEO, Total

In their declaration they call for an “effective climate change agreement” at Cop21 – the 21st UN conference on climate change, which takes place in Paris at the end of November, when 196 countries will attempt to reach a new deal.

“Our shared ambition is for a 2C future,” the 10 chief executive officers said in a statement which acknowledges that the existing trend of the world’s net greenhouse gas emissions is not consistent with this aim.

“It is a challenge for the whole of society. We are committed to playing our part. Over the coming years we will collectively strengthen our actions and investments to contribute to reducing the greenhouse gas intensity of the global energy mix.”
Image copyright Bruno Cohen
Image caption The oil and gas industry leaders agreed to support an “effective” climate agreement

The companies say they will attempt to make their own production operations more efficient and say that over the past 10 years they have already reduced their emissions by 20%.

They promise to promote natural gas as a better option than coal and invest in carbon capture and storage as well as renewable energy.

“Sometimes in all these discussions you have the impression that all fossil fuels are the bad guys. But the bad guys are part of the solution,” Total’s CEO Patrick Pouyanne told a gas and electricity summit in Paris earlier this week.

“Whatever people think, we still need fossil fuels. We need to make advocacy for gas. We need to explain to our policy makers that gas has to be encouraged,” he told news agencies.

However the group of 10 does not include major US oil companies such as Exxon and Chevron.

Environmental campaigners were quick to pour scorn on the oil and gas producers’ initiative, saying it would do little to aid the decarbonisation of the global economy.

“The oil companies behind this announcement have spent years lobbying to undermine effective climate action, each and every one of them has a business plan that would lead to dangerous global temperature rises, yet suddenly they expect us all to see them as the solution, not the problem,” said Charlie Kronick from Greenpeace.

“The world should thank them for their offer of advice but politely turn it down. Arsonists don’t make good firefighters.”

Climate negotiators reassemble in Bonn next week in an effort to advance a new global deal. They will have their first opportunity to respond to a slimmed down draft that is expected to be the basis of the Paris agreement.


Posted on on October 17th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (

Today at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik we had a session on International Shipping – a Global Challenge and a Challenge to the Arctic. The session was then followed by a break-out session – “Perspectives For Reducing Harmful Emissions From International Shipping in the Arctic and Beyond.”

The sessions were organized by Ing. Christoph Wolff of the European Climate Foundation of the Hague. and The Breakout panel included among others Laura Strickler who advocates the ban on heavy fuel oil in shipping and Bernice Notenboom – a Dutch Canadian that is a Climate Journalist and documentary maker that is now investigating the impact of the shipping industry.

The problem is that the fuel used for shipping is the resid at the refinery -it is the heavy and dirtiest cut in petroleum refining. It has all the metal compounds and when it burns it CREATES ALSO VERY MUCH BLACK CARBON THAT COVERS WITH BLACK THE ARCTIC FORMERLY WHITE ICE. THIS THEN ABSORBS MORE THE SUN AND INCREASES THE RATE OF THE MELTING OF THE ICE.

The International Maritime Organization has managed to turn this subject into a taboo – just don’t talk about it.
These cheap refinery resids obviously are a boon to the shippers and a curse to us all – but are not part of the negotiations on climate change.

Acid rain did focus our attention on the Sulfur content of fuels and scrubbers had to be promised by 2020 – but that is all.
Ports like Rotterdam are starting to legislate on pollution from ships – but the subject is still in its infancy – but did not even reach the UN. The obvious problems being the the particulates or carbon black, the sulfur compounds, the nitrogen oxides
and the obvious CO2.

We learned that the 17 largest ships cause more carbon black cover of the Arctic ice then all the world’s cars. How come that for years we are focused on the automotive industry but never looked into the deeds of the shipping industry? How come?

Further on, from these presentations and from the presentations of Russia relating to the Northern Sea Route, we also learned that the largest numbers of ships are registered under flags of convenience that happen to be members of the SIDS and AOSIS – or those small Island States that stand to lose most from global warming/climate change. Now that is something one must also look into. How come?


Posted on on October 17th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (

The movie starts in 1956 – in those past World War II days – in the 1950s and 1960s when technology advances that occurred during the war years were turned to other uses and peace was predicted as coming with a United Nations Organization.

The hero of the movie turned to exploration of the Antarctica. The poles were rather unknown areas and maping out the Antarctic continent was a clear target – so was starting scientific work at the poles using vehicles and ships derived from the war effort and a newly freed sense of adventurism. The movie does not try to depict history – it rather goes the route of explaining the drive to understand our planet by going to areas unknown.

At the Arctic Circle Assembly we keep being told that what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic – thus by understanding processes of the Arctic and of the Antarctica, does help us understand what happens in our own parts of the world and this year it is President Hollande who undertook to help us manage our own world by hosting the PARIS2015 Conference whose symbol is in the shape of a falling drop of water of green and yellow sun color with the ubiquitous Eiffel tower in the center.

Luc Jacquet the originator of the movie, at hand for the showing, as part of the French delegation to the Arctic Circle Assembly, did stress that it is only 60 years since we turned from exploration to the clear need of management of the poles.

President Hollande said that thinking that the disappearance of Arctic ice makes it easier to reach out for the minerals, oil and gas, that are now under the ice cover, is a benefit to us is something positive is untrue – this because economics cannot be based on environmental disasters.

THe run-up to the Paris2015 meeting has already produced over 150 single country commitments for action – this is 150 out of the 193 member states of the UN, but as we know this covers already 85% of the fossil carbon emissions. Hollande did not call for a 100% coverage but seems to be content to go ahead and work with the committed and get them to improve their commitments so we can reach the goal of a global warming that is not higher then 2 degrees Celsius – a goal we are still from ith the present commitments. Ms. Christiana Figueres t, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) hat was supposed to be in Reykjavik as well, did not come. We would have liked to hear from her further details about the 150 plus that did make those commitments so far – and what is even more interesting – who are those 40 members of the UN that made no commitments yet. Are they indeed part of our planet?


Posted on on October 16th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (

Iceland has achieved the use of renewable energy for 100% in its electricity generation – this from geothermal and hydropower. Its needs for heating energy are answered from geothermal sources. So, it needs older fashion energy – diesel and gasoline mainly for transport and emergency generators.

Its main use of electricity is in the Reykjavik urban area in the south-east area and in the west – at the ALCOA aluminum smelters.

We heard clearly that energy should not be viewed as a goal for itself but only in context of energy use because we are indeed interested in the services made possible with energy. But then there is no way not to think of the Arctic as potential new supplier of oil and gas to the world and that was the gist of this pre-Arctic Circle Assembly meeting at the Reykjavik University.

The excellent range of speakers included Charlie Ebinger of Brookings on technology and geopolitics evaluation, William Moomaw of Tufts on the reality of Environment costs, and Christine Russell from Harvard on the impact media has on what these other speakers dealt with. This besides the Icelanders own contributions on the topic of electricity.

It was indeed all fine except that I missed the basic introduction that ought to have been that the main security comes from what I like to state – the NEGA-WATT or the energy that was saved – the energy efficiency that should be the first letter in energy studies rather then starting with the cost of energy and the impact of this cost on energy use. If you start with efficiency and try then to fill the remaining needs from renewable sources – then we have the chance to get energy security.
In our opinion it is this that can distance us from the perceived need to take actions driven by issues we call energy security.
In this respect it was enlightening how Ms. Russell said PERCEPTION IS REALITY and she remarked as well that we do not talk of energy security but stress in reality ENERGY INSECURITY… The way the media presents these topics leads then to very slanted actions and that is our real difficulty with the energy base that may lead to environmental disasters like the wastelands left behind in what used to be the Canadian tar sands industry.

Let us see how the subject of Energy Security will fare out in the main Arctic Circle Assembly meetings this week.
This in particular that pleas will be heard from he organizers of Paris2015 – Ms. Figueres and President Hollande.


Posted on on October 15th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (

IThe twenty-fourth session of the UNECE Committee on Sustainable Energy, 18-20 November, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland

from: Yana Daneva  Yana.Daneva at

This year’s theme is Pathways to Sustainable Energy. The meeting offers the possibility to member States to review progress of the implementation of the programme of work 2014-2015 before discussing and endorsing the future programme of work 2016-2017 and the strategic framework of the UNECE subprogramme on sustainable energy 2018-2019.

An international high-level panel on 19 November 2015 will provide an occasion to explore what sustainable energy means for the UNECE region, both from the perspective of reducing the environmental footprint of energy and from the perspective of assuring needed energy for sustainable development.

Also – the third edition of Geneva Energy Conversations, preceding the event on 17 November 2015 on the Role of Fossil Fuels in Sustainable Energy Systems will be held in the neighboring Geneva Graduate Institute.

An overview of the week and the draft agenda are attached. Additional information and the link for registration can be found on the website at:….

For questions please contact Ms. Stefanie Held, secretary of the Committee on Sustainable Energy, (+41 22 917 24 62, e-mail:  stefanie.held at or Ms. Laurence Rotta (tel: +41 22 917 59 76; e-mail:  laurence.rotta at

writes Lisa Tinschert
Sustainable Energy Division
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Palais des Nations – Office S-382
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
CH – 1211 Geneva 10

T: +41 (0) 22 917 24 63
F: +41 (0) 22 917 00 38
E:  lisa.tinschert at


Posted on on October 15th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (

There are two ways of thinking about the effects of human behavior on the environment – one that looks at the end results and points at the need to decrease these effects – this way of thinking leads to us dealing with the symptoms of the desease we created. If we can afford the time we ought to take instead a deeper look at the problem and enter a new path for the economy – one that allows for change – a new true Culture Change – that avoids the polluting industry – the air-polluting self imposed dependence on fossil fuels. We can then build a new economy based on using the free energy supplied to us amply by the sun – this after we did our best first – to decrease the use of energy in all our activities.

The first line of reacting to the problem is represented by those trying to benefit from the commerce in carbon credits. The second line of thinking has brought about Jonathan Rosenthal’s New Economy Coalition that brings together all those that can show that by creating higher energy use efficiency and then supplying the remaining needs from renewable energy sources, the whole economy at large, and their own companies in particular, are clear winners.

From a think tank point of view, two particular geographical areas and the particular groups of Nations in those areas, present special possibilities for study.

One such area are the countries of the Arctic Circle Assembly that meet this week in Reykjavik, Iceland d. The second group of nations are the Small Island entities. what these two groups have in common are new reserves of oil that one ought to work hard to keep from developing them. The difference between the two groups of Nations is in the difference in size and their economies.

Global warming has brought about the melting of ice at the two poles and this “uncovering” of the mineral resources at the Arctic region makes it easier to get to these resources – the question opens thus – would these countries be better off leaving these resources untouched as a reserve for future generations?

SIDS nations are small in land but large in sea territory where reserves of oil and gas have been found. These nations live mainly from tourism and the slightest oil spill presents a non-reversible harm to their white sand beaches. The dilemma they have is in a nut-shell the question about the potential temporary help to their development in the immediate term versus their potential loss of a future. How can one figure policies that help the SIDS decide to leave most of these oil reserves underground?

Tomorrow,Thursday October 15, 2015, in Reykjavik, there will be a chance to hear what the organizers of the Paris2015 Global Conference have in mind. Under the guidance of Iceland’s President H.E. Olafur Ragnar Grimsson and with H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco at his side, he will have the convener of COP21 of UNFCCC and the Paris2015 event – Ms. Christiana Figueres, and the host of Paris 2015 – H.E. Francois Hollande, President of France, tell the Arctic Circle Assembly audience, and the whole world, the seriousness of the situation that they are tasked to find a solution for. Later in the program the SIDS will have their chance as well. By going to these two special groupings of Nations, the organizers of Paris 2015 have thus a chance to get a hearing at fora that take the subject out of the mostly unreceptive environment of the UN.


Posted on on October 13th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (

12 October 2015
Kuwait calls for coordinated climate action from Arab states


Kuwait called on Sunday for a coordinated effort among Arab states to support a strong global climate change agreement in Paris in December.

The Gulf nations’ Assistant Foreign Minister for Legal Affairs Ghanim Al-Ghanim stressed the importance of transitioning to a green economy.

Ambassador Al-Ghanim was speaking to the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) at a meeting of Arab negotiation group for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which began on Sunday in Cairo, Egypt.

The two-day meetings are part of preparations for the UN Climate Change Conference taking place in the French capital from 30 November to 11 December and Al-Ghanim heads the Kuwaiti delegation.

The Kuwaiti delegation at the meetings included representatives for the oil ministry and the Environment Public Authority.




Posted on on October 10th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (

Bonn Climate Change Conference – October 19-23, 2015 2015 – last mandated meeting before the Paris2015 Conference.

The eleventh part of the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP2-11) will take place in Bonn, at the UNFCCC Headquarters from the 19th till 23rd October 2015. This is the last official meeting before Paris2015.

NEW! Co-Chairs’ non-paper containing the basis for negotiation of the draft Paris climate package - ADP.2015.8.InformalNote is the base for these Negotiations in Bonn and, will be followed by a new paper that will then be submitted to the Paris meeting – November 30 – December 11, 2015.

MS Word version of ADP.2015.8.InformalNote

NEW! Draft decision on workstream 2 of the ADP

NEW! Scenario note by the Co-Chairs on the eleventh part of the second session of the ADP…


Further – at the UN Headquarters in New York City, Room S-237:

Janos Pasztor, UN Assistant Secretary-General on Climate Change

Tuesday, 13 October 2015, 11:15 a.m. (that is before the daily noon-press-briefing by the Spokesman for the UNSG).

UN Assistant Secretary-General Janos Pasztor will brief on the efforts of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to engage leaders in the process for reaching a meaningful and universal climate agreement in Paris this December. Specificaly he will discuss the Annual Meetings of the World Bank/IMF and the upcoming round of negotiations in Bonn, Germany.

For information, on the UN Headquarters event please contact Dan Shepard, Climate Communications, UN Secretary-General’s Climate Change Support Team; Department of Public Information, 1-212-963-9495;  shepard at


We do not expect for Paris a universal climate agreement. We nevertheless expect an outcome that will be like a codex of commitments a large percentage of UN Member States and other entities that are not Members of the UN, that they will undertake out of their free will, and start reducing their carbon footprints.

Mr. Janos Pastor of the UNSG office made it clear that so far 147 country governments, representing 85% of man caused carbon emissions, and including 52 Small Island and Least Developed countries – the most serious victims of Climate Change have made these pledges.

These pledges ought to be seen as floor – and not high ceiling of this effort. The Paris 2015 must thus be seen not as an end in itself, but rather as a beginning of process to help humanity step back from the climate change brink.


Posted on on September 24th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (….

25 June 2015

UN Secretary-General Appoints Lise Kingo of Denmark United Nations Global Compact Executive Director.

Biographical Note

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of Lise Kingo as Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact. She will succeed Georg Kell, who retires later this year after over 25 years of service to the United Nations.

The Secretary-General expresses his gratitude for the outgoing Executive Director’s services to the Organization and his commitment in fostering cooperation between the private sector and the United Nations. He is particularly appreciative of Mr. Kell’s exemplary leadership in the creation and management of the United Nations Global Compact since its launch in 2000.

Ms. Kingo, who assumes the role on 1 September, will bring a wealth of experience and passion to the Global Compact, coupled with extensive knowledge and understanding of strategic leadership and implementation of corporate sustainability through building partnerships with key stakeholders. She was most recently the Chief of Staff, Executive Vice-President and member of the Executive Management at Novo Nordisk A/S from 2002 to 2014. She also served as Senior Vice-President of Stakeholder Relations from 1999 to 2002 and as Director of Environmental Affairs from 1988 to 1999. She currently serves as the Deputy Chair of the Danish Nature Foundation, member of the boards of Grieg Star Group A/S and C3 Collaborating for Health, and chairperson of the Danish Council for Corporate Social Responsibility.

Ms. Kingo holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religions and Ancient Greek Culture from the University of Aarhus, Denmark; a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing Economics from the Copenhagen Business School; and a Master of Science degree in Responsibility and Business Practice from the University of Bath, United Kingdom.

Launched in July 2000, the United Nations Global Compact is a leadership platform for the development, implementation and disclosure of responsible and sustainable corporate policies and practices. Endorsed by chief executives, it seeks to align business operations and strategies everywhere with 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. With over 8,000 corporate participants in over 150 countries, the United Nations Global Compact is the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative.


Posted on on September 23rd, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (

From: Wolfgang Obenland  wolfgangobenland at

Is the UN fit for the ambitious new Sustainable Development Agenda?

The e-mail is as follows but we have further misgivings. We think the question is not just financial – it should be approached also from an angle that asks if the UN in its present form is capable to lead to the accomplishment of what it suggested to do following the Paris 2015 meetings. Can the UN be expected to lead to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and to lead the actions required by the need to change the path of global warming?

Will the UN follow willingly the leadership of Pope Francis and that of a joint Obama-Xi pact?

Dear Colleagues,

As you know, over one hundred Heads of State and Government will gather this week to adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This agenda is intended to make the United Nations (UN) ‘fit for purpose’, but it is important to ask, ‘whose purpose will it be fit for’?

We would like to share the latest Global Policy Forum report which warns that the changing funding patterns of the UN and its development system reveal alarming trends. These trends include a growing gap between the scale of global problems and the (financial) capacity of the UN to solve them; a growing share of non-core and earmarked contributions in UN finance; and the outsourcing of funding and decision-making to exclusive global partnerships.

Funding of all UN system-wide activities is around US$40 billion per year. While this may seem to be a substantial sum, it is smaller than the budget of New York City, less than a quarter of the European Union budget, and only 2.3 per cent of the world’s military expenditures. Many Member States, particularly the large donors, pursue a dual approach of calling for greater coherence in UN development activities while at the same time increasing their use of earmarked funding. This pick- and- choose dynamic has opened the space for corporate sector engagement. Increasingly the UN is promoting market-based approaches and multi-stakeholder partnerships as the business model for solving global problems. Driven by a belief that engaging the more economically powerful is essential to maintaining the relevance of the UN, this practice has harmful consequences for democratic governance and general public support, as it aligns more with power centers and away from the less powerful.

Fit for Whose Purpose? Private Funding and Corporate Influence in the United Nations, released today, gives a comprehensive overview of current UN funding trends and ends with a summary of findings and policy recommendations to counter the new ‘business model’ of global governance and to make the United Nations really ‘fit for purpose’, fit for the purpose of a democratic and inclusive global governance. Detailed and specific, the demands range from adopting measures to limit earmarked funding as a percentage of total funding, to strengthening the rules and tools governing engagement with the business sector, and to establishing an intergovernmental framework for partnership accountability.

You can Download full report here (PDF, 2,5 MB):…