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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 18th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Launch of the ‘Open Geospatial Data for Energy Access’ Survey

from: Yann Loic Tanvez  ytanvez at worldbank.org

OPEN GEOSPATIAL DATA FOR ENERGY ACCESS

Phase 1 / Survey: Understanding the Practitioners’ Needs

Access the survey by clicking on the following link: goo.gl/forms/OY1bE5vFE6

Access to quality information and data is crucial for the need assessment, planning and monitoring of basic services delivery in developing countries. In the energy sector, and specifically in the context of providing energy access to currently un- or under-served populations, the use of ground level geospatial data for strategic planning at both national and project levels remains in an early stage. Yet, interest and uses have increased in recent years as public and private sector stakeholders intend to prioritize, rationalize and accelerate centralized and decentralized energy infrastructure-related investments.

The World Bank Group and the European Space Agency are joining forces in a pilot initiative capitalizing on existing ground level geospatial data and collecting missing information via satellite Earth Observation. Starting from the requirements of energy access practitioners, this collaboration seeks to identify relevant datasets, demonstrate their potential and formulate best practices for their use in energy access related projects.

The first phase of this pilot initiative is the following survey that aims to identify the various geospatial datasets required by the different stakeholders across the energy access value chain. The findings of this survey will be made available to the wider community through a short publication. Phase 2 will provide identified datasets on a demonstration basis in two selected countries, to assess their utility and test the project rationale in real-world investment scenarios.

We are grateful for your time in completing this survey. The information you provide below will inform the broader energy access agenda, as well as the World Bank Group team leading this initiative by ensuring it effectively responds to the data needs of the various energy access practitioners.

For any further information, or for discussing a deeper engagement with this initiative, please do not hesitate to contact M. Yann Tanvez at  ytanvez at worldbank.org.

This activity is part of the WBG initiative “Incubating Innovation for Rural Electrification”. Further information, knowledge resources, as well as recordings and materials from previous events are available on the initiative’s online collaborative platform. The platform is accessible at collaboration.worldbank.org/grou….

If you would like to join the energy-l at IISD Mailing Lists

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 18th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

At Snails’ Pace on the Road to Paris
Wuppertal Assessment of the Lima Climate Summit

This year’s annual United Nations Climate Change Conference took place from 1 to 12 December in Lima/Peru. While in the run-up to the conference, China and the US in a surprise bilateral move had announced plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions that exceeded expectations, the conference was characterised once again by a deep division between key players from the former so-called “developed” and “developing” world. The negotiations thus took 32 hours longer than planned and ended on Sunday morning at 1.22 am.

More importantly, the conference failed almost completely to resolve the tasks it was supposed to do in order to prepare the last round of negotiations before next year’s conference in Paris 2015, which is supposed to deliver a comprehensive future climate agreement.

A team of researchers from the Wuppertal Institute attended the conference and has compiled their first assessment of the results, which you can download here:
 wupperinst.org/uploads/tx_wupperi…

Best regards
Lukas Hermwille

……………………………….
Lukas Hermwille
Research Fellow

Wuppertal Institut fuer Klima, Umwelt, Energie
Forschungsgruppe 2: Energie, Verkehrs und Klimapolitik
Doeppersberg 19
42103 Wuppertal
Tel.: +49 202 2492-284
Fax.: +49 202 2492-250
 lukas.hermwille at wupperinst.org
 wupperinst.org

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 18th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Support – Truthout and BuzzFlash at Truthout – with a tax-deductible donation

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Offering stories that point to solutions helps Truthout’s readers engage in creating a better world. You can play a vital role in this mission by supporting our work. If you make a tax-deductible donation tonight, your contribution will count double thanks to a generous matching grant offer!

Can you help Truthout and BuzzFlash meet this challenge so we can continue our vital mission? We’ll only be eligible for this matching grant if we can raise $10,000 by the end of tomorrow. Pitch in now!

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(Please include your email address on your check.)

Sincerely,
Mark Karlin, Managing Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 17th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The Sustainable Development 2015 programme has updated its interactive timeline of the key milestones of the three primary Post-2015 and Post-Rio+20 processes: The Expert Committee on a Sustainable Development Financing Strategy; the High Level Political Forum; and the Sustainable Development Goals. It outlines the key meetings and outputs from the previous and forthcoming activities which will define the UN’s universal development framework.

Click  www.sustainabledevelopment2015.or… to view the timeline

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 17th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Breaking News from CNN December 17, 2014:

President Barack Obama announced plans to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba and ease economic restrictions, a shift he called the end of an “outdated approach” that “for decades has failed to advance our interests.”

Speaking from his own country, Cuban President Raul Castro lauded the move: “This expression by President Barack Obama deserves the respect and recognition by all the people, and I want to thank and recognize support from the Vatican.”

and then: President Barack Obama announced plans to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba and ease economic restrictions, a shift he called the end of an “outdated approach” that “for decades has failed to advance our interests.”

Speaking from his own country, Cuban President Raul Castro lauded the move: “This expression by President Barack Obama deserves the respect and recognition by all the people, and I want to thank and recognize support from the Vatican.”

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida was harshly critical of the move: “By conceding to the oppressors, this President and this administration have let the people of Cuba down.”

KUDOS FROM ALL OVER LATIN AMERICA THAT LONG AGO HAS ESTABLISHED RELATIONS WITH CUBA.
FROM OUR ANGLE – BACK TO THE 1970s WE ARGUED THE US CAN LEARN FROM CUBA ABOUT HOW TO DECREASE DEPENDENCE ON OIL IMPORTS.
THIS AFTER LEARNING IN !978 ABOUT THEIR USE OF BIOMASS AT A UNIDO MEETING IN VIENNA, AND THEN OUR ATTEMPT TO INVITE THEM TO MAKE A PRESENTATION AT The first InterAmerican Conference on Renewable Sources of Energy, New Orleans, Louisiana, November 25-29, 1979 that I had the honor to organize for the Cordell Hull Foundation for International Education BUT WAS TURNED DOWN BY THE US DEPARTMENT OF STATE THAT WAS NOT READY TO ALLOW VISAS FOR THE CUBAN SCIENTISTS. I made sure nevertheless that the conference knows that when you have no trees to cut down you can make paper from sugarcane bagasse.

Louisiana, Cordell Hull Foundation for International Education
The Conference, 1980 – Science – 302 pages

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 16th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

With the World attention on the self-appointed Islamic cleric of Sydney, Australia, we thought to bring to our readers’ attention
a blog that keeps sending us news about the advance of Jihadism within Western Societies - www.islamist-watch.org
 www.islamist-watch.org/blog/2014/…

“Islamist Campaign Donors Overwhelmingly Back Democrats.” PJ Media October 31, 2014

“Ben Affleck: Portrait of Islam’s Clueless Apologetics.” PJ Media October 6, 2014

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 15th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

For the link to the BBC reporting from Lima – including all the added material – please see – “Deal reached at UN climate talks.” www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-enviro…

Peru’s environment minister, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, who chaired the summit, told reporters: “As a text it’s not perfect, but it includes the positions of the parties.”

Miguel Arias Canete, EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, said the EU had wanted a more ambitious outcome but he still believed that “we are on track to agree a global deal” at a summit in Paris, France, next year.

“We’ve got what we wanted,” Indian environment minister Prakash Javedekar told reporters, saying the document preserved the notion that richer nations had to lead the way in making cuts in emissions.

It also restored a promise to poorer countries that a “loss and damage” scheme would be established to help them cope with the financial implications of rising temperatures.

However, it weakened language on national pledges, saying countries “may” instead of “shall” include quantifiable information showing how they intend to meet their emissions targets.

The agreed document calls for:

– An “ambitious agreement” in 2015 that reflects “differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” of each nation

– Developed countries to provide financial support to “vulnerable” developing nations

– National pledges to be submitted by the first quarter of 2015 by those states “ready to do so”

– Countries to set targets that go beyond their “current undertaking”

– The UN climate change body to report back on the national pledges in November 2015

None of the 194 countries attending the talks walked away with everything they wanted, but everybody got something.

As well as pledges and finance, the agreement points towards a new classification of nations. Rather than just being divided into rich and poor, the text attempts to reflects the more complex world of today, where the bulk of emissions originate in developing countries.

While progress in Lima was limited, and many decisions were simply postponed, the fact that 194 nations assented to this document means there is still momentum for a deal in Paris.

And yes – we at SustainabiliTank add – not being an agreed treaty it does not require ratification – and so it is not exposed to a recalcitrant US Senate that would have blocked anything that comes its way. That was the Obama genius and Al Gore failure.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 15th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From the U.S. Section of The New York Times:

Even Before Long Winter Begins, Energy Bills Send Shivers in New England – we add to this – just think of their opposition to ocean-located wind-power. Oh well – it is easy to blame others!

By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE – Weekend December 13, 2014

Starts with Photo of Patricia Richardson, 78, a retiree in Salem, N.H., who has taken energy-saving measures and said she could not understand why her bills had still increased. Credit Charlie Mahoney for The New York Times.

Then reporting from SALEM, N.H. — John York, who owns a small printing business here, nearly fell out of his chair the other day when he opened his electric bill.

For October, he had paid $376. For November, with virtually no change in his volume of work and without having turned up the thermostat in his two-room shop, his bill came to $788, a staggering increase of 110 percent. “This is insane,” he said, shaking his head. “We can’t go on like this.”

For months, utility companies across New England have been warning customers to expect sharp price increases, for which the companies blame the continuing shortage of pipeline capacity to bring natural gas to the region.

Now that the higher bills are starting to arrive, many stunned customers are finding the sticker shock much worse than they imagined. Mr. York said he would have to reduce his hours, avoid hiring any new employees, cut other expenses and ultimately pass the cost on to his customers.

Like turning back the clocks and putting on snow tires, bracing for high energy bills has become an annual rite of the season in New England. Because the region’s six states — Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont — have an integrated electrical grid, they all share the misery.

These latest increases are salt in the wound. New England already pays the highest electricity rates of any region in the 48 contiguous states because it has no fossil fuels of its own and has to import all of its oil, gas and coal. In September, residential customers in New England paid an average retail price of 17.67 cents per kilowatt-hour; the national average was 12.94 cents.

Beyond that, the increases confound common sense, given that global oil prices have dropped to their lowest levels in years, and natural gas is cheap and plentiful from the vast underground shale reserves in nearby Pennsylvania.

But the benefits are not being felt here. Connecticut’s rate of 19.74 cents per kilowatt-hour for September was the highest in the continental United States and twice that of energy-rich states like West Virginia and Louisiana. The lowest rate, 8.95 cents, was in Washington State, where the Columbia River is the nation’s largest producer of hydropower.

For the coming winter, National Grid, the largest utility in Massachusetts, expects prices to rise to 24.24 cents, a record high. The average customer will pay $121.20 a month, a 37 percent increase from $88.25 last winter.
Photo
John York, a small-business owner in Salem, paid 110 percent more for electricity in November than he had in October. Credit Ian Thomas Jansen-Lonnquist for The New York Times

The utilities argue that they are hamstrung unless they can increase the pipeline capacity for natural gas, which powers more than half of New England. That would not only lower costs for consumers, they say, but also create thousands of construction jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue.

The region has five pipeline systems now. Seven new projects have been proposed. But several of them — including a major gas pipeline through western Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, and a transmission line in New Hampshire carrying hydropower from Quebec — have stalled because of ferocious opposition.

The concerns go beyond fears about blighting the countryside and losing property to eminent domain. Environmentalists say it makes no sense to perpetuate the region’s dependence on fossil fuels while it is trying to mitigate the effects of climate change, and many do not want to support the gas-extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, that has made the cheap gas from Pennsylvania available.

Consumers have been left in the middle, as baffled as they are angry. Utilities across the region are holding workshops and town meetings to try to address their concerns and offer tips on energy conservation. About 100 people showed up this month for a meeting at Salem High School here that included a presentation by Liberty Utilities, the largest natural gas distributor in New Hampshire.

John Shore, a company spokesman, told the audience that in times of peak demand, the available natural gas went first to residential and business customers. Some power plants that normally rely on gas then turn to more expensive fuels like oil, although not all plants have the ability to switch fuels. In some cases, electric generating plants go offline, and more expensive generators are used to make up the capacity.

Prices are also up this winter because they are based in part on last winter’s high prices. Arctic blasts from the polar vortex drove up the cost of wholesale power in New England to $5.05 billion for the three months from December 2013 through February 2014 alone — almost the same as the cost for the entire year of 2012.

Patricia Richardson, 78, a Salem retiree in the audience, said she had already had an energy audit on her 100-year-old house, installed triple-pane thermal windows, bought a new boiler, had insulation blown in and put weather stripping around leaks. She could not understand why her bill had still increased, even after pressing Mr. Shore.

Ms. Richardson said after the meeting that his explanation had been confusing. “I wanted to know in my heart that he was giving it to me square,” she said. “But I didn’t get that feeling.”
Photo
Marie Morris at a meeting at Salem High School held by Liberty Utilities, the largest natural gas distributor in New Hampshire. Credit Ian Thomas Jansen-Lonnquist for The New York Times

Many utilities provide rebates when customers buy high-efficiency appliances, and offer free energy audits, savings plans and guidance on limiting energy use. Government programs and nonprofit organizations are stretching to help those who cannot pay the utility bills necessary to make it through this cold, dark season.

But even if these stopgap measures help some households in the short term, the outlook for the long term appears gloomy.

A year ago, the governors of the six New England states agreed to pursue a coordinated regional strategy, including more pipelines and at least one major transmission line for hydropower. The plan called for electricity customers in all six states to subsidize the projects, on the theory that they would make up that money in lower utility bills.

But in August, the Massachusetts Legislature rejected the plan, saying in part that cheap energy would flood the market and thwart attempts to advance wind and solar projects. That halted the whole effort.

“The impasse just kicks the can down the road, and I see no reason why this dynamic isn’t going to be repeated during the heating season for years to come,” said John Howat, a senior policy analyst at the National Consumer Law Center, a Boston-based nonprofit advocacy group for low-income residents.

“I think we need to be more aggressive in pursuing renewables and energy efficiency,” Mr. Howat said. “But I doubt we can implement those solutions quickly enough and at a sufficient scale to relieve the economic burden in the short term on those 30 percent of households that don’t have sufficient income to pay these bills.”

The problem may be getting worse, not only because of pipeline constraints but because old coal and oil power plants are being retired. The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, which supplies nearly one-third of Vermont’s electricity, is also scheduled to go offline this month.

ISO New England, the independent system operator that oversees the region’s energy market, said it expected there to be “sufficient resources” this winter to meet demand. But in a November assessment, it called the pipeline constraints severe and said the reliability of the system would “continue to be threatened” until the region expanded its pipeline capacity or invested in other energy sources.

Figuring out how much new pipeline might be enough is not an easy calculation. Massachusetts, for one, is analyzing its needs now for a report due at the end of the month. It is a complex process, said Mark Sylvia, the state’s undersecretary for energy, because it must take into account the state’s desires to avoid dependence on one type of fuel, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure reliability “so the lights stay on.”

———————
A version of this article appears in print on December 14, 2014, on page A22 of the New York edition with the headline: Even Before Long Winter Begins, Energy Bills Send Shivers in New England.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 10th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


With Compromises, a Global Accord to Fight Climate Change Is in Sight.

By CORAL DAVENPORT, The New York Times World, December 9, 2014

LIMA, Peru — Diplomats from 196 countries are closing in on the framework of a potentially historic deal that would for the first time commit every nation in the world to cutting its planet-warming fossil fuel emissions — but would still not be enough to stop the early impacts of global warming.

The draft, now circulating among negotiators at a global climate summit meeting here, represents a fundamental breakthrough in the impasse that has plagued the United Nations for two decades as it has tried to forge a new treaty to counter global warming.

But the key to the political success of the draft — and its main shortcoming, negotiators concede — is that it does not bind nations to a single, global benchmark for emissions reductions.

Instead, the draft puts forward lower, more achievable, policy goals. Under the terms of the draft, every country will publicly commit to enacting its own plans to reduce emissions — with governments choosing their own targets, guided by their domestic politics, rather than by the amounts that scientists say are necessary.

The idea is to reach a global deal to be signed by world leaders in Paris next year, incorporating 196 separate emissions pledges.

“It’s a breakthrough, because it gives meaning to the idea that every country will make cuts,” said Yvo de Boer, the former executive secretary of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change.


“But the great hopes for the process are also gone,” he added. “Many people are resigned,” he said, to the likelihood that even a historic new deal would not reduce greenhouse gas levels enough to keep the planet’s atmospheric temperature from rising 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

That is the point at which, scientists say, it will become impossible to avoid the dangerous and costly early effects of climate change — such as melting glaciers, rising sea levels, extreme drought, food shortages and more violent storms.

The Lima draft represents the input of all the negotiating countries, though there are still several major hurdles to work out. But even then, experts say, at best the new deal might be enough only to curb global warming by about half as much as scientists say is necessary.

Until recently, the United States and China, the world’s two largest greenhouse gas polluters, have been at the center of the impasse over a climate deal.

Until this year, the United States had never arrived at the United Nations’ annual climate negotiations with a domestic policy to cut its own carbon emissions. Instead, it merely demanded that other nations cut their use of coal and gasoline, while promising that it would do so in the future.

China, meanwhile, was the lead voice among nations demanding that developing economies should not be required to commit to any cuts.

But in November, President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China announced plans to reduce emissions, helping inject new life into the global climate talks.

Negotiators here call the joint announcement between China and the United States the catalyst for the new draft, which, if approved at the climate summit meeting this week, would set the stage for a final deal to be signed by world leaders next year in Paris.

In the United Nations’ first effort to enact a climate change treaty, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the legally binding language of the agreement prescribed that the world’s largest economies make ambitious, specific emissions cuts — but it exempted developing nations. The United States Senate refused to ratify the treaty, effectively leaving it a failure.

The Lima draft does not include Kyoto-style, top-down mandates that countries cut emissions by specific levels. Instead, it includes provisions requiring that all nations, rich and poor, commit to policies to mitigate their emissions. Countries that sign on to the deal will commit to announcing, by March, detailed, hard-numbers plans laying out how they will cut emissions after 2020.

The draft that emerges this week “will look like a game of Mad Libs,” said one negotiator who was not authorized to speak publicly. Over the coming months, as countries put forth their emissions reduction pledges, the details of the final deal will be filled in.

It is expected that many countries will miss that March deadline. Officials from India and other countries have said that they are unlikely to present a plan before June.

In order to ensure that all countries are included in the deal, late announcers will get a pass. The point, United Nations officials say, is to ensure that the information exists to finalize a Paris deal by December 2015.

Negotiators concede that the “each according to their abilities” approach is less than perfect — but that it represents what is achievable.

“The reality of it is that nobody was able to come up with a different way of going about it that would actually get countries to participate and be in the agreement,” said Todd D. Stern, the lead American climate change negotiator. “You could write a paper, in theory, assigning a certain amount of emissions cuts to every country. That would get the reduction you need. But you wouldn’t get an agreement. We live in the real world. It’s not going to be perfect.”

And there are still many hurdles ahead.

While many major developing economies are now expected to follow China’s lead in preparing emissions plans, some countries remain wild cards. This year, the government of Australia repealed a landmark climate change law that taxed carbon pollution. Since then, its emissions have soared.

“Australia is left without any viable policy to cut emissions,” said Senator Christine Milne, the leader of the Australian opposition Green Party. “It’s going to drag its heels.”

Money, as always, is a sticking point.

The increasing likelihood that the planet’s atmosphere will warm past the 3.6 degree threshold, with or without a deal in Paris, is driving demands by vulnerable nations — particularly island states and African countries — that the industrialized world open up its wallet to pay for the damage incurred by its fossil fuel consumption. Under the terms of a 2009 climate change accord reached in Copenhagen, rich countries have agreed to mobilize $100 billion annually by 2020 to help poor countries adapt to the ravages of climate change. But a report this month by the United Nations Environmental Program estimates that the cost to poor countries of adapting to climate change could rise to as high as $300 billion annually — and vulnerable countries are stepping up their demands that more money be included in any final deal. Many vulnerable and developing countries insist that each country’s national pledge include not just a plan to cut emissions, but also money for adaptation.
Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story

“The financing question will be one of the deepest divides,” said Jennifer Morgan, an expert in climate change negotiations with the World Resources Institute, a research organization.

Another element to be hashed out by negotiators will be devising an international number-crunching system to monitor, verify and compare countries’ pledged emissions cuts.

China has always balked at any outside monitoring of its major economic sectors, and is pushing back on proposals for rigorous outside scrutiny.

Hong Lei, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that his country “always supports increasing transparency” but that the new reporting system should reflect “the reality that developing countries’ basic capacities in areas like national statistics and assessment are still insufficient.” He added that “developed countries should provide appropriate support to developing countries.”

The United States has urged that a final deal not take the form of a legally binding treaty requiring Senate ratification, hoping to avoid a repeat of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol experience.

But many countries continue to press for a legally binding deal.

French officials have already given the yet-to-be-signed deal a working title: the “Paris Alliance.”

The name, they say, is meant to signify that many different economies are working together, rather than complying with a single, top-down mandate.

————————————————-

Edward Wong contributed reporting from Beijing.

Related Coverage:
Smog obscures the skyline in Shenyang, Liaoning Province. Populist anger over toxic smog has convinced some Chinese leaders that industrial coal consumption must be curbed.
At Climate Meeting, China Balks at Verifying Cuts in Carbon EmissionsDEC. 9, 2014
Burning debris from Typhoon Hagupit in the Philippines. At a United Nations summit meeting, officials from the nation, which scientists say is among the most vulnerable to climate change, are pressing every nation to reduce their use of fossil fuels.
Philippines Pushes Developing Countries to Cut Their Emissions DEC. 8, 2014
Investors Recruited to Restore Farmland in Latin AmericaDEC. 7, 2014
World Briefing: Secretary General Expresses Optimism About Climate MeetingDEC. 4, 2014
A child walking near her home with a coal-fired power plant in the background in Beijing, China.
Optimism Faces Grave Realities at Climate TalksNOV. 30, 2014
Global Warming Concerns GrowSEPT. 22, 2014

————————————————–
A version of this article appears in print on December 10, 2014, on page A8 of the New York edition with the headline: With Compromises, a Global Accord to Fight Climate Change Is in Sight.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 9th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The IASS Event at the Lima, Peru, COP of the UNFCCC on “Renewable Resources in an era of climate change”.

A discussion on the opportunities and challenges of renewable resources for energy and industrial purposes for climate change mitigation.

Suzana Kahn Ribeiro (Secretary of State for Climate Change Secretariat of Brazil), Amit Kumar (Director, Energy, Environment Technology Development Division, The Energy and Resources Institute), Youba Sokona (Special Advisor on Sustainable Development, The South Centre) and Lili Fuhr (Heinrich Böll Foundation) will kick off the debate.

With the participation of Valerie Kapos (Head of Programme, Climate Change & Biodiversity, UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre) and Elizabeth Press (Deputy Director, Innovation and Technology Centre, International Renewable Energy Agency) who will provide further insights into the debate.

The event will take place on Tuesday, 9 December 2014 from 2 to 5:30 pm at the Hotel Casa Andina Private Collection Miraflores, Av. La Paz 463, Miraflores, Lima. The programme will be followed by a reception.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 5th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Columbia University, Center for Climate Change Law
Lima Report: Thursday, December 4, 2014 & Friday, December 5, 2014

Posted on December 5th, 2014 by Jennifer Klein
 blogs.law.columbia.edu/climatecha…

Jennifer M. Klein, Esq., Associate Director & Fellow
Meredith Wilensky, Esq., 2013-2014 Associate Director & Fellow

During the past two days, negotiators have continued to work their way through draft text. When observing negotiations, it quickly becomes clear that the COP has its own distinct vernacular, with commonplace terms taking on new meaning. Here, we define a few of the most prevalent terms demonstrating key issues underlying the negotiations.

Adequacy – This term refers to the ability of any agreement to achieve the COP’s ultimate objective to stabilize atmospheric GHG levels so as to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Parties have repeatedly noted that for the 2015 agreement to be “adequate,” countries’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions must reduce GHG emissions enough to stay within the global carbon budget. Dr. Pachauri emphasized during the opening session on Monday that, according to the IPCCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, we have already used 65% of this budget.

Ambition – This term refers to the collective will of the Parties to cut global GHG emissions enough to achieve adequacy. Throughout the Lima negotiations and side events, parties have worked to raise ambition for the 2015 agreement by highlighting the need to commit to deeper emissions cuts.

Carbon Neutral
– The goal of reaching net zero GHG emissions is referred to as “carbon neutrality.” Even though the term only refers to carbon, the concept applies to all GHGs. Most people following the climate change negotiations are familiar with the concept (the phrase was the New Oxford American Dictionary’s Word Of The Year for 2006). However, climate neutrality has become a virtual mantra at the Lima talks following the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report’s finding that we must lower emissions to near-zero by the end of this century to have a good chance of meeting the 2°C goal.

Differentiation
– In the UNFCCC, the Parties commit to the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.” This equity-based principle acknowledges that countries’ responsibility to combat climate change differs both by their historical GHG contributions and by their current capacity to tackle climate change. In negotiations, a number of developing countries challenged the lack of differentiation in proposed texts, raising concerns that treating all Parties similarly would place undue burden on developing nations.

Political Parity
– The ADP draft decision includes this term in an attempt to express the need to balance mitigation and adaptation efforts. However, this term has not been used in any previous UNFCCC texts, and in the afternoon session yesterday, delegates repeatedly expressed confusion about its meaning. In short, a clear definition of this term is yet to be determined.

We find this specially interesting because we believe that in order to come up with a product that will be approved at the Paris Summit in 2015, the whole concept of a Diplomatic Agreement will eventually turn to be in effect an UMBRELLA agreement that incorporates unilateral and bi-lateral declarations of the UN Member States, rather then a Consensus Declaration that was unattainable during these wasted decades of conference hoping.
- See more at: blogs.law.columbia.edu/climatecha…

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 5th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Irith Jawetz writes from New York:

I just got back from the reception at the Austrian Consulate General in New York which was hosted by the Consul General and your friend Josef Mantl. I gave Mr. Mantl your regards and he reciprocated them.

This was a preview for a Charity auction at Sotheby to benefit operation Bobbi Bear in partnership with Arms Around the Child, which will take place on Monday, December 8th. Mr. Mantl and another Austrian gentleman Mr. Gery Keszler are involved in the Life Ball in Vienna and those bears are designed by celebrities and will be auctioned off. The celebrities who have their own bears include Bill Clinton, President Heinz Fischer, Vienna Mayor Michael Haeupl, Opera Star Anna Netrebko who lives now in Vienna, and many more. A few bears were on display tonight the rest are kept at Sotheby’s. The money will help abused children with HIV/AIDS in South Africa. This seems to be a huge problem there.

A few bears were on display tonight and sold! President Fischer’s Bear went for $1,300, and Mayor Haeupl’s bear fetched $ 1,350.

The Founder and Creative Director of Bobbi Bear, whose motto is “Giving abused children a voice” – Ms. Jackie Brandfield – is an incredible lady from South Africa. She runs this NGO from Durban.
I came very early and started talking to her without knowing who she was at first and we connected right away. I have her card and we became friends although she understood that I am not in the league of the bidders.

The South African NGO received tremendous help from Austria through the “Life Ball” event which is a huge charity event which takes place every year in Vienna and draws many celebrities including former President bill Clinton. This year the Life Ball will take place on May 16, 2015 inside the Vienna City Hall.

For further information about Bobbi Bear please visit keepachildalive.org

The children here are 5,6,7,8, years old and got aids because they were raped by people who had aids in the believe that this will help cure the AIDS. This was something I heard years ago in South Africa.

Above resonates because while I was in Johannesburg for the 2002 UN Global Summit, a lady of Scottish extract, helping out at my bed and breakfast Boer place, took me to visit an orphanage that was home to such children, and for which she did voluntary work. This was at a time we knew still very little of the AIDS scourge that was hitting Africa. She herself got interested because her son, of mixed race, a jazz musician, was living in a relationship with a black musician who contracted the virus. I was all amazed of complex human side of the new post-apartheid country. All volunteers there were church driven whites.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 5th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From: Lotta Tahtinen <tahtinen@un.org>
Date: Fri, Dec 5, 2014 at 5:27 PM
Subject: Members of the Post-2015 Steering Committee (for time period between December 2014-January 2015)

Dear All,

We are pleased to inform you that the list of selected members of the Steering Committee for the 16 January post-2015 preparatory forum for major groups and other civil society stakeholders has been posted on the following website: sustainabledevelopment.un.org/maj…

This 16-member Steering Committee will collaborate on the preparations for the 16 January preparatory forum, as well as civil society engagement in the first post-2015 negotiating session (19-21 January), in accordance with the modalities yet to be determined by Member States.

Those the UN system selected have very close relations with the UN system – obviously.
They come from International Chamber of Commerce related institutions and contain the obligatory Arab interests.
By the individuals’ names they are:

The Steering Committee members are:

Name Civil Society Organization

Anne-Sophie Stevance INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL FOR SCIENCE
Camilla Croso Global Campaign for Education (GCE)
Dr. Emad Adly Arab Network for Environment & Development (RAED)
Dyborn Charlie Chibonga World Farmers’ Organisation
Elina Doszhanova Social-Ecological Fund NGF
Louise Kantrow International Chamber of Commerce
Maruxa Cardama ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability
Matthew Simonds International Trade Union Confederation
Mwangi Waituru VSO Jitolee
Naiara Costa Beyond 2015
Orsolya Bartha, Dr. International Disability Alliance
Roseline Kihumba HelpAge International
Shantal Munro-Knight Caribbean Policy Development Centre
Tahere Talaina Siisiialafia Pacific Youth Council
Wael Hmiadan Climate Action Network
Wardarina APWLD/RCEM

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

The original mailing requesting those interested to put forward their names was:

From: Lotta Tahtinen/NY/UNO
To: Lotta Tahtinen/NY/UNO@UNHQ,
Date: 21/11/2014 05:59 PM
Subject: Call for applications to Post-2015 Steering Committee (for time period between December 2014-January 2015)

Dear all,

As stated in the letter circulated earlier this week by the Co-Chairs of the post-2015 development agenda process, the first negotiating session on the post-2015 development agenda will take place from 19-21 January 2015 in New York.

To support Major Groups and other civil society stakeholders to effectively engage in the post-2015 negotiations, a preparatory forum will be convened by DESA-DSD and UN-NGLS on Friday, 16 January 2015, in New York.

We are now setting up a Steering Committee to ensure broad and inclusive participation of stakeholders in this preparatory forum, as well as in the first negotiating session on the post-2015 development agenda (in accordance with the relevant modalities that are yet to be determined). Applications to the Steering Committee will be accepted between 21 – 30 November 2014.

To learn more about the Steering Committee and the Call for Applications, please see attached.

[attachment "Preparatory Forum - Steering Committee Call for Applications -21 Nov.pdf" deleted by Lotta Tahtinen/NY/UNO] [attachment "ToR steering committee_21 Nov.pdf" deleted by Lotta Tahtinen/NY/UNO]

Thank you and best regards,
Lotta Tahtinen

Lotta Tahtinen
Major Groups Programme Coordinator
Office of the Director
Division for Sustainable Development/DESA
United Nations, S-2619
E-mail:  tahtinen at un.org
Tel: +1 (917) 367-2212


Jeffery Huffines
NGO Major Group Organizing Partner
CIVICUS UN Representative (NY)
Cell: +1 646-707-1060
Email:  jeffery.huffines at civicus.org
Skype: jefferyvhuffines

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
PO BOX 933, Southdale 2135, JHB, South Africa
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Posted in Archives, Future Events, Futurism, Reporting From the UN Headquarters in New York

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 5th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Death of an American ‘Infidel’ in Abu Dhabi

by Phyllis Chesler
Breitbart, December 4, 2014

The point of such terrorist intimidation … [is] to make life unlivable, unbearable, so that the infidel will either convert to jihadist Islamism or leave Muslim lands.

Ibolya Ryan, an American schoolteacher and mother of two, was stabbed to death in Abu Dhabi on December 1.

On December 1st, a figure in a black burqa, armed with an eight-inch knife, entered the upscale Boutik shopping mall located in Reem Island, the neighborhood where most of Abu Dhabi’s 40,000 expatriates live.

The black burqa’ed figure waited for more than an hour in a woman’s toilet—then stabbed the first white blonde infidel American woman who came in to use the facilities six times until she was dead. Then, with the possible help of two other women, the mysterious black burqa’ed figure either smoothly and calmly walked away, or did so in a frenzied fashion (there are conflicting eye witness reports about this). In any event, the killer entered an elevator and disappeared.

The victim’s name was Ibolya Ryan. She was a Hungarian-born and Romanian-raised kindergarten teacher and the divorced mother of two 11 year-old twin boys, Adam and Aiden. Her former husband lives in Colorado. Ryan had described herself in an online profile for a teacher-recruiting company as “Romanian born” and someone who has worked “in four countries over the last 15 years.” Ryan wanted to “experience the Arab world…their culture and daily life.”

Tragically, she has done just that. At a time of fierce Islamic fundamentalist jihad, Ibolya, a civilian, may have been targeted by jihadists. In the wake of an anonymous posting on a jihadist site that encouraged attacks on American teachers in the Middle East, the U.S. embassy in Abu Dhabi, UAE posted an October 29 security warning for U.S. citizens, especially “teachers at international schools.” This included the following:

Avoid crowds or large gatherings when traveling in public; Identify safe areas (for example police stations, hospitals) in your area and how to get to them quickly; Tell co-workers or neighbors where you are going and when you intend to return; Minimize your profile while in public; Always carry a cellphone…; Be prepared to postpone or cancel activities for personal safety concerns.

In other words: Live vigilantly, live fearfully, live indoors as much as possible and have as little contact with strangers, especially with Arab Muslim strangers, as possible.

This is no way to live. But that is the point of such terrorist intimidation– namely, to make life unlivable, unbearable, so that the infidel will either convert to jihadist Islamism or leave Muslim lands.

On the other hand, the UAE is a strong ally of the United States. Every state in the United States exports to the UAE and more than 1000 American firms have an on-the-ground presence. Strategic American and UAE alliances exist in terms of oil, medical, and military equipment and personnel—but most important, perhaps, is the fact that the UAE “was the first country to support the United States at the advent of Desert Storm; the only Arab country to participate with the US in five coalition actions over the last 20 years: Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Bosnia-Kosovo, and the First Gulf War.”

More importantly, the UAE supports and enforces UN sanctions to contain Iranian nuclear weapons capabilities and, since mid-September of this year, “the UAE has flown dozens of missions against ISIL targets.”

The murder of Ibolya Ryan might also have been a targeted message to the governments of both the UAE and the United States, one that hoped to destroy their relationship in terms of the ongoing joint fight against the most barbaric forms of Islamic fundamentalism.

Jihadists wish to intimidate Americans abroad in Muslim countries so that they move back to America. But jihadists also wish to punish any individual Muslim or Muslim country for daring to work with infidels against Islamic fundamentalists. How this intimidation is handled, both by individuals and by governments, is bound to affect the course of the war between civilization and barbarism.

Phyllis Chesler, an emerita professor of psychology and women’s studies and the author of fifteen books, is a Shillman-Ginsburg fellow at the Middle East Forum.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 4th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


On Friday, November 21, 2014 the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York hosted a Seminar on “Climate Change: Impacts and Prospects for Blue Economy” with the participation of the Permanent Mission of Solomon Islands to the United Nations, the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Palau to the United Nations and the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS).

The event took place at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York
1 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017 (between Madison & 5th Avenues)

The Event was covered by Ms. Irith Jawetz who sent in the following report:

Mr. Alex Fan, Deputy Director-General, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York welcomed the participants in his opening remarks. The office has the Taipei name rather then Taiwan in order to irritate less the New York China delegation. We find this ridiculous considering the amount of work Taiwan does in order to support the UN.


The Introduction of Keynote Speakers was the lot of Dr. Alistair Edgar, Executive Director Academic Council on the UN
System (ACUNS).

The first speaker was Ms. Lisa Speer, Director, International Oceans Program, Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) on “Ocean Acidification: The Other CO2 Problem”. According to her bio, her expertise is in the area of management and conservation of bio diversity, fisheries, and ecosystems of the high seas and the Arctic marine environment.

Ms. Speer served on the National Academy of Sciences’(NAS) Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology from 2001 to 2007 and has also served on NAS Committees on the Arctic and marine environmental monitoring. She has served on U.S. delegations to many high seas fisheries negotiations and testified before Congress and the United Nations on a variety of high seas and Arctic management topics. She received her master’s degree from Yale University and her bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College.

Her expertise is on Marine bio diversity, high seas conservation, marine fisheries, arctic marine conservation.
Ms. Speer stressed in her talk how Ocean Acidification is the evil twin of Climate Change, they have a common cause but different impact on the environment. Ocean Acidification impacts species in the oean as it reduces calcification, reduces respiratory efficiency, impairs sensory ability and enhances photosynthesis. The most sensitive species are mollusks, corals and shellfish.
What needs to be done? Reduce over fishing, reduce pollution, reduce CO2 levels, protect bio diversity, create large parks and create large marine protected area.

The second speaker was Dr. Kwang-Tsao Shao, Research Fellow and Executive Officer, Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica, Republic of China (Taiwan). The title of his presentation was: “
“Taiwan’s Adaptation Strategy to the Impact of Climate Change on Its Marine Ecology”
Dr. Shao has a extensive resume.

He is Senior Research Fellow & the Executive Officer of Systematics and Biodiversity Information Division, Biodiversity Research Center,Academia Sinica (BRCAS) since 2008 and adjunct Professorat Institute of Marine Biology, National Taiwan Ocean University (IMB?NTOU) since 2003. He received his B.S. from Department of Zoology, National Taiwan University (NTU) in 1972 and a M.S. from Institute of Oceanography,NTU in 1976, and Ph.D. from Department of Ecology andEvolution, SUNY at Stony Brook in 1983. After graduation,he returned to Academia Sinica Associate Research Fellow and then promoted to Research Fellow in 1988.From 1991 to 1994, Dr. Shao was the 1st Director of Institute of Marine Biology, NationalTaiwan Ocean University. Between 1996 and 2002, he served as the Director of Institute ofZoology, Academia Sinica; and in 2004, he established the BRCAS and served as the ActingDirector from 2004 to 2008. He devoted himself to fish taxonomy, ecology and evolutionstudies since 1978. So far, he has published hundreds of papers, technical reports, books andencyclopedia on fishes and marine ecology. He also described more than 40 new species and1000 new records of Taiwanese fishes. He organized the 7th Indo?Pacific Fish Conference in2005 and the 2nd International Barcode of Life Conference in 2007. In addition, he coordinated many team projects such as the 1st LOICZ project at Chi?Ku lagoon, and the 1st]marine LTER in Kenting coral reefs etc.

Besides his research effort, Dr. Shao is dedicated to the work of many academic services and public awareness for marine conservation and sustainable fisheries in this country. Hewas elected the Presidents of Biological Society of China, Taiwan Ichthyological Society,Taiwan Cetacean Society, etc. In the area of international collaboration, Dr. Shao has for many years been the Executive Secretary of National Committee for IUBS, CODATA,DIVERSITAS and GBIF. He is now the pivotal person of the Taiwan delegation to GBIF and is incharge of the integration of biodiversity information in Taiwan which includes establishing the national portals of Catalog of Life in Taiwan (TaiCOL), Cryobanking and Barcode of Life in Taiwan (TaiBOL), Encyclopedia of Life in Taiwan (TaiEOL), Taiwan Biodiversity Information Facility (TaiBIF), and Taiwan Fish Database. Currently, he is the member of NationalSustainability Committee, Executive Yuan.

Dr. Shao said that the major impacts of climate change on the marine ecosystem include ocean acidification, rising water temperatures, rising sea level, more severe typhoons and changing ocean currents, and stressed that Taiwan has in effect a newly “Executive Yuan Biodiversity Promotion Plan” for marine ecosystem to reduce Climate Change. The measures which are being taken are promoting Eco Tourism, conducting Marine Conservation Education programs, passing Environmental Education laws. which means that even Government officials and the the President himself, are required to take a course on the Environment, Beach cleaning by groups of citizens, involving the many NGOs active in Taiwan, suspension of large scale coastal development programs, forbidding building large Resort hotels near the shorelines, high penalty for illegal discharge of polluted waters, etc. In taking all those actions., Taiwan can become healthier and have a better resilience to resist the impact of Climate Change.

After a short coffee break the program went on with a panel discussion.
The Moderator was Dr. Alistair Edgar, Executive Director, ACUNS and the panelists were:

H.E. Ambassador Collin Beck,
Permanent Representative of Solomon Islands to the United Nations

H.E. Ambassador Caleb Otto,
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Palau to the United Nations

Ms. Irene Boland Nielson,
Climate Change Coordinator, Clean Air and Sustainability Division, United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Region 2

Mr. Douglas Pabst,
Chief, Dredging, Sediments, and Oceans Section and Sandy Recovery Green Team, Clean Water Division, USEPA Region 2.

Ambassador Collin Beck, Mission of Solomon Islands to the UN stressed the problems of Climate Change especially for the small islands. The role of the 2015 Development Agenda on combating Climate Change will be important in keeping the plant blue. The rising of the sea levels are a major threat his region and now is our chance to fix it. He said that if Climate Change was a bank it would have been bailed out long time ago.

Ambassador BecK also mentioned a few programs for Post 2015 Developing agenda such as negotiations to start next year, the UN Secretary General’s Synthesis Report due December 2014, Financing for Development meeting, July 2015 in Ethiopua, the Climate Change agrement to be adopted in 2015. However, even those programs, in his opinion, are moving too slow.

Ambassador Dr. Caleb Otto, Mission of the Republic of Palau to the UN started to say that the only hope for a solution would be going from a healthy ocean ro a healthy nation. At the 1995 Yanuca Declaration in Fiji the vision for a healthy nation was put forward in a few points:

1) Children are nourished by body, mind and soul;

2) Environment to lead to leisure;

3) People should work and age with disgrace:

4) Ecology can balance pride:

5) Ocean have to be protected and sustained.

The threat to the oceans affects all of us and so do the health benefits by preserving the oceans, i.e.

1) Life sustance – oceans supplies 1/2 of thw CO2 needed for breezing:

20 Oceans give us food security

43) Oceans boost the economy

4) Oceans are important for the pharmaceutical companies: and last but not leat – oceans provide us with “Learning & leisure”.

We have to take ownership of our ocean space by inspiring leadership and collaboration and The Republic of Palau is very acitve if its efforts to save ocean health. Palau is a vital particiant of UNFCC, it has established shark sanctuary, Marine ancruary and other programs.

Ms.Irene Boland Nielsen, Claimate Change Coordinator, Clean Air and Sustainability Division, United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 was the next speaker.

Irene Nielson is the Climate Change Coordinator for the New York City office of the Environmental Protection Agency. She joined EPA as a Presidential Management Fellow and has worked on a range of projects, including the Agency’s Strategic Plan, a memorandum of agreement with Department of Defense for a sustainable Guam, and more recently, on climate change. In 2007, Irene published a children’s book, Wind the World Over, about the history of wind power in China, Persia, Europe and the U.S. Currently, she co-chairs the EPA Region 2 Climate Change Workgroup and works to promote sustainability in communities. Irene is an Assistant Adjunct Lecturer at Columbia University, and weekend cyclist where she lives in Brooklyn. – See more at: ioby.org/about/people/irene-niels….

She described the close cooperation between the United States and Taiwan on Climate Change. EPA works with Taiwan’s environmental leaders for the last 20 years. There are a few programs which established the US Taiwan Sustainable School Green Flag. Jian is one elementary school which has a Student Government dedicated to the environment.

She then went on to outline some of President Obama’s plans on US Climate Change, and among others mentioned Reduce carbon pollution in Power plants, cutting energy in homes and businesses and reducing mthane use.

For more of the EPA’s plan on Climate Change please check out www.epa.gov/climatechange/

For the President’s plan on combating Climate Change pleae check  www.whitehouse.gov/climate-change

The last speaker was Mr. Douglas Pabst, Chief, Dredging, Sediments, and Oceans Section and Sandy Recovery Green Team, Clean Water Division, USEPA Region 2.

He mentioned thar the National Ocean policy Implementation Plan 2010 released on April 13, 2014 encourages regions to identify and address ocean priorities, utilize coastal and marine special planning. This has to b a global cooperation, we have to work together sine there are no winners or losers in that “game”. Ecosystem based management should be done rather than managing individual species and the interaction between Government, EPA, and NOAA are essential.

The Seminar highlghted the many problems facing the oceans and especially the islands which are affected by the oceans, the conclusion was the some progress has been done, but to quote Ambassador Collin Beck, the pace is much too slow.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 4th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS CRISTINA GALLACH OF SPAIN UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC INFORMATION.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced today the appointment of Cristina Gallach of Spain as Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information. She succeeds Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal of Austria to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his commitment and dedicated service to the Organization.

Ms. Gallach brings to the position a wealth of experience in communication, information, public diplomacy, international affairs and security policy, combined with transformational leadership and hands-on management expertise. She is also an experienced newspaper, radio and television journalist.

Ms. Gallach is currently Head of the Public Relations Unit in the Council of the European Union, Directorate General for Information and Communication, Brussels since July 2010. Prior to that appointment, she was Spokesperson of the Spanish Government for the European Union rotating Presidency (2010), Spokesperson and Chief Media Advisor of the European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Brussels (1999-2009) and Deputy Spokesperson of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Chief Media advisor for the Secretary General, Brussels (1996-1999). She spent over 15 years as a journalist, during which time she held the positions of Senior Correspondent of the Spanish News Agency (EFE) in Brussels (1993-1996) and in Moscow (1990-1992), Correspondent with El Periodico, Barcelona (1986-1990), US Correspondent for Avui (1984-1986) and Reporter with TVE Barcelona (1983-1984).

Ms. Gallach holds a Masters degree in International Affairs from Columbia University, New York and a degree in Communication and Journalism from the Universidad Autonoma, Barcelona.

Born in 1960 in Barcelona, she is married with two children.

New York, 4 December 2014

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 25th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The Opinion Pages | Op-Ed Columnist of The New York Times

Committed to Carbon Goals

November 24, 2014


by Joe Nocera

Since the early 1990s, the consensus view in the climate science community has been that if the world is going to escape the most catastrophic consequences of climate change, it needs to keep the average global temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius, compared with pre-industrial levels. A few years ago, the Presidential Climate Action Project issued a report in which it estimated that to meet that goal, global carbon dioxide emissions would need to be reduced by 60 percent by 2050 — and the industrialized world would need to reduce its emissions by 80 percent.

This would seem, at first glance, an impossible task. Until, that is, you meet a man named David Crane. He is the chief executive of NRG Energy, the largest publicly traded independent power producer in the country. When he took over a decade ago, NRG was just emerging from bankruptcy. Today, it is a Fortune 250 company, with 135 power plants capable of generating 53,000 megawatts of power.

NRG, Crane told an audience at the Aspen Ideas Festival this summer, is the country’s fourth-largest polluter. “We emit 60 or 70 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year,” he said, mainly because a third of its power is generated by coal-fired plants. “I’m not apologetic about that because, right now, owning those plants and operating those plants are critical to keeping the lights on in the United States.”

But then he quickly added, “We have to move away from that.” And he has, reducing the company’s carbon footprint by 40 percent in the decade that he’s run the company. And, on Thursday, as The Times reported, he committed NRG to reducing its carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050.

These are terribly ambitious goals, but Crane is not some pie-in-the-sky dreamer. Although he sees climate change as an “intergenerational issue” — a way of ensuring the future for our children and grandchildren — he is also a pragmatic man running a publicly traded company. He firmly believes that the technology exists to make his ambitious goals possible, and that the real problem is the refusal of the rest of the power industry to adapt and change.

Crane likes to say that when he first started hearing about carbon emissions, he didn’t view it all that seriously. “To be frank,” he said in that same Aspen presentation, “I thought this is just the next pollutant that we have to deal with.” But once he got religion — and realized, as he put it, that power producers like NRG are “the biggest part of the problem” — he was determined to make his company a leader in reducing carbon.

One of his early moves was to apply for a license to build a new nuclear power plant. (It already co-owns one nuclear plant.) But the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan in 2011 scotched those plans, and NRG wound up writing off more than $300 million. NRG also invested in a wind company, which it sold three years later “because we got a little disenchanted with the way that the wind technology was moving.”

So how is he planning to get that 90 percent reduction? One answer is solar power, in which NRG has invested some $5 billion. Crane is a big believer in the eventual importance of solar, both for consumers — he foresees a day when millions of Americans rely on solar as their primary power source — and for power companies. Even so, Crane told me that solar generates only 3,000 megawatts of the company’s potential for 53,000.

———

Recent Comments:

Andrea
32 minutes ago

Why is there no mention of a transfer from coal powered generation to natural gas? There is an abundance of it, it is cheap and it burns…

Ken
32 minutes ago

Home heating remains as a huge source of carbon pollution. While not a solution for most urbanites, many like me in rural New England have…

Tom Pedersen
32 minutes ago

Mr. Crane suggests that a carbon tax is politically impossible. But that’s looking at the challenge from the wrong end. How about looking at…

—————————–

And then there’s coal. When I asked Crane if he would have to eliminate coal to reach his goals, he said no. Coal, he said, will continue to play a big role. A carbon tax would be a great way of reducing emissions. But that is politically impossible.

So, instead, the carbon will need to be captured and then put to some good use. At one of its Texas power plants, NRG is teaming up with JX Nippon of Japan in a $1 billion joint venture to build a carbon-capturing capacity, which it expects will capture 1.6 million tons of carbon each year — some 90 percent of the plant’s emissions. He is also convinced that that carbon will eventually be used to create liquid fuel or get embedded in cement. “We could rebuild America’s roadways with embedded carbon from coal.”

He has another reason for wanting to be out in front on climate change. He says it will make his company more attractive to investors — and consumers. The day is going to come, he believes, when climate change risk will be something investors factor in to their investment decisions. And he believes that the next generation of consumers will demand clean energy. He views the disinvestment campaign now taking place on college campuses as a harbinger of things to come.

“It’s like Wayne Gretzky said,” he told me before hanging up the phone. “We are skating where the puck is going, rather than where it is now.”

—————————

A version of this op-ed appears in print on November 25, 2014, on page A27 of the New York edition with the headline: Committed to Carbon Goals

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 25th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

FROM THE WORLD FUTURE COUNCIL
November 25, 2014

Dr. Auma Obama joins World Future Council.

Auma Obama was warmly welcomed by WFC board members Alexandra Wandel and Stefan Keinert and WFC Director of Climate and Energy Stefan Schurig.

Hamburg, 25 November 2014 – Dr. Auma Obama has been appointed Councillor of the World Future Council. The organisation works with decision-makers worldwide to implement policy solutions that secure the rights of future generations. At an official meeting with WFC board members Alexandra Wandel and Stefan Keinert, the older sister of US president Barack Obama signed the acceptance statement, declaring “I am honoured to become a part of your organisation. I cannot wait to meet my fellow Council members and to support the work on the rights of women and children, particularly in Africa.”

Auma joins the ranks of Councillors from a vast variety of countries and backgrounds, including Dr. Frances Moore Lappé, Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE and Dr. David Krieger.

Jakob von Uexkull, founder of the World Future Council and the Alternative Nobel Prize, is thrilled to welcome the Kenyan literary and social scientist to the organisation. “Although the World Future Council was only established eight years ago and has always operated on a relatively small budget, we have been able to achieve a lot. With our support, several countries have introduced policies and laws that protect the environment and secure more equitable societies. Our unique approach and achievements so far convinced Dr. Auma Obama to join our efforts to make the world a better place, despite her many other commitments.”

Born and raised in Kenya, Auma Obama completed her doctorate at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. She is the initiator and CEO of the Sauti Kuu Foundation, which works to self-empower children and adolescents from underprivileged backgrounds in Kenya. A world sought-after speaker on sustainability issues, Auma Obama is also a board member of the Jacobs Foundation, which funds research and development programmes in the field of child and youth development.

—————————————-
World Future Council: The World Future Council brings the interests of future generations to the centre of policy-making. Its 50 eminent members from around the globe have already successfully promoted change. The Council addresses challenges to our common future and provides decision makers with effective policy solutions. The World Future Council is registered as a charitable foundation in Hamburg, Germany. For more information, visit www.worldfuturecouncil.org

Media contact:
World Future Council
Alexandra Schiffmann
Tel.: +49 40 30 70 914-19
 alexandra.schiffmann at worldfuturecounc…
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Posted in Africa, Archives, Real World's News, Reporting From the UN Headquarters in New York, Reporting from Washington DC

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 21st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The following was reported by Ms. Irith Jawetz who took part at the Presentation the UN made accessible also to outsiders.

“United Nations’ roles on Human Rights, Peace and Security”

Dr. Ivan Simonovic is UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights. On Tuesday, November 18th, 2014, he made at the UN an informative presentation on the subject: “United Nations’ Role on Human Rights, Peace and Security”


Mr. Ivan Simonovic assumed his functions as Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights on 17 July 2010 – head of the New York Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) upon a UNSG Ban Ki-moon appointment of May 3, 2014.

A Croatian Diplomat, he was born May 2, 1959 in Zagreb. He is politician and law scholar. In October 2008 he was appointed Justice Minister of Croatia.

Dr. Šimonovic graduated from the University of Zagreb Law School in 1982. He got his doctoral degree in 1990, at the age of 31. Šimonovic joined Croatian diplomacy after the break-up of Yugoslavia. He was an assistant to Foreign Minister Mate Granic during the 1990s, although he never joined the ruling party, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ).

In 1997, Croatian President Franjo Tujman named him ambassador to the United Nations. Šimonovic served there until 2002. While serving there, Šimonovic presided over the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

In 2002 he became Deputy Foreign Minister in Ivica Rajan government. Again, he didn’t join the ruling party,SDP. However, when HDZ swung back to power in 2003, Šimonovic was not offered a job in the new government.

In 2004, Šimonovic switched to academia and became professor at the University of Zagreb Law School, where he teaches general theory of law and state and international relations.

Dr. Šimonovic was appointed Minister of Justice-designate of Croatia by PM Ivo Sanader on October 6, 2008. His predecessor, Ana Lovrin, had resigned the same day following a series of unsolved assaults and murders linked to Croatian organized crime that culminated with the murder of Ivana Hodak, daughter of a prominent Croatian lawyer Zvonimir Hodak. However, Ivana Hodak was later found to have been murdered as part of a retaliation of a homeless man to Zvonimir Hodak.

In May 2010 then Šimonovic was appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights.
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Turning to the November 2014 lecture at the UN – Dr. Simonovic has just returned from Iraq and is on his way to Ukraine.

He started his lecture by quoting Secretary General Kofi Annan who said: “There is no peace without development, no development without peace and neither without Human Rights”.


Development is one of the key factors for human rights, people in less developed countries are more likely to rebel and if there are conflicts at home, they affect human rights. Syria and Ukraine are the latest examples how a disastrous economy can lead to human rights violations. This situation also spills to the neighboring countries affected such as Jordan and Lebanon, who have to absorb the many refugees and support them. On the other hand, lack of human rights also affects development. Discrimination of minorities, religious groups, gender leads to no access to social services, lack of jobs, and brings upon it corruption. Some people get privileges that other do not, this brings dissatisfaction, instability and fewer developed countries are eager to invest in such a society.


Even worse than economic problems are the violation of human rights during a conflict with elements such as starvation, executions, killings and rape to name a few.
The solution is accountability not retaliation and Criminals need to be brought to Justice.
How can this be achieved?


The United Nations has 800 people posted at the UN in various capacities, including peacekeeping forces, and 500 people posted in National Headquarters as representatives and advisers. They have to report to the Secretary General and General Assembly.
The UN has also established an “Intervention Brigade” which can act fast in some situations, as it happened in South Sudan when they managed to push back the rebels. The UN has come a long way since the times when so many innocent people were killed during the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Dr. Simonovic told a personal story how he saw people being killed outside the UN compound who were not allowed to enter that compound and seek shelter. In South Sudan, years later, this policy was changed. It was an “Open Gate Policy”, people could find shelter inside the UN compound and were saved. Of course this brought with it many logistic problems such as providing food, water, sanitary equipment, etc. but it was done nevertheless.

The secretary General has approached the subject of Human Rights, Peace and Security by making sure that all security forces have to be checked through very strict background checks. Not having a criminal record is not enough anymore.

Each person that is applying for a job is not allowed to have committed even the slightest violation of Human rights on his or her records. The same applies to personnel outside the UN in the countries themselves. It would be very embarassing for a country to recommend a person and then be found out by the UN independent background check that he or she had a human rights violation on their records.

The motto of the UN is Human Rights Up Front!
Human Rights violations can be used as a first warning to Genocide and war atrocities. The task of the advisers is to detect human rights violations and bring them to the attention of the Secretary General and General Assembly immediately.

Dr. Simonovic admitted that in Sri Lanka the UN has failed – something that at the UN was known a long time ago thanks to the insistent questioning from one single investigative journalist active at the UN – Mr. Matthew Lee. The UN did not act fast enough said now Dr. Simonovic, but Mr. Lee was not satisfied with this answer – he would like to see a full investigation of this case.

Dr. Simonovic said that the UN has women on their peacekeeping forces and they are basically better mediators than men. Women are more sensitive than men, more focused healing than on revenge, he said.

In conclusion Dr. Simonovic admitted that the system is not perfect, it is much better than it was, but there is a lot still to be done. Human Rights violations should not be tolerated and the United Nations is making the utmost efforts to combat this task.

While above was being discussed at the UN, on Thursday, US President Barack Obama, in an historic move has broken the US taboo of dealing with the illegal immigration issue, by acknowledging that trying peacefully to better one’s life is a basic human right – so that the UN official might find it easier now to do the right things at the UN as well.

According to NPR news, after six years of often bitter back-and-forth with congressional Republicans over the issue of immigration, President Obama announced he has decided to go it alone by temporarily shielding up to 5 million immigrants from being deported.

In a prime-time speech to the country on Thursday, President Obama said that he would defer the deportation of the parents of children who are either U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, and that he also would expand that protection to more “DREAMers,” or children who entered the country illegally with their parents. Those two groups also will be allowed to work in the United States legally, after passing a background check and paying a fee.

In a very compassionate speech, President Obama said:

“scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger — we were strangers once, too.

“My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forebears were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in, and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal – that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 16th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

No misunderstanding please – we lost our interest in the Kyoto protocol. It was born without a serious plan – with the knowledge that the US Senate will never accept it and it gave respite to China so nobody else saw any sense in it.

Now things have changed – Presidents Obama and Xi made a reasonable first step pact and everyone can fall in line by making their own country commitments and even pouring $10 Billion into a global cash fund to be established before the year’s end.

In this spirit we see the following:

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G20 Issue Strong Statement in Support of UN Climate Negotiations

Bonn, 16 November 2014?Japan today announced a pledge of $1.5 billion to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) ahead of next week’s pledging conference in Berlin.

The pledge, announced on the margins of the G20 Summit taking place in Brisbane, Australia, comes in the wake of a $3 billion pledge by the United States.

Total pledges to date for the GCF, the financial instrument designed to assist developing countries achieve their mitigation and adaptation ambitions, stand at around $7.5 billion putting the aim of $10 billion by the next UN climate convention conference in sight.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said: “I welcome the government of Japan’s pledge which has, along with other announcements over the past few days triggered a positive atmosphere around the upcoming pledging meeting in Berlin and in advance of the UN climate convention conference in Lima in a few weeks’ time”.

Ms Figueres also welcomed today’s statement by the G20 Heads of State which included a strong and supportive section on climate action.

The statement said: “We support strong and effective action to address climate change. Consistent with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its agreed outcomes, our actions will support sustainable development, economic growth, and certainty for business and investment. We will work together to adopt successfully a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the UNFCCC that is applicable to all parties at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in 2015”.

“We encourage parties that are ready to communicate their intended nationally determined contributions well in advance of COP21 (by the first quarter of 2015 for those parties ready to do so). We reaffirm our support for mobilizing finance for adaptation and mitigation, such as the Green Climate Fund”, it added.

For more information, please contact:

Nick Nuttall, UNFCCC Spokesperson: +49 228 815 1400 (phone), +49 152 0168 4831 (mobile) nnuttall(at)unfccc.int
John Hay, Communications Officer: +49 228 815 1404 (phone), +49 172 258 6944 (mobile) jhay(at)unfccc.int

Yes, UNFCCC feels compelled to mention still the Kyoto Protocol it helped create, but just diregard this part please – we left it out from their release.

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