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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 14th, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

This month, the Trump administration gave oil companies the chance to identify spots they’d like to drill in the Beaufort Sea – a region predominantly off-limits to development. This request is another massive step towards new oil and gas drilling in Arctic waters full of beluga and bowhead whales, Arctic seals and walrus.

The good news is, you can speak up too! Please oppose new lease sales in the Arctic Ocean today.

Risky Arctic Ocean drilling isn’t about needing new oil. It is about sacrificing our Arctic Ocean and damaging our climate to bolster a struggling administration shackled to its oil allies. We should not rush forward with new leasing when a single spill would devastate wildlife and local communities, and take us further down a path of climate disaster.

Please speak out against new drilling leases in the wildlife-rich Beaufort Sea.

No lease sales should take place in the Arctic Ocean. Time and time again, millions of people across the country have determined that it’s too risky and dirty to take any chances with these fragile waters.

Thank you,
Kelsie
Arctic Campaign Manager

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 2nd, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

from the American-Iranian Council in the US.

Rouhani: Iran ‘ready’ to talk to Arab neighbors.


US-Iran Relations

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday said Iran is ready to discuss regional security issues with its Gulf Arab neighbours as long as foreign powers are kept out of any potential talks.

“We don’t need foreigners to guarantee the security of our region,” Rouhani said in a speech broadcast on state television.

“When it comes to regional security arrangements, we are ready to talk to our neighbours and friends, without the presence of foreigners,” he added. (The New Arab)


Trump Administration Turns Away Iranian Christians

The Trump administration has denied asylum to more than 100 Iranian Christians and other refugees who face possible persecution in their home country, despite White House promises to relieve the plight of religious minorities in the Middle East.

The group of refugees, mostly Christians along with other non-Muslims, have been stranded in Vienna for more than a year, waiting for final approval to resettle in the United States. Now they face possible deportation back to Iran, where rights advocates say they face potential retaliation or imprisonment by the regime in Tehran for seeking asylum in the United States.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has vowed action to alleviate the suffering of Christians in the region and the administration has condemned Tehran’s treatment of religious minorities. But critics say the decision on the Iranian Christians shows the administration had failed to live up to its own rhetoric. (Foreign Policy)

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 2nd, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From the New York Times – March 2, 2018:

• The North Pole has been warmer than parts of Europe this week.
A growing body of research suggests that, because of climate change, the warming Arctic is weakening the polar vortex, allowing cold air to escape, much like when you leave your refrigerator door open.
Snow, freezing rain and brutal winds paralyzed cities across Europe. Expect road, rail and air traffic to continue to be disrupted, although temperatures could rise slightly on some parts of the Continent.
But it’s not over yet: A storm that is moving north from the Iberian Peninsula is expected to worsen conditions in Britain and Ireland.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 2nd, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

By ANDREW RETTMAN

BRUSSELS, TODAY, 09:27

US plans to impose steel and aluminium tariffs risk prompting a wider trade war after the EU, China, and others vowed to retaliate.
“We will not sit idly while our industry is hit with unfair measures that put thousands of European jobs at risk,” European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday (1 March).
He said the EU would “react firmly” in “the next few days” with “countermeasures” that were compatible with World Trade Organisation rules.

He also indicated that US president Donald Trump’s “blatant … protectionism” risked doing wider harm to transatlantic relations.

“The EU has been a close security ally of the US for decades,” Juncker noted, after Trump ignored proposals by his own trade chief to exclude “friendly states” from the metals decision.

Trump said, earlier on Thursday, that steel importers would have to pay a 25 percent tariff and aluminium importers 10 percent after the measures entered into life next week.

Germany is the EU’s biggest steel exporter to the US and shipped 1.4 million tonnes there last year.

That figure is small compared to Canada and Brazil, which shipped around 5 million tonnes each to the US.

But VW Stahl, the German steel lobby, said Trump’s move threatened to flood the EU market with foreign steel when those countries diverted exports from the US.

“If the EU does not act, our steel industry will pay the bill for protectionism in the US. Europe is threatened by trade diversion by a new steel spill, in a situation where the import crisis in the EU market is far from over,” VW Stahl chief Hans Juergen Kerkhoff said, referring to global overcapacity in the sector.

With Canada, Brazil, and other steel exporters, such as China, also threatening retaliatory measures, Kerkhoff added that the risk of a broader trade war risked seeing EU exporters shut out of other markets as well.

“German supplies to other countries would also be affected, as the US measures would have imitation effects and thus an increase in global protectionism,” he said.

He spoke after Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland said “Canada will take responsive measures to defend its trade interests and workers”.

The US measures “overturn the international trade order,” Wen Xianjun, vice chairman of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, said, adding: “Other countries, including China, will [also] take relevant retaliatory measures.”

The Chinese reaction is expected to target US exports of soy beans as well as metals, highlighting the risk of a wider protectionist backlash around the world.

The Trump tariffs raise “risks of an all-out trade war, which could dampen economic growth,” the Australia & New Zealand Banking Group said in a note.

Trump made the announcement at a meeting with a dozen or so CEOs of US steel makers, including US Steel Corp and Arcelor Mittal, which stand to gain from his decision.

But the resulting hike in raw materials costs for US steel-using industries, such as energy companies, car makers, and the aerospace and construction sectors, which employ 80 times as many people as US steel makers, risked undoing any benefits for the American economy.

“We are urging the administration to avoid killing US jobs through a steel tariff that impacts pipelines,” said Andy Black, CEO of the Association of Oil Pipe Lines, a US pressure group.

The situation was quickly reflected on Wall Street, where shares in US steel firms rose by 7 percent on Thursday, while those in steel-users such as Ford, Caterpillar, and Boeing fell by 3 percent.

Shares in steel firms in China, Japan, and South Korea also fell on the news.

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And from The New York Times – March 2, 2018:

Major stock markets in the U.S. and Asia fell after President Trump announced stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum.
The European Union, Canada and others threatened to retaliate. The stability of the global trade system is at risk, our senior economics correspondent writes.
Mr. Trump’s announcement highlighted the dysfunction in the White House, which has not completed a legal review of the measures. The president’s chief economic adviser, who lobbied fiercely against the measures, threatened to quit.

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And from Trump’s Washington:

President Trump on March 1 announced tariffs on steel and aluminum. “Without steel and aluminum, your country is not the same,” Trump said.

President Trump on Thursday said he has decided to impose punishing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum in a major escalation of his trade offensive, disappointing Republican congressional leaders and inviting retaliation by U.S. trading partners.

Speaking at the White House, the president said he has decided on tariffs of 25 percent for foreign-made steel and 10 percent for aluminum.

“We’ll be imposing tariffs on steel imports and tariffs on aluminum imports,” the president said. “…You will have protection for the first time in a long while, and you’re going to regrow your industries.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 2nd, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


The Ultimate Blowback Universe, a Planet Boiling With Unintended Consequence.

By Tom Engelhardt in TomDispatch of 01 March 2018


The Ultimate Blowback Universe
A Planet Boiling With Unintended Consequences.

ou want to see “blowback” in action? That’s easy enough. All you need is a vague sense of how Google Search works. Then type into it phrases like “warmest years,” “rising sea levels,” “melting ice,” “lengthening wildfire season,” or “future climate refugees,” and you’ll find yourself immersed in the grimmest of blowback universes. It’s a world which should give that CIA term of tradecraft a meaning even the Agency never imagined for it.

But before I put you on this blowback planet of ours and introduce you to the blowback president presiding over it, I want to take a moment to remember Mr. Blowback himself.

And what a guy he was! Here’s how he described himself in the last piece he wrote for TomDispatch just months before his death in November 2010: “My own role these past 20 years has been that of Cassandra, whom the gods gave the gift of foreseeing the future, but also cursed because no one believed her.”

He wasn’t being immodest. He had, in many ways, seen the shape of things to come for what he never hesitated to call “the American empire,” including — in that 2010 piece — its decline. As he wrote then, “Thirty-five years from now, America’s official century of being top dog (1945-2045) will have come to an end; its time may, in fact, be running out right now. We are likely to begin to look ever more like a giant version of England at the end of its imperial run, as we come face to face with, if not necessarily to terms with, our aging infrastructure, declining international clout, and sagging economy.”

You know how — if you’re of a certain age at least — there are those moments when you go back to the books that truly mattered to you, the ones that somehow prepared you, as best anyone can be prepared, for the years to come. One I return to regularly is his. I’m talking about Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire.

The man who wrote that was Chalmers Johnson, a former CIA consultant and eminent scholar of modern Asian history, who would in that work characterize himself in his former life as a “spear-carrier for empire.”

Blowback was published in 2000 to next to no notice. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, however, it became a bestseller. There was so much to learn from it, starting with the very definition of blowback, a word he brought out of the secret world for the rest of us to consider. “The term ‘blowback,’ which officials of the Central Intelligence Agency first invented for their own internal use,” he wrote, “refers to the unintended consequences of policies that were kept secret from the American people. What the daily press reports as the malign acts of ‘terrorists’ or ‘drug lords’ or ‘rogue states’ or ‘illegal arms merchants’ often turn out to be blowback from earlier American operations.”

And if “unintended consequences” isn’t a supremely appropriate title under which to write the misbegotten history of the years that followed 9/11 in the era of the self-proclaimed “sole superpower” or, as American politicians love to say, “the indispensable nation,” what is? Of course, in the best blowback fashion, al-Qaeda’s attacks of that day hit this country like literal bolts from the blue — even the top officials of George W. Bush’s administration were stunned as they scurried for cover. Of all Americans, they at least should have been better prepared, given the warning offered to the president only weeks earlier by that blowback center of operations, the CIA. (“Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” was the title of the presidential daily brief of August 6, 2001.)

Osama bin Laden would prove to be the poster boy of blowback. His organization, al-Qaeda, would be nurtured into existence by an all-American urge to give the Soviet Union its own Vietnam, what its leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, would later call its “bleeding wound,” and to do so in, of all places, Afghanistan. In October 2001, 12 years after the Red Army limped out of that country in defeat and a decade after the Soviet Union imploded, in part thanks to that very wound, Washington would launch a “Global War on Terror.” It would be the Bush administration’s response to al-Qaeda’s supposedly inexplicable attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. The Taliban’s Afghanistan would be its first target and so would begin America’s second Afghan War, a conflict now almost 17 years old with no end in sight. Yet in our American world, remarkably few connections are ever made between the present war and that blowback moment against the Soviets nearly 40 years ago. (Were he alive, Chalmers Johnson, who never ceased to make such connections, would have been grimly amused.)

Giving Imperial Overstretch New Meaning

Talk about the endless ramifications of blowback. It was bin Laden’s genius — for a mere $400,000 to $500,000 — to goad Washington into spending trillions of dollars across significant parts of the Islamic world fighting conflict after conflict, all of which only seemed to create yet more rubble, terror outfits, and refugees (who, in turn, have helped fuel yet more right-wing populist movements from Europe to Donald Trump’s America). Tell me it’s not a blowback world!

As it happened, bin Laden’s 2001 attacks brought official Washington not to its knees but to its deepest post-Cold War conviction: that the world was its oyster; that, for the first time in history, a single great power potentially had it all, a shot at everything, starting with Afghanistan, followed by Iraq, then much of the rest of the Middle East, and sooner or later the whole planet. In a post-Soviet world in which America’s leaders felt the deepest sense of triumphalism, the 9/11 attacks seemed like the ultimate insult. Who would dream of doing such a thing to the greatest power of all of time?

In an act of pure wizardry, bin Laden drew out of Bush, Cheney, and company their deepest geopolitical fantasies about the ability of that all-powerful country and, in particular, “the greatest force for freedom in the history of the world,” the U.S. military, to dominate any situation on Earth. The early months of 2003, when they were preparing to invade Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, may have been their ultimate hubristic moment, in which imagining anything other than success of a historic sort, not just in that country but far beyond it, was inconceivable.

Until then, never — except in Hollywood movies when the bad guy rubbed his hands with glee and cackled that the world was his — had any power truly dreamed of taking it all, of ruling, or at least directing, the planet itself. Even for a globalizing great power without rivals and wealthy almost beyond compare that would prove the ultimate in conceptual overstretch. Looking back, it’s easy enough to see that almost 17 years of ceaseless war and conflict across the Greater Middle East, Africa, and even parts of Asia, of massive destruction, of multiplying failed states, of burgeoning terror outfits, and of blowback of every sort, have given the old phrase, “biting off more than you can chew,” new geopolitical meaning.

Washington created what was, in effect, a never-ending blowback machine. In those years, while the distant wars went on and on (and terrors of every imaginable sort grew in this country), the United States was transformed in a remarkable, if not yet fully graspable, fashion. The national security state now reigns supreme in Washington; generals (or retired generals) are perched (however precariously) atop key parts of the civilian government; a right-wing populist, who rose to power in part on the fear of immigrants, refugees, and Islamic extremists, has his giant golden letters emblazoned on the White House (and a hotel just down Pennsylvania Avenue that no diplomat or lobbyist with any sense would dare not patronize); the police have been militarized; borders have been further fortified; spy drones have been dispatched to American skies; and the surveillance of the citizenry and its communications have been made the order of the day. Meanwhile, the latest disturbed teen, armed with a military-style AR-15 semi-automatic, has just perpetrated another in a growing list of slaughters in American schools. In response, the president, Republican politicians, and the National Rifle Association have all plugged the arming of teachers and administrators, as well as the “hardening” of schools (including the use of surveillance systems and other militarized methods of “defense”), and so have given phrases like “citadel of learning” or “bastion of education” new meaning. In these same years, various unnamed terrors and the weaponization of the most psychically distraught parts of the citizenry under the rubric of the Second Amendment and the sponsorship of the NRA, the Republican Party, and most recently Donald Trump have transformed this country into something like an armed camp.

It seems, in other words, that in setting out to take the world, in some surprising fashion this country both terrorized and conquered itself. For that, Osama bin Laden should certainly be congratulated but so should George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and all their neoconservative pals, not to speak of David Petraeus, James Mattis, John Kelly, H.R. McMaster, and a host of other generals of America’s losing wars.

Think of it this way: at what looked like the height of American power, Washington managed to give imperial overstretch a historically new meaning. Even on a planet without other great power rivals, a Pax Americana in the Greater Middle East, no less the full-scale garrisoning and policing of significant parts of the rest of the globe proved far too much for the sole superpower, no matter how technologically advanced its military or powerful and transnational its economy. As it turned out, that urge to take everything would prove the perfect launching pad for this country’s decline.

Someday (if there is such a day), this record will prove a goldmine for historians of imperial power and blowback. And yet all of this, even the fate of this country, should be considered relatively minor matters, given the ultimate blowback to come.

Humanity Nailed to a Cross of Coal

There was, in fact, another kind of blowback underway and the American empire was clearly a player in it, too, even a major one, but hardly the only one. Every place using fossil fuels was involved. This form of blowback threatens not just the decline of a single great imperial power but of humanity itself, of the very environment that nurtured generation after generation of us over these thousands of years. By definition, that makes it the worst form of blowback imaginable.

What I have in mind, of course, is climate change or global warming. In a way, you could think of it as the story of another kind of superpower and how it launched the decline of us all. On a planetary scale, the giant corporations (and national fuel companies) that make up global Big Energy have long been on the hunt for every imaginable reserve of fossil fuels and for ways to control and exploit them. The oil, natural gas, and coal such outfits extracted fueled industrial society, still-spreading car cultures, and consumerism as we know it.

Over most of the years such companies were powering human development, the men who ran them and their employees had no idea that the greenhouse gasses released by the burning of fossil fuels were heating the atmosphere and the planet’s waters in potentially disastrous ways. By the late 1970s and early 1980s, however, like scientists elsewhere, those employed by ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company, had become aware of the phenomenon (as would those of other energy companies). That meant the men who ran Exxon and other major firms recognized in advance of most of the rest of us just what kind of blowback the long-term burning of oil, natural gas, and coal was going to deliver: a planet ever less fit for human habitation.

They just didn’t think those of us in the non-scientific community should know about it and so, by the 1990s, they were already doing their damnedest to hide it from us. However, when scientists not in their employ started to publicize the new reality in a significant way, as the heads of some of the most influential and wealthiest corporations on Earth they began to invest striking sums in the fostering of a universe of think tanks, lobbyists, and politicians devoted to what became known as climate-change denial. Between 1998 and 2014, for instance, Exxon would pump $30 million into just such think tanks and similar groups, while donating $1.87 million directly to congressional climate-change deniers.

It doesn’t take a lot of thought to realize that, from its inception, this was the functional definition of the worst crime in history. In the name of record profits and the comfortable life (as well as corporate sustainability in an unendingly fossil-fuelized world), their CEOs had no hesitation about potentially dooming the human future to a hell on Earth of rising temperatures, rising sea levels, and ever more extreme weather; they gave, that is, a new, all-encompassing meaning to the term genocide. They were prepared, if necessary, to take out the human species.

But I suspect even they couldn’t have imagined quite how successful they would be when it came to bringing the sole superpower of the post-9/11 world on board. In a sense, the two leading forms of blowback of the twenty-first century — the imperial and fossil-fuelized ones — came to be focused in a single figure. After all, it’s hard to imagine the rise to power of Donald Trump in a world in which the Bush administration had decided not to invade either Afghanistan or Iraq but to treat its “Global War on Terror” as a localized set of police actions against one international criminal and his scattered group of followers.

As it happened, one form of blowback from the disastrous wars that were meant to create the basis for a Pax Americana planet helped to produce the conditions and fears at home that put Donald Trump in the White House.

Or put another way, in the face of the evidence produced by essentially every knowledgeable scientist on Earth, on a planet already feeling the early and increasingly extreme results of a warming atmosphere, millions of Americans elected a man who claimed it was all a “hoax,” who was unabashedly dedicated above anything else (except perhaps his “big, fat, beautiful wall” on the Mexican border) to a fossil-fuelized American planet, and who insisted that he would run an administration that would make this country “energy dominant” again. They elected, in other words, a representative of the very set of lobbyists, climate deniers, and politicians who had, in essence, been created by Big Energy. Or put another way, they voted for a man who pledged to bring back the dying American coal industry and was prepared to green-light oil and natural gas pipelines of whatever sort, open the nation’s coastal waters to drilling, and lift restrictions of every kind on energy companies, while impeding the development of alternative sources of energy and other attempts to mitigate climate change. As the ultimate President Blowback, Donald Trump promptly filled every last faintly relevant post in his administration with climate-change deniers and allies of Big Energy, while abandoning the Paris climate accord.

In other words, President Donald Trump has dedicated himself to nailing humanity to a cross of coal.

Where’s Chalmers Johnson now that we really need him?

Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The United States of Fear as well as a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture. He is a fellow of the Nation Institute and runs TomDispatch.com. His latest book is Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World. His next book, A Nation Unmade by War (Dispatch Books), will be published in May.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Alfred McCoy’s In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power, as well as John Dower’s The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II, John Feffer’s dystopian novel Splinterlands, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt’s Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

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[Note for TomDispatch readers: Just another of my small reminders as 2018 becomes the year from hell. At our donation page, you can, as ever, find a set of outstanding books on that very hell ready to be signed and personalized in return for a donation of at least $100 to this website ($125 if you live outside the United States). Among them are historian Alfred McCoy’s hit Dispatch Book, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power; John Feffer’s dystopian thriller, Splinterlands; Rebecca Gordon’s American Nuremberg; and my own Shadow Government. Check out our donation page for the details and keep in mind that this website relies on your never-ending generosity to stay afloat in rough seas.

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Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The United States of Fear as well as a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture. He is a fellow of the Nation Institute and runs TomDispatch.com. His latest book is Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World. His next book, A Nation Unmade by War (Dispatch Books), will be published in May.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Alfred McCoy’s In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power, as well as John Dower’s The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II, John Feffer’s dystopian novel Splinterlands, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt’s Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 14th, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The School will take place at St Hilda’s College, Oxford and will address key elements of the new economy transformation, exploring the cutting edge methods and policy applications in ecological economics, with a particular focus on Green Economy for Countries, Cities and Regions: Ecosystems, Economy, Policy. With a clear sustainable development focus, it will draw on the expertise of a range of disciplines: economics, ecology, physics, environmental sciences, finance, politics, international relations, sociology, psychology, complex systems theory, etc. to address the current challenges: climate change, biodiversity loss, resource depletion, water shortages, social cohesion and achieving sustainability.

The course will be composed of theoretical and applied modules and will address the key elements of the environment-economy interaction: the foundations of ecological economics, methodological approaches, finance for the green economy, ecological conflicts, the story of REDD, economic instruments, regulation, environmental taxes, environmentally extended input-output analysis, multiple criteria methods, as well as renewable energy, regenerative cities, ecosystem service and case studies from around the world.

The Summer School will feature interactive simulation games.

Our lecturers will include the leaders in the field of ecological economics: Dr Joachim Spangenberg (SERI Germany), Prof. Juan Martinez-Alier (Autonomous University of Barcelona), Dr Stanislav Shmelev (Environment Europe Ltd), Prof. Robert Ayres (INSEAD), Dr Stefan Speck (European Environment Agency), Ambassador Kevin Conrad (Coalition for Rainforest Nations), Prof. Dave Elliott (The Open University), Prof. Herbert Girardet (The Club of Rome), Prof. Irina Shmeleva (Institute of Sustainable Development Strategies).

The course is designed for multiple points of entry and could be helpfulfor PhD students, government experts, representatives of international organizations and business. The course will give participants an opportunity to explore key methodologies for ecological-economic analysis and to apply these to various case studies. Oxford and SummerWinter Schools in Ecological Economics organized by Environment Europe attracted participants from over 52 countries, including Canada, USA, Mexico, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, UK, France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden, Bosnia, Latvia, Ghana, Nigeria, Jordan, Sri Lanka, China, India, Taiwan, and Australia, including UNEP, UNDP, IUCN, OECD, ILO, DEFRA staff, NGOs, academia and business, including Shell and Deloitte.

In case we receive United Nations, European Commission or other funding for the School, there could be limited opportunities for scholarships for young talented academics and participants from the developing world.
We are looking forward to welcoming you to Oxford.

With best regards,


Dr Stanislav E. Shmelev
Director, Environment Europe Ltd, Oxford, UK
Environment Europe Limited is incorporated in the United Kingdom under the Companies Act 2006 as a private company, Reg. 9328647

Tel: +44(0) 7729 733366
E-mail:  director at environmenteurope.org

Dear Colleagues,
Environment Europe is pleased to announce that there are still places available at the Oxford Spring School in Ecological Economics will take place 02 – 08 April 2018. Please apply before the deadline of 01 March 2018.
 environmenteurope.org/education/1…

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 3rd, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Nunes: House panel looking at State Dept. involvement in Russia probe
BY MAX GREENWOOD – THE HILL – 02/02/18.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) revealed Friday that Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee would examine other agencies, including the State Department, after releasing a controversial memo alleging surveillance abuses.

Speaking on Fox News just hours after Republicans on the committee released a memo alleging surveillance abuses by the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ), Nunes said the panel was moving to “phase two” of its investigation.

“We are in the middle of what I call phase two of our investigation, which involves other departments, specifically the State Department and some of the involvement that they had in this,” Nunes said.

“That investigation is ongoing and we continue work towards finding answers and asking the right questions to try to get to the bottom of what exactly the State Department was up to in terms of this Russia investigation.”

Nunes was asked whether his panel would be releasing additional memos as part of their probe after the White House declassified information to allow the release of a memo alleging that senior FBI and DOJ officials abused their powers to spy on members of President Trump’s campaign.

It’s unclear what role, if any, the State Department played in the law enforcement investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign collaborated with Russia amid Moscow’s efforts to sway the 2016 presidential election.

The decision to release the Nunes memo regarding the FBI and DOJ was highly controversial. Republicans on the Intelligence panel argued that it was necessary, because it shed light on the origins of the Russia investigation, as well as potential abuses of power by federal law enforcement officials.

Democrats and the FBI, however, voiced concerns about the memo’s accuracy, contending that Republicans omitted key facts that would have placed the information in the proper context.

The push to release the memo was largely driven by Nunes, who has been accused by Democrats of trying to undermine and discredit special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling in order to protect Trump.

SustainabiliTank thinks that the above story is what caused the fall of
Stock markets in the US this week and overseas as well. Investors are
shaken by this infighting in Washington where Congress pits Government Departments one against another. THIS IS NOT SUSTAINABLE AND SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE AND CRASH.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 3rd, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From Gaylor Montmasson-Clair  gaylor at tips.org.za
January 31, 2018

Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS) and the Green Economy Coalition (GEC) invite you to the following Development Dialogue on the theme of ‘Electricity beyond the national grid’.

The event will take place in Pretoria, South Africa on Thursday 22 February 2018 (9:30-13.00). Please see below and attached for more details.

Looking forward to welcoming you at TIPS.

Best regards,

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 3rd, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From Alexander Zahar,
Wuhan University, Research Institute on Environmental Law.
January 29, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

The Research Institute of Environmental Law at Wuhan University’s School of Law is pleased to announce a one-day Writers’ Workshop to be held at Wuhan University, China, in mid-September 2018. Please see the attachment for details.

I also take this opportunity to encourage graduating LLM/Master’s students interested in environmental law to apply for the fully-funded PhD positions at the Institute (a total of six in 2018). The closing date for these is March 2018.

Please email me at the earliest about your interest in the Writers’ Workshop or for more information on the PhD scholarships.

Alexander Zahar
Luojia Distinguished Professor and Assistant Director
Research Institute of Environmental Law
Wuhan University, China
Email: zahar.edu@gmail.com

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 27th, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Saudi firm wins deal for Chilean solar-wind project.

Unit of Abdul Latif Jameel Energy has been awarded contract for project to power nearly 250,000 homes.

arabianbBUSINESS — aB by staff writer

Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), part of Saudi-based Abdul Latif Jameel Energy, has been awarded a 540 GWh hybrid solar-wind project in Chile.

The company said in a statement that the project will power nearly a quarter of a million homes with clean energy for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

This is Abdul Latif Jameel Energy’s first hybrid solar-wind project and will see a combination of photovoltaic and wind energy technologies deliver clean energy.

The project is located between the Central and Northern part of Chile, and will generate enough energy to power around 223,973 households and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 221,400 tons of CO2 per year once operational.

Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel, chairman and CEO of Abdul Latif Jameel, said: “Powering nearly a quarter of a million homes with clean energy for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, shows why renewable energy is becoming more and more attractive.

“Saudi Arabia has already identified wind power an important future energy source, such with the Domat al-Jandal project in al-Jouf Province, and made it a central a pillar of the National Renewable Energy Program.

“Wind power is the natural step in our growing portfolio in the renewable energy sector, and we are looking at the potential of more locations for wind energy projects.”

Abdul Latif Jameel has also recently announced it will power more than 120,000 homes in Jordan, agreed the sale of the one of the largest photovoltaic projects in Latin America, secured a deal for Lilyvale Solar Farm that will power 45,000 homes in Australia, and launched Almar Water Solutions.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 26th, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Cape Town is set to become the first major world city to run out of water
Day Zero, when the taps run dry, is just around the corner.

E.A. CRUNDEN
JAN 25, 2018

South Africa’s second-largest city is set to become the first major world hub to exhaust its water supply, once its reservoirs dry up in mid-to-late April. At least 4 million people will run out of water when that happens.

Residents of Cape Town are facing an increasingly dire situation: in less than three months, they will need to stand in line to receive individual allotments of water. At present, those living in the city have been asked to limit themselves to 87 liters of water per day, or 23 gallons. On February 1, that number will drop to 50 liters (13 gallons). For context, the average American uses around 100 gallons of water per day — more than seven times what Capetonians will be asked to use.

Plans for “Day Zero” — the day when taps will run dry — are even more strict, with each person limited to 6.6 gallons of water. Police and other officials will be on hand to direct crowds and contain anticipated protests and backlash. For many in Cape Town, the logistics could grow impossibly complicated, with officials expecting insufficient water for toilets, and some residents — including the very young, elderly, and disabled — unable to physically wait in line before carting gallons of water back to their homes.

That stark reality has been met with a range of reactions.

“Until the end of last year, even until Cape Town water restrictions were at ‘Level 5,’ people in general were calm,” said Shravya Reddy, a climate change adviser at Pegasys Consulting, who is based in Cape Town. Reddy told ThinkProgress that it wasn’t until this month, when the alert level reached Level 6, that many Capetonians actively began to worry.

“I think the idea of leaving one’s home, standing in line, and carrying buckets for the 25 liter quota — the associated concerns about law and order at such collection points and overall logistical challenges of this proposed system — has now sparked some real panic,” she said.

Cape Town’s crisis is years in the making. An enduring drought brought on by three years of below-average rainfall is a major underlying factor, but years of unprecedented growth coupled with a breakdown in city planning have exacerbated the problem. Adherence to city advisories has also gone unheeded; only 39 percent of Capetonians complied with water restrictions in January, forcing officials to shift Day Zero predictions from April 21 to April 12. If that trend continues, taps could run dry even sooner.

Official restrictions have spurred outrage across the city. Moratoriums on water usage have led some to recycle toilet water, while others have opted for shorter hair in order to cope with one-and-a-half-minute shower recommendations. Restrictions on lawn watering and refilling swimming pools have been especially challenging for Cape Town’s large tourism industry.

Concern has led Capetonians to invest in large 25-liter plastic jugs of water along with a number of other water management devices. All come with their own environmental implications, but for residents, they’re rapidly becoming a necessary last-ditch resort.

Cape Town’s problems aren’t unique. The Brazilian city of São Paulo came close to the same fate three years ago, when its 20 million residents grappled with daily water shut-offs in response to rapidly shrinking reservoirs. Strict measures and water brought on by the El Niño climate phenomenon ultimately helped the drought, but São Paulo remains an at-risk city. Others could see the same fate: experts have expressed concern about major global hubs like Tokyo and London, as well as U.S. cities like Miami.

While climate change has played a significant role in Cape Town’s problems, a lack of preparation on the part of city officials has also drawn the ire of local residents. Warnings about water scarcity go back more than a decade, but residents say the local government failed to take action.

Whatever factors are to blame for the crisis, it’s pretty clear who will disproportionately bear the brunt of Day Zero.

“For the past seven years, we’ve seen a huge increase in the volumes of tourists visiting Cape Town,” a resident named Yves wrote in an open letter to IOL, a South African publication. “A large number of hotels have been built. What about the housing projects for underprivileged communities?”

Reddy agrees, telling ThinkProgress those already flush with cash will largely be able to escape the crisis.

“No matter what the circumstances, people with higher income levels will fare better when water is cut off,” she said. “[They have the] ability to buy more new clothes as a response to laundry reduction, ordering takeout food as a response to less cooking and dishwashing, leaving the city for long stretches of time to escape elsewhere. People from under-resourced and low-income communities already are at a disadvantage from lack of access to adequate information — since much of what’s trickling out is through online communications — and lack of disposable income to buy stocks of drinking water in advance.”

For many disadvantaged communities, water rationing is already a way of life. In a series of tweets on Wednesday, one South African argued that Cape Town’s residents are experiencing something the rest of the country is already very familiar with.

“I used to wash my face, wash my armpits, brush my teeth and wash my hands with a single cup of water […]. I used to watch my grandfather stand in front of the house every morning to [do] exactly the same,” Mail & Guardian columnist Khaya Dlanga wrote. “It’s not amazing that one can use little water for so much. What amazed me when I went to the city was how much water was used. It was shocking to me.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 25th, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

25 January 2018
5 countries driving the energy revolution.

Africa, Asia, Europe, Worldwide, Finance, Sustainable Energy, Tech. & Innovation, Sustainable Innovation Forum, Sustainable Investment Forum.

25 January 2018
5 countries driving the energy revolution

? Africa, Asia, Europe, Worldwide, Finance, Sustainable Energy, Tech. & Innovation, Sustainable Innovation Forum, Sustainable Investment Forum

With the world going through the biggest energy transformation since the industrial revolution, there are well-known and hidden heroes leading the way during this paradigm shift.

Renewable energy comprises a fundamental of the global energy landscape transformation. More than 170 countries have established national renewable energy targets and more than 150 countries worldwide have formulated policies to catalyse clean energy investment.

Which countries hold the ‘leader in renewable energy’ title, though? It depends on the perspective. Some countries are considered leaders after having incorporated a high share of renewable energy sources to their energy mix. Some lead in clean energy investment, and others in technological progress contribution.

Here are five countries which have helped lead the way in this field.

FOR OVERALL ACHIEVEMENTS CHINA is the CHAMPION:

China is unanimously considered a global leader in investment in clean energy technologies. Not only is the country the largest investor in domestic renewable energy projects, but for the past few years it has become a global leader in clean energy technologies, including battery storage applications and electric vehicles.

Despite the fact that the country is still heavily reliant on coal, renewable energy sources have gained an increasing share of China’s energy mix. In 2016, China added 77GW of solar and 149GW of wind power. It is forecast that China’s share in global renewable energy deployment between 2017 and 2022 will account for 42 percent for solar, 35 percent for hydro and 40 percent for wind.

At the same time, in 2017 foreign investment in large-scale overseas clean energy projects exceeded $44 billion, backed by really strong institutional, financial and business structures to support its domestic and overseas ambitions.

On top of domestic and overseas investment in renewable energy, China has fostered a strong manufacturing industry to drive this development and translate climate change mitigation policies into significant domestic economic development. Currently, Chinese solar manufacturers account for approximately 60 percent of global solar cell production. This means that domestic policies play a crucial role in the worldwide renewable energy development and further decrease costs.

DENMARK – FOR PIONEERING WIND ENERGY and overall EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP:

Denmark is a pioneer country in the development of wind energy worldwide. In 2017, wind energy broke yet another record in the country and supplied 43 percent of its entire electricity needs. Out of all OECD countries, Denmark has had the highest per capita wind energy production for more than 15 years.

The country has set very ambitious climate policies, aiming to source more than 50 percent of its energy needs from renewable energies by 2030 and become 100 percent fossil-fuel free by 2050. However, renewable energy growth rates indicate that the targets will be met significantly earlier. Current forecasts project that in 2020 renewable energy sources, including wind, solar and biomass will be sufficient to supply more than 80 percent of the country’s electricity demand.

In 2017, the World Bank declared Denmark as the world leader in green energy according to its Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy (RISE) tool. On a scale from 1-100, Denmark scored 86 points in energy efficiency and 94 points in renewable energy.

Most importantly, along with the wide domestic wind energy diffusion, the country has developed one of the strongest wind technology development hubs stimulating international growth. In its latest global report, the Global Wind Council reported that Denmark’s push accounts for 40 percent of global wind power penetration levels. In 2015, the export of energy technology accounted for 11 percent of the country’s total export goods, placing Denmark the number 1 country in the EU in terms of energy technology exports.

Denmark hosted the first ever experimental offshore wind power plant as a demonstration project 25 years ago, triggering the development of a technology which has now grown beyond expectations.

KENYA AND INDIA FOR DIFFERENT FORMS OF SOLAR ENERGY:

Kenya is one of the aforementioned hidden heroes of renewable energy. The country has an estimated 70 percent connectivity rate to electricity, with the government aiming for universal access by 2020. For the past few years, Kenya has created a vibrant market for off-grid solar, creating a demonstrable successful business case which showcases the advantages solar energy offers not only for carbon emissions mitigation but also for energy access substituting expensive, isolated diesel generators.

Kenya is Africa’s leading market for off-grid solar installations. The efforts have been supported by multiple international development institutions, including the World Bank, the German development agency GIZ and the African Development Bank (AfDB). Ever since the launch of Kenya’s national policy to secure electricity access to its rural parts, solar mini-grids have provided electricity to more than 30 percent of those who were living in remote locations.

The initiative and the support has helped create a hub of start-ups and energy innovators including energy companies specialising in the development of mini-grids, as well as other innovative appliances for mobile charging, cooking, and lighting. For example, the solar lantern market grew by over 200 percent between 2009 and 2013, with more than 1,500 small and medium retailers now selling them.

One of the most popular products is the pay-as-you-go business model, with locals offering a deposit to contribute to the development of the mini-grid and reassuring project developers that there will be demand.

Due to the success of the World Bank’s ‘Lighting Africa’ off-grid lighting programme, similar initiatives have seen significant growth in Ghana, Ethiopia, and Tanzania now known as the ‘pico-solar’ sector.

India is a rapidly growing economy which accommodating a 1.34 billion growing population- a figure slightly smaller than China. Energy will be crucial in the fulfilment of the country’s development ambition and future energy demand is projected to account for 25 percent of global energy demand. In other words, what happens in India will affect the trajectory of the global energy economy.

Luckily, India seems determined to cover a wide share of this energy demand with clean energies. Although coal still accounts for 70 percent of the country’s energy mix, India aims to raise renewable energy capacity from current 58GW to 175GW by 2022. IEA is optimistic that within the coming years, renewable energy capacity will more than double indeed surpassing the accumulated expansion within the EU for the first time.

India’s adoption of auctions has given birth to the most competitive renewables market in the world. Due to increased energy demand, power project developers have embarked on a race to compete for the lower auction price contributing to crucial cost reductions. In 2016, it received bids to provide 10 times as much power as tendered.

This response made the government reduce its coal ambitions and increase the share of renewables. As a result of cost benefits, one state after the other are decommissioning coal-fired power plants and are planning solar and wind projects instead.

In addition, India’s plans to launch a national floating solar power programme- a world’s first, aiming to add at least 10 GW over the next three years is expected to boost the next generation of solar technology.

Editor’s extra pick: Iceland

Iceland is mostly known for the breath-taking natural scenery. This abundant natural beauty, though, does not only offer aesthetic advantages to its proud citizens and adventurous visitors but it also allows the country to hold one of the highest records of renewable energy penetration to the national energy mix and the highest among European countries.

Currently, geothermal, hydro and wind power provide 100 percent of Iceland’s electricity needs. Almost 75 percent is supplied by hydro and the rest from geothermal energy. Nevertheless, more than 90 percent of its demand for hot water and heat are provided with an extensive district heating system powered mainly through geothermal energy. In 2016, Iceland impressively sourced 76 percent of its total energy needs with renewable energy to support its 300,000 population- a powerful example illustrating the potency of the energy revolution.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 18th, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Net Neutrality Appeal, Barcelona Goes Open-Source.

January 18, 2018
New Economy Roundup  araz at neweconomy.net via sg.actionnetwork.org

This week we’re talking about the Net Neutrality appeal; why Finland has more coop members than citizens.

The CODFATHER: After a corrupt fisherman worked to disenfranchise small-scale cod-farmers of New Bedford, NEC member Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance worked to have him stopped and convicted…and the story made it to Netflix. Read more about the show “Cod is Dead” here.

Be A Localist: After discovering the city of Phoenix was offering major chain stores massive tax subsidies while driving out small businesses, a Phoenix record shop owner rallied her neighbors to fix a system that was failing them. They reintroduced people to their towns, showed them what they can buy locally, and dispelled the myth that it’s more expensive. Read more about their work here.

Net Neutrality Appeal: The push to reinstate net neutrality is being fought on multiple fronts, but as of this week, 21 states filed lawsuits to appeal the repeal. While the Senate is one vote away from a repeal, the Republican-held House would also need to vote before the FCC decision can be undone. Read more.
Solidarity Economies Abroad

Open-Sourced: The city of Barcelona is ditching Microsoft in favor of Linux and other open-source technologies.

Barcelona became the first municipality to join the European campaign: “Public Money, Public Code“ – an initiative started by advocates who believe that software funded publicly should be free.

Cooperation Nation: There are more member-owners of co-operative enterprises in Finland than there are people. What can the rest of the world learn from the country where the average adult is a member of at least two co-ops? Read how they make cooperation a priority here.

Catalan Cooperative: The world watched as Catalan held historic elections last fall, but a project eight years in the making—Catalan Integral Cooperative—shows, citizens want more than independence, they want to be self-sufficient. CIC is made up of hundreds of people including 400 makers—of food, materials, and more. “(The cooperative) is explicitly, deliberately, about the long term goal of replacing both capitalism and control by the state… they are taking control over their own fate, setting up their own productive arrangements, food supply systems, warehouses.” Read more about their work here.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 18th, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Norway’s government goes green, keeps Lofoten free of oil drilling.
Coalition government expands to include the Liberal Party.
That gave a greener political platform.
By Thomas Nilsen

The Independent Barents Observer,
January 14, 2018.

Controversies about possible opening the waters outside Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja in northern is put on halt. The areas will remain off-limits, the three parties in the new, but still minority, government announced on Sunday.

Oil companies have been eager to drill, but opposition is strong, arguing the values of the important fisheries and tourism in the area.

According to WWF, the water off Lofoten is breeding area for 70 percent of all fish caught in Norwegian waters in the north.

Estimates by the Ministry of Oil and Energy claims Lofoten to hold 1,3 billion barrels of oil equivalent. The industry says the value of the oil could represent as much as $65 billion.

Politically, Norway’s government goes from being blue-blue to become blue-green. “The [political] platform paves the way for how we can manage to create a sustainable welfare society and a safer Norway, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said at a press conference. She represents the Conservative Party that has been in power together with the Progress Party since 2013.

It is not yet clear which possible minister posts the Liberal Party will get in the broadened government.

Additional to pushing the oil industry away from the pristine waters near Lofoten archipelago, no drilling will either take place near Jan Mayen in the Norwegian Sea or near the ice-edge in the northern Barents Sea, the agreed political platform reads:

14.01.2018 – Høyres kommunikasjonsavdeling TwitterFacebook
Les den nye regjeringsplattformen her

-Vårt felles mål er at Norge skal være et land med muligheter for alle. Plattformen tar utgangspunkt i hvordan vi skal klare å skape et bærekraftig velferdssamfunn og et tryggere Norge, sier statsminister Erna Solberg under en pressekonferanse søndag ettermiddag.

Godt samarbeid
-Etter nesten to uker med forhandlinger om ny regjeringsplattform er partiene nå kommet til enighet.
Jeg er glad for det gode samarbeidet som nå tegner seg. Det har vært intensivt og hardt arbeid de to siste ukene. Vi har spilt hverandre gode og funnet løsninger sammen. Det har vært politikk på sitt beste, sier Solberg.

Seks hovedutfordringer
Gjennom samtalene har Høyre, Fremskrittspartiet og Venstre oppsummert hvilke seks utfordringer som må løses for at Norge også i fremtiden skal være verdens beste land å bo i.

Vi skal omstille norsk økonomi for å skape vekst, nye arbeidsplasser og sikre flere ben å stå på.
Oppfylle Norges klimaforpliktelser
Skape et inkluderende arbeidsliv
Sikre gode og bærekraftige velferdsordninger
Redusere fattigdom og utenforskap
Gjennomføre et integreringsløft
Det vil også være viktig å arbeide for å skape et tryggere Norge. Vi må styrke samfunnssikkerheten. Norge skal fortsatt være et land som bidrar til å løse globale utfordringer.

Bred borgerlig plattform
For Høyre er det viktig å bygge et bredt borgerlig samarbeid. Dette er ikke en flertallsregjering, men vi bygger nå en bredere borgerlig plattform.

-Jeløya-plattformen bygger videre på de mange enighetene våre partier har stått sammen om de siste årene. KrF har valgt å ikke bli en del av den nye regjeringen. Likevel bygger vi på enighetene fra Nydalen og i Stortinget, utdyper Solberg.

I mange land ser vi et mer polarisert politisk landskap, og at partier vegrer seg for å ta ansvar. Det vi nå gjør er å finne felles løsninger som er bra for Norge og bra for folk.
Det gir et godt grunnlag for arbeidet fremover.

-Vi inviterer Stortinget til samarbeid om å skape et bærekraftig velferdssamfunn, sier Erna Solberg avslutningsvis.

Plattformen i korte trekk:
Skape flere jobber:

Det må bli lettere å skape nye arbeidsplasser og mer lønnsomt å investere i norske bedrifter. Norge trenger flere ben å stå på økonomisk, derfor må vi skape nye jobber i flere næringer. Vårt nye arbeidsliv må være grønt, smart og nyskapende.

En H/Frp/V-regjering vil blant annet:

Fortsette å redusere skattenivået.
Øke bunnfradraget og rabatten for arbeidende kapital i formueskatten.
Legg til rette for ansattes medeierskap ved å Styrke den generelle ordningen for gunstig kjøp og tildeling av aksjer og opsjoner i egen bedrift.
Evaluere skattefunnordningen og vurdere forbedringer.
Fortsette å redusere næringslivet kostnader ved å forenkle rapportering, lover og regler. Målet er reduserte kostnader på 10 mrd. kroner i perioden 2017-2021.
Vurdere hvordan staten kan bidra til at lønnsomme prosjekter har tilgang til kapital, herunder vurdere ordninger knyttet til såkornfond/presåkornfond.
Videreutvikle Katapult-ordningen for å stimulere til mer og raskere innovasjon, samt utvikling og deling av kompetanse.
Legge til rette for testfasiliteter for utvikling og bruk av ny teknologi i alle næringer.
Arbeide for å utvikle havnæringene.
Styrke Norge som sjømatnasjon og sikre god markedsadgang for norske produkter.
Utvikle norsk næringsliv gjennom satsing på klimateknologi som kan være lønnsom over tid.
Legge til rette for lønnsom produksjon av olje og gass, blant annet gjennom forutsigbare rammevilkår.
Kvalifisere flere for jobb:

Det må skapes flere jobber og flere må kvalifiseres for jobbene. Et velfungerende arbeidsmarked er avgjørende for at hver enkelt skal kunne realisere sine drømmer og ambisjoner. Det må alltid lønne seg å jobbe. Flere må stå i arbeid lenger, og flere må inkluderes i arbeidslivet. Vårt arbeidsliv må også ha rom for mennesker med utenlands-klingende navn. For dem som ikke går til jobb, men ruller på jobb og for de som har hatt en krevende periode i livet sitt, og dermed fått hull i CV-en. Vi inviterer offentlig og privat sektor til en inkluderingsdugnad. Vi skal utvikle og forbedre velferdstjenestene slik at vi sikrer små forskjeller og den sosiale tilliten i samfunnet.

En H/Frp/V-regjering vil blant annet:

Iverksette en kompetansereform for at ingen skal gå ut på dato.
Styrke innsatsen mot langtidsledighet og ungdomsledighet **Videreføre og styrke effektive ordninger som lønnstilskudd og arbeidstrening i ordinære virksomheter for å hjelpe flere inn i arbeidslivet.
Ta initiativ til en inkluderingsdugnad for å få flere inn i arbeidslivet
Sette mål om at minst 5 prosent av nyansatte i staten skal være personer med nedsatt funksjonsevne eller ”hull i CV-en”.
Sørge for raskere og bedre helsehjelp, særlig innenfor psykisk helse.
Styrke samarbeidet med sosiale entreprenører, frivillige og andre aktører som kan bidra til at flere kommer i arbeid og aktivitet.
Tidlig innsats i skolen:

Kunnskap er grunnlaget for demokrati, verdiskaping og velferd. Barnehage og skole skal gi barna trygge rammer og bygge opp nødvendige ferdigheter til å realisere sine evner og ambisjoner. Regjeringen vil prioritere tidlig innsats i skolen for å sikre at de som sliter skal få hjelp tidlig, og mener at hver enkelt elev må gis kunnskap og ferdigheter til å gripe de muligheter fremtidens arbeidsliv byr på.

En H/Frp/V-regjering vil blant annet:

Prioritere tidlig innsats fra 1. til 4. klasse og ha som mål at ingen elever skal gå ut av grunnskolen uten å ha lært å lese, skrive og regne skikkelig.
Innføre plikt for skoler for å gi ekstra oppfølging til elever som strever med lesing, skriving og regning.
Ha mål om å gi alle skoler tilgang til lærerspesialister vedå gi 3 000 lærere mulighet til å bli lærerspesialister i skolen innen fem år
Ha som mål at alle lærere skal ha fordypning i fagene de underviser i. s
Sikre flere voksenpersoner i barnehagen gjennom en ansvarlig bemanningsnorm, og øke andeler pedagoger.
Styrke språkopplæringen i barnehagene.
Videreføre likebehandlingen av offentlige og private barnehager.
Skaffe flere lærlingeplasser, blant annet gjennom å bedre de økonomiske ordningene, stille klare krav til det offentlige om å ta inn lærlinger og jobbe sammen med fylkeskommuner og arbeidslivet.
Pasientens helsetjeneste:

Høyres ambisjon er å skape pasientens helsetjeneste. Hver enkelt pasient skal oppleve respekt og åpenhet i møte med helsetjenesten og slippe unødvendig ventetid. Ingen beslutninger skal tas om pasienten, uten pasienten. Det er et offentlig ansvar å sikre gode helse- og omsorgstjenester til alle. Høyre vil sørge for et godt samarbeid med ulike private aktører som bidrar til innovasjon, mangfold, kvalitet og valgfrihet i tjenestetilbudet. Helsekøene skal fortsatt reduseres. Tilbudet til de mest utsatte, særlig innen rus og psykisk helse, samt syke eldre må fortsatt styrkes.

En H/Frp/V-regjering vil blant annet:

Forbedre og modernisere fastlegeordningen, for å sikre god legedekning i hele landet.
Gi tilskudd til netto tilvekst av plasser i sykehjem og omsorgsboliger.
Innføre flere pakkeforløp for å sikre raskere og bedre helsehjelp, herunder for hjerneslag, smertebehandling, utmattelses, muskel- og skjelettlidelser, rus, psykisk helsevern og for ”kreftpasienter hjem”.
Utvide fritt behandlingsvalg til nye områder.
Gjennomføre en rusreform for å sikre et bedre tilbud til rusavhengige, der ansvaret for samfunnets reaksjon på bruk og besittelse av illegale rusmidler til egen bruk overføres fra justissektoren til helsesektoren.
Legge frem en opptrappingsplan for barn og unges psykiske helse.
Styrke tilbudet om habilitering og rehabilitering, slik at flere kan få hjelp til å mestre hverdag og jobb.
Målrettet innsats mot fattigdom:

Høyres mål er et samfunn med små forskjeller og muligheter for alle. Vi vil målrette innsatsen for å bekjempe fattigdom, spesielt blant barnefamilier. De viktigste virkemidlene vil være en inkluderingsdugnad for å få flest mulig i arbeid og et løft for psykisk helse og rusomsorg.

Videreføre redusert foreldrebetaling og gratis kjernetid i barnehage for barn av foreldre med lav inntekt.
Innføre ordninger med redusert foreldrebetaling og gratis halvdagsplass i SFO, tilsvarende ordningene i barnehage, for barn av foreldre med lav inntekt.
Tilby gratis barnehage til alle barn i integreringsmottak.
Legge til rette for at flere kan eie sin egen bolig, for eksempel ved i større grad å ta i bruk leie- til-eie-modellen i hele landet.
Arbeide for at alle barn og unge får delta på fritids- og kulturaktiviteter.
Styrke bostøtten for barnefamilier.
Gjøre det mer lønnsomt å jobbe, spesielt for personer med lave inntekter, blant annet ved å senke skatten på inntekt.
Forsvar og beredskap:

Statens viktigste oppgave er å sørge for innbyggerne trygghet og sikkerhet. Regjeringen mener at norsk sikkerhet best ivaretas gjennom internasjonalt samarbeid, forpliktende allianser, økt handel og dialog med flest mulig land. Stortingsforlikene om Langtidsplanen for Forsvaret (LTP) og Landmaktsproposisjonen danner grunnlaget for politikken på området.

En H/Frp/V-regjering vil blant annet:

Fortsette med en reell styrking av Forsvaret og sikre balanse mellom oppgaver, struktur og økonomi. I tråd med enigheten fra NATO-toppmøtet i Cardiff har regjeringen som mål å øke forsvarsbudsjettene i retning av å nå toprosentsmålet på sikt.
Opprettholde Norges NATO-forpliktelser, og sikre fortsatt norsk innflytelse i NATO gjennom aktiv deltakelse i politiske og militære fora.
Norge skal ta sitt internasjonale ansvar og støtte internasjonalt samarbeid blant annet gjennom NATO, EØS og FN.
Arbeide for å nå målet om 2 politifolk per 1000 innbygger i løpet av perioden.
Åpne for punktbevæpning på spesielt sårbare steder etter politifaglige vurderinger.
Fullføre beredskapssenteret på Taraldrud innen planlagt tid, i tråd med reguleringsplanen i samarbeid med lokalmiljøet og naboer.
Distriktspolitikk:

Regjeringen vil legge til rette for sterke, levende lokalsamfunn i hele landet.
Dette krever først og frem en politikk som fremmer verdiskapning og vekst, som gir flere trygge arbeidsplasser. Regjeringens politikk for å fremme kunnskap, innovasjon og næringsutvikling vil gi grundere og bedrifter i hele landet nye muligheter for vekst og utvikling.

Lokalsamfunn og deres folkevalgte skal få større frihet til å forme sin egen hverdag og samfunnsutvikling. Regjeringen vil blant annet;

Beholde ordningen med regionalt differensiert arbeidsgiveravgift der bedrifter i distriktene betaler en lavere avgift for sine ansatte.
Gi kommuner og fylker større myndighet og lokalt handlingsrom i arealpolitikken.
Gi kommuner og fylker utvidet forvaltningsansvar i verneområder.
Fortsette arbeidet med å forenkle utmarksforvaltningen gjennom samordning og digitalisering.
Revidere statlige planretningslinjer for strandsonen med sikte på mer differensiert forvaltning i spredt bebygde strøk, slik at det blir større lokal handlefrihet samtidig som man ivaretar rekreasjonsmuligheter og vernet av kulturlandskap.
Overføre oppgaver, makt og ansvar fra statlige myndigheter til lokale folkevalgte
Kommunereformen skal fortsette, og regionreformen skal gjennomføres
Arbeidet med lokalisering av statlige arbeidsplasser i hele landet skal fortsette, for å bidra til sterke arbeidsmarked og kompetansemiljø også utenfor de store byene.
Grønnere Norge:

Norge må omstille seg slik at vi når våre klimaforpliktelser og tar vare på naturen. Det må satses på ny grønn teknologi, forurenser må betale og vi må utvikle markeder for nullutslippsløsninger.

En H/Frp/V-regjering vil blant annet:

Kutte norske klimautslipp med 40 prosent i ikke-kvotepliktig sektor i samarbeid med EU. Innfasing av ny teknologi, teknologiutvikging og CO2-prising vil være hovedvirkemidler for å oppnå dette målet.
Videreføre arbeidet med CO2-fond for næringslivet.
Forsterke og profesjonalisere innsatsen mot marin forsøpling, ved blant annet å øke støtten til ulike former for oppryddingstiltak.
Legge til rette for samfunnsøkonomisk lønnsom produksjon av fornybar energi i Norge.
Legge til grunn at nye personbiler og lette varebiler skal være nullutslippskjøretøy i 2025.
Fortsette utbyggingen av effektive løsninger for kollektivtransport, gange og sykkel i byområdene gjennom etableringen av byvekstavtaler og belønningsordninger i tråd med NTP.

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Norway will ban oil drilling until at least 2021 in the ecologically sensitive Arctic waters off Lofoten, Vesterålen, and Senja, Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced January 14.

The new coalition government platform also protects territory near Jan Mayen, a volcanic island in the Arctic Ocean, and near the ice edge in the Barents Sea, the Barents Observer reports.

The Lofoten region is a breeding ground for 70% of the fish caught in the country’s northern region, according to WWF. Norway’s Ministry of Oil and Energy believes Lofoten holds 1.3 billion barrels of oil or equivalent, a resource the fossil industry values at US$65 billion.

“This is a big win for both people and planet,” said Silje Lundberg, head of Naturvernforbundet/Friends of the Earth Norway. “For years, the majority of the Norwegian people have been against oil drilling in these pristine areas, a majority that hasn’t been reflected in Parliament. Since 2001 we’ve fought off big oil six times—and we’ve won every single time.”

With public resistance on the rise, “I don’t think we’ll ever see an oil rig in operation outside the Lofoten Islands ever again,” Lundberg added.

“Politically, Norway’s government goes from being blue-blue to become blue-green,” the Observer states, as governing coalition negotiations continue. Solberg’s Conservatives have led Norway since 2013 with support from the right-wing populist Progress Party. But with its combined seat count reduced in parliamentary elections last September 11, the coalition—which still holds a minority of the 169 seats in the country’s Storting—reached out to the centrist Liberals. for an additional nine seats.

The three parties’ evolving political platform also extends tax exemptions for electric vehicles for as long as the government remains in office, in a country where half of all cars sold last year were hybrid or fully electric, and aims to decarbonize public transit by 2025.

“The platform paves the way for how we can manage to create a sustainable welfare society and a safer Norway,” Solberg told media Sunday.

The Lofoten Islands recently lent their name to a major international declaration, led by Oil Change International, in which more than 220 organizations from 55 countries affirm the “urgent responsibility and moral obligation of wealthy fossil fuel producers to lead in putting an end to fossil fuel development and to manage the decline of existing production.”

The declaration states that “a global transition to a low-carbon future is already well under way.” That means “continued expansion of oil, coal, and gas is only serving to hinder the inevitable transition, while at the same time exacerbating conflicts, fueling corruption, threatening biodiversity, clean water and air, and infringing on the rights of Indigenous Peoples and vulnerable communities.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 13th, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

New York City Just Declared War on the Oil Industry
By Bill McKibben, Guardian UK
13 January 2018

New York City Just Declared War on the Oil Industry
By Bill McKibben, Guardian UK
13 January 2018

The home of Wall Street announced on Wednesday that it will be divesting its massive pension fund from fossil fuels. That hits fossil fuel giants where it hurts.

Over the years, the capital of the fight against climate change has been Kyoto, or Paris – that’s where the symbolic political agreements to try and curb the earth’s greenhouse gas emissions have been negotiated and signed. But now, New York City vaulted to leadership in the battle.

On Wednesday, its leaders, at a press conference in a neighborhood damaged over five years ago by Hurricane Sandy, announced that the city was divesting its massive pension fund from fossil fuels, and added for good measure that they were suing the five biggest oil companies for damages. Our planet’s most important city was now at war with its richest industry. And overnight, the battle to save the planet shifted from largely political to largely financial.

That shift had been under way for a long time, of course. The divestment campaign, which my organization 350.org helped launch, has become the largest of its kind in history, with now more than $6tn in endowments and portfolios divesting in part or in whole from coal, oil and gas.

Smart money has been pouring into renewables; dumb money has stuck with fossil fuel, even as it underperformed markets for the last half-decade. Just two months ago Norway’s vast sovereign wealth fund began to divest, which was a pretty good signal: if even an oil industry stalwart thought the game was up, they were probably right.

But New York is different, and that’s why its decision signals the start of a real rout. For one thing, of course, it’s the center of world finance – you could toss a chunk of coal from the mayor’s press conference and hit Wall St. Its money managers have a well-deserved reputation for excellence, so when city comptroller Scott Stringer said divestment was necessary to protect the retirement savings of city workers, he implied the obvious: the go-along investors thinking that Exxon is still a blue-chip aren’t doing their homework.

Many pension fund administrators and institutional trustees have refused to divest because they say they’d rather “engage” with oil companies and get them to change their ways. But New York called out that sophistry on Wednesday too. For all the “climate risk disclosure” and token investments in renewables that the industry promises, it’s clear that nothing is really changing with their business model.

Indeed they’ve doubled down in recent weeks, using their political clout to convince Washington that they should be allowed to drill in wildlife refuges and winning the right to put up platforms along every American coast. Someday New Yorkers may stand on the Battery and stare out at Lady Liberty lifting her torch – and then on into the distance where a giant drilling light is flaring gas into the night sky.

But of course when New Yorkers stand at the Battery they should probably be looking down – at the narrowing gap between the top of the water and the top of the seawall. In the end, that’s the real bottom line.

New York and most of the world’s other great cities aren’t viable if the sea keeps rising: they will be destroyed. And New York, for one, isn’t taking it any more. It’s going to use its considerable power to try to hold the oil companies accountable.

That includes taking them to court. Journalists have done a superb job over the last three years of exposing the truth: companies like Exxon knew everything there was to know about climate change decades ago.

But instead of ’fessing up, they covered up, funding the massive campaigns of denial that ended with Donald Trump in the White House convinced climate change was a Chinese hoax. It seemed like a great strategy at the time, buying the fossil fuel companies more years of record profits. But now it exposes them to vast, essentially infinite levels of risk. Who isn’t going to sue? Who wants to be the chump?

The industry’s irresponsibility (a kinder word than it deserves) has cost us a crucial quarter-century when we could have been taking on this crisis. New York’s action on Wednesday means, finally, that these companies are being called to account. Let’s hope it’s not too late.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 13th, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

As per New York Times of Saturday January 13, 2018:

Trump is man-as-message, man-as-messiah. Trump support isn’t philosophical but theological.

Trumpism is a religion founded on patriarchy and white supremacy.

It is the belief that even the least qualified man is a better choice than the most qualified woman and a belief that the most vile, anti-intellectual, scandal-plagued simpleton of a white man is sufficient to follow in the presidential footsteps of the best educated, most eloquent, most affable black man.

As President Lyndon B. Johnson said in the 1960s to a young Bill Moyers: “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

Trump’s supporters are saying to us, screaming to us, that although he may be the “lowest white man,” he is still better than Barack Obama, the “best colored man.”

In a way, Donald Trump represents white people’s right to be wrong and still be right. He is the embodiment of the unassailability of white power and white privilege.

To abandon him is to give up on the pact that America has made with its white citizens from the beginning: The government will help to underwrite white safety and success, even at the expense of other people in this country, whether they be Native Americans, African-Americans or new immigrants.

But this idea of elevating the lowest white man over those more qualified or deserving didn’t begin with Johnson’s articulation and won’t end with Trump’s manifestation. This is woven into the fabric of the flag.

As I have written here before, when Alabama called a constitutional convention in 1901, Emmet O’Neal, who later became governor, argued that the state should “lay deep and strong and permanent in the fundamental law of the state the foundation of white supremacy forever in Alabama,” and as part of that strategy he argued:

“I don’t believe it is good policy to go up in the hills and tell them that Booker Washington or Councill or anybody else is allowed to vote because they are educated. The minute you do that every white man who is not educated is disfranchised on the same proposition.”

In his essay “Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880,” W.E.B. Du Bois discussed why poor whites didn’t make common cause with poor blacks and slaves but instead prized their roles as overseers and slave catchers, eagerly joining the Klan. This fed the white man’s “vanity because it associated him with the masters,” Du Bois wrote.

He continued:

“Slavery bred in the poor white a dislike of Negro toil of all sorts. He never regarded himself as a laborer, or as part of any labor movement. If he had any ambition at all it was to become a planter and to own ‘niggers.’ To these Negroes he transferred all the dislike and hatred which he had for the whole slave system. The result was that the system was held stable and intact by the poor white.”

For white supremacy to be made perfect, the lowest white man must be exalted above those who are black.

No matter how much of an embarrassment and a failure Trump proves to be, his exploits must be judged a success. He must be deemed a correction to Barack Obama and a superior choice to Hillary Clinton. White supremacy demands it. Patriarchy demands it. Trump’s supporters demand it.

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

Shira Zelwer b. Haifa, Israel, 1978, Lives and works in Tel Aviv.
At first glance, Zelwer’s sculptures are extremely likeable and accessible. Only when the eye lingers on the works, their complexity becomes evident. Made of wax and painted in acrylic these sculptures are hybrids residing between the folkloristic and the elitist, the childish and the political, the social and the psychological. (This from the internet.)

Above sounds fine but she presents now a show titled THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT at the LEXUS automotive art gallery at Rechov Karlebach #37 which I saw last night
– Thursday, November 30, 2017 at the opening party.
In the title all she says is : “Wax, Acrylic, Metal Wire, 2017 – but she also
hands out posters showing items from the exhibition and a printed cardboard that explains what she is attempting – in a showroom of an automobile company.

On that cardboard she explains that scientists report on the greenhouse gas emissions of 9 billion tons per year. She says she wants to show the irony of using industrial wax – a byproduct of the oil industry – to make her sculpted domestic plants. She sees in this a ritual of how the Israeli society relates to flora and i guess that in order not to let this escape she puts a wax made watchdog at the entrance tp keep vigil against intruders.
Somehow she concludes that like O’Henry’s “The Last Leaf” (1907) her greenhouse be a source of inspiration, strength, and hope.

Oh Well, this is a lot of quaint rubbish but what I found was that members of the crowd told me that the use of wax reminds them of Bees’ Wax and this
unwanted byproduct from the petroleum refinery is a benign way of saving the environment. So – you can use oil to fight oil. Real deep sounding rubbish!

To say one good thing about the event – the salted peanuts and the Merlot of the Tepperberg label were very good. Before leaving I made my opinion known to the artist – I assume it was her.

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

THIS FIRST POSTING IS JUST A DRAFT THAT WILL BE CHANGED WITH INFO COMING IN. OUR INTENTION IS CLEARLY NOT TO BASH ISRAEL BUT ONLY TO SHOW ITS PRESENT PROBLEMS WITH THE INTENT THAT SOMEONE MAY START DOING SOMETHING ABOUT THE ISSUES WE UNCOVERED.

OBVIOUSLY – OUR PRESENT WORK, AS ALWAYS, IS TO POINT OUT ISSUES OF TRANSPORTATION, COMMUNICATION AND SUSTAINABILITY – BUT YOU CANNOT DEAL WITH
TECHNICAL ISSUES WITHOUT ALSO POINTING AT THE POLITICS BEHIND THE PROBLEMS.

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My November-December month in Israel became a multi-level shocking experience. Just look at the Friday November 11th article by Oren Dori in the HAARETZ – “The Saturday Break-Down” – to avoid Religious Members of the Government stepping down, Prime Minister Netanyahu is suggesting that 60% of the work on the trains that are supposed to be done on Saturday be postponed.

The foreign company that has undertaken to do those projects says nuts – instead they will go ahead by using foreign labor that is not dependent on Israel Labor Laws. Those laws were introduced under left wing governments but fall now under the present Right-Wing Religious government that makes the rules. If you fail to understand this think of President Trump serving only those CEOs that belong to a very minor fraction of US business and thus despite nominal achievements, western world corporations are withdrawing their investment in the US economy and in the Israeli economy as well.

But we are not here to write about macroeconomy – only about the developments in a really growing transportation network that will include rail-roads, light rails, and roads with motor-vehicle transportation of all sorts, simple and sophisticated busses of large size and down to small feeder vehicles. All this needs energy and solar power is envisioned with a transition time for natural gas. Decentralization of electricity feeds has led to locations ready to use only green energy. This is not a wonder – it is the demand of the economy and of the public at large. This happens in effect in spite of the Netanyahu government.

We learned above from two events I attended and from careful reading the papers.

Those events are:

The first event was – the Gathering of Public Transportation 2017 – a yearly event now in its 6th year – Thursday, November 23rd held at the Cinematec www.transportation.org.il/ ( actually chronologically this was the second event).

The second event – but chronologically first – was held at the Prvate/Religious Brodt Center at Zeitlin Str. 22, Tel Aviv and dealt with a particular Light-Rail line – the Violet (SEGOL) line that was designed by Tel Aviv City Hall
without real inputs from the public. Work on the line was started already – seemingly in the Ben Gurion Airport proximity with tenders suggested for the
main railroad Central Station – the former Arlozorov Train-Station renamed for
long-term manager Mr. Savidor. This rail is planned for all the length of the Arlozorov Street – Turning into Ben Yehuda then Allenby and going South to the airport and eventually to Jerusalem. On the other end it connects North to Ramat Gan and beyond.

The meeting at the Brodt Center was called by some office connected to City Hall but not the Mayor. It involved the enraged citizens living on Arlozorov Street. Both sides of the street were destined to loose front yards, front gardens, etc. The rail is planned to be close to the Northern side of the Street while the South Side of the Street is intended as a business center.
What about people living there? Not clear. It was not even clear if the planning architect knew how the 26 meters wall-to wall will be divided between the different uses – rail, minibuses, bicycles, pedestrians. What about deliveries to the businesses? As I k ow someone on that street I dared to ask questions and it became clear that nobody has talked to UNESCO about the fact that the South side was registered under the Bauhaus World Heritage.

The November 12th meeting caused me then to spend the November 23 day i order to learn the problems in depth – and this wil become the main thrust of this posting.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 21st, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Senate Votes to Raise Revenue by Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

By Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post

20 October 17

The Senate rejected an amendment Thursday that sought to block a key panel from raising revenue through drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a move that could make it easier for future oil and gas drilling to take place there.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (Wash.), the top Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, offered a budget amendment that would have removed instructions to the panel to raise an additional $1 billion through federal leasing. It failed 48 to 52 on a largely party-line vote, with only Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) breaking ranks. Collins voted in favor of Cantwell’s amendment, while Manchin opposed it.

The vote, which came before the Senate approved Republicans’ proposed budget, represented a victory for the GOP and a defeat for environmentalists. The Trump administration is quietly moving to spur energy exploration in the refuge for the first time in more than 30 years by considering whether to allow seismic testing there, but only Congress can determine whether oil and gas drilling can take place within its 19.6 million acres.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told her colleagues that they should view the budget instructions “as an opportunity to do something constructive for the country.”

“It’s about jobs, and job creation. It’s about wealth and wealth creation,” she said, adding that drilling in the refuge is “not the only option” for how her panel could find $1 billion in new revenue. “But I will tell you it is the best option, and it’s on the table.”

Opponents of the plan say that such operations could imperil the refuge’s wildlife, which include polar bears as well as caribou and migrating waterfowl. David Yarnold, CEO of the National Audubon Society, said in a recent interview that based on recent lease sales, the federal government would likely get only $9 million in revenue if it auctioned off the right to drill on the refuge’s coastal plain.

“It’s just bad math,” Yarnold said, adding that when lawmakers predict this activity could raise $1 billion, “there’s no reason to believe that that’s going to happen.”

But Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) hailed the move as a sign that his state was inching closer to developing an area that’s been shut off from development for years.

“This resolution is another key step that we’ve recently accomplished in a decades-long fight to allow Alaskans to produce energy in our state – something that Alaskans, Democrats, Republicans, independents, overwhelmingly support,” Sullivan said in a statement. “More American energy production means more good-paying jobs, increased economic growth, and a stronger national security.”

Environmentalists said they would continue to fight any move to drill in the refuge, which has been subject to fights in Congress for years.

“Today’s vote is a wakeup call for all Americans. Americans have fought for decades to protect this last remaining truly wild landscape, and are rallying today because they believe in taking action on climate change and want to defend the rights of the Native Gwich’in people,” said Adam Kolton, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League, in a statement. “Every member of Congress who supported this scheme, to hijack the budget process to do the bidding of oil companies, needs to hear loud and clear that we are determined to defend ‘America’s Serengeti.’”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 20th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Insights, analysis and must reads from CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and the Global Public Square team, compiled by Global Briefing editor Jason Miks.

October 10, 2017

Is Trump Still In Control?

Critics of Donald Trump might applaud apparent efforts by senior officials to work around the President to try to “contain him.” But doing so is setting a dangerous precedent, argues David Frum in The Atlantic.

“To what extent does the president remain in the military chain of command? It seems incredible that the military would outright defy a presidential order,” Frum writes. “But not hearing it? Not understanding it? Not acting on it promptly? Holding back information that might provoke an unwanted presidential reaction?”

“Thank you and congratulations to those officials struggling to protect American security, the Western alliance, and world peace against Donald Trump. But the constitutional order is becoming the casualty of these struggles. The Constitution provides a way to remedy an unfit presidency: the removal process under the 25th amendment. Regencies and palace coups are not constitutional. I dare say many readers would prefer a Mattis presidency to a Trump presidency. But to stealthily endow Secretary Mattis with the powers of the presidency as a work-around of Trump’s abuse of them? That’s a crisis, too, and one sinister for the future. What if Trump is succeeded by a Bernie Sanders-type whom the military and intelligence agencies distrust as much as they distrust Trump: Will they continue the habits they acquired in the Trump years?”

Putin’s Strength Is His Big Weakness
Vladimir Putin’s failure to crack down on violent attacks by Russian Orthodox extremists over a supposedly blasphemous movie underscores the extent to which Russia’s president relies on a nationalist ideology, writes Alexander Baunov in Foreign Affairs. And that may prove to be one of his biggest weaknesses.

“In recent years, Putin has been happy to inculcate a conservative, nationalist ideology in Russia, which much of the Russian Orthodox Church has supported. And he has encouraged protesters, worshippers, and ordinary Russians to propagate this creed to demonstrate that this is a grassroots movement, not something imposed from the top down by the Kremlin,” Baunov writes.

“By doing so, however, Putin has undermined his own authority. In threatening the makers of an innocuous movie with violence and intimidating members of Russia’s cultural elite, the conservative nationalist movement has demonstrated its ugly side, and Putin seems unable to stop it. Doing so would enrage the so-called patriotic part of the political establishment he has emboldened over the last few years.”

Insights, analysis and must reads from CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and the Global Public Square team, compiled by Global Briefing editor Jason Miks.

October 19, 2017

Why the “Workaround Trump” Days are Numbered: Stephens
Until now, foreign powers troubled by the statements emanating from the White House have largely been able to ignore President Trump, or go around him and deal with his senior officials, writes Philip Stephens in the Financial Times. But those days might be numbered.

“Nine months of dealing with a capricious White House has seen allies turn to a policy of ‘workaround’ — ignore the Twitter storms, deal with the grown-ups, notably U.S. defense secretary Jim Mattis, and hope something can be preserved of the old multilateral system beyond the day of Mr Trump’s departure,” Stephens writes.

“The strategy is running out of road. Mr Trump’s disavowal of the Iran nuclear deal threatens to tear up the most successful exercise in collective security for a generation. At best, it destroys the credibility of the U.S. in international efforts peacefully to forestall further nuclear proliferation. Mr Trump might just as well have hung a sign on the White House declaring Washington can no longer be trusted by friends or adversaries alike.”

“Congress could avoid an open breach with America’s allies by declining to re-introduce sanctions against Tehran. The damage to the standing of the U.S., though, has already been done.”

Tillerson’s “Love Letter” to India
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivered a rare public speech Wednesday outlining U.S. policy toward India. Call it a “love letter to New Delhi,” write Emily Tamkin and Robbie Gramer for Foreign Policy.

“In terms of defense ties, Tillerson built on growing U.S.-India military cooperation that ramped up late in the Obama administration, calling the two countries ‘bookends of stability’ in a troubled part of the world. He stressed growing defense cooperation between the two countries, and especially the annual three-way military exercises including Japan that are at the center of U.S. efforts to push back against China in the greater Indian Ocean area,” they write.

“But a potential problem is that India has for decades gone its own way in terms of foreign policy — and even with a more pro-Western leader in Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that old notion of ‘nonalignment’ or ‘strategic autonomy’ remains alive and kicking among many Indian policy mandarins. Even in recent years, for example, India has redoubled defense and economic ties with Russia, even while it spurned the U.S.-led trade pact Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“That calculus may slowly be changing in part in response to China’s economic and military transformation, said Milan Vaishnav of the Carnegie Endowment.”

In Vienna, Austria’s President Van der Belen meets at 11 am Mr. Kurz in order to charge him with the formation of next Government. This while in the Czech Republic start elections that will bring to power a government that will loin the Visegrad Group of States of Poland and Hungary that want more decentralization of the EU and backing of Spain in its takeover of Catalonia – so they themselves will not discoverer a call for freedom in their own countries. Austria’s Kurz will lean in that direction as well.

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