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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 22nd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Former Louisiana official tapped as lead offshore drilling regulator
BY TIMOTHY CAMA – 05/22/2017

The Trump administration has tapped a former Louisiana utility regulator to lead the agency responsible for offshore oil and natural gas drilling safety.

Scott Angelle, most recently vice chairman of Louisiana’s Public Service Commission, is now the head of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), the agency said Monday.

“Scott Angelle brings a wealth of experience to BSEE, having spent many years working for the safe and efficient energy production of both Louisiana’s and our country’s offshore resources,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement.

“As we set our path towards energy dominance, I am confident that Scott has the expertise, vision, and the leadership necessary to effectively enhance our program, and to promote the safe and environmentally responsible exploration, development, and production of our country’s offshore oil and gas resources.”
Zinke has the power to appoint Angelle without Senate confirmation.

“It is an exciting and challenging time for BSEE; I look forward to leading our efforts to empower the offshore oil and gas industry while ensuring safe and environmentally responsible operations,” Angelle said in the statement.

Former La. official tapped as lead offshore drilling regulator
The Trump administration has tapped a former Louisiana utility regulator to lead the agency responsible for offshore oil and natural gas drilling safety.

Scott Angelle, most recently vice chairman of Louisiana’s Public Service Commission, is now the head of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), the agency said Monday.

“Scott Angelle brings a wealth of experience to BSEE, having spent many years working for the safe and efficient energy production of both Louisiana’s and our country’s offshore resources,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement.

“As we set our path towards energy dominance, I am confident that Scott has the expertise, vision, and the leadership necessary to effectively enhance our program, and to promote the safe and environmentally responsible exploration, development, and production of our country’s offshore oil and gas resources.”
Zinke has the power to appoint Angelle without Senate confirmation.

“It is an exciting and challenging time for BSEE; I look forward to leading our efforts to empower the offshore oil and gas industry while ensuring safe and environmentally responsible operations,” Angelle said in the statement.

Angelle, a Republican, ran unsuccessfully last year for a House seat in Louisiana’s third congressional district, in the southwestern corner of the state. He lost in the runoff to Clay Higgins, also a Republican.

He also ran for governor in 2015, losing the primary narrowly to then-Sen. David Vitter.

For a brief time in 2010, Angelle was Louisiana’s lieutenant governor under Gov. Bobby Jindal. He led a rally in July 2010 against the offshore drilling moratorium instituted by then-President Barack Obama in the wake of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon explosion, while oil was still spilling uncontrolled in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Los Angeles Times.

He was secretary of Louisiana’s Department of Natural Resources for eight years, during which time the state overhauled its permitting system for coastal use. Drillers must get such permits for pipelines or other infrastructure that passes the coast.

BSEE was created after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, after numerous reports concluded that the former Minerals Management Service had a conflict of interest as the single agency in charge of offshore leasing, safety regulation and revenue collection.

Zinke is considering changes to the structure of Interior’s agencies, including potentially reuniting BSEE with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the office responsible for offshore leasing after the BP disaster.

The Gulf of Mexico, which Louisiana borders, is the epicenter of the country’s offshore oil and gas industry. Louisiana hosts much of the support facilities for the industry, is home to many of its employees and shares some of the revenue with the federal government from the oil and natural gas production.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 19th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

A Design School for Planetary Collapse

Storm clouds gather for a future that will be turbulent and dangerous.
We need designers ready for this future.

by: Joe Brewer – Medium – May 19, 2017

Design schools all over the world are failing their students by ignoring the most important challenges they will face as they live through a time of unprecedented disruption and ecological collapse. Let me state plainly?—?we need a Design School for Planetary Collapse.
All roads to the future must cross broken terrain. Our political institutions are designed to hoard wealth and reward greed, with a myopic focus on the near future that ignores the long term trajectories for every community on Earth. I have written about this previously as the global architecture for wealth extraction that made it possible for 62 people to accumulate the same total wealth as 3.7 billion others who are condemned to live in poverty by a vast Poverty Creation System.
Add that a cultural sickness is rapidly making the world unlivable for the majority of people (to say nothing about the millions of other species that our collective activities are currently driving to extinction). Most people don’t yet know that the “climate doomsday” already happened in Sub-Saharan Africa and that the refugee crisis in Syria is a teaser trailer for coming attractions all over the world as the planet continues to build up greenhouse gases in its atmosphere.
These are design problems and they will only be solved with rigorously applied design principles that embrace whole systems and address root causes of systemic behavior. So why is it that most designers are being trained to create gadgets and sell products that only increase the wealth of billionaire investors? When will we realize that all hands on deck for planetary emergency includes designers of all kinds?
I have written extensively about the need for culture design?—?see here for the toolkit; here for a description of culture design labs; here for a network approach to collaboration; here for insights into the lived experience of culture designers. The clock is ticking and we don’t have any time to waste!
Perhaps it will help if I paint a picture of what a Design School for Planetary Collapse might look like… imagine that you have just graduated high school and are readying yourself for professional training. Or that you have been enrolled in a workshop series to change fields now that the one you were in is falling apart. You will need to know about things like:
What is the Earth System and how does it work? There are many ways that human activities have altered the delicate balance of planetary processes. You will need to know how agriculture altered the chemistry of rivers and the “dead zones” its runoff creates at the mouth of rivers all over the world. And how the ocean mixes heat from a warming atmosphere decades slower with an inertia that drives change inter-generationally that most people are not aware of. Designing for planetary emergency requires knowing how the planet works!
What does it mean to be human and why is this important? At the core of our predicament is the painful truth that human activities are causing a lot of problems. The silver lining here is that we are capable of changing social norms and collective behaviors to become wise managers of evolutionary change if we know what it means to be human. Many of the flaws in mainstream economic and political thought come from incorrect beliefs about what it means to be human that must be corrected if any design approach is to be actionable and effective.
How does one study change in all its forms? Students of physics have to learn calculus (the mathematics of change). Students of culture have to learn statistical methods. At the heart of all major challenges in the world today is an emphasis on rates of change and how they differ from one trending pattern to another. Navigating such complexity means learning to analyze and intuit what is changing, how it is doing so, and what can be done to influence how the change process happens.
How can a design approach be applied to systemic challenges? One must learn the system-level view for how societies and the planet function in order to grasp their governing dynamics and discover interventions that disrupt current patterns of behavior and replace them with healthier alternatives. Sadly, most universities now are fragmented into “silos” of knowledge by academic field and few seek to take the system-level view.
What kinds of competency will be needed to do the work? Not only will there be hard skills like pattern analysis and systems modeling, this kind of design work must be lived through as the world is in crisis. There will be deaths among friends, chaos and pain in many moments, and the need to grapple with moral dilemmas about the use of political power that may effect millions of people. These are competencies in emotional and social intelligence. They include body-based practices like meditation and the martial arts as well as social skill learning like that of group facilitators and personnel managers.
Who else is doing this that is also on this learning journey? Fellow designers will be empathetic and compassionate, awakened to the state of emergency and ready to live intentional lives of deliberate action. They will come from all walks of life, have every color of skin, be representatives of all genders, and hold a representative diversity of cultures to match the splendid variety that exists in the world.
At the core, such a school would be a right of passage for achieving the combination of intellectual, emotional, and moral maturity that our present “leaders” clearly lack. Selfishness replaced with a selfless commitment to preserve sacred things and the moral fortitude to do what is right even if it means taking a painful or scary path. The world needs spiritual leaders with design skills to do their part in what is sure to be a time of great turbulence and hardship for billions of fellow people.
It is in this spirt that I invite you to ponder whether you would attend such a school. And if you did, would you dedicate your life to service knowing that economic systems are too broken to guarantee safety or security as you go about such important work? Ponder this seriously. Then prepare yourself for action. For the world is now calling us all to greatness.
Onward, fellow humans!

 medium.com/@joe_brewer

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 18th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Friday, May 12, 2017 ,The Manhattan Greentech Investors Forum, led by Dr. Gelvin Srevenson, and hosted by Sidney Austin LLP, met to listen to the presentation of Dr. James Magnuss Who described the use of “Vertically-variable Ocean Sail Systems” (VOSS) Sails that do not look at all like those conventionally used in wind powered sail-ships.

Present were gentlemen from Africa who seem to have an in with Chinese interests that pay
attention to innovative ideas.

The Magnuss VOSS is a 100-foot rotating and spinning metal hollow-tower, when not in use – retractable into the ship’s hull. This tower is draped in material in a way that the spinning movement creates thrust like in the case of an airplane.

These VOSS power sources are not intended to replace the original engine – but rather to add on to what powers the ship. A ship with four VOSS towers has thus an effective added powering engine added up to its original engine.

The chief innovation here is in the retractable feature for stowing the towers below the deck
when loadig and unloading in a port.

Magnuss delivers three benefits:

(1) fuel savings of 20-35%
(2) a new means to reduce carbon emissions
(3) a patented and class-approved design of proven technology applied in a different way to
meet the needs of global shipping today.

He reminded us that fuel cost represents 60-80% of a bulk cargo ship’s operating costs and ranks among the world’s largest emitters of carbon. Considering the need to have hull space for the retractable towers VOSS sails fit best onto bulk shipping.

Currently James Magnusis looking to close a $2.7 million angel round of common equity – he offers strategic partnership and international patent expansion.

Proof of concept was verified, patents issued, tech design complete, and class approval is already in hand.

The savings have been validated by 3rd party NGOs, including Sir Richard Branson’s Carbon
War-Room and the Sustainable shipping initiative.

The Funds needed now are for proceeding with new construction projects.

If bulk transport emissions were added up globally, we heard that they would have
reached 6th place if this industry were a nation – so making a dent here is consequential.

With Dr. Magnus as CEO of the company, others involved are:

Ted Shergolis as COO – a Tech Entrepreneur
Eric Holohan as CTO – a Naval Architect
Alistair Fischbacher – Chairman ofSustainable Shipping Industries (SSI) who is the
Former General Manager of the Rio Tinto Fleet.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 13th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


The 6th International Conference on Deserts, Drylands & Desertification
November 6-9, 2017 Sede Boqer Campus, Israel

The central theme of the 2017 conference is “Combating desertification and dryland management-theory and practice” with particular emphasis on the natural sciences, but without neglecting planning and policy issues.

Early Bird Registration opens in May 2017.
More information on abstract submission guidelines will be published during May 2017
Abstracts should be submitted online by June 30th, 2017.

Prof. Pedro Berliner and Prof. Arnon Karnieli, Chairs of the Organizing Committee
Ms. Dorit Korine, Conference Coordinator and the Conference Team

The International Conference on Drylands, Deserts and Desertification (DDD) has emerged as an important global gathering of scientists, practitioners, industry and government representatives and decision-makers, members of CSOs, NGOs, and international development aid agencies and other stakeholders from over 60 countries concerned about land and environmental degradation in drylands and living conditions in and around them, as well as their sustainable use and development.

The program combines plenary lectures and panels, parallel sessions, workshops, field trips and social events. The four-day conference provides an opportunity for a diverse group of experts, policy makers and land managers to consider a range of theoretical and practical issues associated with combatting desertification and living sustainably in the drylands.

The 6th DDD conference will focus on Combating Desertification and Dryland Management—Theory and Practice. Additional sessions will be held considering a broad range of topics associated with sustainable living in the drylands and means to address desertification, as well as achieving the target of a zero net rate of land degradation.

————————————————————-

The 6th International Conference on Deserts, Drylands & Desertification
November 6-9, 2017 Sede Boqer Campus, Israel

Following the success of the previous five international biennial conferences (2006-2014) on Drylands, Deserts, and Desertification, the organization of the 2017 DDD Conference is now underway and the conference is scheduled to take place at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Sede Boqer Campus, from November 6-9, 2017.

In particular, sessions with the following themes are already confirmed to be held during the conference*:

• Afforestation in Drylands: Native And Non-Native Trees • Patterns and Processes in the Ecology of Drylands• Carbon Sequestration by Combating Desertification • Dating Drylands and Deserts • Plant Abiotic Stress Tolerance Mechanisms for Coping with Arid and Semi-Arid Environments • NGOs for Water: Activities in Rural Communities • On-site Waste Sanitation, Wastewater Treatment and Reuse • Remote Sensing Applications for Drylands• Soil and Land Restoration • Indigenous Dryland Techniques to Combat Desertification • Modeling and Measurement of Non-Rainfall Water Inputs • Self-Organized Vegetation Patchiness • Fairy Circles as a Self-Organization Phenomenon • Geodiversity in Drylands • Pattern Formation in the Geomorphology of Arid Regions • Pattern Formation in Wind Blown Sand • Soil-Plant-Atmosphere Interactions in Drylands • Root Quantification and Modelling • Efficient Use of Water in Dryland Agriculture • Multi-Source Land Imaging for Studying Desertification and Land Degradation • Viticulture in a changing climate • Urban Form of Dryland Cities – Mitigating Effects of Climate Change and Environmental Degradation • Land Degradation Neutrality • Landscape Restoration and Renewable Household Energy • Practice and Theory of Combating Desertification in Rural Areas • UNCCD Special Session •

* Some themes may be merged with others, or canceled, depending on the number of presentations

We look forward to seeing you in Israel in November 2017!

———————————————

? International Advisory Committee
Name Organization
Castillo, Victor UNCCD
Chasek, Pamela International Institute for Sustainable Development, USA
Gnacadja, Luc UNCCD
Grainger, Alan University of Leeds, UK
Gutman, Garik NASA, USA
Lal, Rattan The Ohio State University, USA
Mathai, Wanjira The Greenbelt Movement, Kenya
Mutekanga, David Uganda National Academy of Sciences, Uganda
Santamouris, Mat University of Athens, Greece

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev > Drylands, Deserts and Desertification
Session Descriptions

1. Geodiversity in drylands: pedogenic and ecological implications

?Conveners: Golan Bel, Ilan Stavi and Shimon Rachmilevitch

Over the last decade, the importance of geodiversity has been recognized by soil scientists, geographers, hydrologists, ecologists, and others. Geodiversity—defined as the natural range of geologic, geomorphic, and pedogenic features—impacts biodiversity and affects a range of ecosystem functions and services. Geodiversity applies to a wide range of spatial scales, ranging from patch to landscape. Specific aspects related to geodiversity in drylands include those that determine water availability for different ecosystem components. The session will cover a range of inter-related topics, including the question of scale, hydrological modeling, ecological implications, anthropogenic impacts, and the establishment of indices for evaluating geodiversity.

2. Pattern formation in the geomorphology of arid regions

Conveners: Ido Regev, Roiy Sayag, Yosef Ashkenazy and Hezi Yizhaq

The geomorphology of arid regions is shaped by several physical processes that act at different spatial and temporal scales, such as erosion and sedimentation due to water flow, glacial movement and aeolian processes. These processes give rise to complex large-scale patterns such as sand and snow dunes, fractal river basins and glacial erosion patterns. This set of sessions will focus on the recent progress in understanding the physical mechanisms behind these processes and patterns, and on the current open questions in the field.

3. Pattern formation in windblown sand

Conveners: Ido Regev, Roiy Sayag, Yosef Ashkenazy and Hezi Yizhaq

The geomorphology of arid regions is shaped by several physical processes that act at different spatial and temporal scales, such as erosion and sedimentation due to water flow, glacial movement and aeolian processes. One of the most interesting erosive forces is the transport of sand and dust by wind which creates sand dunes and ripples, and loads the atmosphere with suspended dust aerosols. This session will focus on the recent progress obtained in understanding the physical mechanisms behind these processes and patterns, and on the current open questions in the field.

4. Vegetation patterns and processes in dryland regions in relation to land use and climate change (As part of Patterns and processes in the ecology of drylands)

Conveners: Yael Lubin, Michal Segoli and Hadas Hawlena

Climatic factors and, in particular, desertification, as well as changing land use, influence individual plant traits, demography and population dynamics, and consequently, the structure of communities and patterns of diversity. This session will focus on effects of desertification, grazing and other human interventions on the performance of desert plants and subsequent changes in vegetation diversity and composition.

5. Animal distribution, abundance and interactions in drylands and in response to desertification

(As part of Patterns and processes in the ecology of drylands)

Conveners: Yael Lubin, Michal Segoli and Hadas Hawlena

Harsh desert conditions may have important implications for interactions between organisms in both natural and human-impacted environments. Low water and nutrient availability may intensify the impact of exploitative interactions and promote specialized mutualistic adaptations. Low productivity also increases the severity of anthropogenic effects (e.g. settlements and agricultural fields) on the surrounding natural environment, with implications for animal movement, abundance and interactions. In this session, we will focus on the uniqueness of desert environments in shaping these effects.

6. The environmental change-biodiversity-disease triangle: host-parasite interactions in the era of global changes in land use, temperatures, and aridity, with implications for disease ri
(As part of Patterns and processes in the ecology of drylands)

Conveners: Yael Lubin, Michal Segoli and Hadas Hawlena

Global changes in land use, in the averages and variability of temperatures, and in desertification have dramatic direct and indirect impacts on host-parasite interactions, with implications for disease risk to wild animals and people. These changes affect parasite replication and the development, survival, and mobility of vectors, as well as the geographical distributions of vectors and hosts. Changes in temperature, humidity, and habitat structure also affect the network of biotic interactions and biodiversity, which in turn influence the dynamics and evolution of host-parasite interactions. We will focus on this cascade of changes and their implications for the emergence, spread, and virulence of infectious diseases.

7. Soil component of regional and global climate models
(as part of Soil-plant-atmosphere interactions in drylands)

Conveners: Naftali Lazarovitch and Golan Bel

Approximately 40% of the earth’s terrestrial surface comprises drylands, making a better understanding of the soil-plant-atmosphere interactions in these regions crucial for correct modeling of ecosystem and climate dynamics. In particular, soil models are crucial for capturing long-term memory effects in climate fluctuations due to the soil and vegetation large storage capacity and relatively slow dynamics. Often, there is a gap, in the complexity and spatio-temporal scales, between local models of soil-water flow and the land component of global climate models. This gap in scales also exists in measurements. Large scale measurements are usually derived from infrequent satellite imagery, while local measurements, used to develop and validate soil models, are captured locally and often continuously.

8. Water flow and heat transport in dryland soils: modeling and measurements
(as part of Soil-plant-atmosphere interactions in drylands)

Conveners: Naftali Lazarovitch and Golan Bel

The simultaneous movement of liquid water, water vapor, and heat in the soil plays an important role in the water and energy balance of the near surface environment of arid regions. Simulating water fluxes in unsaturated soils from complete saturation to complete dryness is challenging due to high nonlinearity and the hysteretic nature of the soil hydraulic functions. These functions describe the relation between the soil water potential, water content, and the hydraulic conductivity. Classical capillary-based functions typically hold between saturation and some residual water content. Recent models accounting for capillary and adsorptive water retention, but also for capillary and film conductivities. The success of the parameter determination of such functions depends on how well the water status is measured in extremely dry soils.

9. Soil-atmosphere exchange of greenhouse gases
(as part of Soil-plant-atmosphere interactions in drylands)

Conveners: Naftali Lazarovitch and Golan Bel

The soil-plant-atmosphere interactions and, in particular, the exchange of water, gas and energy play crucial roles in climate and ecosystem dynamics. These interactions have inspired a great deal of scientific research, and we possess a sophisticated understanding of these processes in mesic environments. However, in arid environments, where only a small fraction of the surface is covered by vegetation, the soil-atmosphere exchanges are much less understood. Soils provide the largest terrestrial carbon store, the largest atmospheric CO2 source and the largest terrestrial N2O source. A change in land use or management can alter these soil processes such that net greenhouse gas exchange may increase or decrease. Soil properties interact in complex ways with the biological processes responsible for the production and consumption of greenhouse gases.

10. Root quantification and modelling

Convener: Jhonathan Ephrath

This session will target the root zone. The main objective of this session will be to identify knowledge gaps related to the various physical, biological and chemical aspects of water and nutrient flow, transport and uptake in this important region that is believed to control both agronomic production and environmental aspects related to water. The session will be a gathering for researchers who study roots in different disciplines and at different scales, seeking both pure scientific understandings of the processes and their application for the benefit of society. Special emphasis will be given to novel measurement and modeling tools at the various scales, as well as to interdisciplinary research. The session will promote a fundamental understanding of the diverse aspects of root biology and will assemble researchers from multiple disciplines in order to facilitate the exploration of novel approaches and investigation of complex processes and mechanisms. The intersections of root physiology, root development, root architecture and root interactions with the environment will be addressed. Basic research at multiple scales (proteins, cells, tissues and the root system as a whole) and cutting-edge methodologies will be highlighted as important means to advancing agriculture.

11. Efficient use of water in dryland agriculture

Convener: Nurit Agam

In arid regions, crop productivity is limited by scarce rainfall, which is often supplemented by irrigation. In both rain-fed and irrigated cropping, the actual availability of water to the crops is largely dictated by the fraction of water that is lost to the atmosphere or to deep drainage. The magnitude of these fluxes is strongly affected by the sources of energy (radiation and advection). In drylands, irrigated row crops are common and are characterized by heterogeneous soil surface wetness that may lead to micro-advection, an additional complicating factor.

Monitoring and/or modeling of the various components of the water balance are necessary in order to improve the efficiency with which this scarce resource is used.

Presentations relevant to the aforementioned topics (theoretical or applied) are welcomed.

12. Afforestation in drylands: native and non-native trees

Convener: Ornea Reisman-Berman

Dryland afforestation constitutes a unique ecosystem that aims at increasing ecosystem services on degraded lands in harsh environments. Therefore, the selection of woody plant species for dryland afforestation actions must be an educated decision. In the past, species were selected mainly for their drought-resistant and fast-growth traits, and the selected species were mainly non-native. However, today there is a growing awareness of increasing the similarities between the novel ecosystem and the surrounding natural ecosystem by integrating native woody species into afforestation. This session will present various topics related to the function and the effects of integrating both native and non-native species into dryland afforestation, such as: novel ecosystems, assisted migration, physiology, ecology, and the genetics of the tree species, as well as the management of the individual tree and the landscape.

13. Multi-Source Land Imaging for Studying Desertification and Land Degradation

Conveners: Garik Gutman and Arnon Karnieli

Desertification and land degradation represent a global challenge to billions of people on the Earth. Land-cover change is one of the most obvious and detectable indicators of land-surface characteristics and associated human-induced and natural processes. Due to evolving technology, it has become increasingly feasible to derive land-cover change information from a combination of in situ surveys and earth observation satellite data at regional, national, and global scales. Regional analyses of desertification processes are the key to the understanding of causes and impacts of degradation. To be useful for sustainable, local combating strategies, regional analyses must provide spatially explicit information at sufficient detail. NASA- and ESA-affiliated scientists have been developing appropriate information services based on satellite observations to assess and monitor desertification and degradation trends over time. A synergistic use of spectral data with moderate to high spatial resolution from more than one source is getting momentum due to successful launches under the ESA Sentinel program. Landsat and Sentinel-2 optical data are now used synergistically by many researchers, sometimes combined with Sentinel-1 radar data. Efficient and synergistic use of these sensor data increases the number of observations available for studies. The proposed session aims at bringing together experts working on arid regions who study desertification/degradation issues by applying moderate-to-high (1-30m) resolution data. New ideas on synergistic use of data from various sensors, including moderate-to-high resolution thermal IR sensors, are welcome.

14. Remote Sensing – Tools and Implications in Dryland

Convener: Arnon Karnieli

Environmental problems of drylands such as desertification processes, land degradation and rehabilitation, land cover and land use change, climatic change, droughts, early warning, and more, are characterized by both spatial and temporal dimensions. Therefore, remote sensing techniques, based on long-term monitoring and repetitive data, over vast expanses of unsettled regions, are applicative and powerful tools for research and implementation in these areas.

Special sessions on REMOTE SENSING – TOOLS AND IMPLICATIONS IN DRYLAND will take place as part of the conference to promote scientific exchange between experts who work on remote sensing and geoinformation issues of the above drylands-related aspects with special intention to restoration actions and processes.

15. Role and function of organic matter in dryland soils: Carbon sequestration by combating desertification

Convener: Gilboa Arye

Soil organic carbon accounts for over 50% of soil organic matter and is commonly considered as a key indicator for soil quality with regard to its agricultural and environmental function. With increased organic matter content, aggregation stability and soil structure are improved and, consequently, water retention, the infiltration rate and resistance to soil erosion. The lack of or low organic matter content in agricultural dryland soils is traditionally compensated for by the artificial addition of organic matter from different origins. The use of marginal irrigation water, such as treated wastewater in dryland agriculture, provides continuous inputs of dissolved and particulate organic matter to the soil.

The proposed session will address issues that are related to the role and function of soil organic matter from different origins in agricultural dryland soils. In this regard, the subjects that will be presented are: surface activity, aggregate stability, soil erosion, soil amendment, and carbon sequestration.

16. On-site sanitation, wastewater treatment and reuse

Convener: Amit Gross

In the modern world, the use of natural resources and the production of domestic wastes and contaminated effluents have significantly increased, and they now pose severe health and environmental risks in many regions, specifically in arid regions. There is an urgent need to remedy already contaminated sites and to find means for minimizing these trends. A fairly new field of research, called Ecological Sanitation (ECOSAN), is a modern, usually on-site, alternative to conventional sanitation techniques. The objective is to protect human health and the environment. Unlike traditional sanitation methods, ecological sanitation processes on-site human waste (in addition to traditional waste, such as animal manure) to recover nutrients that would otherwise be discarded.

This session invites papers involving a range of on-site waste solutions, such as wetlands, biogas and other methods for small agro-waste operations, human wastes, wastewaters, greywater and more. It also seeks papers that evaluate the risks and environmental issues that are associated with such practices.

17. NGOs for water: activities in rural communities

Convener: Noam Weisbrod

Approximately 1.1 billion people in developing countries are currently living without an adequate supply of and access to potable water. In a world with slightly over 7 billion people, this is an outrageously high fraction of the global population. In order to ensure the water security of the world as a whole, it is necessary to start with these 1.1 billion impoverished people whose governments lack the funding necessary to help them. In developing countries, most of the population lives in rural areas where governmental involvement is often very limited. These communities often heavily depend on local agriculture and, in many cases, are limited to rain-fed agriculture. The outcome is that these rural communities are severely dependent on the activities of local or international NGOs (now also known as Civil Society Organizations: CSOs). This session aims to bring people together from organizations that are involved, in the past, present or future, in water-related activities in rural communities to share their ideas, methods, approaches, successes and failures. Representatives from both Israeli and international organizations are welcome, as well as scientists and officials who are interested in this topic.

18. Dating drylands and deserts: what palaeoenvironmental variation can tell us about current conditions

Convener: Berry Pinshow

The common denominator for deserts, drylands and desertification is the dynamics of rainfall and evapotranspiration (e.g. seasonality). Rainfall and evapotranspiration can be directly quantified in a modern context, but how does one estimate how much rainfall fell in the past and what annual abiotic conditions may have applied? By definition, deserts and drylands are unlikely to contain open sources of water, such as lakes and swamps associated with major rivers, while the growth of most of the trees in such areas exploit stochastic rainfall events rather than reflect annual variation regardless of rainfall. Even river discharge into desertified areas is affected by rainfall. Lake, swamp and fluvial deposits, as well as tree-rings, may therefore provide information of stochastic events from outside desertified areas that may be used to evaluate general conditions, but are not directly relevant to understanding environmental variation WITHIN such areas.

19. Indigenous dryland techniques to combat desertification

Convener: Pedro Berliner

Over the centuries, desert dwellers developed techniques that allowed them to produce, under conditions of low and variable rain, food and fodder. These techniques can be improved and adapted to various desertification-endangered soil-crop-climate configurations. Even though the techniques tend to be simple and thus easy to implement in developing countries, the biophysical interactions are extremely complicated and require in-depth studies to allow their modeling; the latter an essential tool necessary to implement these techniques in areas in which they have not been used hitherto. In the present session, field and modeling studies will be presented and discussed.

20. Modeling and measurement of non-rainfall water inputs

Convener: Nurit Agam (and Pedro Berliner)

Non-rainfall water inputs (NRWIs), i.e., a gain of water to the surface soil layer that is not caused by rainfall, comprise fog deposition, dew formation, and water vapor adsorption. In drylands, the annual amount of NRWIs can exceed that of rainfall and, in many areas, NRWIs are the sole source of liquid water during the long dry summer, and can therefore have a large effect on dryland ecosystems and crops.

We welcome contributions on the measurement and modeling of physical, chemical, and biological processes related to the NRWI phenomenon.

21. Self-organized vegetation patchiness: observations, modeling and model analysis

Convener: Ehud Meron

There is increasing evidence that spatial self-organization induced by water-vegetation feedbacks plays an important role in shaping dryland landscapes. Model studies have provided much insight into the mechanisms by which positive feedbacks can render uniform vegetation unstable and lead to the formation of vegetation patterns. Yet, the mechanisms at work in specific systems and the interplay between different mechanisms have remained largely unexplored. This session will bring together experts in modeling and in model analysis, as well as field and remote sensing experts, to present recent progress in understanding vegetation pattern formation and the implications it bears on ecosystem processes and function.

22. Fairy circles as a self-organization phenomenon

Convener: Ehud Meron

Fairy circles are circular gaps of bare soil in grasslands that form strikingly ordered patterns on large, landscape scales. They have been observed in western Namibia and recently also in northwestern Australia. Two main hypotheses have been proposed for the cause of their formation: termite colonies, which have been found in many circles, and water-vegetation interactions. This session will bring together entomologists, ecologists and physicists who will present recent empirical and model studies that shed new light on the controversial fairy-circle phenomenon. The interest in fairy circles goes beyond the mechanisms of their formation; whatever these mechanisms turn out to be, fairy circles provide excellent empirical case models to study the impact of spatial self-organization on ecological processes and ecosystem function.

23. Plant abiotic stress tolerance mechanisms for coping with arid and semi-arid environments

Conveners: Vered Tzin and Shimon Rachmilevitch

Plants growing in arid areas confront a number of abiotic stress-causing factors including drought, extreme temperatures, high winds, low humidity, high radiation, salinity and specific ion toxicity. These factors become tangible both as direct physiological stresses in the plants and as indirect stress components, via alterations to the physical environment. This session will provide a platform to understand and discuss some of the dominant abiotic stress-causing factors in the context of desert agriculture and to investigate methods to contend with them sustainably.

24. Vineyard-environment interactions

1. (as part of Viticulture in a changing climate)

Conveners: Nurit Agam, Naftali Lazarovitch and Aaron Fait

Environmental conditions optimal for quality wine-grape production are of a complex nature and are not easily defined. For example, a sufficient amount of radiation is required, but overexposure deteriorates yield quality. Similarly, a correct water balance is necessary for optimal grape development. The vast expansion of wine consumption worldwide and the increasing demand for quality wine, along with apparent signs of climate change and repeated droughts in many wine vineyard growing areas, make a better understanding of the vineyard-environment interactions necessary.

25. Viticulture/agronomy practices in relation to climate

1. (as part of Viticulture in a changing climate)

Conveners: Nurit Agam, Naftali Lazarovitch and Aaron Fait

Farmers have selected plant materials (variety, rootstock) and viticultural practices in accordance with local climatic conditions in order to optimize yield and quality. Common practices include irrigation, fertilization, soil tillage, disease control, pruning, trellising and harvesting. These viticultural practices can be modified to adapt to climatic variability and to optimize grape yield, aroma and flavor. In recent years, strategies applied in arid land viticulture were introduced into central Europe as a means of buffering the impact of climate change. The development of ad-hoc practices is thus becoming pivotal in facing the upcoming uncertainties in relation to the environment.

26. Vine molecular physiology and genetics

1. (as part of Viticulture in a changing climate)

Conveners: Nurit Agam, Naftali Lazarovitch and Aaron Fait

The economic value of grape as an agricultural crop relates not only to the yield but also to the quality of the berry as reflected by its chemical composition. A fundamental strategy to ameliorate fruit quality in a changing climate by optimizing viticulture practices lies in the (i) understanding of the mechanisms modulating the molecular physiology of the vine and the grape, (ii) dissecting the regulation of polyphenol and aroma potential, and the (iii) identification of candidate gene regulators of key biochemical pathways.

27. Urban form of dryland cities – mitigating effects of climate change and environmental degradation

Convener: E. Erell and D. Pearlmutter

Rapid urbanization in dryland countries is partly the result of land degradation in rural areas. Dryland cities often suffer from water shortages and inefficient use of energy resources, subjecting their inhabitants to poor environmental conditions that are exacerbated by global climate change as well as the urban heat island. Mitigating the consequences of these processes will require a better understanding of the effects of urban form on the energy-water-land nexus. The session will provide a forum for research on issues such as water-sensitive urban design, the urban forest, pedestrian thermal comfort in outdoor spaces and the interaction between the urban microclimate and building energy consumption.

28. Scientific conceptual framework for land degradation neutrality: a report of the Science-Policy Interface Committee

Conveners: Pam Chasek and Barron Orr

29. Land degradation neutrality: will Africa achieve it?: Institutional solutions to land degradation and restoration in Africa

Convener: Luc Gnacadja

Land degradation neutrality (SDG target 15.3) is defined as “a state whereby the amount and quality of land resources necessary to support ecosystem functions and services and enhance food security remain stable or increase within specified temporal and spatial scales and ecosystems” to address land stewardship at all levels for the sake of sustainability.

More than half of the additional two billion people who will live on Earth by 2050 will be born in Africa. The population of sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) is predicted to grow from 900 million in 2013 to about 1.4 billion by 2030 (UN, 2013), while the region is the world’s champion in poverty, hunger and food insecurity, land degradation and agriculture vulnerability to climate change.

But Africa is also a global hotspot for success stories in land restoration with innovations mostly occurring at local level. The institutional aspects are among the major hurdles to scaling up.

The proposed session aims to involve policy-makers, on-farm land managers and scientists to discuss the following:

What triggers land improvement processes and how can these triggers be mainstreamed?

How to support farmers to make SLM decisions and secured investments, while ensuring that they receive a fair share of the benefits generated downstream by their restoration efforts?

How to overcome the institutional challenges to scaling up restoration and furthering climate change adaptation in the agricultural sector in SSA? What enabling environment for achieving LDN? What is the role of the private sector?

30. Land degradation neutrality: the physical and geographical dimension

Convener: Alan Grainger

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 13th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


The Vienna Energy Forum (VEF) 2017 Conference: “Sustainable energy for the implementation of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement” convened 9-12 May 2017.


The VEF is a biennial, global multi-stakeholder forum, launched in 2008 to explore development challenges from the perspective of sustainable energy – and to debate solutions to those challenges. It is a joint initiative of the Austrian Government, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IASA) based in Laxenburg, Austria, and the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) , as well based in Vienna.


[This year’s meeting overlapped The Bonn Climate Change Conference, organized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, May 8-18, 2017 – a technical meeting dealing with areas like the Green house effects, stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, green urban environments, Clean Energy … Nature’s Role. Obviously, this time conflict might have taken away some of the coverage of the Vienna event.]

VEF 2017 is intended to contribute to the practicalities in successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Paris Agreement. Among other things, it discussed the importance of the linkages between climate and development, and examined the role of innovation in achieving SDG 7 – “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” and related SDGs.

The Forum featured side events held on the UN Grounds in Vienna, from 9-10 May – followed by plenary sessions from 11-12 May.

The side events covered such topics as achieving SDG 7, sustainable energy solutions in landlocked developing countries, innovative business models to attract sustainable energy investment for least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS), capacity building, clean energy for migrants and vulnerable groups, improving energy access, technology transfer, modern cooking energy, achieving a low-carbon society, regional incubation networks, micro-grids, smart city development, energy scenarios for sub-Saharan African cities, catalyzing action on energy efficiency, global research initiatives in support of the 2030 Development Agenda and the Paris Agreement, and promoting women to advance the global energy transition.

The follow up plenary sessions promoted then dialogue on the nexus between energy, climate, transport, food, water and health, linkages among the key SDGs and their contribution to the 2030 Development Agenda, and the role of innovation as a global driver for sustainable growth.

In this reporting by Irith Jawetz, she goes over a few highlights of the Conference she attended at the Austrian Hofburg – the Austria Presidential quarters in Vienna.

Also here there were many plenary panels and side events which will hopefully be posted on the website at a later date.  www.viennaenergyforum.org/


The Opening ceremony of the Vienna Energy Forum 2017 took place on May 11, 2017 at the magnificent Festsaal in the Hofburg.

Here is a short summary of the presentations:

Master of Ceremonies was Ms. Ralitsa Vassileva, the news Director Bulgarian International Television, who was previously anchorwoman on CNN.

She thanked the 1,500 delegates from 100 countries and the 50 speakers who have assembled to attend this important Conference, whose main goal is to fight poverty through Sustainable Development.

The first speaker was Mr. Michael Linhart, Secretary General of the Austrian Ministry for Integration & Foreign Affairs. He mentioned that this Conference has started in Vienna in 2009 and was the first Forum leading the need for access to Sustainable Development. The latest important events were the International Conference on Sustainable Development in New York, September 2016 and the COP 21 – UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, December 2016 where the important Paris Agreement was signed. Both events, together with the current conference in Vienna will decide whether we are on the right track.

The next speaker was Ms. Maria Vassilaku, Vice Mayor of Vienna, member of the Austrian Green Party, who welcomed everybody to Vienna, the most beautiful, sustainable and liberal city. She especially mentioned that we have to tackle the question of Climate Change for our children.

Sustainable Development is defined by sustainable mobility, more public transport (Vienna has reduced the price of annual transportation ticket in order to entice people to leave their cars at home and use Public transportation).

Achieving the goals of Sustainability will only be done by involving people, industry, Governments, and private sectors.

She was followed by Mr. Li Yong, Director General of UNIDO who insisted that we must make sure the Paris Agreement is implemented in full.

Then came up Ms. Rachel Kyte, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, and CEO of Sustainable Energy for All, formerly with the World Bank in Washington DC. She was the most passionate of the speakers. She mentioned that 1 in 7 people on our planet do not have access to energy. This is unacceptable.

We have to give everybody a chance for access to energy. We need it for schools, clinics, food, shelter, and everybody must have the right to it. She pleaded that we have to move, and to move fast, promises made should be promises kept.

{Ms Kyte served until December 2015 as World Bank Group Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change, leading the Bank Group’s efforts to campaign for an ambitious agreement at the 21st Convention of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP 21). She was previously World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development, and was the International Finance Corporation Vice President for Business Advisory Services.]

Next came Prof. Pavel Kabat, Director General and Chief Executive Office at IIASA, International Institute for Applied Systems Analyses located in Laxenburg, Austria. He put the emphasis on research and vision. He said that one should not view Climate Change as a threat but as a new start, energy is a necessity and not a goal and sustainability will only be achieved when there is a partnership of private and public sector.

The Austrian Ambassador to the United Nations in Vienna, Ms. Chtistine Stix-Hackl read an official statement from the Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, who welcomed all participants to the Conference in Vienna, which has become a hub for Energy. The President stressed the importance of implementing the Paris Agreement and making sure that the goals set in that agreement will be met .

Andrä Ruprechter, Austrian Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment & Water Management also mentioned the two conferences in 2016 in New York and Paris and said that we can and will clear the pathway to a clean energy future for all. He was looking forward to the next Climate Change Conference in November 6-17, 2017, in Bonn, Germany. Climate Change is a Global problem and needs Global solutions. He vowed that Austria will stick with the Paris agreement.

Mr. Piyush Goyal, Minister of State with independent Charge for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines in the Government of India was also very passionate in his speech. The world is changing since Thomas Edison discovered the light bulb and it is for us now, and not later, to do something in order to save the world. India is committed to the Paris Agreement even if other World leaders are not (this was the first time the audience clapped during a speech). Prime Minster Modi is a conservationist of Energy and under his leadership India has promoted energy efficiency for the last years and has reduced the use of electricity by a lot by using only energy saving light bulbs. He hopes that by 2019 every lights bulb will be replaced.


Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the United nations and former Minister of Environment of Nigeria, also stressed that we must address Climate Change since it is a scientific fact, in spite of recent talks to the contrary
(this remark caused more clapping from the audience). The Paris Agreement has to be implemented in full in order to fight Climate Change and more important poverty. It is unacceptable that 1 in 7 people on the planet have no access to electricity.

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The second day started with the Ministerial segment moderated by Ms. Tania Rödiger-Vorwerk, Deputy Director General, Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation & Development (BMZ), Germany. Let us remember that upcoming COP 23 of the UNFCCC will be held in Bonn, Germany, this November 6-17.

The keynote speaker was the very passionate and eloquent Prime Minister of Tuvalu, H.E. Enele Sopoaga. Being the Head of one of the endangered islands, he stressed the importance of regarding Climate Change as a real danger. He expressed solidarity with the Paris Agreement and stressed the importance of action to combat Climate Change. Survival is at stake, Governments & Private sectors of all countries have to work together to make sure the use of Renewable sources is increased. Tuvalu has numerous programs in that direction and hopes to achieve 100% use of Renewable sources of energy by the year 2020. Tuvalu is fully committed to explore Renewable energy from oceans but needs help in technology. 10,000 people in very small islands which are part of Tuvalu have already 100% electricity, but a lot still has to be done. He called upon all countries not to listen to diversion from the problems of Climate Change but “keep everybody on the boat & canoe”. Every country has to be on board and support the goals of developing Sustainable energy for all at all costs.

His speech caused a round of applause from all participants.

The other Ministers on the Podium were H.E. Ms. Jabulile Mashwama, Minister of Natural Resources & Energy of Swaziland who also stressed that Renewable agenda comes at a high cost, it’s coming slowly, but it has to happen.

H.E. Mr. Khaled Fahmy, Minister, Egypt Environmental affairs Agency, also supported in full the Paris Agreement, this is a Global agreement and all countries have to respect and adapt it. Egypt hopes to achieve 20% of renewable energy by 2020 which comes mainly from solar and wind. In order to implement this goal, the private sector must be involved, especially in order to bear the costs. This is a critical issue and the pace is too slow.

H.E. Mr. Aziz Rebbah, Minister of Energy, Mines & Sustainable Development from Morocco, home of the COP 22 of the UNFCCC in 2016, strives to achieve 52% of renewable energy by 2030 which will come mainly from solar power.

A very moving side event which Ms. Jawetz attended, and would like to share, was the “Networking Event: Women for Sustainable Energy”. This networking event connects people and provides a platform for knowledge sharing and exchange. It raises awareness on the potential of sustainable energy for women’s empowerment, and featured short presentations by women leaders in the energy sector. It provided insights into a broad range of career paths and initiatives that target women’s empowerment in the clean energy sector. This event was meant to promote sustainable energy approaches that have strong impact on gender equality and highlighted the major role of women in making the energy sector more sustainable. The event was hosted by UNIDO and supported by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Center for Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), the Global Women’s Network for Energy Transition (GWNET) and the International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy (ENERGIA).


Before the closing session started we heard a short speech by Mr. Kandeh Yumkella, who is now a Sierra Leonean Agricultural economist and politician, and was, for many years, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, first as head of UN Energy and then for Sustainable Energy for All during the years 2009-2016. He was instrumental in organizing all the past Vienna Energy Forum events. He thanked everybody for inviting him this time as a guest and participant, and stressed time and again that “Energy for All” is the key for everything, and one has to take the fight from Vienna to New York and spread the word.

The closing remarks were carried out by Mr. Philippe Scholtes, Managing Director, Programme Development and Technical Cooperation Division (PTC), UNIDO.

He thanked all the organizers for the successful event and counted 10 key massages:

1) Role of Energy in 2030 – urgency agenda for sustainable development;

2) Urgency in developing energy for food, security, land, water & health nexus;

3) Developing sustainable cities and urban communities, the need for use of sustainable energy for infrastructure;

4) Need to adapt to Climate Change by using clean energy;

5) Pioneering role of innovative technologies are a central piece of sustainable energy;

6) Financing innovative business models. Sustainable solutions depend on innovative businesses;

7) Catalysts for innovation – Governments needs to stimulate innovation and develop energy system support research & development;

8)Innovation for Appropriate & Sustainable solutions, planning frugal, flexible & inclusive energy systems;

9) Energy is ca crucial component for implementing of the 2029 agenda;

10) Businesses & Private sector must be included in implementing the Paris agreement.


All in All a very successful Conference, but the work is not done yet. To quote Ms. Rachel Kyte: “Promises made should be promises kept!”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 13th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

from: Max Gruenig  max.gruenig at eius.org

Dear colleagues,

One can now apply to be a part of Arctic Summer College 2017 at bit.ly/ASCapply2017(link is external)

The deadline for an application is June 8, 2017.


Since 2012, the Arctic Summer College provides an interdisciplinary learning environment to increase knowledge and understanding of the people and the environment of the Arctic. To achieve this, the College focuses on climate change adaptation, natural resource management, biodiversity protection, environmental governance, energy policy, security, and human health. The College is primarily a virtual campus for learning about the environment in the Arctic and exchanging ideas on how collaborative efforts can protect the Arctic from negative impacts of human activities in the High North.

The Arctic Summer College invites practitioners and graduate students from around the world to participate in an expert-led, interactive webinar series in which you will engage with Arctic experts in a variety of fields in real time. During the course, you will build relationships with other participants, develop connections with Arctic professionals, and enter into a larger network of Arctic Summer College Alumni upon completion of the program.

You will benefit from lectures and submit a final paper to earn our Arctic Summer College Student Certification. The final paper can be on a topic of your choice within relevant fields such as sustainable development, environmental protection, and/or international cooperation in the Arctic. Exceptional participants will have the opportunity to publish their work in the peer-reviewed Arctic Summer College yearbook (see also our previous book on Arctic Governance: ecologic.eu/10044(link is externa) and the World Policy Institute’s Arctic in Context Blog.

Additionally, distinguished participants will receive a travel grant to present their research at the 2017 Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland.

9 online lectures will be hosted by Ecologic Institute on Wednesdays from 18:00-20:00 CEST / 12:00-14:00 EDT from July 5 to August 30, 2017.

The participation fee for the Arctic Summer College is 300 USD or 300 EUR.

You can contact us with questions about the Arctic Summer College and the application process at  application at arcticsummercollege.org(link sends e-mail)

We look forward to hearing from you!

Your Arctic Summer College Team,
Max Gruenig, Brendan O’Donnell and Arne Riedel

 arcticsummercollege.org


Max Gruenig
President

Phone 202-550-9072
Skype max.gruenig.ecologic
Twitter @MaxGruenig
web eius.org
 www.linkedin.com/in/maxgruenig
 www.facebook.com/eius.org/

Read our new book: Low-Carbon Energy Security from a European Perspective
 bit.ly/low-carbon-energy

Ecologic Institute US
1630 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20009, USA
Ecologic Institute is an IRC 501(c)(3) public charity

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 13th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

I saw the following in the WSJ of today and was intrigued by the great ideas of this man, whom by the way we knew, and knew his wife as well. I thought, finally the WSJ writes about his ideas on the cost of health-care – something they really should have done a long time ago – not just now hidden in the memorial of an obituary. Oh well – how many people will search for those lines?

I tried to lift the article and post it – but neigh – the WSJ wants to be paid fr this.


William Baumol Diagnosed the Disease of Higher Health and Education Costs
Economist explained why TV sets get cheaper but hospital stays don’t

By James R. Hagerty
The Wall Street Journal, May 12, 2017 10:00 a.m. ET

William Baumol made his name as an economist by explaining why the costs of health care, education and some other services rise much faster than most other things.

so, I looked it up by other ways and found the original from which the WSJ article was built:

I Found the Free exchange Blog that wrote a 2012 book review:

An incurable disease


A new book explains how health care can become both more expensive and more affordable
Sep 29th 2012


HEALTH-CARE expenditure in America is growing at a disturbing rate: in 1960 it was just over 5% of GDP, in 2011 almost 18%. By 2105 the number could reach 60%, according to William Baumol of New York University’s Stern School of Business. Incredible? It is simply the result of extrapolating the impact of a phenomenon Mr Baumol has become famous for identifying: “cost disease”. His new book* gives a nuanced diagnosis, offerings both a vision of a high-cost future and a large dose of optimism. The cost disease may be incurable, but it is also survivable—if treated correctly.

To understand the cost disease, start with a simple observation: whatever the economy’s average rate of productivity growth, some industries outpace others. Take car manufacturing. In 1913 Ford introduced assembly lines to move cars between workstations. This allowed workers, and their tools, to stay in one place, which cut the time to build a Model T car from 12 hours to less than two. As output per worker grows in such “progressive” sectors, firms can afford to increase wages.

In some sectors of the economy, however, such productivity gains are much harder to come by—if not impossible. Performing a Mozart quartet takes just as long in 2012 as it did in the late 18th century. Mr Baumol calls industries in which productivity growth is low or even non-existent “stagnant”.

Employers in such sectors face a problem: they also need to increase their wages so workers don’t defect. The result is that, although output per worker rises only slowly or not at all, wages go up as fast as they do in the rest of the economy. As the costs of production in stagnant sectors rise, firms are forced to raise prices. These increases are faster than those in sectors where productivity is improving, and faster than inflation (which blends together all the prices in the economy). So prices of goods from stagnant sectors must rise in real terms. Hence “cost disease”.

The disease is most virulent in industries where standardisation and automation are hard. The best examples are goods tailored to meet customer-specific demands, such as bespoke suits and haircuts. But Mr Baumol focuses on industries in which the cost disease is rife because human interaction is important, such as health care, education and the performing arts. Because it is often human input that makes the products of these industries valuable, cutting labour would be self-defeating.

Historical data confirm that the cost disease is real. Since the 1980s the price of university education in America has risen by 440% and the cost of medical care by 250%. For the economy as a whole, the average price and wage increases were only 110% and 150% respectively (see left-hand chart). Mr Baumol’s theory makes for scary extrapolations. America’s health-care spending as a share of GDP, for instance, is growing by around 1.4% a year. If it continued to expand at this rate for a century, it would rise to that eye-popping figure of 60% in 2105.

Although America leads the pack in medical inflation, it is not the only country that is infected. In Japan health-care spending per person grew by 5.7% a year in real terms between 1960 and 2006; in Britain it rose by 3.5% a year over the same period. Applying Mr Baumol’s logic, health-care spending in both countries could, if nothing was done about it, rise from around 10% of GDP to more than 50% in the next 100 years.

Fortunately, possibilities abound to mitigate the impact of the cost disease. Cutting waste in health care can shift down the level of spending. Though this is no cure, it does mean costs grow from a lower base when the disease inevitably takes hold. And innovation will mean that activities within the stagnant sector, like hand-delivered post, can be replaced by alternatives where productivity improvements are more likely, like texts and e-mail.

Rising costs will also encourage hard thinking about whether a personal and tailored touch is needed. If not, productivity gains are easier to find. In some areas of medicine computers now have better diagnostic skills than humans. In education lectures can be recorded, allowing star academics to teach millions. In the arts live opera performances are beamed to audiences in cinemas across the world.

A bigger slice of a much bigger pie

But that still leaves a rump of services within medicine, education and the arts that are resistant to productivity gains. For these, Mr Baumol offers his most intriguing prediction: although their costs will grow alarmingly high, they will remain affordable. In a way, the disease produces its own cure. If America’s economy grows by 2% per year (its long-term rate), it will be eight times bigger in 100 years. In addition, goods and services in innovative sectors will become much cheaper. In 1908 the average American had to work for around 4,700 hours to earn enough to buy a Model T Ford. A century later, a typical car can be had for only 1,365 hours of labour. This means that, even if health care really did eat up 60% of the pie, there would still be much more to spend on everything else (see right-hand chart).

The real problem is not the cost disease, Mr Baumol argues, but knee-jerk reactions to it. The most likely response to spiralling budgets for publicly provided medicine and education is to shift provision to the private sector. But that will not cure the underlying disease. High costs could also lead to excessive rationing, slowing development over the long term.

If it happens, such a reaction rests on a mistaken premise: that the rising costs in the stagnant sectors make people poorer. In fact, buying power is growing much faster than medicine, education and the arts are becoming dearer. Mr Baumol’s crystal ball says that in 100 years a live performance of a Mozart quartet will be vastly more expensive, but people will still be able to afford it.

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* “The Cost Disease: Why Computers Get Cheaper and Health Care Doesn’t”, by William Baumol, 2012
 Economist.com

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

The Huffington Post – POLITICS 05/10/2017

Donald Trump’s Story About Why He Fired FBI Director James Comey Is Already Falling Apart
Trump never complained that Comey was too hard on Hillary Clinton until he needed a reason to fire him.

By Jessica Schulberg

WASHINGTON ? President Donald Trump and his aides claimed he fired FBI Director James Comey Tuesday because Comey mishandled the bureau’s investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. They argued it had nothing to do with the fact that Comey was leading an investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian interference in the 2016 election. But by Wednesday morning, that story — which never made much sense in the first place — was falling apart, and the White House was stumbling to defend it.

Hours after Comey was fired, Kellyanne Conway, a top Trump adviser, appeared on television to defend the president’s decision. At first, Conway stuck to the talking points, reading verbatim from a three-page letter written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, criticizing Comey’s treatment of Clinton. But minutes later in the same interview, she contradicted herself.

“This has nothing to do with the campaign from six months ago,” Conway told CNN’s Anderson Cooper early Wednesday morning. “This has everything to do with the performance of the FBI director since the president has been in the White House.”

Trump addressed the issue publicly for the first time Wednesday morning, after a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. He didn’t mention Comey’s treatment of Clinton. “[Comey] wasn’t doing a good job,” Trump told reporters. “Very simply. He was not doing a good job.”

Trump had been considering firing Comey “pretty much since the day he took office,” Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday during the press briefing. The FBI director had committed “atrocities,” she said. She stuck with the idea that Comey’s treatment of Clinton during the campaign was a fireable offense. The final straw, Sanders said, was Comey’s testimony to Congress last week. Comey told lawmakers he had bypassed then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and held a press conference on the Clinton email matter because he believed Lynch had a conflict of interest.

Comey went “around the chain of command,” Sanders said Wednesday. “And that is simply not allowed.”

McClatchy reported Wednesday that Trump asked Rosenstein to write the recommendation justifying firing Comey. Senior White House and Justice Department officials ? including Attorney General Jeff Sessions ? were asked to come up with reasons to fire Comey, Trump aides told the New York Times on Tuesday.

That’s not true, Sanders claimed Wednesday.

According to the White House, Trump was leaning toward firing Comey after watching him testify before Congress last week. During that testimony, Comey defended his handling of the Clinton email investigation and brushed away questions related to the Russia probe. On Monday, Trump met with Rosenstein and Sessions and they discussed why Comey should be removed, a White House official told reporters Wednesday night. A letter from Rosenstein dated Tuesday detailed Comey’s various missteps in the Clinton email investigation, but did not explicitly call for his removal. Sessions sent a second, shorter letter expressing support for Rosenstein.

The idea that Trump fired Comey because of how he handled the Clinton email investigation was inconsistent with the president’s previous actions. Trump has long clashed with Comey over issues unrelated to the White House’s stated reason for his ouster. He fumed over Comey’s decision to confirm in March that Trump associates were under FBI investigation for possible ties to Russian government officials. He resented Comey’s refusal to back his unsubstantiated claim that former President Barack Obama spied on him. And during the campaign, he criticized Comey’s decision to recommend no criminal charges be filed against Clinton for her use of a private email server ? the opposite of the argument Rosenstein made in the letter the White House claims was the impetus for Comey’s dismissal.

“Very very unfair! As usual, a bad judgement,” Trump tweeted in July after Comey recommended no criminal charges against Clinton. Trump made no mention of Comey’s blistering public criticism of Clinton’s handling of classified information.

Trump later praised Comey for notifying Congress that the FBI was examining newly discovered emails related to the Clinton investigation days before the election ? a controversial move that Democrats say contributed to Clinton’s loss. “It took guts,” Trump said of Comey’s decision in October. “He brought back his reputation. He brought it back.”

Rosenstein specifically cited Comey’s July criticism of Clinton and his October letter to lawmakers as reasons he should be fired.

If Trump truly believed Comey had treated Clinton unfairly, it would have made sense for him to fire the FBI director on his first day in office.

But when Trump entered the White House, there was no indication he was unhappy with Comey. On his fourth day as president, Trump blew a kiss toward Comey, patted him on the back and remarked on how “famous” the FBI director had become.

—————————————
Paul Blumenthal contributed reporting.
This story has been updated to include comments the White House made Wednesday night.

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

8 May 2017
World’s largest tidal power project to be built in Indonesia.

The Indonesian government has approved plans to develop what has been said to be the world’s largest tidal power plant which will be located off the island of Flores.

The Palmerah Tidal Bridge project has been awarded to Tidal Bridge BV – a joint venture between construction engineering company Strukton International and private equity firm Dutch Expansion Capital (DEC).

The project includes the construction of an 800 metre-long floating bridge in addition to the world’s largest tidal power plant.

André Hoogeveen, General Manager at Strukton Sustainable Energy, said: “This milestone is an extraordinary momentum to show our knowledge and experience. It is great to have the opportunity to realise this state of the art product in Indonesia.”

The tidal power plant will have an installed capacity of 18 megawatts (MW) to 23 (MW), providing energy for more than 100,000 people.

Latif Gau, CEO of Tidal Bridge Indonesia, said: “The Indonesian government was pleasantly surprised by the inventiveness of the partners, which made sure we could very quickly move to the implementations phase.”

The first phase of the project has a contract value up to $200 million and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019.

After realising the first phase, the project will be followed by an extension and finalisation stage which will see the installed capacity grow to 90 MW to 115 MW – providing energy for more than half a million people.

The total project duration is expected to span four years, with a contract value of up to $550 million.

The planned location, Larantuka Strait, is highly suitable for the generation of tidal energy due to the water flows, and makes it possible for local people to benefit from the bridge in multiple ways – the company said in a press release.

The project is expected to improve living standards, stimulating tourism and improving access to education and health care in the longer term.

Eric van den Eijnden, CEO of Tidal Bridge, said: “We are proud to use cutting-edge technology in realising this bridge with the largest tidal power plant in the world and be able to increase the living standard of the people with this project.”

RELATED ARTICLES
Tidal Power project wins license in New York
Scotland launches first large-scale tidal energy farm in the world
Indonesia’s GAR swears by ‘revolutionary’ conservation standards

 www.climateactionprogramme.org/ne…

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


Obama returns to spotlight to speak up on climate change.

Former US President Obama to speak at “Seeds and Chips” summit
During his time in office, Obama devoted energy to pushing sustainable food.

By Nic Robertson, CNN
Tuesday, May 9, 2017 – Victory Day in WWII

Nic Robertson is CNN’s International Diplomatic Editor.

Milan, Italy (CNN)Hard on the heels of one of his first public comments since leaving office, President Barack Obama is heading overseas to talk about food.

Where else but Italy? The gastronomic heart of the world, Italy is a place where food is taken seriously, and its status as a culinary destination gives it the gravitas and credibility to be among the first to raise questions about the future of nutrition. To be sure, Obama will have dined well. To fail to do that, even in Milan, the once industrial capital of the north now better known for its fashionistas, would be a crime, but that’s not the meat of visit. It’s far more somber and serious, to help advance sustainable food supplies for us all and generations to come.

Fresh in office in 2009, Obama initiated his “Feed the Future” campaign that by some accounts has helped 9 million farmers and more than 17 million children, many under 5 years of age, have a chance of improved nutrition in more than 19 countries worldwide.

At the same time, his wife Michelle planted the modest White House kitchen garden — the creation of another First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt — and turned it into a source of nutritional food for her family and others. She went on to champion the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010, providing much needed healthy meals for schoolkids, an early Trump target in scything back the Obamas’ legacy.

Both Barack and Michelle have had a thing about helping the needy get access to good food for a long time.

So why step back into the limelight now?

President Trump will go to Italy later this month to the culinary heaven known as Sicily. Food likely won’t be on his mind — it could be the toughest of all his stops in his first overseas excursion as commander in chief.

Trump will be attending the G7 leaders summit, where topics like migration and climate change will vie for attention in an agenda already dense with thorny issues like Syria, Russia, globalization and trade.

Obama adds his voice to “Seeds and Chips,” a summit that aims to advance his own cherished principles and stitch together food issues that for most people are scudding along below the radar yet stalk our very existence.

He’ll deliver the keynote speech at the global gathering of government ministers, innovators, business leaders and experts “to face one of the greatest global challenges: climate change and the issues linked to food supply in an increasingly populated world with progressively scarce resources.”

By raising these issues, Obama will be challenging Trump’s stated goal to collapse the COP21 climate change agreement forged in Paris — perhaps Obama’s biggest global legacy — as well as point out Trump’s hacks at his wife’s signature legacy too.

Trump Admin guts Obama-era climate regulations

The United States was one of the last big polluters to come on board and accept the principle of climate change. Obama’s desire to cut a deal in Paris determined neither China nor Russia had any room to back out.

The “Seeds and Chips” summit that Obama is opening is in its third year, and its organizers are looking to him to nail down its legacy as a force for good and change.

Obama won’t have to open his mouth to do that, or for that matter butt ideological heads with Trump. His presence and legacy alone will convey both the dire prospects for climate change and the importance of planning and preparing sustainable food supplies.

Some forward-leaning climate scientists have been saying for years that polar ice melts and unusual weather changes are here to stay, that so much damage has already been done by industrialization that turning back the clock is not an option.

In his two and a half hours on stage, Obama will deliver the guiding speech setting the tone for the event and then take questions.
The former President has come well prepared — his former senior food policy adviser and former chef Sam Kass will be there too.
Obama should have no trouble holding his own among the gathered experts. Often chided as “policy wonk in chief,” intellectual discourse is his staple. Turning up the heat and bringing passion to a topic many already feel exhausted by will be his challenge.
What ever sage advice he brings to the table, it won’t be to Trump’s taste. An avowedly anti-science instinct has led the current President to appoint an EPA chief, Scott Pruitt, who questions the majority-held scientific views on climate change and intends to roll back the hard-earned climate gains of Obama’s administration.

Ex-EPA chief: Trump climate policy ’embarrassing’

Obama, now out of office, seems unwilling to sit silently in the margins, like some Victorian schoolchild only to speak when spoken to.

Silence has been the default state for many previous Presidents happy to shed the responsibilities of the White House. But Trump’s targeting of Obama’s legacy — his health care plan at home and climate change overseas — seems to have pushed him to take up speaking engagements he knows will needle the new commander in chief.


Yates contradicts Spicer on Michael Flynn

It’s becoming increasingly clear that Trump and Obama never saw eye to eye, even following their now famous hour-long White House meeting late last year when they came out all smiles and bonhomie. It emerges now that was the meeting when Obama warned Trump about hiring Michael Flynn, Trump’s soon to be fired National Security Adviser.

Obama was right that Flynn would be trouble.

Today Trump may feel he needs to follow his gut and learn climate change for himself too.
What he thinks about Obama’s return to the global spotlight will no doubt be revealed in his Tweets, where no amount of sugarcoating will hide his sentiment.

But this is only the beginning. Obama has more global speeches penciled in, including one in the UK, just two days before Trump’s big G7 summit.

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

A spokesman for the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency said that he would consider replacing academic scientists with representatives from industries that the agency is supposed to regulate.

Chicago Mayor Recoups Climate Change Data Deleted From EPA Website
By Cassie Kelly, EcoWatch
08 May 17

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has his own ideas about the Trump administration taking down important climate data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website.

This weekend, Emanuel posted the scrubbed data on the City of Chicago’s official website to preserve the “decades of research [the agency] has done to advance the fight against climate change.” Emanuel said he plans to develop the site further in the coming weeks.

Follow EcoWatch @EcoWatch

#EPA Takes Hatchet to Website rbl.ms/2qpaIma @ClimateNexus @climatehawk1 @CenterForBioDiv @NRDC
10:52 AM – 1 May 2017
Photo published for EPA Takes Hatchet to Website

The U.S. Environmental Protection is editing pages from its website related to …
 ecowatch.com

“While this information may not be readily available on the agency’s webpage right now, here in Chicago we know climate change is real and we will continue to take action to fight it,” Mayor Emanuel said.

The new page highlights NOAA records on global warming, basic information on what climate change is, the impact that it will have on things like farming and human health, and what citizens can do to reduce their emissions. It even has a section linking to the president’s Climate Action Plan, which as of right now, doesn’t lead anywhere but a blank page that says “stay tuned.”

The Trump Administration has shown it is not making climate action a priority and is leaning toward withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement.

“The Trump administration can attempt to erase decades of work from scientists and federal employees on the reality of climate change, but burying your head in the sand doesn’t erase the problem,” Emanuel said.

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EPA Cuts Half of Advisers on Key Panel

By Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis, The Washington Post
08 May 17


Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has chosen to replace half of the members on one of its key scientific review boards, the first step in a broader effort by Republicans to change the way the agency evaluates the scientific basis for its regulations.


The move could significantly change the makeup of the 18-member Board of Scientific Counselors, which advises EPA’s key scientific arm on whether the research it does has sufficient rigor and integrity. All of the members being dismissed were at the end of serving at least one three-year term, although these terms are often renewed instead of terminated.

EPA spokesman J.P. Freire said in an email that “no one has been fired or terminated,” and that Pruitt had simply decided to bring in fresh advisers. The agency informed the outside academics on Friday that their terms would not be renewed.

“We’re not going to rubber-stamp the last administration’s appointees. Instead, they should participate in the same open competitive process as the rest of the applicant pool,” Freire said. “This approach is what was always intended for the Board, and we’re making a clean break with the last administration’s approach.”

But the move came as a surprise to members of the board, who had been informed both in January, before Barack Obama left office, and then more recently by EPA career staff members, that they would be kept on for another term.

“I was kind of shocked to receive this news,” Robert Richardson, an ecological economist and an associate professor at Michigan State University’s Department of Community Sustainability, said in an interview Sunday.

Richardson, who tweeted on Saturday, “Today, I was Trumped,” said that he was at the end of an initial three-year term on the board, but that board members traditionally have served two such stints. “I’ve never heard of any circumstance where someone didn’t serve two consecutive terms,” he said, adding that the dismissals gave him “great concern that objective science is being marginalized in this administration.”

Courtney Flint, a professor of natural resource sociology at Utah State University who had served one term on the board, said in an email that she was also surprised to learn that her term would not be renewed, “particularly since I was told that such a renewal was expected.”

“In the broader view, I suppose it is the prerogative of this administration to set the goals of federal agencies and to appoint members to advisory boards,” she added.

Ryan Jackson, Pruitt’s chief of staff, noted in an email that all the board members whose terms are not being renewed could reapply for their positions.

“I’m not quite sure why some EPA career staff simply get angry by us opening up the process,” he said. “It seems unprofessional to me.”

Pruitt is planning a much broader overhaul of how the agency conducts its scientific analysis, said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The administration has been meeting with academics to talk about the matter and putting thought into which areas of investigation warrant attention from the agency’s scientific advisers.

The agency may consider industry scientific experts for some of the board positions, Freire said, as long as these appointments do not pose a conflict of interest.

Conservatives have complained about EPA’s approach to science, including the input it receives from outside scientific bodies, for years. Both the Board of Scientific Counselors and a larger, 47-person Scientific Advisory Board have come under criticism for bolstering the cause for greater federal regulation.

Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), who questions the link between human activity and climate change and has several former aides now working for Pruitt, said in an interview earlier this year that under the new administration, “They’re going to have to start dealing with science and not rigged science” at EPA.

House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) held a hearing on the issue in February, arguing that the composition of the Scientific Advisory Board, which was established in 1978, should be expanded to include more non-academics. It is primarily made up of academic scientists and other experts who review EPA’s research to ensure that the regulations the agency undertakes have a sound scientific basis.

“The EPA routinely stacks this board with friendly scientists who receive millions of dollars in grants from the federal government,” Smith said at the time. “The conflict of interest here is clear.”

In a budget proposal obtained by The Washington Post last month, the panel is slated for an 84 percent cut — or $542,000 — from its operating budget. That money typically covers travel and other expenses for outside experts who attend the board’s public meetings.

The reasoning behind the budget cut, said the document, reflects “an anticipated lower number of peer reviews.”

Joe Arvai, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board who directs University of Michigan’s Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, said in an email that Pruitt and his colleagues should keep in mind that the board’s membership and its standing and ad hoc panels “already includes credible scientists from industry” and its “work on agency rulemaking is open to public viewing and comment. So, if diversity of thought and transparency are the administrator’s concerns, his worries are misplaced because the SAB is already has these bases covered.”

“So, if you ask me, his moves over the weekend — as well as the House bill to reform the SAB — are attempts to use the SAB as a political toy,” Arvai added. “By making these moves, the administrator and members of the House can pander to the president’s base by looking like they’re getting tough on all those pesky ‘liberal scientists.’ But, all else being equal, nothing fundamentally changes about how the SAB operates.”

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

United States corporate tax reform and global FDI flows*
by
Miguel Pérez Ludeña**

May 8, 2017

The US is the largest source of FDI, accounting for 24% of the world’s outward stock. Now that Congress and the new presidential administration are putting forward plans for reforming the corporate tax regime, and especially the way multinational enterprises (MNEs) are taxed on their foreign earnings, we should consider the effects of these plans on FDI flows and the behavior of MNEs.

At the moment, US MNEs face income tax liabilities for the profits of their foreign affiliates, with a deduction for the taxes paid in host countries. Since payment is deferred until the income is returned to the US—and because the corporate tax rate in the US (35%) is higher than in most other countries—companies tend to accumulate earnings abroad to avoid a large tax bill at home. By the latest estimates, US companies hold US$2.343 trillion abroad in “reinvested foreign earnings.”[1] Half of these have been reinvested in productive assets, as is common practice for MNEs anywhere;[2] but half of that sum is estimated to be kept in liquid assets in low-tax territories.[3]

A reform that addresses this distortion should have short-term and long-term effects on FDI flows. To begin with, there are plans to bring back the earnings accumulated abroad by substituting the tax liability for a one-off toll.[4] If companies perceive this offer as time-limited, as it was the case with the American Jobs Creation Act (AJCA) in 2004, the amounts repatriated could be very high. For instance, assuming that the final deal only attracts half of the reinvested foreign earnings kept in liquid assets (or 25% of the total), the repatriation would be US$600 billion, double the average annual FDI outflows from the US over the past few years. The reform should try to spread this repatriation across several years, but the annual US FDI flows (and those of some other countries) would still be severely distorted.[5]

What will parent companies do with this one-off inflow? The objective of the reform is to increase investment in the US. But most of the accumulated foreign earnings are owned by large information technology and pharmaceutical companies that can already access as much capital as they want in the US.[6] It is more likely that the funds will be used to reduce debt, pay dividends or engage in large share buy-backs. It may also increase the appetite for domestic acquisitions, already high among technology firms. Regulators and market players should be aware of potential disruptions that a sudden inflow could create in financial markets.

In the long term, the reform is likely to reduce the incentives to keep future foreign earnings abroad, bringing the reinvestment rate of US foreign affiliates in line with those of the rest of the world. This should affect mostly the type of reinvested earnings kept in liquid assets in low-tax territories. But even a marginal impact on the decision to reinvest in productive assets would be felt in some host countries: reinvested earnings by US MNEs account for 19% of total FDI inflows in Mexico, for example.[7] These effects also may be seen between two non-US economies, as foreign affiliates of US MNEs have less capital to invest in other countries.

A second aspect concerns the effect on the global efforts to prevent tax avoidance by MNEs through profit shifting. If the reform brings the US corporate rate more in line with that of other large economies, it will reduce a significant distortion in the global corporate tax system. But unless the corporate tax is eliminated, US companies (like those of other countries) will still have an incentive to shift profits to tax havens.

Overall, US corporate tax reform is likely to generate large FDI flows, as companies unwind their stocks of reinvested foreign earnings. Lower corporate tax may increase investments in the US in the long-run, but little of the repatriated foreign earnings will be invested in productive capacity However, if it reduces the incentive that US companies shift profits abroad, this reform could help to harmonize international tax regulations and discourage aggressive tax planning. The US and other governments should seize this chance to continue the cooperation on this agenda.

——————–

* The Columbia FDI Perspectives are a forum for public debate. The views expressed by the author(s) do not reflect the opinions of CCSI or Columbia University or our partners and supporters.
** Miguel Pérez Ludeña ( Miguel.Perez at cepal.org) is an economist at the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). The author is grateful to Jennifer Blouin, Gary Hufbauer and Leslie Robinson for their helpful reviews. Columbia FDI Perspectives (ISSN 2158-3579) is a peer-reviewed series.
[1] See Jessica McKeon, “Indefinitely reinvested foreign earnings still on the rise,” Audit Analytics, www.auditanalytics.com/blog/indef….
[2] See UNCTAD, World Investment Report 2016 (Geneva: UNCTAD, 2016), p.7.
[3] Jennifer L. Blouin et al., “The location, composition, and investment implications of permanently reinvested earnings,” July 8, 2014, ssrn.com/abstract=2154662.
[4] The previous Administration suggested a 14% rate for this toll, but the new proposal may be lower. See 2015 Economic Report of the President (Washington, D.C.: Council of Economic Advisors, 2015), p. 219, obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sit….
[5] Repatriated earnings are counted as negative FDI outflows in home countries (a credit in the financial account of the balance of payments) and as negative FDI inflows in host countries (a debit).
[6] In AJCA’s experience, only firms that were capital constrained used the repatriated funds to increase investment. See Michael W. Faulkender and Mitchell A. Petersen, “Investment and capital constraints: repatriations under the American Jobs Creation Act,” NBER Working Paper no. w15248, August 2009, ssrn.com/abstract=1454981.
[7] Secretaría de Economía, Mexico, www.gob.mx/se/acciones-y-programa….

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The material in this Perspective may be reprinted if accompanied by the following acknowledgment: “Miguel Pérez Ludeña, ‘United States corporate tax reform and global FDI flows,’ Columbia FDI Perspectives, No. 199, May 8, 2017. Reprinted with permission from the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment  www.ccsi.columbia.edu).” A copy should kindly be sent to the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment at  ccsi at law.columbia.edu.

Columbia FDI Perspectives


Columbia FDI Perspectives

Perspectives on topical foreign direct investment issues
No. 199 May 8, 2017

Editor-in-Chief: Karl P. Sauvant ( Karl.Sauvant at law.columbia.edu)

Managing Editor: Matthew Schroth ( mas2443 at columbia.edu)

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


This column is based on sorrow reading of the May 8 issue.

On page A 12 we looked up the article “Israel Presses Trump on Vows” that was a very short reporting from yesterday’s whole day Jerusalem Post Conference at the Times Square Marriott Marquis Hotel.

The problem was not the shortness but the sentence: “The U.S. leader is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia, Israel and Europe beginning May 19.” By saying Europe rather then Rome or the Vatican – this shows that the reporter hid what went on there or he just did not liste and made it up. At the meeting – several speakers explained that this continuation to Rome was with deep meaning of bringing Christianity into this conflict between Jews and Muslims.

Voodoo Economics was represented under the Opinion page A19 with “Trump’s Tax Plan Would Spur Growth” – A Consumption levy could generate a GDP gain of between 2.5% and 4.5%

A nebulous aim to favor a return to old energy dependence is on same page under the title:
“Remake the Paris Climate Deal to Promote U.S. Energy.” A place at the table would let Trump counter Chinese predation and European unrealism.

The Editorial on page A19 is the least enthusiastic article of Macron’s achievements in yesterday’s France presidential elections. “The French center held barely.
If Mr. Macron fails to deliver faster growth, France may not be so lucky the net time.
The reality just passed the writer – the fact the French did not like to get an American outcome!

Page A9 is even more worrisome – seemingly intentional – with columns: “Macron Clashes With World Rivals” and “Le Pen Grows in Stature.” Really?

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


MIDDLE EAST: Mixed Signals From Trump Worry Pro-Israel Hard-Liners

By MARK LANDLER and MAGGIE HABERMAN, MAY 5, 2017, THE NW YORK TIMES.

Sheldon G. Adelson, one of President Trump’s most powerful donors, is disappointed that Mr. Trump had not fulfilled a campaign promise to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. {Adelson refuses to understand the mentality of his protege Donald Trump. – our comment}

WASHINGTON — President Trump hosted Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, at the White House this week with all the usual bonhomie he displays for foreign leaders. Within hours, he wrote on Twitter that it had been “an honor,” adding, “Hopefully something terrific” would come out “between the Palestinians & Israel.”

But then something odd happened. Within a day, the message vanished from Mr. Trump’s Twitter feed. The White House said it had no idea why that happened and that it stood by the original message. But stakeholders in the peace process have seen the unexplained disappearance as a sign of uncertainty from a president who has presented himself as Israel’s greatest friend but has then called it “an honor” to meet with its adversary.

As Mr. Trump embarks on what he vows will be a historic effort to do what no president has done before and make peace between Israelis and Palestinians, he finds himself under pressure from his hard-line pro-Israel supporters. They worry that he and his aides are listening too closely to Arab and Palestinian arguments and diluting what they hoped would be uncompromising support for the current Israeli government.

They are particularly concerned about the role of one of Mr. Trump’s closest Jewish friends, the New York billionaire Ronald S. Lauder, who is prodding Mr. Trump to forge an alliance with Mr. Abbas. Mr. Lauder is in frequent contact with Mr. Trump’s chief Middle East negotiator, Jason D. Greenblatt, who attended a dinner at Mr. Lauder’s Georgetown home with Mr. Abbas the night before the Palestinian leader went to the White House.

Trump, Bullish on Mideast Peace, Will Need More Than Confidence MAY 3, 2017

G.O.P. Pressures Trump to Take Tough Stance With Mahmoud Abbas MAY 2, 2017

Mahmoud Abbas Proposes Palestinian Unity Government With Hamas NOV. 30, 2016
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Continue reading the main story

Mr. Greenblatt got a very different message at an earlier dinner with two other prominent Palestinians, Salam Fayyad and Ziad Asali, and two American Jewish diplomats, Elliott Abrams and Dennis B. Ross. They all told him that a breakthrough was not realistic now, and that Mr. Trump would be better off pursuing incremental advances, like bettering the economic fortunes of the Palestinians.

“There is a perception that he’s fundamentally sympathetic, but there is an uncertainty about where he wants to go,” said Mr. Ross, a Middle East envoy for Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. “Among those who think there is no such thing as a deal, or that Israel is being asked to make troubling concessions, there is unease.”

So far, none of these objections are being made public. Conservative supporters of Israel view Mr. Trump as a vast improvement over Mr. Obama, whose blunt pressure on Israel to halt construction of settlements in the West Bank poisoned his relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mr. Trump has “done more in just 100 days than Barack Obama ever did in transforming the U.S.-Israel relationship into a U.S.-Israel partnership,” said Matthew Brooks, the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

PHOTO: Jason D. Greenblatt, Mr. Trump’s chief Middle East negotiator, left, meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, in Ramallah, in the West Bank, in March.

But later this month, when Mr. Trump will test his ideas on his first foreign trip, to Saudi Arabia and Israel, one of his most powerful donors, the Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon G. Adelson, will be in Israel when the president is, according to people briefed on his schedule.

{THE REPORTERS FORGOT TO MENTION THAT ON THIS TRIP Mr. TRUMP CONTINUES TO ROME TO MEET WITH THE POPE – THIS IN OUR OPINION IN ORDER TO BRING IN A NOTION OF RELIGION – THE HOLY LAND WITH IMPORTANCE TO JEWS (ISRAEL), MUSLIMS (RYADH, SAUDI ARABIA) AND THE VATICAN (CHRISTIANITY). THIS REMINDING US THAT IN 1945-48 JERUSALEM WAS DEALT WITH SEPARATELY FROM PALESTINE AND ISRAEL). SO – THERE MIGHT BE HERE FURHER DEPTH – SOMETHING THAT SKIPPED THE WALL STREET JOURNAL IN ITS OWN REPORTING WHEN IT SAID TRUMP WILL ALSO GO TO EUROPE (?)}

Mr. Adelson was disappointed that Mr. Trump had not fulfilled a campaign promise to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. He will be watching closely to see how the president squares his vow to be a stalwart friend of Israel with his peacemaking ambitions.

The deletion of Mr. Trump’s Twitter message calling it “an honor” to meet with Mr. Abbas was widely noticed by Israeli news media. Curiously, similar messages on other social media were not deleted. Michael Anton, a White House spokesman, said that no one knew what had happened to the Twitter post but that “we stand by the message.”

Mr. Trump has borrowed a few pages from Mr. Obama’s playbook. He, too, has leaned on Mr. Netanyahu to curb settlement construction to make it easier to pursue talks with the Palestinians. Mr. Greenblatt came to an understanding with Mr. Netanyahu that is not unlike the one between President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, under which Israel agreed not to approve further construction outside existing settlement boundaries.

After his promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem, Mr. Trump has set that issue aside for now, heeding the advice of King Abdullah II of Jordan and other Arab leaders, who warned him it could ignite violence among Palestinians. White House officials insist it may still happen; Mr. Trump must decide by June whether to renew the waiver of the congressional vote instructing that the embassy be moved.

David M. Friedman, the bankruptcy lawyer who is Mr. Trump’s ambassador to Israel, has told people he plans to divide his time between the ambassador’s seaside residence near Tel Aviv and the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, where the State Department keeps an apartment for its envoy.

But Mr. Friedman, who is moving to Israel in the coming days, has been a less central figure in Mr. Trump’s peacemaking project than Mr. Greenblatt. An Orthodox Jew and an in-house lawyer who negotiated real estate deals for Mr. Trump, Mr. Greenblatt has impressed outsiders with his determination to learn the bedeviling history of Middle East peace.

Mr. Greenblatt has met with a wide range of Arab leaders, ambassadors, and other officials, in a crash course that hard-liners worry will leave him sympathetic to those officials’ arguments, for example, on settlements.

The president’s push on settlements unnerved Mr. Netanyahu, according to officials on both sides, though they avoided an open split over it. Mr. Netanyahu was determined not to antagonize another president, and the understanding on settlements was left unwritten, mitigating attacks on Mr. Netanyahu by pro-settler factions in his coalition.

One of the biggest cheerleaders for a peace deal is Mr. Lauder, a cosmetics heir who has known Mr. Trump for decades. His mother, Estée Lauder, was among the first of the Manhattan social elite to accept Mr. Trump when he arrived on the scene as a young developer from Queens.

Mr. Lauder’s enthusiasm for a bold new initiative has alarmed some in Mr. Trump’s circle, particularly his chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon. Mr. Bannon speaks regularly with Mr. Adelson, who donated millions of dollars to outside groups to help Republicans in the 2016 elections.

How much direct influence Mr. Lauder has on Mr. Trump is a matter of debate: Some close to the White House insist their contacts are frequent; others say there have been just three meetings, one in the Oval Office and two at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s Palm Beach club. But Mr. Lauder has an open line to Mr. Greenblatt; the dinner for Mr. Abbas testifies to his social clout.

An adviser to Mr. Lauder denied he was pushing an alliance with Mr. Abbas, but described Mr. Lauder as an optimist.

Mr. Adelson was frustrated that Mr. Trump did not fulfill his promise to move the embassy on “Day 1.” But people who have spoken to him said he was heartened by the White House’s silence when the Israeli government announced a new settlement to replace Amona, a settler outpost evacuated after it was declared illegal. A spokesman for Mr. Adelson declined to comment.

Aides to Mr. Trump said they are well aware of the hurdles to a deal. But they say the president has an obligation to try, suggesting that his unconventional approach to diplomacy might unlock some doors.

His hard-line pro-Israel supporters console themselves that Mr. Trump will soon recognize the futility of this undertaking. That pessimism, they note, is a view shared not just by hard-liners but also by most of the Israeli political establishment, left and right.

“The administration is likely to discover what its predecessors learned: that there is no deal to be had right now because the parties have unbridgeable positions on most of the issues,” said Noah Pollak, a Republican strategist who works with pro-Israel conservative groups.

“Obama used the impasse as a way to condemn Israel,” he continued. “We’re not worried Trump will follow suit. We simply hope the process of the administration proving to itself that no deal is possible will be quick and undramatic.”

Mark Landler reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York. Peter Baker contributed reporting from Washington.

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

The Washington Post – May 8, 2017 – Today’s WorldView: Macron defeated Le Pen in France’s presidential election. Here’s what happens next.

 mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?shva=1…

————-

And from: Andy Borowitz, the New York Times best-selling author of “The 50 Funniest American Writers,” and a comedian who has written for The New Yorker since 1998. He writes the Borowitz Report, a satirical column on the news, for newyorker.com.

SATIRE FROM THE BOROWITZ REPORT, The New Yorker.
FRENCH ANNOYINGLY RETAIN RIGHT TO CLAIM INTELLECTUAL SUPERIORITY OVER AMERICANS

 www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-…

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From the EUobserver:

ANALYSIS Macron, a new French-European monarch

 euobserver.com/beyond-brussels/1…

TODAYThe new French president mixed republican pomp and European faith in his victory celebration. But to succeed, he will have to start a revolution.

—-

EU relieved by Macron’s win

 euobserver.com/political/137813

TODAYEU leaders saw Macron’s victory as a blow against nationalism and Russian meddling, but one in three French voters still picked the far right.

—-

Macron wins French presidency

 euobserver.com/elections/137812:

The centrist pro-EU candidate easily beat far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, with 66.06 percent of the vote against 33.94 percent.

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The Trump – Le Pen relationship as per Los Angeles Times.

 www.latimes.com/politics/washingt…

 www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-f…

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 6th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

NEWS
EU Official: Hungarian PM’s Crusade Against George Soros Is Anti-Semitic

May 5, 2017 By JTA

(JTA) — A leading official in the European Commission — one of the European Union’s governing bodies — implied that efforts by Hungary’s prime minister to shut down a university founded by George Soros are anti-Semitic.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban has long harbored animosity toward Soros, a Hungarian-born Jewish financier who has donated millions of dollars to liberal causes. Orban is now defending controversial legislation that many see as an attempt to shut down Central European University, a highly respected university Soros founded in 1991.

Orban told the European Parliament on Wednesday that Soros is an “American financial speculator attacking Hungary” who has “destroyed the lives of millions of Europeans.”

The following day, European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmerman, a center-left Dutch politician, agreed when asked if he thought Orban’s comments sounded anti-Semitic.

“I understood that exactly the same way and was appalled,” Timmerman said, according to Euractiv.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto called on Timmerman to resign for his assertion.

Hundreds of academics around the world have protested Orban’s legislation, which are amendments to the Hungarian National Higher Education Act. The fight is seen as a battle between Orban’s nationalist priorities and Soros’ “open society” outlook.

Read more: forward.com/fast-forward/371121/e…

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Former Anti-Semitism Envoys Urge Trump To Fill Position

May 5, 2017 By JTA

wikipedia

(JTA) — Four previous U.S. envoys to fight anti-Semitism and promote religious freedom called on President Donald Trump to fill the two positions, which are currently empty.

The letter, sent by the Lantos Foundation, noted “spreading anti-Semitism both at home and abroad” and persecution of religious minorities in the Middle East and Asia.

The signatories include two former envoys for international religious freedom, Robert Seiple and Rabbi David Saperstein, the former director of the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center; the two previous envoys for combating anti-Semitism, Hannah Rosenthal and Ira Forman; and the president of the Lantos Foundation and former chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Katrina Lantos Swett.

“The perilous state of religious freedom around the globe confirms the wisdom of America’s leaders in creating a legal framework for addressing these abuses and ensuring that our foreign policy remains focused on protecting and advancing these fundamental rights,” read the letter sent Tuesday by the human rights-focused nonprofit.

There have been conflicting reports as to whether Trump will fill the anti-Semitism envoy position, but in April, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement to JTA that the Trump administration would appoint someone to serve in the role.

Read more: forward.com/fast-forward/371119/f…

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


An Artist’s Mythic Rebellion for the Venice Biennale.

Mark Bradford’s concern: How can he represent the United States when he no longer feels represented by his government?

By JORI FINKEL APRIL 27, 2017

LOS ANGELES — Mark Bradford, one of America’s most acclaimed painters, could not figure out what to put in the grand rotunda.

This artist, who is set to represent his country in May at the 2017 Venice Biennale, found an unusual way of working long-distance. In a warehouse in South Los Angeles, not far from where he grew up, he created a full-size model of the Biennale’s United States pavilion, a stately building with echoes of Monticello. Then he spent the last year testing out his ideas in it.

“This a Jeffersonian-type space, something you see in state capitols,” he said, pointing to its central dome. “I wanted it to feel like a ruin, like we went into a governmental building and started shaking the rotunda and the plaster started falling off. Our rage made the plaster fall off the walls.”

With a nod to its Palladian architecture, Mr. Bradford often calls his pavilion the White House. As in: “I wanted to bring the White House to me.”

Photo: Mr. Bradford built his full-size replica of the United States Pavilion in a South Los Angeles warehouse. Credit Joshua White

Sitting on a crate, his long legs extended, Mr. Bradford, 55, was confronting a pressing concern beyond exhibition plans: How can he represent the United States abroad at a time when — as a black, gay man and a self-proclaimed “liberal and progressive thinker” — he no longer feels represented by his own government.

The broad social changes in America — from the police violence that ignited the Black Lives Matter movement to the messages of hate that he feels were unleashed by the November election — fueled a personal sense of crisis that permeates much of his forthcoming show in Venice, “Tomorrow Is Another Day.”

Photo

A view of the rotunda replica, which Mr. Bradford has treated like a ruin with images from cellphone ads. Credit Joshua White
He remembered being invited to the Obama White House with other artists two years ago and feeling that “our voices mattered — fast-forward, and now they’re talking about cutting the N.E.A.,” he said, shaking his head.

And, aware of his own status as an international art star with million-dollar sales, he expressed concern for those more vulnerable.

“I felt like a lot of the progress we’ve made to be inclusive, to make sure young little trans kids are safe, was gone in the blink of an eye,” he said. “Making this body of work became very, very emotional for me. I felt I was making it in a house that was burning.”

Photo: The artist Mark Bradford in Venice earlier this month. Credit Filippo Massellani for The New York Times
‘Keep It Hot, Keep It Urgent’

Mr. Bradford’s replica, Doric columns and all, gave him a chance to try to bring something of the Giardini, the Venice park that hosts the national pavilions, to South Los Angeles and vice versa.

In the rotunda, he first tried lining the walls with silver paper. Then he installed a colorful “waterfall” sculpture — a cascade of paper strips.

Finally, nine or 10 versions in, he realized he needed to “keep it hot, keep it urgent.” He plastered the walls with what looks like a decaying mural: a gritty collage of fragmented images from cellphone ads scavenged from the neighborhood, which target the friends and family of prison inmates. “Receive calls on your cellphone from jail,” they say — in exchange for what turn out to be predatory rates.

He calls the merchant posters “parasitic” for the way they profit from misfortune. And he sees his work as “a reminder: Don’t forget there are people in need.”

Judging from the mock pavilion, the Venice show could be his most urgent exhibition to date. Inside, his roughly elegant abstract paintings have erupted into sculpture, and he is pushing the limit of how much personal and political weight an abstract canvas can actually carry.

“Building the pavilion was great, because I was making this thing that’s all about power into a safe place where I could play, have angst, fall on the ground,” said Mr. Bradford, who, at 6-foot-8, was slouching to make himself more accessible. “It’s like taking a hairbrush and lip-syncing your favorite song in the mirror when nobody’s looking.”

An Olympian Arc

While pavilion funding comes primarily from a State Department grant of up to $250,000, it is not unusual for selected artists to bite the hand that feeds them.

Several have questioned the Olympic-sport model of “representing” a country, and some have made their Biennale art a platform for challenging such nationalism. In 2011, the artist duo Allora & Calzadilla took on the American military complex by installing an upside-down tank outside the American pavilion, with a treadmill on top used by a runner. (Roberta Smith of The New York Times called it “angry, sophomoric Conceptualism that borders on the tyrannical.”)

Mr. Bradford’s exhibition is not as explicitly political but shaped as a loose journey of self-discovery that can be read in mythological or biographical terms or, often, both at once.

The mythological references first appear in a poem by Mr. Bradford hanging on the pavilion’s facade, written in the voice of Hephaestus, the Greek god of fire, metalworking and sculpture. He encounters Medusa: “Mad as hell/I looked her dead in the eye/And he knew her.”

Mr. Bradford drew from one version of the Hephaestus myth, in which the boy breaks his foot when cast out of Olympus for trying to protect his mother from a punishing Zeus. “Somehow that story just rang true,” Mr. Bradford said. “That’s the story I heard growing up.”

His own life has a bit of an Olympian arc. His single mother raised him in a boardinghouse in South Central while building, at odd hours, her business as a hairstylist. After he was bullied for being, he said, “a sissy,” she moved them to Santa Monica — a more accepting, “Birkenstock-wearing, fruit-juicing” hippie enclave. Later, as a young gay man in his 20s, he wandered and traveled, feeling no reason to plan for a future when he saw so many men with H.I.V. dying. Finally he went back to school, studying art in community college before being accepted into the game-changing California Institute of the Arts.

After earning his B.F.A. and M.F.A., he was in his late 30s and working in his mother’s salon when he created his breakthrough paintings: Agnes Martin-inspired abstractions made from the white endpapers used in perming hair. “I liked how they pointed to the world,” he said. “And I could get a whole box of endpapers for 50 cents. I would affix them to bedsheets, because I couldn’t afford canvas.”

Soon that would change: The paintings caught the eye of the curator Thelma Golden, scouting at the time for her groundbreaking 2001 “post-black” survey, “Freestyle,” at the Studio Museum of Harlem, and the collector Eileen Harris Norton, now a close friend and one of the few to see the mock-pavilion in progress. (She called it a “powerful and complete experience — I like that Mark is telling a full story.”)

His Biennale exhibition starts, and almost stops, with a bulbous red and black sculpture, “Spoiled Foot.” Bulging from the ceiling, it forces visitors to hug the room’s periphery. And its mottled, diseased-looking surface, made from canvas and paper, is as close as this artist has come to ugliness.

Photo: In Los Angeles, a prototype of Mr. Bradford’s “Spoiled Foot,” which visitors will confront as they enter the United States Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Credit Joshua White
This blistered skin is no accident. Mr. Bradford, who talks about feeling “pushed out” by his own country these days, says he first felt a profound sense of “expulsion” when the AIDS crisis hit hard with painful deaths, compounded by government indifference.

The second gallery features another sculpture, “Medusa,” made of black paper rolls as thick as fire hoses that have been soaked, wrung and shaped into coils that recall the snakes of Medusa’s hair. Three new paintings, each named for a Siren, hang on the walls. They are his first endpaper paintings in 13 years and his darkest yet, the papers dyed to create a black-on-black palette. “I like the tension between the dark paintings, where everything is underneath, and the Medusa sculpture, this externalized rage,” he said.

Photo: A version of Mark Bradford’s sculpture “Medusa.” Credit Joshua White
Christopher Bedford, who proposed Mr. Bradford to the State Department on behalf of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis (he now runs the Baltimore Museum of Art, which is co-presenting the U.S. Pavilion), sees this gallery, with its hair imagery, as an “homage to the black women who were the ballast of Mark’s life in the beauty salons before he could stand on his own two feet.”

“Black is not ever a neutral color, especially in the hands of a black painter,” said Mr. Bedford, who curated the exhibition with Katy Siegel. “To go that deep into black is a very heavy and loaded action.”

The dark tone of the exhibition changes after a passage through the rotunda, leading to new, large-scale paintings that evoke cellular or galactic forms — and a feeling of expansiveness. He makes these paintings without brushes or any kind of liquid or powdered paint, building up layers of colored paper on canvas and using a tool, like an automobile sander, to expose the various hues buried in the layers. Or, as Mr. Bedford put it, “He’s using the sander as a paintbrush.”

Photo

The “fourth gallery” in the replica features paintings created by sanding layers of paper. Credit Joshua White
The final gallery can be read as a celebration of the gay black body, featuring his video “Niagara” (2005). It follows a black man in orange shorts walking, with the flamboyant hip action of Marilyn Monroe, on the streets of South Central. The video touches on sexual and economic vulnerability but also exuberance. Perhaps Mr. Bradford, who has borrowed the exhibition’s title from the last line of the Civil War novel “Gone With the Wind,” is ending on an optimistic note?

The rotunda, with its prison references, offers a link to the artist’s new project outside the pavilion walls: He has made a six-year commitment to help fund a prison cooperative in Venice that assists inmates in building job skills. The program, Rio Terà dei Pensieri, helps prisoners run a farmer’s market and manufacture goods like cosmetics to be sold. With his backing, Rio Terà is also opening a store in Venice this month.

Closer to home, in Los Angeles, Mr. Bradford’s community work and philanthropy focus on foster youths in Leimert Park, the neighborhood where his mother had her salon Foxyé Hair. (She now lives in Atlanta.)

Three years ago, he, Ms. Harris Norton and his life partner, Allan DiCastro, a former banker who had also been a neighborhood council leader, formed a nonprofit group, Art+Practice, to help offer services like housing and job preparation to local teenagers in foster care.

Photo

Mr. Bradford with a crew in Venice. Credit Filippo Massellani for The New York Times
Mr. Bradford used part of his $500,000 MacArthur “genius” grant for its start-up costs. The group is now funded mainly through his art sales. While other artists today position their activism as artworks (“social practice” is the buzzword), Mr. Bradford does not regard Art+Practice as his art project. He plays down his creative role, stressing the importance of working within the existing community fabric, even if it is torn and frayed.

“You have to do a lot of listening for communities in need,” he said. In the process of researching Leimert Park, he learned that 40 percent of the district’s high school students were in foster care. He brought a similar approach to Rio Terà.

“I had to ask myself when I got this pavilion, what do I want to do with this?” he said. “I knew I did not want to stand on the mountaintop as Mark Bradford but find a way to help build different relationships.”

He is hoping they will last long after his large paintings have left the United States pavilion and the summer crowds empty out of the leafy Giardini.

A version of this article appears in print on April 30, 2017, on Page AR1 of the New York edition with the headline: A Mythic Rebellion Abroad. Order Reprints| Today’s Paper|Subscribe

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

 www.cnn.com/2017/04/29/politics/s…

April 29.
The kids suing Donald Trump are marching to the White House
By John D. Sutter, CNN
Updated 4:04 PM ET, Sat April 29, 2017

John D. Sutter is a columnist for CNN Opinion who focuses on climate change and social justice. Follow him on Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook or subscribe to his email newsletter.

Washington (CNN)A 16-year-old walked up to the microphone.

“The state of the planet is unraveling all around us because of our addiction to fossil fuels,” Xiuhtezcatl Martinez said at the steps of the US Supreme Court this week. “For the last several decades, we have been neglecting the fact that this is the only planet that we have and that the main stakeholders in this issue (of climate change) are the younger generation. Not only are the youth going to be inheriting every problem that we see in the world today — after our politicians have been long gone — but our voices have been neglected from the conversation.

“Our politicians are no longer representing our voices.”
So, what’s a voiceless kid to do?

How about sue President Donald Trump and his administration — and then march to the White House?

Martinez is one of 21 young people taking Trump and members of his administration to federal court over inaction on global warming. On Saturday, several of these “climate kid’ plaintiffs — the youngest is 9 — will walk alongside the chanting and sign-pumping adults at the March for Climate, Jobs and Justice in Washington. That demonstration is a call for a clean energy revolution, and it’s expected to draw thousands. Perhaps fittingly, local forecasts call for potentially record-setting temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Demonstrators plan to converge on the White House.

Yes, it’s easy to tire of protests in the Trump era, with this rally coming right on the heels of last week’s March for Science and not so long after the Women’s March. Talk is cheap. But these climate kids deserve your attention.

Jamie Lynn Butler, 15, from Cameron, Arizona, said her family had to move off of a Navajo reservation because of searing droughts. One of the family’s horses died from dehydration, she said. “Because of drought on the reservation and climate change there’s less and less water. I don’t want the next generation, and this generation, to keep losing things because of how we treat the planet.”

Jacob Lebel, 19, lives and works on his familys farm in Roseburg, Oregon. As farmers, the drought and heat waves (associated with climate change) make it harder to work. The fire season has just been crazy he said. We could lose everything.

Jayden Foytlin, 13, saw her home in Rayne, Louisiana, flood this year in a deadly storm directly linked to climate change. “I’m being affected, my generation is being affected, Louisiana is being affected by climate change,” she said.
Hide Caption

"We are in a climate emergency," Journey Zephier, who lives in Hawaii, said at a press conference in March. "The federal government and fossil fuel industry have known for over 50 years that their actions and the burning of fossil fuels would result in destabilizing the Earth's climate system."
Photos: Meet the kids suing the President
“We are in a climate emergency,” Journey Zephier, who lives in Hawaii, said at a press conference in March. “The federal government and fossil fuel industry have known for over 50 years that their actions and the burning of fossil fuels would result in destabilizing the Earth’s climate system.”
Hide Caption
12 of 17

Isaac Vergun, photographed at age 14, of Beaverton, Oregon, said it bothers him when he sees people driving cars that are bigger than they need. “It hurts me,” he said. “Even if they did a little something — like not buy that car — that would make a difference.”

Hazel Van Ummersen is from Eugene, Oregon. She and her family “reduce their carbon footprint by gardening, recycling, buying local products, biking, and walking,” according to court records.

“The Arctic is being affected more than twice as fast as the Lower 48” states, said Nathan Baring, 16, from Fairbanks, Alaska. “We have the technology to make the change. It’s the politics that’s keeping us from it.”

“I’ve always been interested in my birth country,” said Miko Vergun, 15, who was adopted from the Marshall Islands, in the Pacific. She now lives in Beaverton, Oregon. “I want to be able to go back — but that would be really difficult right now because of climate change. It’s possible the island will disappear” because of rising sea levels.

“Even though I try to protect my natural resources and the climate system by biking, gardening, recycling, educating others about climate change, and practicing vegetarianism, I cannot protect the climate system for myself, and my family,” Sahara Valentine of Eugene, Oregon, said in a court filing.

“I chose to join the case because it sounded like something I could actually do,” said Nick Venner, photographed in 2016 at age 15, from Lakewood, Colorado. “I think we have a really good chance of winning. It’s hard for legal experts to deny the rights of young people. We are the future. They will be long gone before the long-term effects (of climate change) ever hit them. It’s about my kids. It’s about their grandkids.”

Kelsey Juliana, 20, from Eugene, Oregon, has been involved in legal action over climate change for years. “It’s a systems change we’re asking for. And who are we asking it for? Everyone on the planet, especially the youth, the most unheard, the most disenfranchised,” she said. “Almost all the kids in this case haven’t voted ever — and cannot vote. That’s something I certainly think about, as one of the few who can vote.”
Hide Caption

“We live on a barrier island,” said Levi Draheim, 9, from Florida’s Space Coast. “If the sea rises, our (home) could just be underwater. And a couple of our reefs … they’re just almost gone. I can’t even go to the beach. It gives me nightmares.”

Tia Hatton, 19, from Bend, Oregon, said she had to convince her family it was a good idea for her to take on the federal government. “I was late knowing about climate change. I lived in a conservative community. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I started thinking about it when the snow levels dropped in Bend. I’m a Nordic skier. All of a sudden, the puzzle started fitting together.”

“You feel like there’s no point in fighting,” said Aji Piper, 16, from Seattle. “But you have this knowledge. So you still fight against this because it’s the only thing you can do.” He said it’s frustrating when people think he’s only repeating information adults have fed to him. “I’m not regurgitating any of this information,” he said. “I’m not stupid. These facts are overwhelmingly in one direction.”

Climate change is “something I worry about,” said Avery McRae, 11, of Eugene, Oregon. “If we don’t do something now, we have a very bad future ahead of us.”

“I do a lot of outdoor activities that will be affected by climate change,” said Zealand Bell, photographed at age 12, from Eugene, Oregon. “I ski, raft, hike — all sorts of stuff. We go up to Willamette Pass (to ski), and the last few years it’s barely been open because of the lack of snow. It does sort of make me mad, but mostly I’m sad. We’ve affected our climate so much. We’ve done all of this.”
Hide Caption

Victoria Barrett, 17, from New York, said she’s involved in the climate change lawsuit because “it’s pertinent to literally the existence of humankind.” “We’re some of the people to be like, ‘Yo, cut it out with that.’ And if you don’t do it, we’re going to sue you to do it. … It’s really important to posterity what we’re doing.”

Jamie Lynn Butler, 15, from Cameron, Arizona, said her family had to move off of a Navajo reservation because of searing droughts. One of the family’s horses died from dehydration, she said. “Because of drought on the reservation and climate change there’s less and less water. I don’t want the next generation, and this generation, to keep losing things because of how we treat the planet.”

Jacob Lebel, 19, lives and works on his family’s farm in Roseburg, Oregon. “As farmers, the drought and heat waves (associated with climate change) make it harder to work. The fire season has just been crazy,” he said. “We could lose everything.”

Jayden Foytlin, 13, saw her home in Rayne, Louisiana, flood this year in a deadly storm directly linked to climate change. “I’m being affected, my generation is being affected, Louisiana is being affected by climate change,” she said.

“We are in a climate emergency,” Journey Zephier, who lives in Hawaii, said at a press conference in March. “The federal government and fossil fuel industry have known for over 50 years that their actions and the burning of fossil fuels would result in destabilizing the Earth’s climate system.”

Isaac Vergun, photographed at age 14, of Beaverton, Oregon, said it bothers him when he sees people driving cars that are bigger than they need. “It hurts me,” he said. “Even if they did a little something — like not buy that car — that would make a difference.”

Hazel Van Ummersen is from Eugene, Oregon. She and her family “reduce their carbon footprint by gardening, recycling, buying local products, biking, and walking,” according to court records.

“The Arctic is being affected more than twice as fast as the Lower 48” states, said Nathan Baring, 16, from Fairbanks, Alaska. “We have the technology to make the change. It’s the politics that’s keeping us from it.”

“I’ve always been interested in my birth country,” said Miko Vergun, 15, who was adopted from the Marshall Islands, in the Pacific. She now lives in Beaverton, Oregon. “I want to be able to go back — but that would be really difficult right now because of climate change. It’s possible the island will disappear” because of rising sea levels.

“Even though I try to protect my natural resources and the climate system by biking, gardening, recycling, educating others about climate change, and practicing vegetarianism, I cannot protect the climate system for myself, and my family,” Sahara Valentine of Eugene, Oregon, said in a court filing.

“I chose to join the case because it sounded like something I could actually do,” said Nick Venner, photographed in 2016 at age 15, from Lakewood, Colorado. “I think we have a really good chance of winning. It’s hard for legal experts to deny the rights of young people. We are the future. They will be long gone before the long-term effects (of climate change) ever hit them. It’s about my kids. It’s about their grandkids.”

Kelsey Juliana, 20, from Eugene, Oregon, has been involved in legal action over climate change for years. “It’s a systems change we’re asking for. And who are we asking it for? Everyone on the planet, especially the youth, the most unheard, the most disenfranchised,” she said. “Almost all the kids in this case haven’t voted ever — and cannot vote. That’s something I certainly think about, as one of the few who can vote.”

“We live on a barrier island,” said Levi Draheim, 9, from Florida’s Space Coast. “If the sea rises, our (home) could just be underwater. And a couple of our reefs … they’re just almost gone. I can’t even go to the beach. It gives me nightmares.”

Tia Hatton, 19, from Bend, Oregon, said she had to convince her family it was a good idea for her to take on the federal government. “I was late knowing about climate change. I lived in a conservative community. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I started thinking about it when the snow levels dropped in Bend. I’m a Nordic skier. All of a sudden, the puzzle started fitting together.”

“You feel like there’s no point in fighting,” said Aji Piper, 16, from Seattle. “But you have this knowledge. So you still fight against this because it’s the only thing you can do.” He said it’s frustrating when people think he’s only repeating information adults have fed to him. “I’m not regurgitating any of this information,” he said. “I’m not stupid. These facts are overwhelmingly in one direction.”

Climate change is “something I worry about,” said Avery McRae, 11, of Eugene, Oregon. “If we don’t do something now, we have a very bad future ahead of us.”

“I do a lot of outdoor activities that will be affected by climate change,” said Zealand Bell, photographed at age 12, from Eugene, Oregon. “I ski, raft, hike — all sorts of stuff. We go up to Willamette Pass (to ski), and the last few years it’s barely been open because of the lack of snow. It does sort of make me mad, but mostly I’m sad. We’ve affected our climate so much. We’ve done all of this.”

Victoria Barrett, 17, from New York, said she’s involved in the climate change lawsuit because “it’s pertinent to literally the existence of humankind.” “We’re some of the people to be like, ‘Yo, cut it out with that.’ And if you don’t do it, we’re going to sue you to do it. … It’s really important to posterity what we’re doing.”

Jamie Lynn Butler, 15, from Cameron, Arizona, said her family had to move off of a Navajo reservation because of searing droughts. One of the family’s horses died from dehydration, she said. “Because of drought on the reservation and climate change there’s less and less water. I don’t want the next generation, and this generation, to keep losing things because of how we treat the planet.”

01 climate kids Nick_Venner_1802 climate kids Kelsey_Juliana_6403 climate kids Levi_Draheim_404 climate kids Tia_Hatton_2205 climate kids Aji_Piper_3606 climate kids Avery_McRae_3107 climate kids Zealand_Bell_3208 climate kids Victoria_Barrett_709 climate kids Jamie_Lynn_Butler910 climate kids Jacob_Lebel_1811 climate kids Jayden_Foytlin_3912 climate kids Journey_Zephier_2413 climate kids Isaac_Vergun_614 climate kids Hazel_Van_Ummersen_1515 climate kids Nathan_Baring_2216 climate kids Miko_Vergun_2417 climate kids Sahara_Valentine_26
Instead of bemoaning the Orwellian satire that has become the American news cycle, these kids are doing something. They’re suing on behalf of the future.
Their lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Oregon, initially targeted then-President Barack Obama and his administration. Last year, it survived motions by industry and government to dismiss the case. It has taken on new significance in the first 100 days of Trump’s tenure. The President has famously called climate change a hoax, and members of his Cabinet have equivocated on the science, injecting doubt into a long-held scientific consensus that humans are causing the planet to warm by burning fossil fuels and pumping heat-trapping pollution into the atmosphere.
The administration’s efforts go well beyond rhetoric. Trump ordered a review of the Clean Power Plan, Obama’s signature climate legislation. He aims to open federal lands and ocean for fossil fuel extraction. Coal jobs are coming back, he crows. Nevermind that millions of people around the world die each year from diseases linked to air pollution — much of which comes from coal.

A sign is prepared before the march.

The administration is reportedly mulling pulling out from the Paris Agreement, an international accord designed to push the planet out of the fossil fuel era. Federal monuments and parks are under review; funding for regulators is on the chopping block.

All of this is likely to lead to more pollution and therefore more warming — more wildfires, longer droughts, rising seas, mass extinction. This is the polluted and dangerous world we are creating, and it’s what’s chasing activists into the streets.

The climate kids could help change the tide.

They’re arguing on constitutional grounds that their rights to life, liberty and property are being violated by runaway climate change. Their attorneys also say these kids and others are being discriminated against as a class of people.

Since they’re young, they will live longer into the climate-changed future.

They’re people like Levi Draheim, who at 9 years old is the youngest child plaintiff. He’s a bubbly kid with wild curly hair who lives on the coast of Florida, a place threatened by rising seas. As the Earth warms, the oceans expand and ice melts. Draheim told me he dreams frequently that his home is underwater. Those dreams have only become more frequent since Trump’s election, he said.

The kids suing Trump and his administration are among thousands expected to gather this weekend in Washington.

“It was really highly disturbing to me that (adults) would choose somebody who doesn’t believe in climate change — and is not going to,” he said. “It’s scary having someone who doesn’t believe in climate change being our president and shutting down the (Environmental Protection Agency), or trying to. It is so anti-preventing climate change.”

Draheim isn’t old enough to vote, of course. But Saturday’s march — and the court case — give him and other kids a voice. Julia Olson, an attorney and founder of Our Children’s Trust, the nonprofit helping to bring the lawsuit, told me she expects the case to go to trial later this year. In court, she told a Washington crowd, “alternative facts are perjury.”
Experts in climate law say the suit may be a long shot but remains significant.
“The case is important, in my mind, from a symbolic and ethics perspective,” said Deborah Sivas, director of the Environmental Law Clinic at Stanford Law School. “It often takes the law a long time to catch up to changing moral sensibilities. It only does so when people are willing to press innovative, outside-the-box arguments. My hope is that we will be able to look back on this case as an early, first mover of a changing jurisprudence.”

Stickers supporting the kids’ cause.

“After several years with little success, environmental plaintiffs have now won climate change cases in several countries ?based on constitutional, human rights and international law grounds, as opposed to the more traditional statutory grounds — the Netherlands, Pakistan, Austria and South Africa,” Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, said in an email. “The Oregon case now joins that list, and its symbolic importance has added weight now that Washington is run by climate deniers.”
Olson, the attorney for the kids, said the case is not symbolic and can win. Those who say otherwise “are denying the capacity of humans to take care of democracy and take care of the planet,” she said.

I spent a couple days this week with the climate kids. I heard about their visits to Washington museums and to see the Constitution. I watched as they sang and danced at DC Metro stops, playing Kendrick Lamar simultaneously on two phones to get twice the experience. I talked to them about their hopes and fears about this case, about why so many American adults — 47% according to a Yale survey — don’t understand humans are causing global warming. They explained why they’re marching and speaking here even at a moment when they worry adults might not listen.

An audience in Washington listens Friday to a presentation by kids suing the Trump administration over climate change.

“Most people know climate change is happening, but they push it aside so they can continue living their lives,” said Isaac Vergun, 15.
“It’s not their fault,” chimed in Zealand Bell, 13. “They don’t know better.”
Their hope and generosity are infectious. Their parents and attorneys didn’t put them up to this. (I’ve talked with kids who had to convince their parents to let them do this.) The kids are genuinely concerned their generation will inherit an irreparably messed-up world.
The truth is that we adults need these climate kids.

We need them more than thousands of adults marching on Saturday.

We need them as a moral compass.

And we need them to remind us that our actions will echo for generations to come.
“They’ll be adults by the time they get to court,” Cherri Foytlin, one of their parents, joked as we watched several of the kids speak alongside US senators Thursday at the Supreme Court.
I hope not. But if so, they’ll be better adults than most.

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

Members of the ‘Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition’ displayed a giant effigy of then-candidate Donald Trump on May Day in Los Angeles last year. (photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

IN OUR OPINION- THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG IF LOYALTY DOES NOT COME NATURALLY AND IT HAS TO BE – BORN AGAIN IN AMERICA – YEARLY. THESE LAST TWO YEARS, LOYALTY HAS BECOME A TRUMP TOOL TO SUBVERT DEMOCRACY. HIS BASE DOES NOT ACCEPT THE CIVIL CONCEPT OF HUMAN RIGHTS – HIS BASE DOES ACCEPT ONLY THE FASCIST IDEA OF A NATION’S RIGHTS AND A LEADER’S RIGHTS. /strong>

It’s Called May Day, Not Loyalty Day: The Continued Subversion of a Day for Worker Solidarity.

By Rob Cotton, Inquisitr
01 May 2017

Donald Trump on Friday released a written statement in anticipation of “Loyalty Day,” to be observed on May 1, 2017, a date which many people all over the world recognize as May Day, a day to celebrate the working class, commemorate the historical fight for labor rights, and raise awareness of the current struggle of the working class. Trump is not the first President to subvert May Day in favor of a more “patriotic” re-branding. According to official Government Publishing Office documents, Loyalty Day was established in 1955 via a joint resolution of the U.S. House of Representatives. That was under President Dwight D. Eisenhower
still in the frenzy that followed WWII.

“Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the 1st day of May 1955 is hereby designated as Loyalty Day and is set aside as a special day for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States of America and for the recognition of the heritage of American freedom,” the document says. “The President of the United States is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon officials of the Government to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on such day and inviting the people of the United States to observe such day, in schools and other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies.”

Donald Trump’s Loyalty Day proclamation stays true to this request, according to RT.

“The United States stands as the world’s leader in upholding the ideals of freedom, equality, and justice,” Trump’s proclamation reads. “Together, and with these fundamental concepts enshrined in our Constitution, our nation perseveres in the face of those who would seek to harm it.”

POTUS proclaims May 1 as “Loyalty Day.”
28 Apr 2017
352 352 Retweets 547 547 likes

It is no coincidence that the United States government chose to replace May Day with Loyalty Day. In examining the origin and purpose of May Day, the underlying motives for the subversion of a day set aside for worker solidarity in favor of a day set aside for “loyalty” to the United States become extremely clear.

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

From UNDP
Heena Ahmed  heena.ahmed at undp.org

Massive Open Online Course: Greening Consumption & Production
Wednesday 31 May to Wednesday 12 July 2017

Registration is open!

In the past 20 years, humanity added 1.6 billion people to the planet, while losing 20% of the world’s wilderness, and exploiting 90% of the world’s fisheries. The Aichi Biodiversity Targets and UN Sustainable Development Goals help shape a global policy agenda that strives to conserve the world’s ecosystems while meeting development priorities. How do we develop national policies and approaches that keep the global impacts of natural resources use within safe ecological limits?

This six-week facilitated course, from Wed. 31 May to Wed. 12 July 2017, will provide you with the answers to this question. It is aimed at policymakers and practitioners working in the area of sustainable consumption and production (SCP). By taking this course, you will gain an overview of key issues related to SCP and sustainable commodity supply chains. You will become proficient in mechanisms to facilitate SCP at the international level and in your own country, and have the chance to interact with world-known specialists from UNDP, the private sector, NGOs and national ministries. We will also encourage you to think critically about your resource use patterns in the context of international, national, and local SCP approaches to greening consumption and production.

The course will cover the following topics:
Week 1: What is green consumption and production?
Week 2: Key concepts and principles
Week 3: International policy framework
Week 4: Greening key production sectors
Week 5: Sustainable commodity supply chains
Week 6: Mainstreaming biodiversity into development planning
A certificate of completion will be provided by UNDP, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and The Nature Conservancy. The course is available in English, Spanish and French.

Follow the steps below to register today.

Step 1: Create an Account on the Conservation Training Website
The course is hosted on The Nature Conservancy’s Conservation Training website. Before you can register for the course, you must create a Conservation Training account. If you already have an account, please log in. If you have forgotten your username or password, click here.

Step 2: Enroll in the Greening Consumption & Production Course

Once you are logged in to ConservationTraining.org, you can enroll. This simple process does not require an access key. Here are the steps:

Navigate to the Curriculums menu. Find the NBSAP Curriculum and click it. Alternatively, click here.

This action will take you to the NBSAP learning page, which offers five different e-learning modules. Your course – Greening Consumption & Production – is the first listing. Click on the course name or access it here.

This action will prompt you to “confirm enrollment”. Click “Yes” and you will be taken to the course homepage. You now have full access to the course! All course materials will become available on Wed., 24 May. Until then, there is basic information about the course and schedule available in the course room.

Once you are registered, log in to the website to access the course room.

Step 3: Register for the Webinar Sessions

Each Wed., from 31 May to 5 July, we will enrich your learning experience by offering webinars in English, French and Spanish. The webinar format (live or prerecorded) may vary due to speaker availability. Information on each week’s webinar will be posted on the “latest news” page in the courseroom and sent by email. We will use the Go-To-Webinar platform to host the webinars. Therefore, you need to separately enroll in the webinar series.

Here are the steps:

Click the link of the webinar series you are interested in attending (no limit):
French – 8:00 am – 9:30 am EDT/NY
English – 9:45 am – 11:15 am EDT/NY
Spanish – 11:30 am – 1:00 pm EDT/NY
You will be redirected to a registration page and prompted to enter your first name, last name and email.

Go-To-Webinar will send you a personalized link to access the classroom. You must retain this code and use it each week to access the webinar.
Each Wednesday, follow the link to access the webinar. Two hours before each webinar, you will also receive an email reminding you of this information.
If you can’t make a webinar, don’t worry! We will post it in the course room – under that week’s ‘activities’ – by 5:00pm EDT/NY the day it is hosted.

Mark your calendar! The first webinar is on Wednesday 31 May, 2017!

Step 4: Join the NBSAP Forum

The NBSAP Forum is an online community of practice that supports conservation planning practitioners to develop and implement effective National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs). UNDP, the Secretariat of Convention on Biological Diversity, and the UN Environment Programme host the Forum. The NBSAP Forum has a page dedicated to Aichi Biodiversity Target Four: SCP, where we will post webinar recordings, course resource and weekly course summaries. You are also encouraged to share your assignments and join discussions on the Forum. Find updates about the course here.

Steps to Join:
Access the NBSAP Forum.
Create a member profile. Add your first and last name, email address and protect your profile with a password.

After logging into your profile, click on your name in the upper right portion of the screen. This step takes you to your “Member Profile” page. Once there, upload a brief bio, headshot and information on your countries/regions of focus, languages and expertise. For multiple option selection, press the Control (Ctrl) button on your keyboard and select all applicable options. See this member profile sample.

Make sure to visit our SCP page and click “follow this community” to receive updates. We will also post course updates on this here.
We look forward to your participation!

Greening Consumption & Production will begin on
Wednesday, 31 May

Until then, follow us in social media for updates:
NBSAP Forum
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube

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