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

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

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

The Summer School will feature interactive simulation games.

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

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

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

With best regards,


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking forward to welcoming you at TIPS.

Best regards,

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

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

Dear Colleagues,

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

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

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

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

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

Saudi firm wins deal for Chilean solar-wind project.

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

arabianbBUSINESS — aB by staff writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

E.A. CRUNDEN
JAN 25, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

25 January 2018
5 countries driving the energy revolution.

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

25 January 2018
5 countries driving the energy revolution

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

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

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

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

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

FOR OVERALL ACHIEVEMENTS CHINA is the CHAMPION:

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

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

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

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

DENMARK – FOR PIONEERING WIND ENERGY and overall EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP:

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

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

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

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

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

KENYA AND INDIA FOR DIFFERENT FORMS OF SOLAR ENERGY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Editor’s extra pick: Iceland

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

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

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

Net Neutrality Appeal, Barcelona Goes Open-Source.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Independent Barents Observer,
January 14, 2018.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14.01.2018 – Høyres kommunikasjonsavdeling TwitterFacebook
Les den nye regjeringsplattformen her

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plattformen i korte trekk:
Skape flere jobber:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—————-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trumpism is a religion founded on patriarchy and white supremacy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He continued:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Those events are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post

20 October 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 10, 2017

Is Trump Still In Control?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 19, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NEW REPORT: Regardless of Trump’s indecision on Paris, US states, cities and businesses accelerate climate action.

Yasmin Perez
Attachments1:18 PM (1 hour ago)

Following media speculation on the US position on the Paris Agreement, and ahead of Climate Week NYC Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group has reiterated the findings of a report released today (see below and attached) which shows the climate actions being delivered by US states, cities and businesses can already get the US halfway to delivering its commitments by 2025 under the Paris Agreement.

Please see below and attached the full press release (for immediate release), and do get in touch with me to discuss. Helen Clarkson is available for interview.

Thanks,
Yasmin

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
***ANNOUNCED AT CLIMATE WEEK NYC***

US states, cities and businesses keep US climate action on track

The US can already meet half its climate pledge by 2025 thanks to the unstoppable action of US states, cities and businesses

New initial analysis released at Climate Week NYC today includes 342 commitments coming from 22 US states, 54 cities and 250 businesses headquartered in the US

Because of their leadership and size, large states such as New York, California and Colorado are making the largest contribution to projected greenhouse gas reductions

Cities are generally more ambitious and have crucial role in implementing greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets

Businesses are setting the most ambitious GHG goals (25% reduction in the next ten years)
NEW YORK: The impact from the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement could be significantly mitigated thanks to the determined action demonstrated by US states, cities and businesses – a new report shows.

The findings from the report, entitled ‘States, cities and businesses leading the way: a first look at decentralized climate commitments in the US’ authored by NewClimate Institute and The Climate Group and powered by CDP data, show that the US can already meet half of its climate commitments under the Paris Agreement by 2025, if the 342 commitments included in the analysis are implemented.

This report provides the first steps in helping to quantify the contribution of states, cities and business to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions. As more and more commitments emerge, further analysis will be undertaken within the Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT), where this work originated.

Launched today at the Climate Week NYC Opening Ceremony, Helen Clarkson, Chief Executive Officer, The Climate Group, organizers of Climate Week NYC, said:

“US states, cities and businesses are not waiting for the US federal government to make its position clear on Paris. This new report clearly highlights their unwavering commitment to climate leadership. Importantly, it shows us that climate action is not solely dependent on the actions of national government. US states, cities and businesses have the power to mitigate the consequences of a full Paris pull out.

“At Climate Week NYC, we are highlighting the unstoppable force of action from business and government in tackling climate change, and how this can drive innovation, jobs and prosperity for all – our central theme for the week. Through our work with businesses, states and regions, we will continue to drive the implementation of these goals, so that we can keep global warming well below 2°C.

In the report, the analysis shows that because of their leadership and size, large states such as New York, California and Colorado are making the largest contribution to projected greenhouse gas reductions. In fact, US states alone deliver more than two thirds of the total estimated emissions reductions. However, cities are more ambitious (average of 22% GHG reduction between 2015 and 2025) and crucial for the implementation of specific actions. Businesses currently have the steepest targets, aiming for a 25% reduction in the next ten years.

“Strikingly, there are more reasons to believe that the calculated impact of states, cities and businesses in the report is currently underestimated rather than overestimated”, said Prof. Dr. Niklas Höhne from NewClimate Institute, one of the authors. “We only included currently recorded and quantified commitments and the actors represented in this report currently only represent 44% of total US emissions. Much more action is happening that is not yet recorded or formulated in a quantified way.”

For example, global climate initiatives, such as the Under 2 Coalition, for which The Climate Group acts as Secretariat, and the organization’s RE100 campaign have not yet been fully included in the study although they serve to support individual actors and subnational governments to take on more ambitious climate action, and report on progress.

California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr, said: “Cities, states and businesses are stepping up and taking action to reduce the threat of catastrophic climate change.”

Taking place between September 18-24 in New York City, Climate Week NYC is one of the key summits in the international calendar and has been driving climate action since it was first launched by The Climate Group in 2009. The summit annually takes place alongside the UN General Assembly and brings together international leaders from business, government and civil society to showcase the unstoppable momentum of global climate action. More about this year’s event can be found here.

Other initiatives, including America’s Pledge, are also planning to compile and quantify efforts from U.S. states, cities, businesses and other actors to address climate change in alignment with the Paris Agreement.

Nazneen Nawaz
Head of Media and Corporate Communications, The Climate Group
 NNawaz at TheClimateGroup.org; 020 7960 2716

Prof. Dr. Niklas Höhne (technical enquiries, in NYC)
Founding Partner, The NewClimate Institute

 n.hoehne at newclimate.org; +49 173 715 2279

The “Current administration policies” scenario does not consider the Clean Power Plan because it anticipates the plan’s suspension.

The results presented here represent a collective intent of selected subnational governments, states and cities which may not necessarily happen.

The current analysis only covers a selected set of actions; the analysis results could change over time as more subnational and non-state actors commit to quantifiable mitigation pledges and more relevant data are collected.

The study covers 342 subnational and non-state actions by individual actors – of which 22 are from states, 58 from cities and 262 from companies headquartered in the US. If every commitment by states, cities and companies is fully implemented, then the US greenhouse gas emissions level will reduce to 12-14% below 2005 levels by 2025. This amounts to 340-540 MtCO?e per year reduction from the current administration policies scenario.

About the NewClimate Institute

The NewClimate Institute supports research and implementation of action against climate change around the globe. We generate and share knowledge on international climate negotiations, tracking climate action, climate and development, climate finance and carbon market mechanisms. We connect up-to-date research with the real world decision making processes, making it possible to increase ambition in acting against climate change and contribute to finding sustainable and equitable solutions.

We are committed to delivering high quality results and workable solutions to the public and decision makers. We apply research-oriented, robust approaches, responding to on-the-ground realities. We seek to enhance and foster knowledge sharing and exchange with other institutions and individuals around the globe.

 newclimate.org | @newclimateinst

About The Climate Group:

The Climate Group works internationally with leading businesses, states and regions to deliver a world of net zero greenhouse gas emissions and greater prosperity for all. We are at the forefront of ambitious climate action. Our focus is on collaborative programs with corporate and government partners that deliver impact on a global scale. The Climate Group stimulates action by businesses, states and regions, bringing them together to develop and implement the policies that make change happen. We also communicate their achievements to secure global public acceptance of, and even greater ambition for, a prosperous, net-zero future for all. The Climate Group is an international non-profit with offices in Beijing, London, New Delhi and New York.

 TheClimateGroup.org | @ClimateGroup

About Climate Week:

Climate Week NYC is one of the key summits in the international calendar and has been driving climate action forward since it was first launched in 2009 by The Climate Group. Taking place between September 18-24 in New York City alongside the UN General Assembly, Climate Week NYC 2017 will bring together international leaders from business, government and civil society to showcase the unstoppable momentum of global climate action.

Climate Week NYC is brought to you by The Climate Group
 Climateweeknyc.org | @ClimateWeekNYC | #CWNYC

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

Integrated Communities Benefit More from Venture CapitalOLAV SORENSON SEPTEMBER 13, 2017
The less segregated a community is, the more likely people of diverse backgrounds will mix and generate ideas. A new study co-authored by Yale SOM professor Olav Sorenson suggests that this mixing is a boon to venture capital, leading to more innovation and more economic growth.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP INNOVATION, STARTUPS, AND VENTURE CAPITAL
Diversity has long been a goal of businesses, universities, and communities. In addition to providing basic fairness to those who might otherwise be shut out, a diversity of experiences and points of view is believed to be beneficial to organizational performance. A new study co-authored by Professor Olav Sorenson extends this idea by showing that ethnically integrated communities get greater benefit from venture capital investment than more segregated ones.
The benefit to more integrated communities was economically meaningful. The study found that “a city one standard deviation more racially integrated than the average enjoyed at least 30% larger effects of venture capital in terms of promoting innovation and entrepreneurship and creating jobs and wealth.”
“The story is about how more integrated communities bring people together who would never come in contact in those that are more segregated,” said Sorenson, the Frederick Frank ’54 and Mary C. Tanner Professor of Management. “You see not just more startups, but ones that create more value, create more jobs, and create more economic growth.”
Sorenson and his co-author, Sampsa Samila, assistant professor at IESE Business School, began their research by trying to determine whether or not social structure within a community was important for economic growth. Previous studies suggested that social interaction across a community enhances economic vitality. Sorenson and Samila set out to look at multiple communities to observe whether social relationships do, in fact, influence growth. They chose to focus on venture capital because of its role in funding high-growth businesses and the importance of relationships to venture capitalists.
The researchers used the level of integration in an area as a proxy for how likely people in that community were to have relationships that crossed ethnic lines. “People tend to lead local lives,” said Sorenson. “They interact with people in the same block or neighborhood. In more integrated communities, you get more diverse and connected networks, allowing people access to a much larger set of information and resources than in those that are more segregated.”

These relationships have significant implications for venture capital. Venture capitalists tend to invest in startups near them, relying on friends and professional acquaintances for leads, as well as the kind of information they couldn’t get with a Google search or a cold call.

In their research, Sorenson and Samila studied Metropolitan Statistical Areas, comparing venture capital investments to the number of patents, new businesses, employment, and aggregate income. When ethnic integration is factored in, the data shows that the less segregated an MSA is, the better venture capital performs. In the short term, for example, a metro area one standard deviation above the mean in residential integration enjoys at least a 30% larger stimulus from an increase in venture capital. Over the long term, for a city one standard deviation more integrated than the average, this translates to six more patents, 2,100 more jobs, and $180 million in added payroll with a doubling in venture capital. “Over time,” Sorenson said, “these differences can account for a significant share of the differences in growth among communities.”
For one exercise, the pair calculated how far a dollar in venture capital would grow when applied to various cities. Using Boston as a benchmark, they found a significant swing, with the Bay Area creating roughly 15% more value than Boston, and Chicago getting about 16% less value than a dollar invested in Boston.
The researchers also speculate that a similar benefit from integration may operate at the national level. They point to the difference between the “melting pot” model of immigration in the United States and the “salad bowl” approach in some other countries. “This is just speculative,” Sorenson said, “but I think one of the reasons the U.S. has gotten more out of innovation could be a result of how much better immigrants integrate. When different people live close to each other, there are more opportunities for serendipitous interaction. It becomes easier to make connections, and you end up with more and better ideas.”
13711210

OLAV SORENSON
Frederick Frank ’54 and Mary C. Tanner Professor of Management

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Even in the days of Trump –

DOE awards $20M to commercialize new energy technologies | Utility Dive.

In January, the incoming Trump administration targeted the DOE for massive budget cuts, but in his confirmation hearings Perry told Senate lawmakers he regrets his earlier proposal to eliminate the agency and said he would protect its basic research and development mission.

While the threat of cuts persists, DOE followed through in September when it said it would expand the SunShot program after hitting its 2020 goals. The program’s aim was to reduce the cost of utility scale solar power to $0.06/kWh, or under $1 per watt.

Read More at:  www.utilitydive.com/news/doe-awar…

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 14th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

HOUSE VOTES TO BLOCK EPA METHANE REG: Lawmakers approved an amendment Wednesday to block funding for a key Obama administration methane pollution rule.

The House voted 218-195 to strip funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) effort to limit methane emissions from new oil and gas drilling sites. Eleven Republicans voted against the amendment, and 3 Democrats voted to block funding for the regulation.

The EPA finalized its methane rule in early 2016 as part of an Obama administration effort to reduce emissions of the pollutant. But under President Trump, the EPA has aimed to scale back the rule, proposing a two-year delay on the regulation while it conducts a further review.

The oil and natural gas industry consider the rule burdensome, and Republicans have worked hard to defund and undo the regulation.

That effort culminated this week in Rep. Markwayne Mullin’s (R-Okla.) spending bill amendment designed to block EPA funding for implementation of the rule.

“This rule is currently facing litigation and uncertainty, and Congress must act to block this job-killing regulation estimated to cost the U.S. economy $530 million annually,” he said during debate last week.

Read more here:  thehill.com/policy/energy-environ…

EPA DELAYS TOXIC WATER POLLUTION STANDARDS: The EPA followed through Wednesday on its proposal to delay by two years some parts of the 2015 regulation on toxic water pollution from coal-fired power plants.

The extra two years for compliance, announced Wednesday, are intended to give the EPA time to revise the provisions of the Obama administration regulation, which it said last month it would do. Utilities that operate coal plants had asked for a rollback of the regulation earlier this year.

“Today’s final rule resets the clock for certain portions of the agency’s effluent guidelines for power plants, providing relief from the existing regulatory deadlines while the agency revisits some of the rule’s requirements,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement.

The delays specifically apply to two provisions in the 2015 regulation that mandated limits or pretreatment for flue gas desulfurization wastewater and bottom ash transport waste, which both come from the burning of coal.

Power plants would have had to start complying with those requirements by as early as November 2018.

Read more here:  thehill.com/policy/energy-environ…

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

At the memorial of 9/11 in 2013 Trump wrote:

Donald J. Trump ? @realDonaldTrump
“@realDonaldTrump: I would like to extend my best wishes to all, even the haters and losers, on this special date, September 11th.

This is in line with other brainless and heartless statements of his showing his unwillingness to take a stand against evil.

And here more of this:

POLITICS – 09/11/2017 09:45 am ET Updated to include the latest.

A History Of Donald Trump’s Tasteless Comments About 9/11

The day of the attacks, Trump claimed that the destruction of the World Trade Center meant one of his buildings was now the tallest in lower Manhattan.

By Marina Fang of Huffington Post – September 12, 2017

WASHINGTON ? President Donald Trump on Monday commemorated the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, leading a moment of silence at the White House to mark the moment the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York.

The president and first lady Melania Trump stood on the White House’s South Lawn amid a crowd that included Trump’s elder daughter, Ivanka, and his son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Trump spoke at a memorial ceremony at the Pentagon later Monday morning, honoring the nearly 3,000 victims of the attacks and their families.

“Today, our entire nation grieves with you,” he said, reflecting on “the horror and anguish of that dark day” and praising the country’s perseverance and unity following the attacks.

His measured remarks on Monday notwithstanding, Trump has a history of making insensitive and false comments about the Sept. 11 tragedy.

The 2001 terrorist attacks were the subject of one of Trump’s most egregious lies during his presidential campaign. In November 2015, he claimed, without evidence, that “thousands and thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey had celebrated the news of the attacks.

“I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down,” Trump said at a campaign rally. “Thousands of people were cheering.”

The following day, Trump reiterated his lie, claiming that the supposed celebration “was well covered at the time.”

“There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down,” Trump said on ABC’s “This Week.”

The lie, which has been roundly debunked, appeared to originate from an article published a few days after the attacks, reporting that law enforcement officials had investigated “a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.”

But Trump, as he frequently does, exaggerated the allegation in the story ? an allegation that was never substantiated.

Following the rally in which he first peddled the lie, Trump mocked one of the journalists who wrote the original story, veteran New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, after Kovaleski himself affirmed that the story did not back up Trump’s lie.

“I certainly do not remember anyone saying that thousands or even hundreds of people were celebrating,” Kovaleski said.

In response, Trump performed a disgusting imitation of Kovaleski, who has arthrogryposis, a congenital joint condition.

 www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/dona…

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

August 30, 2017


An Open Letter To President Trump.

by Alon Ben-Meir, Professor at New York University.

An Open Letter To President Trump


has an Arabic translation as well.

I find it extremely hard to call you “President Trump” because sadly for America, you neither act like a president nor speak like one. You neither have the moral authority that a president needs to project, nor the courage of one. You have neither the vision of an enlightened president, nor the diplomatic savvy of one. You have neither the capacity to lead the nation as president, nor the competence of one. You have neither the credibility that the president must enjoy, nor the ability to get things done. You have neither the stability that the president must demonstrate, nor the consistency of one. You do not have the country’s interest at heart like a president, nor the grasp of what America’s role in world is all about. Here is why:

Your statement about the events in Charlottesville was appalling. There is no moral equivalency between white supremacists, Nazis, and the KKK, and law-abiding citizens who want to preserve America’s moral values, freedom, decency, and tolerance. You callously stated that there were “some very fine people on both sides”, which outraged Democrats and Republicans alike. Mr. Trump, there is only one side: the one of bigots and racists.

You have made a mockery of the judiciary, rebuking judges for doing what is constitutionally required of them; you doubt the judgment and competence of judges because of their ethnic backgrounds, and you questioned the courts’ legal decisions because they did not suit your desired outcome. To be sure, you want and believe you have the right to operate above the law, and find it strange that the judiciary is independent and not even the president can bend the law. Your most recent egregious contempt for our judiciary was pardoning an open racist such as former Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was found guilty of criminal contempt for violating the constitution by using racial profiling to jail Latinos.

You have made lying an art form. Between January 21st and July 19th of this year, you have lied 113 times, believing that if you repeat these lies time and again, they will eventually sink in as the truth in the public’s mind. Your credibility, however, is shot, and only a fool can trust a word you say.

You constantly label any news which is not to your liking as “fake news,” but you thrive on press coverage to satisfy your insatiable lust for self-aggrandizement. Your relentless charges against the media, accusing them of spreading fake news, opens the door for violence against reporters while you try to obscure your own false public statements.

You are a dictator in soul and spirit. No wonder you embrace despots like Russia’s Putin, Turkey’s Erdogan, and the Philippines’ Duterte. You envy them for they can purge and rampage their country with impunity, and you can’t. When things do not go your way, you become enraged, vindictive, and mean.

Your efforts to limit immigration to the US defies the aspirations of millions who want to realize the American dream. This is the land of immigrants, the melting pot that makes America unique. It is the riches of the newcomers, their cultural diversity, scientific achievements, experiences, and collective ingenuity that made America second to none. America is already great, and you have nothing to offer that can make it greater.

You systematically undermine the intelligence community that has performed admirably over the years, only because they concluded that Russia meddled in the 2016 election on your behalf. You have and continue to demoralize the most loyal men and women who dedicate their lives to serve the nation, and on whom our national security depends.

Whereas you praise American soldiers fighting to protect our country and preserve our freedom and democracy, you arbitrarily ban transgender soldiers who have sacrificed no less than any other solider—possibly even more so due to the difficulties they face.

Contrary to your promises to aid the poor, the sick, and the despondent, you shamefully proposed a budget that would cut over the next decade more than $800 billion from Medicaid, $192 billion from nutritional assistance (including Meals on Wheels), and $272 billion overall from welfare programs, not to speak of your reprehensible proposal to cut more than $72 billion from the disability benefit upon which millions of Americans rely—yet you demand billions to build a useless wall along the Mexican border.

You are narcissistic, self-absorbed, and selfish, constantly seeking glamor and adulation; you will go to any length to show off your riches but are afraid to release your tax returns, fearful of what they may reveal about your shady business deals. You do not want the nation to discover the little or no taxes you have paid, how illegitimate many of your business transactions were, and what is in fact your true wealth.

After eight months in office you have failed to pass any significant legislation, blaming everyone but yourself for your inability to realize any of your campaign promises, including an infrastructure bill, tax reform, and even repealing and replacing Obama’s healthcare program, which you made a top priority.

You demand loyalty from everyone around you, but you are loyal to no one. You hired questionable personalities and fire anyone who questions your dictates. You treat government agencies as if they were your private businesses, thinking that the government works for you alone. You still do not understand that there is something called checks and balances, and no one, including you, is above the law.

You dishonorably use the office of the presidency for self-enrichment, and unabashedly use the power of your office to promote your resorts and hotels, including the Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey, Mar-a-Lago in Florida, and the Trump International Hotel in DC. Never before has any president tainted the prestige of the office of the presidency to satisfy his greed forevermore.

While you occasionally call for unity, you are the most divisive figure that has ever held the high office of President of the United States. You are sowing discord and disunity among the American people while catering to your shrinking base and cultivating a cult mentality, splitting the country into “us versus them.”

You demean women as if they are simply objects to play with for personal pleasure. You enjoy insulting women that you do not like, using vulgar language to describe their faces and looks, and never shy away from being rude and abusive to any woman who dares challenge your abrasive and loathsome behavior.

You systematically alienate America’s friends and allies, championing the slogan of “America First,” which raises serious doubts about America’s commitment to uphold security treaties and international trade agreements. Does it ever occur to you that America’s national interest is best served by maintaining close, collaborative, and mutually supportive relations between traditional alliances such as NATO, as well as new friends and allies?

You are quick to take credit for our sustained economic growth, even though it is the continuation of your predecessor’s sound economic policy. Since you came to office, you have done nothing to spur further economic development. In fact, your erratic behavior is creating increased financial anxiety in the market, which does not augur well for making major American or foreign investments in various sectors of the economy.

In a time when effective and sound diplomacy is needed more than any time before to deal with manifold crises around the world that directly affect America’s national security, you proposed to cut the State Department’s budget from nearly $55 billion for fiscal year 2017 to $37.6 billion for 2018. Meanwhile, hundreds of vacancies of high-level positions at the State Department and Ambassadorships around the world, needed to conduct an effective foreign policy, remain unfilled.

Whereas the whole world came together and recognized that there is serious climate change supported by overwhelming scientific evidence and reached an agreement in Paris to dramatically reduce carbon emissions, you chose to withdraw the US, which is the second-largest polluter after China, from the Paris Agreement. Only recently, 13 different federal agencies (spearheaded by the US Global Research Program) have concluded that climate change is already occurring, which you ignored only to appease your so-called base to the detriment of future generations.

Your reckless statements lashing out against America’s enemies, using phrases such as “fire and fury the world has never seen before” in response to North Korea’s threats, poses catastrophic danger to America’s national security, especially because of your impulsiveness and lack of strategic thinking. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper openly questioned your fitness to be Commander-in-Chief of the US Armed Forces, with your finger on the nuclear button.

As president, you have never understood that with holding the most powerful office in the world, every word you utter, every signal or gesture you make, and every move or measure you take matters greatly and has global implications. Having a loose tongue and failing to understand the gravity of your words can send the wrong signal, which could provoke major unintended conflagrations with some of America’s sworn enemies.

You do well when you read speeches written for you from a teleprompter, but when left to your own devices and speak extemporaneously, you show who you really are and what you stand for. It becomes demonstrably clear that you suffer from a moral, intellectual, and ethical void and you try to cover your shortcoming by ridiculing and scorning everybody but those who cater to your ego.

To be sure, Mr. Trump, it is time for you to plan where you will go from here. The prospect that you will remain in office to the end of the of your term is becoming increasingly unlikely. Your public approval rate at this juncture of your presidency is lower than any of your predecessors. A growing number of leading Republicans who want to save the party are now convinced that you do not have the temperament, knowledge, stability, and diplomatic savvy, not to speak of the moral authority, to lead the country.

I believe that you will be left with two choices: continue to defy the wishes of the majority of the American people and refuse to resign, or wait for impeachment from the House and the Senate. It is only a question of time, and time is running out for you.

If, as you claim, you are an American patriot who loves his country and cares about its future as a global power and its indispensable moral leadership role to make the world a better and safer place, resign now and do so with dignity for the sake of the country.

At a minimum, you will be remembered as the president who finally made the right decision by putting the country’s fate and future wellbeing before his own.

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

POLITICS

In Free-Range Trump, Many See Potential for a Third Party

By JEREMY W. PETERS, SEPT. 11, 2017 – The New York Times.

WASHINGTON — The Republican Party likes to think of itself as a big tent — not always a harmonious one, but full of all types.

In the minds of many, however, it’s grown too full, and badly needs an excision. Now more than at any point in its modern history, the party has reached such a breaking point that historians, political analysts and Republicans themselves say it faces the possibility of splintering and spawning a third party.

“We haven’t lanced the boil,” Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, said in an interview, evoking the swelling tensions between the anti-establishment agitators like himself, who mostly align with Mr. Trump, and the party’s ruling class in Washington, which seems to grow more mistrustful of the president by the day.

“They all thought they were going to lance the boil the day after the election, when they had the catastrophic Trump defeat,” Mr. Bannon added. “And that’s when all accounts would be settled.”

Instead, Mr. Trump’s election has continued to vex his party. The partnership and cooperation that would ordinarily flow from one-party control in Washington are virtually nonexistent, leaving the president and his party with very few legislative victories so far. And his lack of political loyalty or ideological mooring — he stunned Republicans by striking a short-term fiscal deal with Democrats last week — has left Washington guessing about which new alliance or policy U-turn might come next.

But for all the uncertainty Mr. Trump has sown, he has accomplished something that could prove defining for the country’s 200-year-old two-party system: He is clearing an opening, intentionally or not, for a new party.

Michael Beschloss, the presidential historian, said the conditions were so ripe for a split, “I’ve been startled that this has not happened.”

As a political neophyte and former Democrat who was resisted throughout the primaries by the Republican establishment, Mr. Trump put to rest the conventional notion that presidential nominees need the blessing of their party’s power brokers to win. Now, Mr. Beschloss said, “entry is very easy.”

“Basically, all you need are money, TV, communications and an issue,” he added.

To be sure, the barriers to creating a relevant third party are high and longstanding. But the nationalistic, conservative populist agenda that Mr. Trump ran on has wealthy patrons like the Mercer family, the software billionaires, and Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur. They have told friends and associates that they are committed to seeing the movement that Mr. Trump ignited live on.

“People in Washington in the political establishment who think we’ll get rid of Trump and go back to normal have made a terrible miscalculation. That’s not going to happen,” said Patrick Caddell, a political strategist who has worked for Democrats for most of his career and has warned that a breakup of the Republican Party is only a matter of time.

“The paradigm shift that we went through in 2016, it’s still in motion,” Mr. Caddell added.

Even with his historically low approval ratings, Mr. Trump is redefining what it means to be a loyal Republican. His antagonism, born of frustration over his stalled agenda, of the top two Republicans in Congress, Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, is exacerbating the rifts between leadership-friendly Republicans and more anti-establishment renegades.

“Before Trump, I saw the ongoing battle between what I would call the pragmatic governing wing and the purists — that was the litmus test issue,” said Representative Charlie Dent, a Pennsylvania Republican who announced last week that he was retiring, in part because he was fed up with the gridlock and infighting in Congress.

“Now, since Trump,” Mr. Dent added, “the issue has become, more or less, Trump loyalty.”

Representative Dave Brat, the Virginia Republican who unseated Eric Cantor, the No. 2 House Republican, in 2014, said the rise of anti-establishment figures like Mr. Trump on the right and Senator Bernie on the left showed the desire for disruption in both parties. But that disr Sanders uption has been slow going in Congress, much to the irritation of voters who have little loyalty to the Democratic or Republican brands.

“That is the new movement — Bernie through Trump,” Mr. Brat said. “It hasn’t permeated Congress, and that’s why everybody is ticked.”

For all practical purposes, neither Mr. Ryan nor Mr. McConnell has a functioning majority they can count on to pass legislation, as has been vividly illustrated by the failure to fulfill longstanding vows to repeal the Affordable Care Act. And Republicans said they expected that opposition to party leaders would become the new test for candidates in the primary fights before the 2018 midterm elections.

“I think people underestimate the extent to which the Republican Party could be in full-blown civil war by March or April of next year,” said Bill Kristol, the editor at large of The Weekly Standard.

“It could become a crystallizing moment,” Mr. Kristol added.

Complicating matters even further, Mr. Trump has given Congress a deadline of early next year to come up with a fix for the order he rescinded last week that protected young undocumented immigrants from deportation. Mr. Bannon, in an interview with “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday, said he believed the issue would be one more factor pushing Republicans toward a tipping point.

“I’m worried about losing the House now because of this,” he said. “And my fear,” he added, “in February and March it will be a civil war inside the Republican Party.”

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Opinions on Mr. Trump have changed less than his low overall popularity might suggest. Ninety-eight percent of Republicans who supported him in the 2016 primaries still approve of him today, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released last week. Among Republicans who voted for another candidate in the primaries, his approval rating is 66 percent.

Further widening the divide, not only has the president been unwilling or unable to bring the warring factions of his party together, he has repeatedly attacked Republicans he deems insufficiently committed to his causes, in some cases trying to unseat them by encouraging primary challenges.

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, said that some Republicans had seemed to quickly forget that Mr. Trump’s issues were winning ones in 2016.

“They were giddy to echo the Trump economic prosperity and security messages, and in some cases were almost accidental progenitors of what he stood for,” Ms. Conway said. “Every single Republican on Capitol Hill at some point and at some level successfully ran and won on promises to do any number of things that the president is now is eager to execute.”

“And when Donald Trump promises to drain the swamp,” Ms. Conway added, “it doesn’t just implicate K Street, it implicates lawmakers on Capitol Hill. This is a test for them as well.”

Given Mr. Trump’s mercurial nature, few Republicans will guess whether he can remain a viable leader of a movement that is fundamentally conservative in many ways, most notably its hostility toward large-scale immigration.

The most significant thing about Mr. Trump’s spending-and-debt deal with Democrats may not be that he revealed any hidden liberal leanings, but that he undermined his already weakened political party, one that has long been an uneasy amalgam of business-oriented elites and the more rural, religious grass roots.

“He’s a free-range chicken,” said Michael Steele, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee. “And he’s out there on the range playing with whomever he wants.”

COMMENTS
As a president who has essentially borrowed the Republican label, Mr. Trump’s independence is unsettling the very foundation of the party, Mr. Steele added. “It’s already started to reshape the landscape,” he said.

And in breaking so publicly with the most prominent symbols of his party’s establishment, he may have made it easier for others to do so, too.

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