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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 17th, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The Frankfurt School UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance will organize several events at the upcoming Innovate 4 Climate Conference organized by the World Bank in Frankfurt 22-24 May and you are welcome to attend them all. Find below an overview with link to the agendas of the different activities. We will also have a stand in the German Pavilion and provide interviews through the Digital Media Zone.

From Emmerich, Malin  M.Emmerich at fs.de — If you plan to come by our stand, please just send me an e-mail and I will make sure to be there to greet you.

Looking forward to meet you in Frankfurt at I4C!

Tuesday 22 May

Workshop: The Business Case for Adaptation in the Private Sector

14:30 – 15:30, room Satellit

Moderated by Silvia Kreibiehl, Co-Head Frankfurt School – UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate and Sustainable Energy Finance

Link: www.innovate4climate.com/en/agend…

Workshop: Green Financial Centers – Added Value and What They Do

14:30 – 15:30, room Plateau 1

Moderated by Karsten Löffler, Managing Director Sustainable Finance Cluster / Co-Head FS-UNEP Centre | Sustainable Finance Clustere.V.,

Link: www.innovate4climate.com/en/agend…

Thursday 24 May

Parallel Session: Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment Report 2018 – banking on sunshine

15:00 – 15:45, German Pavilion stage

Presented by Silvia Kreibiehl Co-Head Frankfurt School – UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate and Sustainable Energy Finance and

Professor Ulf Moslener, Head of Research for Frankfurt School – UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate and Sustainable Energy Finance and professor for Sustainable Energy Finance at the faculty of Frankfurt School

There is still time to register for the annual Climate & Sustainable Energy
Finance Summer Academy June 18 – 22, 2018 by FS-UNEP Centre until 31st May!

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 12th, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

JUNE 7, 2018, Vienna — Multilogue —
Development Investments

Ein Multilogue mit Responsability-CEO Rochus Mommartz zu Trends und Chancen von Development Investments, einer Rendite-orientierten Anlageklasse in Unternehmen aus Schwellen- und Entwicklungsländern.

Rochus Mommartz
Die im September 2015 verabschiedete Agenda 2030 der Vereinten Nationen setzt für die Finanzierung der 17 Sustainable Development Goals ganz zentral auf den Privatsektor. Der Finanzierungsbedarf für die nächsten Jahre wird dabei auf mehr als 1.000 Mrd. Euro pro Jahr geschätzt. Eine gewichtige Rolle kommt so genannten Development Investments zu, Rendite-orientierten Anlagen in Unternehmen, von deren Geschäftsmodellen breite Bevölkerungsschichten in Schwellen- und Entwicklungsländern profitieren. Der erste Sektor, den private Investoren entdeckt hatten, war der Finanzsektor, in den vergangenen Jahren haben sich weitere Anlagethemen wie Infrastruktur, Energie und Landwirtschaft etabliert. Private Investoren profitieren dabei oft auch vom Engagement öffentlicher Entwicklungsbanken.

Entwicklungsinvestitionen zeichnen sich zumeist durch einfache und transparente Strukturen aus und zielen auf marktübliche Renditen ab. Bei den zugrunde liegenden Anlageinstrumenten handelt es sich hauptsächlich um Private Debt (private Fremdfinanzierung) und Private Equity (Beteiligungskapital). Mithilfe privaten Kapitals können Unternehmen in für die Entwicklung eines Landes wichtigen Sektoren neue Produkte und Dienstleistungen für unterversorgte Endverbraucher anbieten. Investoren können einem Geschäftsmodell zum Durchbruch verhelfen, wie das etwa im Mikrofinanzsektor zu beobachten war.

Es lohnt sich, den Hunderten von Millionen neuer Konsumenten Beachtung zu schenken – ihre Bedürfnisse und Ambitionen sind ein Motor des Wandels. Diese Märkte investierbar zu machen, ist eine große Herausforderung der Gegenwart. Der corporAID Multilogue diskutiert, wie sich die Nachfrage nach Development Investments in den vergangenen Jahren entwickelt hat, welche Rolle Entwicklungsbanken dabei zukommt und welche Möglichkeiten sich für private Investoren ergeben können.

Veranstalter: ICEP
Datum: 7.6.2018, 16.30-18.30 Uhr
Ort: OeKB Reitersaal, Strauchgasse 3, 1010 Wien

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JUNE 8, 2918, Vienna — Design Thinking Workshop Business meets NGO Challenge.

In diesem interaktiven Workshop entwickeln Unternehmen gemeinsam mit entwicklungspolitischen NGOs und WissenschafterInnen neue Geschäftsmodelle zur Lösung drängender Herausforderungen in Entwicklungs- und Schwellenländern. Die TeilnehmerInnen bringen Ihre Expertise ein, vernetzen sich mit potentiellen KooperationspartnerInnen und profitieren von deren Know-How.

Zeit: 8. Juni 2018, 9 -13 Uhr & anschließender Networkingempfang
Ort: WKO, Wiedner Hauptstraße 63, 1040 Wien (Saal 7)

PROGRAMM

Österreichische NGOs haben, basierend auf ihrem Wissen über aktuelle Herausforderungen in Entwicklungs- und Schwellenländern, konkrete Problemstellungen (Challenges) formuliert:

Mit grüner Energie erfolgreich in Armenien (Hilfswerk International)
Innovativ in der Humanitären Hilfe (Österreichisches Rotes Kreuz)
Effiziente Wasserversorgung im Senegal (Welthaus Graz)
Ökologischer Gemüseanbau im trockenen Afrika (World Vision, ADRA)
Für jede Challenge wird im Vorfeld ein multidisziplinäres Team zusammengestellt, wobei darauf geachtet wird, dass sich die Expertisen der Teammitglieder optimal ergänzen. Während des Workshops suchen die Teams nach kreativen Lösungen für ihre Challenge, wobei innovative Methoden des Design Thinkings zum Einsatz kommen.

Im Anschluss bietet ein kleiner Networkingempfang Gelegenheit zum Austausch mit anderen TeilnehmerInnen und ExpertInnen.

ANMELDUNG

Wir bitten um Anmeldung bis zum 28. Mai 2018 an  ilona.reindl at globaleverantwortung.at. Bitte geben Sie bei der Anmeldung den Namen der Challenge an, bei der Sie sich einbringen möchten.

Die Teilnahme ist kostenlos, die TeilnehmerInnenzahl pro Challenge jedoch begrenzt.

Für Fragen stehen Ilona Reindl ( ilona.reindl at globaleverantwortung.at, Tel: 01 5224422-17) und Markus Haas ( aussenwirtschaft.projekte at wko.at, Tel: 05 90900-4186) zur Verfügung.

Es wird darauf hingewiesen, dass am Veranstaltungsort Fotos angefertigt werden und zu Zwecken der Dokumentation der Veranstaltung veröffentlicht werden können.

Weitere Informationen:

Nachlese Design Thinking 2017
Projekt “Erfolgreiche Kooperationen zwischen NGOs und Unternehmen” der AG Globale Verantwortung
WKO AUSSENWIRTSCHAFT Netzwerk Projekte International

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 6th, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Jeremy Rifkin
born January 26, 1945 (age 73)
Denver, Colorado, U.S.

Main interests
Economy, political science, scientific and technological change
Jeremy Rifkin is an American economic and social theorist, writer, public speaker, political advisor, and activist. Rifkin is the author of 20 books about the impact of scientific and technological changes on the economy, the workforce, society, and the environment. His most recent books include The Zero Marginal Cost Society (2014), The Third Industrial Revolution (2011), The Empathic Civilization (2010), and The European Dream (2004).

Rifkin has been an unpaid advisor to the European Union since 2000. He has advised the current president and the past two presidents of the European Commission and their leadership teams. Rifkin has also served as an unpaid advisor to the leadership of the European Parliament and prominent European heads of state – including Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany – on issues related to the economy, climate change, and energy security.

Rifkin is the principal architect of the Third Industrial Revolution long-term economic sustainability plan to address the triple challenge of the global economic crisis, energy security, and climate change.[1] The Third Industrial Revolution was formally endorsed by the European Parliament in 2007 and is now being implemented by various agencies within the European Commission.[2]

Rifkin has been advising the leadership of the People’s Republic of China in recent years. The Huffington Post reported from Beijing in October 2015 that “Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has not only read Jeremy Rifkin’s book, The Third Industrial Revolution, but taken it to heart”, he and his colleagues having incorporated ideas from this book into the core of the country’s thirteenth Five-Year Plan.(3) According to EurActiv, “Jeremy Rifkin is an American economist and author whose best-selling Third Industrial Revolution arguably provided the blueprint for Germany’s transition to a low-carbon economy, and China’s strategic acceptance of climate policy.”[4]

Rifkin has taught at the Wharton School’s Executive Education Program at the University of Pennsylvania since 1995, where he instructs CEOs and senior management on transitioning their business operations into sustainable economies. Rifkin is ranked #123 in the WorldPost / HuffingtonPost 2015 global survey of “The World’s Most Influential Voices.” He is also listed among the top 10 most influential economic thinkers in the survey.[5] Rifkin has lectured before many Fortune 500 companies, and hundreds of governments, civil society organizations, and universities over the past thirty five years.[6]

Rifkin is also the President of the TIR Consulting Group, LLC,[7] in connection with a wide range of industries including renewable energy, power transmission, architecture, construction, IT, electronics, transport, and logistics. TIR’s global economic development team is working with cities, regions, and national governments to develop the Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure for a Collaborative Commons and a Third Industrial Revolution. TIR is currently working with the regions of Hauts-de-France in France,[8] the Metropolitan Region of Rotterdam and The Hague,[9] and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg[10] in the conceptualization, build-out, and scale-up of a smart Third Industrial Revolution infrastructure to transform their economies.

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Jeremy Rifkin, looking at effects of globalization started theorizing about what the new World will look like. When the ideas coalesced in his mind, In 2011, Mr. Rifkin published “The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World.” It became an immediate New York Times best seller when the Wall Street Journal analyzed the economic
aspects of Rifkin’s theory. The WSJ article pointed at the potential financial winners and the potential financial losers – but as we already pointed out in
our last column his proposals contain much more. In effect he points out that
if we consider the years 2008-2009 as the first Global collapse of financial institutions caused by high costs of fossil fuels, unemployment, unreasonably
swelling of National debt, then what we are now heading to is nothing less
then the onset of the second Global collapse of the economy.

Now, like then, the price of energy and food is climbing, unemployment remains high, the housing market has tanked again, consumer and government debt is soaring, and the recovery is slowing. Facing the prospect of a second collapse of the global economy, humanity is desperate for a sustainable economic game plan to take us into the future. The difference from the first collapse is in
the arrival of new big Nation States and Regional-blocs of Nations.

Jeremy Rifkin explores how Internet technology and renewable energy are merging to create the powerful “Third Industrial Revolution.” He asks us to imagine hundreds of millions of people producing their own green energy in their homes, offices, and factories, and sharing it with each other in an “energy internet,” just like we now create and share information online.

Rifkin describes how the five pillars of the Third Industrial Revolution will create thousands of businesses and millions of jobs and usher in a fundamental reordering of human relationships, from hierarchical power to lateral power, that will impact the way we conduct commerce, govern society, educate our children, and engage in civic life.

When the 2011 book was published, Rifkin’s vision was already gaining traction in the international community. The European Parliament had issued a formal declaration calling for its implementation, and nations in Asia, Africa, and the Americas are quickly preparing their own initiative for transitioning into this new economic paradigm.

But furthermore, now Rifkin points out that looking at the effects of the Second Industrial Revolution – the switch from coal to fossil fuels, led eventually to WWI when human life lost its value – but even more – to the
calamity of the influenza epidemics that took another 50,000 lives as if it were a mini-extinction.

The Third Industrial Revolution could thus be an insider’s account of the next great economic era, including a look into the personalities and players—heads of state, global CEO’s, social entrepreneurs, and NGOs—who are pioneering its implementation around the world, but it could also involve moves towards WWIII
and massive extinction of life.

We are adding these columns because of this week’s “Sustainable Energy for All Forum” (SE4All) two days (May 2-3, 2018) Session In Lisbon, with Jeremy Rifkin
as Key-Speaker.

As per “2018 Sustainable Energy for All Forum – Day 2 Wrap Up” with Mr. Rifkin
as Key Speaker, it was all about speed and scale of solutions – the urgency of
momentum on the SDG7 goals – concrete actions to leave no one behind. It is this call to a decrease in the inequality of the distribution of wealth that
will be picked up now at the May 14-16 2018 Vienna Energy Forum when the
Federal President of Austria, Mr. Alexander Van der Bellen, will host at the Hofburg Palace the Second Day of the meetings. The First Day of the meetings,
to be held at the Vienna International UN Center and hosted by UNIDO – the
UN Industrial Development Organization – will deal with Climate and technical aspects of Clean Energy Innovation helped by a Global Network of Sustainable Energy Centers.

At the center of all this is the UN SDG7 – the Sustainable Development Goal
number 7 that reads: “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and
modern energy for all.” The critics point at the huge amounts of money needed
to achieve that goal and the fact the UN has not created the mechanism needed
to come up with the funds. The buds of hope have appeared nevertheless as individuals, communities, and even some regional groupings, have started to
create mechanisms for local achievement of this goal. These are small lights
in the right direction Mr. Rifkin is suggesting.

A summary by IISD of the Lisbon meetings can be found at:
IISD SEforALL Bulletin
Volume 181 Number 22 | Sunday, 6 May 2018

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 5th, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


The Great Crack-Up, Then and Now.

May 4, 2018 SHERI BERMAN, Project Syndicate.

The Great War laid waste to the economic and political foundations of Europe, but did not establish a new international order, thus setting the stage for the disasters of the 1930s and 1940s. As the world approaches another period of vast economic and political change, the lessons of the interwar interregnum are more relevant than ever.

Peter Clarke, The Locomotive of War: Money, Empire, Power and Guilt, Bloomsbury, 2017.
Robert Gerwarth, The Vanquished: Why the First World War Failed to End, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016.
Adam Tooze, The Deluge: The Great War, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916-1931, Penguin Random House, 2014.
Philip Ziegler, Between the Wars: 1919-1939, MacLeHose Press, 2016.
NEW YORK – Many now fear that we are witnessing the disintegration of the liberal international order, which has for decades ensured peace and prosperity in the West and many other parts of the world. That order was established after World War II, but it is worth remembering that its origins lie in the period following World War I.

WWI was a staggering conflagration with far-reaching consequences. Beginning as a confrontation between the Triple Entente – France, the United Kingdom, and Russia – and the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary, the war quickly engulfed all of Europe, with the exception of Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Scandinavia. In time, it dragged in the Ottoman Empire, Japan, the United States, and various members of the British Commonwealth. And, eventually, its impact was felt as far afield as Latin America and Asia.

Needless to say, WWI was immensely destructive: approximately ten million people died, and perhaps three times as many were injured. By 1918, Europe was shattered, exhausted, and demoralized. And just as the war was ending, a global influenza pandemic struck, eventually killing perhaps 50 million more people. The world that had existed before the war was gone forever.

———————–

I know that the article does not do justice to its title. On Jeremy’s great
presentation at the May 2-3, 2018 Lisbon meeting of SE4All (Sustainable Energy for All) – The switch from Fossil Fuels to Renewable Energy – with parallel switches involving communication and transportation – we will have a separate article. I posted this article because it deals actually with the Second Industrial Revolution – the one that switched society from Coal to Fossil Fuels and was source of unemployment and social misery. Jeremy Rifkin has written extensively on these developments and is predicting change we just hinted to
in our article that positioned the EU and the US in terms of just released 2017 emissions data.

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

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 5th, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Europe Shouldn’t Be Too Smug with US About Emissions – suggests CNN’s Fareed Zakaria of the Global Public Square:


A UN climate meeting began in Bonn this week. But while Europe has talked a good game in recent years, America actually bested the continent in cutting emissions last year, writes Bob Berwyn for Pacific Standard.

“Despite a year-long pro-fossil fuel propaganda campaign by the government, US emissions dropped in 2017 by 0.5 percent (32 million tons); the EU, which talks a good climate game, saw emissions increase by 1.5 percent last year,” Berwyn notes.

“Regarding the one-year comparison between emissions in the US vs. the EU, [climate expert Glen] Peters says that, while it doesn’t tell the whole story, the comparison is a clarifying piece of that story, and demonstrates that market incentives can be just as important as policies and regulations.”

“The US emissions decline was bigger than in any other major developed economy, mainly thanks to rapid deployment of renewable energy sources, including in red states like Texas and Kansas. But that may change in the future, pending the outcome of current efforts to encourage expanded oil and gas drilling, as well as coal production, and to roll back anti-pollution measures like auto efficiency standards and the Clean Power Plan.”

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WHY THIS WEEK’S CLIMATE TALKS IN BONN WILL BE A LITTLE AWKWARD
Europe talks a good game on climate, but its emissions rose last year—while in the U.S., despite the efforts of the Trump administration, emissions fell.
BOB BERWYNMAY 3, 2018, THE PACIFIC STANDARD based in Ventura County, California.

Climate negotiators gathering in Bonn, Germany, this week must grapple with the fact that the carbon age still hasn’t peaked.

After plateauing for three years, global CO2 emissions increased in 2017 by 1.4 percent, to a record 32.5 gigatons, according to the International Energy Agency. The European Union, China, and India all registered a hefty increase in emissions, but in the United States, they dropped, despite the Trump administration’s pro-coal agenda.

Overall, the global increase is bad news for communities trying to adapt to climate extremes caused by heat-trapping pollution. It also raises the stakes at the current round of climate talks under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bonn this week, where the focus is on on finalizing the rulebook for the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to less than two degrees Celsius.

The remaining questions about the rulebook are big ones: Who will count and verify carbon emissions? What will assessments of emission-reduction measures look like? How will we know that we’ve finally bent the global emissions curve downward for good?

Last year’s jump in CO2 emissions increases the pressure on the climate negotiators because it puts the most ambitious target of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius farther out of reach. Hitting that goal would require a 70 to 90 percent reduction of emissions by 2050 (from 2010 levels), according to Climate Analytics, a non-profit climate think tank. And that will become nearly impossible if emissions continue to go up for just a few more years.

If emissions don’t peak by 2020, we’ll be forced to try the much more expensive paths of trying to suck CO2 out of the air, or potentially dangerous geo-engineering.

The global emissions increase in 2017 was driven by increased energy demand from the rapidly growing economies of India and China, showing that economic growth and carbon emissions have not yet been completely decoupled, says Glen Peters, a climate expert with the Global Carbon Project, a non-profit think tank that closely tracks the world’s CO2 budget. But both countries are headed in that direction. China’s economy grew by 7 percent in 2017, while its emissions grew by just 1.7 percent.

Notable was the contrast, highlighted in the IEA report, between emissions in the U.S. and the E.U., Peters says. Despite a year-long pro-fossil fuel propaganda campaign by the government, U.S. emissions dropped in 2017 by 0.5 percent (32 million tons); the E.U., which talks a good climate game, saw emissions increase by 1.5 percent last year.

Regarding the one-year comparison between emissions in the U.S. vs. the E.U., Peters says that, while it doesn’t tell the whole story, the comparison is a clarifying piece of that story, and demonstrates that market incentives can be just as important as policies and regulations.

The U.S. emissions decline was bigger than in any other major developed economy, mainly thanks to rapid deployment of renewable energy sources, including in red states like Texas and Kansas. But that may change in the future, pending the outcome of current efforts to encourage expanded oil and gas drilling, as well as coal production, and to roll back anti-pollution measures like auto efficiency standards and the Clean Power Plan.

“The damage may not come for a few years in the U.S.,” Peters says. “The changes to regulations on oil and gas extraction could take years to take effect.” At the same time, he notes that some of the U.S. emissions reductions in the past decade did not come from climate policy, but were driven by simple energy economics: the declining price of wind and solar.

Recent adjustments to the E.U. emissions system should start raising the price of carbon by 2020, leading to bigger CO2 cuts, and individual European countries have announced an ambitious slew of initiatives to make much deeper cuts in the years ahead.

The United Kingdom, for example, is aiming for net zero carbon by 2050; Norway wants to electrify all domestic flights by 2040, and a group of seven major European countries, including France, agreed in advance of the Bonn negotiations to enact a more ambitious European climate policy that would include big emissions cuts by 2030 to reach the Paris target.

But those good intentions are partly at the mercy of the E.U.’s unwieldy decision-making process.

“The E.U. is a slave to its weakest link, and that’s Poland. Your climate policy can only be as strong as Poland will allow, and that’s going to make things harder,” Peters says.

Poland still relies heavily on coal to keep its economy growing, and there’s no sign of a significant short-term shift in that country’s energy policy. The real debate for Europe is about goals for 2030, since the bloc has essentially already met its 2020 target, Peters adds.

One year’s worth of data doesn’t necessarily indicate a trend, so we shouldn’t overhype the 2017 drop in U.S. emissions, Kelly Levin, a climate analyst with the World Resources Institute, tells Pacific Standard.

“If you look behind the numbers, the pace of decline certainly slowed in the U.S.; CO2 emissions from energy production fell at half the rate of the 2005–16 average. This 2017 blip may not be indicative for what’s coming in the U.S.,” Levin says, explaining that the drop from emissions in the power sector masks increases from transport, industry, and aviation.

Overall, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects U.S. emissions will increase by 1 percent in 2018, which is is a big deal, because the U.S. is still the second-biggest global emitter after China, responsible for 14 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions.

But the pro-coal push by the current U.S. government may be more sound and fury than anything else, according to Susanne Droege, an energy and climate policy expert with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

“[President Donald] Trump isn’t really getting anywhere with coal revival. Producing more coal-fired electricity is not happening on any large scale,” Droege says.

The global push to cut emissions may also hit an obstacle in November, when Poland hosts the COP 24 talks, the penultimate UNFCCC session as the earliest deadlines for mitigation, financing, and stock-taking under the Paris Agreement approach in 2020.

According to Droege, there is some concern that Poland’s current nationalistic path will be reflected in a continued pro-coal climate policy that could hinder E.U.-wide efforts toward more ambitious reductions.

And since it will be tough for the world to reach its global climate goals if U.S. emissions were to soar over the next few years, the American negotiating team will once again be scrutinized for clues as to the direction of U.S. climate and energy policy—especially after speculation that French President Emmanuel Macron may be able to woo Trump back into the climate deal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you,
Kelsie
Arctic Campaign Manager

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

from the American-Iranian Council in the US.

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


US-Iran Relations

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

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

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


Trump Administration Turns Away Iranian Christians

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

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

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

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

From the New York Times – March 2, 2018:

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

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

By ANDREW RETTMAN

BRUSSELS, TODAY, 09:27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And from Trump’s Washington:

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

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

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

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

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


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

By Tom Engelhardt in TomDispatch of 01 March 2018


The Ultimate Blowback Universe
A Planet Boiling With Unintended Consequences.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giving Imperial Overstretch New Meaning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Humanity Nailed to a Cross of Coal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Summer School will feature interactive simulation games.

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

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

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

With best regards,


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking forward to welcoming you at TIPS.

Best regards,

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

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

Dear Colleagues,

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

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

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

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

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

Saudi firm wins deal for Chilean solar-wind project.

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

arabianbBUSINESS — aB by staff writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

E.A. CRUNDEN
JAN 25, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

25 January 2018
5 countries driving the energy revolution.

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

25 January 2018
5 countries driving the energy revolution

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

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

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

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

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

FOR OVERALL ACHIEVEMENTS CHINA is the CHAMPION:

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

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

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

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

DENMARK – FOR PIONEERING WIND ENERGY and overall EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP:

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

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

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

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

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

KENYA AND INDIA FOR DIFFERENT FORMS OF SOLAR ENERGY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Editor’s extra pick: Iceland

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

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

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

Net Neutrality Appeal, Barcelona Goes Open-Source.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Independent Barents Observer,
January 14, 2018.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14.01.2018 – Høyres kommunikasjonsavdeling TwitterFacebook
Les den nye regjeringsplattformen her

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plattformen i korte trekk:
Skape flere jobber:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—————-

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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