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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 28th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

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

March 28, 2017

Trump’s Legacy: “Make China Great Again”?

The “slash-and-burn” approach of President Trump’s executive order on climate rules not only makes “one of humanity’s greatest ever challenges more difficult,” suggests Damian Carrington in The Guardian. It also leaves the door wide open for Beijing to assume America’s global leadership role.

China “is now taking dramatic action to cut emissions, pushed by the foul air many of its citizens suffer and pulled by the likelihood of the low-carbon economy being the greatest growth story of the 21st century,” he says.

“[G]iven the issue’s critical importance for all nations and their unprecedented cooperation to date, it might just signal the end of the U.S.’s dominance as the world’s preeminent political and economic power, with others taking up the mantle. Trump’s campaign pledge was ‘Make America great again’ – his legacy could be ‘Made China great again.’”

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China’s Been Busy on Mischief: Report

China has almost completed major construction of “military and dual-use infrastructure” on three reefs in disputed waters in the South China Sea, according to a new report from the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative think tank, based on satellite images. “Beijing can now deploy military assets, including combat aircraft and mobile missile launchers, to the Spratly Islands at any time,” the report says.

Beijing, though, would dispute the disputed label, CNN reports. “Whether we decide to deploy or not deploy relevant military equipment, it is within our scope of sovereignty. It’s our right to self-defense and self-preservation as recognized by international law,” a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman is quoted as saying.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 28th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

NEW YORK TIMES FIRST PAGE SCIENCE

A Dream of Clean Energy at a Very High Price
By HENRY FOUNTAINMARCH 27, 2017

The doughnut-shaped fusion reactor, or tokamak, and other components are kept cool inside one of the world’s largest vacuum chambers.

SAINT-PAUL-LEZ-DURANCE, France — At a dusty construction site here amid the limestone ridges of Provence, workers scurry around immense slabs of concrete arranged in a ring like a modern-day Stonehenge.

It looks like the beginnings of a large commercial power plant, but it is not.
The project, called ITER, is an enormous, and enormously complex and costly, physics experiment. But if it succeeds, it could determine the power plants of the future and
make an invaluable contribution to reducing planet-warming emissions.


ITER, short for International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (and pronounced EAT-er), is being built to test a long-held dream: that nuclear fusion, the atomic reaction that takes place in the sun and in hydrogen bombs, can be controlled to generate power.

First discussed in 1985 at a United States-Soviet Union summit, the multinational effort, in which the European Union has a 45 percent stake and the United States, Russia, China and three other partners 9 percent each, has long been cited as a crucial step toward a future of near-limitless electric power.

ITER will produce heat, not electricity. But if it works — if it produces more energy than it consumes, which smaller fusion experiments so far have not been able to do — it could lead to plants that generate electricity without the climate-affecting carbon emissions of fossil-fuel plants or most of the hazards of existing nuclear reactors that split atoms rather than join them.


Mimicking the Sun

PLASMA CHAMBER
1 Central magnet induces a current in the plasma, which contains two hydrogen isotopes. Heating begins.

2 External magnets confine plasma as radio waves and microwaves heat it to 150 million degrees Celsius.

3 When plasma is at proper temperature and density, isotopes collide and fuse, releasing high-energy neutrons.

4 Neutrons hit blanket, converting energy into heat. Helium and impurities are removed through diverter at bottom of chamber.

5 In a fusion power plant, the heat would be used to make steam to spin a turbine and generate
electricity.

Success, however, has always seemed just a few decades away for ITER. The project has progressed in fits and starts for years, plagued by design and management problems that have led to long delays and ballooning costs.

ITER is moving ahead now, with a director-general, Bernard Bigot, who took over two years ago after an independent analysis that was highly critical of the project. Dr. Bigot, who previously ran France’s atomic energy agency, has earned high marks for resolving management problems and developing a realistic schedule based more on physics and engineering and less on politics.

“I do believe we are moving at full speed and maybe accelerating,” Dr. Bigot said in an interview.

The site here is now studded with tower cranes as crews work on the concrete structures that will support and surround the heart of the experiment, a doughnut-shaped chamber called a tokamak. This is where the fusion reactions will take place, within a plasma, a roiling cloud of ionized atoms so hot that it can be contained only by extremely strong magnetic fields.

Pieces of the tokamak and other components, including giant superconducting electromagnets and a structure that at approximately 100 feet in diameter and 100 feet tall will be the largest stainless-steel vacuum vessel ever made, are being fabricated in the participating countries. Assembly is set to begin next year in a giant hall erected next to the tokamak site.

At the ITER construction site, immense slabs of concrete lie in a ring like a modern-day Stonehenge. Credit ITER Organization

There are major technical hurdles in a project where the manufacturing and construction are on the scale of shipbuilding but the parts need to fit with the precision of a fine watch.

“It’s a challenge,” said Dr. Bigot, who devotes much of his time to issues related to integrating parts from various countries. “We need to be very sensitive about quality.”

Even if the project proceeds smoothly, the goal of “first plasma,” using pure hydrogen that does not undergo fusion, would not be reached for another eight years. A so-called burning plasma, which contains a fraction of an ounce of fusible fuel in the form of two hydrogen isotopes, deuterium and tritium, and can be sustained for perhaps six or seven minutes and release large amounts of energy, would not be achieved until 2035 at the earliest.

That is a half century after the subject of cooperating on a fusion project came up at a meeting in Geneva between President Ronald Reagan and the Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev. A functional commercial fusion power plant would be even further down the road.

“Fusion is very hard,” said Riccardo Betti, a researcher at the University of Rochester who has followed the ITER project for years. “Plasma is not your friend. It tries to do everything it can to really displease you.”

Main Tokamak Components

CENTRAL MAGNET
PLASMA CHAMBER AND DIVERTER (BLUE) TOROIDAL MAGNETS
POLOIDAL MAGNETS

Fusion is also very expensive. ITER estimates the cost of design and construction at about 20 billion euros (currently about $22 billion). But the actual cost of components may be higher in some of the participating countries, like the United States, because of high labor costs. The eventual total United States contribution, which includes an enormous central electromagnet capable, it is said, of lifting an aircraft carrier, has been estimated at about $4 billion.

Despite the recent progress there are still plenty of doubts about ITER, especially in the United States, which left the project for five years at the turn of the century and where funding through the Energy Department has long been a political football.

The department confirmed its support for ITER in a report last year and Congress approved $115 million for it. It is unclear, though, how the project will fare in the Trump administration, which has proposed a cut of roughly 20 percent to the department’s Office of Science, which funds basic research including ITER. (The department also funds another long-troubled fusion project, which uses lasers, at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.)

Dr. Bigot met with the new energy secretary, Rick Perry, last week in Washington, and said he found Mr. Perry “very open to listening” about ITER and its long-term goals. “But he has to make some short-term choices” with his budget, Dr. Bigot said.

Energy Department press aides did not respond to requests for comment.

Some in Congress, including Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, while lauding Dr. Bigot’s efforts, argue that the project already consumes too much of the Energy Department’s basic research budget of about $5 billion.

Pillars at the ITER Cryoplant in Provencal; Bernard Bigot, the ITER director-general, previously ran France’s atomic energy agency. Credit ITER Organization
“I remain concerned that continuing to support the ITER project would come at the expense of other Office of Science priorities that the Department of Energy has said are more important — and that I consider more important,” Mr. Alexander said in a statement.

While it is not clear what would happen to the project if the United States withdrew, Dr. Bigot argues that it is in every participating country’s interest to see it through. “You have a chance to know if fusion works or not,” he said. “If you miss this chance, maybe it will never come again.”

But even scientists who support ITER are concerned about the impact it has on other research.

“People around the country who work on projects that are the scientific basis for fusion are worried that they’re in a no-win situation,” said William Dorland, a physicist at the University of Maryland who is chairman of the plasma science committee of the National Academy of Sciences. “If ITER goes forward, it might eat up all the money. If it doesn’t expand and the U.S. pulls out, it may pull down a lot of good science in the downdraft.”

In the ITER tokamak, deuterium and tritium nuclei will fuse to form helium, losing a small amount of mass that is converted into a huge amount of energy. Most of the energy will be carried away by neutrons, which will escape the plasma and strike the walls of the tokamak, producing heat.

In a fusion power plant, that heat would be used to make steam to turn a turbine to generate electricity, much as existing power plants do using other sources of heat, like burning coal. ITER’s heat will be dissipated through cooling towers.

There is no risk of a runaway reaction and meltdown as with nuclear fission and, while radioactive waste is produced, it is not nearly as long-lived as the spent fuel rods and irradiated components of a fission reactor.

To fuse, atomic nuclei must move very fast — they must be extremely hot — to overcome natural repulsive forces and collide. In the sun, the extreme gravitational field does much of the work. Nuclei need to be at a temperature of about 15 million degrees Celsius.

In a tokamak, without such a strong gravitational pull, the atoms need to be about 10 times hotter. So enormous amounts of energy are required to heat the plasma, using pulsating magnetic fields and other sources like microwaves. Just a few feet away, on the other hand, the windings of the superconducting electromagnets need to be cooled to a few degrees above absolute zero. Needless to say, the material and technical challenges are extreme.

Although all fusion reactors to date have produced less energy than they use, physicists are expecting that ITER will benefit from its larger size, and will produce about 10 times more power than it consumes. But they will face many challenges, chief among them developing the ability to prevent instabilities in the edges of the plasma that can damage the experiment.

Even in its early stages of construction, the project seems overwhelmingly complex. Embedded in the concrete surfaces are thousands of steel plates. They seem to be scattered at random throughout the structure, but actually are precisely located. ITER is being built to French nuclear plant standards, which prohibit drilling into concrete. So the plates — eventually about 80,000 of them — are where other components of the structure will be attached as construction progresses.

A mistake or two now could wreak havoc a few years down the road, but Dr. Bigot said that in this and other work on ITER, the key to avoiding errors was taking time.

“People consider that it’s long,” he said, referring to critics of the project timetable. “But if you want full control of quality, you need time.”

Twitter: @henryfountain

RELATED COVERAGE

‘Learning Curve’ as Rick Perry Pursues a Job He Initially Misunderstood JAN. 18, 2017

Start-Ups Take On Challenge of Nuclear Fusion OCT. 25, 2015

The Challenge: How to Keep Fusion Going Long Enough MARCH 17, 2014

Giant Laser Complex Makes Fusion Advance, Finally FEB. 12, 2014

———————————————-
A version of this article appears in print on March 28, 2017, on Page D1 of the New York edition with the headline: A Dream Machine.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 28th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


2017 IKEM Summer Academy IN BERLIN – ON RENEWABLE ENERGY – Registration Open!

Summer Academy  summeracademy at ikem.de

Registration open: 16 – 21 July | Greifswald & Berlin – Summer Academy
“Energy & the Environment”
Towards 100% renewable energy: Connecting energy sectors for a global energy transition

The 14th annual Summer Academy ‘Energy and the Environment’ is now open!
The interdisciplinary 6-day long Summer Academy will show that full renewable energy integration is in reach, and will address the challenge of moving beyond electricity, and connect renewable integration with the heat and transport sector into a sustainable, smart energy system.

With over 25 nationalities attending last year, the Academy offers an international perspective on the major issues associated with the global energy transition. The program features workshops, visits to a wind energy farm and a renewable electricity storage plant, as well as a three-day conference program. The event also offers a social/evening program, ending with a festive barbecue in Berlin.

Applications:
The Summer Academy admits 25 participants with academic and professional experience in the field. The program is rooted in policy as key driver of change, and offers a diverse and interdisciplinary perspective considering societal, technological and regulatory/economic elements. This interdisciplinary approach will be reflected in the selection of participants. Places are limited, so please do not wait too long with sending a registration form to  summeracademy at ikem.de ! You will find an outline of the program below, and more detailed information on our website.

Full program: www.ikemsummeracademy.de/program2017
Registration: www.ikemsummeracademy.de/applications
General information: www.ikemsummeracademy.de

PROGRAM:

Sunday 16 July – Welcome – Greifswald
Meet & greet
Tour of the University of Greifswald
Welcome dinner

Monday 17 July – Introduction & wind farms – Greifswald
Introduction to smart energy systems
Collaborative workshop
Energy transition: International perspectives and priorities
Group visit of a large wind energy farm in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Beach walk

Tuesday 18 July – The German Energy Transition – Power-to-Gas – Greifswald
Sektorenkopplung: The German Approach to Energy Sector Connection for Renewable Integration
Visit of a power-to-gas hybrid power plant (conversion of renewable electricity into gas)
Arrival in Berlin

Wednesday 19 July – Climate and renewable energy policies – Berlin
Climate change and energy consumption: From coal to renewables
International climate policy: The Paris Agreement and beyond
Climate change and the United States: Outlook on policy and impacts
Going Offshore: Fostering Germany‘s Energy Transition from the Seas
Let the Sun Shine! The Power of Solar in Decentralized Energy Systems in Africa

Thursday 20 July – Energy sector connection for RES integration – Berlin
Renewable energy in the European Union: Moving beyond electricity?
Advancing energy storage: Roadmap for policy and technology
Decarbonisation strategies for the heating sector
Smart energy systems: Scenarios for 100% renewable energy
Circular economy and energy efficiency: Key elements in a smart energy system
Workshop
Energy efficiency: Policy challenges

Friday 21 July – Energy transition in the mobility sector – Berlin
Sustainability trends in the mobility sector
The rise of the electric cars: Status quo and outlook
Renewable electric vehicles and micro smart grids
Hydrogen and mobility infrastructure
Final case study:
From vision to reality: 100% renewable energy on the island of Samsø, Denmark
Goodbye barbecue

______
IKEM is a non-profit research institute. The participation fees of the Summer Academy are used by IKEM to cover the operational costs of the event. IKEM will waive the participation fee for a selection of participants with exceptional academic/professional experience in the field. Please note that accommodation is not included in the fee and cannot be covered by IKEM.

____________________________________________
Summer Academy ‘Energy and the Environment’

IKEM – Institut für Klimaschutz, Energie und Mobilität e.V.
Magazinstraße 15-16
D-10179 Berlin | Germany

 summeracademy at ikem.de
www.ikem.de
www.ikemsummeracademy.de

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 27th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Trade Denialism Continues: Trade Really Did Kill Manufacturing Jobs.

Monday, March 27, 2017
By Dean Baker, Truthout | Op-Ed


There have been a flood of opinion pieces and news stories in recent weeks wrongly telling people that it was not trade that led to the loss of manufacturing jobs in recent years, but rather automation. This means that all of those people who are worried about trade deficits costing jobs are simply being silly. The promulgators of the automation story want everyone to stop talking about trade and instead focus on education, technology or whatever other item they can throw out as a distraction.

This “automation rather than trade story” is the equivalent of global warming denialism for the well-educated. And its proponents deserve at least as much contempt as global warming deniers.

The basic story on automation, trade and jobs is fairly straightforward. “Automation” is also known as “productivity growth,” and it is not new. We have been seeing gains in productivity in manufacturing ever since we started manufacturing things.

Productivity gains mean that we can produce more output with the same amount of work. Before the trade deficit exploded in the last decade, increases in productivity were largely offset by increases in output, making it so the total jobs in manufacturing did not change much.

Imagine that productivity increased by 20 percent over the course of a decade, roughly its average rate of growth. If manufacturing output also increases by 20 percent, then we have the same number of jobs at the end of the decade as at the beginning. This is pretty much what happened before the trade deficit exploded.

This is easy to see in the data. In December of 1970 the US had 17.3 million manufacturing jobs. Thirty years later, in December of 2000, it had 17.2 million manufacturing jobs. We had enormous growth in manufacturing productivity over this period, yet we had very little change in total employment.

To be clear, manufacturing did decline as a share of total employment. Total employment nearly doubled from 1970 to 2000, which means that the share of manufacturing employment in total employment fell by almost half. People were increasingly spending their money on services rather than manufactured foods.

However what we saw in the years after 2000 was qualitatively different. The number of manufacturing jobs fell by 3.4 million, more than 20 percent, between December 2000 and December of 2007. Note that this is before the collapse of the housing bubbled caused the recession. Manufacturing employment dropped by an additional 2.3 million in the recession, although it has since regained roughly half of these jobs.

The extraordinary plunge in manufacturing jobs in the years 2000 to 2007 was due to the explosion of the trade deficit, which peaked at just under 6 percent of GDP ($1.2 trillion in today’s economy) in 2005 and 2006. This was first and foremost due to the growth of imports from China during these years, although we ran large trade deficits with other countries as well.

There really is very little ambiguity in this story. Does anyone believe that if we had balanced trade it wouldn’t mean more manufacturing jobs? Do they think we could produce another $1.2 trillion in manufacturing output without employing any workers?

It is incredible how acceptable it is for our elites to lie about trade rather than deal with the issue candidly. The most blatant example of this dishonesty is a December, 2007 Washington Post editorial that praised NAFTA and, incidentally, criticized the Democratic presidential candidate for calling for renegotiating the trade deal.

The editorial absurdly asserted:

“Mexico’s gross domestic product, now more than $875 billion, has more than quadrupled since 1987.”

For GDP to quadruple over the course of two decades, it would have to sustain a 7 percent average annual rate of growth. China has managed to do this and almost no one else, certainly not Mexico. According to the IMF, Mexico’s GDP grew by 83 percent over this period.

While it is striking that the Washington Post’s editorial board would have been so ill-informed as to make such a huge mistake in their original editorial, the really incredible part of the story is that they still have not corrected the online version almost a decade later. After all, a reader could stumble on the GDP quadrupling claim and think that it is actually true.

This level of dishonesty separates trade out from most other areas of public debate. There can be grounds for honest people to differ on many issues, but there is less of a basis for asserting Mexico’s GDP quadrupled during this period than there is for denying global warming. It is unfortunate that the proponents of recent trade deals feel they have to be this dishonest to push their agenda.

——————————-
Dean Baker is a macroeconomist and codirector of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. He previously worked as a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute and an assistant professor at Bucknell University. He is a regular Truthout columnist and a member of Truthout’s Board of Advisers.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 25th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


India gives Ganges, Yamuna rivers same rights as a human

Nirmala George, Associated Press – Updated 6:32 a.m. ET March 21, 2017

NEW DELHI – Two of India’s most iconic rivers, considered sacred by nearly a billion Hindus in the country, have been given the status of living entities to save them from further harm caused by widespread pollution.

The High Court in the northern state of Uttarakhand ruled Monday that the Ganges and the Yamuna rivers be accorded the status of living human entities, meaning that if anyone harms or pollutes either river, the law would view it as no different from harming a person.

The judges cited the example of New Zealand’s Whanganui River, revered by the indigenous Maori people. The Whanganui was declared a living entity with full legal rights by New Zealand’s government last week.

The Uttarakhand court, located in the Himalayan hill-resort town of Nainital, appointed three officials to act as legal custodians responsible for conserving and protecting the two Indian rivers and their tributaries.

Judges Rajeev Sharma and Alok Singh declared the Ganges and the Yamuna and their tributaries “legal and living entities having the status of a legal person with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities.”

The case came up in court after officials complained that the governments of Uttarakhand and the neighboring state of Uttar Pradesh were not cooperating with federal government efforts to set up a panel to protect the Ganges.

The court ordered that the Ganga Management Board be set up and begin working within three months.

Environmental activists say many rivers across India have become dirtier as the country’s economy develops, with city sewage, farming pesticides and industrial effluents freely flowing into waterways despite laws against polluting.

Vimlendu Jha, an environmental activist fighting for more than a decade to clean up the Yamuna, said the court ruling alone would not be enough to stop the degradation of the rivers.

“Merely announcing that it is a living entity will not save the river,” Jha said. “The state government, officials and citizens need to act to clean up the river and stop further pollution.”

“The two rivers have to be fixed, or we will face a huge ecological and health crisis,” Jha warned.

Officials say the Yamuna, one of the main tributaries of the Ganges River, is tainted with sewage and industrial pollution. In some places, it has stagnated to the point that it no longer supports fish or other forms of aquatic life.

Water from the Yamuna is chemically treated before being supplied to Delhi’s nearly 19 million residents as drinking water.

THEGUARDIAN WRITESCFURTHER:

The case arose after officials complained that the state governments of Uttarakhand and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh were not cooperating with federal government efforts to set up a panel to protect the Ganges.

Himanshu Thakkar, an engineer who coordinates the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, said the practical implications of the decision were not clear.

“There are already 1.5bn litres of untreated sewage entering the river each day, and 500m litres of industrial waste,” he said.

“All of this will become illegal with immediate effect, but you can’t stop the discharge immediately. So how this decision pans out in terms of practical reality is very unclear.”

Indian courts have been critical of three decades of government efforts to clean up the Ganges, a 2,500km waterway named after the Hindu goddess Ganga. The latest cleanup initiative has set 2018 as its deadline, one that water ministry officials have reportedly conceded is unlikely to be met.

Advertisement

Thakkar said Monday’s decision could be an effort by courts to broaden their scope for intervention in the river’s management. “[The] government has been trying to clean up the river by spending a lot of money, putting in a lot of infrastructure and technology, but they aren’t looking at the governance of the river,” he said.

He gave the example of the Yamuna, which is monitored by 22 sewage treatment plants in Delhi. “But none of them are functioning according to their design in terms of quantity and quality, and we don’t know the reason,” he said.

“You need a simple management system for each of the plants and give independent people the mandate to inspect them, question the officials and have them write daily and quarterly reports so that lessons are actually learned.”

Environmental activists say many rivers in India have become dirtier as the economy has developed, with city sewage, farming pesticides and industrial effluents freely flowing into waterways despite laws against polluting.

The Yamuna is the main tributary of the Ganges that officials say is tainted with sewage and industrial pollution. In some places, the river has stagnated to the point that it no longer supports life. Water from the Yamuna is treated chemically before being supplied to Delhi’s nearly 19 million residents as drinking water.

In New Zealand, the local M?ori iwi, or tribe, of Whanganui in the North Island had fought for the recognition of their river – the third largest in New Zealand – as an ancestor for 140 years.

Last Wednesday, hundreds of tribal representatives wept with joy when their attempt to have their kin awarded legal status as a living entity was passed into law.

“We have fought to find an approximation in law so that all others can understand that, from our perspective, treating the river as a living entity is the correct way to approach it, as an indivisible whole, instead of the traditional model for the last 100 years of treating it from a perspective of ownership and management,” said Gerrard Albert, the lead negotiator for the iwi.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 25th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Jerusalem Post Opinion

PEACE WHEN JEWS AND ARABS EDUCATE THEIR CHILDREN TOGETHER

BYREBECCA BARDACH MARCH 22, 2017 22:02

“We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”

Golda Meir was one of my heroes growing up – a smart Jewish woman who worked tirelessly, selflessly, on behalf of the Jewish People to secure the establishment and security of the State of Israel. So I was taken by surprise when my children’s school principal, Nadia Kinani, came in to school one day deeply upset after visiting another local school, which had these oft-quoted words of Golda Meir embedded in a huge mural at the school’s entrance: “We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”

Nadia is an Arab mother. She has spent the past 20 years of her life helping found and develop a Jewish-Arab integrated bilingual school in Jerusalem. At the time, this was almost unprecedented in Israel. She and other teachers had to innovate pedagogical approaches so students could learn each other’s languages, traditions, cultures and histories, while helping them commit to a shared future. Even now there are only nine such Jewish-Arab schools in all of Israel.

Seeing Golda Meir’s quote through Nadia’s experience made me understand the messages we absorb implicitly from it. Such messages lay the groundwork for a belief system that Jews and Arabs will never be able to live in peace. Such messages are not unique to this quote, nor only to Israeli Jewish schooling. They are part of the conflicted history Jews and Arabs in Israel inherit, and the ongoing conflict that embitters people’s lives and remains unresolved. Nonetheless, we can choose which lessons to draw from this history and what kind of future to build toward.

Jewish and Arab children attend different schools because Israel’s schools are tracked along communal lines: Jewish secular, religious and ultra-Orthodox, and Arab. While this reflects and respects the differences, and preferences, of the major populations in Israel, it means that the vast majority of children grow up with little or no contact outside of their community. Separate schooling, residential areas, media and the general lack of daily contact reinforce ignorance and mistrust of each other. This also prevents the development of pathways to understanding and cooperation.


Going to school together exposes you to each other’s perspectives, not only in the explicit ways they are taught, but precisely in exchanges like mine with Nadia about Golda Meir’s statement. It makes you understand each other more deeply, and examine your own assumptions.

Being together does not eliminate disagreements, but it equips you to find ways to discuss and work with them. This forges a different psychological and societal premise on which to build a society, creating a citizenry equipped to appreciate diversity and work constructively with the inherent challenges of difference. Only in this way can we stop fighting and fearing each other, and find a way to live together peacefully.

President Reuven Rivlin has been an outspoken advocate regarding the existential necessity facing Israel to build a genuine partnership between the four major community groups. Israeli society is fragmenting along these communal seam lines, facing civil tensions that can too easily turn to civil unrest. Bringing Jews and Arabs together in a shared educational partnership is not about political correctness or providing some shallow multicultural facade. It is a pragmatic, political, economic and security necessity.

The state education system plays a central role in this.

A recent report from the State Comptroller offers a sobering assessment of the failure of Israel’s education system to teach students toward coexistence, instead imparting conflicting views of Israeli society and core values. The report also offers a very clear path of action for policy makers, educators and students. It begins with bringing students together in formal and informal educational frameworks to help them appreciate the richness of their different traditions, cultures and histories, and also contend with the inevitable challenges that come with this.

The school Nadia leads, the Max Rayne Hand in Hand Bilingual School, has grown into a K-12 school, part of the mainstream school system, academically excellent and socially pioneering. It serves as a flagship for the other integrated schools in Israel, the only schools where Jews and Arabs are brought together in a shared educational partnership.

Last year Nadia was recognized by Shimon Peres as one of eight women leading profound change in Israeli society. This week the school was awarded the prestigious Education Prize by the Jerusalem Municipality.

Hundreds are on waiting lists at all six of Hand in Hand’s schools, and parents in a dozen other cities have turned to Hand in Hand to start an integrated school. These parents see this as the best way to educate their children, and the best way to build a shared future.

Not every parent in Israel has to choose to send their children to an integrated school. But every Jewish and Arab parent should be able to choose an integrated school. Those who attend will be uniquely equipped to build a society based on partnership. Those who don’t will be impacted by the consciousness that this is a normal, viable choice not just for a school but for society, and integrated programming between homogenous schools should bring groups together regularly to create contact and familiarity.

Golda Meir was right that it is the parents who shape their children’s views of enemies and allies, and this has a direct impact on the kind of future we will have as a society. The existential crises of 2017 are not those of 1948. Today’s Israeli reality requires building partnerships between Jews and Arabs. Integrated schools and coexistence programs must be scaled up to become a norm rather than the exception. Our future depends on it.

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The author is director of resource development and strategy for Hand in Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 25th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Ein Gedi is a kibbutz founded in 1953 on the edge of the Green Line separating Israel from the Jordanian-held West Bank, the kibbutz was completely isolated in the desert above the Dead Sea, the nearest Israeli village being several hours away via a dirt road.

Now the Kibbutz is home of several Israeli schools and other institutions and runs a highly valued hotel – an International Spa. With this hotel as base – I went with the Paul Winter group to Masada to listen to a panel that put bare the most important climate change issue
that is displayed here on the birds-high-flight between Europe and South Africa in an area
contested between Israel and the Arab/Islamic World. Then the following day Wednesday the 22nd, we went to a Nature Preserve to observe how children from unfriendly four States were brought together by the Convener David BenShabat, Musician Paul Winter, and Professor Yossi Leshem of the Israeli Society for the Protection of Nature.

At Masada Winter performed on his saxophone parts of his new composition – “Flyways” –
and airways photographer Matya Shick showed us photos she takes from a small AirCam plane that was built for National Geographic and Amir Ben Dov showed us pictures of unique local birds -the most interesting among them was the Lilit Hamidbar small owl.

We heard from Dov Litvinoff – the Mayor of the local Regional Council – Tamar, and Spanish Wildlife Artist Juan Varela Simo, who helps spread love of nature and got caught by the concept of painting of nature to bring together the children of the opposing factions of the Middle East.

On the following day, Wednesday the 22nd, 160 children showed up for an activity that will
help them understand issues of nature and climate and allow them to see that the “other”
side do not have to be regarded as enemies if you learn you can paint nature in tandem.

Oh well! this might be a log term investment – but could parents learn from their children?

I noted 4 States. Israel and Jordan are obvious two. Then comes the Palestinian State-in-the-making, but I mentioned to myself a fourth State of those settlers on Palestinian land that came in as colonists and are the element that stands in the way of full Palestinian-Israeli cooperation. They were here as well as their children were also invited to this joint enterprise. S far as I know – this was a first.

Later I learned that Thursday April 6, 2017 there will be another concert at Masada –
this one will be sponsored by UNESCO – a UN organization that had in the pat feuded
with Israel by taking Arabs’ position that denies rights to Israel. Can they be co-opted to become a co-convener for friendly events?

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 25th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From AlterNet:

We are very concerned that authoritarianism is taking root in the U.S. Aggressive people with destructive agendas are in charge, defunding government and eroding our rights, while trying to stamp out truth itself.

In the coming year, we at AlterNet will work harder, be more creative, and take more risks in the face of the authoritarianism that is on our doorstep.

AlterNet is a 501(c)(3) non-profit media organization.

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


Trump Is a Conservative Only by Accident?
Trump’s conservative beliefs are determined by his character disorder.

By Alfie Kohn / AlterNet March 24, 2017

Perhaps you’ve heard it said that Donald Trump is all about ego, not ideology. The reason many conservatives were so slow to warm up to him, on this view, is that they realized he’s not really one of them. He is driven not by any political or philosophical principle but by his desperate need for attention and approval. Thus, as one columnist suggested hopefully after the election, he may “tilt in whatever direction, and toward whichever constituency, is the surest source of applause.”

If that were literally true, if Trump were a demagnetized compass needle, then it it is just by chance that he is in fact governing from the extreme right, that the American Conservative Union pronounced his cabinet “the most conservative of any Republican president.” And instead of slashing funding for social needs and the environment in order to funnel an additional $54 billion to the military, he might just as well have done the reverse.

Merely to propose this scenario, though, is to expose its implausibility. And while the man’s wealth may help to explain his animosity toward redistribution and regulation, it appears something else is going on. That something else is his psychological profile. It does indeed affect the direction in which his needle points, but it is not politically neutral. Put differently, Trump’s conservative beliefs don’t simply exist alongside what many have described as his character disorder. Rather, those beliefs are determined by it—and therefore far from accidental.


It is true that before he ran for his very first public office—the presidency of the United States—Donald Trump showed no particular interest in various issues that matter to social conservatives. Indeed, he supported abortion rights and at one point identified as a Democrat. But the basic tilt to the right was already there in many other respects: his outspoken support for capital punishment, his attitudes about race and his worshipful regard for power. More than a quarter-century ago, he was characteristically emphatic in declaring that he believes “very strongly in extreme military strength” and that he “wouldn’t trust anyone… [including] our allies.”

Trump has an indiscriminate need to triumph over people and to construe all relationships (between individuals or between groups) as adversarial. Life for him is not about succeeding but about doing so at someone else’s expense. As a rule, such competitiveness simultaneously reflects and reinforces a fundamental distrust of others. People who need to come out on top are desperately trying to prove their own worth, but victories fail to slake that thirst. Competition exacerbates the insecurity that gave rise to it, so the more they win, the more they need to win.

For most people who fit this profile, struggles for dominance take place in corporate boardrooms or on playing fields. But when such an individual finds himself in politics, the psychological need may express itself in militarism and a preoccupation with law and order. Thus, it makes perfect sense that Trump has chosen to surround himself with generals (whom he has appointed even to nonmilitary posts) and incidentally, billionaires. When you fish in these pools, you don’t catch many progressives.

“We have to start winning wars again,” Trump said recently, to justify swelling the military budget. He gives the appearance, as one journalist put it, of being “fascinated with raw military might”—a fascination best viewed through a psychological lens. This is someone who needs to feel powerful, to humiliate those around him, to puff up his masculinity—which in turn helps to explain his view of women as prizes to be won, objects to be admired (primarily for their physical features) and even groped at will.

Trump’s psychology also meshes perfectly with his commitment to nationalism, which is “different from isolationism” in that it “demands engagement but on ruthlessly competitive terms.” This springs not only from his need to beat those he encounters but also from a deep-seated fear of the Other. Hence his need to demonize immigrants, to paint all Muslims as evil. The (racist) policies reflect the (pathological) psychology. The same man who is a self-described germophobe—who says he feels “much better after I thoroughly wash my hands, which I do as much as possible”—talks endlessly of building a beautiful wall to keep out foreigners. This is a textbook case study.

One of the defining characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder, from which many observers believe Trump suffers, is an inability to empathize. This is consistent with his competitiveness, his need to defeat others, his taunting and bullying. He doesn’t try to understand why someone might be criticizing his decisions or questioning his actions; he simply flies into a rage. This absence of empathy—as well as sympathy and the capacity for what psychologists call “perspective taking” (the capacity to imagine others’ points of view)—might help us to make sense of his enthusiasm for cutting social welfare programs.

The general premise that certain personality features may underlie political positions is not new. A 2003 review of multiple studies, featuring 88 groups of subjects from a dozen countries, found that specific psychological characteristics were associated with political conservatism. Among them: an intolerance of uncertainty and ambiguity, anxiety about death and loss, and low scores on a well-studied attribute known as “openness to experience.”

Another fascinating study even suggested that certain personality features observed in very young children predicted their political beliefs 20 years later. Preschool children who were described as “feeling easily victimized, easily offended, indecisive, fearful, rigid, inhibited, and relatively over-controlled and vulnerable” were more likely to be politically conservative at age 23.

If certain personality features are correlated with political views, then a more extreme psychological profile may be correlated with more extreme politics. Consider that the clearest examples of truly narcissistic heads of state tend to be dictators. Democracy, after all, involves checks and balances; it requires collaboration, compromise, consensus. The capacity to engage in such processes isn’t merely outside of Trump’s skill set, it’s beyond what his psychological makeup allows.

A dangerous, self-reinforcing loop is created as other autocrats in the world recognize in him a kindred spirit and give him the approval he desperately needs. (Recent headline: “Authoritarian Leaders Greet Trump as One of Their Own.”) By contrast, democratic heads of state are put off by his petulance and peremptory demands, and since anything less than adulation makes him livid, he reacts the only way he can, with insults, taunts and vindictiveness.


It’s not quite accurate to say that Trump is all about ego rather than political convictions. He has political convictions all right, but they’re defined by his ego. That’s why it’s so important to understand how this man is damaged in order to understand the damage he can do.

———————————
Alfie Kohn  www.alfiekohn.org) is the author of 14 books about human behavior and education, including No Contest: The Case Against Competition and Punished by Rewards.

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

Ezekiel J. Emanuel – The Washingon Post
Cutting essential benefits doesn’t save costs — it just shifts them to families
It would be shortsighted, anti-family and illogical.

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

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 25th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Professor Berglas played a crucial leadership role in developing the economic department at Tel Aviv University. He began this role in 1967, which was a critical year for achieving accreditation for the department’s B.A. program by the Higher Education Committee.

Professor Berglas served the University as Chair of the Economics Department (1968-70 and part of 1978), as Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences (1972-4) and as Vice Rector (1978-9). As one of Israel’s leading economists, he participated in many public activities and served as a Director of the Budget in the Ministry of Finance. Later he was appointed as a Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bank Hapoalim.

In late 1992, the Tel Aviv University Senate decided to expand the Department into a School of Economics, to be named in memory of Professor Eitan Berglas, who had passed away in the same year.

Today, when you search googles for Professor Berglas, it is very difficult to find anything about the man because of the sae of material about the school that bears his name. I would like to point out that this is te highest compliment of achievement a man can get- the legacy he leaves behind.

————-

Sunday, March 19, 2017 I went to the Eitan Berglas School of Economics, on the Campus of the Tel Aviv University (TAU) for the yearly memorial study session named after Professor Eitan Berglas. The topic was: “THE RISING OF CRONY CAPITALISM IN AMERICA” and the lecturer – Professor Luigi Zingales of the Chicago Booth School of Business.

in short – Prof. Zingales tried to address “WHITHER AMERICA?” We found this term used by Prof. Zingales also in the “Corporate Defense Law for Dispersed Ownership” – a Scholarly volume published by Hofstra University, near New York City, where coincidentally was held the first
Obama-Romney Presidential debate.

Professor Zingales, an Italo-American, schooled in Italy, started by saying that the US starts to look like Italy – day-by-day. This surely was not meant as a compliment, though some of my friends in the US might actually prefer the Italy of today, conceding that there might be similarities with the Italy that gave the world Benito Mussolini – a proto-model for Donald Trump.

Zingales published a volume in 2012 – before the elections that year, but he complains – nobody paid attention then. He actually was depicting that changes to be introduced by an Obama Administration might lead to a Mussolini alike follow up Presidency.

Zingales remarked that FOREIGNERS can see the problems of a country better then its citizens.

The two leads for his economic evaluation that could lead to the vision of te future are POPULATION AND PRODUCTIVITY. He is an economist of numbers – not of emotions. His numbers showed a US in decline. The main problem is the LABOR PARTICIPATION DECLINE. Even taken at their prime time – there was developing a sharp decline of the value added of the labor.
Social Mobility has declined – all of tis despite the growth in GDP and even GDP/Capita
and 80%of the income goes to top 1% This is one clear cause of the Trump success.

In total there are three reasons: Decline in productivity growth; decline in employment opportunities; decline in income and average wages.

Also – Small firms decrease more then the Large Firms.

Government ought to look into these problems and help remedy them. This is done with
positive regulation which is a market place regulation. Talking about all regulation is bad
is what causes those declines. Te only country that is above regulation is Somalia – that because they have no government. what

Surely, the two hours plus of the meeting did not mention Trump – but you guess what that evening did actually present. Also, as it happened in Israel, you guess what Israel must also learn from this – and figure out how iterferred with was Obama, and how that interference did not allow him to prevent that Italy of the twenties and thirties alike development.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 25th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

# Wise woman 2017-03-24 16:36
These men treat Mother Earth the same way they treat women – use, degrade, see it, them as a thing that can be exploited just because they lack total respect for both.

Any man who likes to grope women, will use the Planet the same way – as a garbage dump waiting to be used for his own personal gratification. For shame! He wouldn’t be here if not for a woman. Womens bodies, like the Planet are sacred. They both bring forth life. These men bring forth death and destruction. Nothing could be more evil!

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Men in Poll Say Birth Control Doesn’t Benefit Them. Women Say Those Men Are ‘Idiots’

By Kate Irby, McClatchy DC
24 March 2017

It was a poll that had a lot of women angry at 52 percent of men.

Women tweeted that 52 percent of men are “virgins,” “don’t know where babies come from,” and are “idiots.”

The poll – by PerryUndem, surveying more than 1,000 registered voters in the beginning of March – had a lot of findings on how voters view affordable birth control for women. But the one causing outrage was 52 percent of men saying they have not “benefited personally from any women in your life having access to affordable birth control.” Only 37 percent said they have benefited, with 9 percent saying “not sure” and the final 3 percent refusing to answer.

The men most likely to say they did not benefit were older than 60, while men most likely to say they did benefit were between 18 and 44.

The Republican bill advertised as the replacement to former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act strips funding for Planned Parenthood, and the Congressional Budget Office estimated that would result in about 15 percent of low-income women losing access to birth control. Republicans are voting on that bill Friday.

Asked how much they could pay out-of-pocket if they or a loved one needed birth control today, 33 percent of women ages 18-44 said they could only pay $10 or less.

The Planned Parenthood website says birth control pills can cost anywhere from nothing (if you have health insurance under Obamacare) to $50. But it currently requires a prescription, which means an appointment with a doctor, which Planned Parenthood says can cost between $35 and $250 – though Obamacare also mandates that most insurance plans must cover doctor’s visits related to birth control. The Republican replacement, known as Trumpcare, doesn’t make the same guarantee. Some states allow pharmacists to prescribe birth control.

Though a majority of men didn’t see the link between birth control and their benefit, a clear majority of both men and women surveyed did link access to affordable birth control to a woman’s happiness, equality, sexual freedom and personal freedom. And 71 percent of both sexes said women’s health is primarily seen as political by politicians, while only 25 percent thought the same about men’s health. And if men were the ones who had to deal with pregnancy instead of women, 75 percent said politicians would prioritize access to affordable birth control.

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

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 25th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Where We Drill, We Spill: Commemorating Exxon Valdez

By Franz Matzner, Natural Resources Defense Council
24 March 17

Twenty eight years ago today the world experienced a massive wake-up call on the hazards and harms of oil spills when the Exxon Valdez oil tanker split open and poured oil into Alaskan waters.

At the time, images of oil coated wildlife and a devastated ecosystem in one of the world’s most delicate, iconic and majestic environments drew global attention. Today, oil still lurks under the surface of Prince William Sound, impairing wildlife and human lives.

Eleven years later, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing 11 workers and spreading millions of gallons of crude throughout the Gulf of Mexico.

Gulf communities are still trying to recover from this devastating blow to local economies and human health. Years of legal challenge and delay by the oil industry meant those least able to absorb the blow to their way of life abandoned and foundering.

In the aftermath of the BP disaster, a non-partisan, blue ribbon commission was established to provide recommendations to mitigate the risk of future events, providing hope to communities already exposed to oil drilling that finally their voices would be heard.

Despite these consensus proposals, adequate safety reforms have never been formulated, let alone implemented and even the progress that has been made is at risk.

As I write, crude oil is flowing into the Mississippi and a gas leak in Alaska’s Cook Inlet is ongoing—and has been for more than three months. Sea ice is making repairs impossible, underscoring again the unique challenges of oil and gas exploration in Alaska’s frozen and tumultuous waters.

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Follow
EcoWatch @EcoWatch
3 Months and Counting: Pipeline Leaks Natural Gas Into Alaska’s Cook Inlet ow.ly/AJCX30a1p3F @kxlblockade @TarSandsAction
3:50 AM – 18 Mar 2017
Photo published for “This dangerous leak could stop immediately if regulators did their job and shut down this rickety..

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.
“This dangerous leak could stop immediately if regulators did their job and shut down this rickety… Pipeline Leaks 210,000 Cubic Feet of Natural Gas Per Day Into Alaska’s Cook Inlet
 ecowatch.com

100 100 Retweets 59 59 likes
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But it’s not just the major, headline dominating spills that are degrading our environment and impacting human health. Wired reported in December that there are about 30,000 oil spills per year in U.S. waters, most of which are in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s being killed, literally, by a thousand cuts. Nor are spills the only concern. Ongoing operations produce other pollutants, including toxic metals and carcinogens, that are dumped into the ocean. A toxic mix of metals, fluids and other drilling bi-products harm marine ecosystems and are suspected in increasing mercury levels in some fish populations. To say nothing of the infrastructure development that can rip apart habitats and the industries that rely on them.

Adding insult to injury, the agencies responsible for managing our publicly owned ocean resources have been identified by the Government Accountability Office as “high risk.” The Government Accountability Office is a nonpartisan “congressional watchdog” that seeks to identify performance issues and inefficiencies in the federal government. Its high risk designation, granted to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement in 2016, indicates that the agency charged with limiting offshore oil spills is not doing its job effectively. Just this week, in fact, the Government Accountability Office released a report expanding on its findings about the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. And the House Oversight committee held a hearing on oil well safety, which focused on that report and further exposed the lack of meaningful safety measures as well as the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s significant lack of staffing and resources.

Fortunately, at the close of the previous administration, bold actions were taken to preserve and protect large swaths of our Arctic and Atlantic oceans from future oil disasters. These decisions came in direct response to the broad and unwavering call from all corners of the country to stop the expansion of oil drilling into these public waters and recognized that the rapid growth of clean energy means there is simply no need to expose our still oil-free beaches, local economies and climate to the inherent harms of offshore drilling.

This victory is something that should be built on. Yet the Trump administration’s oil cabinet and its allies in Congress have instead launched a systematic attack to do precisely the opposite, opening the door for these vital oceans owned by all American’s to be sold and exploited at the behest of select private oil companies.

The very first piece of legislation signed by President Trump was a gift to Exxon and global despots, designed to make it easier for oil, gas and coal companies to bribe foreign governments without accountability.

The Trump “starvation” budget would axe funding to the already beleaguered and under resourced agencies tasked with managing oil drilling safety risks, effectively taking what few cops are left off the beat.

And to complete the package, legislation is being proposed in the House and Senate that would open the door to a radical expansion of offshore drilling. One proposal would overturn recently finalized drilling safety standards specifically designed to meet recommendations made by the Oil Spill Commission.

Draft legislation being circulated by Rep. Bratt (R-VA) and another bill introduced by Sen. Cassidy (R-LA) would remove current permanent protections in the Arctic Ocean, along the Atlantic coast and in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, bar any future President from providing such protections and gut the underlying law that ensures public input into how public resources are utilized.

Extreme by any measure, these legislative proposals should be rejected, even by those who do not oppose offshore drilling. It is simply unconscionable to discount the documented safety, environmental and health risks that come with offshore drilling and to put in place a system designed to exclude the coastal residents most in harm’s way, flout the science of climate change and flatly reject the basic principles of responsible management of our public lands and oceans.

Fortunately, across the country millions of concerned citizens, communities, businesses and local residents are ready to stand strong against this attempt to rob future generations of our pristine beaches, healthy oceans and a stable climate.

Urge your Members of Congress to oppose Big Oil’s plan to bring Big Spills back to our beaches. Ask them to instead cosponsor legislation to protect our oceans, communities and climate. You can reach your Representative and Senators through the Capitol switchboard, at (202) 224-3121.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 24th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Success: Defeat for Trump and Paul Ryan – Obamacare stays the law of the land.

Ryan: We came close but we didn’t have enough votes so for now Obamacare stays the law of the land. Republicans will move on to other items on the agenda.

Trump: typical Trump. Obamacare will explode and the democrats will be blamed and they will still come to us and beg to replace Obamacare. Bad things will happen to Obamacare and to the American people, but that’s because we had no support from the democrats. He was also mostly disappointed by the conservative Republicans who did not support his bill.


The pundits say Trump is delusional: They also say those are the worst first 100 days of any President in modern times.

——————-


California’s vow to reduce auto pollution may be setting up a full-out war with Trump
From smog to greenhouse gases, state regulators refuse to yield as legal battles loom.

By CHRIS MEGERIAN

MAR 24, 2017 | REPORTING FROM RIVERSIDE

Wielding the same authority created decades ago to fight smog, California regulators on Friday moved forward with tough new pollution-reduction requirements for automakers selling cars in the state.

The rules set escalating targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 2022 through 2025, and officials are planning tougher steps after that. There’s also a requirement for automakers to sell more zero-emission vehicles in the state, with a goal of 1 million on the road by 2025.

The decision to push ahead with cuts to greenhouse gas emissions came even as President Trump has begun rolling back federal rules intended to battle global warming over the next several years.

California has a long history of pushing the envelope to reduce tailpipe pollution, and the latest move signals the state is prepared to do battle with Trump’s White House.

“We’re going to press on,” Mary Nichols, California’s top emissions regulator, said during a meeting of the Air Resources Board in Riverside.

The state’s rules on greenhouse gases were written in partnership with former President Obama’s administration, creating a single national standard for new vehicles.

But with Trump in the White House and conservatives in charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, state and federal regulators have started drifting in separate directions. The divergence could reignite historic conflicts that once raged in Sacramento, Washington and Detroit.

Mary Nichols chairs the Air Resources Board meeting held in Riverside.

Automakers have chafed at the rules imposed by the Obama administration. However, they fear returning to an era where they needed to build two versions of their vehicles — a cleaner, more expensive one for sale in California and a standard model available everywhere else.

“We should all be getting back to work on this,” John Bozzella, who advocates for international car companies at the Assn. of Global Automakers, said at Friday’s hearing.

Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency has until next year to decide whether to loosen federal regulations, which would require passenger cars to average about 54 miles per gallon by 2025, up from 36 miles per gallon today.


But California has the unique ability to set tougher rules than federal standards under a waiver program that recognizes the state’s long struggle with pollution. In addition, a dozen other states have adopted California rules as their own, giving regulators here an outsize influence on the national marketplace.

ALSO SEE IN THE ORIGINAL: Historical photos of pollution in California

Over the years they’ve shown little hesitance about setting higher benchmarks for emissions, steps that often eventually become federal requirements. The rules approved Friday could force automakers to build more efficient engines, use increasingly lightweight materials and develop more electric vehicles.

Ann Carlson, an environmental law professor at UCLA, said negotiations still could resolve disagreements and preserve a single national standard.

And if they don’t?

“The other possibility is it’s full-out war,” Carlson said.

War over vehicle rules would not be new for California, where thick smog decades ago made tougher regulations a necessity. In Los Angeles, motorcycle riders wore gas masks and children were kept inside during school recess.

Highlights from California’s emissions regulations

1959
California launches the first statewide standards on vehicle emissions

1967
Gov. Ronald Reagan signs legislation creating the Air Resources Board; federal government grants California unique ability to pursue tougher regulations than federal standards

1971
California creates the country’s first standards for NOx emissions from tailpipes

1975
Catalytic converters are required to reduce vehicle pollution, six years before they become a national standard

2004
Air Resources Board creates first rules for greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes

2012
The Obama Administration creates one national standard for vehicle emissions until 2025

2017
President Trump begins to roll back federal rules, while California pushes forward with higher standards

Source: Los Angeles Times reporting

“My eyes would sting. Sometimes you couldn’t see a block,” said Tom Quinn, who was appointed to lead the Air Resources Board when Gov. Jerry Brown took office for his first term in 1975. One of his fellow board members was Nichols, who returned to the agency in 2007 and remains in charge today.

The board quickly ran into opposition from automakers, who said higher standards would be impossible to meet. Quinn remembers turning to Bob Sawyer, another board member and a mechanical engineering professor, during a break in a meeting.

“I said, ‘Bob, what’s going to happen? They insist they can’t sell cars,’ ” Quinn recalled. “Bob said, ‘They’re lying.’ ”

The board passed the rules, Quinn said, and “of course they sold cars.”

Sometimes regulators clamped down on individual manufacturers, barring sales of certain cars or instituting financial penalties. Regulators issued a $328,400 fine, the largest at the time, against Chrysler for violating smog rules. A company representative dropped off a check at Quinn’s house on a weekend.

The state’s clout has only grown since then. An update to federal law in 1990 allowed other states to adopt California’s higher standards; New York and Massachusetts are among the dozen that have taken that step.

“California has set itself as an example, and other states are following behind,” said Michael Harley, an Irvine-based automotive analyst at Kelley Blue Book. “We don’t have a ‘rogue state’ syndrome.”

The latest round of battles began in 2002, when California enacted the country’s first rules for greenhouse gases from tailpipes to fight global warming.

Fran Pavley, the former lawmaker who wrote the legislation, recalled bitter opposition.

“One person threatened to come over with a baseball bat,” she said of a threat to her office. “This got really, really heated.”

Automakers sued the state, and President George W. Bush’s administration rejected California’s request for a waiver to move forward with the regulations, the only time such a request has been turned down.

A potential legal battle dissipated, however, once Obama took office. His administration granted California’s waiver and worked toward a single national policy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

High gas prices and political pressure to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign oil — not to mention Obama’s desire to address climate change — led to additional fuel efficiency regulations finalized in 2012.

It was a period of relative harmony, but the circumstances that fostered cooperation and ambitious national regulations no longer exist. With gas prices lower, consumers have proved more interested in pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles than hybrids and electric cars.

Automakers argue that Obama improperly rushed to finalize the rules before he left office, and Trump does not share California’s commitment to fighting climate change.

The unraveling consensus on vehicle regulations has concerned advocates.

“There’s no reason for environmentalists, automakers and conservatives to risk a nuclear war over these rules, which will result in zero progress for all sides,” said Robbie Diamond, who leads Securing America’s Future Energy, a group of business and former military leaders that wants less dependence on foreign oil.

Now that California has recommitted itself to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the next steps are up to Trump. If the administration’s review leads to only slight changes, automakers might be able to balance California and federal regulations without much trouble.

“They could just shuffle cars around,” Harley said, ensuring the mix of vehicles available for sale meet California’s benchmarks. Consumers here already buy more electric cars and fewer pickup trucks than national averages.

But there’s still the potential for a dramatic change, or even an unprecedented legal assault on California’s cherished ability to set higher standards. Although automakers insisted they weren’t calling that into question, Nichols expressed skepticism about their commitment because they asked Trump to review federal rules.

“What were you thinking when you threw yourself upon the mercy of the Trump administration?” she said.

At this point, state leaders seem unwilling to yield to any pressure on regulating emissions.

“I don’t like to say anything is nonnegotiable,” said Brown on Monday during a visit to Washington.

But to fight climate change, he said, “we have to intensify, not fall back.”

Downtown Los Angeles’ tallest buildings rise above a blanket of smog in October 1973. (Fitzgerald Whitney / Los Angeles Times)
Times staff writer Evan Halper contributed to this report.

 chris.megerian at latimes.com

ALSO

Trump wants to shelve fuel mileage rules, inviting a fight with California

Trump’s EPA pick poised to survive Senate fight, but his brewing battle with California will be harder to win

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

‘Hello, Bob’: President Trump called my cellphone a Washington Post correspondent, to say that the health-care bill was dead.

Trump on health care bill: ‘We couldn’t quite get there’

President Trump addressed his plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, saying he will let Obamacare “explode,” before taking questions from the media on March 24 at the White House. (The Washington Post)

By Robert (Bob) Costa March 24 at 5:59 PM
President Trump called me on my cellphone Friday afternoon at 3:31 p.m. At first I thought it was a reader with a complaint since it was a blocked number.

Instead, it was the president calling from the Oval Office. His voice was even, his tone muted. He did not bury the lead.

“Hello, Bob,” Trump began. “So, we just pulled it.”

Trump was speaking, of course, of the Republican plan to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, a plan that had been languishing for days amid unrest throughout the party as the president and his allies courted members and pushed for a vote.

Before I could ask a question, Trump plunged into his explanation of the politics of deciding to call off a vote on a bill he had been touting.

The many ups and downs of the GOP health-care battle Play Video3:56
Republicans withdrew the American Health Care Act moments before a scheduled vote on March 24, after failing to woo enough lawmakers to support it. Here are the key turning points in their fight to pass the bill. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)
The Democrats, he said, were to blame.

“We couldn’t get one Democratic vote, and we were a little bit shy, very little, but it was still a little bit shy, so we pulled it,” Trump said.

Trump said he would not put the bill on the floor in the coming weeks. He is willing to wait and watch the current law continue and, in his view, encounter problems. And he believes that Democrats will eventually want to work with him on some kind of legislative fix to Obamacare, although he did not say when that would be.

[House Republican leaders abruptly pull their rewrite of the nation’s health-care law]

“As you know, I’ve been saying for years that the best thing is to let Obamacare explode and then go make a deal with the Democrats and have one unified deal. And they will come to us; we won’t have to come to them,” he said. “After Obamacare explodes.”

“The beauty,” Trump continued, “is that they own Obamacare. So when it explodes, they come to us, and we make one beautiful deal for the people.”

My question for the president: Are you really willing to wait to reengage on health care until the Democrats come and ask for your help?

“Sure,” Trump said. “I never said I was going to repeal and replace in the first 61 days” — contradicting his own statements and that of his own adviser, Kellyanne Conway, who told CNN in November that the then-president-elect was contemplating convening a special session on Inauguration Day to begin the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Turning to an aide, Trump asked, “How many days is it now? Whatever.” He laughed.

Trump returned to the theme of blaming the Democrats.

“Hey, we could have done this,” he said. “But we couldn’t get one Democrat vote, not one. So that means they own Obamacare and when that explodes, they will come to us wanting to save whatever is left, and we’ll make a real deal.”

There was little evidence that either Trump or House Republicans made a serious effort to reach out to Democrats.

Still, I wondered, why not whip some more votes this weekend and come back next week to the House with a revised piece of legislation?

“Well,” Trump said, “we could do that, too. But we didn’t do that. It’s always possible, but we pulled it.”

Trump brought up the vote count. “We were close,” he said.

How close?

“I would say within anywhere from five to 12 votes,” Trump said — although widespread reports indicated that at least three dozen Republicans opposed the measure.

[There were at least three dozen Republicans opposed to the health-care bill

That must have hurt after all of his attempts to rally Republicans, I said. He made calls, had people over to the White House, invited House members on Air Force One. He may not have loved the bill, but he embraced the negotiations.

“You’re right,” Trump said. “I’m a team player, but I’ve also said the best thing politically is to let Obamacare explode.”

Trump said he made the decision to pull the bill after meeting Friday at the White House with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.).

Was that a tense, tough conversation with Ryan, I asked?

“No, not tough,” Trump said. “It’s just life. We had great support among most Republicans but no Democratic votes. Zero. Not one.”

I mentioned to Trump that some of his allies were frustrated with Ryan. Did he share those frustrations, and would he be able to work with Ryan moving forward on plans to cut taxes and build an infrastructure package?

“I don’t blame Paul,” Trump said.

He then repeated the phrase: “I don’t blame Paul. He worked very hard on this.”

And again.

“I don’t blame Paul at all.”

As he waits for Democrats, I asked, what’s next on health care, if anything, policy-wise?

“Time will tell. Obamacare is in for some rough days. You understand that. It’s in for some rough, rough days,” Trump said.

“I’ll fix it as it explodes,” he said. “They’re going to come to ask for help. They’re going to have to. Here’s the good news: Health care is now totally the property of the Democrats.”

Speaking of premium increases, Trump said: “When people get a 200 percent increase next year or a 100 percent or 70 percent, that’s their fault.”

He returned again to a partisan line on the turn of events.

“To be honest, the biggest losers today are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer,” Trump said of the House minority leader and the Senate minority leader. “Because now they own the disaster known as Obamacare.”

Okay, I asked, they may own it, in his view, but he will at some point be tasked with shaping whatever comes forward as a partial replacement. What will that be? What kind of policy could he support?

“Oh, lots of things can happen,” Trump said. “But the best would be if we could all get together and do a real health-care bill that would be good for the people, and that could very well happen.”

Does Trump regret starting his agenda this year with health care?

“No, I don’t,” he said. “But in a way I’m glad I got it out of the way.”

“Look, I’m a team player,” Trump said of the Republican Party. “I’ve played this team. I’ve played with the team. And they just fell a little bit short, and it’s very hard when you need almost 100 percent of the votes and we have no votes, zero, from the Democrats. It’s unheard of.”

What happened with the House Freedom Caucus, the hard-line conservatives he had wooed over and over again?

“Ah, that’s the big question,” Trump said with a slight chuckle. “Don’t know. I have a good relationship with them, but I couldn’t get them. They just wouldn’t do it.”

Trump alluded to long-running, simmering dramas on Capitol Hill, which he said had little to do with him, as a reason the Freedom Caucus could not back the bill.

“Years of hatred and distrust,” he said. “Long before me.”

Was Trump saying, perhaps, that the inability of Ryan and his team to work well with that caucus was part of why talks stalled?

“Well, look, you can say what you want,” Trump said. “But there are years of problems, great hatred and distrust, and, you know, I came into the middle of it.”

“I think they made a mistake, but that’s okay,” Trump said of the Freedom Caucus.

As we wrapped up, I tried to get some clarity. The president was blaming the Democrats and was willing to let the law “explode.” Yet he also seemed to be teasing the possibility of doing something bipartisan down the road, a fresh start at some point.

I asked: Would working on a bipartisan health-care deal a year from now be something he would find more agreeable than whipping the hard right?

“A lot of people might say that,” Trump said, laughing. “We’ll end up with a better health-care plan. A great plan. And you wouldn’t need the Freedom Caucus.”

What about the moderates, the Tuesday Group?

“They were great,” Trump said. “They were really great.”

He turned once more to the Democrats.

“They own it,” he said.

“You’ve said that,” I told him.

“This is a process,” Trump concluded, “and it’s going to work out very well. I was a team player, and I had an obligation to go along with this.”

As Trump tried to hang up the phone and get back to work, I asked him to reflect, if at all possible, on lessons learned. He’s a few months into his presidency, and he had to pull a bill that he had invested time and energy into passing.

What was on his mind?

“Just another day,” Trump said, flatly. “Just another day in paradise, okay?”

He paused.

“Take care.”

Read more at PowerPost

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 23rd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT – The Center for American Progress

Battling Climate Change in the Time of Trump

By John Podesta Posted on March 21, 2017, 12:22 pm

There is no way to sugarcoat the outcome of the 2016 election for anyone who cares about the health of our planet. President Donald Trump has made clear that he intends to pursue a special interest-driven agenda that would make climate change worse. Since the start of his administration, he has taken steps to increase America’s dependence on oil, including foreign oil; eliminate limits on carbon pollution; and weaken vehicle efficiency standards at the expense of American families. His budget decimates scientific research and he selected an administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, who denies that carbon pollution is a main cause of climate change.

The Trump administration’s anti-environmental agenda is, without question, a grave danger to the health of our children and grandchildren—and the health of our planet. But this threat alone is no reason to give up hope that we can still avert the most severe impacts of climate change. The energy and effectiveness of citizen activism suggests that the most damaging policies of the Trump administration can be stopped. And, as importantly, a review of the votes cast in the November election and the steps being taken by state and local leaders indicate an alternate path for climate action in the next four years.


The economy is voting for climate action.

Winning the popular vote by more than 3 million ballots was not enough for Democrats to win the White House, but those votes nonetheless represent the voices of a majority of Americans. Public opinion research now consistently finds that most Americans believe climate change is a major problem and support steps to cut carbon pollution.1 What’s more, a recent Brookings Institution analysis found that the counties that Hillary Clinton won account for 64 percent of the United States’ economic output.2

For those of us counting greenhouse gas emissions, the fact that nearly two-thirds of the U.S. economy voted for progressive leadership in November is more than significant. Governors of states that voted for Clinton, for example, are already stepping up to the challenge of battling climate change. In January of this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) of New York called on the states that make up the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, to lower their collective carbon pollution reduction target an additional 30 percent below 2020 levels by 2030. In California, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has established the state as a global leader on climate action, adopting a cap and trade program, taking big steps to build a clean energy economy, and setting the aggressive reduction goal of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.3 Gov. Brown also recently denounced the Trump administration’s attacks on climate science and research and staked out California’s leading role going forward in that aspect of progress.4
Even in states that President Trump won, elected officials are continuing to move aggressively to deliver climate change policies. Since the election, 71 mayors from across the country penned an open letter to President Trump, stating that they will continue to take “bold” climate action. Of that collection of mayors, 29 of them come from states that voted for President Trump.5 Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (D), for example, called on fellow U.S. mayors to stand together to deliver on global climate goals and reaffirm commitments to local action.6 In addition to taking on a leadership role in the global coalition of more than 7,100 cities committed to the fight against climate change, Mayor Reed is working at the local level in Atlanta, including by launching the city’s first solar initiative to reduce municipal energy consumption by up to 40 percent.7


Rampage against environmental laws.

Make no mistake, though, the Trump administration presents an existential threat to the entire planet. Leadership on the state and local level may be able to bridge the gap at the federal level, but only for a period of time. The administration appears to be on a rampage against environmental laws that protect clean air, water, and our way of life. Since taking office, President Trump has signed more than seven executive orders, presidential memorandums, and bills that roll back environmental protections and prioritize giveaways to the fossil fuel industry. That number is expected to jump even higher in the coming days with an anticipated executive action aimed at undoing the Clean Power Plan, lifting a coal moratorium on public lands, throwing out consideration of climate change in federal decision-making, and making it easier to release the potent global warming pollutant, methane. The list of polluting actions, however, also includes eliminating a prohibition on bribery by oil companies, cutting limits on dumping of toxic mine waste in streams, and trying to make the United States more dependent on Canadian tar sands.

To say that the Trump administration is beholden to the corporate interests that benefit from eliminating environmental protections understates reality. This team stepped out of the boardroom into Washington, D.C. Recently, the White House released a statement8 that promoted Exxon and had significant portions that were identical to the statement Exxon itself released.9 Administrator Scott Pruitt’s own emails show a close relationship with top polluters, such as Devon Energy and Koch Industries, and illustrate deep coordination as the energy companies pushed through his office the policy outcomes they wanted.10 Pruitt brings these relationships with him to the EPA, the agency he sued 14 times as attorney general of Oklahoma. Joining him at the agency are staffers who have worked to propagate climate denial under infamous climate denier Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) and the Koch-backed Freedom Partners.11


The irreversible global shift to clean energy
.

Although the Trump administration’s early actions serve as handouts to the fossil fuel industries, America’s clean energy economy is now strong enough to withstand a short-term change in policy. President Barack Obama’s dogged focus on emissions reductions will not be easily reversed either. Between 2008 and 2015, the United States’ emissions dropped 9 percent even as the economy grew more than 10 percent.12 Solar, wind, geothermal, and other renewable energy industries have grown substantially in terms of generation and jobs, becoming a fundamental part of the U.S. economy overall. Between 2008 and 2015, U.S. wind generating capacity nearly tripled and solar capacity—both concentrating and photovoltaic systems—grew by 23 times.13 For individuals, the cost of residential solar photovoltaic system has fallen to approximately one-third its cost in 1998, or from $12.34 per watt to $4.05 per watt.14 Wind power recently surpassed conventional hydropower as the nation’s most significant renewable generation source.15 According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s annual energy jobs report, renewable electricity generation employs nearly 547,000 people, with the solar industry employing nearly 374,000 of that total.16 The energy efficiency economy, which includes building professionals, efficient appliance manufacturers, energy service providers, and others, has reached more than 2.2 million workers across the country.17 None of the CEO’s or leaders of these growing industries are represented in the fossil fuel-focused White House.
This shift toward clean energy is a global one. Countries around the world—including both developed and emerging economies—see that their future prosperity hinges on nonpolluting energy. Thanks to the leadership of President Obama, more than 130 countries have now officially joined the Paris Agreement—a historic pact to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and build resilience to the destructive effects of climate change.18 These countries are not liable to reverse course in the wake of the U.S. election. In fact, all countries have reaffirmed their dedication to implement the Paris Agreement and more than 30 countries have officially joined the pact after the election of President Trump.19
It would be economic folly for the United States to turn its back on this global shift toward nonpolluting energy. Recognizing this, approximately 900 U.S. businesses and investors have now encouraged U.S. and global leaders to support the Paris Agreement and climate action.20 If the United States cedes its leadership in the global movement to curb greenhouse gas pollution, other major powers, most notably China, are primed to dominate the coming clean energy economy.

In the meantime, global leaders who are serious about stopping climate change are more likely to visit governors’ mansions in Sacramento, CA, or Albany, NY, than the White House. Elected officials there and in other states and localities understand that American leadership on clean energy means that U.S. workers will be creating, making, and selling technologies and products in developing and emerging markets.21 These sub-national level elected officials can themselves become leaders and have political clout in the international movement to combat climate change. Governors, mayors, and other elected officials can pick up the climate change mantel abandoned by the Trump administration and help the United States lead by example around the world. The challenge will be to organize the leadership that represents those jurisdictions that voted for strong action on climate change into a force that can counterbalance the lack of ambition from the United States at the federal level.


The growing resistance.

As governors, mayors, clean energy leaders, and citizens continue to advance climate action domestically and internationally, it is equally important that, as Americans, we do all we can to stop the Trump administration and Republican leaders in Congress from implementing the most anti-environmental agenda in decades. The engagement and direct action being taken by individuals in every community in every state is nothing short of inspiring. Resistance works. From the Women’s March in January to February’s Day Without Immigrants, millions of Americans—especially young Americans—are making their voices heard.

Notably, a significant percentage of the Millennial generation failed to show up to vote last November, yet their understanding of the dangers of climate change presents some cause for hope: They believe that the climate is changing. An October, 2016 poll from the University of Texas at Austin found that “[m]ore than 9 out of 10 survey respondents (91 percent) under age 35 say climate change is occurring compared to 74 percent of those age 65 older.”22 The Harvard Institute of Politics released a poll in April of 2015 that had similar results, showing that, “3 in 4 millennials believe global warming is a fact.”23 If this generation now understands that their votes or their decisions not to vote have consequences and turns out in the coming years to express their determination to combat climate change, the Trump administration and its climate denying allies will soon be a brief chapter in the history books.

Two upcoming governor’s races will provide a glimpse into how the resistance we are witnessing translates to results at the ballot box. Both New Jersey and Virginia have off-year gubernatorial elections in 2017. Virginia can be a bellwether for greater sentiment across the country. The year after President Obama’s historic election when Democrats swept into power across all chambers of government, Virginians elected Republican Bob McDonnell to be governor by a 17-point margin.24 Hillary Clinton won the state 49.8 percent to Trump’s 44.4 percent, showing there is a strong Democratic base. However, the state retains deep ties to fossil fuels, with coal mines making up close to 2 percent of U.S. production, its ports shipping over one-third of all U.S. coal exports, and some oil and gas production in its southwestern counties.25

Hillary Clinton also won New Jersey but by a greater margin, 55 percent to 41 percent. New Jersey’s economy is not strongly tied to fossil fuels, but it has suffered the slowest economic growth in the nation for the past few years.26 Although the races for these governors’ mansions are still taking shape, they will likely become referenda on what is happening in Washington, D.C., and in some measure, the anti-environmental policies being pursued by the Trump administration. The results of these races could be a preview for the congressional midterms in 2018 and send a powerful signal to climate deniers, at all levels of government, that they will be held accountable for their out-of-the-mainstream views.

What’s on the line.
One cannot overstate the stakes in this fight to defend climate policies and to continue progress at the city, state, and international level. President Trump’s own Secretary of Defense James Mattis has acknowledged climate change as a “threat multiplier,” and has called on the military to “unleash us from the tether of fuel,” according to past reports.27 Other national intelligence experts are also concerned that conflict regions around the world increasingly share similar problems because of political, economic, and social instability exacerbated by climate change.28 The most recent and high-profile example of climate’s destabilizing force on the world is the Syrian refugee crisis. The historic drought affecting Syria between 2006 and 2009 left entire regions without food and water, making worse the perilous circumstances there and contributing to violence that forced people from their homes.29

Here at home, the Office of Management and Budget, or OMB, released a report last November that identified climate change as a serious fiscal risk to the federal government. The report calculated that sea-level rise and extreme weather will drive up annual federal disaster recovery costs in coastal areas by $19 billion by 2050 and by $50 billion by 2075.30
The truth is that President Trump has taken climate change into account for his own properties. Trump’s Ireland golf resort filed a permit application to build a sea wall, citing “global warming and its effects.”31 In Palm Beach, where Trump’s home Mar-a-Lago sits on the water’s edge, elected officials expect that sea levels in the region may increase by seven inches by 2030 and two feet by 2060.32


Conclusion.

Though President Trump can choose to ignore climate change and line the pockets of oil, gas, and coal executives, most Americans know that, as a nation, we do not have the luxury of arguing the politics or putting our heads in the sand. It is therefore on all of us—local leaders, state leaders, campus leaders, and citizens—to find optimism in the reality that we can find paths to progress, even as we fight, every day, to stop the Trump administration from selling out our planet and our future.

John Podesta is the Founder and a Board Member of the Center for American Progress and most recently was the chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. He previously served as chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and counselor to President Barack Obama. He is also a visiting professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center.
Endnotes.

Lydia Saad and Jeffrey M. Jones, “U.S. Concern about Global Warming is at an Eight Year High,” Gallup, March 16, 2016, available at www.gallup.com/poll/190010/concer…. ?

Mark Muro and Sifan Liu, “Another Clinton-Trump divide: High-output America vs low-output America,” The Brookings Institution, posted November 29, 2016, available at www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenu…. ?

California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board, “The Governor’s Climate Change Pillars: 2030 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals,” available at www.arb.ca.gov/cc/pillars/pillar… (last accessed March 2017). ?

John Myers, “’We’re ready to fight,’ Gov. Jerry Brown unloads on Trump and Climate Issues,” Los Angeles Times, December 14, 2016, www.latimes.com/politics/essentia…. ?
Climate Mayors, “Open letter to President Elect Donald Trump,” November 22, 2016, available at medium.com/@ClimateMayors/open-l…. ?

Kasim Reed and Greg Stanton, “Open Letter from Mayors of Atlanta and Phoenix: It’s Time for U.S. Mayors to Reaffirm Our Commitment to Strong Climate Action,” The Compact of Mayors, January 13, 2017, available at medium.com/@CompactofMayors/open…. ?

Metro Atlanta CEO, “Mayor Kasim Reed Accepts Climate Leadership Role with the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy,” December 5, 2016, available at metroatlantaceo.com/news/2016/12/…; City of Atlanta, “Mayor Kasim Reed Launches the City of Atlanta’s First Solar Energy Program,” November 23, 2015, available at www.atlantaga.gov/index.aspx?page…. ?

The White House, “President Trump Congratulates Exxon Mobile for Job-Creating Investment Program,“ available at www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-off… (last accessed March 2017). ?

Chris Mooney and Steven Mufson, “The White House was on the same page as ExxonMobil on Monday. Literally.,” The Washington Post, March 6, 2017, available at www.washingtonpost.com/news/ener…. ?

Brady Dennis and Steven Mufson, “Thousands of Emails Detail EPA Head’s Close Ties to Fossil Fuel Industry,” The Washington Post, February 22, 2017, available at www.washingtonpost.com/news/ener…. ?

Kevin Bogardus, “Another top Inhofe staffer joins agency,” Greenwire, March 3, 2017, available at www.eenews.net/greenwire/2017/03/…. ?
The White House, “A Historic Commitment to Protecting the Environment and Addressing the Impacts of Climate Change,” available at obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the… (last accessed March 2017). ?

U.S. Department of Energy, 2015 Wind Technologies Market Report (2015), available at energy.gov/eere/wind/downloads/20…; U.S. Department of Energy, Utility-Scale Solar 2015: An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance, and Pricing Trends in the United States (2016), available at emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/lbnl…. ?

Galen L. Barbose and Naïm R. Darghouth, Tracking the Sun IX: The Installed Price of Residential and Non-residential Photovalic Systems in the United States (Washington: U.S. Department of Energy, 2016), available at emp.lbl.gov/publications/trackin…; Mark Bolinger and Joachim Seel, Utility-Scale Solar 2015: An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance, and Pricing Trends in the United States (Washington: U.S. Department of Energy, 2016), available at emp.lbl.gov/publications/utility…; U.S. Department of Energy, On the Path to Sunshot: Executive Summary (2016), available at energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2016/…. ?

Diane Cardwell, “Wind Power Surpasses Hydroelectric in a Crucial Measure,” The New York Times, February 9, 2017, available at www.nytimes.com/2017/02/09/busin…. ?

U.S. Department of Energy, 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (2017), available at energy.gov/downloads/2017-us-ene…. ?
Ibid. ?

United Nations, “Paris Agreement—Status of Ratification,” available at unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/… (last accessed March 2017). ?
United Nations, “Marrakech Action Proclamation for Our Climate and Sustainable Development” (2016) available at unfccc.int/files/meetings/marrake…; United Nations, “Paris Agreement—Status of Ratification.” ?

Low Carbon USA, “Home,” available at lowcarbonusa.org/ (last accessed March 2017). ?
International Finance Corporation, “Climate Investment Opportunities in Emerging Markets” (2016), available at www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/51183…. ?
UT News, “ Millennials’ Strong Views on Climate Change and Other Energy Issues Could Drive Presidential Election Results,” October 27, 2016, available at news.utexas.edu/2016/10/27/mille…. ?

Harvard University, Institute of Politics, “Millennials on Global Warming” (2015), available at iop.harvard.edu/iop-now/millennia…. ?

Real Clear Politics, “Virginia Governor – McDonnell vs. Deeds,” available at www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/… (last accessed March 2017); Ian Urbina, “In Virginia, McDonnell Ends Democrats’ Streak,” The New York Times, November 2, 2009, available at
 www.nytimes.com/2009/11/04/us/04v…. ?

U.S. Energy Information Administration, “Virginia: State Profile and Energy Estimates” (2016), available at www.eia.gov/state/analysis.php?s…. ?

Carla Astudillo, “Dead Last: N.J. Worst in the Nation in Economic Growth,” NJ.com, September 15, 2016, available at www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2016/09…. ?

Mazin Sidahmed, “Climate Change Denial in the Trump Cabinet: Where do his Nominees Stand?”, The Guardian, December 15, 2016, available at www.theguardian.com/environment/…. ?
Cathleen Kelly, “Rex Tillerson’s Big Oil Ties Endanger the Climate and National Security,” Center for American Progress, January 6, 2017, available at www.americanprogress.org/issues/…. ?
Henry Fountain, “Researchers Link Syrian Conflict to a Drought Made Worse by Climate Change,” The New York Times, March 2, 2015, available at www.nytimes.com/2015/03/03/scien…. ?
Office of Management and Budget, Climate change: Fiscal Risks Facing The Federal Government (The White House, 2016), available at obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sit…. ?

Ben Schreckinger, “Trump acknowledges climate change—at his golf course,” Politico, May 23, 2016, available at www.politico.com/story/2016/05/do… ?

Michael Smith and Jonathan Levin, “Trump Rejects Climate Change, but Mar-a-Lago Could Be Lost to the Sea,” Bloomberg Businessweek, December 16, 2016, available at www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/…. ?

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

CLIMATE – The New York Times.

Trump Lays Plans to Reverse Obama’s Climate Change Legacy

Also titled TRUMP SET TO TEAR UP OBAMA’S CLIMATE CHANGE LEGACY – in some International Print Editions of March 23, 2017.

By CORAL DAVENPORTMARCH 21, 2017 – US Electronic Edition.

Shortened for the March 23, 2017 International Edition, and missing in some newsletters.

WASHINGTON DC — President Trump is poised in the coming days to announce his plans to dismantle the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s climate change legacy, while also gutting several smaller but significant policies aimed at curbing global warming.

The moves are intended to send an unmistakable signal to the nation and the world that Mr. Trump intends to follow through on his campaign vows to rip apart every element of what the president has called Mr. Obama’s “stupid” policies to address climate change. The timing and exact form of the announcement remain unsettled, however.

The executive actions will follow the White House’s release last week of a proposed budget that would eliminate climate change research and prevention programs across the federal government and slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by 31 percent, more than any other agency. Mr. Trump also announced last week that he had ordered Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator, to revise the agency’s stringent standards on planet-warming tailpipe pollution from vehicles, another of Mr. Obama’s key climate change policies.

While the White House is not expected to explicitly say the United States is withdrawing from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, and people familiar with the White House deliberations say Mr. Trump has not decided whether to do so, the policy reversals would make it virtually impossible to meet the emissions reduction goals set by the Obama administration under the international agreement.

—————————————
Trump to Undo Vehicle Rules That Curb Global Warming MARCH 3, 2017

A Sea Change for Climate Coverage MARCH 16, 2017

Top Trump Advisers Are Split on Paris Agreement on Climate Change MARCH 2, 2017

As U.S. Cedes Leadership on Climate, Others Step Up at Davos JAN. 21, 2017

Americans Ate 19% Less Beef From ’05 to ’14, Report Says MARCH 21, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT
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In an announcement that could come as soon as Thursday or as late as next month, according to people familiar with the White House’s planning, Mr. Trump will order Mr. Pruitt to withdraw and rewrite a set of Obama-era regulations known as the Clean Power Plan, according to a draft document obtained by The New York Times. The Obama rule was devised to shut down hundreds of heavily polluting coal-fired power plants and freeze construction of new coal plants, while replacing them with vast wind and solar farms.

The draft also lays out options for legally blocking or weakening about a half-dozen additional Obama-era executive orders and policies on climate change.

At a campaign-style rally on Monday in the coal-mining state of Kentucky, Mr. Trump told a cheering audience that he is preparing an executive action that would “save our wonderful coal miners from continuing to be put out of work.”

GRAPHIC — How Americans Think About Climate Change, in Six Maps
Americans overwhelmingly believe that global warming is happening, and that carbon emissions should be scaled back. But fewer are sure that it will harm them personally.

Experts in environmental law say it will not be possible for Mr. Trump to quickly or simply roll back the most substantive elements of Mr. Obama’s climate change regulations, noting that the process presents a steep legal challenge that could take many years and is likely to end up before the Supreme Court. Economists are skeptical that a rollback of the rules would restore lost coal jobs because the demand for coal has been steadily shrinking for years.

Scientists and climate policy advocates around the world say they are watching the administration’s global warming actions and statements with deep worry. Many reacted with deep concern to Mr. Pruitt’s remarks this month that he did not believe carbon dioxide was a primary driver of climate change, a statement at odds with the global scientific consensus. They also noted the remarks last week by Mick Mulvaney, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, in justifying Mr. Trump’s proposed cuts to climate change research programs.

“As to climate change, I think the president was fairly straightforward: We’re not spending money on that anymore,” Mr. Mulvaney said at a White House briefing.

“The message they are sending to the rest of the world is that they don’t believe climate change is serious. It’s shocking to see such a degree of ignorance from the United States,” said Mario J. Molina, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist from Mexico who advises nations on climate change policy.

The policy reversals also signal that Mr. Trump has no intention of following through on Mr. Obama’s formal pledges under the Paris accord, under which nearly every country in the world submitted plans detailing actions to limit global warming over the coming decade.

Under the accord as it stands, the United States has pledged to reduce its greenhouse pollution about 26 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. That can be achieved only if the United States not only implements the Clean Power Plan and tailpipe-pollution rules, but also tightens them or adds more policies in future years.

“The message clearly is, ‘We won’t do what the United States has promised to do,’” Mr. Molina said.

In addition to directing Mr. Pruitt to withdraw the Clean Power Plan, the draft order instructs Attorney General Jeff Sessions to request that a federal court halt consideration of a 28-state lawsuit against the regulation. The case was argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in September, and the court is expected to release a decision in the coming months on whether to uphold or strike down the rule.

Interactive Feature: Trump Has Choices to Make on Climate Policy. What Would You Do?
According to the draft, Mr. Trump is also expected to announce that he will lift a moratorium on new coal mining leases on public lands that had been announced last year by the Obama administration.

He is also expected to order White House economists to revisit an Obama-era budgeting metric known as the social cost of carbon. Economists and policy makers used the metric to place a dollar cost on the economic impact of planet-warming carbon dioxide pollution: about $36 per ton. That measure formed the Obama administration’s economic justification for issuing climate change regulations that would harm some industries, such as coal mining, noting that those costs would be outweighed by the economic benefits of preventing billions of tons of planet-warming pollution.

Eliminating or lowering the social cost of carbon could provide the Trump administration the economic justification for putting forth less-stringent regulations.

The draft order would also rescind an executive order by Mr. Obama that all federal agencies take climate change into account when considering any form of environmental permitting.

Unlike the rollback of the power plant and vehicle regulations, which could take years and will be subject to legal challenges, Mr. Trump can make the changes to the coal mining ban and undo Mr. Obama’s executive orders with the stroke of a pen.

White House staff members and energy lobbyists who work closely with them say they have been expecting Mr. Trump to make the climate change announcements for weeks, ever since Mr. Pruitt was confirmed to head the E.P.A. on Feb. 17, but the announcement has been repeatedly rescheduled. The delays of the one-page announcement have largely been a result of disorganization and a chaotic policy and planning process, said people familiar with that process who asked to speak anonymously to avoid angering Mr. Trump.

One reason for the confusion, these people said, is internal disputes about the challenging legal process required to dismantle the Clean Power Plan. While Mr. Trump may announce with great fanfare his intent to roll back the regulations, the legal steps required to fulfill that announcement are lengthy and the outcome uncertain.

“Trump’s announcements have zero impact,” said Richard J. Lazarus, a professor of environmental law at Harvard. “They don’t change existing law at all.”

Much of that task will now fall to Mr. Pruitt.

“To undo the rule, the E.P.A. will now have to follow the same procedure that was followed to put the regulations in place,” said Mr. Lazarus, pointing to a multiyear process of proposing draft rules, gathering public comment and forming a legal defense against an expected barrage of lawsuits almost certain to end up before the Supreme Court.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 23rd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

‹Europa im Diskurs – Debating Europe›
Europa, USA: Was ändert sich mit Trump? What Changes With A Trump US Presidency?

Der neue US-Präsident Donald Trump wird eine andere Außenpolitik vertreten als Barack Obama. Es ist zu erwarten, dass die USA ihre bisherige Rolle als „Weltpolizei“ nicht mehr in dem Maße wie bisher ausüben wollen. Das hat Auswirkungen auf die Bündnispartner, nicht nur in der Nato. Was haben die Europäer von Trump zu erwarten?

 www.burgtheater.at/Content.Node2/…

THAT WAS THE GIVEN – THE US WILL STOP BEING LESS THE WORLD COP AS IT WAS BEFIRE TRUMP.

That was the Monthly Meeting at the Venerable Vienna Burgtheater for the Month of March 2017 (March 5th).

It will have a sequel on April 2nd, 2017 WHEN POPULISM IN GENERAL WILL BE DISCUSSED..

IRITH JAWETZ REPORTS FROM VIENNA.

It was interesting, although no major surprises. They all agreed that Trump will represent a different foreign policy that Barack Obama or any US President who preceded him. Is it to be expected that the US will no longer want to exercise their role as world police to the extent they have done in the past? This has an impact on the alliance partners, not only in NATO. Trump’s turn to Russia presents the EU with challenges to which they must respond.

Under the leadership and Moderation of Alexandra Foederl-Schmid, the Speakers were:

Judy Dempsey, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Europe; Alison Smale, head of the Berlin New York Times office; Robert Dornhelm, Film Director and Movie Script-Writer; Former US Republican Congressman; and Ivan Krastev, Political Science Professor, Bulgaria and Permanent Fellow of the Institute for Human Sciences (Instituts fuer Wissenschaften vom Menschen – IWM) Vienna.

THAT WAS THE BURGTHEATER PROGRAM FOR SUNDAY, MARCH 5, 2017. EUROPE BEING DISCUSSED (Europa Im Diskurs) -EUROPE-USA: WHAT WILL CHANGE UNDER TRUMP?

ON SUNDAY, APRIL 2, 2017 11:00, there will be a sequel –

Burgtheater | Europa im Diskurs – Debating Europe
Leben wir im Zeitalter des Populismus?

“DO WE LIVE IN A TIME OF POPULISM?” – this is like seeing if what happened in te USA will
happen in Europe as well.

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On March 5, 2017 – Most speakers were not Trump supporters (except Irish lady Dempsey who did not really support him but said one must give him a chance). Nevertheless – all of them view him with caution, to say the least.

The two surprising participants for me were Jim Kolbe, Former Republican Congressman from Arizona (1985 till 2007) who is now Board member of IRI (International Republican Institute).

He started by stating that he will definitely not get a phone call from the Trump Administration to join their cabinet. He did not support Trump from the start, and still does not support him. In his closing remarks, Congressman Kolb said that some Republicans are starting to doubt Trump’s ability to be President. He mentioned his fellow Arizonian John McCain and Lindsey Graham in particular. He criticized Trump’s Administration by saying that very often he says one thing and his Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense say something different – and who is to believe? Is Steve Bannon running the show?

As for Trump’s relationship with Russia, Europe should worry – said Congressman Kolb.

The second surprise was Robert Dornheim, a Film Director and Screenwriter, who was born in Romania but has dual citizenship Austrian and US and lives now mainly in Los Angeles.

As a staunch Bernie Sanders supporter he is is completely against Trump. Dornheim was also angry at the media, that fell for Trump’s ability at showmanship during the whole campaign and gave him about 10 hours of coverage to 10 minutes of coverage to Sanders. As a result many Sanders supporters voted for Trump and he personally has lost many friends that way. He urged Jim Kolbe to use his influence on his fellow Republicans to do something! He even went as far as to suggest that all debates about a Trump Presidency should not be taken so seriously – since he is not worth it. One should not even discuss him. This brought a mixed reaction from the panel and audience and was not taken too seriously.

The other panel members were Judy Dempsey, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation, an Irish journalist, who was the most lenient towards Trump and said, among other things that we cannot forget that he was elected with the support of millions of people, and he is now the President and must be given a chance.

Ivan Krastev, Political Scientist analyzed Trump at length, mentioned his obsession with Radical Islam which dates back to many years before, obsessed with the Trade deficit and the idea that deficit is always bad (although it has existed in the US for many years already), and his idea of “Make American great again” is his main goal.
As for Russia, none of the people around Trump are specialists on Russia, and Trump is somewhat obsessed with Putin. Both Trump and Putin have something in common as both dislike the state of the world right now. FYI for you, nobody mentioned Yalta or Malta and the dividing of Europe.Maybe they do not believe it will go that far.

As for Trump’s latest accusation of President Obama wiretapping his phones at Trump Tower, all agreed that this is absurd, there is no evidence to it. Jim Kolbe explained that in the US you need a court order to do that, and it was definitely not asked for or given to President Obama.

Ivan Krastev said that this is Trump’s tactic. He rules by distraction. When an important issues come up (right now Sessions reclusing himself from the Russia investigation) Trump comes up with some sensational Tweet to distract. This is his governing tactics.

All panel members agreed that Europe has to stay united and become stronger together.
Europe cannot rely on the US anymore and must become a powerful counterpart.


They did not touch on the Immigration issue or Climate Change.

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THE APRIL 2017 EVENT:

Burgtheater | April 2, 2017 – 11.00 o’clock |
Europa im Diskurs – Debating Europe
Leben wir im Zeitalter des Populismus?

DO WE LIVE IN TIMES OF POPULISM?

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 23rd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


The future of LNG exports from the United States.

March 21, 2017

The shale technologies have changed the prospects for natural gas in the country.

By Ellis Talton

This past February was the 1 year anniversary of the first liquified natural gas (LNG) shipment from the United States. The dramatic moment was the culmination of a fast and relatively unexpected about-face in the world’s energy industry: the discovery and production of shale gas in the US. An industry that was once looking at import-only projects to bring natural gas into the country has now re-purposed its facilities to export, and to do so in a major way.

The US currently has only two facilities that are dedicated to LNG exports: ConocoPhillips’ plant in Kenai, Alaska and Chenerie’s Sabine Pass facility in Sabine, Louisiana. Sabine Pass is the larger of the two and was the site for the US’ first LNG export. Sabine Pass has continued to be a heavy exporter of natural gas since coming online and has been an important mechanism for balancing domestic natural gas prices and preventing huge stockpiles of excess supply. Before the export option, excess natural gas supply would remain in the US, and was beholden to weather patterns and US-based consumers. Now with the ability to serve the international markets, excess supply will no longer remain in the country. Sabine Pass alone contributed to nearly a third of the draw-down from excess storage last year, and is showing increasing demand for pipeline natural gas in the US.

As is with all domestic pipeline infrastructure, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is responsible for all of the environmental impact studies and approvals for LNG facilities in the country. While Alaska and Louisiana are home to the only two exporting facilities in the US, FERC has been busy the last year eyeing more LNG facility paperwork. As of March 2017, seven new facilities are under construction, another four have already been approved and are in the pre-construction phase, and finally another thirteen are putting their paperwork through the FERC offices to get approval. In total, the United States is on track to see its export capacity grow from the current two facilities doing 1.6 bcf per day to 24 facilities doing 40.3 bcf per day, a 2,500% increase.

The Energy Information Administration predicts all facilities will be completed by 2020 and will make the US the 3rd largest exporter of LNG behind Qatar and Australia. The timeline is likely possible given the current administration’s favorable stance to these types of projects. In addition, the facilities are being built in regions of the US that are unlikely to receive much negative political feedback. For example, of the eleven facilities currently approved, 6 are in Louisiana, 3 are in Texas, 1 is in Maryland and the other in Georgia. Texas, Mississippi, and Florida will also see facilities being built.

These facilities will help to stabilize the domestic supply and demand balance of natural gas and will prevent massive storage surpluses that could drive prices down to dangerously low levels. It will also give many producers in the US access to international markets and international prices. Asian hub prices, for example, can fetch around $10.00 per mmbtu while Henry Hub only hovered around $2.60 per mmbtu in 2016. It is a great arbitrage opportunity as long as those prices in international markets hold.

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Ellis Talton is a New York Energy Week 2017 Fellow. He worked as an energy journalist for The Oil & Gas Year in Istanbul, Turkey and covered the Middle East and Africa. He graduated from The University of the South: Sewanee with a Bachelor’s of Arts in French Studies and a focus on international relations.

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

This past Thursday I went to the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem, for their look at “Borders and Sovereignty” studies that this past week were dealing with “CLIMATE CROSSES BORDERS” that also results in REFUGEES CROSS BORDERS.

After the introduction of Prof. Shai Lavi, the director of the Van Leer Institute, a professor in the Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv, a technical panel took over.

It included: Mr. Nir Staiv, the director of te Israeli Meteorological ervice (IMS);
Prof. Uriel Safriel, Climate, Deserts, Desertification in the Mediterranean Basin, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; and lawyer Tami Ganot of the Man, Nature, and Law” NGO.
They made clear the point how integrated the climate issues are and the fact that what happens is understandable even though sometimes not predictable. CLIMATE KNOWS NO BORDERS.

From there I went to the Paul Winter event and it was about the fact that migrating birds do not fly along man-prescribed routes – neither do they recognize man designed Nations or any borders.

But then the following day I went to an event organized by “IIESH GVUL” that means “there is a limit” – it dealt with the fact that there are rules of war and te Israeli military has to behave according to lines of self restraint. Issues of submitting ourselves to imperatives of humanity. So the limits or borders are those we submit ourselves to.

Above approach also appeared in the weekly column of Uri Avnery which I had the opportunity to bring up before him at dinner time.

Let us thus remember, and remind also our politicians, that limits do indeed exist and frontiers are put on maps by humans and are justified only if drawn with a human rights in mind.

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

BIRDS KNOW NO BORDERS, THE RESULTS OF HUMAN ACTIVITIES THAT IMPACT CLIMATE _ KNOW NO BORDERS.


The Jerusalem International YMCA event of March 16th 2017

An Opening with the “Treasures of the Dead Sea movie filmed and edited by Yuval Dax.

Greetings by:

Member of the Israeli Parliament (The Knesset) Tzachi Hanegbi – newly appointe Minister of Regional Cooperation who had now the first chance to share the podium with General (Ret.)
Mansour Abu Rashid) of Jordan, Chairman of the Amman Center for Peace and Development (ACPD)
and Major Gen. (Res.) Doron Almog, Israel – Chairman of the Hoopoe Foundation.

Also, Dov Litvinoff – Mayor of the Tamar Regional Council, Iris Hahn, CEO, Society for the Protection of Nature, Israel, and Ysbrand Browers, Director, Artists for Nature Foundation.

The Concert led by Paul Winter – seven time Grammy Rewards Recipient, Plays the soprano Saxophone.

The Paul Winter consort included:
David Haughey (USA – chello); Paul McCandless (USA – oboe); Eren Basburg (Turkey – keyboards);
and Zohar Fresco (Israel – percussion);

Followed by words by Professor Yossi Leshem.


The upcoming event – March 21, 2017 at 19:30 – at the Dead Sea Research Institute auditorium
at the feet of the Masada fortress above the Dead Sea.

The Convener is David BenShabat – Dead Sea Research Institute.

The Opening Movie – “THINK TOGETHER.”

Greetings: by the Mayor of the Tamar Region; Photographer of the Dead Sea Matya Shick; and Juan Varela – Artists for Nature Foundation and the Dead Sea.

The Concert by Paul Witer with exerpts from his new composition “FLYWAYS” celebrating bird migration and the countries along the GreatRift Valley.

The Lectures by Professor Yossi Leshem on the international highway for migrating birds and
Amir Ben Dov on the Tamar Region birds.

in between above two events of March 16th and March 21st and then continuing till March 26th,
the Paul Winter team and further 30 visual arts professionals, will have cooperative events in locations around the Dead Sea the Negev and South to Eilat, – in Israel, Jordan, and Palestine. These will be joint painting or music making events intended to popularize the reasons for the plight of this sea.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 17th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


UNITED NATIONS, UNICEF AND SMURFS TEAM UP TO CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF HAPPINESS.

Small Smurfs Big Goals campaign inspires support for Sustainable Development Goals.

The UNF, New York, March 18 – Voice actors from the upcoming animated movie Smurfs: The Lost Village today joined officials from the United Nations, UNICEF and United Nations Foundation at the world body’s headquarters in New York to celebrate International Day of Happiness with a campaign promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The “Small Smurfs Big Goals” campaign is designed to encourage young people everywhere to learn about and support the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by world leaders in 2015 to help make the world more peaceful, equitable and healthy.
As part of the celebrations, Team Smurfs recognized three young advocates — Karan Jerath (20), Sarina Divan (17), and Noor Samee (17) — for their actions to promote the Goals.

Jerath, a UN Young Leader for the Sustainable Development Goals, invented a containment device that could prevent offshore oil spills and ensure the protection of marine life. Divan expanded a UN Foundation girl empowerment initiative at her high school and beyond, and Samee is a UNICEF blogger and advocate on social justice issues and raising awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The movie’s U.S. stars — Demi Lovato, Joe Manganiello and Mandy Patinkin — presented the three young students with a symbolic key to the Smurfs Village in recognition of their work.

“This inspirational campaign highlights the fact that each and every one of us, no matter how young or old, small or big, can make our world a better and happier place,” said Cristina Gallach, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information. “We are grateful to creative partners like Sony Pictures Animation and Team Smurfs for their spirit of collaboration in helping the UN reach diverse audiences.”

The Small Smurfs Big Goals campaign culminates on the International Day of Happiness on 20 March, which emphasizes the importance of personal happiness and well-being. The idea is closely linked to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which include decent work for all, access to nutritious food, quality education and health services, and freedom from discrimination.

“Today we have seen how the Small Smurfs Big Goals campaign is giving children and young people a platform to speak out about issues they are passionate about. As we celebrate International Day of Happiness, we hope many more young people are empowered to take action on the Sustainable Development Goals and help achieve a world free from poverty, inequality and injustice,” said Caryl M. Stern, UNICEF US Fund President and CEO.

The actors and UN officials addressed some 1,500 students attending an international Model UN conference in the iconic General Assembly Hall of the United Nations, where they encouraged all participants and the public to join “Team Smurfs”.

The campaign invites the general public to visit SmallSmurfsBigGoals.com to find out how to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and share information, ideas and images on social media.

The actors also premiered a new public service announcement video starring cast members of the film that inspires viewers to join the campaign and champion the Sustainable Development Goals.

“We hope the campaign will help us all think about how our actions impact the planet,” said Demi Lovato, who voices Smurfette in the movie. “Every one of us, even a Small Smurf, can accomplish Big Goals!”

The United Nations Postal Administration closed out the blue carpet event by unveiling a special edition stamp sheet featuring the Small Smurfs Big Goals campaign. The film cast along with the Belgian Ambassador to the United Nations, Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, and United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Management, Stephen Cutts, presented the Small Smurfs Big Goals UN stamps to the press.

Along with the event at the United Nations, other celebrations took place in 18 countries around the world including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Russia and the UK, to name a few, to help raise awareness for the “Small Smurfs Big Goals” campaign and the Goals.

“Since 1958, the Smurfs have embodied around the world the universal values of camaraderie, helping one another, tolerance, optimism, and respecting Mother Nature,” said Véronique Culliford, the daughter of Peyo, who created the Smurfs. “It’s been an honor and privilege for The Smurfs to support the United Nations and to continue our longstanding relationship with UNICEF with this campaign focused on raising awareness for the Sustainable Development Goals.”

On March 20, festivities for the International Day of Happiness will culminate in a special ceremony with the film cast along with United Nations, UNICEF and United Nations Foundation officials where they will help turn the Empire State Building blue to commemorate the occasion.

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

FOREIGN POLICY AND SECURITY

5 Ways to Better Manage U.S. Defense Spending

By Lawrence J. Korb and Meredith Leal Posted on March 14, 2017, 3:36 pm

The USS Gerald R. Ford is stationed at Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia on April 27, 2016. The construction of this $12.9 billion warship faced cost overruns and a construction delay of more than one year.

The USS Gerald R. Ford is stationed at Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Virginia on April 27, 2016. The construction of this $12.9 billion warship faced cost overruns and a construction delay of more than one year.

President Donald Trump’s budget proposal, announced in his address to a joint session of Congress and on a subsequent visit to the USS Gerald Ford aircraft carrier, calls for increasing defense spending for fiscal year 2018 by $54 billion above the Budget Control Act, or BCA, caps. He plans to pay for this by making large cuts in the budgets of other agencies, such as the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, and the U.S. Coast Guard.


This plan will not happen because military leaders are opposed to making reductions in spending for State Department and the USAID; additionally, many members of Congress are opposed to cutting the EPA and Coast Guard budgets to pay for an increase in defense. As Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) said, that the proposal was “dead on arrival.”

However, supporters of a strong national defense—many of whom are concerned with what they mistakenly perceive as shortages in the Pentagon’s readiness and modernization accounts in the current budget—should recognize that the BCA caps have not constrained defense spending as much as they assume. Congress has provided about $100 billion in relief from the spending levies of the BCA since FY 2013, and President Trump’s proposed budget for FY 2018 would give the U.S. Department of Defense, or DOD, another $37 billion in relief. Moreover, during that same period, at least half the Overseas Contingency Operations, or OCO, account, which is not subject to the BCA caps, has been used for enduring programs that have nothing to do with the wars in the Middle East or Afghanistan. In other words, while some OCO spending has been used for urgent DOD, State Department, and foreign assistance requirements, about half of the total OCO account is effectively a slush fund that has allowed the Pentagon to get around the BCA limitations on things that are not contingencies and should be funded through a regular process.
Before the administration and Congress add significant defense funds to the FY 2018 budget, they should take a close look at how the Pentagon is currently spending the large amount of funding it currently receives, especially in the following five areas.

First, as noted in a recent report by the Defense Business Board, the Pentagon could save $125 billion over five years, or about half of what the nation is planning to spend on the State Department, by cutting the size of its headquarters or administrative staff, which has grown 38 percent since 2001. However, when this report—which was commissioned by the former administration—came out, Pentagon leaders tried to bury rather than endorse it, partly because they believed it would never get support from Congress. Congress should be leading on finding savings, not needlessly adding dollars to the defense budget.

Second, the Pentagon needs to curb the cost overruns on its major acquisition programs. In 2015, according to a report by Deloitte, the combined costs overruns for the major acquisition programs totaled $468 billion—something Government Accountability Office, or GAO, has been pointing out for years. The USS Gerald Ford, which the president used as a platform to push his defense increase, is a perfect example of DOD’s mismanagement. It came 50 percent over budget and two years late. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has correctly called these overruns “absolutely outrageous.” Congress and the new administration should take advantage of their unified political control of the government to get an actual audit of the Pentagon and begin a clear process of reform to improve acquisitions.
Third, the administration should adopt some of the recommendations made by Sen. McCain in his excellent report “Restoring American Power.” Specifically, the Pentagon should:
Develop a high-low mix of aircraft carriers by building smaller conventionally powered carriers rather than simply continuing to build only $15 billion nuclear-powered Ford-class supercarriers
.
Cut the total number of Air Force F-35s from 1,732, a number that Chairman McCain correctly points out is unrealistic.

Stop production of the Navy’s poorly conceived and managed littoral combat ship, or LCS, at two—as opposed to the Navy’s goal of 52 ships—and buy more of the less-expensive F/A-18 Super Hornets and fewer F-35s

Fourth, the Pentagon and Congress should adopt the proposals put forward by former Secretary of Defense William Perry and former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright to cancel the new land-based missile and air-launched cruise missile portions of the multibillion-dollar nuclear modernization the Pentagon is currently undertaking. The Center for American Progress endorsed this action in the report “Setting Priorities for Nuclear Modernization.”

Fifth, the Trump administration and Congress need to authorize another round of base closings through a Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC, commission. Because Congress has not authorized a BRAC process since 2005, the Pentagon now has 30 percent excess base capacity, wasting tens of billions of dollars each year.

These steps would be a good start toward improving the management and stewardship of U.S. defense dollars and should be implemented before Congress approves major spending increases.

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Lawrence J. Korb is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. Meredith Leal is the Special Assistant on the National Security and International Policy team at American Progress.

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

Hosted by the Advanced Power and Energy Program at the University of California, Irvine!

GRID EVOLUTION GLOBAL SUMMIT …. “HYDROGEN”

MARCH 28-29, 2017

Keynote Presentations:

Rich Corey Executive Officer, California Air Resources Board
Regis Conrad, U.S. Department of Energy
Signature Panel

Peter Klauer: California Independent System Operator
Jack Brower: National Fuel Cell Research Center
Ole Hofelmann: Air Liquide
Other Companies Presenting

FuelCell Energy, Proton OnSite, Hydrogenics, Empowered Energy,
California Energy Commission, Southern California Gas Company,
Siemens, Honda, Ballard, Solar Turbines

ICEPAG 2017 focuses on the role of HYDROGEN in the
grid of the future, from generation to end-use:

Generation Transport/Storage End-Use

Power-to-Gas (P2G)
Tri-Generation
Electrolysis
Electrochemical
Centralized
Distribution and Fueling Infrastructure
Hydrogen Materials Interactions
NG Pipeline Injection
Distribution Environmental Impacts
Electric Power Generation
Fuel Cells
Gas Turbines
Hydrogen Microgrids
Distributed Generation
Transportation
Light Duty
Trams and Medium Duty
Heavy Duty
Locomotives
Combustion End Use
Gas Turbines
Industrial Burners
Environmental Impacts

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