links about us archives search home
SustainabiliTankSustainabilitank menu graphic
SustainabiliTank

 
 
Follow us on Twitter


 
South Africa:

 

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 9th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Africa.com coverage of World Economic Forum on Africa
V

Dear Friends of Africa.com:

There is a big buzz in Cape Town this week.  And it is not from tourists taken aback by the beauty of Table Mountain.

Thought leaders throughout the global business world are convened at the World Economic Forum on Africa, and they have come to a consensus that the African growth story is real and sustained, making Africa the “next big thing” in international business circles.

We are very proud to let you know that Africa.com is bringing you exclusive, real time video and text coverage of the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, today and tomorrow in partnership with ABN Digital.

This gathering includes heads of state, CEOs from major African and global corporations, and the heads of leading foundations and philanthropic organizations.

The theme this year is Delivering on Africa’s Promise.

We invite you to watch our exclusive interviews of the leaders convened in Cape Town this week, and to gain unique insights on why global business leaders are excited about Africa today.

Click HERE to see our exclusive coverage.

We hope that you are as excited about Africa’s expanded role on the global stage as we are.

Kind regards,

Teresa Clarke
Chairman and CEO
Africa.com

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 5th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

 (illustration: Solar News)
(illustration: Solar News)

 

The Incredible Shrinking Cost of Solar Energy.

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment on Reader Supported News.

04 May 13

 

ob Wile uses a graph to point out the obvious, the dramatic fall in the cost of solar power generation. In many countries– Italy, Spain, Germany, Portugal — and in parts of the US such as the Southwest, solar is at grid parity. That means it is as inexpensive to build a solar plant as a gas or coal one. The pace of technological innovation in the solar field has also accelerated, so that costs have started falling precipitously and efficiency is rapidly increasing.  

By 2015, solar panels should have fallen to 42 cents per watt.

Reneweconomy.com says that the best Chinese solar panels fell in cost by 50% between 2009 and 2012. That incredible achievement is what has driven so many solar companies bankrupt– if you have the older technology, your panels are suddenly expensive and you can’t compete. It is like no one wants a 4 year old computer.

Conservatives shed no tears when better computers drive slower ones out of the market, but point to solar companies’ shake-out as somehow bad or unnatural. No wonder US solar installations jumped 76% in 2012.

The reductions in cost over the next two years are expected to continue, at a slowing but still impressive 30% rate:

Construction has begun on the world’s largest solar plant. MidAmerican Solar and SunPower Corp. are building a 579 megawatt installation, the Antelope Valley Solar Project, in Kern and Los Angeles counties in California. That is half a gigawatt, just enormous. It will provide electricity to 400,000 homes in the state (roughly 2 million people?), and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 775,000 tons a year. The US emits 5 billion metric tons a year of C02, second only to China, and forms a big part of the world’s carbon problem all by itself. We just need 645 more of the Antelope Valley projects.

Important new research also shows that hybrid plants that have both solar panels and wind turbines dramatically increase efficiency and help with integration into the electrical grid. Earlier concerns that the turbines would cast shadows and so detract from the efficiency of the solar panels appear to have been overblown. Because in most places in the US there is more sun in the summer and more wind in the winter, a combined plant keeps the electricity feeding into the grid at a more constant rate all year round, which is more desirable than big spikes and fall-offs.

That Germany, then China, then the US are the world’s largest solar markets is no surprise. But that number 17 Japan will increase its solar installations by 120% in 2013 and so may be the second hottest solar market, just after China, this year, would mark a big change. Japan may well have 5 gigawatts of solar installed by the end of this year, even though the relatively new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, is no particular friend of the renewables. In my own view, if Japan made the right governmental and private investments, it could overtake China in the solar field and reverse its long post-bubble stagnation.

ABB has been commissioned a large solar electricity generating plant on the edge of the Kalahari Desert near Cape Town, South Africa. It will supply the electricity needs of around 40,000 persons and reduce annual emissions by 50,000 tons of carbon dioxide. South Africa emits 500 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, and is third in the world for per capita emissions. (Still, it only emits a 10th as much over-all as the US). But they just need a thousand more plants like the Kalahari one, and voila! South Africa is also imposing a carbon tax, which will hurry things along. (At the moment, South Africa is far too dependent on dirty coal plants, which not only fuel climate change but also spew deadly toxins such as mercury into the atmosphere, whence it goes into human beings.

Because of South African and Israeli demand in particular, demand for solar panels in the Middle East and Africa has risen over 600% during the past year. Saudi Arabia’s announced plans to save its petroleum for export by going solar at home will add a great deal to regional demand if it sticks to those plans. (In most countries, petroleum isn’t used much for electricity generation as opposed to transportation, but in oil states such as Saudi Arabia it often is used in power plants; but that cuts down on foreign exchange earnings.)

The two Indian states of Gujarat and Rajasthan are emerging as the solar giants in India, with each having now passed half a gigawatt in solar electricity generation capacity. The two account for some 88% of all of India’s solar power. But Rajasthan may soon outstrip Gujarat, given the state’s solar-friendly commitments, its ample amounts of scorching sunlight, and its vast deserts.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 27th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 We posted recently the Kishore Mahbubani view of the world that points at   US, CHINA, RUSSIA, INDIA, The EU, BRAZIL, and NIGERIA as the Seven Front-line leading powers of the World. Of these the US and a United Europe are the powers of the democratic west – something of the past – with China, Russia, India, Brazil, and Nigeria the rising powers of the future. Interesting – here a deviation from what the UN’s BRICS that has South Africa and not Nigeria, as representatives of the black African continent.

Both – Nigeria and South Africa are not typical of the rest of Africa – the one ruled by a Muslim majority and based on Petro-money, the other ruled by a Western oriented government that has no clear independent economic policy but was seen for years as the bridge for Africa’s development. Mahbubani, who has clear leaning towards the Islamic world, likes to believe that eventually it will be Nigeria that will emerge as Africa’s main power. Whatever – Africa is the weakest BRIC and in many fora represented well by Brazil. I pick on this as a side issue to today’s interesting news of a Putin backed attempt at placing Russia, via South Africa, at the center of an effort to create a non-Western hub for the World economy and wrestle away the Western economic hegemony from a shriveling North Atlantic alliance anchored at Washington. The New York Times article that brought these latest news to our attention is obviously a US inspired reporting exercise.

Whatever – the facts are that the money is now mainly with China and the two big Western blocks, the United States of America, and the “not-yet-united” States of Europe, depend on China money, and as these last few weeks – the Greek tragedy in Greece and Cyprus – showed that eventually the Europeans might yet ask for hand-outs in Moscow. This was not wasted on the established BRICS and Mr. Putin moved on. The International Monetary system built after WWII – The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund – can be pushed aside in major parts of the Developing World.

It is not ingenious to point at the five BRICS that they are very different States – surely they are different among themselves – China, India, Russia, and Brazil have different political systems but are united in their interest to nudge aside the US from the position of manager of the world – and they see now their chance to do so.

 

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

Group of Emerging Nations Plans to Form Development Bank.

Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Tuesday in Durban, South Africa,  just ahead of Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, South Africa’s defense minister.

By
Published: March 26, 2013

JOHANNESBURG — A group of five emerging world economic powers met in Africa for the first time Tuesday, gathering in South Africa for a summit meeting at which they plan to announce the creation of a new development bank, a direct challenge to the dominance of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, all members of the so-called BRICS Group of developing nations, have agreed to create the bank to focus on infrastructure and development in emerging markets. The countries are also planning to discuss pooling their foreign reserves as a bulwark against currency crises, part of a growing effort by emerging economic powers to build institutions and forums that are alternatives to Western-dominated ones.

“Up until now, it has been a loose arrangement of five countries meeting once a year,” said Abdullah Verachia, director of the Frontier Advisory Group, which focuses on emerging markets. “It is going to be the first real institution we have seen.”

But the alliance faces serious questions about whether the member countries have enough in common and enough shared goals to function effectively as a counterweight to the West.

“Despite the political rhetoric around partnerships, there is a huge amount of competition between the countries,” Mr. Verachia said.

For all the talk of solidarity among emerging giants, the group’s concrete achievements have been few since its first full meeting, in Russia in 2009. This is partly because its members are deeply divided on some basic issues and are in many ways rivals, not allies, in the global economy.

They have widely divergent economies, disparate foreign policy aims and different forms of government. India, Brazil and South Africa have strong democratic traditions, while Russia and China are autocratic.

The bloc even struggles to agree on overhauling international institutions. India, Brazil and South Africa want permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council, for example, but China, which already has one, has shown little interest in shaking up the status quo.

The developing countries in the bloc hardly invest in one another, preferring their neighbors and the developed world’s major economies, according to a report released Monday by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Just 2.5 percent of foreign investment by BRICS countries goes to other countries in the group, the report said, while more than 40 percent of their foreign investment goes to the developed world’s largest economies, the European Union, the United States and Japan.

Africa, home to several of the world’s fastest-growing economies, drew less than 5 percent of total investment from BRICS nations, the report said. France and the United States still have the highest rate of foreign investment in Africa. Despite China’s reputation for heavy investment in Africa, Malaysia has actually invested $2 billion more in Africa than China has.

Still, 15 African heads of state were invited to the summit meeting in South Africa as observers, a sign of the continent’s increasing importance as an investment destination for all of the BRICS countries.

China is in many ways a major competitor of its fellow BRICS member, South Africa. South African manufacturers, retail chains, cellphone service providers, mining operations and tourism companies have bet heavily on African economic growth and in some ways go head-to-head against Chinese companies on the continent.

South Africa is playing host for the first time since becoming the newest member of what had been known previously as BRIC. Many analysts have questioned South Africa’s inclusion in the group because its economy is tiny compared with the other members, ranking 28th in the world, and its growth rates in recent years have been anemic.

In an interview last year with a South African newspaper, Jim O’Neill, the Goldman Sachs executive who coined the term BRIC, said South Africa did not belong in the group.

“South Africa has too small an economy,” Mr. O’Neill told the newspaper, The Mail & Guardian. “There are not many similarities with the other four countries in terms of the numbers. In fact, South Africa’s inclusion has somewhat weakened the group’s power.”

But South Africa’s sluggish growth has become the rule, not the exception, among the onetime powerhouse nations. India’s hopes of reaching double-digit growth have ebbed. Brazil’s surging economy, credited with pulling millions out of poverty, has cooled drastically. Even China’s growth has slowed.

And once welcome, Chinese investment in Africa is viewed with increasing suspicion.

On a visit to Beijing last year, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa warned that Chinese trade ties in Africa were following a troubling pattern.

“Africa’s commitment to China’s development has been demonstrated by supply of raw materials, other products and technology transfer,” Mr. Zuma said. “This trade pattern is unsustainable in the long term. Africa’s past economic experience with Europe dictates a need to be cautious when entering into partnerships with other economies.”

Mr. Zuma appeared to have a change of heart before the summit meeting, saying Monday that China does not approach Africa with a colonial attitude.

But other African leaders are not so sure. —– Lamido Sanusi, governor of Nigeria’s central bank, wrote in an opinion article published in The Financial Times this month that China’s approach to Africa is in many ways as exploitative as the West’s has been.

“China is no longer a fellow underdeveloped economy — it is the world’s second-biggest, capable of the same forms of exploitation as the West,” he wrote. “It is a significant contributor to Africa’s de-industrialization and under-development.”

This article appeared in print on March 27, 2013, on page A4 of the New York edition with the headline: Group of Emerging Nations Plans to Form Development Bank.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 24th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Fareed Zakaria asks Kishore Mahbubani on the CNN/GPS program March 24, 2013 – One thing historically that has always happened is when you have the rise of a middle class, countries tend to become more democratic. Do you think China will become a democracy?

Mahbubani: “I think China will eventually become a democracy. The destination is not in doubt. The only question is the route and timing.

But China is not going to become democratic in the near future, in the next 10 to 20 years. And, by the way, one point people forget is that if you go to Chinese universities and you talk to bright young Chinese and ask them, would you like to get rid of the Communist Party and immediately become democratic tomorrow, most of them would say no. Because they do know that the Chinese Communist Party, over the last 30 years, has delivered the fastest growth in the standard of living.

And they do know that if you dismantle this and if China falls apart, all their dreams of becoming number one in the world will disappear. And the Chinese…the feeling is that they are almost there, the feeling that they’re going to become number one very soon is a very powerful driving force that’s also keeping them together.”

Starting with China and India and looking at the rest of Asia – today there are 500 million people in the middle class – the growth is immense and by 2020 the expectation is that this number will more then triple and there will be 1.75 billion people of that region that will be in the middle class.

The West must show the wisdom to learn to manage the entrance of these Asian states into the Global multinational system – and what more – the US must learn how to be a #2 when finally another Nation becomes #1. Mahbubani talks of THE GREAT CONVERSION as a final result of the development process. He is mostly interested in the political sphere. Today we have a strong International Society and a very weak International Government. Some must learn to conceive that the time of being clear #1 will be over.

Mahbubani is practical and aims at the end of the present system of the so called 5 Superpowers. He shreds the UN Security Council and wants to se it replaced by a set of new 7 Permanent Members augmented with another 7 Semi-permanent Members.

The first set of the NEW PERMANENTS is to be made up of:

The US, CHINA, RUSSIA, INDIA, The EU, BRAZIL, and NIGERIA

The Set of Semi-Permanents will then be made up by counties like Korea, Japan, Turkey, Mexico, Indonesia ….

We were flabbergasted as his scheme, except for replacing Nigeria for South Africa, is identical with what we were advocating years ago.  So, to be honest, this posting comes about because we feel justified by the content of Professor Mahbubani’s remarks.

Further, on the Fareed Zakaria program today he had also Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson advocate the US put more money into Space as the present situation of not having a US Space-ship and the need to rent place on Russia’s equipment, not just harms US research, but in effect became a give-away to Russia, China, India, even Canada, of the potential for inovation that comes with investment in space Programs. This is another reason for fore-seable US decline.

 

 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 8th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) is currently calling for expressions of interest and an invitation to tender for three major knowledge management projects. Please respond if you are interested, or pass to others in your network who may be well placed to respond:

Call for expressions of interest: CDKN learning programme on climate compatible development at subnational level

CDKN is seeking a partner organisation to lead its new initiative to capture and synthesise learning from projects at the sub-national level.
Deadline for submissions of Expressions of Interest: 17.00 GMT 14 February 2013

Invitation to tender: National climate compatible development planning: learning from experiences in Africa

CDKN is seeking a partner organisation to lead its new initiative to capture, synthesise and share learning from national climate compatible development (CCD) planning in Africa.

Deadline for submissions of Invitation to Tender: 17:00 GMT 25 February 2013

Call for expressions of interest: CDKN inside stories on climate compatible development

CDKN is looking to commission a set of policy briefs on developing countries’ practical experiences in climate compatible development.
Deadline for submissions of Expressions of Interest: 18.00 GMT 28 February 2013

Any questions about these tenders should be addressed not to me, but to CDKN’s Procurement team on: cdknetwork.procurement@uk.pwc.com who will be pleased to respond.

————————————————-

KMAF-0014 – National climate compatible development planning: learning from experiences in Africa.

[Translate]


CDKN is seeking a partner organisation to lead its new initiative to capture, synthesise and share learning from national climate compatible development (CCD) planning in Africa.

CDKN’s overall purpose is to support developing countries to design and deliver climate compatible development. We provide a combination of advisory work, research and knowledge-sharing, tailored to countries’ needs. We are partnering with progressive national and local governments to design and deliver policies that combine low carbon, climate resilient, and inclusive green growth. We are now working in 40 countries, disbursing GBP20 million a year. CDKN began in 2010 with funding from the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and now also receives funds from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. It runs initially for a five year period to 2015.

As CDKN enters its fourth year, we are embarking on a range of initiatives to share learning from our programme to date. One of these is a major initiative to synthesise and share African solutions and best practice emerging from national climate compatible development planning to support learning, policy development and possible replication and up-scaling efforts in other countries.

With a number of mature and maturing projects in implementation, African governments have a strong body of evidence and experiences to communicate regionally and globally and ensure that it is transferable and catalytic. In the fourth year of CDKN, we are committed to bringing experience-based knowledge and insight from Africa to the forefront.

We welcome tenders from organisations and consortia that specialise in organisational learning to partner with us on this endeavour. The work will run to December 2014. This initiative will broadly involve:

  • Working closely with a core CDKN team to identify learning priorities and formulate key learning questions for our Africa projects, in consultation with key stakeholders;
  • Conducting learning processes around the key learning priorities and questions identified;
  • Liaising with CDKN partners (governments and researchers) and individual project teams (including external suppliers) to write up a first round of analysis;
  • Co-producing a variety of knowledge products with partners and project teams; and
  • Delivering an eight-month outreach programme to share the learning in a targeted and systematic way with the aim of influencing CCD policy and practice.

The Learning Partner’s team must include the following skill sets:

  • Specialism in organisational and project learning;
  • Experience in comparative case study research for policy audiences;
  • Understanding and knowledge of CCD planning at national levels in developing countries and Africa specifically;
  • Established track record of engagement with policy audiences in a range of African countries;
  • Demonstrable expertise in climate compatible development, including a firm grasp of common climate adaptation and mitigation issues in developing countries and Africa specifically;
  • Excellent Africa networks in the climate change and development arena;
  • Highly honed editing and writing skills in English; Portuguese and French fluency an asset but not essential;
  • Expert facilitation skills and previous experience in facilitating similar learning processes in multi-stakeholder settings;
  • Demonstrated effectiveness in producing and disseminating policy briefing materials across a range of formats (e.g. PowerPoint, policy briefs, background papers, multimedia); and
  • Experience in the countries where CDKN has mature projects is desirable but not essential.

In order to express an interest in this opportunity, please complete the following 2 steps:

Step 1:

Send an email to the CDKN Procurement team (cdknetwork.procurement@uk.pwc.com) including the following information:

  • Subject line: Expression of interest: KMAF-0014 – National climate compatible development planning: learning from experiences in Africa
  • Organisation/company name
  • A sentence confirming your interest in bidding for the work
  • The name of any partner organisations you anticipate that you will work with
  • A contact name(s), email address and telephone number for the most appropriate person(s) to send further information to regarding bidding

Step 2:

Your nominated contact(s) will receive an email from the CDKN Procurement team, including [an Expressions of Interest selection document] / [Invitation to Tender document], a Non Disclosure Agreement, a copy of CDKN’s Expense Policy and the CDKN Terms and Conditions.  Complete the documents where relevant and submit these to the CDKN Procurement team ( cdknetwork.procurement at uk.pwc.com) before the deadline stated below.

Your documents [including the signed Non-Disclosure Agreement] should be submitted by the deadline of 17.00 UK time on 25 February 2013.

Please note, we will accept and respond to questions with respect to this opportunity and the associated documents, provided they are received by CDKN Procurement before 17.00 UK time on 15 February 2013.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 24th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Uri Avnery

August 25, 2012

The Fountainhead

I WAS not interested in Paul Ryan, the man about to be nominated by the Republican party for the office of Vice President, until the name Ayn Rand popped up.

Ayn Rand, it was said, was one of the main inspirations for his particular philosophy. Since Ryan is being represented not as an ordinary, run-of-the-mill politician, like Mitt Romney, but as a profound political and economic thinker, the inspiration deserves some scrutiny.

——–

LIKE MOST people in this country {he means Israel – (Pincas Jawetz)}, Ayn Rand first entered my life as the author of The Fountainhead, a novel that came out four years before the birth of the State of Israel. It quickly became a bestseller. The movie based on it, with Gary Cooper playing the main role, was even more popular.

It is the story of an architect of genius (roughly similar to Frank Lloyd Wright) who follows his own individual style and disdains the tastes of the masses. When his architectural design for a housing project is altered by the builders, he blows the buildings up, defending his actions in court in a stirring speech in defense of individualism.

(Honest disclosure: I have often dreamed of doing the same to certain buildings in Tel Aviv, especially the luxury hotels built between my home and the sea.)

I started to read her second bestseller, Atlas Shrugged, in which she set out her philosophy in detail. But I must confess, to my eternal shame, that I never finished it. It bored me.

——–

ONE DAY IN 1974, my friend Dan Ben-Amotz called me and demanded that I immediately meet a young genius he had discovered called Dr. Moshe Kroy.

Ben-Amotz was a character by himself. A man of my age, he was at the time Israel’s most conspicuous humorist and an icon of the generation that fought in the 1948 war and created the new Hebrew culture. Ben-Amotz, like many of us, was not only a self-made man, but also self-invented. He was known as the ultimate Sabra (native-born Israeli). Much later it transpired that he was actually born in Poland, arrived in Palestine as a boy and adopted the very Hebrew-sounding name to replace his original name –  Moshe Tehilimzeigger (“reciter of psalms” in Yiddish).

He brought Kroy to my home and I was impressed. Here was an unusually erudite  24-year-old youngster, already a lecturer at Tel Aviv University, with thick glasses and very outspoken philosophical views.

It appeared that he was a True Believer in the teachings of Ayn Rand, which she called Objectivism. This proclaimed that egoism was the basic duty of every human being. Any kind of social commitment was a sin against nature. Only by serving his own interest and cleansing himself of any trace of altruism can a person truly fulfill himself. Society at large can progress only when it is based on such individuals, each one striving to serve only himself (or herself).

Such an outlook can be hugely attractive to a certain kind of individual. It provides them with a philosophical justification for the extreme exercise of egoism, not giving a damn for anyone else.

Kroy, and of course Ben-Amotz, were religiously devoted to this new creed. (This is, of course, an oxymoron, since Ayn Rand was a total unbeliever, condemning any form of religion, including the Jewish religion of her parents.) When I caught Ben-Amotz doing something which could be construed as beneficial to others, he went to great lengths in justifying it by proving that in the long run it was to his own ultimate advantage.

Kroy himself was obviously a very disturbed being. At the age of 41, he committed suicide. I was not certain whether Ayn Rand disturbed his mind or whether he was attracted to her because he was disturbed to start with.

——–

AYN RAND was born as Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum in Saint Petersburg, which later became Petrograd, which later became Leningrad. She was 12 years old when the Bolshevik revolution broke out in that city. The pharmacy of her parents was taken over by the regime, and the bourgeois family fled to the Crimea, which was held by White Russian forces. Later they returned to their native city, where Alisa studied philosophy and even published a book in Russian. In 1926 she reached the US, leaving her parents behind.

She adopted the name of Ayn (rhymes with “swine”, as she herself was wont to explain). She probably took the word from the Hebrew, where it means “eye”. The surname Rand may be a contraction of her original German-Jewish family name.

{ I believe the name was structured differently – it is the Ayn that is the contraction having one letter from each part of her name – Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum – the RAND part is the free choice and I would not be surprised if it were from the South African coin – (a Pincas Jawetz comment)}.

Her early history may in some measure explain her abiding hatred for Communism and any kind of collectivism, including social democracy, as well as any kind of religion or statism. For her, the state was the enemy of the free individual. This led her naturally to embrace an unbridled laissez faire capitalism (what Shimon Peres called “swinish capitalism”) and to reject any form of welfare state or safety net.

All this was well structured in her philosophy, which was adopted by believers all over the world. She once called herself “the most creative thinker alive”. On another occasion, she asserted that in all the annals of philosophy, there were only three great thinkers, all starting with an A: Aristotle, Aquinas and Ayn Rand.

She must have been an unabashed racist, too: during the 1973 Yom Kippur War she said that it was “civilized men fighting savages”, comparing Israelis to the White Americans fighting the Red Indians.

{This is why I think the Rand in her name has to do with the South Africa she knew about – (Pincas Jawetz comment)}.

No wonder that she posthumously became the darling of the Tea Party fanatics who are now dominating the Republican Party. And no wonder that Paul Ryan proudly cites her as one of his most important mentors. (Ayn Rand herself died in 1982 at age 77. Her funeral was attended by her devotees, including Alan Greenspan, one of the gravediggers of the US economy.)

There is something in the teachings of this Jewish White Russian preacher of extreme egoism that appeals to the primitive American myths of rugged individualism, gun-toting Wild West self-reliance, suspicion of the domination-hungry state (going back to King George the Third). But this is not the 18th century, for God’s sake.

——

I NEVER studied philosophy, though on my path I have picked up a few dozen books about it here and there. But Ayn Rand’s theories always struck me as, well, juvenile.

There is a picture in my mind. The late Israeli writer Pinchas Sadeh described how once, as an adolescent, he had climbed a ladder in the library of his kibbutz, taken out a book of Nietzsche’s and stood there, at the top of the ladder, for several hours, unable to stop reading. It was, I suppose, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, a dangerous book for young people. It also had a huge impact on Ayn Rand in her younger years.

Nietzsche castigates the “Jewish pity morality”, which has infected the adorable “blond beasts”. Compassion for the weak is a sin, because it blunts the capabilities of the strong, those on the way to becoming supermen. Which young person does not see themself as a potential superman (or, I suppose, superwoman)?

When Dan Ben-Amotz tried to convince me of the “rational egoism” of Ayn Rand, I countered with a simple argument: when I was wounded in 1948 and lay completed exposed to enemy fire, four soldiers of my squad came up and rescued me, risking their lives. Their egoism must have told them that this was an extremely silly thing to do. Risking their most precious possession – their very lives – for another human being was inexcusable according to Ayn Rand. They had nothing to gain from it. They had everything to lose.

I have seen in my life innumerable acts of altruism, large and small. Indeed, what is love, real love, but a pure form of altruism?

Sure, every person is, to some extent, an egoist. But every person is also, to some extent, an altruist. Human beings are social animals, their social instincts deeply imbedded in their nature. Without them, human society could not function.

I TOO was captured by Nietzsche in my youth. But “Jewish pity morality” won. That’s why I, like many Israelis, cannot even begin to understand American social attitudes, as illustrated yet again in the present election campaign.

For us it is self-evident that the state has a duty to help the sick, the old, the children, the handicapped and the disadvantaged. An ancient saying goes “Israel (meaning all the Jews) are responsible for each other”. Long before the State of Israel was born, we already had a strong system of health insurance and social services. Social insurance, instituted in Germany by the right-wing politician Otto von Bismarck in Nietzsche’s time, is for us Israelis self-evident.

Binyamin Netanyahu is an American-style Republican, a strong supporter of Mitt Romney. He has done incalculable damage to the Israeli social net, both as Finance Minister and as Prime Minister. But not even he would advertise himself as a disciple of Ayn Rand.  He has, however, one thing in common with Paul Ryan: both are pushed forward and financed by Sheldon Adelson.

I can think of no purer personification of Ayn Rand’s vision than this Casino billionaire. She would have adored him. He is the perfect egoist. He has become super-rich by exploiting the pitiful addiction of weak human beings. His business practices have been questioned. Yet even here there is some room for doubt: does Adelson spend hundreds of millions on people like Romney, Ryan and Netanyahu only to further his own business interests? Or do we detect even here a trace of altruism, a desire to fulfill his national and social visions, objectionable as they may be?

——

SINCE AYN RAND was an atheist and abhorred anything that was not purely rational, while the Tea Party is strictly religious (never mind what religion), Ryan is now compelled to distance himself from his mentoress, who was also a militant advocate of abortion.

Actually, I don’t believe in either the intellectual prowess or the political honesty of the man. He looks to me slightly phoney. I am not sure that Ayn Rand would have liked him either. If only Gary Cooper could play him, he  might look more convincing.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 11th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

UN Media Advisory: Nelson Mandela International Day (18 July)

In recognition of Nelson Mandela’s contributions to democracy, racial justice, and reconciliation and his service to humanity, the United Nations General Assembly declared 18 July (his birthday) as Nelson Mandela International Day.

Every year since 2010, on 18 July individuals around the world are encouraged to devote 67 minutes to helping others – by volunteering in a hospital, tutoring a child, providing food for the homeless, or any other community service. The 67-minute campaign – “Take Action – Inspire Change” – is based on people devoting one minute of their time for every year that Nelson Mandela devoted to public service, as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected President of South Africa.

This year – Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday – the following activities are being planned in New York:

Informal Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly
An informal plenary meeting of the General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters on the morning of 18 July will be devoted to “Building a Caring World – Nelson Mandela’s Vision.” Speakers include Mr. Jeff Radebe, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development of South Africa; Professor Ibrahim Gambari, last Chair of the UN Special Committee against Apartheid; Dr. Enuga Reddy, former Principal Secretary of the UN Special Committee against Apartheid; and others to be confirmed. The event starts at 10 a.m. and will be webcast live at www.un.org/webcast.

Performance by University of Cape Town Opera School Students
Two South African graduate students at the University of Cape Town Opera School, Mr. Thesele Kemane, a bass baritone, and Ms. Bongiwe Nakani, a mezzo soprano, will perform during the General Assembly meeting. The Opera School, under the direction of the American Kamal Khan, has made major efforts to cultivate gifted singers and introduce them to the international stage. As a result, some of the world’s greatest new classical opera talents over the past few years have emerged from the townships of South Africa. The performance will be webcast live at www.un.org/webcast.

UN and Diplomatic Staff at the Bowery Mission Soup Kitchen
A group of staff from the United Nations Secretariat, the Permanent Mission of South Africa to the United Nations and the South African Consulate General will volunteer at the Bowery Mission (www.bowery.org) on 18 July, helping to serve meals for homeless people. Since 1879, the Bowery Mission has provided homeless men and women with a warm meal, shelter, clothing and medical care. Information and photos will be posted onwww.un.org/en/events/mandeladay.

Mandela Corner
The south-east corner of 42nd Street and 2nd Avenue was named after Nelson and Winnie Mandela in 1984, in recognition of their fight against apartheid in South Africa. This year on 18 July, UN volunteers will be handing out postcards on the corner, raising awareness of Mandela Day and the “Take Action – Inspire Change” campaign.

Queens Museum of Art
The Queens Chapter of the United Nations Association of the United States is partnering with the Queens Museum of Art (www.queensmuseum.org) in an event at 6:00 p.m. where audience members will be asked to state what Nelson Mandela means to them – in 67 seconds. The interactive evening will include a brief film screening, music, and guest speakers. The event is organized in association with the United Nations Academic Impact’s “7/18 for Mandela” initiative.

Immigrant Movement International
This community centre in Queens (immigrant-movement.us) is organizing an event at 6:00 p.m., largely in Spanish, featuring remarks by representatives of the diplomatic community, a film screening and a performance by a local artist. The focus is on multiracialism, which Nelson Mandela embraced in South Africa and which is evident in Queens. The event is organized in association with the United Nations Academic Impact’s “7/18 for Mandela” initiative.

Madiba Restaurant
Madiba – a South African restaurant in Brooklyn (www.madibarestaurant.com) – will donate 7.18 per cent of its day’s revenue on 18 July as a tax-deductible donation to two local schools, and is encouraging other businesses in the Fort Greene neighbourhood to do the same. The action is part of the United Nations Academic Impact’s “7/18 for Mandela” initiative.

Harlem Arts Summer Camp
ProjectArt (www.projectartonline.org), an after-school, weekends and summer visual arts education program for children and youth in Harlem, will be marking the day by teaching 30 children aged 4 to 12 about Nelson Mandela and having them create paintings inspired by South Africa and Mr. Mandela.

The Hope and Promise of Leadership
Brahma Kumaris, an international NGO, is organizing an event at the Church Centre for the United Nations (777 UN Plaza), from 1 to 3 p.m., exploring the hope and promise of leadership. The event will feature expert presentations, South African dancers, reflection and dialogue in small groups. For more information and to R.S.V.P., please contact 212-688-1335646-290-1770 or bkuninfo@bkwsu.org.

Around the World:
Young Changemakers, a non-profit youth group in India, is arranging 67 scholarships for children at the Shree Ganesh Vidya Mandir primary school in the Dharavi Slum in Mumbai who need to finance their own education after the seventh grade. The scholarships will be announced on 18 July at an event in Mumbai, organized in association with the United Nations Academic Impact initiative.

A number of UN offices around the world are also marking the day.

Further information, photos, videos and other resources:
www.un.org/en/events/mandeladay

Media contact:
Martina Donlon
UN Department of Public Information
Tel +1 212 963 6816
Email donlon@un.org

Issued by the UN Department of Public Information, 11 July 2012

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 12th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


The Green Power Fund:
Carbon Negative Technologies for Sustainable Development.

An official UNFCCC Side-Event to the RIO+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development

Monday 18 June 2012, 17.30-19.00

Venue: Room T-5, RioCentro, Avenida Salvador Allende 6555,

Barrada Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Following a successful AOSIS event at the UN HQ in November 2009, this event will discuss a proposal for a

Green Power Fund’ (the original concept for ‘The Green Climate Fund’ which was approved at COP17) addressing the core RIO+20 themes of how to fund the green economy globally partly by using the $200 BN per year from the Carbon Market of the Kyoto Protocol, thereby ensuring sustainable energy access for all.

For more information, please see attached, or visit www.columbiariskmanagement.net

Co-hosted by Columbia Consortium for Risk Management, The Columbia University Earth Institute and Global Thermostat LLC

Featuring keynotes from:

Dr. Graciela Chichilnisky: author of the carbon market mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol and creator of the formal theory of sustainable development

Dr. Peter Eisenberger: former Bell Labs Physicist, and founding Director of the Columbia Earth Institute

Lord John Selwyn Gummer, Baron Deben: former Member of Parliament and current Member of the House of Lords, co-chairman and President of GLOBE International, Chairman of Sancroft International and of Veolia Water UK

Senator Cicero Lucena: 1st Secretary of the Senate of Brazil and President of GLOBE Brazil, former Chief Secretary for Planning and Management of State

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 30th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

THE NEW YORK TIMES QUOTATION OF THE DAY – May 30, 2012 – The Traditional Memorial Day.
“You cannot wave the white flag and let the environmentalists and regulators declare victory here in the heart of coal country.”
ROCKY ADKINS, state representative from Kentucky, in response to a plan for one of the state’s largest power plants to switch from coal to natural gas.
———
THE ENERGY RUSH

Even in Coal Country, the Fight for an Industry

By ERIC LIPTON

With the coal industry under siege across the country, an announcement that the operator of the Big Sandy power plant near Louisa, Ky., planned to switch to natural gas prompted an uproar.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 4th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


The United Nations Foundation and The United Nations Association of the USA

GLOBAL LEADERSHIP DINNER

– – –

2012 award honorees to include

Archbishop Desmond TutuNobel Peace Prize Recipient

VarietyThe Entertainment Industry’s Preeminent News Organization

Kandeh YumkellaDirector General, UNIDO and UN ENERGY, and the GREEN ECONOMY.

– – –

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cipriani 42nd Street

New York City

To reserve tables or tickets and for sponsorship information, please contact

Mary-Frances Wain at 202-778-3539 or mwain@unausa.org

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 7th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

BIG OIL IS FEVERISHLY LOOKING FOR NEW SOURCES OF INCOME UNDER A BANNER OF INDEPENDENCE FROM UNFRIENDLY OIL AND GAS PRODUCERS. BUT THEIR POSITION IS MISLEADING IN THE SENSE THAT IT IS IN FACT A REAR GUARD EFFORT OF AN INDUSTRY THAT WE WOULD RATHER WANT TO SEE DISAPPEAR ALL-TOGETHER.

THE ANSWER IS NOT NEW OIL  AND GAS – BUT NO OIL AND GAS – NO FOSSIL CARBON PERIOD – AND THE WAY TO A BETTER FUTURE LEADS TO CULTURE CHANGE FOR USING LESS  ENERGY AND COVERING WHATEVER WILL BE NEEDED FROM RENEWABLE SOURCES OF ENERGY – THAT IS THE MANDATE OF TRUE SUSTAINABILITY.  EVERYTHING ELSE CONSTITUTES MISREPRESENTATION OF  WHAT SHOULD BE DONE.

————-

2012 will be a seminal year in our fight to move our country Beyond Oil. Big Oil and their cronies in Congress know this as well. And they’re in a panic. We’re already starting to see a barrage of misinformation. Republican House Majority Leader John Boehner and the other Big Oil allies in Congress are trying to scam the American people with an expensive, unnecessary and dangerous tar sands pipeline to deliver billions in profits to oil companies.

Thank President Obama for his bold leadership on Keystone XL and tell him he has your support standing up to Big Oil.

The pipeline will not help with energy security, it will create far fewer jobs than promised, the oil brought to the U.S. will be shipped overseas tax-free and there are huge risks to our waterways, farmland and climate – TransCanada’s earlier pipeline spilled 14 times in the first 12 months of operation. 2012 will be the year we decide where we stand as a country on moving Beyond Oil.

Will you start 2012 by taking a stand against Big Oil? Support strong leadership from President Obama, support his bold decision to stand firm against Big Oil and their cronies in Congress on Keystone XL. Email the President today!

————

In 2011, we were truly inspired by President Obama’s bold decision to delay and reevaluate the dirty, dangerous Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline.

But we now face attacks from greedy oil companies and their cronies in Congress who want to rubberstamp this project, all in the name of greater profits for Big Oil.

Tell President Obama we stand strong with his decision to delay the dirty Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline and that we will fight together in 2012 to reject the project once and for all.

President Obama did the right thing by putting the brakes on this dangerous 1,700 mile oil pipeline that would run from Canada through America’s heartland and put our land, climate and drinking water at risk. Now the President can put American families ahead of Big Oil profits by rejecting Keystone XL.

==================================
Since new sources of natural gas from shale may lessen the geopolitical importance of countries that historically have been the biggest producers of natural gas, namely Iran, Qatar, and Russia, a surge in gas production has spurred interest in building pipelines and terminals that liquefy fuel so that it can be shipped to far-flung markets. More than 30 countries, including China, India, and Pakistan are now considering fracking for natural gas or oil. (Fracking involves injecting large amounts of water mixed with chemicals and sand at very high pressure deep underground to crack rock and release gas. After fracking, much of the water at each well returns to the surface mixed with toxic chemicals.)

Here in the U.S. shale gas has increased supply, driving prices down and benefiting industrial plants that use the gas for manufacturing and consumers who depend on it for electricity, heating or cooking. Internationally, governments of poorer countries can also benefit from the new tax revenues and jobs, but may not be paying enough attention to the environmental risks of drilling. Likewise, legal experts say that the United States needs to be more concerned about environmental and other impacts as it promotes energy technology abroad.

Martin Bell, the water manager for Shell’s Karoo project in South Africa, said the company planned to recycle as much wastewater as possible, storing it temporarily in closed containers. In the future, perhaps wastewater will be shipped to disposal plants by pipes or by rail.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 17th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

EDITORIAL, December 17, 2011.

Beyond Durban

Startling new evidence that global carbon dioxide emissions are rising faster than ever did little to increase the urgency of the climate talks in Durban, South Africa, which concluded earlier this week. Once again, the world’s negotiators kicked the can down the road.

Even as delegates from nearly 200 countries were meeting, the Global Carbon Project, an international collaboration of scientists, reported that emissions from carbon dioxide from fossil fuels, the main greenhouse gas, had jumped 5.9 percent in 2010, the sharpest one-year rise on record. The report also said that carbon emissions cumulatively had risen by an astonishing 49 percent since 1990, higher than any previous estimate.

—–

Nobody had expected great progress from Durban, the 17th in a series of habitually quarrelsome and mostly unproductive gatherings since the same countries met in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro under the auspices of the United Nations and agreed to address the gradual warming of the earth.

Yet the underwhelming response to the genuinely bad news in the new report shows again how far world leaders are from making the hard decisions necessary to control the rise in greenhouse gas emissions. And it left them further than ever from achieving their stated goal of keeping average global temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels — a commonly accepted threshold beyond which the planet’s climate patterns could be seriously destabilized.

There were a few modest successes. One was an agreement to set up a “green fund” to help poor nations deal with climate change and reduce deforestation, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. More important, with the United States applying much of the pressure, China and India consented to participate in any future agreement limiting emissions and play by the same rules as everyone else. Those two nations are huge producers of greenhouse gases and, until now, have disclaimed responsibility for reducing them. The latest figures show that China and India each had emission increases of about 10 percent since 2009. Since 1990, China’s emissions have tripled; India’s nearly so.

Along with all other developing countries, China and India refused to sign on to the legally binding reduction targets agreed to by industrialized nations at the Kyoto conference in 1997. This time they agreed in principle to work toward a new international agreement “applicable to all parties.” The negotiators said they hoped to have such a pact in place by 2015, but, even if that miracle occurred, ratification by member nations would not occur until 2020 at the earliest.

The question now is what to do about rising emissions in the next decade. Though Durban has kept the collective process alive, the work of actually cutting emissions will fall to individual nations, especially the big emitters, to take the initiative. In America, the Obama administration has proposed huge increases in automobile efficiency, as well as tough clean air regulations that will mothball a lot of coal-fired power plants. Additional progress may occur in states like California with ambitious programs to encourage energy efficiency and alternative fuels.

As for China, one can only hope that its dreadful pollution problems will drive it to new technologies and cleaner fuels, and that other nations will find it in their interest to do the same. What the latest data tell us is that the atmosphere cannot keep waiting for a grand bargain.
———–

Related News:

Climate Talks in Durban Yield Limited Agreement (December 12, 2011)

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

Russia backs Canada’s pullout from Kyoto Protocol, reaffirms it won’t accept new commitments.
Washington Post, December 16, 2011.
MOSCOW — Russia supports Canada’s decision to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol, says its foreign ministry, reaffirming Friday that Moscow will not take on new commitments. Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told Friday’s briefing that the treaty does not cover all major polluters, and thus cannot help solve the climate crisis.
www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/russia-backs-canadas-pullout-from-kyoto-protocol-reaffirms-it-wont-accept-new commitments/2011/12/16/gIQA0uRcxO_story.html


Canada’s message: The world and its climate be damned Globe and Mail


Gerold Firl: International Relations in the Era of Global Warming Patch.com

all 214 news articles »

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

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 14th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

KIMO’s IISD Reporting Services of the ENB (Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI International Institute for Sustainable Development Environmental News Bulletin) provided the unofficial definitive report of the Durban Climate Change Conference – COP17/CMP7.

This is an invaluable unofficial document that will guide negotiators and participants in the intricate steps of governments dealing with the threats of Global Warming and Climate Change.

KIMO makes it clear that South Africa’s determination not to have the Kyoto Protocol die on African soil, and the determination of EU Commissioner for Climate Action,  Connie Hedegaard, to keep it alive, that eventually won the final night in the INDABA Diplomacy and kicked the ball down the road towards the next series of stops.
We provide here the link to this KIMO document that was prepared by about a dozen members of the IISD team, and supported with funds by a long list of Governments, that nevertheless do not interfere with the running of the reporting system nor with its conclusions, as it is understood by all that a professional team of reporters, outside the UN system, is imperative to provide the information Government negotiators, as well as Civil Society, must have, in order to be able to be effective in these intricate negotiations.

We hope our readers will take the time to read the report:

 mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1#inb…

Fast reading, noting that there were  12,480 registered participants, among them  over 5400 government officials, 5800 representatives of UN bodies and agencies, intergovernmental organizations and civil society organizations, and more than 1,200 defined as media, leads to the conclusion that it was a multi-level chess game that somehow ends up making some sense when seen as a whole. Indeed, the final outcome is to be blessed upon in the sense that it returned the game to the true players by creating new alliances. and it is evident that there is a sense now that the problem is real and something will have to be done about it.

An un-united Europe with its allies from the AOSIS and LDC groups cannot bring about a solution, but nevertheless was able to form a new bloc that can stand at those INDABAs to negotiate with India, China, the US, and Brazil. We accept this as an admonishment to our past postings, but will continue to write that a truly united Europe could be much more effective. Let us remember, though it was not mentioned in the Kimo report – Ms. Connie Hedegaard, a Danish politician, former member of the Conservative Party in the Danish Prliament, journalist,  and public intellectual, was Danish Minister for Climate and Energy, and  Danish Minister for the Environment, and honed her knowledge of the issues when she hosted  the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009. She was there at the time the EU fell of the negotiation table and believed that in Brussels she could redress this. We give her now credits for having done the best she could with her divided flock of Ministers. Oh Well!

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 12th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The “Monday After” the papers asked: Was the European Summit a “Fiasko” or a “Quality Jump?” The papers also wonder about the effectiveness of the “Durban Platform” having noted the strong involvement of the EU 27 in the Durban Conference fight. The Minister says it ended with a breakthrough – others say it was a “Mogelpackung.”

By the way – I happen personally to know know what a “Mogelpackung” is. Back years ago in New York some character sold me what I thought was a video-camera, but in reality it was just the box filled with trash. Surely I could have tried to accuse him of fraud but I preferred to condemn myself to a form of self-punishment for having been so brain weak – laughed it off and wrote off my loss on my self-education bill.  That was easy then, but what should an European State do now? Global 2000 NGO spokesman Wahlmueller said simply that another year in the war against climate change was just lost. We think he is right.

What happened in Brussels was indeed a “Tour de Force” of the Merkozy motor (Mme. Merkel and Herr Sarkozy) leading to the political exit of Mr. Cameron.  Yes, English will continue to be the diplomatic language of the evolving new European Union, but the UK is free to sail off to the Anglo-Saxon bloc led by the US – that is if the US can get its act together and lead again!

To the travails of the British Islands we attach an article from today’s New York Times – this just to say that the problems with the UK are  also internal.  This will be our only borrowed article of this posting – all the other material is of our own making, and as  we decided to write this up as we realized that we are not the only ones to think the way we do.
In effect at  an off the record meeting at the Vienna Diplomatic Academy  we heard that in Brussels it is understood that going it alone, the individual 27, do not amount to much.

In the real world of the 21st century it seems that as Thomas Friedman observed – the Globalized World is Flat – HOT, FLAT, and CROWDED. We add to this that it is important as well to think about how you draw the flat Map of the World. The realistic way is to put the Americas in the center of the map with the Pacific Ocean to the West – the left – and the Atlantic Ocean to the East – the right – with the Northern Hemisphere that includes among other States, the US and China on top – the North.

This maps shows the Trans-Pacific connection of the US to Japan, Australia and Indonesia, and the Trans-Atlantic connection to Europe and Africa.  In this map European Russia is in the periphery, but Asian Russia shows up closer.

A different map is the Euro-centric map. This map keeps Europe and Africa in the center with what the Europeans called the Western Hemisphere – the Americas – to the West – or left – and the huge Asian mass – all of it – to the East or right. The interesting thing is that on this map you see that Europe is just a small part at the West End of the Eurasian land-mass.

The history we learned in school was written by Europeans, and we never were given the true notion that in the last few hundred years it was the European tail that wagged the big Asian dog. We must now relearn our history and realize that the future belongs to big Asia and Europe could have an impact only if it unites and forgets some of the past grandeur, when small European States, Spain, Portugal, France, the netherlands, the British, Belgium, Denmark, later on Italy, Germany, even Austria, having developed their navies and rented  armies,  competed as colonial powers, and made inroads starting out from the coasts of that landmass. But even then – Europe was just an archipelago of small States with the British living on an actual island off the coast of Europe. And you know what? The colonies gone, this same picture stood on, though now, when the size of markets translates into economic power, these European economic islands are shrinking in size. Also, the former colonial powers that still have overseas possessions or linkages, create additional difficulties to their potential to create an integrated Europe. Denmark for instance, joined the EU without Greenland joining as well. Others, like France, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal had to find also ways to deal with their overseas possessions and linkages to their Francophone community or the British Commonwealth.

This last Friday, the unnatural division of the EU into 17 EURO-ZONE States and 10 Non-Euro States proved untenable and a much higher level of integration was suggested at least for the EURO-ZONE to be implemented with the agreement of the non-Euro States that will be called as well to contribute to the economic safety of the laggard States. Everybody agrees that the EURO idea was premature and showed up half backed, but now if the EURO laggards are not helped the whole global economy might collapse. A much higher level of integration is needed and the start is by calling for fiscal integration to back up the Euro-spending. After a lot of haggling 26 out of the 27 did bend to allow for the loss of some of their National decision making powers. But is it enough? The British opted out, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic showed unhappiness, so did the Hungarians, but in the end it was only the UK that did not vote in the positive and they may find out that the rest of the EU might now try to live without the UK as an active participant. Considering that what was decided upon will turn out to be insufficient, it may thus come to be that the UK will not be able to find its way back in = specially as 58% of the population might instinctively accept the notion that it will be to their advantage to leave the thinking Euro-ship.

But did the British lay people look at the Durban scene? That mob of 27 Environment Ministers that did not add up to a seat at the table with the China-India-US big polluters and nay-sayers of the UNFCCC event. In effect the EU 27 ended up being in alliance with over 100 of the smaller UN fray – the Small Island States, the Least Developed States and parts of Africa. Brazil and South Africa, even though they were not in full alignment with the other BASIC States or the US, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea … the other leading developing economies were still in the lead and the 27 Europeans were tripping over each other in trying to prove that they are on the side of the good and thoughtful. Oh well!
The final result was not satisfying at all and one could have imagined a united Europe with clear power to muscle its way to more concrete results – not just something that boils down to an agreement to meet again.

Kyoto is dead for all practical purposes with Canada, Japan, Russia, New Zealand, joining the US on the sidelines – so it is disingenuous to say that the individual EU States saved the day.

Please see the internal debate now in the UK:


Partner in British Coalition Criticizes Cameron’s Veto on Europe Treaty.

By 
Published: December 11, 2011, Printed in the New York TimesMonday,  December 12, 2011.
LONDON — Serious cracks appeared in Britain‘ s coalition government on Sunday, when Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, a Liberal Democrat, broke with the government line and said he was “bitterly disappointed” at the outcome of last week’s European summit meeting.

Mr. Clegg told the BBC that the decision by Prime Minister David Cameron, a Conservative, to veto proposed European treaty changes left Britain in danger of being “isolated and marginalized” in Europe. He added that if he had been in charge, “of course things would have been different.”

Mr. Cameron vetoed the proposals early Friday after seeking, and failing to secure, safeguards he said were vital for the health of London’s financial sector. But with the 26 other members of the European Union either agreeing to the proposed plan outright or saying they would put the matter before their Parliaments, Mr. Cameron’s veto left Britain alone on the margins at a time of great upheaval on the Continent, with the European Union struggling to resolve its financial crisis.

On Friday, Mr. Clegg appeared to support Mr. Cameron’s decision, although he warned the Conservative Party’s anti-Europe wing against being too triumphant about the problems facing the European Union. But his stance hardened over the weekend, and on Sunday he appeared to have backtracked, or at least tried to finesse his explanation to show that was in line with his party’s pro-Europe principles.

In fact, Mr. Clegg told the BBC that when Mr. Cameron called him at 4 a.m. Friday with the news that Britain had vetoed the plan: “I said this was bad for Britain. I made it clear that it was untenable for me to welcome it.”

Mr. Clegg has already lost the confidence of many Liberal Democrats by appearing to betray the party’s position when he has supported the government on other issues, like increasing the amount of tuition colleges can charge.

After the summit meeting, many prominent Liberal Democrats went further than Mr. Clegg.

A former party leader, Paddy Ashdown, described Mr. Cameron’s veto as a “catastrophically bad move” and said it would do nothing to shield London’s financial district, the City, from future European regulations. “In the name of protecting the City, we have made it more vulnerable,” he said.

Lord Ashdown also warned that the move had alienated Europe in a way that would haunt the United Kingdom.

“The anti-European prejudice of some in the Tory party,” he said, “has now created anti-British prejudice in Europe.”

Mr. Clegg, a former member of the European Parliament, said he would now “fight, fight and fight again” to make sure Britain remained an influential force inside the European Union. He said he would resist “tooth and nail” efforts by some Conservatives to take the country completely out of the union, particularly since the United States has found Britain a useful conduit to Europe.

“A Britain that leaves the E.U. will be considered irrelevant by Washington and a pygmy in the world, when I want us to stand tall in the world,” he said.

Mr. Clegg criticized Conservatives who had hailed Mr. Cameron as a “British bulldog” for his tough line on Europe.

“There’s nothing bulldog about Britain hovering somewhere in the mid-Atlantic, not standing tall in Europe, not being taken seriously in Washington,” he said.

To which one Conservative member of Parliament, Mark Pritchard, retorted, “Better to be a British bulldog than a Brussels poodle,” The Associated Press reported.

Mr. Cameron, meanwhile, was welcomed as a hero by his party’s anti-Europe right wing. “Up Eurs,” was the headline in Rupert Murdoch’s populist, anti-European tabloid newspaper, The Sun, along with a photograph of Mr. Cameron in a Churchillian bowler hat, holding two fingers up to Europe — the equivalent of an American middle finger.

“He did what I would have expected Margaret Thatcher to have done,” Andrew Rosindell, a Conservative member of Parliament, said approvingly.

But Kenneth Clarke, the Justice secretary and the Conservatives’ most prominent pro-Europe member, said in a radio interview that Mr. Cameron’s veto was a “disappointing, very surprising outcome.” He said he would be listening carefully to the prime minister’s statement in Parliament on the matter on Monday.

As upset as he is, Mr. Clegg said he did not want the coalition government to collapse.

“It would be even more damaging for us as a country if the coalition government was to fall apart,” he said. “That would cause economic disaster for the country at a time of great economic uncertainty.”

Related:

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 11th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Durban Climate Conference: Let Them Eat Carbon.

By John Vidal and Fiona Harvey, Guardian UK

11 December 11

Talks came close to collapse when India insisted on concessions for developing countries, forcing 3am ‘huddle to save the planet’.


new global climate deal has been struck after being brought back from the brink of disaster by three powerful women politicians in a 20-minute “huddle to save the planet”.

A major crisis had been provoked after 3am on Sunday morning when the EU clashed furiously with China and India over the legal form of a potential new treaty. The EU plan to bind all countries to cuts was close to collapse after India inserted the words “legal outcome” at the last minute into the negotiating text.

EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard, backed by UK energy secretary Chris Huhne, said it would have made the EU plan legally meaningless and would have forced the EU to walk away, effectively collapsing the negotiations.

With ministers exhausted after nearly six days and three nights of intense discussions, Hedegaard told the 194 countries in Durban: “We need clarity. We need to commit. The EU has shown patience for many years. We are almost ready to be alone in a second commitment period [to the Kyoto protocol].

“We don’t ask too much of the world that after this second period all countries will be legally bound. Let’s try and have a protocol by 2018.”

The Indian environment minister, Jayanthi Natarajan, responded fiercely that developing countries were being asked to sign up to the deal before they knew what was in the proposed treaty, and whether it would be fair to poor nations.

“Am I to write a blank cheque and sign away the livelihoods and sustainability of 1.2 billion Indians, without even knowing what the EU roadmap contains?

“I wonder if this is an agenda to shift the blame on to countries who are not responsible [for climate change]. I am told that India will be blamed. Please don’t hold us hostage. We will give up the principle of equity.”

China’s chief negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, lambasted the EU in a passionate speech, saying: “Who gives you the right to tell us what to do?”

With tempers rising and the talks minutes from being abandoned, the chair, South African foreign minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, ordered China, India, the US, Britain, France, Sweden, Gambia, Brazil and Poland to meet in a small group or “huddle”.

Surrounded by a crowd of nearly 100 delegates on the floor of the hall, they talked quietly among themselves to try to reach a new form of words acceptable to all.

But it was Brazil’s chief negotiator, lawyer Luis Figueres, who came up with the compromise, proposing to substitute “an agreed outcome with legal force” for “legal outcome”. This, said an EU lawyer, was much stronger, effectively meaning “a legally binding agreement”.

“Yes, yes,” cheered the crowd of onlookers around the politicians, and the talks were back on track.

Two hours later the 16-day talks were effectively over, with a commitment by all countries to accept binding emission cuts by 2020. As part of the package of measures agreed, a new climate fund will be set up, carbon markets will be expanded and countries will be able to earn money by protecting forests.

Chris Huhne hailed the conclusion of the talks as “a triumph of European co-operation”.

“We have taken a significant step forward. This will give business confidence and stop us locking in a whole generation of high-carbon technology,” he said.

But Martin Khor, director of the intergovernmental South Centre in Geneva, said poor countries would be obliged to cut emissions proportionally more than the rich. “It’s like the starving will be made to give up half their small amount of food but the rich just a bit,” he said.

Green groups said the ambition shown by countries to reduce emissions was paltry. “Negotiators have sent a clear message to the world’s hungry: let them eat carbon,” said Celine Charveriat, director of campaigns and advocacy for Oxfam.

“Governments must immediately turn their attention to raising the ambition of their emissions cuts targets and filling the Green Climate Fund. Unless countries ratchet up their emissions cuts urgently we could still be in store for a 10-year timeout on the action we need to stay under two degrees [of temperature increase].”

Greenpeace International director Kumi Naidoo said: “The chance of averting catastrophic climate change is slipping through our hands with every passing year that nations fail to agree on a rescue plan for the planet.”

“This will force governments to admit their current pledges to cut emissions are not enough to achieve 2C rise and will have to be strengthened,” said Michael Jacobs, of the Grantham climate research institute of climate change.

Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International, said: “Delaying real action till 2020 is a crime of global proportions.

“This means the world is on track to a 4C temperature rise, a death sentence for Africa, small island states and the poor and vulnerable worldwide. The richest 1% of the world have decided that it is acceptable to sacrifice the 99%.”

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 11th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

As per the UNFCCC website: The United Nations Climate Change Conference, Durban 2011, brought together representatives of the world’s governments, international organizations and civil society. The discussions sought to advance, in a balanced fashion, the implementation of the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, as well as the Bali Action Plan, agreed at COP 13 in 2007, and the , Cancun Agreements, reached at COP 16 last December.

In Durban’s COP 17  of the UNFCCC – according to fair weather forecasters – a marathon UN climate conference approved on Sunday – December 11, 2011 – with an overtime two days – the DURBAN PLATFORM,  that according to the South African hosts, includes a roadmap towards an accord that for the first time will bring all major emitters of greenhouse gases under a single legal roof. If approved as scheduled in 2015, the pact will be operational from 2020 and become the prime weapon in the fight against climate change.

 www.mysinchew.com/node/67640  http://unfccc.int/2860.php

The UN Secretariat wants us to believe that Durban was a great success and the tremendous expense – financially and in terms of CO2 emitted by the 15,000 participants – was justified.

We did not post much about this meeting as we easily predicted that the two UNFCCC conferences – of 2010 at Cancun and 2011 at Durban – will not lead to advances beyond what was achieved at Copenhagen in 2009 – thus we stopped our count at COP15, and called the Cancun meeting as Copenhagen 2 and the Durban meeting as Copenhagen 3 – with the hope that these meetings will continue to shape an eventual global agreement that became possible thanks to President Obama, who went to Copenhagen via Beijing, and was able for the first time in the history of the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC, to convince the Chinese government to accept the responsibility of becoming an active participant. Yes – the results were still an incomplete but had to be fleshed out in future meetings with the understanding that the original Kyoto Protocol was dead.

Looking at the Durban Platform – the name of the Durban outcome – we say that the Copenhagen opening is still just that – only the opening to future decisions.

We are astonished that the UNFCCC offices in Bonn, as per the above first paragraph,  make reference to the meeting of 2008 in Bali and the 2010 meeting in Cancun, but somehow forgot to mention the Copenhagen meeting. What does this say about the UNFCCC?

The UNFCCC also does not mention that Canada, Russia, Japan, and New Zealand have announced in Durban that they are pulling out from the Kyoto Protocol at the end of the year – this and the fact that the US has never ratified Kyoto, and China has not moved yet to make measurable commitments, makes it obvious that KYOTO IS DEAD and any talk of extending it is really nothing more then so much hot air.

—-

From the dispatches being released by the UN we will pick the one released by UNEP – this because we hold Mr. Achim Steiner in high esteem.
Please see:  http://www.unep.org/newscentre/Default.aspx?DocumentID=2661&ArticleID=8984&l=en

“Climate Talks End With Hope for a New More Comprehensive Legally-Binding Agreement.”

Yes – HOPE for an agreement – but HOPE is not an agreement,  and honest Mr. Steiner – the former head of the Gland, Switzerland, based IUCN, continues via the UNEP press release –

“Significant Emissions Gap However Remains With Doubts on How it Will be Decisively Bridged by 2020 – the Kyoto Protocol to Continue-But Covers Only a Fraction of the Necessary Global Emissions…The key question of the Durban outcome is whether what has been decided will match the science and lead to a peaking of global emissions before 2020 to maintain the world on a path to keep a temperature increase below 2° Celsius.”

The honest answer is that postponing taking decisions is not a decision. Setting time for next meeting is also not a decision – agreeing to continue to talk makes for great tourism – and next stop will be in the country of the UN Secretary-General that will be thus the next beneficiary of this tourism largesse.

Mr. Steiner states further – “The Government of South Africa and the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change should be congratulated for what has been achieved, given the low expectations in the months and weeks before Durban,”

“Today the European Union and several other countries agreed to continue the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012 if other governments, including major emitters from developed and developing ones, agreed to negotiate a new legally binding treaty with deeper emission reductions by 2015 to come into force afterwards.

The continuation of the Kyoto Protocol during this new negotiation phase means the provisions of this existing emission reduction treaty, ranging from emissions trading to the Clean Development Mechanism, will also continue providing some benefit to the climate and the ambitions of developing economies over the near term.”

All right – the Kyoto Protocol will continue with smaller participation until a replacement agreement can be forged.

Two additional topics were on the table and as well will continue to roll on:

(1) In Durban governments agreed to establish an Adaptation Committee and a process that will lead to the establishment of a Climate Technology Centre and Network with likely funding from the Global Environment Facility.

(2) a Yearly $US 100 billion (twice the size of the yearly World Bank disbursements)  to support developing countries by 2020 with a GREEN CLIMATE FUND (GCF) continues to roll on as well – but in these days of Global Economics Crisis – the money is not on the table yet.

No agreements were reached not only on the money sources, but even on the location of these institutions. The feeling is that above all there was a lack of trust in the negotiating partners.

The laque covered statements sound like this:

“We came here with plan A, and we have concluded this meeting with plan A to save one planet for the future of our children and our grandchildren to come,”said  South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

“We have made history,” she said, bringing the hammer down on more than two weeks of sometimes fractious talks.”

The deal was welcomed by Brazil, one of the globe’s emerging economic powers.

“I am relieved we have what we came here to get. We have a robust outcome, an excellent text about a new phase in the international fight against climate change. It clearly points to action,” said Brazil’s climate envoy Luiz Alberto Figueiredo.

—-

The European Union pushed for strong wording and the three biggest emitters the United States, China and India resisted.

“We’ve had very intense discussions, we were not happy with reopening the text, but in the spirit of flexibility and accommodation shown by all, we have shown our flexibility, we have agreed to the words you just mentioned and we agree to adopt it,” said India’s Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan. {sorry – but this alone means that the agreement was void of content – our editorial comment}

But environmentalists and small island states, which fear they literally could sink under the rising sea levels caused by climate change, have said it is still not strong enough.

So – what happened indeed?

Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who co-chaired the UN’s high-level climate finance advisory group, echoed this sentiment, saying the debt crisis had underlined the fact that countries should look for funding both from public and private sources. He said it was “challenging but feasible” to mobilise the $100-billion needed but that the key to raising the funds would be to introduce a price on carbon.

It’s been suggested that the price of carbon be pegged at about $25 per tonne. Most of this could be incorporated into the national fiscus while a small percentage is channelled into climate finance.

mg.co.za/article/2011-12-08-un-chief-upbraids-dithering-nations-over-climate-fund

That was fun – just think what the US can say about a carbon tax in this year of Presidential elections.

The Chinese delegation head Xie Zhenhua created a stir by saying China might be willing to sign a legally binding agreement for reducing emissions, post-2020 — if other countries keep their commitments, and depending on China’s state of development, and a laundry list of other pre-conditions.

“China is open,” Xie told reporters, sounding a world apart from the positions of fellow major polluters including the United States and Canada.

The United States, wants all polluters to be held to the same legal standard on emissions cuts, and China and India which want to ensure their fast growing economies are not shackled.

These stands led back to the old standstill but now it is given a target end by a prospective 2015 for negotiations 2020 to start inactment.

The Copenhagen US+BASIC seems to have broken up into a US, India, China group of which South Africa and Brazil took a tactical distance. Brazil perhaps aiming at replacing China as leader of the solid G77.

As before, the EU had no place at the table of those biggies.

The EU came down to Durban like a flock of fighting vultures rather then as a united power that can sit at the table of those biggies.

As I write this sitting in Vienna, I want to go on record that what I saw in Durban was an alliance of the European Archipelago with the group of Small Island States. It was indeed a Grenada led  AOSIS alignment with the 27 individual Member States of the EU that called for the UN LDCs (Least Developed Countries) and African States, to take away the fire from the old China and  G77 in their opposition to the major polluters of the US+BASIC group.

It seems to us that an enlargement of the Small Island Independent States with the inclusion of this European Archipelago of the rather small individual Europeans, will just not be able to come up with an effective platform.
To be effective there is a need is to have a forward looking strong United Europe in order to champion climate causes in wrestling matches with the biggest polluters at these Climate meetings. We are not impressed see
ing a battalion of European officials accompany 27 Ministers of Environment and other Nationals plus powerless transplanted EU officials whose role is totally unclear, hover around those conference halls and sending home reports of empty achievement. Yes – the Europeans were of positive complexion in Durban, but the resulting PLATFORM they fought for is Flat.

Next, and probably last chance to do something about Climate Policy is available at the RIO + 20 meeting in Rio de Janeiro – June 2012 – let us not waste it as well.


###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 11th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

As picked up from Malaysia’s “The Star” – Nothing yet at UNFCCC sites – Sunday, December 11, 2011

Instant View – U.N. climate talks reach modest deal.

(Reuters) – Negotiators at U.N. climate talks in Durban, South Africa, reached a deal that for the first time would bring all major emitters into international efforts to limit global warming, but which environmentalists said did not go far enough.

Following is reaction from key players and observers.

United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres speaks with Brazil’s Minister of Environment Izabella Teixeira (L) and chief climate envoy Luiz alberto Figueiredo during a plenary session at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP17) in Durban December 10, 2011. The conference has gone an extra day in an attempt to iron out an agreement on climate change policies. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

Following is reaction from key players and observers:

CHRISTIANA FIGUERES, UNFCCC EXECUTIVE SECRETARY – “I salute the countries who made this agreement. They have all laid aside some cherished objectives of their own to meet a common purpose, a long-term solution to climate change.”

CHRIS HUHNE, UK ENERGY AND CLIMATE SECRETARY –  “This is a great success for European diplomacy. We’ve managed to bring the major emitters like the U.S., India and China into a roadmap which will secure an overarching global deal.”

JENNIFER MORGAN, DIRECTOR AT WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE – “Countries pushed ahead with the implementation of the Cancun Agreements. Most notably, they agreed to make the Green Climate Fund operational, and set up a work plan to mobilize significant climate funds from both private and public sources. Currently, however, the funding level is insufficient to meet the commitments.”

CONNIE HEDEGAARD, EU CLIMATE COMMISSIONER – “We think that we had the right strategy, we think that it worked. The big thing is that now all big economies, all parties have to commit in the future in a legal way and that’s what we came here for.”

TOSI MPANU-MPANU, HEAD OF AFRICA GROUP – “It’s a middle ground, we meet mid-way. Of course we are not completely happy about the outcome, it lacks balance, but we believe it is starting to go into the right direction.”

SAMANTHA SMITH, ENERGY AND CLIMATE INITIATIVE LEADER AT WWF – “Unfortunately, governments here have spent the last two crucial final days of negotiations focused on only a handful of specific words in the negotiating texts, instead of spending their political capital on committing to more and real action to address climate change. The bottom line is that governments got practically nothing done here and that’s unacceptable.”

KUMI NAIDOO, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL – Right now the global climate regime amounts to nothing more than a voluntary deal that’s put off for a decade. This could take us over the two degree threshold where we pass from danger to potential catastrophe

UNITED STATES CLIMATE ENVOY TODD STERN – “In the end, it ended up quite well. The (Durban platform) is the piece that was the matching piece with the Kyoto Protocol. We got the kind of symmetry that we had been focused on since the beginning of the Obama administration. This had all the elements that we were looking for.”

BRAZIL AMBASSADOR LUIZ ALBERTO FIGUEIREDO –“I am relieved we have what we came here to get. We have a robust outcome, an excellent text about a new phase in the international fight against climate change. It clearly points to action.”

SELWIN HART, CHIEF NEGOTIATOR ON FINANCE FOR SMALL ISLAND STATES – “I would have wanted to get more, but at least we have something to work with. All is not lost yet.”

ALDEN MEYER, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS – “There is some hard bargaining ahead to get a treaty by 2015. It will be particularly tough for the U.S., which isn’t doing its fair share of emissions cuts and scaling up finance. The politics on that aren’t very promising given two members of the Republican party are in complete denial.”

JENNIFER HAVERKAMP, ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND – “The challenge is that we begin the talks from the lowest common denominator of every party’s aspirations. For this effort to be successful, countries need to be ambitious in their commitments and to refuse to use these negotiations as just another stalling tool.”

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 10th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Occupy Durban? Protesters Expelled From UN Climate Conference Hall.

DURBAN, South Africa,  Friday, the supposed-to-be last day of the COP 17 of the UNFCCC, December 9, 2011 (ENS) – Demonstrators calling for “Climate Justice Now” interrupted climate negotiations today in Durban on what was to have been the last official day of the annual United Nations climate conference as agreement continued to elude negotiators.

After government delegates from around the world talked without resolution until nearly midnight, officials called it a night and decided to reconvene for further talks at 10:00 am Saturday morning.

A special type of meeting indigenous to Southern Africa, known as an Indaba, is continuing until 4:00 am to resolve outstanding issues. At an Indaba, everyone has a voice and there is an attempt to find common ground.

Conference President, South African Foreign Affairs Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, said, “The Parties are engaging genuinely and working very hard to ensure that agreement is reached on the matters before the conference. Parties are looking at convergences, guided by trust and a spirit of give-and-take.”

The Parties are considering their options “in relation to the issue of the Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol and future process” as well as long-term finance “with specific reference to the operationalization of the Green Climate Fund,” she said.

“Parties are expressing the hope that the Green Climate Fund can be launched here in Durban,” she said of the multi-billion dollar fund to help developing countries cope with climate impacts agreed in principle at last year’s UN climate conference in Cancun, Mexico.

“The various groups, including the Association of Small Island States, the Least Developed Countries, the European Union and the Africa Group are moving towards common ground on various aspects of the negotiations. Other parties are coming on board. Despite these positive sentiments, we are still not there yet,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.

Meanwhile, civil society activists erupted in protest this afternoon, blocking the plenary halls and bursting into chants of “Climate Justice Now!” “Don’t Kill Africa!” “World Bank out of Climate Finance,” “No Carbon Trading,” and “No REDD!”

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

If you still believe that out of Chaos will come neat order – you better look for a psychiatrist!

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 8th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Dear colleagues,

Every individual must act as if the whole future of the world, of humanity itself, depends on him. (Joseph Weizenbaum)

‘Rio+20 Global Youth Music Contest’ initiative will be presented on Thursday 8th December 2011 from 11:00am to 11:20am in the framework of a mini side event at the “Climate Change Studio” at Durban Exhibition Centre (DEC) during the COP17.

The Rio+20 Global Youth Music Contest is a global competition for young people organized by the International Association for the Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges (IAAI) wide number of partners and youth networks from around the world on the occasion of United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) which will be held in June 2012 in Brazil.

Rio+20 Global Youth Music Contest has a team of seven young representatives attending the 17th Conference Of Parties (COP17) at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), taking place from 28 November to 9 December in Durban, South Africa.

Related IAAI and Rio+20 Global Youth Music Contest documents and activities:

•   Rio+20 GYMC Call for Music and further info in several languages (English, German, Arabic, Chinese, etc.) www.glocha.info/index.php/riogymcresources

•   Report on presentation of Rio+20 GYMC at UN High Level Meeting on Youth 25 July 2011, New York www.glocha.info/index.php/latest-news/137-rio-2012-youth-song

•   Rio+20 GYMC letter to UN SG Ban Ki-moon www.glocha.info/images/stories/rio/group_statement_mr_ban_ki-moon.pdf

•   IAAI Input to Online Consultation for Rio+20 Zero Draft Outcome document www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/index.php page=view&nr=105&type=510&menu=20&template=509&str=IAAI

•   IAAI side event “Mobilizing Civil Society for Sustainable Development and Rio+20 & The Special Role of Youth” at 2nd Rio+20 Intersessional Meeting New York City 15 December 2011  1.15-2.45 PM www.glocha.info/index.php/latest-news/174-joint-event-of-iaai-and-unicef-at-rio20-intersessional-in-ny

——————

Jean Paul Brice Affana
Coordinator, Rio+20 Global Youth Music Contest
P.O. Box: 20387 Yaoundé, Cameroon |
Email:  JeanPaul at glocha.info  | Website: www.glocha.info

Miroslav Polzer
Secretary General, International Association for the Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges IAAI
Address: Dunajska 104, SI-1000 Ljubljana/Slovenia,
Email: polzer@glocha.info website: www.glocha.info

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 4th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Descrição: http://www.cifor.org/fileadmin/images/amazon-banner.jpg

With billions of dollars pledged to help safeguard the world’s forests in order to slow the pace of climate change, there is an increasing urgency for all regions of the forested tropics to share experiences on how to best manage those forests for their sustainable use and for the benefit of their people.

In this half-day conference on the sidelines of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties, experts on the Amazon Basin, home to the world’s largest tropical forest and dozens of REDD+ pilot projects, will meet with scientists from Africa, home to the second-largest tropical forest, to share experiences and discuss challenges and opportunities for the coming years.

The conference, titled Amazon Evening: A South-South Exchange with Africa, is jointly hosted by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the Fundação Amazonas Sustentável (FAS, Amazonas Sustainable Foundation). It will be held from 2 pm on December 2 at the Suncoast Conference Centre in Durban, South Africa.

This will be the second Amazon Evening. The first was held on the sidelines of COP16 in Cancún in 2010 and was attended by about 300 international stakeholders.

To register, please email Luiza Lima from Fundação Amazonas Sustentávelluiza.lima@fas-amazonas.org.

Agenda:

13:00 – 14:00 Registration
14:00 – 14:10 Keynote speech: Virgilio Viana, Chief Executive Officer, FAS, Brazil
14: 10 – 15:40 Panel 1. Exchange of experiences between Africa and Amazonia: Challenges and lessons learnt
Discussants will deliver brief remarks in response to the following question: What are the three key lessons learnt for successful REDD+ design and implementation?

  • ·         Chair: Yemi Katerere, Head, UN-REDD Programme Secretariat, Switzerland (to be confirmed)
  • ·         Sheila Wertz-Kanounnikoff, Senior Associate, Forests and Governance Programme, CIFOR, Mozambique
  • ·         Andre Correa do Lago, Chief Negotiator for Climate Change for Brazil and Head of the Department of Environment and Special Themes, Brazilian Ministry of External Relations, Brazil (to be confirmed)
  • ·         Andre Aquino, Environment Specialist, Carbon Finance Unit, World Bank, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • ·         Victor Kabengele, Project Coordinator, Ministry of Environment, DR Congo and Representative, Republic of Congo (to be confirmed)
  • ·         Isilda Nhantumbo, Senior Researcher, Natural Resources Group, International Institute for Environment and Development  (IIED), United Kingdom
  • ·         Alberto Paniagua, Executive Director, Peruvian Trust Fund for National Parks and Protected Areas
15:40 – 16:00 Coffee break
16:00 – 17:30 Panel 2. Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) challenges for REDD: How can Latin America and Africa collaborate?
Discussants will deliver brief remarks in response to the following questions: What are the most important issues arising from the process of moving from data gathering and processing toward REDD+ policy actions? What kind of collaboration could support this process?

  • ·         Chair: Louis Verchot, Principal Scientist, Forests and Environment Programme, CIFOR, Indonesia
  • ·         Carlos Nobre, Senior Scientist, National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Brazil (to be confirmed)

Rebecca Moore, Google Earth Outreach (to be confirmed)

  • ·         Bernard Guedes, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM), Mozambique (to be confirmed)
  • ·         Denis Sonwa, Scientist, Forest and Environment Programme, CIFOR, Cameroon
17:30 – 17:40 Brief remarks on private company involvement with the promotion of social technologies in developing countries. Bradesco Bank spokesperson
17:40 – 17:50 Closing remarks. Christine Padoch, Programme Director, Forests and Livelihoods, CIFOR, Indonesia
18:00 – 20:00 Cocktail and launch of a new publication , The Role of Community Forestry and REDD+

This event is sponsored by

Luiza Lima

Fundação Amazonas Sustentável

(92) 4009-8900/Skype: luiza.moraes.lima

www.fas-amazonas.org

###