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

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

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

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

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

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

Magnuss delivers three benefits:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

————————————————————-

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

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

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

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

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

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

———————————————

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

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

1. Geodiversity in drylands: pedogenic and ecological implications

?Conveners: Golan Bel, Ilan Stavi and Shimon Rachmilevitch

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

2. Pattern formation in the geomorphology of arid regions

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

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

3. Pattern formation in windblown sand

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

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

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

Conveners: Yael Lubin, Michal Segoli and Hadas Hawlena

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

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

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

Conveners: Yael Lubin, Michal Segoli and Hadas Hawlena

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

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

Conveners: Yael Lubin, Michal Segoli and Hadas Hawlena

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

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

Conveners: Naftali Lazarovitch and Golan Bel

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

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

Conveners: Naftali Lazarovitch and Golan Bel

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

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

Conveners: Naftali Lazarovitch and Golan Bel

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

10. Root quantification and modelling

Convener: Jhonathan Ephrath

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

11. Efficient use of water in dryland agriculture

Convener: Nurit Agam

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

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

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

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

Convener: Ornea Reisman-Berman

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

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

Conveners: Garik Gutman and Arnon Karnieli

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

14. Remote Sensing – Tools and Implications in Dryland

Convener: Arnon Karnieli

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

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

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

Convener: Gilboa Arye

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

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

16. On-site sanitation, wastewater treatment and reuse

Convener: Amit Gross

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

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

17. NGOs for water: activities in rural communities

Convener: Noam Weisbrod

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

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

Convener: Berry Pinshow

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

19. Indigenous dryland techniques to combat desertification

Convener: Pedro Berliner

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

20. Modeling and measurement of non-rainfall water inputs

Convener: Nurit Agam (and Pedro Berliner)

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

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

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

Convener: Ehud Meron

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

22. Fairy circles as a self-organization phenomenon

Convener: Ehud Meron

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

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

Conveners: Vered Tzin and Shimon Rachmilevitch

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

24. Vineyard-environment interactions

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

Conveners: Nurit Agam, Naftali Lazarovitch and Aaron Fait

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

25. Viticulture/agronomy practices in relation to climate

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

Conveners: Nurit Agam, Naftali Lazarovitch and Aaron Fait

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

26. Vine molecular physiology and genetics

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

Conveners: Nurit Agam, Naftali Lazarovitch and Aaron Fait

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

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

Convener: E. Erell and D. Pearlmutter

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

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

Conveners: Pam Chasek and Barron Orr

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

Convener: Luc Gnacadja

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

30. Land degradation neutrality: the physical and geographical dimension

Convener: Alan Grainger

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Here is a short summary of the presentations:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

————————–

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

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

His speech caused a round of applause from all participants.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The population in Taiwan is approximately 23.4 million, spread unevenly across a total land area of about 36,000 km2; it is the seventeenth most densely populated country in the world with a population density of about 650 inhabitants per square kilometer.

The original population of the island of Taiwan and its associated islands, i.e. not including Kinmen and the Matsu Islands, consisted of Taiwanese aborigines, speaking Austronesian languages and sharing mitochondrial DNA contribution with island peoples of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Immigration of Han Chinese to the Penghu islands started as early as the 13th century, while settlement of the main island occurred from the 16th century, stimulated by the import of workers from Fujian by the Dutch in the 17th century. According to governmental statistics, over 95% of the Republic of China’s population is now made up of Han Chinese, while 2.3% are Taiwanese aborigines. Half the population are followers of one or a mixture of 25 recognized religions. Around 93% of the religious population are followers of a mixture of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, while a minority 4.5% are followers of Christianity.

During the 20th century the population of Taiwan rose more than sevenfold, from about 3 million in 1905 to more than 22 million by 2001. This high growth was caused by a combination of factors, very high fertility rates up to the 1960s, and low mortality rates, and a surge in population as the Chinese Civil War ended, and the Kuomintang (KMT) forces retreated, bringing an influx of 1.2 to 2 million soldiers and civilians to Taiwan in 1948–1949.

——–

Above was a long way of explaining that mainland Han Chinese have colonized the Taiwan Island and brutally eliminated the Indigenous Peoples. The remaining Indigenous Peoples of the island live in the mountains in rather small communities that include also 30 townships.
Taking the population of Taiwan as 23 million with about 2.3% of them Indigenous this gives
as a raw number 530,000 Indigenous People that are not uniform culturally or language wise –
so the Taiwanese government was struggling with the idea of defining how many different groupings there are. These are figures for 2016.

In effect already on August 1, 1994, the term “SHANBAO” or Mountain People was dropped from
the Taiwan Constitution in favor of “INDIGENOUS PEOPLE” – a stepto correct the fact that they were not allowed self government.

Then, following the establishment of UNDRIP – the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples, IPBR – the Individual Peoples Bill of Rights, on August 1, 2016 – at the 22nd anniversary of the 1994 first step – that was a recognition of the rights of the individual, President Ms. Tsai Ing-wen, “on behalf of the government” expressed the deepest “apology for 400 years of pain and Mistreatment” they have endured. This was a recognition of the peoplehood and soon thereafter it became known in December 12, 2016, that Taiwan recognizes 16 PEOPLES – a decision with implications in the use of natural resources and the distribution of funds thereof – according to traditional customs, and ecological

It also said – “Indigenous peoples” and since December that number of cultural and linguistic
entities is 16 – recognizing thus 16 Peoples with their rights to self government and the right to decide by themselves who belongs to their PEOPLE (Nation?).

THIS IS THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES BASIC LAW OF TAIWAN. These Indigenous Peoples have a guaranteed 9 seats in the TAIWAN legislature and appoint the 30 mayors of the townships mentioned earlier.

It is this recognition of minorities, that in our opinion will allow for backing of Taiwan
in its difficult position versus China.

Globally, there are 5000 languages when talking about he Indigenous as per Prof. Elsa Stamatopoulou who was part of the UN office that promoted the subject in the UN treadmill.

She also mentioned that the subject was brought up already in the League of Nations in 1923.

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

Bertelsmann Stiftung at PRESSE CLUB CONCORDIA, Bankgasse 8, 1010 Vienna.

TUESDAY APRIL 25, 2017, 11:00-14:00

with Academics originally from Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Nigeria, Sudan.

In 2015 – one million refugees to europe; in 2016 – 300,000; in 2017 – what now?

TURKEY IS A SPECIAL CASE – Many of their Austrian Residents and Citizens are now lining up
at the Turkish government representations to turn back their Turkish Passports and renouncing their Turkish Citizenship. This in order to avoid the Stigma of dual citizenship that
Mr. Erdogan forced theM into by campaigning among them for his intent to undo democracy in his country. They voted for him forgetting that he became persona non grata in Europe and so will they.

see:

’Escaping the escape – Europe and the refugee crisis’
Tuesday, 25 April 2017, 11:00-14:00 hrs
Bertelsmann Stiftung in cooperation with The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw)
Location:
Presseclub Concordia Bankgasse 8
1010 Vienna
In 2015, more than one million refugees and migrants came to Europe, in 2016 nearly 300,000. How many will enter in 2017? What can we, in Europe, expect with wars and conflicts continuing and driving people from our neighbourhood to European shores? What is the situation in the source and transit countries of refugees and migrants that are most affected? How can the life of refugees, migrants and host communities be improved?
Listen to and debate with experts from Afghanistan, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Libya, Sudan and Nigeria: what solutions for the humanitarian migration crisis do they recommend? What are their proposals for EU actors to improve European policies?
Be our guest and meet
Mariam Safi, Afghanistan, founding director of the Organization for Policy Research and Development Studies (DROPS);
Dane Taleski, FYROM, adjunct professor at the South East European University in T etovo/Skopje;
Zakariya El Zaidy, Libya, protection team leader for the Danish Refugee Council in Libya; J. Shola Omotola, Nigeria, professor of Political Science at the Federal University Oye
Ekiti in Nigeria; and
Amira Ahmed Mohamed, Sudan, assistant professor at the Department of International Development and Social Change at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.
We will take this opportunity to launch a new Bertelsmann Stiftung publication
’Escaping the Escape – Toward solutions for the humanitarian migration crisis’
Please register for the event.

AND FOR THE ERDOGAN IMPOSED PROBLEM OF THE AUSTRIAN TURKS:

 www.krone.at/oesterreich/zweitpas…

Zweitpass zurück! Türken stürmen nun die Konsulate
Angst vor Strafen
21.04.2017, 19:57
Neuer Wirbel um illegale Doppelstaatsbürger: Die heimischen Konsulate werden auch nach dem Ende des türkischen Verfassungsreferendums von Austro-Türken gestürmt – diesmal allerdings nicht wegen eines “Ja” zur umstrittenen Reform von Präsident Recep Tayyip Erdogan, sondern um verbotene Zweitpässe abzugeben! Offenbar geht die Angst vor Strafen um …

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

APRIL 19, 2017
BASED ON THE UNPARALLELED FAREED ZAKARIA’S COLLECTION OF NEWS.


Admit it, Turkey Isn’t Getting in the EU: Becker


Turkey’s referendum should be the final nail in the coffin of the accession process for EU membership, writes Markus Becker for Spiegel Online.

“One popular counter argument is that the EU will lose any of the influence it has in Ankara by breaking off negotiations,” Becker writes. “But where was that influence in 2013 when Erdogan beat down the protests in Gezi Park? Where was it when Erdogan deliberately escalated the conflict with the Kurds as part of a domestic power play? And where was that EU influence when, right after last summer’s military coup attempt, Erdogan had tens of thousands of people rounded up and thrown into jail, including numerous journalists?”

Trump’s troubling call. Fareed says President Trump’s decision to call Erdogan to congratulate him on his referendum victory is a troubling sign at a time when Turkey is facing a “serious descent into authoritarianism.”

“Since the 1930s, Turkey was the one Muslim Middle Eastern country that had established a kind of secular liberal democracy. Now that seems to be unraveling, and yet President Trump’s response was to congratulate the strongman,” Fareed says.

“Contrast that with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who with her foreign minister issued a joint statement basically suggesting to Erdogan that ‘You won very narrowly. You really need to pay attention to the opposition. You need to pay heed to minority rights.’

“So what we have now is a situation where Germany’s chancellor has become the leading proponent of human rights and democracy and liberal constitutionalism, while the President of the United States is just saying ‘way to go.’ This is true for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. It’s true for Erdogan. For Rodrigo Duterte and his drug war in the Philippines.

“It’s disturbing because the great victory of the United States in foreign policy, in a broad sense, over the last six or seven decades has been to spread stability, along with a certain set of values. But here you have those unraveling and the President of the United States is cheering him on.”

AND:

Trump’s “Militarization of U.S. Foreign Policy”

President Trump’s recent foreign policy reversals “don’t address one of his administration’s most misguided impulses: The militarization of U.S. foreign policy,” writes James Gibney for Bloomberg View.

“It’s well and good to send a carrier task force…But without U.S. ambassadors in South Korea and Japan, not to mention an assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, the U.S. can’t do the kind of daily consultations and hand-holding needed to reassure allies whose civilian populations would bear the brunt of any North Korean retaliation,” Gibney says.

“…The influence of senior advisers steeped in the region might also have prevented diplomatic gaffes, such as Trump’s parroting of Xi’s line that Korea was once part of China.”


Don’t Panic About North Korean Nukes: Boot


The United States shouldn’t panic about North Korea acquiring nuclear weapons any more than it did China and Russia doing so, suggests Max Boot in Commentary. After all, unlike some other regimes, Kim Jong Un “does not aim to dominate his neighbors. All he wants to do is to survive.”

“By all means, the U.S. should step up sanctions, including secondary sanctions on Chinese companies doing business with the criminal regime in Pyongyang. But there is no overwhelming imperative to go beyond that and risk war, even if North Korea finally fields an ICBM with a nuclear warhead capable of reaching Washington,” Boot says.

AND:

Emirates Airline Cuts Flights To U.S., Citing Trump’s Security Rules

l
April 19, 2017


Emirates Airline says it is reducing its number of U.S.-bound flights because security restrictions imposed by the Trump administration have weakened demand in Middle East countries.

The Dubai-based carrier will pare back flights to five of the 12 U.S. cities it serves. Flights to Boston, Seattle and Los Angeles will be reduced from twice to once daily, and in Florida, daily service to Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale will shrink to five flights a week.

Overall, it’s a reduction of 25 flights per week for the airline, according to The Associated Press.

After Travel Ban, Airlines Scramble To Reroute Crew Members.

BUSINESS
After Travel Ban, Airlines Scramble To Reroute Crew Members

“The recent actions taken by the U.S. government relating to the issuance of entry visas, heightened security vetting, and restrictions on electronic devices in aircraft cabins, have had a direct impact on consumer interest and demand for air travel into the U.S,” Emirates said in a statement announcing the decision.


Last month, the Trump administration announced that passengers on direct flights to the U.S. from eight majority-Muslim countries — Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates — must now place electronic devices such as laptops, tablets and cameras in checked baggage.


Those restrictions came on the heels of President Trump’s controversial executive orders in January and early March seeking to temporarily halt travel from several other mostly Muslim nations. Both orders were halted by the courts.

The Dubai International Airport in the UAE, which is Emirates’ hub, is a major transit point for nationals of countries listed in Trump’s travel bans, The Associated Press reports.


THESE ARE CLEARLY UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES FOR TRUMP WHO AS PRESIDENT HAS NOW THE CHANCE AT A NOBEL PRIZE FOR SETTLING THE MIDDLE EAST CANYON. THIS ROAD TO SCANDINAVIA ALSO GOES VIA THE EMIRATES – DUBAI AND ABU-DHABI AND IS BASED ON FULL COOPERATION OF THE SAUDIS.

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

China. Serve the People.

25.4.2017, 19 – 21 Uhr, Oesterreichische Kontrollbank (Reitersaal), Strauchgasse 3, 1010 Wien, Anmeldung bei:  neuwirth at vidc.org oder  bertrams at vidc.org


China. Serve the People.

Background:

The economic rise of China was impressive. Within three decades, approximately 350 million people escaped from extreme poverty. Some commentators predicted China’s rise to an economic and world power and hoped that this will bring less hierarchical global economic relationships, amongst other things due to China’s importance as an emerging donor in international development cooperation. In 2013, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China decided to stimulate domestic demand and be less dependent on exports. On several occasions, the Central Committee announced its intention to promote a socially balanced economic development.

It appears that these expectations have not been met, at least for now. Economic growth has come down and domestic demand is still slow. Environmental problems and the inequality between regions and social groups have increased enormously. Poor working conditions for factory workers in the export processing zones and violations of basic rights dominate media reports on China.

What are the reasons for the stagnant growth and will China implement the announced structural reforms? What is the role of foreign investment, what are the effects of the country’s economic relations with the US? What is the social, economic and political impact of labor migration and the ongoing struggles for higher wages, safety measures and social benefits?


Ho-fung Hung and Chun-Yi Lee will analyze the current developments in China against the backdrop of closely interlinked capital and labor relations. They will also look at China’s political and economic actors and their interests.

Ho-fung Hung

is Associate Professor in Political Economy at the Sociology Department at Johns Hopkins University. His research interests lie in economic history and global political economic analyses, focusing on China’s economic development. His analyses are published regularly in academic journals and are featured in the media. Selected publications: The China Boom: Why China Will Not Rule the World (2015) and Protest with Chinese Characteristics: Demonstrations, Riots, and Petitions in the Mid-Qing Dynasty (2011), both published by Columbia University Press.

Chun-Yi Lee

lectures at the School of Politics and International Relations (SPIR) at the University of Nottingham. Her research focuses on multinational investment strategies in China and Chinese investments abroad, labor rights and industrial relations. In her recent research project she investigated Chinese labor in the global economy and the influence of foreign direct investment on workers’ rights. Her book, Taiwanese Businessmen or Chinese Security Asset was published by Routledge in 2011.

Karin Fischer

is the head of the Politics and Development Research Department at the Institute of Sociology at Linz University as well as a consultant to the VIDC. She is the chairwoman of the Mattersburg Circle for Development Studies at Austrian Universities.

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

From Fareed’s website of Thursday April 13, 2017:

The Deep Danger of AI

The growing embrace of artificial intelligence and “deep learning” raises an important – and potentially troubling – issue, writes Will Knight in MIT Technology Review. What if we can no longer understand the decisions machines make?

“There’s already an argument that being able to interrogate an AI system about how it reached its conclusions is a fundamental legal right. Starting in the summer of 2018, the European Union may require that companies be able to give users an explanation for decisions that automated systems reach,” Knight says.

“This might be impossible, even for systems that seem relatively simple on the surface, such as the apps and websites that use deep learning to serve ads or recommend songs. The computers that run those services have programmed themselves, and they have done it in ways we cannot understand. Even the engineers who build these apps cannot fully explain their behavior.”

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

From the pen of Prof.Robert Reich:

I Urge You to Boycott United Airlines

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Facebook Page
11 April 17

The night before last, United overbooked its plane traveling from Chicago to Louisville. It offered $400 and a hotel for passengers to voluntarily give up their seats. When it had no takers it upped the offer to $800, but still no one volunteered. So United randomly selected four passengers to be removed. Three obliged, but the fourth said he was a doctor and had to be at a hospital in morning and refused to deplane. As a result, the company forcibly dragged the man off the flight (see video, below it says – but we do not post videos).

Yesterday, United issued a statement via Twitter apologizing “for having to reaccommodate” its customers. Reaccommodate? This doesn’t look like any reaccommodation I’ve ever seen.

There are now only 4 major carriers left, including United. Nonetheless, if you have any choice at all, I urge you to boycott this disreputable and irresponsible airline.

What do you think?

———————————————-

We post this because we sympathize with that passenger. As it turned out those seats were needed for airline personnel and we remember how years ago we were inconvenienced on an EL AL flight by that airline believing, as State owned, their personnel have over-riding priority.
We avoid EL AL since then.

we believe these are symptoms of a police state; An atmosphere of might makes right.

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

ALSO YESTERDAY:

Sean Spicer apologized Tuesday after saying Adolf Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons” during World War II.

The White House press secretary had made the comment earlier Tuesday in an effort to shame Russia’s alliance with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his use of chemical weapons.

“I was obviously trying to make a point about the heinous acts that Assad had made against his own people last week, using chemical weapons and gas. Frankly, I mistakenly made an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust, for which there is no comparison,” Spicer said. “And for that I apologize. It was a mistake to do that.”

Spicer, who said he was “aware” that gas chambers were used during the Holocaust, later said he should have “stayed focused” on Assad and asked people to forgive him.

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

With people getting in more information and having time to contemplate the Washington disasters -here some further notes:

DELTA AIRLINES broadcast – We beat the competition – not the customers.

The CHINESE MEDIA noted the bleeding doctor that was beaten up and dragged on the floor screaming was Asian – so you our people see how we are treated by Americans in their land.
Oh well we outside China may think that China is doing things even worse to protesters – but
who is to tell them so, if that is what they saw is democracy?

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

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


Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Jacom Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research

The 6th International Conference on Deserts, Drylands & Desertification

November 6-9, 2017 — Sede Boqer Campus, Israel

Dear colleagues and friends,

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

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

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

• Afforestation in Drylands • Ecology of Drylands • Carbon Footprint
• Deserts and Drylands in Archeology • Dryland Agriculture
• Irrigation • Mathematical Aspects, Modeling and Analysis for Dryland Research
• Ecohydrology of Dryland Landscapes
• Geological Aspects of Deserts and Desertification • GIS Applications for Dryland
Studies • Hydrology in Drylands • NGO Perspectives on Dryland Development
• Nutritional and Food Security • On-site Waste Collection and Treatment • Remote
Sensing Applications for Drylands
• Soil and Land Restoration • Green Roofs and Urban Forestry
• Women and Economic Change in Rural-Arid Lands

* Additional specialized themes will be announced in the near future. Some themes may be merged with others, or canceled, depending on the number of presentations

Topics for additional sessions and/or specialized workshops should be submitted before April 1st, 2017. Abstracts for oral presentations should be submitted by May 15th, 2017.
Visit our website www.desertification.bgu.ac.il for updates

We look forward to seeing you in Israel in November 2017! Early Bird Registration will open in May 2017.

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

For more information and registration:
www.desertification.mgu.ac.il
??desertification@mgu.ac.il

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 7th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Michael Melchior is an internationally renowned Jewish leader, thinker and activist. He is a former Minister of Social and Diaspora Affairs, a former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and a former member of Knesset for Meimad.

Born: January 31, 1954 in Copenhagen and was ordained as an Orthodox Rabbi at Yeshivat Hakotel of Jerusalem in 1980. His father was Rabbi Brent Melchior, Chief Rabbi of Denmark.

what that omits is: He is the Rabbi of a vibrant community in Talpiyot, Jerusalem (Beit Boyer). In 1986, he immigrated to Israel and settled down with his family in Jerusalem, while still holding the title of Chief Rabbi of Norway.

He descends from a line of seven generations of rabbis in Denmark, Melchior was born in Copenhagen, Denmark

In Israel, Michael Melchior entered politics with the religious Meimad party in 1995. When rabbi Yehuda Amital was appointed minister without portfolio after the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in November, 1995, Melchior served as Amital’s assistant. Melchior was selected chairman of the managing committee of the Meimad party in early 1996.

In the 1999 elections, Meimad ran as part of the One Israel alliance with the Labor Party and Gesher. Melchior won a seat, and was appointed Minister of Social and Diaspora Affairs on 5 August 1999, a post he held until Ariel Sharon became Prime Minister in 2001. Melchior was re-elected to the Knesset as a member of the joint list in 2003 and 2006 as Meimad continued its alliance with the Labor Party.

In 2008 Meimad broke away from the alliance and ran in partnership with the Green Movement in the 2009 elections, but failed to win a seat. On December 14 2012, on his Facebook page he said that he will quit Knesset elections.

It is this last paragraph from his biography that caused our interest in Rabbi Michael Melchior. The full story is that Peer Visner, a deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv, was running the Green Party. Visner strongly opposed a 2006 resolution by the United States Green Party calling for divestment from Israel. Visner wrote, “We are very disappointed that our sister party in the US did not consult with the Israel Green Party before passing this resolution.
We hope that this breach in trust between our entities will be remedied with an apology and appropriate action by the US Greens. Visner was no scientist, nor an ethicist – he was just a businessman that saw the advantage of Green business. That showed to be his weakness in
eyes of attackers that thought of dreams of ethics – both on the science end and surprisingly
for the Israeli tough – hands on – politics. Michael Melchior brought from overseas a few million dollars with which he helped a few scientists from the University in Beer Sheba and they formed a second Green Party – this is the one his biography alludes to.

To make things even worse – a third green party came into existence – the Green Leaf Party Marijuana – that basically was a Marijuana advocacy and people were snowed by all this green.

In short – it was the Melchior money, and the start of a personal court case, that sank Visner and the broken Greens. In fairness, I must confess that I spoke at the time with the professors to ask them to close te gap with Visner so they have a joint list. To no avail.
So they lost he 3-4 mandates they were entitled to when you add up the split votes.
That was the margin that would have kept Netanyahu out in the cold.

Melchior did not really give up from his ethics campaign. We find other pearls on his cape:

Some of these: “in September 2012, Melchior claimed that extremist Islamic leaders including the leaders of Hamas are ready for peaceful co-existence with Israel, and he added that he has “yet to meet with somebody who is not willing to make peace” with the Jewish state of Israel, placing the onus for lack of peace with extremist Islamic movements on Israel.

A Center for Conflict Resolution by Agreement which Rabbi Melchior serves as its Chairman. The center serves as a professional address for establishing understandings and agreements between individuals, organizations, groups and communities. The center believes in every person’s abilities to resolve conflicts and to operate in cooperation with the aid of tools from the realm of mediation. Mosaica supports the activities of 33 mediation and dialogue centers across the country with the aim of making the activities accessible to an array of communities in Israel. Thus individuals, groups and communities can contribute to a cohesive and respectful Israeli society.

Another initiative of Rabbi Melchior is Kulanu that seeks to strengthen the Jewish character of the State of Israel, enhance democracy and foster unity through its diverse projects. Kulanu is best known for its Chagim BaKehilla (literally: holidays in the community) program, which provides religious services for secular Jews for many of the Jewish holidays. Kulanu worked with Teva Ivri to launch the Shmita Yisraelit program. Programs: • Chagim BaKehilla • Shmita Yisraeli (in coordination with Teva Ivri) • Meitarim: Inclusive Jewish Educational Network • Yom Kippur Shel Kulanu • B’Yachad: For a Shared Jewish Democratic Society

In 2010, Melchior involved himself in economic issues. he co-founded the Israel Civic Action Forum which promotes higher taxation on income from the extraction of natural resources, and the use of the tax income for higher government spending to increase government spending on welfare, education and health.

Surely – none of those are bad ideas. We could have honored Rabbi Melchior more had he shown up in his hometown when the whole Green World was there in 2009 at the COPENHAGEN Conference of the Parties dealing with CLIMATE CHANGE. To us this was a sign that all that attack on the Greens of Israel was just a paid for destruction move – or call it what you want. is success was then beyond his hopes. If he wanted attention – he surely got it.

Today, April 7, 2017 – with the Middle East upheaval, and Israel alking elections, Rabbi Melchior was listed to speak on – “Did we really Came Out From Egypt?” I am sure he has
prepared again cutting words. But for what purpose? I could not find out because at the
Brodt Jewish Culture Center at 22 Zeitlin Street, Tel Aviv, Ms. Aygneska Kapuchinska refused to honor my Journalism ID and asked me to provide my credit card in order buy a ticket
for 50 Shekel. I preferred to write this up without the benefit of his pearls.
He may think I am an agnostic – to which I will answer – yes butareal Green one.

Having been in Israel for 5 weeks – I do indeed predict rain and also that shortly many creatures will show up after these 10 years of leadership drought.

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

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 7th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The Times of Israel – – Israel & the Region


Former chief rabbi: What’s happening in Syria is a holocaust. A Holocaust survivor himself, Yisrael Meir Lau calls for emergency Knesset session; Yad Vashem expresses ‘deep concern’ over ‘carnage’
BY JACOB MAGID April 6, 2017, 3:41 pm 17

[Rabbi Lau s now hief Rabbi of Tel Aviv and on the Board of Yad Vaschem – the Jerusalem Institution that memorializes the European Holocaust against the Jews – but then it also looks at other insults to humanity.]

Iran conservatives hold primary in hunt for candidate. Yad Vashem head calls for end to Syrian war and its ‘atrocities’. French presidential candidate Fillon doused in flour at campaign eventSoccer hooligans don niqabs to sidestep ban on masksPressure builds on Syria’s Assad after chemical attack.

Syrian activists: Islamic State slits throats of 33 young men For Trump, the weight of world’s problems sinks in Russian police arrest 3 suspected of links to subway bombingTurkey: Syria autopsies show chemical weapons used in attack

Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, a former Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel and the current chief rabbi of Tel Aviv, told Army Radio Thursday that “what is happening in Syria is [also] a holocaust.”


“Not [just] from today, for six years a holocaust has fallen on them,” said Lau, who himself survived the Nazi slaughter of Europe’s Jews as a child and was liberated from Buchenwald death camp.


Lau said Israel and the rest of the world should put aside political considerations that may be keeping them from intervening in the civil war, joining others in Israel who have called for action in the wake of the deadly attack.


The comments came after 86 people were killed, among them at least 20 children, in a Tuesday chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun widely believed to have been carried out by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.

Victims of the attack showed signs of nerve gas exposure, the World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders said, including suffocation, foaming at the mouth, convulsions, constricted pupils and involuntary defecation. Paramedics were using fire hoses to wash the chemicals from the bodies of victims.

Medical teams also reported smelling bleach on survivors of the attack, suggesting chlorine gas was also used, Doctors Without Borders said.

The magnitude of the attack was reflected in the images of the dead — children piled in heaps for burial, a father carrying his lifeless young twins.

Syrian children receive treatment following a suspected toxic gas attack in Khan Sheikhun, a rebel-held town in the northwestern Syrian Idlib province, April 4, 2017. (AFP/Mohamed al-Bakour)
Syrian children receive treatment following a suspected toxic gas attack in Khan Sheikhun, a rebel-held town in the northwestern Syrian Idlib province, April 4, 2017. (AFP/Mohamed al-Bakour)

The attack refocused world attention on Syria after over six years of war that has left some 500,000 people dead by some estimates, and drew widespread condemnation and accusations of war crimes by the Syrian regime.

In Israel, leaders, politicians and others expressed outrage and called for action, with President Reuven Rivlin indirectly invoking the Holocaust in his Tuesday statement.

“We, as a people who survived the greatest of atrocities and rose from the ashes to be a strong and secure nation, we will do all we can to continue to aid the survivors of the horrors in Syria,” the president said in a statement. “We know all too well how dangerous silence can be, and we cannot remain mute.”

Avner Shalev, head of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Museum, expressed “deep concern over the appalling evidence of renewed carnage in Syria.”

“Following World War II, the global community enacted universal principles and instituted international organizations with the express purpose of averting future crimes against humanity,” he said.

Shalev called upon “world leaders and the global community to act now in order to place to put a stop to the atrocities and avert further suffering,” repeating comments made late last year.

Pressed on whether the international community’s responses to genocide have changed since the one he endured as a child, Lau replied that “the only thing we’ve learned from history is that we haven’t learned anything from it.”

Lau proposed that the Knesset convene an emergency session “at the height of the Passover recess…to give voice to the cries of the Syrian children…and all of the other innocent civilians.”

“If we don’t [do this], who will?” he asked.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 4th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Israel never developed its natural energy sources and chose to be dependent on imports of fossil fuels – a business area that is known to breed corruption. Not to mince words – Israeli politicians – a great majority of them – have unseemly court cases hanging around their necks anyway. To add to this – being a country under the magnifying glass of Western humanitarian liberalism adds much pressing weight in economic terms.

Franco’s Spain, and The Apartheid South Africa, were rich in indigenous resources and with the
help of imported technologies could demonstrate that they can survive any sanctions imposed.
But this was not the case of Israel in spite of rich technologies developed by Israelis, those technologies were not used at home, but exported with daughter companies abroad, even doing
business in Arab States. We can be thankful that Israel chose to reject Nuclear Power, but we will never understand the reasoning not to go big for available solar and wind technologies.
Even now, having suddenly become an “oil” State – thanks to the gas found on its door steps,
the business interests will not allow disengagement from coal imports.

With this introduction – let us look what we learned at the Herzliya meeting which we followed
up later by reading from a November 2016 Conference in Eilat.

THE SMART MOBILITY SOLUTIONS meeting at IDC/Herzliya included the Remarks
“FUELING INNOVATION FOR SMARTER MOBILITY” by Dr. Anat Lea Bonshtien now Acting Chairman of
FUEL CHOICES INITIATIVES in the PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE – AND Director of Administration of that Initiative.

To be more exact – Dr. Bohnstien who is a graduate in biochemistry from Tel-Aviv University (TAU). She handles in the PM’S office ALTERNATIVE FUELS and SMART MOBILITY.
To be even more exact: Together with the Ministry of National Energy, she is coordinating the inter-ministerial team that accompanies companies through their demonstration process of alternative fuels and alternative mobility technologies. She is also heading the academic relations under the Initiative.

At the IDC meeting I attended – she was all High-Tech Mobility, but in conversation with her
she told me she handles also Renewable Energy. As we are interested in both aspects – I will obviously delve in both directions.

This present posting is in effect a sequel to:
“Israel is the First Post-Industrial Society, that is why they sell $13.8 Billion technology in a deal. We start to look into what this means.” We posted this on March 30, 2017, and the sequel was somewhat delayed as I was hoping to interview Dr. Bohnshtien, but this did not come to be.

First let us touch upon the remarks Dr. Bonshtein made at the IDC meeting:

She told us about that Intel-Mobil-Eye 13.6 billion deal and the fact that serious players – Bosch, GM, Daimler-Mercedes-Benz, BMW,Volkswagen, Samsung, Harmon, nVidia, and more, established labs or at least offices in Israel – this because Israel is in front and has become a “Must” on topics like Automated Driving, Electric Mobility, Autonomous Mobility,
Smart Mobility – then there is an-eye-for-the-car – intelligent communication.

She said Israel got into this because of the economy’s loses of 15 billion Shekel/year in accidents and 4.5 billion Shekel/year in air pollution.

The family car is the second largest expense a family has in Israel – surpassed only by the cost of housingOn January 22, 2017 250 million Shekel were given to a program to innovate
and deploy in Smart Mobility Technologies. Those include resolution mapping.

She coordinates 10 Ministries involved in the Program and works with China and Singapore
that have large programs from which Israel can learn as well.

She talks of an ACCELERATOR for these programs – to be reviewed on May 18, 2017 and then followed by a large conference October 3, 2017

At IDC she was seconded by Roy Melzer a Patent Attorney at the private firm of Ehrlich & Fenster who pointed out that the Mobility Patents are owned mainly by US, Japan, Germany and Korea – in that order – and some others with Israel not high on the list. This is clear because those for countries are the main motor-vehicle producers. They discover technology
talents and buy them. But he says – WE WANT MORE THEN INCREMENTAL INNOVATION – WE AIM AT DESTRUCTIVE INNOVATION – when you see real change to new entities. The traditional players will still hold a lot of power but there will be new players that come in with the
destructive details.

Now we talk of sensors for the car – to understand what is in front, inventive software +
general computer. Some of these are hard to patent. But better visibility and transfer of information can still be patented.

————————–

On the second arm of Dr. Bonshtien’s charge – the one not dealing with Mobility
but rather with Fuels and sources of energy – preferably of the Renewable Energy kind
– with known technologies and novel technologies – we tried to get an appointment with
her but it did not happen.

So, without her help – we went to the internet to look at the:

EILAT-EILOT RENEWABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY
7th International Conference & Exhibition
November 27-29, 2016 Dan Eilat, Israel


Conference topics include:

Eilat Eilot as a Smart Solar Region
Solar Energy & Off-Grid as Catalyst for Energy Security
Science Fiction or Reality Demands – The Secret behind Micro Grids
PV in Israel – Stepping into a Massive Era
Energy Efficiency – Innovation and Implementation
Integration of Renewable Energy into the Grid
Smart Transportation as part of Smart City
Energy Storage – Will li-ion Batteries be the New PV?
The Efficiency of Pump Storage
Off-Grid as a Solution for Infrastructure in the Developing World
Sun Industry – Marine Agriculture and Algae

PROGRAM

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2016
08:00-20:00
Professional Tour in Renewable Energy Facilities
Pick-up from Arlozorov central bus station in Tel Aviv

The trip from Tel Aviv to Eilat and viewing on the way of:

The Ashalim Thermo-Solar Power Station: Megalim and Negev Energy
Brenmiller Energy Demo Site – Autonomous Storage-based Generation System + Light Lunch
Eilat-Eilot Off-Grid Demonstration Village
Robotic Cleaning of Solar Panels

Cocktail reception at the Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Research Center

Transfers to Dan Eilat Hotel

————

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2016
08:30
Refreshments and Registration
Projects Presentation, SUSTAINERGY 4, International Youth Competition for Renewable Energy
Lobby, Dan Eilat Hotel

10:00-11:30
Opening Session
Chair: Dorit Banet & Noam Ilan
Greetings
Presenting Awards to the Winners of the Sustainergy International Youth Competition
Big Blue Hall

Dorit Banet
Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative

Noam Ilan
Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative

Dr. Yuval Steinitz
Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources

MK Yael Cohen Paran
Knesset Israel

Danny Atar
KKL-JNF

Yiftah Ron-Tal
Israel Electric Corporation

Meir Yitzhak Halevi
Mayor of Eilat

Hanan Ginat
Mayor of Eilot Regional Council

Peretz Vazan
Ministry of Science, Technology and Space

Yisrael Dancziger
Ministry of Environmental Protection
11:30-11:50
The New Energy Era in Israel

Shaul Meridor
The Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources
11:50-12:50
Energy Independence in Cities – from Fiction to Science
Chair: Elad Topel
Big Blue Hall

Elad Topel
Environmental Unit Eilat-Eilot, Eilat City

Eli Lankri
Deputy Mayor of Eilat

Eliad Peretz
Cornell University; NASA; NSF

Hadas Rozen
SolarEdge

Noam Segal
The Israeli Energy Forum

Avi Brenmiller
Brenmiller Energy

Yaron Liv
IEC – Israel Electric Corporation

13:00-14:00
Lunch & Visit the Exhibition
Hotel Restaurant & Foyer

14:00-15:15
The Vision of 100% Renewable Energy
Chair: Yuval Zohar
Big Blue Hall

Dr. Griffin M. Thompson
U.S. Department of State

Emily Rochon
Greenpeace International

Tobias Kempermann
EWE

Nurit Gal
Public Utility Authority (PUA)
Panel – The Next Big Thing for Cleantech Innovation
Chair: Avi Feldman
Big Blue Hall

Avi Feldman
Capital Nature

Ross Bruton
Frost & Sullivan

Mike Freeman
Israel – Colorado Innovation Fund; Innosphere

Dr. Bracha Halaf
The Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources

Mickey Steiner
innogy Israel

Gil Golan
General Motors
15:15-16:30
Renewable Energy CEO’s Forum – an Open Discussion: Barriers, Growth and Forecasts
Chair: Eitan Parnass
Big Blue Hall

Eitan Parnass
Green Energy Association of Israel (GEA-IL); Global Solar Council

Nurit Gal
Public Utility Authority (PUA)

Gilad Yavetz
EnLight Renewable Energy

Yaron Szilas
Shikun & Binui Renewable Energy

Shai Porat
Inbar Solar Energy

Amnon Epstein
Epstein Rosenblum Maoz (ERM)

Nadav Barkan
EDF EN Israel

Shahar Ben Moyal
Arava Meshakim & Partners
Panel – Sustainable Mobility & Energy Efficiency
Chair: Zviya Baron & Limor Nakar Vincent
Tarshish Hall

Zviya Baron
PetroQuantum B.V.

Limor Nakar-Vincent
BIRD Foundation

Assaf Tamir
BEDEK Aviation Group

Ariella Grinberg-Felder
General Motors Israel

Dr. Alexis Abramson
Case Western Reserve University

Dr. Saul Reichman
Renault Innovation Lab Israel

Lana Elner
Busnet & Trucknet Drive

16:30-17:30
Global RE Opportunities for Israeli Business
Chair: Adv. Orit Marom
Big Blue Hall

Adv. Orit Marom
Shibolet & Co.

Adv. Jack Jacobs
Cleantech Law Partners

Stefan Acsinte
European Investment Bank

Yosef Abramowitz
CEO, Energiya Global; Co-founder, Arava Power

Karl Fickenscher
Power Africa

Hon. Dr. Dhieu Mathok Ding
Minister of Energy and Dams, Republic of South Sudan

Mr. Ilan Goldstein
Gigawatt Global Wind
The Scaling Up Challenge
Chair: Gil Shaki
Big Blue Hall

Gil Shaki
Office of the Chief Scientist, Ministry of Economy

Casper Van der Tak
CVDT Consulting

Zvika Klier
TIGI

Jonathan Shrier
U.S. Embassy

Dr. Harold Wiener
Terra Venture Partners

Eran Levy
Enel Innovation Hub

15:45-17:00 – Entrepreneurs, Economic and Environmental Aspects in Algae Rearing and Mariculture
Chair: Noam Mozes & Dr. Adi Levi
Coral Hall

Noam Mozes
Israel Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

Dr. Adi Levi
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

Maya Yakobs
Zalul

Hagai Stadler
Algatech

Shaul Zaban
Zenovar

Lior Kaufman
BIOALGAE

The above list, besides having given a podium to many Ministers – it also focused on


Off-Grid as a Solution for Infrastructure in the Developing World via
Sun Industries – Marine Agriculture and Algae.

But these are technologies Israelis from private enterprise presented many years ago,
and effected in foreign countries but really did not have much of an an impact in Israel proper. Will the new effort effect also Israel or it will be mainly a tool for export?

Among the participating delegations I focused on the Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, UAE, based
IRENA – International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will be attending this year’s Eilat-Eilot Renewable and Clean Energy Conference. The delegation will participate in the event as part of the Agency’s mission to create a strategic plan for the Israeli government to help facilitate the deployment and proliferation of renewable energy in Israel. IRENA, based in Abu Dhabi, is the largest intergovernmental organization to promote the widespread adoption of renewable energy. The arrival of the globally recognized green powerhouse to the conference is a major boost for the Israeli clean energy sector.

Delegation
Dolf Gielen
Director IRENA Innovation and Technology Centre
Germany

Susan Pond

LONDON: Business can and must be at the forefront of technical and policy innovation to tackle climate change, says Dolf Gielen, Head of Innovation, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), in an exclusive Climate TV interview during IRENA’s Innovation Week in Bonn earlier this month.

Innovative technology already exists today to help companies meet their 100% renewable electricity goals, according to the Head of Innovation. “There are companies that are more in the service sector, like supermarkets, where it’s clear that rooftop solar photovoltaic can have a very important role,” he underlines, “especially if combined with energy efficiency and perhaps even some forms of energy storage – for example also cold storage, because there’s a lot of refrigeration demand.”

“A different story is the energy-intensive companies, like cement production, iron, steel, petrochemical. These are sectors where renewable electricity can play a role, but you also need to find a solution for the thermal energy demand, and we think that bioenergy there and bio-refinery concept can play a more important role.”

Following the plan drawn up in the historic Paris Agreement, business must act now to reach net zero emissions over the next half century. The role of technical innovation in this scenario is crucial, says Dolf Gielen, since the energy markets are going through a significant period of change – which can create huge business opportunities.

“The most prominent example is the electricity market”, he says. “You see that electricity prices have changed dramatically. There are now more and more periods of excess of renewable electricity available, where electricity is available for free, or people are even paid to use that electricity. That’s of course a great business opportunity.

“But the challenge is to find that specific application where you get most value out of that surplus of electricity. And on the other hand, there is now periods of electricity scarcity, when prices go up. So, if you have some kind of storage solution, or some type of demand-response capacity to deal with that scarcity, that’s a great business opportunity.”

GOING 100% RENEWABLE

Forward-thinking businesses are already reaping the benefits of the transition toward a low carbon economy. RE100, convened by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, is an ambitious global initiative to engage, support and showcase influential companies committed to using 100% renewable power.

“The cliché is that industry can’t do anything because they need cheap energy and you should just leave it to the market,” says Dolf Gielen. “But industry is also the largest consumer of energy, and therefore it has a great opportunity to influence how that sector develops. And in that sense RE100 is really key.

“It’s the companies that everybody knows, the big companies, showing that it is possible to move to 100% renewables, and that has of course a great function as an example for all the others. If these companies can do it, then why not everyone?”

Business and government must collaborate to unlock the trillions of dollars of investment needed for the transition to a net zero emissions economy. Policy support for this shift is key, and innovative solutions can accelerate progress.

The Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance has played a vital role in shaping the Paris Agreement, showcasing the importance of sub-national governments in driving bold climate action that makes sense for both businesses and citizens.

ROLE OF INNOVATION

“What is clear from the discussion so far is that we see very rapid technological innovation, but we can almost take that for granted,” says Dolf Gielen, commenting the first day of IRENA’s Innovation Week. “While on the side of the market design, policy design, and business models – that’s probably where a stronger push would be warranted and that’s also where the great progress can be achieved and where the business opportunities are.

“The second outcome is that it’s clear that the power sector is the one where we will see more change in the coming years, and it’s going to be very interesting how that will evolve in different markets – probably we are going to see a diversity of solutions and pathways , and that will create fantastic new business opportunities.”

Leading businesses, investors and policymakers will convene at the end of the month in London for the Business & Climate Summit – the first big event post-Paris to implement what was agreed last December – and work together to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy.

This year must be the turning point to implement the strategies that will help keep global temperature rise under the 2 degrees Celsius threshold – a pathway that is good for business, good for growth and good for the environment.

The Business & Climate Summit, on June 28-29, 2016 in London, will be critical to build the partnerships needed to scale up and accelerate this inevitable transition toward a more prosperous world.

Dennis Volk,Programme Officer
International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

and Susan Pond

Dennis Volk advises IRENA member states and their governance decision makers in the design and implementation of enabling environments for the development and integration of renewable resources into power systems. His main focus areas are institutional design choices and techno-economic governance frameworks which ensure the reliable, affordable and sustainable development and operations of power systems at the interface between existing infrastructures, technology innovation and deployment. His advisory work, strategically summarised under the umbrella of the IRENA Regulatory Empowerment Project, responds to needs expressed by IRENA member states and cuts across several regional programmes in Africa, America and South-East Asia. Dennis’ advisory work builds upon his 10 years of experience in national and international power system governance, including for market liberalisation and renewables development and integration. As a former electricity analyst with the German federal energy regulator (‘Bundesnetzagentur’) he understands the various practical challenges of framework design and implementation in all relevant detail, a set of experience which he combines with global knowledge on energy markets and power systems through his work for the International Energy Agency (IEA). He is contributor to various decision making processes and author of various targeted papers.

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Also – as the conference was held at Eilat and a special emphasis was in place for marine technologies – the following has to be specially noted – this because we are familiar with the algae work we helped some 25 years ago to open a second plant in Brazil based on the Eilat plant that was built with Japanese investment according to studies performed at Bat Galim near Haifa:

Meeting of Investors and Entrepreneur in Marine Biotechnolgy Mariculture
15:30- 15:45 Registration

Introduction session:

Entrepreneurs, economic and environmental aspects in algae rearing and mariculture

Chairmans: Noam Mozes, Ami Ben Amotz

15:45-15:55 Establishing Algae production in the Desert, with a future perspective

Hagai Stadler, Alga-technologies

15:55-16:05 Recirculating Aquaculture Systems – the future of fish farming in large commercial operations

Yoav Dagan, Aqua-Maof

16:05-16:15 Remarks on conservation vs. development in the Gulf of Eilat

Maya Yakobs, Zalol

16:15-16:25 Environmental aspects in development of environmental friendly mariculture park in Southern Arava

Noam Mozes, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

16:25-16:45 Innovation on alae companies:

Univerve – Raanan Hertzog

Bioalgae – Lior Kaupman

Nori-Blue – Belya Potash

TransAlgae – Doron Izenshtat

16:45-17:00 Economic aspects of producing fuel from micro and macro algae

Ruslana Rachel Palatnik, University of Haifa

Entrepreneur Investors’ Meeting

Chairmans: Yaron Himhi

17:00 – Opening greetings

17:00-17:10 Meir Yitzhak Halevi – Mayor of Eilat
17:10-17:20 Hannan Ginat – Mayor of Eilot Council
17:20-17:30 Eli Lankri – Deputy Mayor of Eilat
17:30-18:00 Coffee break

18:00-18:15 The development of a biotechnology and mariculture park in Southern Eilat-EilotNoam Mozes,

Shaul Zaban, Dror Nachmias, Uri Harel

18:15-18:30 MBE foundation

Yaron Kimhi

18:30-18:45 Optional R&D infrastructure and facilities

Rafi Fridman

18:45-19:00 Mariculture – present and future challenges

Hanna Rosenfeld, National Center for Mariculture, IOLR

19:00-20:00

Expert panel answering questions from the audience on the requirements, possibilities and limitations of entrepreneurs in the development phase of the mariculture park Eilat-Eilot

Moderator: Yaron Gunda

Panel experts:

Ely Lankri, Noam Mozes. Hanna Rosenfeld, Amos Tandler, Sheldon Pink – Director of Industry area in Aqaba.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 4th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

EUobserver NEWS – ENERGY

EU-Israeli gas pipeline to compete with Russia.

By ANDREW RETTMAN

BRUSSELS, April 4, 2017 – 09:14

The EU and three member states have backed a plan for Israel to reduce Europe’s gas dependence on Russia – The European Commission and ministers from Cyprus, Greece, and Italy signed up to build a new gas pipeline from Israel to Europe at a meeting in Tel Aviv on Monday (3 April).


Israeli gas considered safer than Russia’s, which has been used for political blackmail


The 2,200-km East-Med pipeline would connect Israeli and Cypriot offshore gas fields to Greece and Italy.

It is designed to come online in 2025 with a capacity of up to 16 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas a year.

It would be the longest and deepest ever built, but an EU co-financed feasibility study by Italian firm IGI Poseidon said the project should go ahead.

Speaking in Tel Aviv on Monday, EU energy commissioner Miguel Arias Canete took a swipe at a competing Russian project, Nord Stream 2.


“North Stream is a pipeline [that] adds nothing to the [EU’s] security of supply,” he said.

He said the commission’s strategy was “to diversify sources, routes, and suppliers” and hinted that Israel was a safer partner than Russia, which has used gas to blackmail neighbouring countries.


“Cyprus and Israel are very reliable suppliers,” he said.

With Nord Stream 2 disliked by Baltic, central European, and Nordic states, Canete added that the Israeli project “is a pipe that unites and will have the full support of all the members of the European Union”.

Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s energy minister, said US investment banks, such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, got excited about the €6 billion project when they learned that the commission was on board.

“When they heard that the European energy commissioner was behind it [and] ready to give some assistance, that was very helpful,” he said.

He said the amount of gas discovered for export so far, up to 500 bcm, was “just the tip of the iceberg”.

Carlo Calenda, Italy’s economic development minister, said Rome would seek the backing of the G7 club of wealthy nations, which includes Canada, Japan, and the US, for the pipeline at a summit in Sicily in May.

The Cypriot energy minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said the project would “showcase” the region’s potential as an alternative EU supplier.

The much bigger Nord Stream 2 pipeline is designed to pump 55 bcm of gas a year to Germany from 2020, concentrating EU supplies in Russia and Germany’s hands.

It faces open questions on whether EU laws would apply to its offshore section, as well as complaints from the Polish energy regulator, but Russia has already started buying pipe segments.


Political risk


The East-Med pipeline is to run through Cypriot waters to avoid disputed maritime zones with Turkey and Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus.

But EU-Israeli cooperation carries other political risks.

According to Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, the EU’s envoy to Israel delivered a stinging rebuke on Israel’s treatment of Palestinians last week.

He said Israeli evictions in the West Bank constituted “forced transfers” in violation of Israel’s “obligations” under the Geneva Convention as an “occupying power”.

The ambassador, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, read out the EU note, which had been approved by all 28 member states in the bloc’s Political and Security Committee, at a meeting with Israel’s top foreign ministry official.

The EU foreign service had planned to hold a summit with Israel in February to upgrade relations, but plans were put on hold after a surge in Israeli settlement expansion.

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That means the major political risk as seen by the EU is thus the treatment by Israel of the Palestinians – but here at SustainabiliTank we are now confident that Trump is working on this so possible realignments are on the political horizon as well.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 2nd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The Jerusalem Post Opinion Piece of this Weekend.

BY ILAN EVYATAR MARCH 30, 2017 20:50


EARS TO THE GROUND: In approaching Middle East peace, Trump should focus on the attainable, not the improbable.

The Annual Arab League Summit took place in Amman this week with US President Donald Trump’s international negotiator, Jason Greenblatt, in attendance as part of his Middle East “listening tour.” Greenblatt told Arab foreign ministers in the Jordanian capital that peace between Israel and the Palestinians is possible and reaffirmed Trump’s desire to pull off a deal.

Egyptian President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah will all be in DC over the next month and peace talks will be high on the agenda at all of those meetings.

Reports have suggested that Trump is looking into the possibility of hosting a Middle East summit with Abbas, Netanyahu and Arab leaders, including from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.

“The time has come to make a deal,” Greenblatt said before heading to Amman. Arab foreign ministers expressed their support for a two-state solution in the summit’s closing statement. Abbas, too, told Greenblatt a deal is possible, while Netanyahu also said he is committed to working with Trump “to advance peace with the Palestinians and with all our neighbors.”

Reports have suggested that Trump is looking into the possibility of hosting a Middle East summit with Abbas, Netanyahu and Arab leaders, including from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.

“The time has come to make a deal,” Greenblatt said before heading to Amman. Arab foreign ministers expressed their support for a two-state solution in the summit’s closing statement. Abbas, too, told Greenblatt a deal is possible, while Netanyahu also said he is committed to working with Trump “to advance peace with the Palestinians and with all our neighbors.”

The ball is rolling and diplomatic crunch-time is approaching. All sides will have to decide how to turn their words into actions and what positions they will bring to the table.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu has said that he is in discussions with the US administration over ground rules for settlement construction in the West Bank. Yesterday he hinted that he was about to approve a new settlement, the first in 25 years, for the 40 families evicted from Amona – perhaps a hint that some kind of understanding has been reached on the matter.

But if the Trump administration is serious about convening a Middle East summit, then there will be greater issues for Netanyahu to decide upon.

Is Trump really serious? Or is he just going through the motions? If he does convene a summit, will he make do with a photo-op that gets Israel and the leaders of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states on the same stage for the first time or does he really think he can clinch the “ultimate deal”? Does he really believe he can succeed where all other presidents have failed?

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WE WROTE YESTERDAY THAT WE THINK TRUMP IS VERY SERIOUS ON THE MIDDLE EAST – THIS IS ACTUALLY THE ONLY AREA HE COULD PULL OFF A SUCCESS THESE DAYS.

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For all the talk about a convergence of interests between Israel and the moderate Sunni states that are all threatened by Iran, it is highly unlikely that the Middle East’s strange bedfellows will go public with their relationship without Israel’s prior agreement to conditions it cannot accept.

Furthermore, relations with Israel are hardly a priority for Saudi Arabia, as senior Saudi commentator Jamal Khashoggi wrote a few months back. Its priorities, he says, are economic reforms and the security threats posed by Iran and the collapse of neighboring countries – issues in which Israel cannot take a direct role. And when it comes to Iran, the worst thing Saudi Arabia could do, he said, is to be publicly aligned with Israel against Tehran.

While tacitly acknowledging existing ties in certain fields, he notes, “Whatever the kingdom needs is accessible without his help. If we presume that we need to buy an advanced Israeli device to accomplish a strategic Saudi project, there are a thousand third parties that are ready to buy the device and re-export it to us.”

As for the Palestinians and Israelis, Trump is hardly likely to have too much luck on that front either. It remains true that the maximum Israel is willing to give the Palestinians is less than the minimum the Palestinians are willing to accept and vice versa, and the fact that Trump prides himself on being a man who knows how to cut a deal will not change that.

If Greenblatt has been listening to his interlocutors on his tour he should report back to the president that conditions are not ripe for the ultimate deal, but that common interests do exist.

While a regional peace deal would obviously be desirable, rather than risk almost certain failure – that could well result in a new round of violence in a bid for an all-embracing final status agreement – Trump should concentrate on interim solutions; those that increase Palestinian autonomy, build up the Palestinian economy and institutions of state, increase freedom of movement, rein in settlement construction to the blocs and develop ties between Israel and the moderate Sunni states where common interests exist.

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WE BELIEVE THE TIME FOR SMALL MOVES IS OVER – THEY LED NOWHERE AND THIS WAS FOR ALL TO SEE.
TRUMP WILL HAVE TO DO IN BUSINESS WAYS ARM-TWISTING AND DISH OUT LOTS OF CANDY TO BUILD ON EXISTING PLANS AND HAVE THEM SUGAR COATED. THE TRUTH IS THAT BY NOW ALL MAIN ACTORS OUGHT TO BE INTERESTED IN THE TRUMP DEAL. TRUMP – JUST GO FOR THE GOLD AND LET NOBODY HOLD YOU BACK.
YOU STARTED WELL BY NOT GOING TO AIPAC.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 2nd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Jerusalem Post Israel News

DEFEAT FOR CHIEF RABBI YOSEF IN HIGH COURT RULING ON ‘AGUNAH FROM SAFED’

BYJEREMY SHARON MARCH 30, 2017 13:59

In 2014, the Safed Rabbinical Court issued an innovative ruling in Jewish law issuing a bill of divorce to a woman whose husband was in a permanent vegetative state, on behalf of the husband.


In a defeat for Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, the High Court of Justice gave its final decision on the “Aguna from Safed” case.

Thursday’s ruling, that the Supreme Rabbinical Court may not hear a third party appeal to a lower court divorce ruling, is a blow to Yosef, who fiercely opposed the precedent set in the case. The decision is a victory for the woman herself and the “Mavoi Satum” organization, which represented her and which claimed that severe damage would be done to the finality of all rabbinical court rulings if third party appeals were heard by the Supreme Rabbinical Court.

The Aguna from Safed is the case of a 34-year-old woman whose husband sustained severe injuries in a motorcycle accident nine years ago, after which he fell into a coma and has never recovered.

Jewish law stipulates that a man must freely give his wife a bill of divorce, a get, for the marriage to be formally terminated.

But since an unconscious person is unable to do so this situation leaves his wife “chained” to the marriage.


In the summer of 2014, three rabbinical judges of the Safed Rabbinical Court, in consultation with the man’s doctors, ruled there was no serious likelihood that he would ever wake from his coma.

They then used an innovative interpretation of Jewish law concluding that they could issue a “get zikui” – a bill of divorce that is granted on the husband’s behalf – which he would agree and desire to give if he could.

According to the interpretation used by the rabbinical judges, it is a positive Torah commandment to end a marriage if the husband is no longer able to fulfill his marital obligations, and he would therefore want to issue the divorce if this was the case, allowing the rabbinical judges to enact this wish.

The Safed ruling was issued by court president Rabbi Uriel Lavi, Rabbi Yosef Yagoda and Rabbi Haim Bazak, who noted in the ruling that they had based their decision on the halachic opinions and writings of two of the most authoritative rabbis of the last century: Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz, known as the Hazon Ish, and Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank.

But the ruling caused outrage among senior haredi (ultra-Orthodox) rabbis, including Yosef, who publicly denounced it, and an uninvolved third party subsequently appealed the decision to the Supreme Rabbinical Court.

Such an appeal was itself unprecedented and Mavoi Satum appealed to the High Court claiming the Supreme Rabbinical Court had no authority to hear such an appeal.

On Thursday, the High Court upheld that claim and ruled in favor of the woman, and the panel of three judges, including deputy president of the court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, ordered the Supreme Rabbinical Court to refrain from holding such a hearing, as it had planned.

Rubinstein wrote that the woman had suffered greatly, first after her husband was injured in the accident that totally incapacitated him, then the long struggle of approximately seven years to get a divorce, and then the uncertainty of the divorce by having it challenged by Yosef, the Supreme Rabbinical Court president.

“The time has come to end this saga. The petitioner will go in peace and rebuild her life,” wrote Rubinstein.

The judges also wrote that hearing the appeal would violate the rabbinical court’s own regulations, and that reversing the decision and returning the woman to her aguna status would do injury to the Basic Law for human dignity and freedom.

In addition, they agreed with Mavoi Satum that allowing a third party appeal would injure the finality of rabbinical court decisions, and, in particular, would cast a shadow of doubt over all divorces ever issued, since ostensibly anyone even without standing could appeal it.

Rubinstein acknowledged the differences of opinion in Jewish law over the issue, but said allowing a third party appeal was not the way to address such issues.

“It being the eve of the Festival of Freedom [Passover] it is fitting that we ensure that the dignity and freedom of the petitioner be respected, and through this absolute order, the journey of her tribulations will end,” wrote Justice Hanan Meltzer at the end of the ruling.

Mavoi Satum director Batya Kehana Dror warmly welcomed the ruling, saying it would not only resolve the situation of the woman in question but also encourage other rabbinical courts and judges to take responsibility for the lives of those coming before them for judgment.

“We need to find new solutions to this problem within Judaism and Jewish law,” Kehana Dror said. “That is what these rabbinical judges did, and we need to let them forge new paths and not stymie this process.”

She added that Safed court president Lavi himself stated in the original ruling that if a judge finds a new solution he should not desist in applying it.

“The decision of the High Court in recognizing that the status of aguna as an injury to the dignity and freedom of chained women, even if it is ostensibly in the name of Jewish law, is a precedent that is likely to encourage important solutions within Jewish law for the sake of repairing the world and for the rights of Jewish women,” Kehana Dror added.

She acknowledged however that the strong stance taken by Yosef and the rabbinic establishment against the get zikui would have a chilling effect on other rabbinical judges who might consider issuing a groundbreaking ruling of their own.

AND YOSEF”S REVENGE:

The fact that Lavi was prevented by Yosef from even being nominated to the Supreme Rabbinical Court in the most recent round of appointments would further discourage such rulings.

Neither Yosef or the Rabbinical Courts Administration issued a response by press time.

But we want to bring attention to this case. We think Israel will not be able to lead again
humanity if it does not rid itself of the ultra-religious who insist in meddling in other peoples business – as if they have the direct line to God.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 30th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Getting close to the end of our 5 weeks visit to Israel we slowly are reaching the conclusion that the technology phenomenon of present days Israel has turned the country into a Post Industrial Community – the first of this kind – and well ahead of the New USA that in itself, in strange ways, it came about thanks to forces unleashed by the Israel phenomenon.

We intend to spread our impressions over a series of articles. The first of which will deal with the IDC – or the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya – founded by a 1992-1994 vision to Have a High Level, English Speaking, University in Israel. This by the Dean of the Law Faculty at Tel Aviv University – Prof. Uriel Reichman – who is still the President of what is now a sizable University.

It has 1850 students from 86 countries with a students/teacher ratio of 8:1 and 20,000 Alumni worldwide.

Israel has now 39 Institutions of High Learning and IDC is #1

Having described this let me describe the structure. It is built on what was an air-force base
and still on a strip of land between the school and the sea, there is a commercial air-field for small planes.

The University has a central lane with buildings for the 20 schools in basically two parallel lines. A large number of dormitory units are being built on a third line – outside the school gates. The school is expected to grow now by leaps.

What made me go to Herzliya – just two train stops from Center Tel Aviv – or one stop from the Tel Aviv University (TAU) – were two Conferences:

(1) DIGIT2017 or Digital Journalism on Monday, March 27, 2017 and

(2) SMART MOBILITY SOLUTIONS (OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES) on Wednesday March 29, 2017.

Also, this week they had going on a 30 business-managers round-table.

You can say this is a Business School with associated Law School, Psychology School, Management School etc. … twenty of them.

Now, one is remembered by the daily papers that Israelis have just sold “smart-cars-eyes” for a neat some of $13.8 Billion, while less noticed is tat once a week there is a $400 million deal.

Some of these sales are actually investments with Israeli High Tech men and women continuing to operate further the technical center in Israel. In effect as I learned in the Mobility Conference I attended – practically all important automotive businesses globally – have operations in Israel. What is being mined here are the minds of the young Israelis and IDC
is now the link between these minds and the young oversea folks.

Why did I promise that I see here the first post-Industrial society? Simply – Israel does
not make its own tooth-paste anymore. They have to import it or pay royalties and let someone use Colgate”s name. But when it comes to export smart drones or missile-parts – you can count on Israel. The Digital-topic Conference went into depth of Internet Communication; the Mobility Conference dealt in depth with future mobility motoric Communication – a tic tat for many in the room has already been cleared by the technology masters that originated from here.

And why did I mention the Israel – US relationship? This because of the impact of Israel’s difficulties with its geography neighborhood. While President Obama, an intellectual himself, understood well the Israeli potential in energy sources substitution and acting on climate change or topics of Sustainability, it was his disagreement with the way the Israel Government refuses to do the obvious things he thought were due. So, Israel hoped that being helpful in switching the American Administration from left to right will back the Israelis that want to hang on to the status quo. But as we will present in future columns – this was a very faulty proposition and President Trump is really not campaigner Trump. It seems that Trump wants rather a Nobel Prize for being more pointed in cutting the ME (Middle East) Gordian knot.

But on this later.

Here I only would like to bring out some more about the IDC and its Schools.

When you come in through the main gate – address given Kanfei Nesharim 2, Herzliya 4610101,
you see a big building – Dr. Miriam & Sheldon G. Adelson School of Entrepreneurship that has as its main ingredient the Sam Zell Entrepreneurship Program.

In front, at the side and on grass – stands a stylized Elephant figure by Zigi Ben Haiim,
called Vintage Breeze 1990, of stainless steel, concrete, and copper – Donated in the honor
of the Adelsons by Tsipi and Yori Ben Haiim.

To those that do not know, Sheldon Adelson is a Las Vegas and Macao tycoon Republican to his core, owner of the Israeli Press (some 4 papers) and backer of Prime Minister Netanyahu and
co-creator of the Trump phenomenon.

Then, walking the campus you encounter other known contributors, many from the top US money crust.

The Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy, and Strategy,

The Arison (shipping and Banking) School of Business,

The Baruch Ivcher (from Peru) School of Psychology, with the Sagol Center for Brain & Mind,

The Tiokin School of Economics,

The Radzimer Law School

Some of the Latter being part of the Raphael Recanati Scool of Business.

The Sammy Ofer School of Communication,

The Efi Arazi School of Computer Science

And the School of Sustainability that was established not by an individual but by a Corporation – Israel Corp., ICL & ORL. the only such listing.

I noted these facts not because I do suggest any taint in the material studied – definitely not – but only to show that I expect the business approach to be one of good business.

If Mr. Adelson might not care much much for Sustainability, the IDC will nevertheless make sure that Sustainability as good business will be a table-topic. So no worry – this side of Trump will not win.


And I found indeed: “We strive to develop and use our natural resources, but in a careful and responsible manner. It is our moral duty to future generation to leave the planet habitable.”

Prof. Yoav Yair, Dean of the School of Sustainability.”

The Founding Dean of Sustainability at IDC was Prof. Mordechai Schecter – Prof. Emer., Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, Univ. of Haifa;
Dean, School of Environmental & Natural Resource Economics.

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

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

March 28, 2017

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

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

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

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

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China’s Been Busy on Mischief: Report

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

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

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