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


Interfaith-center – Jerusalem Climate Interfaith Event 1


Amidst Violence and Crushing Heat, Jerusalem Religious Leaders Agree on Urgency of Curbing Climate Change

JERUSALEM, JULY 26 – As Jerusalem experiences another wave of violent conflict and punishing heat, Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders came together to urge people of all faiths to help curb climate change.

Rabbi David Rosen, AJC International Director of Interreligious Affairs;
Father Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land;
and Kadi Iyad Zahalha, judge of the Muslim Sharia Courts in Israel
reached a consensus on the religious basis for environmental sustainability and addressing climate change. At the event, a new letter signed by 36 Israeli Orthodox rabbis was released, calling for action on climate change.

Custos Father Patton said, “We are part of creation, so we have to take care of our common home and take responsibility for creation.”


Rabbi Rosen cited Deuteronomy 30:19: “Choose life in order that you and your children shall live.” He said, “today, climate change is a matter of life and death. Because of this, everything else becomes secondary—it’s like rearranging the deck chairs on the ship Titanic as we head for the iceberg.”

Kadi Zahalka spoke to the importance of “taking care of everything for the coming generation. We need to do our part in saving and preserving nature and all the earth.”

The event was organized by The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development (ICSD), which works to catalyze a transition to a sustainable, thriving, and spiritually-aware society through the leadership of faith communities. Overlooking the walls of the Old City, the interfaith event served as a counterpoint to the recent violence in Jerusalem’s Old City. The interfaith event focused on the critical role of faith leaders in increasing awareness about the moral obligation for environmental sustainability and curbing climate change.


Rabbi Yonatan Neril, ICSD’s director, moderated the panel and cited studies linking climate change to increased drought and extreme heat in the Middle East, which are exacerbating conflict and threat multipliers. The event was held at the Jerusalem Press Club.

Photos and video content, and the climate change letter by Orthodox rabbis are available upon request by replying to this message.

 madmimi.com/p/d2567a?fe=1&pact=1…

Press contact: Yonatan Neril: 054-723-4973,  yneril at interfaithsustain.com

Interfaith Climate Panel by ICSD-001

About the Speakers:

David Rosen

Rabbi David Rosen, AJC International Director of Interreligious Affairs, has been advancing understanding and good relations between religious communities for more than 40 years – from the time he served as rabbi of the largest Orthodox Jewish congregation in South Africa, during his tenure as Chief Rabbi of Ireland ; and throughout the last 30-plus years based in Jerusalem. In addition to interreligious representation and education, his work involves mediation and peace-building and he is deeply involved in multi-religious engagement on ecological issues. Widely recognized for his work, Rabbi Rosen was granted a papal Knighthood in 2005 for his contribution to Jewish-Catholic reconciliation and was made a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 2010 by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II for his work promoting interfaith understanding and cooperation.

Custos Fr. Francesco Patton

Father Francesco Patton is Custos of the Holy Land. The Custody of the Holy Land is a custodian priory of the Franciscan order in Jerusalem, founded as Province of the Holy Land in 1217 by Saint Francis of Assisi, who also founded the Franciscan Order. Fr. Patton served in various capacities in his province and also within the Order. He was twice Secretary General of the General Chapters in 2003 and 2009; Visitator General in 2003, Minister Provincial of St. Vigilium (Trent, Italy) from 2008 to 2016; President of the Conference of Provincial Ministers of Italy and Albania (COMPI)
He also served in many capacities outside of the Order: as member of the Diocesan Presbyteral Council and secretary of the Diocesan Pastoral Council of the archdiocese of Trent; professor of Social Communications at the Studio Teologico Accademico Tridentino; collaborator of the Diocesan Weekly, the Diocesan Radio and Telepace Trento; and enrolled with the journalists of Trentino-Alto Adige as publicist since 1991.

Kadi Iyad Zahalka

Kadi Iyad Zahalka is judge of the High Sharia Court of Appeals and Director of the
Sharia courts in Israel. Kadi Zahalka is an accomplished judge, lecturer, author and activist. He has filled several important positions in the Shar’i court system, including that of Director. Kadi Zahalka obtained his L.L.B. from Tel Aviv University, and his M.A. and PhD from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, with his thesis on the Muslim Minority Jurisprudence Doctrine (Fiqh al Aqalliyyat). He also served as the kadi (judge) of Haifa. He is the author of two books and many articles and has spoken widely abroad. Born in the village of Kafr Kara, in the Wadi Ara section of Israel, south of Haifa.

Custos Father Patton
 info at interfaithsustain.comwww.interfaithsustain.com
The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development | P.O. Box 28156, Jerusalem, 9128101

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 10th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

CLIMATE – THE NEW YORK TIMES


• “The cost of electric cars is falling much faster than expected, based in part on a plunge in battery prices and aggressive policies in China and Europe.”


When Will Electric Cars Go Mainstream? It May Be Sooner Than You Think.

By BRAD PLUMER, JULY 8, 2017

The Photo: A Volkswagen e-Golf electric car being charged in Dresden, Germany, in March.

Volkswagen and Tesla each have plans to produce more than 1 million electric vehicles per year by 2025. Credit Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters


As the world’s automakers place larger bets on electric vehicle technology, many industry analysts are debating a key question: How quickly can plug-in cars become mainstream?

The conventional view holds that electric cars will remain a niche product for many years, plagued by high sticker prices and heavily dependent on government subsidies.

But a growing number of analysts now argue that this pessimism is becoming outdated. A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research group, suggests that the price of plug-in cars is falling much faster than expected, spurred by cheaper batteries and aggressive policies promoting zero-emission vehicles in China and Europe.

Between 2025 and 2030, the group predicts, plug-in vehicles will become cost competitive with traditional petroleum-powered cars, even without subsidies and even before taking fuel savings into account. Once that happens, mass adoption should quickly follow.

“Our forecast doesn’t hinge on countries adopting stringent new fuel standards or climate policies,” said Colin McKerracher, the head of advanced transport analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “It’s an economic analysis, looking at what happens when the upfront cost of electric vehicles reaches parity. That’s when the real shift occurs.”

If that prediction pans out, it will have enormous consequences for the auto industry, oil markets and the world’s efforts to slow global warming.

A Boost From Batteries

Last year, plug-in vehicles made up less than 1 percent of new passenger vehicle sales worldwide, held back by high upfront costs. The Chevrolet Bolt, produced by General Motors, sells for about $37,500 before federal tax breaks. With gasoline prices hovering around $2 per gallon, relatively few consumers seem interested.

But there are signs of a shift. Tesla and Volkswagen each have plans to produce more than a million electric vehicles per year by 2025. On Wednesday, Volvo announced that it would phase out the traditional combustion engine and that all of its new models starting in 2019 would be either hybrids or entirely battery-powered.

Skeptics argue that these moves are mostly marginal. Exxon Mobil, which is studying the threat that electric cars could pose to its business model, still expects that plug-in vehicle sales will grow slowly, to just 10 percent of new sales in the United States by 2040, with little impact on global oil use. The federal Energy Information Administration projects a similarly sluggish uptick.

The Bloomberg forecast is far more aggressive, projecting that plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles will make up 54 percent of new light-duty sales globally by 2040, outselling their combustion engine counterparts.

The reason? Batteries. Since 2010, the average cost of lithium-ion battery packs has plunged by two-thirds, to around $300 per kilowatt-hour. The Bloomberg report sees that falling to $73 by 2030, without any significant technological breakthroughs, as companies like Tesla increase battery production in massive factories, optimize the design of battery packs and improve chemistries.

For the next decade, the report notes, electric cars will remain reliant on government incentives and sales mandates in places like Europe, China and California. But as automakers introduce a greater variety of models and lower costs, electric cars will reach a point where they can stand on their own.

Still, this outcome is hardly guaranteed. Governments could scale back their incentives before plug-in vehicles become fully competitive — many states are already beginning to tax electric cars. Battery manufacturers could face material shortages or production problems that hinder their ability to slash costs. And an unforeseen technology failure, such as widespread battery fires, could halt progress.

“But we tried to be fairly conservative in our estimate of where battery prices are going,” Mr. McKerracher said, “and we don’t see barriers to electric vehicles’ becoming cost competitive very soon.”

Other experts caution that falling battery costs are not the only factor in determining whether electric cars become widespread. Sam Ori, the executive director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, noted, “People don’t buy cars based solely on the price tag.”

Consumers may remain wary of vehicles with limited range that can take hours to charge. Even though researchers have shown that battery-electric vehicles have sufficient range for many people’s daily commuting habits, consumer psychology is still difficult to predict. The report does not, for instance, expect electric vehicles to catch on widely in the pickup-truck market.

Charging infrastructure is another potential barrier. Although cities are starting to build thousands of public charging stations — and Tesla is working on reducing the time it takes to power a depleted battery — it still takes longer to charge an electric vehicle than it does to refuel a conventional car at the pump.

Many owners charge their cars overnight in their garages, but that is much harder for people living in cities who park their cars on the street.

As a result, the Bloomberg report warns that plug-in vehicles may have a difficult time making inroads in dense urban areas and that infrastructure bottlenecks may slow the growth of electric vehicles after 2040.

Another potential hurdle may be the automakers themselves. While most manufacturers are introducing plug-in models in the United States to comply with stricter fuel-economy standards, they do not always market them aggressively, said Chelsea Sexton, an auto industry consultant who worked on General Motors’ electric vehicle program in the 1990s.

Car dealerships also remain reluctant to display and sell electric models, which often require less maintenance and are less profitable for their service departments. Surveys have found that salespeople are often unprepared to pitch the cars.

“We’ve seen a lot of announcements about electric vehicles, but that doesn’t matter much if automakers are just building these cars for compliance and are unenthusiastic about actually marketing them,” Ms. Sexton said.

Raw economics may help overcome such barriers, Mr. McKerracher said. He pointed to Norway, where heavy taxes on petroleum-powered vehicles and generous subsidies for electric vehicles have created price parity between the two. As a result, plug-in hybrids and fully electric cars in Norway now make up 37 percent of all new sales, up from 6 percent in 2013.

Fighting Climate Change

If Bloomberg’s forecast proves correct, it could have sweeping implications for oil markets. The report projects that a sharp rise in electric vehicles would displace eight million barrels of transportation fuel each day. (The world currently consumes around 98 million barrels per day.)

A number of oil companies are now grappling with the prospect of an eventual peak in global demand, with billions of dollars in investments at stake in getting the timing right.

Mass adoption of electric cars could also prove a key strategy in fighting climate change — provided the vehicles are increasingly powered by low-carbon electricity rather than coal. The International Energy Agency has estimated that electric vehicles would have to account for at least 40 percent of passenger vehicle sales by 2040 for the world to have a chance of meeting the climate goals outlined in the Paris agreement, keeping total global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

Yet the Bloomberg report also shows how much further countries would need to go to cut transportation emissions.

Even with a sharp rise in electric vehicles, the world would still have more traditional petroleum-powered passenger vehicles on the road in 2040 than it does today, and it will take many years to retire existing fleets. And other modes of transportation, like heavy-duty trucking and aviation, will remain stubbornly difficult to electrify without drastic advances in battery technology.

Which means it is still too soon to write an obituary for the internal combustion engine.

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

Elon Musk: Model 3 passed all regulatory requirements for production two weeks ahead of schedule. Expecting to complete SN1 on Friday – 1:48 AM – 3 Jul 2017

Tesla’s Model 3, its mass-market car, expected to roll off factory floor Friday July 7, 2017.

The $35,000 electric car passed regulatory requirements two weeks ahead of schedule, and the first 30 owners will receive their cars at the end of the month, chief executive Elon Musk said.

Everything you need to know about Tesla Model 3, which is starting production today.

We’re gonna rock down to Electric Avenue, and the stakes couldn’t be any higher.

by Andrew J. Hawkins@andyjayhawk Jul 7, 2017,

Today’s the day for Tesla. The automaker says it expects to complete production of “SN1” (or “Serial Number one”) of the Model 3, its first electric car for the masses. But the Model 3 isn’t just any car. Everything for the success of Tesla as a viable car company has been building up to this point. The Model 3 will define the future of the company — and the stakes for Tesla and CEO Elon Musk couldn’t possibly be higher.

Earlier this week, Musk tweeted that Friday was the day the first Model 3 would be rolling off the assembly line. In subsequent tweets, he added that the first 30 Model 3 customers will receive their new Teslas on July 28th at a handover party hosted by the automaker.

“I think I can say, without irony of mawkishness, that this is the most important electric car ever produced,” said Michael Ramsey, research director at Gartner. “That’s because if it meets expectations of hundreds of thousands of sales, it changes the global landscape for electric cars. And if it fails, it relegates the move toward electrification to the trudging march that it has been so far.”

“I THINK I CAN SAY, WITHOUT IRONY OF MAWKISHNESS, THAT THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTRIC CAR EVER PRODUCED.”
Skepticism about Tesla’s ability to meet the enormous demands of mass production is extremely high. Practically no one believes Musk will be able to meet the benchmarks he has set for the Model 3. Tesla’s share price has been savaged over the last week, losing nearly 20 percent of its value, while Wall Street analysts predict that demand for Tesla’s two other current vehicles, the Model S and Model X, has already peaked. Other experts say that Musk will need to reduce costs by as much as 60 percent if it wants the Model 3 to be profitable.

And then there’s the fact that most auto startups throughout the 20th century eventually failed and fell into obscurity. Tesla, a 15-year-old company, could be poised to challenge those odds. The manufacturing and quality challenges of starting a brand-new automotive company are titanic.

“The Model 3 is critical for Tesla’s long-term viability,” said Karl Brauer, executive publisher at Kelley Blue Book. “The company had been around for almost 15 years yet has never turned a profit. The Model 3 will be Tesla’s first attempt at a high-volume car meant for mainstream consumers. If Tesla can satisfy the Model 3’s pent-up demand with a dependable and profitable vehicle it will finally justify a stock value that has it rivaling GM in capital value. If it can’t, Tesla will confirm many critic’s suspicions that it’s never had a truly sustainable business model.”

Tesla’s sky-high valuation — it recently surpassed BMW’s market cap — depends largely on Musk’s ability to sell his vision of sustainable, battery-powered driving to a much broader population. The Model S and Model X are both extremely expensive. Even with tax incentives, both cars easily push $100,000. The Model 3 will start at $35,000, making it the cheapest in Tesla’s range. In order for Tesla to sell 10 times as many cars as it does now, it needs a much cheaper automobile.

But the marketplace for affordable electric vehicles is suddenly much more crowded than it was when the Model 3 was first announced in 2016. GM was able to grab first-mover status when it released the Chevy Bolt, a $36,620, 238-mile-per-charge, electric vehicle, last December. Other midlevel electric vehicles include the Volkswagen e-Golf ($36,415), Ford Focus Electric ($29,995), and Nissan Leaf ($37,675).

These companies have the infrastructure in place to maintain quality and dealer service networks, however. There are signs that Tesla is rethinking its approach to selling and maintaining cars. (Most car dealers now act as the service arm for new buyers.)

Tesla can’t survive on its buzz-worthiness alone, but it’s certainly helped buoy its stock price. The number of people who plunked down the $1,000 deposit to preorder the Model 3 after it was first announced last year blew away pretty much everyone’s expectations. It took less than a week for the company to receive 350,000 preorders, leading Tesla to claim the Model 3 had the “biggest one-week launch of any product ever.” Eat your heart out, Apple.

But Tesla still has a long way to go before it can stick the landing. Musk says production is expected to grow exponentially: 100 cars in August, more than 1,500 by September, and then 20,000 per month by December. If the company fails to hit these marks or runs into manufacturing issues that happen at higher scales, or demand for the Model 3 drops, analysts argue it would be a setback not just for Tesla, but perhaps the entire electrification movement.

BY 2040, ANALYSTS SAY THAT 54 PERCENT OF ALL CARS SOLD ON THE PLANET WILL BE ELECTRIC
In 2016, Bloomberg’s new energy think tank predicted that electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles would make up about 35 percent of the world’s auto market by the year 2040. This year, the group upped that figure considerably: by 2040, analysts now say that 54 percent of all cars sold on the planet will be electric. France’s environmental minister said yesterday his country would ban the sale of all fossil fuel-burning vehicles by 2040. And Volvo said it would stop selling gas-only cars by 2019.

The world is trending toward battery-powered, electric vehicles, thanks in no small part to Musk’s vision and ingenuity. Tesla has helped spur the biggest automakers to accelerate their electrification plans. “The Chevy Bolt might not exist now were it not for Tesla,” said Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst at Navigant. “VW Group is running as fast as it can to move from diesel to electric.”

But the timing of the Model 3’s release could spell doom for Tesla, which still sells a fraction of the automobiles produced by the world’s biggest OEMs. Auto sales are stagnant in the US, while most consumers are trending toward SUVs and crossover vehicles rather than sedans. Tesla faces the problem of introducing a compact sedan when the market is running headlong away from this form factor to sport utilities. “Their timing couldn’t have been worse,” Abuelsamid said.

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

Info from UN ENVIRONMENT – the US Independence weekend.

3 July 2017
Record 66 million trees planted in 12 hours in India

links to: Asia, COP 21, COP 23, Policy at UN Environment.

Around 1.5 million volunteers planted more than 66 million trees in just 12 hours as part of a record-breaking environmental campaign.

The volunteers planted an average of 44 saplings each along the Narmada River in the central state of Madhya Pradesh on Sunday 2 July.

The previous record was also set in India, when volunteers in Uttar Pradesh state set a world record by planting over 50 million trees in one day in July 2016.

Elsewhere in the country, volunteers in the state of Kerala planted more than 10 million in 24 hours in June this year and Maharashtra is set to plant 40 million later this year as part of the nationwide reforestation campaign.

Deforestation in India is a growing issue with its increasing population of 1 billion people in need of more agricultural land and housing.

Under the Paris Agreement, India has pledged to increase its forests by 95 million hectares by 2030, costing around $6.2 billion.

The record-breaking environmental campaign – which saw the planting of over 20 different species of trees – was organised by the Madhya Pradesh government.

Observers from Guinness World Records monitored the mass plantation, and are expected to confirm the new record within the coming weeks.

Shirvraj Singh Chouhan, the State’s Chief Minister, described the efforts as a “historic day”.

He went on to say: “The world talks of global warming and climate change, but Madhya Pradesh has taken a concrete step to deal with it.”

Taking to social media, Shirvraj Singh Chouhan praised the volunteers which included children and the elderly.

He stated that between the hours of 7am and 7pm 66.3 million saplings had been planted.

He added: “By planting trees we are not only serving Madhya Pradesh but the world at large.”

To receive similar news articles, sign up to our free newsletter here.

——————————————————————
RELATED ARTICLES
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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 4th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


The world looks past Donald Trump

By Stephen Collinson, CNN, Tuesday July 4, 2017

(CNN) Foreign policy, increasingly, is what is happening around the world while the United States is making other plans.

More than five months into Donald Trump’s presidency, American adversaries and allies alike are adjusting to a new era in which Washington seeks its own idiosyncratic and unpredictable “America First” path.

In Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, governments are assessing shifting US priorities and in some cases seeking alternative sources of leadership and partnership in the belief that America has stepped back.

Trump’s unpopularity abroad is forcing leaders to consider their own political positions, before getting too close to the American President — even if they seek to preserve Washington’s still vital global role as the guarantor of liberal market economics and democracy.

That dynamic will be on display during Trump’s second visit to Europe this week, just weeks after his first transcontinental trip opened new gaps between Washington and some longtime allies.

Trump starts in Poland, which is hoping for his strongest affirmation yet of NATO security guarantees. Then he will head to the G20 summit in Germany, where he may confront hostility deepened by his decision to exit the Paris climate accord.

The Trump administration refutes the notion that it has downgraded American leadership, arguing that Trump’s foreign trips, flurry of meetings and frequent calls with foreign presidents and prime ministers shows intense engagement.

But increasingly, top foreign policymakers from Germany to Iraq and Canada to Asia are contemplating a period when US leadership that many took for granted may be less evident in global affairs, after Trump turned his back on multilateral trade deals and downplayed multinational institutions and agreements.

“Whoever believes the problems of this world can be solved by isolationism and protectionism is making a tremendous error,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told parliament last week, in a clear shot across Trump’s bow.

It was not the first time the German leader, running for a fourth term in September’s election, had rebuked the President.

After Trump visited Europe in May, and declined to reaffirm NATO’s Article 5 principle of mutual self defense during a visit to the Western alliance headquarters, Merkel said US allies needed to rethink their place in the world.

“We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands,” she said.

Canada, America’s closest geographical ally, is also watching.

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland profoundly thanked the United States for being “truly the indispensable nation” that had ensured 70 years of peace and prosperity in a speech to parliament last month.

But she acknowledged that halcyon period was ending.
“The fact that our friend and ally has come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership, puts into sharper focus the need for the rest of us to set our own clear and sovereign course,” Freeland said.

“For Canada that course must be the renewal, indeed the strengthening, of the postwar multilateral order.”

It is not just America’s most traditional allies that sense that America is pulling back from the world, amid a perception that diplomacy has been de-emphasized and the State Department downgraded in a Trump administration more respectful of military leadership.

Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour last week that the United States was “absent” in maintaining global security and that there was a “vacuum in the overall leadership in the world.”

“The Americans need to … get back to their role as an international power, an important international power.” Allawi said.

Despite an impending victory over ISIS by Iraqi forces in western Mosul, with US support, Allawi argued that Washington lacked “clear cut policies” for tackling extremism and a future strategy for the Middle East.

Some American competitors see an opening.

At the Global Economic Forum in Davos, a few days before Trump was inaugurated, China’s President Xi Jinping, offered a vision of a world turned on its head when he offered his own nation as a guardian of free trade, globalization and efforts to combat climate change — areas where the United States had formerly taken the leadership role.

“Whether you like it or not, the global economy is the big ocean you cannot escape from,” Xi told delegates at the Swiss mountain resort.


‘America First’ or ‘America alone?’

Over the last few days, Trump has spoken to leaders of US allies in the Gulf, amid a showdown over terrorist financing that has led to the isolation of Qatar, and has also had conversations with counterparts in Germany and Italy.

In contrast to the way Trump’s first trip to Europe was seen across the Atlantic, national security adviser H.R. McMaster argued that the President had reinvigorated US alliances which Republicans believed eroded under the Obama administration.

“America First … does not mean America alone. President Trump has demonstrated a commitment to American alliances because strong alliances further American security and American interests,” McMaster told reporters last week.

While much of America’s future foreign policy course remains uncertain to foreign states, Washington has made some clear moves.

It significantly stiffened resistance to Iran in the Middle East, a reorientation that was the underlying theme of Trump’s first stops in Saudi Arabia and Israel.

But at the same time, there is no real clarity on the Trump administration’s strategy on Syria following the apparently imminent eradication of ISIS strongholds. Iran envisages a future Shiite crescent of influence, that would stretch from Tehran through Iraq, Syria and into Lebanon, backed by Russia, and would change the balance of power in the region.
It is unclear how actively the Trump administration plans to resist such a scenario, in concert with allies like Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Egypt and Jordan.

In Afghanistan, the Pentagon dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb on ISIS targets and plans to use its new autonomy under Trump to send more troops to train and assist Afghan soldiers.
But the administration has yet to lay out a detailed vision of how it sees Afghanistan’s future or long-term US war aims.

In Asia, Trump dropped his hostility toward China in an effort to convince Beijing to do more to rein in its volatile ally North Korea amid a nuclear and missile crisis. But he now seems to have concluded the effort failed, and imposed sanctions against a Chinese bank with links to the pariah state, and approved a $1.4 billion arms package to Taiwan, heightening tensions with Beijing.
But Trump, despite saber rattling, has yet to explain to Americans any new approaches on how he will thwart Pyongyang’s bid to put a nuclear warhead onto a weapon that could reach the US mainland.

It’s not just uncertainty about American global strategy that is convincing some allied leaders to look past the United States.
Trump’s unpopularity makes it much more difficult for them politically to support him. The recent Pew Global Attitudes poll showed Trump with rock bottom approval ratings across the world. Only in Russia and Israel did more people trust him to do the right thing than former President Barack Obama.

The former President, meanwhile, has stayed mostly out of the limelight. But Monday, Obama couldn’t resist during a Seoul conference organized by South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo media group, saying the Paris climate accord won’t vanish despite the “temporary absence” of American leadership.
“The Paris agreement,” Obama said, “even with the temporary absence of US leadership, will still be a critical factor in helping our children solve the enormous challenge in civilization.”

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

Is the tide turning for oceans?
by Aban Marker Kabraji | International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Establishing marine protected areas could be a key means of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and curbing climate impacts.

Covering more than 70 percent of our earth’s surface and home to 700,000 to 2 million species, the ocean is the lifeblood of our planet. Besides bringing a sense of serenity through the gentle — albeit sometimes roaring — rhythm of its waves, the deep blue employs millions of workers, feeds billions of people and generates trillions of dollars of the world’s economy.

However, despite having such a profound impact on our lives, oceans are often taken for granted. As vast as they may seem, the resources provided by our oceans are finite.

In recent decades, threats such as unsustainable and illegal fishing, tourism and climate change have increasingly threatened coastal and marine resources.

In Asia, where over 30 million people rely on these resources for their livelihoods, the stakes are high.

While the region’s exponential economic growth has benefitted its communities through higher incomes and a better quality of life, ever-increasing commercial, agricultural and industrial activity has also exacerbated threats to the region’s ecosystems. 95 percent of Southeast Asian coral reefs are at risk of being destroyed and over 80 ocean species in the region are listed as Critically Endangered and Endangered.

Scientists have warned that, as increasing amounts of CO2 are absorbed by our oceans, seawater is becoming more acidic, threatening aquatic ecosystems and organisms.

But tides might actually be turning.

The Paris Climate Agreement has united many nations in the common cause of tackling climate change by limiting global carbon emissions and thereby protecting our oceans.

The United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has made it crystal clear that a commitment to the conservation of oceans is necessary to secure a better future for all, through Sustainable Development Goal 14 — ‘Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources’.

One way to protect our vital ocean ecosystems is to increase the number, size and management effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

MPAs are established to preserve not only coastal and marine terrain, water and the genetic diversity of associated flora and fauna, but also historical and cultural heritage.

It is important that the boundaries of MPAs are delineated through multi-stakeholder consultation and consensus, so that encroachment becomes less likely and enforcement becomes more effective. Local communities, who have traditional knowledge of their natural resources, also need to be involved in the governance of their ecosystems, to relieve the pressure on both nature and governments.

Mangroves for the Future (MFF), a regional coastal programme co-chaired by IUCN and UNDP and spanning 11 countries across Asia and the Indian Ocean, has developed Marine Protected Area (MPA) frameworks for Bangladesh, Pakistan, Cambodia and Myanmar.

MFF’s overall approach is to identify needs at priority sites. These needs are then addressed through grants and other activities that generate knowledge, empower local communities, and strengthen the governance of coastal ecosystems.

In Pakistan, Astola Island is shaping up to be the first MPA in the country. At the IUCN World Conservation Congress last September, a motion was adopted to declare the island an MPA. Since then, MFF has collaborated with the Pakistan Navy to undertake a situational analysis of the island. The next steps will be to ensure that local communities and other stakeholders at the grassroots level are included in the governance and decision-making processes related to the establishment of the new MPA.

This week, at the UN Ocean Conference in New York, IUCN will be joining the government of Pakistan as it reaffirms its pledge to protect Astola Island, thereby fulfilling its commitment at the Congress to designate at least one site in Pakistan’s territorial waters as an MPA by 2020.

Studies have shown that small MPAs that are well-managed and well-enforced are facilitating resources recovery, sustaining fisheries, improving livelihoods and promoting sustainable tourism. Yet, while MPAs can be very effective in the conservation and management of our oceans, they cannot address all threats to marine life. Complementary actions need to be implemented in parallel to make fishing and aquaculture sustainable, address climate change and reduce marine pollution.

IUCN aims to build on lessons learned from MFF – notably the effectiveness of a partnership-based focus and a governance structure that invites country-level ownership – and scale up the programme, to further improve the resilience of coastal ecosystems, support the livelihoods of millions of people, and increase carbon storage capacity by protecting and restoring mangrove habitats.

This year’s theme for World Oceans Day is “Our oceans, our future.” Despite recent setbacks such as the US administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, many other nations remain committed to the Paris Accord. Through progressive and forward-thinking policies, commitments from industrialised and developing nations alike, and a multi-sectorial approach that harnesses advancements in science, finance and development, we actually stand a chance to make our oceans truly great again.

Aban Marker Kabraji is the regional director for IUCN Asia.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 31st, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


What’s Behind China’s Antarctic Ambitions?

From Fareed Zakaria’s Global Briefing for May 31, 2017

Driven by a combination of strategic expediency and a desire to secure access to much-needed resources, China has gone from small-time player to the big league in Antarctica, suggests Anne-Marie Brady in the Lowy Interpreter.

“China doesn’t have a formal claim over Antarctic territory (and the Antarctic Treaty forbids any new claims) but it has steadily extended its presence over a triangle-shaped area in East Antarctica. Three of China’s Antarctic bases, three of its air fields, and its two field camps are in this sector; which is within the existing Antarctic territorial claim of Australia. Through its advanced logistics capabilities, China is able to project its power and continually maintain its presence in this zone, something Australia, with its much more limited Antarctic capacity cannot do,” Brady argues.


“China’s focus on becoming a polar great power represents a fundamental re-orientation; a completely new way of imagining the world.
The polar regions, the deep seabed, and outer space are the new strategic territories where China will draw the resources to become a global power.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 29th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From: Michael Madsen — May 29, 2017

Dear colleagues,

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) would like to draw your attention to its new report on the state of employment in the renewable energy sector, which finds that in 2016, 9.8 million people had renewable energy jobs.

Renewable Energy and Jobs — Annual Review 2017, provides the latest employment figures of the renewable energy sector and insight into the factors affecting the renewable labour market.

The report shows that solar photovoltaic (PV) was the largest employer in 2016, with 3.1 million jobs — up 12% from 2015 — mainly in China, the United States and India. In the United States, jobs in the solar industry increased 17 times faster than the overall economy, growing 24.5% from the previous year to over 260,000.

New wind installations contributed to a 7% increase in global wind employment, raising it up to 1.2 million jobs. Brazil, China, the United States and India also proved to be key bioenergy job markets, with biofuels accounting for 1.7 million jobs, biomass 0.7 million, and biogas 0.3 million.

To learn more about employment in the renewable energy sector and to read the full report, visit IRENA’s website.

Best regards,

Michael Madsen
Communication Unit

IRENA Headquarters, Masdar City | P.O. Box 236 | Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates | Tel: +97124147128 | Mob: +971569905026 |  MMadsen at irena.orgwww.irena.org

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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!

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? 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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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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