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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 26th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)


If we ruin the air, what will our children breathe?

By STEPHEN HESSE

www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fe20120826sh.html

Sunday, August 26, 2012.

Watching the sun set into the Pacific Ocean from a hotel tucked in among the dry scrub hills of San Diego, I have a chance to reflect on life here in Southern California, on climate changes and on what’s in store for future generations.

I’m here with a group of 22 Japanese university students who will spend a month studying English at San Diego State University, and I’ll stay a week while they settle into their classes and host families.

As always, I’m charmed by the students’ optimism and contagious excitement. Meeting other young people from around the world who share their same giddy enthusiasm, they’re beginning to shape their individual hopes and dreams.

Tonight they are with their host families, giving me some time off.

From my hotel, I watch streams of cars on the highways that crisscross the valley below and gaze up at jets as they climb into the sky from the city’s airport. Darkness has begun to blot out the urban sprawl, replacing it with a blanket of twinkling lights and a sky of vibrant orange and yellow hues.

Were the students here now they would be posing for smartphone snapshots with the sunset as a backdrop, and I’d be enjoying the buzz of their excitement.

But I have been reading “The Weather Makers: Our Changing Climate and What it Means for Life on Earth” and I can’t help thinking about the environmental legacy we are leaving these kids and future generations.

My thoughts focus on the 24/7 exhaust from the cars and planes and I wonder how much these emissions are magnifying the colors of the sunset.

In my head I hear my 17-year-old son grumbling, “Dad, you think too much!” But he and his peers are the reason my thoughts focus on what our fossil-fuel addiction is doing to the planet.

Readers familiar with this column know that I am not a climate-change skeptic. I have talked to too many experts, read too much research and seen too many parts of our world to doubt that human greenhouse-gas emissions are playing a key role in the global warming that is driving planetary climate change.

If you disagree, or still question whether human activities are a primary cause of climate change and the transformation of ecosystems worldwide, I doubt I can convince you otherwise. But perhaps Tim Flannery can, the author of “The Weather Makers.”

Though much research has been done since Flannery’s book came out in 2005, it is still solidly on track as a primer for climate change, its causes and effects. If fault must be found, Flannery’s commitment to detail might frustrate some readers. For others, the details prove the premise.

For example, he spends a chapter on frogs and toads, detailing how warming ocean temperatures along Costa Rica’s Pacific coast pushed cloud banks above the coastal forests, ending the misty conditions that were essential to the survival of numerous frogs species, including the golden toad. They have vanished.

“The golden toad was the first documented victim of climate change,” Flannery writes. “We killed it with our profligate use of coal-fired electricity and our oversize cars just as surely as if we had flattened its forests with bulldozers.”

But Flannery is not a sentimental tree-hugger. Simply he can see the trees in the forest, and the forest as a whole, and he can explain how each individual and the entire ecosystem are mutually dependent.

Moving from macro to micro and back, Flannery helps the reader understand our planet’s atmosphere, its oceans, it terrestrial ecosystems, and how the three are inextricably interconnected. Examples such as the golden toad help the reader to connect the dots and understand how rising levels of carbon dioxide affect the planet.

Flannery, who is chief commissioner of the Australian Climate Commission, was named Australian of the year in 2007, and is currently a professor, holds the Chair in Environmental Sustainability at Macquarie University.

With “Weather Makers” on my mind, I flew to Los Angeles then on to San Diego, where I was reminded how addicted Americans are to their cars, and to carbon dioxide.

Unlike Japan, where you can go just about anywhere using public transport, most everyone in L.A. uses a car to get around. L.A. has the second worst traffic congestion in the United States, with drivers wasting approximately 56 hours per year in traffic jams, according to the Time NewsFeed website. The only city worse than L.A. is Honolulu, where drivers spend as much as 58 hours a year stuck in traffic.

In San Diego, too, which boasts a reasonably good bus and train network, cars are nearly essential. On the flight from L.A. to San Diego, I sat next to a university student who laughed when I asked if she uses mass transit. Every member of her family has a car, she said — all eight of them.

But fossil-fuel use is not the only environmental problem in California: For first-time visitors it may be a surprise to see how dry L.A. and San Diego are. Both cities are built on scrub-covered plains and hills, with deserts just a stone’s throw away.

So where do they get their water?

In San Diego, 50 percent comes from the Colorado River, 30 percent from northern California, and just 20 percent from local sources.

Los Angeles is even less self-sufficient. Only about 10 percent of its water is sourced locally, meaning that without water pumped in from the north and east, L.A. would simply dry up and disappear.

With extreme drought already a spreading problem on the American West Coast, what will happen if climate change reduces precipitation in the mountains of California and in those that fill the Colorado River, California’s lifeline?

The day after I arrived in San Diego I was invited to a surfing competition held on the beach in La Jolla at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The event was held to raise money for the University of California San Diego Moores Cancer Center, which sits on the hills above Scripps.

It was a perfect California day for me, visiting the famed Scripps institute, seeing my first surfing competition and having a chance to support research into cancer, a disease that has touched many of my family and friends.

But again, “Weather Makers” brought to mind thoughts of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and ocean acidification. Flannery looks back 55 million years to the oldest climate aberration known to scientists, a time when acidification caused the entire ecosystem of the deep oceans to suffer massive extinctions.

I took up this same topic three years ago in September 2009, when I first learned about acidification from Sven Huseby and his documentary, “A Sea Change: Imagine a World Without Fish” (www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fe20090823sh.html)

Acidification results as we burn more fossil fuels, increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, causing the oceans to absorb more carbon.

“Carbonic acid lowers the natural pH (alkalinity) of our oceans. That decreases the available calcium carbonate that is essential for the formation of bones in fish, shells on crustaceans, and reef material from corals. The effects of the addition of CO2 to the ocean ripple across many species, including humans who rely on the sea for both sustenance and economic survival,” explains Husby’s website.

So where to from here?

“The best evidence indicates that we need to reduce our CO2 emissions by 70 percent by 2050,” writes Flannery. But how can we make the dramatic cuts in fossil-fuel use and CO2 emissions that are necessary?

“The transition to a carbon-free economy is eminently achievable because we have the technology we need to do so. It is only a lack of understanding and the pessimism and confusion generated by special-interest groups that is stopping us from going forward,” he insists.

Wind, solar and geothermal are a few of the alternatives available. More important, conservation is key. From energy to water, simply using less is essential.

Less demand for energy, less nuclear, less fossil fuels, more alternative sources of energy. If Japan can lead, perhaps other nations can muster the political will to follow.

For the generations that will inherit our climate, this seems the least we can do.

Special thanks to Stephen Harris, a Tokyo-based lawyer and keen observer of all things legal and environmental who gave me his dog-eared copy of “The Weather Makers.”
———————————————-
Stephen Hesse teaches in the Chuo University Law Faculty and is director of the Chuo International Center.
He can be reached at stevehesse@hotmail.com.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 17th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The Dark Side of Globalization
Laura-Anca Parepa*

“The Dark Side of Globalization” , by Jorge Heine and Ramesh Thakur, editors
Abstract
This is an excellent collection of fourteen articles, written by specialists coming from different countries, various fields and having very diverse backgrounds: professors, diplomats, journalists, researchers, and UN officers.


With a preface by Saskia Sassen, suggestively called “In the penumbra of globalization”, introduction and conclusion by Jorge Heine (CIGI-Center for International Governance Innovation – distinguished fellow and chair of global governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs) and Ramesh Thakur (Professor of International Relations in the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy, Australian National University and Adjunct Professor in the Institute of Ethics, Governance and Law at Griffith University), the book is divided into three parts, entitled “Domination and fragmentation”, “Challenges” and “Responses”, each comprising the different articles as follows: Part I: “Globalization, imperialism and violence” (William D. Coleman); “New state structures in South America” (Edgardo Lander); “The African connection” (Garth le Pere and Brendan Vickers); Part II: “Arms trafficking in West Africa” (Dorcas Ettang); “Organized crime in Southern Africa” (Charles Goredema); “Maoism in a globalizing India” (Ajay K. Mehra); “Globalization and South Asian insurgencies” (S. D. Muni); “Terrorism and political movement in Kashmir” (Rekha Chowdhary); “Jihad in the age of globalization” (Nasra Hassan); “Security challenges in a unipolar globalized world” (M. J. Akbar); Part III: “Regional integration as a response to globalization” (Luk Van Langenhove and Tiziana Scaramagli); “Civil society and trade protests in the Americas” (Marisa von Bülow); “Global production, local protest and the Uruguay River pulp mills project” (Ricardo A. Gutiérrez and Gustavo Almeira); “Actors and activities in the anti-human trafficking movement” (Kirsten Foot); “Conclusions: A bumpy ride to globalization, Google and jihad” (Jorge Heine and Ramesh Thakur).


The aim of this book is to focus attention on the so-called dark side of globalization represented by undesirable consequences caused by the globalization process.
Considered as an inevitable and absolutely necessary process by some, or destructive and better to be avoided by others, globalization continues to create controversy and heated debate, as well as to attract the attention of scholars working in various fields.


Early in the 1980s, globalization was seen as a process that would create opportunities and lead to progress in numerous fields, as it could contribute to the spread and assimilation of new technologies and communication systems, as well as to internationalize business and to speed up the integration of capital and financial markets, favoring the rapid movement of goods and people, the growth of income and employment.
Unfortunately, these last years have shown the various unexpected and undesirable faces of globalization, such as higher risks, decline of income, rising unemployment rates, financial and economic crises. The strong integration of capital markets and business, the highly interdependent economies, all create a vicious circle in which the decline of one player may lead to another’s slowing-down or stopping – the recent Greek crisis is perhaps the most eloquent example in this respect.


Bringing to the fore the negative effects of globalization has been avoided for a long period of time, or even if they were identified they were ignored (deliberately or not). They are less visible, but extremely dangerous for the security and stability of the entire world through their diversity and ingenuity in exploiting the opportunities and benefits of globalization for their own purposes.


In an article published in Foreign Policy (2003: 29), Moisés Naím called “the illegal trade in drugs, arms, intellectual property, people and money” as “the five wars of globalization”. Together with terrorism, he added, these types of war will continue to represent a huge challenge to governments.


The present book, edited by Jorge Heine and Ramesh Thakur, comes as a demonstration of this statement, showing that even if these challenges are not entirely new phenomena in the world, the novelty is represented by the fast rate of their spread, the extent of their support networks and the sophisticated communication and technology that they use in their actions.


Described as ‘deviant globalization’ by Nils Gilman or as an ‘uncivil society’ by Kofi Annan all these negative outcomes of the globalization process can be very harmful and can affect, in the long term, the desirable consequences of globalization.


The book sheds light on all these dangers, trying to understand how they manifest, evolve and use the benefits of globalization in their own interest, as well as how they exploit the weaknesses of governments and international organizations. Various examples of global flows of illicit trafficking of goods, people, drugs, weapons, mineral resources, counterfeit products are given in the second part of the book. Arms trafficking in West Africa, organized crime in Southern Africa, insurgencies in South Asian countries, terrorism and political movement in Kashmir, militant Islamism, Jihad or Al Qaida, Iran nuclear activities, all are presented and analyzed exhaustively.


The book shows how all these transnational non-state actors are adopting the new technology and communications systems, using them to spread their network across the world and to achieve their objectives at the expense of states and their citizens.
As shown, the beginning of the twenty-first century brought various changes to society and our world. Communication and technology have grown rapidly leading to an active movement of goods, people and capital across national borders. This movement reshaped social and economic relations both at the national and international level. Unfortunately, transnational criminal groups have made better use of these changes. As Moisés Naím remarked, crime becomes a global phenomenon “transforming the international system, upending the rules, creating new players, and reconfiguring power in international politics and economics.” (Naím 2005: 5)


How should humanity deal with these challenges? The book attempts to answer this question in the last part, in which the various responses to these new problems are examined. Regional integration, regional governance, the necessity of cooperation between civil society organizations (CSO) and national governments, the variety and importance of the roles of CSO in supporting and shaping “the conduct of all actors engaged” in global governance are just some of the possible answers to the problems that the international community is facing.


This is an extremely useful book for those who wish to understand globalization as a complex, double-faced process with desirable effects, but also with unexpected negative consequences that bring new challenges to humanity.
*Member of the Global Negotiation Program, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Japan.

________________________________________________________________
This and all “other news” issues can be found at www.other-net.info/index.php

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 21st, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Airline CO2 Friction Is Hint Of New Climate Politics.

Date: 22-Mar-12

Author: Gerard Wynn – (The author is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own.)

Threats of retaliation by China and India against a European Union plan to charge airlines for their carbon emissions is misplaced, given their weak legal case and a drift towards more such unilateral climate action.

Countries in Durban at the end of last year topped off years of lumbering U.N. talks by agreeing that a new climate protocol should come into force by 2020, with more vagueness about exactly what that should be, leaving a vacuum in national action in the meantime.

That slow rate of progress underscores how multilateral climate action has faded over the past decade.

It also underlines why it would be madness to expect the U.N. body, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), to galvanize global action to curb carbon emissions from passenger jets, as countries asked them to do 15 years ago.

It also explains why the European Union has grasped unilateral action to curb rapidly rising carbon emissions from aviation, and makes a nonsense of the central argument advanced by China, India, Russia and the United States, that ICAO should be given more time.

The broader failure of U.N. climate talks only makes such unilateral action more likely, if other countries – possibly including Australia, Japan, South Korea and Mexico – join the European Union in choosing to take firmer carbon curbs than those agreed internationally (if any). {We would suggest that President Obama could also join the EU, by EPA Presidential ruling, making the US part of this pro-action move.}

In that sense, the airline dispute is an experiment in an alternative climate politics.

The possible alternative to an international climate protocol is a forging of emissions curbs by willing countries, which in turn take punitive, border action against the rest, to protect their own industry.

AVIATION

In the first case of such border action on carbon emissions, the European Union has walked into a minefield with its determination to charge for carbon emissions on flights beyond its borders.

Yet threats of retaliation underscore the weak legal case of opposed countries.

Chinese authorities have suggested delaying orders for European Airbus passenger jets, according to Airbus itself, the most serious escalation so far if carried through.

The air is also thick with talk of trade war, a posturing out of proportion to the impact of the EU scheme on flight ticket prices or airline profits.

India is poised to urge its airlines to boycott the European Union’s carbon charge scheme, a senior Indian government official said.

The spat hinges on the EU’s legal case for taking unilateral action, and the technical detail of counting emissions beyond its airspace.

From January this year the EU entered aviation into its emissions trading scheme, where polluters have to buy permits for their CO2 emissions above a certain quota which they get free.

That includes emissions from the entire flights of non-EU carriers landing in or departing from Europe.

The bloc wants to curb the climate impact of rising emissions from aviation but protect its own carriers from unfair competition by requiring carbon emissions permits of everyone.

LEGAL

The EU will almost certainly stand firm and foreign carriers will pay up. The main prospect for compromise would be for the EU to relent and not count emissions outside its airspace, which at present seems unlikely.

The EU says it must include all emissions on a flight because it’s impractical to measure those only from the moment a plane enters European airspace. And that would also dilute the environmental purpose of the scheme since a large part of emissions are on take-off.

Regarding the notion that its charges are a tax on jet fuel (not allowed under the 1944 Chicago Convention on aviation), it says emissions permits are not the same thing because an airline can avoid paying at all if it undercuts its free quota by becoming more efficient.

On both these counts the bloc won a landmark case at the European Court of Justice in a judgment favoring Brussels against U.S. carriers last December.

The bloc of countries most wedded to a multilateral approach at the United Nations, the European Union, now feels compelled to use unilateral action.

The present spat could be a sign of things to come in climate politics, where progressive countries unite from the bottom up, at least until an over-arching treaty comes into force at the end of the decade.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 11th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

From THE NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION in the US.

February 10, 2012

First Certification is a Major Milestone for Sustainable Biofuels

World’s first sustainable biofuels certification under new RSB international standards

WASHINGTON, DC (February 10) – The NCS International announced on Thursday that it has certified the world’s first biofuels operation to achieve certification against the Principles and Criteria of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels (RSB).

The RSB has developed a third-party certification system for biofuels sustainability standards, encompassing environmental, social and economic principles and criteria through an open, transparent, and multi-stakeholder process. National Wildlife Federation played a key role in establishing this global standard for the voluntary certification of biofuels and hopes the new system will promote good practices on the ground, and eventually help end biofuels production practices that are harmful to the climate and environment.

Barbara Bramble, Senior Advisor for the International Climate and Energy Program at the National Wildlife Federation, and Chair of the Board of the RSB, said today:

“We are pleased that the Manildra Group has achieved certification, under the RSB’s global system of Principles and Criteria, for their wheat flour production operation, Shoalhaven Starches Pty Ltd. This is a significant achievement for the Australian-based project, which makes biofuels out of an otherwise potentially polluting waste stream, so it fulfills several objectives at once.

“Manildra’s leadership shows what can be achieved both environmentally and economically. We look forward to seeing major buyers and users of biofuels stating their preference for RSB certified fuels, which will be the signal to  producers that formal RSB certification will be recognized in the marketplace.”

Peter Ryus, CEO of RSB Services Foundation said:

“We are particularly pleased to announce the certification of the Shoalhaven Starches facility at Bomaderry, NSW, Australia, a member of the Manildra Group.  Not only is this the RSB’s first complete commercial certification to the Principles and Criteria, but it offers  tangible evidence that sustainable  biofuels may be efficiently and economically produced at a large scale, while adhering to ambitious social and environmental standards. We are proud to partner with the Manildra Group in this effort.”

For more information on the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels, visit www.rsb.org

Contacts:

Barbara Bramble, bramble@nwf.org202-797-6601202-262-8236 (cel)

Peter Ryus, RSB Services CEO, pryus@rsbservices.org703-641-9360703-577-3930 (cel)

Sébastien Haye, RSB Executive Secretary (Acting), sebastien.haye@epfl.ch+41 21 693 0079

National Wildlife Federation is America’s conservation organization inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future.

Barbara J. Bramble

Senior Advisor

International Climate and Energy Program

National Wildlife Federation

National Advocacy Center

901 E. Street, NW Suite 400

Washington, DC 20004

Tel. 202 797 6601

Fax 202 797 6646

Cel  202 262 8236

bramble@nwf.org

www.nwf.org/deforestation

www.bioenergywiki.net

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 28th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

…The arrests at The SUN and at the British Police came after information was passed to the Scotland Yard by News Corporation’s internal investigations unit, the Management and Standards Committee. It was set up in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal that erupted last July by Rupert Murdoch and operates independently of News International.

Four current and former senior Sun journalists and one serving police officer have been arrested as part of Scotland Yard’s investigation into police corruption.

This is a pay-for stories disclosure and in our eyes a much lesser offence then hacking into people’s electronic private information. Is this going to be recognized as a finally good behaviour sign in the Rupert Murdoch Global empire?

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 19th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The papers wrote today, November 18th, on the small Asian Scene but missed the much bigger significance. After years of playing big power economic politics on the side of China and a mumbling and stumbling EU – the US did a reset, as per the following and most recent, news.

“BALI, Indonesia — Hours before Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar’s most prominent democracy campaigner, announced her return to formal politics on Friday, President Obama disclosed that he was sending Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on a visit there next month, the first by a secretary of state in more than 50 years.

The twin events underscored the remarkable and sudden pace of change in Myanmar, which has stunned observers inside and outside the country, analysts said.”

Actually what happened these last three weeks is that Obama’s Administration is distancing itself from the troubles of the EU and in an effort to decrease its dependence on China financing, the US has moved to use the Asian-Pacific region minus China, but in  in alliance with Australia, to forge a new FREE MARKET from an enlarged NAFTA (Canada, Mexico, Columbia) to embrace some of the countries of the old APEC. This market is 1.6 times larger then the EU and will have a military base in Darwin, Australia, so China takes notice of a massive new US interest in Asia.

This is just a small reaction to the news and we intend to return to this new and intriguing situation that is clearly intended as well to show the American people that this Administration is still capable of doing great novel things. We say BRAVO.

Europe will take advantage of this RESET by trying to increase its activities in the Arab World – i.e. Austria readies a new mission to Qatar where it will open December 11-12, 2011 a new Embassy in Doha with a visit by Austria’s Federal President Dr. Heinz Fischer who travels at the head of a business delegation as it was done these weeks as well by Austrian interests going to Iraq, Libya and Turkmenistan. Please note that the new Embassy in Doha is being opened while Austria is busy saving money by closing up to 30 Consulates and Embassies elsewhere i.e. in Chicago!

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

We posted the above on November 18th, then on November 19th we found on the CNN/GPS the following, and we realize that our AMERICA IN A NEW ASIA RESET editorial note was our correct reading of the news. Again – we expect to enlarge on this very soon.

Listen Up! What the world thinks of ‘America’s Pacific Century.’

Editor’s Note: Every week, the Global Public Square brings you some must-read editorials from around the world addressed to America and Americans. The series is called Listen up, America!

President Obama is focused on East Asia and the Pacific this week. After attending the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Hawaii last weekend, Obama traveled to Australia where, on Thursday, he addressed the parliament. His message: “In the Asia Pacific in the 21st century, the United States of America is all in.”

Later that day, President Obama traveled to the city of Darwin along the northern coast, where the U.S. announced it will station 2,500 Marines. The summit and travel, which also include a stop in Indonesia, are seen as the U.S. shifting attention to the Pacific – and to a rising China – as troops withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan. Here are some of the international responses to what Secretary of State Clinton recently dubbed “America’s Pacific Century.”

Australia – “Despite the rising economic, diplomatic and military reach of China, U.S. supremacy is the bedrock of security in the region,” says an editorial in the Sydney-based Australian.

“[The United States] underwrites the security of South Korea and Japan, it quells the tensions across the Taiwan Straits, it keeps the seaways open, bolsters the counter-terrorism operations of countries such as Indonesia, and even, in a less direct fashion, has added ballast to Australia’s life-saving interventions in East Timor and the Solomon Islands. And when natural disasters, such as the Boxing Day tsunami strike, the region looks automatically to Washington, not Beijing, for assistance.”

Indonesia – NIMBY, or “not in my backyard,” says an editorial in the Jakarta Postof stationing U.S. troops in northern Australia.

“The presence of the U.S. base just south of Indonesia is simply too close for comfort. … there are many fruitful and less threatening ways of increasing U.S. engagement other than building a greater military presence.”

China – “Is there any country in the region that wants the United States to be its leader?” asks Wei Jianhua in China’s state-run Xinhua news. The provided answer: “No.”

“It’s hard to envision what kind of ‘leadership’ the United States aspires to have in the region. What the region really needs – right now – is a strong and reliable partner that can help the region stave off the current financial crisis and seek balanced and sustained growth.”

Japan – “Tokyo and Washington are concerned about how to respond to Beijing,” says an editorial in the Tokyo-based Yomiuri Shimbun.

“China has been rapidly enhancing its influence and becoming more assertive, increasing frictions with other countries in the South China Sea. To lead China in the direction of complying with international rules and working together with its neighbors in the medium and long term, Japan and the United States must closely cooperate with South Korea, Australia and Southeast Asian countries.”

Saudi Arabia — “Really?” asks an editorial in the Jeddah-based Arab News of President Obama saying the Pacific is the top priority.

“The Asia Pacific region is more important than the Middle East with all its crises? More important than solving the Palestinian-Israeli issue? More important than famine and political instability in the Horn of Africa and the dangers of it becoming a hub of international terrorism? More important than the nuclear ambitions that the U.S. is convinced Iran harbors?”

Australia –Sydney Morning Herald editorial says stationing U.S. Marines in Australia is “a significant turn in the direction of Australia’s foreign policy.” While Australia “had been negotiating a potentially tricky course part-way between” the U.S. and China, the “helm has now been turned decisively to one side.”

“Australia would have had much to gain from keeping to its middle course between two great powers. Having taken sides early, though, we have taken a risk. We will find out in coming years how much was at stake in that premature decision.”

China— “Americans should realize that neither side would win in a trade war and must prevent the Obama administration from taking any rash decision,” writes Deng Yuwen in the China Daily.  President Obama, the U.S. Congress and Republican Presidential candidates have in recent weeks sought to pressure China over its currency policy, claiming the yuan is undervalued.

“Many of the goods China exports to the U.S. are inexpensive daily necessities and favored by Americans because of their low prices. Therefore, if the yuan’s value increases by 30 percent, the majority of Americans’ cost of living could go up by a similar percentage.”

Posted by:  
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Early in his term, President Obama was too deferential to China. On his Asia trip last week, he sent a clear message that this country is not ceding anything in the Pacific. That is good news.

www.nytimes.com/2011/11/20/opinion/sunday/president-obama-in-asia.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha211

New York Times EDITORIAL Published November 19th, printed in the November 20, 2011, paper.

President Obama in Asia.

Like President George W. Bush, Mr. Obama’s preference is to engage Beijing in international organizations and agreements in hopes that will encourage China’s leaders to behave more responsibly. It is a sound long-range strategy. But China has made clear that without serious and sustained push-back, it will use its economic and military clout to bully and intimidate its neighbors.

The most brazen example is its broad claim to energy reserves in the South China Sea that are also claimed by five other countries. On Friday, Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, said at an Asian summit meeting that “outside forces” had no right to get involved in the dispute.

On his trip, Mr. Obama insisted he would “seek more opportunities for cooperation with Beijing.” But he also made clear that his patience has limits, at one point saying that China has now “grown up” and should act responsibly in its trade and currency practices.

In Australia, he announced an agreement to deploy 2,500 Marines plus naval ships and aircraft to a base in Darwin starting next year. That is not a huge number, but it is a pointed symbol of America’s interest.

At the same time, we were concerned by Mr. Obama’s declaration to Australia’s Parliament that budget reductions “will not — I repeat, will not — come at the expense of the Asia-Pacific.” Allies, of course, need to hear that. But any new mission in Asia cannot become another excuse for Pentagon planners to avoid making needed cuts.

On his trip, the president also rightly championed the benefits of freer trade — a position made more credible after Congress finally passed the trade deal with South Korea. His push to negotiate a trade deal with eight other Pacific Rim countries is important. He must keep reminding Beijing that it is welcome to join if it makes the necessary economic reforms.

What the United States should not do is overreach. Beijing already suspects that the real American goal is to “contain” its power. Washington must be transparent about its dealings and consult and include China when possible. American and Chinese political leaders have a regular dialogue. The Pentagon needs to do more to cultivate relationships with its resistant counterparts.

Dealing with a rising China requires a deft hand and a willingness to push back when Beijing oversteps. Being there is a big part of it.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 3rd, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

We received the following information and were indeed very interested in this event.

The United Nations lnformation Service (UNIS), Vienna, in cooperation with the Confucius Institute at the University of Vienna, and the UNESCO Club Vienna invite you to the opening of the exhibition of “One Family”
on Friday, 2 September 2011 at 12:00 noon –  at the Vienna International Centre { this is the UN territory in Vienna }.
Rotunda, Wagramerstrasse 5, 1220 Vienna.
———-
The art project “One Family”, an initiative of the Confucius Institute at the University of Vienna, the UNESCO Club Vienna and the artist Yusheng Zhao is a series of paintings by children on five different continents showing the children’s concept of their family and cultural identity.
——–
The first in the series of paintings, created by children in Vienna, was being displayed at the Vienna International Centre in August 2010 to launch the International Year of Youth.
———
The exhibit this year shows paintings from children from five continents, symbolizing a world for a constructive peaceful coexistence. Children having created the art work will be present at the opening.
———
The exhibition will be on display in the Rotunda from 2-15 September 2011.

———-

At the Friday, September 2, 2011 opening:

Welcome remarks: Janos Tisovszky, Acting Director, United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna

Speakers: H.E. Jingye Cheng, Permanent Representative of  the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations (Vienna)

and Professor Richard Trappl, Director, Confucius Institute at the University of Vienna

The opening was accompanied by a children’s musical performance – The children – the “Chinese Bridge” choir of a bunch of delightful little girls, that were running around and having great time even when not singing, came with their mothers from the Youth Department of the Confucius Institute at the University of Vienna.

The musician was not Chinese – but from the Caribbean – Andri Joel Harison, and two young students from Hawaii spoke about the project – Kari Kehaulani Noe and Amanda Lee Nelson – they got involved with the project when on a vacation camp on the Island of Oahu.

* *** *

Though we follow China very closely on www.SustainabiliTank.info nevertheless, above invitation caused me sort of a culture shock.

First I realized that a Dante Alighieri Institute for Italian Culture and language, or a Goethe Institute for German Culture and language, or an Alliance Francaise Institute for French Culture and Language, or a Cervantes Institute for Spanish Culture and language would have meant no news to me. I simply caught myself not being prepared yet that the Chinese Culture and language, following the rise of global interest in China’s economy, is now a given – and I bet the future biggest such outreach – and after the end of the Mao period – why indeed not pick the Confucius name as boiler-plate for this endeavor?

Actually – this is a bit more complicated. No texts by Confucius survive that are demonstrably authored by him, and the ideas most closely associated with him were elaborated in writings that accumulated over the period between his death assumed to have happened in 479 BC and the foundation of the first Chinese empire in 221 BC. Since – these teachings were intermingled with the Imperial institutions.

The philosophy of Confucius, as it came down to us, emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. These values gained prominence in China over other doctrines, such  as Legalism or Taoism  during the Han Dynasty (206 BC – AD 220). His thoughts have been developed by others into a system of philosophy known as Confucianism that served the purpose of the Empirial House and it basically advises subservience.

The principles attributed to him had a basis in common Chinese tradition and belief. He demanded strong familial loyalty, ancestor worship, respect of elders by their children (and, according to later interpreters, of husbands by their wives), and the family as a basis for an ideal government. He is considered as proponent of the Golden RuleDo not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.

Although Confucianism is often followed in a religious manner by the Chinese, arguments continue over whether it is a religion. Confucianism discusses elements of the afterlife and views concerning Heaven, but it is relatively unconcerned with some spiritual matters often considered essential to religious thought, such as the nature of the soul.

Confucius, to the Chinese, is a model of human excellence, – he serves as the ultimate model, this rather than a deity or a universally true set of abstract principles. For these reasons, according to many Eastern and Western commentators, Confucius’s teaching may be considered a Chinese version of humanism.

On politics – Because his vision of personal and social perfections was framed as a revival of the ordered society of earlier times, Confucius is often considered a great proponent of conservatism, but a closer look at what he proposes often shows that he used (and perhaps twisted) past institutions and rites to push a new political agenda of his own: a revival of a unified royal state, whose rulers would succeed to power on the basis of their moral merits instead of lineage. These would be rulers devoted to their people, striving for personal and social perfection, and such a ruler would spread his own virtues to the people instead of imposing proper behavior with laws and rules.

While he supported the idea of government by an all-powerful sage, ruling as an Emperor, his ideas contained a number of elements to limit the power of rulers. He argued for according language with truth, and honesty was of paramount importance.
In discussing the relationship between a king and his subject (or a father and his son), he underlined the need to give due respect to superiors. This demanded that the inferior must give advice to his superior if the superior was considered to be taking the wrong course of action.

Soon after Confucius’ death, Qufu, his hometown, became a place of devotion and remembrance. It is still a major destination for cultural tourism, and many people visit his grave and surrounding temples. In pan-China cultures, there are many temples where representations of Budha, Laozi, and Confucius are found together. There are temples dedicated just to him, which have been used for Confucianist ceremonies – also a tradition of holding yearly spectacular memorial ceremonies  Confucius birthday, using ceremonies that supposedly derived from a disciple as recorded by Confucius. This tradition was interrupted for several decades in mainland China, where the official stance of the Communist Party and the State was that Confucius and Confucianism represented reactionary feudalist beliefs which held that the subservience of the people to the aristocracy is a part of the natural order. All such ceremonies and rites were therefore banned. Only after the 1990s, did the ceremony resume. As it is now considered a veneration of Chinese history and tradition, even Communist Party members may be found in attendance.

In Taiwan, where the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) strongly promoted Confucian beliefs in ethics and behavior, the tradition of the memorial ceremony of Confucius is supported by the government and has continued without interruption. While not a national holiday, it does appear on all printed calendars, much as Father’s Day does in the West.

I remember in Chinatown, New York City, when it was decided to put up a statue of Confucius, there was an uproar from part of the community. Confucius just was not all inclusive so far as the Chinese diaspora was concerned.

With above in mind I found of interest that not only is the Chinese Culture and language Institute of the University of Vienna named after Confucius – www.Konfuzius-institut.at – but similar institutions exist in other parts of the world – this as in Hawaii (the US), Madagascar, Peru, Melbourne (Australia), and China, exist Confucius Institutes as well – as there were children at work as well on preparing paintings that are shown in this exhibit.

The project ONE FAMILY follows a Chinese proverb that says FOUR OCEANS – ONE FAMILY.  The Ocean here is not a barrier – but a unifying ocean. In a central position there was a conventional drawing of the world map with Europe/Africa in the center, that had four vertical water lines – the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean and again the Pacific Ocean – so I quiped to Amanda – I see here only 3 Oceans – the globe is round – so there are only three.  She immediately volunteered that the Arctic Ocean is the fourth ocean. That was fine with me and I said that what I see there – to be exact – Four Oceans – One Family – One China.  Really what we have here is the simple fact that the Chinese communities all over the world make now the World One – For China.  The children of the world, in their cooperation, help China enter this globalization process as leaders – and it happens through the Confucius Institutes that link over the waters.

Like the choir – the children are the bridge – not all of them are Chinese. The children draw the things they know. The Madagascar kids did a banana plantation and life in villages, the Melbourne kids know they are in a different hemisphere – so they have people turned upside-down, the Peruvian kids even did some politics looking at indigenous people wanting independence – somehow everyone was touching the water’s edge.

The project inspired the children – and they replied with enthusiasm with a feeling of belonging and an intent of peaceful coexistence.

Some of the paintings were prepared for an earlier display in Berlin and the Chinese Cultural center there, that was titled “FUTURE CHINA.” Other paintings were done with the help of the Confucius Institutes that sponsored i.e. the camp in Oahu, Hawaii.  On the outer side of the circular exhibit at the UN Rotunda there were paintings, drawings, washes that were clearly done by full fledged artists – some from Taiwan and Tibet – China is one I repeated to myself as I use to do on our website.  A work from Beijing clearly stated – “One World – One Dream.”

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 3rd, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

It is a long way from the German party’s founding in 1980, when middle-class voters saw the Greens as radicals, heirs to the 1968 student protest movement or even the left-wing terrorists of the Red Army Faction. “People spat on my father when he went door to door,” said Milena Oschmann, the daughter of leading party members in the city of Kiel, Germany. She now works for the party, splitting her time between Parliament and the local office in Berlin’s Neukölln neighborhood.

A string of Green Party victories and strong electoral showings across Germany, from the conservative south to the port cities of the north, are helping to redefine politics among voters who are increasingly losing faith in the more established parties.
In most reliable scientific opinion surveys, the Greens in Germany are polling around 20 percent of the vote, nearly twice the 10.7 percent of the votes they won in the 2009 parliamentary election.

“In former times I always said the Green Party is the party of dentists’ wives,” said Reinhard Schlinkert, one of the most established political pollsters in Germany. “Now many of the dentists have started voting for them.” The Greeens are now a rather clean centrist party.

With a potent coalition of voters, the Greens surprised Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party when it took control of the affluent southern state of Baden-Württemberg this spring, which is akin to capturing the Texas statehouse. In the process, the party proved it was a force to be reckoned with in German politics, where one in five voters now say they support the Greens.

The Green Party is poised to extend its march into the mainstream on Sunday when voters go to the polls in the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The Greens could, for the first time, win seats in the State Parliament and demonstrate their ability to sustain political momentum.

What is happening is that in Germany and in many other countries, corruption and inefficiency are turning voters away from the conventional parties and they are now looking for something new. This will benefit parties like the Greens or perhaps a surge of some new Social Justice parties as it may happen in the US and Israel.

This posting is based on a New York Times article that writes about Germany, but already points out that Greens from Japan, Greece, Taiwan, as well as Sweden and Australia, came to study how the Germans did it.

please see – New York Times NEWS ANALYSIS – “Greens Gain in Germany, and the World Takes Notice.”

www.nytimes.com/2011/09/02/world/europe/02greens.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

www.nytimes.com/2011/09/02/world/europe/02greens.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

The mass killings in Norway in July riveted attention on the strength of right-wing populist parties across Europe, but particularly in Scandinavia. Yet with far fewer headlines, the Green Party in Sweden won more votes in last year’s parliamentary election than the far-right Sweden Democrats, taking 7.3 percent of the vote compared with 5.7 percent for the nationalists.
In Germany, the question is now whether the Greens sustain, or even build, on their recent advances. The party was buoyed by outrage over the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in Japan, but it has fallen slightly in polls since. Still, the party could serve as a model for the postindustrial left in Europe and, perhaps, around the world.

“Nothing in our political science books has prepared us for this kind of party,” said Josef Joffe, publisher of the weekly newspaper Die Zeit, who noted that the Greens have won the culture war on the left over the rusty Social Democrats on issues like gay rights and the integration of immigrants. “I bet if you had a party like this in America, all my rich friends on both coasts would vote for it.”

Although their roots are on the left, the Greens are being increasingly embraced by voters on the right, successfully tapping into a German strain of conservationist conservatism by opposing highways and the demolition of old buildings. It has benefited both from the slow collapse of European socialism and the rising awareness of renewable technologies that have brought even once-skeptical businesspeople into the fold.

The German Greens also have served as the spearhead of a global coming out for other Green parties. In Brazil’s presidential election last year, the Green Party candidate won nearly 20 million votes to place third in the first round. The Green Party in Colombia was founded just two years ago, but in 2010 saw its candidate for president place second.

Britain’s House of Commons welcomed its first Green Party member after last year’s election, and Australia’s Greens won their first seat in the lower house in 2010. More significantly, the Greens hold nine out of 76 seats in the Australian Senate, giving the party a swing vote and powerful leverage over legislation in the upper house, where no party holds a majority.

The global surge has remained under the radar in the United States, for many reasons. In a system dominated by two parties, the Greens have no representatives in Congress or, for that matter, in a single state legislature.

The party’s image and electoral success in the United States has been tightly bound to the ultimately doomed presidential bids of Ralph Nader rather than depending on the grass-roots methods used to build the Greens in Germany. The German Greens even have their own local chapter in Washington, and they have served as a model for their political cousins abroad.

Gustav Fridolin, one of two leaders of the Swedish Green Party, said he kept a poster from the German Greens’ 2009 parliamentary campaign in his office as inspiration. It reads, “Jobs, jobs, jobs: Only Green helps escape the crisis.”

If the US Greens can overcome the ego-centricity of Ralph Nader, they might be able to compete successfully for seats in Congress and help reorganize US politics as well.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 30th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

From: Matthew Tukaki, Chief Executive Officer, The Sustain Group Pty Ltd

The Sustainability Costly Leadership Masterclass: New York City,  December 1st, 2011

www.sustaingroup.net

On December 1st we are going to be holding a Sustainability Leadership Forum and Masterclass in New York. The Forum and Masterclass is going to cover a number of different elements from the implementation of legislation and its impacts on business and the community, a look at the Carbon Tax and ETS programs in New Zealand and Australia, the business and Government / Public Services response to climate change policies and a comprehensive look at a series of case studies across a multitude of sectors. Being held at the State University of New York, the forum will be limited so we suggest registering early.

Elements of the day will be webcast post the forum for those unable to attend – however, attending provides more value through coverage of the entire stream of content through-out the day. For more information click: www.sustaingroup.net/usslmasterclasshome

This is for you – if you are in the business of climate change, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, citizenship or policy then this exclusive one day Masterclass will provide for your learning or professional development agenda. Covering a multitude of topics ranging from Government policy and regulation, through to the business response to climate change, the risks and musts of managing simple and complex supply chains, the advent of social and professional media through to the development of strategies and programs – this program is one of the most comprehensive on offer anywhere around the world.

This exclusive Masterclass will be led by Matthew Tukaki. Matthew is the former Head of one of Australia’s largest and oldest multi layered corporations, Drake. He is currently the CEO of the Sustain Group and the Australian Representative to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). The UNGC is the worlds largest corporate citizenship initiative led by business in partnership with the United Nations.

Matthew has been extensively involved in the climate change narrative in the Southern Hemisphere and will lead you through a comprehensive look at the sector, the challenges and the opportunities. Included on the program are case studies, interactive scenario based workshops and practice driven theory. As a business leader and executive, someone involved in policy development, who better to lead it?

Following the Masterclass will be a private networking forum where participants can spend time with each other and discuss challenges and opportunities alike. This Masterclass is only being run in New York and is strictly limited. ENTER to find out more.

The tuition for this one day course is – $1195 (USD) – so you better be from a corporation intent on going the green way!

If you are one of the first ten people to register you will be able to book a free hour long consultation with Matthew Tukaki post the event. As Mr Tukaki will be in New York for three days attending other meetings, he has agreed to set aside time to meet with participants providing they register early and are able to fit into his schedule.

There are no group discounts for multiple bookings. There are no student or other discounts for attending this Masterclass and all costs are inclusive (including the networking event).

M: + 61 (0) 410 481 404
E: matthew.tukaki@sustaingroup.net
A: International House, Level 5, 104 Bathurst Street, Sydney NSW 2000
P: PO BOX 21460, World Square, Sydney NSW 2002
Australia I North America I Singapore I Hong Kong I Beijing I Bangkok I Dubai I South Korea

Masterclass venues and locations:
New York Venue: The State University of New York, New York City
Chicago Venue: University Centre, Chicago Illinois, 525 S. State Street, 60605
Los Angeles Venue: The University of Southern California

Please consider the impact of printing this email. One ream of paper = 5.4 kg CO2 in the atmosphere; 3 sheets of A4 paper = 1 litre of water.


###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 11th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

These states are:

Three of them are – The UK, Isle of Man and Jersey Island – Like the Isle of Man, Jersey is a separate possession of the Crown and is not part of the United Kingdom.[

Seven independent States – AUSTRALIA, CANADA, LICHTENSTEIN, LUXEMBOURG, NORWAY, SINGAPORE and SWITZERLAND.

Seven EURO States – AUSTRIA, DENMARK, FINLAND, FRANCE, GERMANY, THE NETHERLANDS, and SWEDEN.

and HONG KONG that sits on the rib of China.

Of these France seems to be next State to fall of this economists’ tree of life.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 28th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

SmithSchool rates each county's actions

A map of countries of the world rated in terms of national actions and commitments on climate change. Annex I countries are rated based on submissions pertinent to the Cancun Agreements.
‘Very good’: meet IPCC recommendations, Annex I: 25 – 40% reduction by 2020, Non-Annex I: submitted NAMA, 15-30% below BAU by 2020, or vocal in pressing for action. (we express our astonishment at this definition but are ready to look at the results the way these are interpreted by the New York Times – but please – very poor should be viewed as worse then poor!)

The New York Times link tells ud that The Smith School at the University of Oxford has released a report on international efforts to address climate change. Australia is rated “Poor” but we prefer to see in this map the data that The USA, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Somalia, Myanmar, are at the bottom of the list – Very Poor or bellow. This clearly just does not justify the title that takes it out on Australia.

Lets be fair – Australia has now its second Administration that is puting on the line its popularity with their political system – and does indeed come up with internal legislation to help reduce globally CO2 emissions by starting work at home.

Please see:  Permalink | | Email This Article Email This Article
Posted in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Charts, Database, Chile, Copenhagen COP15, European Union, Global Warming issues, Policy Lessons from Mad Cow Disease, Real World's News, Reporting From the UN Headquarters in New York, Reporting from Washington DC, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, UN Commission on Sustainable Development

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 19th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

from: Ricken Patel  of www. Avaaz.org – the Global Voice – The End of Rupert Murdoch.

Hacking murdered children’s phones, paying off police, destroying evidence of crimes, threatening politicians — UK leaders say Rupert Murdoch’s empire has “entered the criminal underworld”. For decades, Murdoch has ruled with impunity — making and breaking governments with his vast media holdings and scaring opponents into silence, but we’re fighting back, and winning!

Through almost 1 million actions, 7 campaigns, 30,000 phone calls, investigations and countless stunts and legal tactics, we’ve played a lead role and stopped Murdoch from buying over 50% of UK commercial media! Now we’re taking our red-hot UK campaign global, to roll back the Murdoch menace everywhere.

Here’s the plan: together we can

a) hire investigators to expose Murdoch’s corrupt tactics beyond the UK

b) organize prominent voices to break the cycle of fear and speak out on this issue and

c) mobilise people in key countries behind new laws and legal actions that stop Murdoch and clean up our media for good.

Avaaz members live in every country where Murdoch works, making our movement the only one that can truly take a campaign against his global empire and win.

The time is now — If just 20,000 of us donate a small amount each, we can seize this once-in-a-generation chance.

Click below to chip in:

secure.avaaz.org/en/stop_rupert_murdoch_donate/?vl

For weeks, nearly daily revelations have uncovered the extent of Murdoch media’s corruption in the UK. His operatives hacked the phones of thousands of people, including grieving widows and soldiers who died in Iraq, stole a Prime Minister’s bank information and harassed him for 10 years, paid huge sums to police officers, and Rupert’s son, James Murdoch, himself authorized hush money to victims.

But this is the tip of the iceberg — Murdoch is a global problem.

He’s famous for dictating editorial positions to his papers. He corrupts and controls democracies by pushing politicians to back his extremist ideas on war, torture and a host of other planetary ills, and destroying the careers of politicians with smear campaigns unless they do his bidding.

In the US, he helped elect George W. Bush and has most of the Republican presidential candidates actually on his payroll (see sources below). His Fox News Network spread lies to promote the war in Iraq, pushed resentment of Muslims and immigrants and spawned the right-wing tea party. Maybe worst of all, he has helped block critical global action on climate change.

Murdoch’s reign of fear is breaking down, and many are on the edge of speaking out against his tactics. The dam is about to break in the US, Australia and elsewhere, but we need to give it an urgent push by investigating Murdoch further, organising high profile opposition, and making sure that our politicians pass laws that will clean up our media for good.

Let’s make it happen together:

secure.avaaz.org/en/stop_rupert_murdoch_donate/?vl

Our community kept campaigning on this issue when almost everyone else in the UK gave up hope. Because we’re people-powered, we don’t have the same fear of Murdoch that almost everyone else does. It’s part of the promise that people power has for change in the world. Today, hope is breaking out in the UK — let’s take it global.

With determination,

Ricken, Emma, Maria Paz, Giulia, Luis, Alice, Brianna and the rest of the Avaaz team

SOURCES:

Decision on BSkyB takeover could take weeks after surge in online campaigning (Huffington Post)
www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/07/07/decision-on-bskyb-takeove_n_892244.html

BSkyB bid final clearance unlikely to be given before September (The Guardian)
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt will take ‘several weeks’ to review 100,000-plus submissions on News Corp/BSkyB takeover
www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jul/07/bskyb-bid-final-celarance-september

Murdoch maimed by social media (The Scotsman)
thescotsman.scotsman.com/opinion/Lesley-Riddoch-Murdoch-maimed-by.6799263.jp?articlepage=1

Who is Rupert Murdoch? (Center for American Progress)
www.americanprogress.org/issues/2004/07/b122948.html

The global reach of Murdoch’s News Corp (BBC)
www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-14104349

Rebekah Brooks must go over Milly ‘hacking’ – Miliband (BBC)
www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-14027879

Latest Updates on British Phone Hacking Scandal (New York Times)
thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/12/latest-updates-on-british-phone-hacking-scandal/

Fox News 2012? Nearly All Potential GOP Presidential Candidates On FNC Payroll (Huffington Post)
www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/27/fox-news-has-nearly-all-p_n_740070.html


Support the Avaaz community! We’re entirely funded by donations and receive no money from governments or corporations. Our dedicated team ensures even the smallest contributions go a long way — donate here.



Avaaz.org is a 9-million-person global campaign network that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people shape global decision-making. (“Avaaz” means “voice” or “song” in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 13 countries on 4 continents and operates in 14 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz’s biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

To contact Avaaz  write to us at www.avaaz.org/en/contact or call us at +1-888-922-8229 (US).

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 10th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The Australian government will impose a “carbon price” on industrial pollution to help fight greenhouse gas emissions.

It is implementing a parallel combination of subsidies and tax cuts for private individuals intended to soften the potential economic blow of the measure to consumers, according to statements on the prime minister’s website Sunday.

The fee on pollution is a key measure in the plan by the government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard to drastically reduce carbon emissions. It is intended to motivate businesses financially to move to cleaner energy sources. The Australian government considers the measures necessary because it believes Australia is one of the world’s worst polluters.

“Australians are the highest carbon polluters per person in the developed world,” declares an instructional video on a website intended to explain how the carbon reduction plan is intended to work.

“Australia will cut 159 million tonnes a year of carbon pollution from our atmosphere by 2020. That is the equivalent of taking over 45 million cars off the road,” a news release on Gillard’s website read.

Around 500 businesses are expected to have to pay the “carbon price” of 23 Australian dollars (US $24.78) per ton of carbon emissions, according to the government.

News releases and websites announcing the measure avoided the use of the word “tax” and preferred instead the terms “price” or “pricing.”

Revenues the government collects via the “carbon price” will be used to “assist households with tax cuts, increased family payments and higher pensions, benefits and allowances,” according to the website.

“Carbon price revenue will also be used to support jobs and to invest in clean energy and climate change programs.”

Nine of 10 Australian households will receive the assistance, according to a government news release.

The tax threshold for the poorest Australians will be raised, resulting in a million Australians no longer having to file a tax return, the government said.

Ms. Gillard presented her program on TV with a family background that included cats and kids. No coal lobbyists were in sight.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Polluting businesses are expected to pay the “carbon price”
  • Revenues from the carbon price are to go to Australian consumers and to clean energy development
  • Nine out of 10 Australian households will receive assistance, according to the government
  • The government will raise the tax-exempt threshold for the poorest Australians.

—————————–

And if you want to know how things are in Washington DC this weekend 0f make or break the US treasury, – just see please:

 edition.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/07/0…

And if you ask – does it have to be so? Please read from our CNN/GPS hero Fareed Zakaria:

globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2011/07/03/could-america-go-the-way-of-greece/

—————————-

Anyway – looking at first articles on the Australian announcement – here a reference to a New York Times, Business section article:

BUSINESS DAY | July 11, 2011
Australia Proposes Carbon Trading Plan, Again
By MATT SIEGEL
“A similar plan by the previous prime minister to cut 159 million tons of carbon dioxide by 2020, was largely blamed for having led to his political downfall.”

Thanks Australia for trying again, WILL WASHINGTON SEE THE SENSE IN SUCH AN APPROACH?

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 10th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

CLIMATE SKEPTICS: Does James Murdoch hate climate skepticism as much as phone-hacking?

By LISA HYMAS, Senior Editor of GRIST.
7 JUL 2011

James Murdoch, conservative climate hawk,  showed backbone in shutting
down News of the World in order to eradicate the tabloid’s degenerate,
phone-hack-happy culture. Might we hope that he’ll display similar
mettle in shutting down the climate skepticism that’s rampant in other
parts of the Murdoch media empire?

Perhaps now more than ever, James, 38, looks to be heir apparent to
the News Corp. conglomerate built up by his father Rupert, 80. In
addition to its media properties in Europe and Asia, which James now
oversees, News Corp. owns Fox News and The Wall Street Journal, the
most influential disseminators of climate skepticism in the U.S.

James “converted” his dad to the climate cause a few years ago, Rupert
told Grist in 2007. Papa Murdoch then launched a company-wide climate
plan in 2007, aiming to cut News Corp.’s emissions and spread climate
messages through its programming and publishing. Earlier this year,
the company announced that it had achieved its goal of carbon
neutrality by upping energy efficiency and buying carbon offsets, but
the editorial component of the climate plan seems to have gotten lost
along the way. Fox News and the Wall Street Journal editorial page
continue to spew out pernicious bombast designed to stop all climate
action — to such an extent that Rolling Stone this year made Rupert
No. 1 on its list of 12 Politicians and Execs Blocking Progress on
Global Warming.

If James becomes the big boss, will he keep tolerating it?

James gets the scale of the climate crisis: “This is crunch time right
now. All of the climate prediction models suggest we’re on the
worst-case trajectory, and some cases worse than the worst case,” he
told The Observer in 2009. That same year, he talked up the benefits
of “a gradually declining cap on carbon pollution” in a Washington
Post op-ed entitled “Clean energy is a conservative cause.” His wife,
Kathryn Hufschmid Murdoch, is a climate hawk too. She has worked and
served as an advisory board member at the Clinton Climate Initiative,
and she’s on the board of the Environmental Defense Fund. “Climate
change is the most urgent global issue facing humankind,” she wrote in
2007. James “holds dinners that bring together environmental
advocates, academics and executives,” according to The New York Times,
including one in 2008 that included EDF head Fred Krupp, London Mayor
Boris Johnson, and then-BP CEO Tony Hayward.

But in his 2009 Observer interview, James sounded hesitant to
interfere with the editorial side of the Murdoch media properties:
“How we deal with climate-change deniers depends on who they are. If
they run energy policy for large governments, then they’re a problem.
If it’s a random columnist, ignore them for a while. If they’re in my
paper? Well, I don’t tell people what to write.”

Still, that perspective could shift, especially as worries about
climate change mount and efforts to fight it falter. In a New York
Times profile published earlier this year, reporter Tim Arango wrote,
“James Murdoch’s views [on environmental issues] raise the question of
whether he would interfere with Fox News’s coverage if he were running
the News Corporation.” After all, Fox executives have no qualms about
interfering with their editors and reporters.

Hacking into the phones of a missing girl and family members of fallen
soldiers is despicable, but blocking action on climate change in the
most powerful nation on earth is a far greater sin. James, bring some
of that righteous indignation over to this side of the pond.
Lisa Hymas is Grist’s senior editor.

+++++++++=====================================++++++++++++

Further information about the power of the tabloids in the UK starts streaming to the regular media:

However much they might deplore tabloid methods and articles — the photographers lurking in the bushes; the reporters in disguise entrapping subjects into sexual indiscretion or financial malfeasance; the editors paying tens of thousands of dollars for exclusive access to the mistresses of politicians and sports stars; the hidden taping devices; the constant stream of stories about illicit sex romps — politicians have often been afraid to say so publicly, for fear of losing the papers’ support or finding themselves the target of their wrath.
If showering politicians with political rewards for cultivating his support has been the carrot in the Murdoch equation, then punishing them for speaking out has generally been the stick. But the latest revelations in the phone-hacking scandal appear to have broken the spell, emboldening even Murdoch allies like Prime Minister David Cameron to criticize his organization and convene a commission to examine press regulation.
The power to harass and intimidate is hardly limited to the Murdoch newspapers; British tabloids are all guilty to some extent of using their power to discredit those who cross them, politicians and analysts say.
“The tabloid press in Britain is very powerful, and it’s also exceedingly aggressive, and it’s not just News Corp.; The Mail is very aggressive,” said John Whittingdale, a Conservative member of Parliament who is chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee. “They do make or break reputations, so obviously politicians tread warily.”
Those who do not pay a price. Cherie Blair, wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, was regularly tortured in print by the right-leaning Daily Mail because she made no effort to cultivate it and because it was not an admirer of her husband’s Labour government. In a stream of articles, The Mail portrayed her as greedy, profligate and a follower of wacky alternative-medicine regimes, selecting unflattering photos to make her look chunky and ill-dressed, her mouth invariably curled in a strange rictus.
But politicians have always been most afraid of the sting of The Sun and its Sunday sister (at least until this Sunday, when it is to close), The News of the World, because the papers’ good will is so important politically.
“Privately, M.P.’s say all sorts of things, but most of them have kept very, very quiet about Rupert Murdoch until now,” Roy Greenslade, a professor of journalism at City University London, said the other day. “When you are facing the wrath of News International, you can bet they will turn up anything about you — whether it be true or just spun in a certain way.”
—–
Labour politicians still shudder about the fate of Neil Kinnock, the party leader in the early 1990s, who was leading the Conservative Party’s John Major in the 1992 election when The Sun mounted a sustained attack on him. The reasons were political — the paper supported the Conservative Party — but the means were personal. Mr. Kinnock was the subject of a barrage of articles depicting him as inept, long-winded, strange looking, and even mentally unstable.
The day before the election, The Sun printed a package of articles under the headline “Nightmare on Kinnock Street.” It printed a picture of a fat topless woman and the warning, “Here’s How Page 3 Will Look Under Kinnock!” And, in an image he would never live down, the paper printed a large front-page photograph of Mr. Kinnock’s head inside a light bulb, under the headline: “If Kinnock Wins Today Will the Last Person to Leave Britain Please Turn Out the Lights.”
So, what do Americans see in this thinking about the way the Murdoch properties treat President Obama and climate change as well?
The attacks have not been limited to Labour politicians. David Mellor, a Conservative member of Parliament who served in several Tory governments, had a different sort of bad experience. In 1989, Mr. Mellor declared that the tabloids were reckless, too powerful and in need of more regulation; they were, he warned, “drinking at the last-chance saloon.”
But he was the one at that particular bar. And Mr. Mellor, who returned to the anti-tabloid theme three years later, ended up leaving the government after a series of racy tabloid exposés about his personal indiscretions. In the most famous one, The News of the World paid about $48,000 for his mistress’s account of their affair, complete with secret recordings and the indelible detail that Mr. Mellor had made love to her while wearing only a Chelsea soccer jersey. (He always said that part was not true.) – It is just the threat of harassment that frightens now politicians.
“I can think of at least two members of Parliament who could have been criticizing Murdoch five years ago, and said nothing because they were afraid,” said Chris Bryant, a Labour member of Parliament who serves on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee and who has been a persistent critic of Mr. Murdoch.
It was Mr. Bryant who, at a hearing on press standards in 2003, asked Ms. Brooks, then editor of The Sun, whether she had ever paid the police for information. She was seriously displeased with the tough tone of his questions; so were other tabloid editors who spoke at the hearing.
A few months later, Mr. Bryant was the subject of an article in The Mail on Sunday, illustrated by a photo of him in his underpants that he had posted on a gay dating site. (He does not make a secret of his sexuality.) The News of the World also printed the story, copying the account.
After Mr. Bryant spoke last fall in Parliament against tabloid tactics, he said a friend received telephone calls from two Murdoch underlings. “They told him, ‘You know Chris Bryant? Just let him know that this will not be forgotten,’ ” Mr. Bryant related.
A spokeswoman for News International said the company had no comment for this article.
Mr. Bryant received a stranger form of threat, he said, when he ran into Ms. Brooks at a News International party at a Labour conference.
“She said, ‘Oh, Mr. Bryant, it’s after dark — surely you should be on Clapham Common,’ ” a notorious gay cruising spot, Mr. Bryant related. He said she was not trying to be funny.
On Wednesday, Mr. Bryant led the debate in Parliament about phone hacking. “We politicians, I believe, have colluded far too long with the media,” he said. “We rely on them. We seek their favor. We live, we die politically because of what they write and what they show, and sometimes that means we are not courageous or spineful enough to stand up when wrong has occurred.”
“This is a remarkable turnaround,” Professor Greenslade said, speaking of attitudes toward Mr. Murdoch. “All these years, he’s been a tycoon, a media mogul — and now it’s as if he’s suddenly become Citizen Kane.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 6th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Clean Energy Solutions

this from: UN-Energy info@un-energy.org   –  http://www.cleanenergyministerial.org .

On  Accelerating the transition to clean energy technologies Issue 2 of UN Energy Newsletter tells about the
Clean Energy Ministerial that was initiated At the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference of parties in Copenhagen in December 2009.

There Secretary Chu announced that he would host the first Clean Energy Ministerial to bring together ministers with responsibility for clean energy technologies from the world’s major economies and from a select number of smaller countries that are leading in various areas of clean energy.
By working together, these governments can accomplish more than by working alone, he said.

We are intrigued by the list of participating countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, the European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

That is the EU countries, Australia, Canada, Norway, the US, Korea, and Japan – that is the old OECD countries – plus the UAE and the new big seven  growing economies – Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico,  Russia, South Africa.

These States account for more than 80 percent of global energy consumption and pollution, and as well a  similar percentage of the market for clean energy technologies. Our argument is that if anything happened in Copenhagen in December 2009, it is that the concept of trying to chase an agreement of 192 government has been replaced by a practical approach of communicating with the 80% that includes the major energy users – historic as well as future polluters. It shall be hoped that a cooperation in their own self interest, between the industries and governments of these countries, can move the issues from their present dead point. After all – much has been achieved already in individual cases – the only problem being that when the 192 come together – rhetoric gets the day and agreements are very sparse.

The participation of the UAE – a federation that two of its members are already involved in financing development of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies – though still  oil exporting in good standing with OPEC – makes sure that oil countries, not just Norway, are also participating in these efforts. Also, talking about oil production as a major part of their economies – this clearly extends to the post OECD countries – Brazil, Mexico and Russia.

The material states: The Clean Energy Ministerial is a high-level global forum to promote policies and programs that advance clean energy technology, to share lessons learned and best practices, and to encourage the transition to a global clean energy economy. Initiatives are based on areas of common interest among participating governments and other stakeholders.

Also: The world is on the cusp of a clean energy revolution. Some new technologies can help provide clean energy by harnessing the power of the sun, wind and other renewable resources. Other technologies can enable more efficient use of energy in buildings, industry and vehicles. These technologies, when coupled with supportive policies, can significantly reduce carbon pollution from traditional fossil fuels, improve local air quality, create jobs, enhance energy security and provide improved access to energy around the world. Yet barriers to the adoption of clean energy technologies abound, and the cost of some technologies remains high. By working together, governments and other stakeholders can overcome barriers and advance the market adoption of clean energy technologies.

Seemingly – at least US based initiatives are already in place.

These CEM initiatives are focused on three global climate and energy policy goals:

(1) Improve energy efficiency worldwide through the Global Energy Efficiency Challenge,

(2) Enhance clean energy supply,

and (3) Expand clean energy access.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 27th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

We propose that the issues must be brought to the public in what we will call after the Vienna Energy Forum – the Schwarzenegger way. Just tell the people that you want to create Jobs by developing new ways in our culture.
We want a greater reliance on autarchy  by increasing energy efficiency and providing energy locally in renewable ways.
We want SUSTAINABILITY written on our flag. The scientists will help us in practice and not just by the power of statements.

Protesters Demand French Nuclear Plant Closure

Protesters Demand French Nuclear Plant Closure

Date: 27-Jun-11
Country: FRANCE
Author: Patrick Genthon and Gilbert Reilhac
Thousands of demonstrators formed a human chain outside France’s oldest nuclear power plant on Sunday to demand the site be closed as the government mulls whether to extend its life by a decade.
Photo: Vincent Kessler


Floodwaters Surround Nuke Plant After Breach

Floodwaters Surround Nuke Plant After Breach

Date: 27-Jun-11
Country: usa
Author: Lucia Mutikani, John Crawley and Michael Avok)Lucia Mutikani
A tear on Sunday in a temporary berm allowed Missouri River flood waters to surround containment buildings and other vital areas of a Nebraska nuclear plant, but reactor systems were not affected.
Photo: Lane Hickenbottom


Australians Cool On Tackling Climate Change

Australians Cool On Tackling Climate Change

Date: 27-Jun-11
Country: AUSTRALIA
Author: Michael Perry
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has staked her troubled leadership on introducing a carbon price to fight climate change, but a new poll on Monday found the majority of voters no longer regard tackling climate change as a major goal.
Photo: Mick Tsikas

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 14th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

21st International Congress on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID), 8th International Micro Irrigation Congress, & 62nd International Executive Council meeting

15-23 October 2011, Tehran, Iran

The announcement says:
Last chance to avail “Early Bird Registration” offer by 1 June 2011

Congress Theme: Water Productivity towards Food Security

Congress Questions
Question 56 : Water and Land Productivity Challenges
Question 57 : Water Management in Rainfed Agriculture

Special Session : Modernization of Water Management Schemes
Symposium : Climate Change Impacts on Soil and Water Resources

Seminar : Possibilities of Using Traditional Methods in Modern Water Management Systems

Venue
IICC Conference/Exhibition Center is Tehran is a World Class meeting and convention facility with 20,000 square meter space, located in the northern part of Tehran. IICC is closely linked to most of Tehran hotels.

Registration fees in US Dollars (SUD).
Participants    Early Bird Prior to June 1, 2011   Standard After June 1, 2011
Member country delegate               750     800
Non-Member country delegate      800     850
Accompanying person                     300     300
Young Professionals                       400     400 – Those who are under 40 years by Oct. 15, 2011.
How to Register
•       Fill the Registration and Visa Request form after downloading (www.icid2011.org) and send them with copy of the first page of the Passport (in color) to the Congress Secretariat (icid.congress@gmail.com, Fax:+9821-22367789).
•       For paying the registration fee you can choose any one of the following methods:

Through the following Bank account:
o       Bank Account: Sparkasse Starkenburg, Account Number: 5059922, Beneficiary: ToossAb International Consulting Engineers GmbH, Mentioning: ICID 2011 Registration Fee, Swift code: HELADEF1HEP, IBAN: DE14509514690005059922
•       In case of payment with Credit Card, please contact the bank via email:info@taice.de .The bank will then facilitate the payment.
•       The registration fee could also be paid at the venue during the congress.

Important note: Regarding the Iranian banking system, the registration fee or any other cost cannot be paid via any foreign bank card, inside Iran, under any circumstances.

Tours
Technical – Khuzestan (US$ 350); Mazandaran (US$ 250)
Post Conference – Isfahan Tour : 3 days and 2 nights (US$ 500)
Isfahan+ Shiraz Tour: 4 days and 3 nights (US$650).
8th International Micro Irrigation Congress
The 8th International Micro Irrigation Congress (8th IMIC) is in the series of Micro Irrigation Congresses that ICID organizes. First congress was held in 1971. The theme of the 8th International Micro Irrigation Congress is “Innovation in Technology and Management of Micro-irrigation for Crop Production Enhancement”.

Objectives of 8th IMIC congress are:
•       To share experiences in the use of new technologies and best management practices in drip, micro-sprinkler, and other localized irrigation systems.
•       To review the status of use of micro irrigation for smallholders.
•       To understand socio-economic and technological factors impeding expansion of drip and micro-sprinkler irrigation area.

Other Events:

FAO-ICID Special Session
Irrigation Australia (IAL) Special Session
INPIM Special Session
Technical Exhibitions

ICID Congress provides a unique opportunity in the field of irrigation and drainage, where the latest products and achievements of the industries are presented. Exhibit space will be available during the congress to showcase commercial displays. For space, please contact Congress Secretariat.

Contact
Dr. S.A. Assadollahi, Secretary General, Congress Secretary, Iranian National Committee on Irrigation and Drainage (IRNCID), No. 1, Shahrsaz Alley, Kargozar St., Zafar Ave., Tehran, Iran, Postal Code: 19198-34453. Tel: (+9821) 2225 7348 – 22250162, Fax: (+9821) 2227 2285
E-mail : irncid@gmail.comicid2011@gmail.com,
Website : www.icid2011.org

———————————————————————————————

HURRY ! HURRY ! HURRY !

ICID WatSave Awards 2011 – Invitation for nominations – Deadline 30 June 2011

Dear Sir/Madam,

It is my great pleasure to announce that ICID is inviting nominations for the WatSave Awards 2011 from individuals/ team working in the area of irrigation, drainage and flood management. Awards for innovations from across the world are given to recognize outstanding contributions to water saving/conservation in agriculture and are given in four categories viz. (i) Technology, (ii) Innovative Water Management, (iii) Young Professionals, and (iv) Farmer. The ICID WatSave Awards for the year 2011 will be presented at the 62nd meeting of the IEC scheduled to be held in October 2011 at Tehran, Iran.

Nominations are invited for the ‘WatSave Awards 2011’ from individuals/ team of individuals through ICID National Committees/ Committee. The entries are open to all professionals/ teams from ICID member countries as well as non-member countries. In case of an entry from a ‘non-member’ country, the nomination has to be  routed through and validated by an active National Committee of ICID, who should be in touch with the nominee and is aware of nominee’s work’.

All the National Committees/ Committee are requested to send their nominations by inviting contributions on outstanding achievements from all those professionals who are engaged in water saving/ conservation activities. The deadline for receipt of the entries from the National Committees along with a completed Nomination Form (Annex 1) to the Central Office ICID, New Delhi is 30 June 2011. The ‘Conditions and Criteria’ set for the awards are given in Annex 2. Annex 3 shows the checklist of enclosures to be forwarded by the National Committee while submitting the nominations.

The selection of the winners from amongst the nominations received will be made by an International Panel of Judges to be appointed by the President, ICID in consultation with the Chairman, Working Group on Water Saving for Agriculture (WG-WATS).

I request all the national committees/ committee to carry out primary evaluation of the nomination(s) in light of the questions posed in the evaluation process, before submitting only one of them in any particular category (if there had been more responses) to the Central Office, New Delhi.  Nominations not complying with the above requirements or more than one nomination from the same National Committee in a particular category are liable to be rejected.

Full details of the awards and excerpts of the past award winning contributions are available on ICID web site www.icid.org/awards.html. Please feel free to disseminate this announcement through resources available with you. Please contact me for clarification, if any.

Yours sincerely,
Dr. Vijay K. Labhsetwar                                                                         14 June 2011
Director

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Drylands in Brazil and Elsewhere Vital for Global Sustainability.
Bonn, 8 February 2010. Historically, socially and economically, drylands have been key regions for global sustainability. This message must be communicated to the global community, according to Brazil’s Professor Antonio Rocha Magalhães, Director of the second International Conference on Climate Change, Sustainability and Development in the Semi-arid Regions (ICID 2010). The conference is scheduled to take place in August. Prof. Magalhães made the remarks as part of Brazil’s delegation on a visit last Friday to concretize partnership in organizing the Conference in close collaboration with the secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

Welcoming the initiative from the Government of Brazil to organize and host the Conference, Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja said ICID 2010 “will go a long way towards building momentum and strong international mobilization for the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).” Gnacadja added that holding the event is particularly timely in light of the United Nations General Assembly’s recent declaration of 2010-2020 as the United Nations Decade on Deserts and the Fight against Desertification.

Noting that Brazil’s Amazon forest is well known, but not its drylands, the delegation stressed the need to draw attention to the importance of the well being of the drylands people in Brazil and elsewhere, and to advocate an agenda for policy development. The delegation comprised of Francisco José Pinheiro, Vice Governor of the State of Ceará, the region threatened by desertification and the State hosting the Conference, Professor Antonio Rocha Magalhães, Director of the ICID 2010 Conference, and José Roberto de Lima, Brazil’s designated Technical Focal Point for the Convention in the Ministry of Environment.

The ICID 2010 will take place from 16-20 August 2010 in Fortaleza, Brazil. It is part of Brazil’s preparatory process towards the implementation for the United Nations General Assembly’s decision to hold in Brazil, in 2012, the World Summit on the Follow-up of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit for Sustainable Development.

The first ICID was held in the lead up to the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and brought together over 1,200 participants from all over the world. ICID 2010 is jointly sponsored by Brazil’s Ministry of Environment, the Government of the State of Ceará, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Center for Management and Strategic Studies.

Highlights of the ICID 2010 Conference are available here.

Our website covered the event – 23 Aug 2010  Sustainabilitank.info: The Sustainable Development Media Think Tank – At ICID 2010, In Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil, Professor Jeffrey Sachs 
www.sustainabilitank.info/…/at-icid-2010-in-fortaleza-ceara-brazil-professor-jeffrey-sachs-suggested-a-new-political-alliance-of-semi-arid…

In normal conditions, we consider the event in Tehran of high importance – specially for Iran itself – and for the sand and oil rich region of which Iran is part. Talking of Sustainable Development and showing irrigation technology – Iranian as well as foreign such as Australian, Israeli, US, Chinese … –  would be important for food production in the region. We hope that Iran decided to go this road indeed.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 18th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Issue 142 on the UNelections.org list  – Candidates for UNSG in 2011?

 www.unelections.org/?q=node/1915

We find it funny that coincidentally the number 142 of the item for the UN Security Council that deals with Ghadaffi’s Libya is the same as the issue number at the UN General Assembly that deals with the election or re-election of the UN Security Council.

Will the position taken in the name of the UN have an impact on the chances for reelection of Mr. Ban Ki-moon? Will this rather strengthen the hand of Mr. Lula of Brazil or that of Anglo-Saxon Oceania – New Zealand or Australia? Will someone else emerge to become a serious candidate, or it will be a retrenching to a “Don’t Rock the Boat” situation?

———————-

from South Korea news that say that the UN will not Rock-the -Boat: – http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2011/03/03/5/0301000000AEN20110303008500315F.HTML

 

(Yonhap Interview) U.N. tacitly agrees to reappoint Ban for second term: official
By Lee Haye-ah
SEOUL, March 3 (Yonhap) — The prevailing view within the United Nations is to keep its chief Ban Ki-moon at the helm for another term, Seoul’s ambassador to the U.N. said Thursday.  

   The South Korean-born secretary-general’s first term is set to expire at the end of this year, but with Ban’s “outstanding” leadership, he is almost certain to stay for another five-year period, Amb. Park In-kook said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency.

———————–
from the UN an astonishing note –
UNITED NATIONS: Lakshmi Puri of India has been appointed to the prestigious position of Assistant Secretary-General for Intergovernmental Support and Strategic Partnerships for UN Women.
but investigative journalist Matthew Russell Lee asks:  “At UN, As Ban Ki-moon Promotes Indian Ambassador’s Wife, Are Rules Needed on Lobbying for 2d Term?”
The problem is that “Ms. Puri is the wife of Hardeep Singh Puri, the Permanent Representative of India, currently a member of the Security Council which must vote on Ban getting, or not getting, a second term as SecretaryGeneral.”  http://www.innercitypress.com/ban1hirepuri031311.html
 
  

On March 12, Inner City Press wrote directly to Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri to ask for confirmation, and ask for a “response to those that say it might have or appear to have any impact on how the Secretary General is viewed or treated, especially but not only as he goes for a second term.” 

  On March 13, Hardeep Puri called Inner City Press and presented his side. He said that he and Lakshmi have been married for some 35 years, adding that “my being here and her being there has not made any difference in terms of one influencing the other… She was in Geneva with UNCTAD… Then here in New York as director of High Representative on Least Developed Countries, since October or November of 2009. She applies for jobs as do several others in the UN system.” 

  Inner City Press asked Hardeep Puri if he thought that any rules should apply to the Secretary General giving jobs to spouses of the Permanent Representative who will vote on his second term. 

  Hardeep Puri to his credit acknowledged that if a person “completely from the outside, without the qualification, were offered the job… in this kind of situation, obviously eyebrows would be raised.” 

  Rightly or wrongly, in this case some eyebrows have been raised. One analogy is to a public corporation, in which it would be problematic for a chief executive to give a job to the spouse of a board member who is supposed to oversee his performance and continued employment. 

Hardeep Puri issued a challenge, telling Inner City Press to watch “if you suddenly find Hardeep Puri restrained.” We will.

The deputy spokesperson of the Secretary-General, Farhan Haq said of Mr. Ban Ki-moon when announcing five new appointments by the Secretary General:

“He has also been aware of the need to bring fresh blood and to encourage motivation in the rank and file within the Organization,” Mr. Haq said when announcing the appointments.



 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 6th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Looking at the Monday December 6th world news in the media, and with the Fareed Zakaria program of yesterday still in our ears, we thought a Global Reality Check is in place – this in the sense of what are the real global power divisions in a world that pushes towards 7 billion people and in which the financial reserves have moved from the traditional North-Atlantic safety-pin towards the new Billionaires of China and India, and further two new supper blocks in the making.

Thinking of the 192 plus seats in the UN glass building, the unclear cohesion in Europe, the unclean evolution in the Islamic world, the need of something really new to take over the “Rest-of-the- World,” and the re-emergence of honesty thanks to the WikiLeaks – hear is our suggestions of what the WORLD is really like:

According to the International Programs Center, U.S. Census Bureau, the total population of the World, projected to 12/06/10 – that is right today –  is 6,886,109,339 people.

Of above 1,34 billion potential producers and consumers live in China – that is 19.5% of the total and another 1,19 billion or 17.3% of the total live in India. We have thus 36.8% of the world population in just two competing eastern countries that posses nuclear know-how and enough nuclear arms to be viewed as no push-overs by the old Western powers. They have a growing middle class and strong political systems. They have increasing numbers of billionaires in the Forbes list and in every further world grouping to be entitled to sit at the same table with China and India must be of the billion people size. Just please forget the old United Nations Security Council. It is a joke in real power terms.

Who are the other Four States or rather cohesive groupings that can sit at their new table?

I will suggest the following:

(1) a new Anglo-Saxon group led by the United States (4.52% of World Population) and including the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and perhaps also two further outsiders – Japan and Mexico – whose economies got enmeshed with the US. In total figures – this will still be the smallest group.

(2) a new Christian Eurasian Union that will stretch from the Iberian Peninsula to the Kamchatka Peninsula. This group is led by an economic alliance axis linking Germany and Russia (2.06% of World Population) – will be multi-lingual but use the English language as uniter. In effect this group will be the fulfillment of the EU ideal – post Cold-War – after it becomes clear to the present members that there is no way they can continue with a monetary union  that is not supported by economic reality. It is not the spread of a similar concept of democracy that is the most crucial component here as per US post-WWII era – it is rather the availability of primary materials and the evolution of a middle class in Russia that will push for the incorporation of Russia into the EU, and eventually agreements that will bring Russia to join also the EURO and let Germany help carry along the weaker members in agreement with Russia. This new union is not a labor of love – but clearly the understanding that without doing so, as individual entities, they have no place at the table. Occupying now three seats out of five at the UN Security Council, Europe has retained furniture but lost relevance.

(3) an Islamic billion people bloc led by non-Arab Turkey and Indonesia. This group will not have a common currency, but will find ways to form a new sort of representative council to lead in term of economics and external policy. The cement is religious and the push for some sort of unity will be from bellow. The government, as WikiLeaks teach us, that did not act in the interest of the people – in order to survive – will start cooperating and carve themselves a seat at the table.

(4) to complete the six-sided table, we expect Brazil (2.82% 0f World Population) to move into the last available billionaire position and represent Latin America and the Sub-Saharan Africa region. Brazil has also the potential to absorb into its loser knit Group-of-the Rest the Pacific States, the Caribbean States, and whatever is left of South-East Asia after attachment have been created by links of some of the States to one or the other of the other five groups.

We would be interested in receiving reactions to the above.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 27th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Sunday, October 25th, 2010 Fareed Zakaria, on his CNN/GPS program – 9 days before the US Mid-term Elections of November 2, 2010 –  started his analysis of the changing World – and he promised to continue to deal with this subject in his Halloween – Sunday, October 31st Very Special program to be seen also in the evening – and in a Special Time Magazine issue.

The World has changed in the last two decades mainly because of two developments – and the US must learn that it is no-more the one Super-power and that it will have to adapt to the idea that it might not even be the leading power anymore. These two developments are:

(A) the Technology Revolution – particularly the information technology which since the 1990s has started the economic spiral of job losses.

(B) Globalization that resulted in the largest 500 US companies getting an average of 26% of their profits from overseas and among the largest of theses companies this figure could be as high as 80%.

In global politics – Vietnam 1973 has changed to Bosnia 1996 and the art of negotiation that will be reapplied to a readiness to talk with the Taliban. Richard Holbrooke was on the program, and very thoughtfully said that at the moment there are not yet negotiations but “contact and discussions” – it is not yet the stage of secret negotiations that went on towards the end of the war in Vietnam. We are not trying to win the Afghanistan War and a Dayton-type of negotiations is in the cards – but we are not there yet, he said. If no-body noted this earlier, Holbrooke was appointed by Hillary Clinton in the name of President Obama  to the AF/Pak desk – just for this purpose – and he surely is eager to justify the trust in him.

The US must face it – 9 years of war and a half trillion dollars expenditures since 9/11, and the US has not started to scratch the issue of finding Bin Laden. The US must learn and reassess – and Fareed brought in a truly stellar panel to start this analysis.

SIMON SCHAMA – the author of “The American Future: A History”, where he takes the long view of how the United States has come today to this anguished moment of truth about its own identity as a nation and its place in the world.

He was born in London, son of Jewish parents with roots in Lithuania, Romania, and Turkey – a renown British historian – he has lived half his life in the US and is now a Professor at Columbia University having taught in the 80s at Harvard.

Schama is a supporter of President Obama and a critic of President G.W. Bush. He appeared on the BBC’s coverage of the 2008 U.S. presidential election, clashing with John Bolton.

SHASHI THAROOR – now a member of the Indian Parliament from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency in Kerala. On 2 May 2010, he was nominated to be a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for External Affairs.

Tharoor previously served as the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information. He ran for UN Secretary General and lost to the present chief – Mr. Ban Ki-moon who had the G.W. Bush backing. Tharoor’s loss was the World’s loss of highly intellectual, outspoken, potential World leader. Born in London and educated in the US – His doctoral thesis at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, “Reasons of State”, was a required reading in courses on Indian foreign-policy making. He was with the UN from 1978 till April 1, 2007 and we knew him well in his last years as UN Undersecretary-General for Communications and Public Information, and as the head of Department of Public Information (UNDPI) under UNSG Kofi Annan. During his tenure at the UNDPI, Tharoor reformed his Department and undertook a number of initiatives, ranging from organizing and conducting the first-ever UN seminar on anti-Semitism, the first-ever UN seminar on Islamophobia and launching an annual list of “Ten Under-Reported Stories the World Ought to Know About.”

KISHORE MAHBUBANI – the author of “The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Power to the East,”  as well as “Can Asians Think?” and “Beyond the Age of Innocence: Rebuilding Trust between America and the World”. Now he is the Dean and Professor in the Practice of Public Policy of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, he served for 33 years as a diplomat for Singapore, and has written many articles on world affairs. We met him several years ago at the Asia Society in New York and got material directly from him.

Mr. Tharoor observed that Americans are moving away from the concept of Globalization that they themselves managed to sell to the World. He said that a G-2 concept of the US and China is unacceptable to “THE REST OF US.”

Mr. Mahbubani reminded Mr. Schama that in the past he also advocated a 5% Consumption tax that could be used to change the system – and flatly stated that China’s views get more sympathy from us – meaning also THE REST OF US then the US does. Simply stated – The US capacity to provide leadership has diminished.

Mr. Schama pointed out that recently China threatened Japan unnecessarily, China’s currency is undervalued, and that China’s relationships with the rest of the world is based on what it can get in term of resources. To this Mahbubani answered that indeed China overplayed Japan and the Chinese President went to Japan for a making-up visit.

Mr. Schama reviewed the November 2nd 2010 US elections today as part of the Financial Times www.ft.com  /obamaatbay series. He says that if Mr. Obama’s good works – and they were the best since the Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society years of the 1960s, and the momentous opening charge of the New Deal of 1933 – he calls for Mr. Obama to discard his Plato and to summon instead his “inner Machiavelli” – but these topics are not the subject of our present article.
We will get back to them in a later – elections related posting.

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Watching the Fareed Zakaria stellar program  that touched upon the reality of a new world of global blocks – I decided to come up with a summation of our own views of the kind of World the Obama II Administration will be facing in the 2011-2013 years when preparing for the 2012 US elections.

The World population is pushing to the 7 Billion figure – presently as per US Census Bureau estimates it is 6.88 Billion – well over half of which is made up by clear three blocks – as we will see the agreed upon three blocks account for 4 Billion out of the 7 Billion :

CHINA – by the end of 2010 it is expected to be 1.4 Billion.

INDIA – presently at 1.2 Billion and by 2030, because of higher birth rates, India’s population will surpass China’s that will have stabilized at 1.45 Billion.

THE MUSLIMS presently at 1.2 Billion. Now still an agglomerate but with developing Turkish leadership.

In our opinion rather then continuing the Fareed Zakaria panel’s talk of the US as the fourth block, a failed G-2 concept of the US and China – which by the way is  a concept we presented many times on our own website, and which we still see as a stepping stone on the way the World will eventually tackle the climate change issue – and their fifth block – the members of the panel called THE REST – simply does not agree with our gut-feelings and mental analysis – rather WE THINK THAT THE REMAINING 3 BILLION PEOPLE WILL BELONG TO A DIFFERENT SET OF Rather THREE BLOCKS as follows:

– THE CHRISTIAN EUROPE – LED BY GERMANY AND RUSSIA  – about 750 million that is Continental Europe –
up to and including Russia, Georgia and Armenia – excluding possibly the UK.

– THE US  and MORE-OR-LESS ANGLO  ALLIES – 310 million and about  650 million when including Canada, the UK,
Australia, New Zealand, and some others from among Japan, Korea, Mexico.

– THE REST – which will be BRAZILIAN LED including Sub-Sahara Africa, Central and South America, parts of Asia and
the Island States. This block remains the largest in total numbers of people.

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Having seen the papers of Monday and Tuesday I found further justification to above suggestions I am making in the fact that some in the US, and perhaps even the UK, starting the blame game of WHO HAS LOST EUROPE TO RUSSIA.
We rather think that Europe getting together with resources rich Russia may prove to be in Europe’s self-interest in the six-block World we see in the future and we rather find further justification in the attitudes expressed by the Fareed panel.

Jorge Benitez – NatSource of the Atlantic Council of NATO, October 26, 2010 notes:

From John Vinocur, the International Herald Tribune:  Germany and France, meeting with Russia in Deauville, northern France, last week, signaled that they planned to make such three-cornered get-togethers on international foreign policy and security matters routine, and even extend them to inviting other “partners” — pointing, according to diplomats from two countries, to Turkey becoming a future participant.
Then we saw by Politicus something like:

Will (or Could) the US Lose Europe to Russia.

as per JOHN VINOCUR, Published: October 25, 2010

PARIS — The United States used to call wayward members of NATO back to the reservation with a whistle or a shout. It decided what was deviation from doctrine, and that decision was pretty much law.

When the Obama administration stamped its foot this time, no one snapped to attention.

Rather, Germany and France, meeting with Russia in Deauville, northern France, last week, signaled that they planned to make such three-cornered get-togethers on international foreign policy and security matters routine, and even extend them to inviting other “partners” — pointing, according to diplomats from two countries, to Turkey becoming a future participant.

That can look like an effort to deal with European security concerns in a manner that keeps NATO, at least in part, at a distance. And it could seem a formula making it easier for Russia to play off — absolutely no novelty here — the European allies against the United States, or NATO and the European Union, against one another.

But there’s more detail in the theoretical Euro-Atlantic apostasy department: Add Chancellor Angela Merkel’s proposal, made in June, that the European Union and Russia establish their own Political and Security Committee, and President Nicolas Sarkozy’s intention, enunciated in Deauville, to establish an E.U.-Russia economic space “with common security concepts.”

Just before the Deauville meeting, Vladimir Chizov, Russia’s ambassador to the E.U., leapt ahead of the Merkel/Sarkozy plans and told a reporter that Russia now wants a formalized relationship with the existing E.U. committee on foreign and security policy. “I don’t expect to be sitting at every committee session,” he said, “but there should be some mechanism that would enable us to take joint steps.”

As for the Obama administration stamping its foot, what it came down to was a senior U.S. official saying: “Since when, I wonder, is European security no longer an issue of American concern, but something for Europe and Russia to resolve? After being at the center of European security for 70 years, it’s strange to hear that it’s no longer a matter of U.S. concern.”

So, a follow-on burst of European contrition? I asked a German official about it. He spoke of German and French loyalty to NATO. And he said, “I understand there are American suspicions.”

“But,” he added, “the United States must accept that the times are changing. There are examples of it having done this. Why wouldn’t it accept our view in this respect?”

The official did not list them, but there are obvious factors explaining the French and German initiatives.

A major one is President Barack Obama’s perceived lack of interest and engagement in Europe. His failure to attend a Berlin ceremony commemorating the end of the Cold War and his cancellation of a meeting involving the E.U.’s new president has had symbolic weight.

Example: Ivo H. Daalder, the United States’ permanent representative at NATO, gave a speech in Paris last week in which he skipped over the Russians’ maneuvering, but described as “baffling” and “very strange” that “NATO doesn’t have a real strategic partnership with the E.U.”

True enough. On the other hand, Russia is getting a whole series of passes: Ten days ago, when Mr. Medvedev offered Hugo Chávez of Venezuela help to build the country’s first nuclear power station, the State Department expressed concern about technology migrating to “countries that should not have that technology” — but added (bafflingly), that the relationship between Venezuela and Russia (for years Iran’s supplier of nuclear wherewithal) “is not of concern to us.”

Last week, more of the same. When Mr. Medvedev bestowed Russia’s highest honors at a Kremlin ceremony on a group of sleeper spies who were expelled from the United States last July, a State Department spokesman turned away a reporter’s question with a “no comment.” Washington chooses not to say anything either about Mr. Medvedev’s support, repeated in Deauville, for Mr. Sarkozy’s plan, as next year’s president of the G-20 consultative grouping, to focus its attention on limiting the dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency.

In the Deauville aftermath, the Americans have preferred applauding Mr. Medvedev’s decision to come to a NATO summit meeting in Lisbon next month, following U.S. congressional elections. He is not expected to announce Russian participation in or endorsement of a U.S.-initiated antimissile shield for Europe — the United States’ notionally organic bond in strengthening the alliance’s trans-Atlantic future — yet the Russian president’s appearance as a guest on NATO’s turf could be seen as an important gesture of real cooperation.

Still, for all the Americans’ concern about Europe dealing with Russia on its own, there hardly has been a corresponding public statement from the administration that’s a call for caution about Moscow’s interest in setting up rivalries between NATO and the E.U. For David J. Kramer, a former senior State Department official with responsibility for Russia, the new circumstances show “the Russians now have far more leverage in the U.S. relationship than they should.”

It was unexpected in the circumstances, but at a briefing in the run-up to the Deauville meeting the administration liked so little, a French presidential source put a big asterisk — more than Washington does openly — next to France’s desire to create “an anchorage in the West” out of “fragile” indications of change in Russia.

“We do not have assurance there is a permanent strategic turn,” the Élysée Palace said.

That can look like an effort to deal with European security concerns in a manner that keeps NATO, at least in part, at a distance. And it could seem a formula making it easier for Russia to play off — absolutely no novelty here — the European allies against the United States, or NATO and the European Union, against one another.

But there’s more detail in the theoretical Euro-Atlantic apostasy department: Add Chancellor Angela Merkel’s proposal, made in June, that the European Union and Russia establish their own Political and Security Committee, and President Nicolas Sarkozy’s intention, enunciated in Deauville, to establish an E.U.-Russia economic space “with common security concepts. …”

At the same time, the U.S. reset with Russia and the administration’s willingness to treat President Dmitri A. Medvedev as a potential Western-oriented partner has given the Germans and French the sense they were free to act on the basis of their own interpretations of the changes in Moscow.

In this European view, the United States has become significantly dependent on Russia through its maintenance of military supply routes to Afghanistan and its heightened pressure, albeit in wavering measure, on Iran. Because the reset is portrayed by the administration to be a U.S. foreign policy success, criticism from Washington of Russia is at a minimum.

Consider this irony: the more Russia makes entry into the E.U.’s decision-making processes on security issues a seeming condition for deals the French and/or Germans want (think, for example, of France’s proposed sale to Moscow of Mistral attack vessels), the more the impression takes hold that the administration’s focus for complaint about the situation has been off-loaded onto the Europeans.

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Looking at these last lines, our opinion is that the EU is a work in progress, as we said many times previously,  with three EU Presidents still functioning  in  parallel, while talking of extending invitation Eastwards and Southwards to the Ukraine and Serbia. This latter moves bring it clearly into the elbow space of Russia – so extending an invitation for co-operation with Russia becomes more and more the only option available to the EU. These are parts of the reasoning of our futuristic proposition.

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