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Posted on on March 12th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (

10th – 11th August 2017: North American Symposium on Climate Change and Coastal Zone Management, Montreal, Canada

Climate change is known to impact coastal areas in a variety of ways. According to the 5th Assessment Report produced by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), coastal zones are highly vulnerable to climate change and climate-driven impacts may be further exacerbated by other human-induced pressures.

In North America, multiple pressures – including urbanization and coastal development, habitat loss and degradation, pollution, overexploitation of fish stocks and natural hazards- affect the coastal ecosystems, hence exacerbating the impacts of climate change in coastal zones. In particular, sea level rise changes the shape of coastlines, contributes to coastal erosion and leads to flooding and salt-water intrusion in aquifers.

Climate change is also associated with other negative impacts to the natural environment and biodiversity, which include damages to important wetlands, and to the habitats that safeguard the overall ecological balance, and consequently the provision of ecosystem services and goods on which the livelihoods of millions of people depend. These impacts are particularly acute in North America, which endeavors to become more resilient to damages caused by hurricanes, floods and other extreme events.

The above state of affairs illustrates the need for a better understanding of how climate change affects coastal areas and communities in North America, and for the identification of processes, methods and tools which may help the communities in coastal zones to adapt and become more resilient. There is also a perceived need to showcase successful examples of how to cope with the social, economic and political problems posed by climate change in coastal regions in North America.

It is against this background that the North American Symposium on Climate Change and Coastal Zone Management is being organized by the Research and Transfer Centre “Applications of Life Sciences” of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (Germany), the International Climate Change Information Programme (ICCIP) and the Université du Québec à Montréal. The Symposium will be a truly interdisciplinary event, mobilizing scholars, social movements, practitioners and members of governmental agencies, undertaking research and/or executing climate change projects in coastal areas and working with coastal communities in North America.

The North American Symposium on Climate Change and Coastal Zone Management will focus on “ensuring the resilience of coastal zones” meaning that it will serve the purpose of showcasing experiences from research, field projects and best practice to foster climate change adaptation in coastal zones and communities, which may be useful or implemented elsewhere.


Posted on on August 11th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (

Phasing out fossil fuel would show true EU leadership

Front page photo – “Coal plant: Countries like Poland fear additional regulations.”

By Charlotte Flechet
Quebec, 1 August 10, 2015

For about 20 years, the EU has been a constructive leader in climate negotiations: benefitting from a growing economy, and support from public opinion. However, in the last few years, the EU’s leadership has been declining due to a series of internal and external factors.

On the one hand, the Union’s eastern enlargement has increased internal divisions among member states. Countries like Poland, which heavily rely on coal for their energy supply, fear additional regulations, and traditional leaders, such as Germany, are taking a step back in the context of an ongoing economic crisis.

On the other hand, China and the US have become more proactive in negotiations and are also in the lead for wind energy production and investments in renewable energy.

The EU has largely lost its ability to lead by example. The 2030 framework for climate and energy policies agreed last October, was criticised by NGOs for its lack of ambition.

Although the 40 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 was generally welcomed, the non-binding targets for energy efficiency and the shy 7 percent increase in share of renewables over 10 years was considered too weak.

Simultaneously, concerns about the influence of fossil fuel and other industrial lobbies on EU decision-making processes raise questions about the EU’s willingness to lead.

Among the latest victims are the Fuel Quality Directive whose ambitions were reduced in the context of the ‘CETA/TTIP’ negotiations with North American countries, and the 2030 European renewable energy targets that were weakened following intensive lobbying by oil and gas giant, Shell.

Calendar records show that some European Commissioners have dedicated a considerable amount of their time to business lobbyists.

Around 83 percent of the meetings of climate commissioner Miguel Canete, and 70 Canete of Maros Sefcovic’s, commission vice-president for the Energy Union, were with businesses, mostly representing heavy industry and fossil fuels.

Knowing that, according to International Monetary Fund estimates, the EU is collectively allowing $330 billion in subsidies to fossil fuels annually, one could question the EU’s ability to lead a climate transition.

If it wants to come out of the climate crisis with a prosperous, socially, and ecologically sound society, the EU must speed up the pace of its transition and review its priorities.

Defending fossil fuels is immoral and goes against the human rights so dear to Europeans’ hearts. The EU cannot be a genuine leader in climate negotiations while at the same time supporting destructive practices that will affect billions of lives.

This is why the EU needs a new climate narrative.

Europe could win big by reinvesting in its ability to lead by example. Given the austere economic context, it is unlikely that it will be able to lead by using carrots and sticks as it used to do in the past.

Instead, a less costly option would be to reaffirm its role as a normative power. Endorsing fossil fuel divestment and taking measures in that direction could help it achieve this objective.

The demands of the fossil fuel divestment movement are rooted in scientific evidence.

A recent article published in Nature, claims that 80 percent of coal, 50 percent of gas and one third of all oil reserves must remain in the ground if we are to stay within the 2°C maximum temperature rise.

Given the current rate of emissions, this “carbon budget” will be exhausted within 25 years.

Phasing out of fossil fuels is a necessity. By publicly endorsing fossil fuel divestment and reorienting its incentives and subsidies the EU could gain the trust of other nations, particularly the most vulnerable ones. This could ultimately contribute to the enhancement of the Union’s bargaining power in climate negotiations.

This is not just idealism.

In 2013, Connie Hedegaard, then EU climate commissioner, pleaded for the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to lead the way in eliminating public finance support for fossil fuels.

Numerous world leaders and organisations including the UN’s Ban Ki Moon, South Africa’s Desmond Tutu, and French president Francois Hollande have publicly supported divestment.
Economic rationale

There is also a strong economic rationale for this.

Fossil fuel companies are currently overrated as their value on financial markets does not appropriately account for the risks of their assets being stranded.

Future climate regulations are likely to impact on the financial value of these companies, which will in turn affect all those who have invested money in them.

A study by the European Green Party found that European pension funds, insurance companies and banks have invested more than €1 trillion in fossil fuels.

In a low carbon breakthrough scenario, these institutions are likely to lose between €350 billion and €400 billion.

A much higher figure is expected if action is further delayed. In June, Shell’s former chairman said that moving money away from fossil fuel companies is a rational response to slow progress on climate change.

Besides, low-carbon energy products are amongst the most dynamic growth sectors. Reorienting subsidies to support transition towards low carbon technologies, energy efficiency, and renewable energy is a reasonable option.

Leading by example has worked in the past.

ETS – Emissions Trading System:

The 2005 Emissions Trading System is probably one of the best examples of successful spill over. It has also been argued that the EU’s leading role in climate action was crucial in creating momentum for other countries to act elsewhere.

In the current context of austerity, with an almost unconditional focus on growth and competitiveness, the EU is missing a major opportunity.

The EU should phase out fossil energy. It is of course only part of a solution that requires much broader changes.

This might sound too idealistic, but aren’t youngsters allowed to dream?

Charlotte Flechet is an environment policies worker and an activist for the Global Call for Climate Action campaign


Posted on on July 17th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (

Outcomes of the Climate Summit of the Americas 2015

By Melissa Harris and Philip Gass of the IISD

From July 7th to 9th, the Government of Ontario, Canada, convened more than 300 leaders from government, businesses and civil society at the Climate Summit of the Americas. The idea for the event was borne out of a discussion at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York last September, among the leaders of Ontario, Quebec and California. They recognized the crucial role that subnational, or ‘infranational’ jurisdictions play in responding to climate change. The summit set out to foster and strengthen partnerships among jurisdictions for global climate action and build motivation and support for carbon pricing. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard delivered opening remarks, emphasizing that the solutions to climate change are already known, what is needed is the mobilization, motivation and political will to implement them. This message was echoed throughout the summit.

Carbon pricing is a must

The summit saw widespread support for the necessity of putting a price on carbon, and served as an opportunity to share lessons on the wide variety of approaches being undertaken at sub-national levels.

A morning session on July 7th chaired by the International Emissions Trading Association included speakers from TD Bank Group, ArcTern ventures, the law firm Latham & Watkins and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. With a general consensus that carbon pricing must be at the heart of a response to climate change, panelists discussed investment models, financing tools and ways in which funds raised by carbon pricing can further reinforce the transition to green economies. Reinvesting the funds raised by pricing back in transition to low-carbon economies was the preferred approach of the panelists, noting that this new revenue stream presents the greatest potential for investment in this area. An additional area of convergence was also the potential role of Green Bonds as a way to develop capital that can then leverage private financing for low-carbon development.

On an intergovernmental panel hosted by Bill Ritter, former Colorado Governor, Ministers from Ontario, BC, Quebec, Mexico and government officials from California and Brazil shared best practices and lessons learned from their climate policies. Panelists discussed coal phase-out, carbon tax, cap and trade, REDD+ and reducing short lived climate pollutants (SLCPs). While each region has taken a different approach to policies and pricing, panelists expressed an interest in working together.

At a morning panel the second day on successful carbon pricing models, participants addressed the questions of why and how pricing has worked in their jurisdictions, and how they have faced challenges to ensure a lasting impact. Speakers from Vermont, Duke University, Great Plains Institute discussed the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), allowances, carbon taxes, the experience of the Midwest Governors Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord (MGGRA) and the importance of decoupling economic growth from emissions. While they noted that the failure to pass national legislation in the U.S. in 2010 was a setback, the groundwork laid during that period in many states and regions has prepared those jurisdictions to better respond to new climate change approaches emerging from the EPA.

The cost of inaction

There was a reoccurring message from both government and businesses that action on climate change makes economic sense.

During a lunch keynote address, California Governor Jerry Brown explained how action on climate change is cheaper than inaction. He noted that we already have the tools, the question is whether or not we have the political motivation. A call to action for all levels of government, Governor Brown spoke to the need for federal support while recognizing that the most significant source of climate action will come from provinces and states.

On a similar note, Felipe Calderón, Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, and former President of Mexico discussed the false dilemma between economic growth and environmental improvement on day two of the summit. He provided an overview of the Commission’s new report which shows it is possible to have economic growth and a better climate at the same time. In 2014 for the first time in 40 years GDP grew by 3% while emissions did not increase. He outlined a number of actions in the areas of cities, land use, clean energy, energy efficiency, carbon pricing, efficiency, innovation, business, shipping and aviation, and HFCs with the potential to help ensure global emissions do not exceed 2C.

The issue of climate change policies and productivity was the topic of a green economy focused session with representatives from General Motors, Uniliver, the Cement Association of Canada and the Ecofiscal Commission. The importance of policy alignment and certainty was emphasized by all parties, as well the need for international perspective on how local policies effect international competitiveness for the private sector. The Cement Association use the example of cheaper imported cement taking the place in Canadian markets of domestically produced, carbon-priced product as an example of the concern of carbon leakage. As in other sessions, speakers noted that many private sector companies are increasingly seeing the inevitability of carbon pricing and called on governments to act coherently with long-term vision.

Role of forests and land stewardship

A panel on land-use and sustainable development was moderated by IISD President Scott Vaughan. Speakers from CIGI, Environmental Defense Fund, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, and Organization of American States discussed the critical role of land stewardship, forestry management and protection based on partnerships with indigenous peoples that protect human rights. Ontario was invited to join the IUCN Bonn Challenge to restore 150 million hectares by 2020. Examples of innovative finance to reflect the values of forests, including their role in carbon sinks, were explored, as was the critical importance of advancing integrated policies to support sustainability.

A mood of optimism

The second day of the summit got off on the right foot with an opening address by Former US Vice President and Chair of The Climate Reality Project, Al Gore. He posed 3 questions to frame the climate issue: must we change, can we change and will we change? The answer to all was unequivocally yes. He explained that the science is clear and the stakes are high so the status quo must change, and it is our duty as experts to build broader public support. In response to the second question, Gore noted that industry, engineers and other experts are working together to provide renewable energy solutions to enable the shift to decarbonized energy systems. Finally, in response to the question of will, Gore took an optimistic tone stating that although challenges remain, through collaboration and innovation, he believes that we will change to address climate change, the issue is whether or not the willingness to change will come quick enough. Quoting Wallace Stevens, and drawing upon the example of the civil rights movement, Gore stated “after the last no comes the yes, and on that yes, the future rests.”

The afternoon featured a number of additional speakers representing diverse backgrounds and viewpoints on climate change, but all with the same ‘call to action’ theme expressed by Gore, Brown, Calderón and Wynne.

Bianca Jagger discussed the importance of infranationals pushing the United Nations process forward, and linking human rights challenges to climate change. Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell highlighted that enlightened leadership on climate issues has and will continue to emerge, but that practical groundwork on implementation must quickly follow. A panel discussion on planning led by WWF President David Miller highlighted the critical role of government support for innovation and research on climate solutions.

IKEA Canada President Stefan Sjöstrand noted his company’s commitment of US$1billion in funding for climate solutions internationally, as well as committing to install electric vehicle charging stations at all IKEA stores in Canada this summer. President of International Council for Science Gordon McBean, representing the scientific community, shared a statement on behalf of Pan-American climate experts noting what has to be done, and that they are ready and willing to assist policymakers and others in developing and implementing solutions. Many others also committed to lend their support in various ways through the two-day event.

The climax of the summit was when Ontario and more than 20 other states, cities and regions signed the first-ever Pan-American action statement on climate change. The statement indicates that limiting global warming to 2C requires all levels of government to take action and outlines commitment options related to carbon pricing, emission reduction reporting, ambitious targets and action in key sectors. The statement builds on other initiatives such as the Under 2 MOU, the Compact of States and Regions and Compact of Mayors. It is hoped that other jurisdictions will sign on to the action statement in the lead-up to COP-21.


Sheila Watt-Cloutier provided a sobering closing plenary address on the consequences of inaction, drawing from her prior experiences, including her book Right to be Cold about the challenges Inuit have faced to their way of life as the climate warms. Climate change is a challenge for families, communities, wildlife, and the environment, and she noted that there is no price that can be put on the cost of the loss of arctic ice and the well-being it supports in the north.

In the final closing remarks the Ambassador from France Nicholas Chapuis
remarked that he is buoyed by the motivation for action and the commitments that countries are making to the UN process. While these commitments not enough to maintain the two degree threshold, they are moving in the right direction. He noted this unique circumstance stating “not since 1992 have we had such hope of a universal agreement.… Paris is not the end, it is the beginning.”

The recurring message of almost all speakers was about motivation and political will. The solutions for climate change discussed at the summit were not necessarily new: carbon pricing, green procurement and transportation, urban planning, and other topics have all been discussed by environmental groups for years. What was new and readily apparent at the Climate Summit of the Americas was the overwhelming call to action from elected officials at the infranational level and their pledge to push their national counterparts to deliver at COP-21, while taking concrete steps to implement solutions themselves. Ten years ago it was scientists and environmental groups making the statements that Governors, Mayors and Premiers are saying now. Instead of just identifying solutions they are implementing them as well.

The theme of collaboration and collective solutions was also prevalent. Premier Wynne remarked that “Canada was founded on the idea that we have more to gain by working together than we can accomplish apart, it is in that spirit that we convene today”. This is highlighted in the broad range of signatories to the action statement, not just geographically, but in various levels of government. Minister Murray also noted that not only were governing parties present, but also members of opposition parties, in an effort to continue to drive climate change as a post-partisan issue.

The work of these jurisdiction is certainly not complete, and the press to drive agreement at COP-21 and beyond will be difficult, but as Gore noted, after the last no there is a yes, and the parties assembled at the summit all expressed their collective motivation to reach that yes in greater and stronger numbers than ever before.


Posted on on November 8th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (


UN Watch in the News


(English translation is followed by the French-language original.)

November 6, 2013

The Montrealer Who Makes the UN Tremble


By Lise Ravary

Nobody is a prophet in his own country, but if you’ve never heard of the lawyer Hillel Neuer, well, messieurs Putin, Castro, Assad and other serial abusers of human rights do know him. And they fear him.

Born in the Côte-des-Neiges neighborhood 43 years ago, the Concordia and McGill graduate is today the executive director of UN Watch, a NGO based in Geneva whose mandate is to ensure that the UN respects… its own Charter.

“People think that the UN human rights council is composed of wise old men with white beards, the likes of Plato and Socrates. But in reality, the UN is a reflection of the current state of the world,” he told me. Hillel Neuer is on the watch.


Brilliant, vivacious, intense, Neuer talks fast — and speaks the truth — in a UN-esque language made up of French, English, and alphabet soup. Despite having spent a great deal of his life defending victims of horrific abuses, his capacity to express outrage against injustice, loudly and clearly, has not abated.

In mid-October, during the Iranian nuclear talks, Neuer accused the UN of “kowtowing to Iran’s fundamentalist regime” after it gave in to Iranian demands and used a white curtain to cover up a historic wall carving of a naked man at the UN’s European headquarters in Geneva. Neuer called this deference “an ominous sign.”

It is thanks to him if we know that China took the floor in the Human Rights Council plenary to praise Saudi Arabia for its protection of women’s rights, and that the Saudis returned the favor by highlighting China’s progress in regard to ethnic minorities. That Libya, under Gaddafi’s rule, commended Cuba for its record on individual liberties. That France—as recently as last year—extolled Saudi Arabia’s progress on the role of women in society. And that in May 2013, Syria accused Israel of inhumane practices that threaten the health of Syrian citizens.

It is thanks to UN Watch that we know that Moscow and Havana remain untouchable.


These days, Hillel Neuer is criss-crossing the planet to convince the great powers to oppose the re-election of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Cuba to the Human Rights Council. And the entry to the council of Algeria, Vietnam and Jordan.

“These countries systematically violate the human rights of their own citizens, and they consistently vote the wrong way on UN initiatives to protect the human rights of others.” The General Assembly will pronounce itself on November 12th.

Despite the scandals, Hillel Neuer continues to believe that the UN plays an essential role. That its influence remains considerable. “All nations understand that UN resolutions can mobilize shame and political pressure, externally as well as internally. Words matter.”

So does Hillel Neuer.


Posted on on October 5th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (

The McGill International Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy (JSDLP) is soliciting submissions of case comments. The JSDLP is a student-run, peer reviewed academic journal based at the Faculty of Law of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The journal provides a forum for the exchange of ideas on the intersection between law, the environment, development and society.

The journal is currently seeking case comments on recent jurisprudence relating to environmental or sustainable development law and policy. Cases may come from any jurisdiction. Comments are generally 5,000 words in length. Submissions from academics, policymakers, practitioners, NGO representatives and graduate-level students are welcome. Past issues of the JSDLP are available on our website for your reference.

Deadline for submission of full papers: October 31, 2013

Please send questions and submissions to Audrey Mocle, Case Comment Editor at


Posted on on May 5th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (



Canada’s Israel Support Draws Ire From Arab Nations at UN.

May 3, 2013 3:04 pm 3 comments



World headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal, Canada. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Some Arab nations are making an effort to isolate Canada at the United Nations in retaliation for the Canadian government’s pro-Israel stance.

Qatar is working to gather votes from 115 countries to relocate the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which determines global rules for airplane transportation, from Montreal to the Middle East by 2016. In addition, Arab UN ambassadors met in New York on April 23 to discuss Palestinian issues, and discussed ways to rally support against the Canadian government among international organizations.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is known for his staunch support of Israel and maintains a close relationship with the Israeli government. In April, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird stoked Arab anger by meeting Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni in eastern Jerusalem, an area where the Palestinians dispute Israeli jurisdiction.

Joseph Lavoie, a spokesman for Baird, said Canada will “fight tooth and nail” to keep the ICAO in Montreal. “Canada will not apologize for promoting a principled foreign policy,” Lavoie said, according to the Daily Globe and Mail.


Comment from Mel

The United Nations headquarters and its overfed diplomats have earned deportation to the Middle East.

The enemies of Western Civilization have not earned the right to enjoy its benefits.

New York and Montreal are too good for them.

Let’s find out how they like eating and swimming in sand!


Posted on on October 3rd, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (


The government of Canada took an historic step yesterday by signing the Ottawa Protocol to Combat Anti-Semitism. By doing so, it recognized anti-Semitism as a pernicious evil and a global threat against the Jewish people, the State of Israel and free, democratic countries everywhere. As Prime Minister Stephen Harper has noted, “Those who would hate and destroy the Jewish people would ultimately hate and destroy the rest of us as well.”

The protocol is a declaration that hatred of this nature will not be tolerated in this country. It sets out an action plan for supporting initiatives that combat anti-Semitism and provides a framework for other nations to follow.

It also sets out a vibrant definition of anti-Semitism which, for the first time in history, links anti-Semitism to the denial of the right Jewish people have to their ancestral home land — the State of Israel. This, in fact, is what sets post-World War Two anti-Semitism apart from its historic roots. Today’s anti-Semitism is all about denial: denial of the legitimacy of Zionism as a Jewish movement to reclaim the land of Israel; denial of a Jewish history in connection to the holy land and, in particular, the centrality of Jerusalem to the Jewish people; denial of the Holocaust (while at the same time accusing Jews of Nazism); and denial of Jews to live free of anti-Semitism, hate and intolerance.

In announcing the Protocols, Foreign Minister John Baird has expressed his government’s unequivocal support for the State of Israel. In referring to this week’s turmoil at the United Nations and the Palestinian threat to unilaterally declare a state, Baird said, “Canada will not stand behind Israel at the United Nations, we will stand right beside it. It is never a bad thing to do the right thing.”

According to Baird, more and more countries are refusing to participate in the UN conference dubbed “Durban III” — otherwise known as an anti-Semitic hate fest which began as a human rights forum in South Africa in 2001; the forum ultimately degenerated into an anti-Semitic slinging match in which repressive Arab and African countries blamed all the problems facing their own countries and the world on Israel. The governments of France, New Zealand and Poland joined Canada and 10 other western nations this week by declaring they will not take part.

Unquestionably, the Government of Canada’s stance on Israel is based on the principle of standing by your friends — especially when they are democracies and advocates for human rights. Most Jewish leaders would agree that Israel is indeed Canada’s greatest ally in the fight against hate and intolerance.

But the fight against hatred and anti-Semitism must be won here in Canada as well. The Ottawa Protocol is mostly the result of a report published this summer by a Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism which was comprised of leading Canadian politicians who volunteered their time to probe the increasing and alarming tide of anti-Semitism in Canada.

In a letter accompanying the report, Chairs of the Inquiry Panel and the Steering Committee Mario Silva and Scott Reid wrote, “The Inquiry Panel’s conclusion, unfortunately, is that the scourge of anti-Semitism is a growing threat in Canada, especially on the campuses of our universities.” The report cites numerous examples of anti-Semitism on various campuses including the infamous incident in 2009 when Jewish students at York University were chased and barricaded themselves in the Hillel lounge while a mob outside taunted them with anti-Semitic slurs. The list of examples is quite long and disturbing.

Universities should take note of the report and the signing of the Ottawa Protocols. They should put an immediate end to hateful and fallacious events like Israeli Apartheid Week; they should state unequivocally that freedom of speech should not be abused to provide a cover for anti-Semitism; they should ensure that Jewish students feel welcome on campus and that their learning environment should be freed from anti-Israel occurrences and finally, universities must become accountable for allowing their private property to be venues for hateful conduct among students.

The Ottawa Protocol to Combat Anti-Semitism is a template for every Canadian to consider. But it is especially a document of significance for universities that have allowed themselves to become vehicles of hatred and complicit in its promotion. As my friend, Professor Irwin Cotler said last night at the Ottawa signing ceremony, anti-Semitism is not only the longest known form of hatred in the history of humanity — it is the only form of hatred that is truly global.

Every person of conscience should take note of the Ottawa Protocols and never forget the lessons of the Holocaust when the world was silent.


Also – from latest news:

Hamas Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh reiterated that while Hamas wouldn’t object to a Palestinian Arab state he would not accept the existence of Israel, ever, not the idea that Israel is anything other than eternal Arab land.

Hamas “political leader” Khaled Meshal said on Saturday that “resistance” remains the strategic option at all stages in order to liberate all of Palestine is the elimination of the Zionist project.

Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shallah said that no one is entitled to give up one inch of “Palestine” and the Palestinian Arabs want the entire land from the river to the sea.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini said that any solution that allows Israel to remain in existence in any form is rejected in full.



Posted on on July 28th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

This is my second piece I write from Tel Aviv and it is a mere coincidence that I went to a second very special evening at the Cameri Cafe.

This evening was called “A Land of Israel Love Story” and it covers events that stretched from 1942 (the Nazi time in Europe) – till 1948 (the War of Independence that the Arabs forced on the beautiful ideologues of the just born Israel – after the Declaration of Independence.)

I watched the 290-th time this one actress show was being performed. The actress was Adi Bielsky and she was marvelous – playing both roles – the girl Margalit Zefoni and the man Ami Ben Avraham and little I knew that these names were made up and that in effect real giants were hiding behind those names. (Adi Belsky was the winner of the “Actress of the Year” prise of the Israel “Fringe” theater 2008).

This play has already toured the UK where it also participated at the Leeds festival. Now it is scheduled for Canada – starting in Montreal.

I found out about the play from Cameri theater people who said – go see it and you will see how that Fogra of Hanoch Levin was born to people that indeed were much nicer then her – and created her like their image of the Israeli Sabra born with the longed- for State like the marble Venus/Aphrodite was born from the clean foam of the sea.

To jump the gun – let me add right here that I found out at the end of the play that the young man was the real Eli Ben Zvi {“Upon returning to Palestine in 1918, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi married Rahel Yanait. They had two sons: Amram and Eli. Eli died in Arab-Israeli War, defending his kibbutzBeit Keshet.}  Yitzhak Ben-Zvi was to be Israel’s second President, a person as clean as they ever were – see please –… – the Eli in the play was his son. Please more about that magic time:…

Pnina Gary, who is the Margalit Zefoni of the play, is the real person that at age 16, in a bus trip to Jerusalem, with another two girls from her village NAHALAL, happened to sit behind Eli Ben Zvi and Rachel Yanait, his mother. That was in 1942 and destined to become a true love story in which the young folks were the best the State on the move had in its treasury as potential sacrifices for creation. These were people full of life – sons and daughters of those that came with the Second Aliya – the imigrants from Czarist Russia. Some served in the Czar’s army, others came from universities – all ended up in agriculture – in an historical event to create a new ethnic Jew who lives from the land – the land they very fast came to love and were ready to any sacrifice needed to allow the community to prosper.

Pnina Gary, clear calculus based on Margalit, was born in 1929 to a father who served the Czar and was having his cows in Nahalal in the immediate vicinity of the house of famed Moshe Dayan, later Israeli General, and his wife Ruth.

Eli Ben Zvi, son of the future President – in effect the first real Israeli President in-house President – as the first one was Professor Haim Weizmann who became President When Professor Albert Einstein declined, and the Israelis thought that with a strong Prime Minister (Ben Gurion) it will suffice having a figurehead known World Jewish person for President.


Born in Poltava in the Russian Empire (today in Ukraine), Ben-Zvi was the eldest son of Zvi Shimshelevitz, who later took the name Shimshi. Shimshi was a leading Zionist activist and one of the organizers of the first Zionist Congress in 1897. In 1952, he was honored by the first Israeli Knesset with the title “Father of the State of Israel.”

Ben-Zvi was active in the Jewish self-defense units organized in Ukraine to defend Jews during the pogroms of 1905, and joined the Poale Zion Zionist political party. He was a representative in the Zionist Congress of 1907, and it was there that he first met Israel Shochat. Ben-Zvi emigrated to Mandate Palestine that same year, and settled in Jaffa. “Bar-Giora“, the clandestine precursor to Hashomer, was created in his apartment in 1907. In 1909, he organized the Gymnasia Rehavia high school in Jerusalem together with Rachel Yanait.

Following his studies at Galatasaray Lisesi in Constantinople, from 1912 to 1914 Ben-Zvi studied law at Istanbul University, together with the future Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion. They returned to Palestine in August 1914, but were expelled by the Ottoman authorities in 1915. The two of them moved to New York City, where they engaged in Zionist activities and founded the HeHalutz (Pioneer) movement there. Together, they also wrote the Yiddish book The Land of Israel Past and Present to promote the Zionist cause among American Jewry.

Upon returning to Palestine in 1918, Ben-Zvi married Yanait. They had two sons: Amram and Eli. Eli died in Arab-Israeli War, defending his kibbutzBeit Keshet.


It took years for the push by Margalit to manage and pursue her beloved Ami, though we later learn that when his mother asked him after the bus trip, which of the girls he liked best – he said already then – Margalit.  Margalit dedicated her life, normally, to whatever was needed those days – to be a children’s nursery supervisor or later a certified nurse. In the meantime, following his family,  Ami was to be a leader of equals – eventually among the founders of the Beit Keshet Kibbutz. Now, Margalit came from a communal village where there was private property, but her Ami was with the Kibbutz where if you got a radio as present from outside the community – that radio will tour among all members – no private property here.

Eventually, 1948, the State was declared by the UN and Ami knew that this meant war with all Arab States. This like Zefoni, the father of Margalit, knew that when Hitler’s forces surrendered in 1945, this just showed him that Hitler won because all his relatives in East Europe were lost. Ami, or Eli, got killed in Beit Keshet on the eve of the wedding in Nahalal between him and Pnina – a wedding that was moved forward by the suggestion of Rachel Yanait Ben Zvi because she knew that war will brake out.

We see on the stage that while the coffins of Ami and the other martyrs are brought to the village, Margalit, in the privacy of her room puts on the wedding dress. Later we hear of her getting a letter from Rahel Yanait in which she is told that whatever will happen in her life, she can always know that she can count on her as well. Pnina Gary still cherishes that letter.

I found out that A.B. Yehoshua, one of the most important writers in Israel, and a fellow class mate of mine at the Rehavia School in Jerusalem, that was started by Yitzhack Ben Zvi and Rachel Yanait, said having seen the play: “When the tears in your eyes and your throut closes on you, you understand the power of the creators of this show – the identity card of the beautiful Israel!”

About Nahalal – that is the village that created much of the aristocracy of Israel revival. A few years ago, at the 80-th birthday of Amikam Gurewitch, his wife Tova, daughter Nirit (little flower), and son Ittay, organized in Tel Aviv, I saw some of those that are still among us – from Nahalal and from the Agricultural School (College) Caduri. Eli Ben Zvi and many youngsters from Nahalal were among the graduates – Amikam Gurewitch was among them.

This Friday night I hope to see Amikam and will ask for his comments to this article. I expect another reaction like where are those old golden days today while you see now the demonstrations on the Rothschild Boulevard and the present social lavines in the Israeli Society?


I received the following from Pnina Gary and thought it makes for an appropriate addition.

an Israeli Love Story by Pnina Gary

It all started from a ‘Roots’ project my grandson had to write in sixth grade. I told him about my  adolescent years in Nahalal, the moshav in the Jezrael Valley (Emek Israel) where I was born and raised. Afterwards, his essay was read out in class and his classmates didn’t believe that was how life had really been. The disparity between the values on which we were raised on the moshav, and those of my grandson’s city friends, was so vast that I decided it was important to tell them more about what happened here in the beginning.

“I told him the story of my youth, from 1942 to 1948, and then I also wrote the story as a monodrama, the best way I could express myself, “but I buried it in a drawer. It was a privet story  and I didn’t have the courage to release it. It was only after the Second Lebanon War, when two stories closely resembling mine were suddenly published, that I thought to myself, this is not just my personal story. It is the story of almost  every one of us.  I wanted to erect a modest monument to commemorate those wonderful young men who were really and truly prepared to die so that the State of Israel could be born.

“This play is dedicated to the memory of my friend  Eli Ben-Zvi [son of Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, the second president of the State of Israel],  He was a Palmachnik (a member of the Palmach – the unofficial army of the Jewish settlement in pre-state Israel) and a member of Kibbutz Beit Keshet, who was killed in the War of Independence in 1948. The monodrama tells the story of how we met and fell in love, and how he died a few days before we were to be married.”

When my soldier-grandson saw the play, he asked somewhat cynically: ‘Grandma, were there only ‘good people’ in those days?’ Of course not. There were ‘draft dodgers’ then, too, and there was a black market. But the people I knew, the generation of the first pioneers, their sons and daughters,  members of the youth movements,  and of the Palmach,   I remember as being like that. I wasn’t exaggerating.”

Pnina  G


Posted on on July 19th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

RECEIVED FROM: Editeur : RIAED | Réseau international d’accès aux énergies durables

from RIAED | Réseau international d’accès aux énergies durables
date Mon, Jul 19, 2010
subject: La lettre d’information du RIAED, n°41


Voici la lettre d’information du site RIAED | Réseau international d’accès aux énergies durables.

A la Une

Un inventaire des opportunités de réduction d’émissions de GES en Afrique subsaharienne

Un rapport de la Banque mondiale détaille, sur 44 pays d’Afrique subsaharienne, les opportunités de réduction d’émissions de gaz à effet de serre dans 22 domaines. Au travers de l’approche MDP, cette étude a pour objectif d’explorer le potentiel offert par les projets énergétiques à faible contenu en carbone qui peuvent contribuer au développement de l’Afrique subsaharienne. Dans ce but, l’équipe de réalisation de l’étude a identifié les technologies pour lesquelles il existe déjà des méthodologies MDP et qui ont déjà donné lieu à projets MDP dans d’autres régions en voie de développement.


Liberia : deux firmes américaines financent la construction d’une centrale hydroélectrique Les firmes Buchanan Renewable Energies (BRE) et Overseas Private Investment Company (OPIC) basées aux États-Unis, ont déboursé 150 millions de dollars pour la construction d’une centrale hydro-électrique à Kakata, dans la région de Margibi (environ 45 kilomètres de la capitale Monrovia).

Maroc : lancement du plus grand parc éolien en Afrique Le Maroc a lancé le 28 juin 2010, au nord du pays, le plus grand parc éolien en Afrique, pour une enveloppe de 2,75 milliards de dirhams (400 millions de dollars) soit une des étapes – clés du Programme marocain intégré de l’énergie éolienne, qui table sur un investissement d’environ 31,5 milliards de dirhams (4 milliards de dollars).

Cap Vert : la CEDEAO ouvre un centre des énergies renouvelables La Communauté économique des États de l’Afrique d l’Ouest (CEDEAO) a ouvert un nouveau centre pour les énergies renouvelable (ECREEE) aux Iles du Cap Vert pour développer le potentiel de la région en énergies renouvelables.

Côte d’Ivoire : l’état relance le barrage de Soubré Dans le cadre des mesures annoncées pour palier aux difficultés dans le secteur de l’énergie électrique, l’état ivoirien va relancer le projet de construction du barrage hydroélectrique de Soubré.

Malawi : un projet de biogaz mène à d’autres services Une unité de production de biogaz de petite échelle au Malawi, récemment créée dans le but d’atténuer le changement climatique, peut également, si elle est bien exploitée, améliorer la sécurité alimentaire et les moyens de subsistance dans les régions rurales du Malawi.

Afrique sub-saharienne : les meilleurs produits d’éclairage hors réseau gagnent le soutien de Lighting AfricaCinq produits innovants ont été sélectionnés lors de la conférence de Lighting Africa et du commerce équitable à Nairobi en mai dernier.

Bénin : projet d’amélioration de l’acccès à l’énergie moderne Le Gouvernement de la République du Bénin a obtenu un crédit auprès de l’Association Internationale de Développement (IDA) d’un montant équivalant à quarante sept millions cinq cent mille Droits de Tirages Spéciaux (47 500 000 DTS) soit soixante dix millions de dollars US (70 000 000 USD) pour financer le Projet de Développement de l’Accès à l’énergie Moderne (DAEM).

Afrique de l’Est : Les micro-entrepreneurs font leurs entrées dans le marché de l’énergie, à temps pour la coupe du monde Un groupe de 20 micro-entrepreneurs originaires de Ranen, un marché local de l’ouest de Kenya, sont les premiers entrepreneurs DEEP formés et mis en relation avec les institutions financières pour obtenir des facilités de crédits et développer leurs affaires dans le secteur énergétique.

L’Égypte compte ouvrir sa première centrale à énergie solaire fin 2010 L’Égypte compte mettre en service sa première centrale électrique à énergie solaire d’ici la fin de l’année 2010, a indiqué lundi 14 juin 2010 le ministère égyptien de l’Énergie.

Accord entre le Pool d’énergie ouest-africain et la BEI Le président de la BEI (Banque Européenne d’Investissement) se félicite de la seconde révision de l’Accord de Cotonou et signe avec le Pool d’énergie ouest-africain un accord d’assistance technique en faveur d’un projet dans le secteur libérien de l’énergie.

Colloques, conférences, rencontres, forum…

France : Forum EURAFRIC 2010 La 10ème édition du Forum EURAFRIC « Eau et Énergie en Afrique » se tiendra du 18 au 21 octobre 2010 au Centre des Congrès de Lyon (France).(29/06/2010)

Sénégal : salon ENERBATIM 2011 La deuxième édition du Salon International des Energies Renouvelables et du Bâtiment ENERBATIM en Afrique se tiendra du 6 au 9 avril 2011 au CICES (Dakar).

Tunisie : Congrès international sur les Énergies Renouvelables et l’Environnement Ce congrès aura lieu du 4 au 6 novembre 2010 à Sousse (Tunisie).

Algérie : salon international des énergies renouvelables ERA 2010 Le Salon international des énergies renouvelables, des énergies propres et du développement durable, se tiendra les 19, 20 et 21 octobre 2010 à Tamanrasset (Algérie).

Afrique du Sud : forum Hydropower Africa 2010 Ce forum sur l’hydroélectricité en Afrique aura lieu du 16 au 20 août 2010 à Johannesburg (Afrique du Sud)


Derniers documents (études, applications…) proposés en libre téléchargement :

La revue de Proparco – n°6 – mai 2010 Cette revue bimestrielle n°6 de Proparco (groupe AFD) a pour thème : « Capital-investissement et énergies propres : catalyser les financements dans les pays émergents »

Les petits systèmes PV font la différence dans les pays en développement La coopération technique allemande (GTZ), a publié une étude qui fait le point sur l’impact des petites installations photovoltaïques sur le processus d’électrification rurale hors réseau, dans les pays en développement.

L’électricité au cœur des défis africains Manuel sur l’électrification en Afrique – Auteur Christine Heuraux

Interactions bioénergie et sécurité alimentaire Ce document de la FAO fournit un cadre quantitatif et qualitatif pour analyser l’interaction entre la bioénergie et la sécurité alimentaire.

Blogues du Riaed

Petit site dédié à un projet, une rencontre, une institution… Vous pouvez présenter vos connaissances et proposer des ressources en libre téléchargement.

Accès aux blogues hébergés par le Riaed :

Annuaire du Riaed

Inscrivez vous en qualité d’expert, ou inscrivez votre entreprise / institution / projet, etc. dans l’annuaire du Riaed pour être facilement identifiable et joignable. Vous le ferez en ligne, en quelques minutes, à la page Vous pouvez aussi le faire en adhérant au réseau du Riaed, en qualité de membre, à la page et en précisant à la fin votre souhait d’être aussi présenté publiquement dans l’annuaire (cocher la case ad hoc).

ASAPE ASAPE ou Association de solidarité et d’appui pour l’environnement

Burkina énergies et technologies appropriées (BETA) BETA est une entreprise solidaire qui a fait le choix de s’investir dans la promotion de l’accès à l’énergie en milieu rural.

Opportunités de financement de projets

EuropeAid – Facilité Énergie n°39 – Newsletter de juin 2010 Ce numéro de la lettre de la Facilité Énergie de la Commission Européenne nous fournit les statistiques sur l’évaluation des notes succinctes.

Formation, stages, partenariat, bourse d’échanges

Maroc : formation continue « La pérennisation des systèmes énergétiques décentralisés » L’objectif de cette session est la formation d’un groupe de techniciens impliqués dans les aspects techniques et socio-économiques de l’introduction de l’énergie solaire photovoltaïque dans l’électrification des zones rurales et isolées.

Burkina Faso : formation continue « Développer son expertise pour économiser l’énergie dans les bâtiments climatisés » L’IEPF et 2iE ont développé une formule qui comprend non seulement la formation proprement dite, mais également le suivi des bénéficiaires de cette formation (en particulier les entreprises industrielles), avec un engagement de leur part à mettre en oeuvre les recommandations des audits, en finançant tout ou partie des coûts.

Sites francophones sur l’énergie

Une liste de sites francophones et de réseaux sur l’énergie est proposée à la page


(Autres liens et réseaux)


Une liste de sites anglophones et de réseaux internationaux sur l’énergie est proposée à la page




Posted on on July 14th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (


MEA Bulletin – Guest Article No. 96 – Thursday, 15 July 2010
A Proposal to Change the Political Strategy of Developing Countries in Climate Negotiations
By Romina Picolotti (translated from Spanish)*
Full Article
If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can’t be done.
Peter Ustinov

Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Developing countries are definitely looking for different results in global climate negotiations. We want industrialized countries to comply with their obligations to reduce emissions. We want the effective transfer of technology. We want industrialized countries to provide the necessary financing to mitigate and adapt to climate change. And, we want the system we construct to address climate change to be fair and equitable, including the financial mechanism, and not like the present system utilizing the Global Environment Facility (GEF) where donor countries dominate the decision-making process.

We have already invested 16 years in climate negotiations under the UNFCCC process since its entry into force in 1994. The last meeting of negotiators this June in Bonn showed some progress, or at least a bit more realism in defining possible achievements for the next key meeting to be held in Cancun later this year, but negotiators clearly have not overcome their incapacity to offer pragmatic solutions to what has become the most important global problem humanity has ever faced.

Meanwhile, the science of climate change continues to solidify and tell us in no uncertain terms that inaction or late action means unavoidable and likely irreversible problems later. Of course, as always, the world’s most socially and economically vulnerable will also be the primary targets of the most catastrophic impacts of the planet’s changing climate.

In this scenario, developing countries call over and over again for their legitimate claims over the deteriorating climate to be heard, but fail to obtain the necessary responses for these claims in the post-Kyoto rounds of negotiations. What should we do?

At the last meeting of the Montreal Protocol signatories, a representative of the Federated States of Micronesia employed a metaphor that can help us find a way. He likened our climate desperation to a hypothetical neighborhood fire.

It’s as if our house is about to be consumed by flames from a raging fire, and the city’s firemen show up at the door, with no truck, no water, no equipment and begin arguing about which technique would be most suitable to put out the encroaching flames. All of a sudden a group of experienced volunteer firefighters decked out with fire equipment, a water truck, and ready to put out the fire show up behind the others. As a homeowner in desperation over advancing flames, what do you do? The answer is a no-brainer, you ask the guys with the solution to put out the fire!

The metaphor alludes to the Montreal Protocol (MP), hailed as the most successful environmental treaty to date. From 1990 to 2010, MP’s control measures on production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) will have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 135 gigatons of CO2.This is equivalent to 11 gigatons a year, four to five times the reductions targeted in the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Yes, this is amazing!

The Federated States of Micronesia used the metaphor of the house on fire to illustrate the opportunity before us to fully utilize the strength of the MP to combat the Planetary fire that climate change is becoming. Specifically, he referred to the opportunity to regulate the production and consumption of HFCs, which would produce the equivalent CO2 mitigation of more than 100 gigatons.

This proposal, without a doubt, implies a great opportunity for developing countries, not only in terms of the substantive issues involved, but it also fundamentally highlights the political implications underlying the process. If we are looking for different results from climate negotiations, we mustn’t always do the same thing.

Utilizing the maximum potential offered under the MP to mitigate climate change, regulating the production and consumption of HFCs would require that industrialized countries and developing countries both assume “mitigation” obligations. Mitigation obligations in the context of the MP do not mean specific CO2 reduction targets. What it means is that developed and developing countries assume the obligation to regulate the production and consumption of HFCs, which are super greenhouse gases, and by doing so we mitigate global warming. Therefore, to assume this “mitigation” obligation under the MP context should not terrify us. This is precisely the value of utilizing the MP. Our largest challenge as developing countries is not to assume or not assume mitigation obligations, but rather it is to assume them in a context that is fair, and not to assume them in the current context of the UNFCCC. From the perspective of a developing country, assuming mitigation obligations without financing, without the transfer of technology, and without decision-making power is simply suicide.

It would be however, politically wise to assume these obligations in the context of the MP and set a crucial precedent. The MP has demonstrated over its 23-year history that the technology is effectively transferred, and that industrialized countries have complied with their obligations, including financing what is needed so that developing countries can comply with their own obligations to control ODS after a suitable grace period. We, developing countries, have a full voice and equal vote on the decision-making process under the MP financing mechanism known as the Multilateral Fund. Finally, the MP has also demonstrated that it is capable of creating the necessary confidence amongst States to take bold and continuous steps forward in compliance with all of the established deadlines.

Moreover, developing countries have in many cases complied with obligations to reduce production and consumption of ODS before the established deadlines. Everything we are calling for under the UNFCCC process we have already achieved under the MP framework. Advancing with the inclusion of HFCs under the jurisdiction of the MP would substantially strengthen developing countries in a proactive forum as countries that actively contribute to solutions in a fair agreement, and not as countries that can only claim and denounce. Developing countries can demonstrate that with the right institutional structure we are ready to do the job.

The political strategy hence, is to take advantage of the opportunity that is offered by the Federated States of Micronesia’s proposal to advance on pro-climate actions available under the MP, and utilize the MP framework to negotiate from a different vantage point in the UNFCCC process. This “other vantage point” shows what developing countries are able to achieve when industrialized countries comply with their obligations, when transfer of technology takes place, when the decision-making process includes developing country voices in a fair and equitable way, and when financing is made available.

The latest report on the UN Millennium Development Goals recognizes that “the unparalleled success of the Montreal Protocol shows that action on climate change is within our grasp”.

Hopefully, we will wisely take advantage of this invaluable political opportunity that the Federated States of Micronesia and the Montreal Protocol are offering, and we will not succumb to Peter Ustinov’s foreshadowing of the tragic earth-ending expert voice suggesting a solution is beyond our reach.

*Romina Picolotti, formerly the Secretary of Environment of Argentina, heads the Center for Human Rights and Environment. She received EPA’s Climate Protection Award in 2008 for her leadership in securing historic commitment to accelerate the phase-out of HCFCs under the Montreal Protocol.


Posted on on June 30th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Free Ride for Oil and Coal Industry May Be Over.
Stephen Leahy, back in Germany reporting on the Toronto G20 meeting.…

BERLIN, Jun 29 (IPS) – Every day, governments give away an estimated two billion dollars of taxpayer money to the fossil fuel industry. This unmatched largesse to a highly profitable sector by countries verging on bankruptcy or unable to feed large numbers of their own people is “complete madness”, according to many experts.

In Toronto Sunday, at the conclusion of G20 summit, countries agreed the madness must be constrained if not stopped. “I was impressed. I think the commitment to phase out fossil fuel subsidies has finally arrived,” said Mark Halle, director of trade and investment at the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) European office in Geneva.

“With countries committed to cutting their deficits, it is hard to ignore giving billions of real money away to the fossil fuel industry or to keep fuel prices low,” Halle said in an interview. The two-billion-dollars-a-day public subsidy for carbon- based fuels is a very conservative estimate based on the extensive research conducted by the IISD’s Global Subsidies Initiative, said Halle. Not only do such huge subsidies undermine policies on energy efficiency, they make it impossible for alternative energy sources to compete, he said.

“We can’t make the transition to low-carbon economies nor can the energy playing field be leveled without the elimination of fossil fuels. And time for that has finally come,” he said.

Others are less optimistic given the G8 and G20 track record for broken promises.

“It (the G20 commitment) fell short of vision and courage that is expected from global leaders in the light of the disastrous oil spill” in the Gulf of Mexico, said Darek Urbaniak of Friends of the Earth Europe. Urbaniak noted that BP, the company responsible for the spill, receives British and EU public subsidies.

Countries such as Canada and Australia sought to weaken the G20 commitment by making commitments voluntary, he said, but the U.S. stepped up and pushed for a stronger agreement. However, do-nothing clauses remain part of the agreement. It says that countries agree to phase out “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” but each country decides what those are. Some countries like Japan, Australia, Italy and others have already said they don’t have any.

“Australia wants to protect its coal mining sector …Canada wants to keep on going with its own subsidies to the tar sands – an environmental and climate disaster in the league of the BP oil spill only in slow motion,” Urbaniak told IPS.

“Our research shows that in the last two years Canada was spending as much on oil and gas subsidies as on climate programmes,” said Albert Koehl of Ecojustice, a Canadian environmental NGO.

“Taxpayers won’t be amused to find out that government spending on climate change is being nullified by spending on oil and gas subsidies,” Koehl told IPS.

He notes that Canada is now investing new billions of dollars into developing carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology for the fossil fuel sector and primarily the enormous Alberta tar sands operations. “CCS a new way of massively subsidising the oil and gas industry, especially the tar sands,” he said.

Most industrialised countries subsidise oil, coal and natural gas production to reduce the cost of finding and producing oil for oil companies. Countries in the developing world subsidise the cost of buying fuel to the public. Experts agree that both forms of subsidies encourage consumption of fossil fuels and thus increase the price of oil.

U.S. President Barack Obama put these subsidies on the chopping block at the previous G20 summit in Pittsburgh last September. The Obama administration is looking for ways to cut its ballooning deficit and thinks taking three or four billion away from fossil fuel companies is achievable, said Halle.

Many other countries are now paying attention to their subsidies, seeing it as money they could put to much better use without increasing their deficits. India, China, Malaysia and others have cut their consumption subsidies, he said. However, this has to be done carefully and over time. While the poor are used to justify keeping fuel prices low, that only applies to heating and lighting fuels. The bulk of subsidies go to transportation fuels which benefits the middle class.

“Subsidy reduction is a new area for everyone and countries have to go carefully,” Halle said.

Since subsidies are deeply entrenched and difficult to get rid of, the G20 commitment provides an excuse and leverage needed in many countries to enact reforms, said Halle. “We’ve spoken to half of the G20 countries and they hadn’t really thought the issue through. Now they are seeing some opportunities.”

In addition to the G20, six or seven non-members have formed a “Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform” group to follow the same commitments. And the G20 did agree to have some plans for action in place for their next meeting in November this year.

There are an awful lot things that could be done with that annual expenditure of 700 to 800 billion dollars in fossil fuel subsidies and countries are really beginning to think about that, Halle said. “The momentum for change is building but it still needs to grow.”


Posted on on February 17th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

March 3, 2010, Innovate in Canada: Bolstering Profitability in Greentech with Cross-Border Opportunities.

The Canadian Consulate General, representatives from the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and the Vale Columbia Center are co-hosting an interactive strategy session on how companies can increase profitability by engaging in cross-border research collaboration. Companies including IBM, GE, Trilliant and Fasken Martineau will discuss cross border greentech projects during the session, including how to harness Canada’s agressive R&D tax incentives.

Karl Sauvant, Executive Director of the Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment will comment on the challenges of sustainable FDI, and the session will be moderated by Richard Bendis of Innovation America.

Date: March 3rd, 2010, 8:30am-10:00 am
Place: Reuters Building (3 Times Square, 30th Floor)
RSVP:  charlotte at  646-552-5803

Karl P. Sauvant, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment
Columbia Law School – Earth Institute
Columbia University
435 West 116th Street, Rm. JGH 639
New York, NY 10027
Ph: (212) 854-0689
Fax: (212) 854-7946

Please visit our website –


Posted on on July 29th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (

[ Livres Climat  ]
Auteur : Benoît Leguet, Valentin Bellassen
Editeur : Pearson

Prix : 9.95€

Aujourd’hui, chacun peut « compenser » ses émissions de carbone sur Internet, en quelques clics, lorsqu’il achète un billet d’avion. Mais que signifie au juste « compenser » ? Comment la compensation est-elle arrivée jusqu’au particulier ? Qui compense volontairement, et comment ? La compensation carbone est-elle un moyen efficace de lutter contre le réchauffement climatique ou sert-elle simplement à alléger notre conscience, et celle des entreprises, à bas coût ?

Benoît Leguet et Valentin Bellassen apportent des explications et des réponses claires et concises à toutes ces questions, qui concernent autant les entreprises que les particuliers.

La “compensation carbone”, qu’est-ce-que c’est ? La compensation carbone s’inscrit au nombre des instruments qui sont à notre disposition pour tenter de résoudre le problème du réchauffement climatique. S’appuyant sur l’idée que des gaz à effet de serre émis en des points différents du globe ont un effet identique sur le réchauffement, ce système propose à qui désire améliorer son impact climatique de financer des projets de réduction des émissions, afin de contrebalancer ses propres rejets de gaz à effet de serre. Un système de calcul élaboré permet de rendre les réductions effectuées grâce à ce financement équivalentes aux gaz à effet de serre émis. On dit alors de ceux-ci qu’ils ont été « compensés », et de l’activité qui les a produit (trajets en avion ou en voiture, chauffage, consommation d’énergie, etc.) qu’elle est « climatiquement neutre ».

Les auteurs

Benoît Leguet est diplômé de l’Ecole polytechnique (spécialité Economie environnementale).
Valentin Bellassen est diplômé de l’ENS (spécialité Ecologie, Biodiversité, Evolution) et doctorant en sciences de l’environnement.
Ils sont respectivement chef de projet et chargé d’études à la Mission Climat de la Caisse des dépôts sur les projets réducteurs d’émissions et la compensation carbone.

La Mission Climat est un centre de ressources qui anime et coordonne les travaux de recherche et de développement dans le champ de l’action contre le changement climatique. Elle réunit une équipe d’économistes et d’ingénieurs spécialisés.

Soutien promotionnel de la Caisse des dépôts, par l’intermédiaire de la Mission Climat.


– Dirigeants d’entreprises, responsables développement durable et environnement, responsables communication
– Toute personne ayant une conscience écologique et souhaitant être mieux informée sur la compensation carbone

1. L’effet de serre : égalité dans le réchauffement, diversité dans les émissions
2. Quand on ne peut plus réduire, on peut toujours compenser
3. Dans le monde du protocole de Kyoto, la compensation a déjà 7 ans : l’âge de raison
4. Les réductions d’émissions de ces projets sont-elles réelles ?
5. La compensation volontaire a 3 ans et commence à trouver ses marques
6. En route vers la standardisation : une quête de garanties de qualité sur le marché volontaire
7. Compenser, c’est déjà réduire, mais ce n’est pas encore refroidir

Nombre de pages : 96
Date de parution : 14/11/2008
Public : Grand public averti