We kept the April 12, 2013 New York Times article as a draft because we basically found it very one-sided and know very little about “Berkeley Earth” or Elizabeth Muller (*), but with information about the Koch Brothers professed skepticism of progressive ideas.
Now we decided to post this because of Fareed Zakaria, someone we hold in high esteem, saying this Sunday on CNN/GPS, that in order to start putting a limit to the emission of CO2 globally, the best step for the US would be to share, what he called safe technologies of Shale Fracking and gas production, this in order to replace the reliance on burning coal as it is done now in China. We know this to be the wrong advice:
(1) there is no technology of “fracking the shale” that is safe to the ground water reservoirs.
(2) fracking and shale-gas will slow down the commercialization of truly positive renewable energy technologies,
and (3) the worse of all – it starts looking like “The Rhinoceros” of World War II Eugene Ionesco – the slow developing of a takeover by an aggressive wrong and obnoxious ideology – and the Koch Brothers are versed in technologies in this respect.
So – let us say: Fareed Zakaria expressed the idea that Shale Gas is a step in the right direction, but we do not think so – and thousands of scientists agree with us but have suspicions about the proponents of the fracking myth.
China Must Exploit Its Shale Gas.
By ELIZABETH MULLER
Published, The New York Times on-line: April 12, 2013
IF the Senate confirms the nomination of the M.I.T. scientist Ernest J. Moniz as the next energy secretary, as expected, he must use his new position to consider the energy situation not only in the United States, but in China as well.
Mr. Moniz, a professor of physics and engineering systems and the director of M.I.T.’s Energy Initiative, sailed through a confirmation hearing Tuesday before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
But some environmentalists are skeptical of Mr. Moniz. He is known for advocating natural gas and nuclear power as cleaner sources of energy than coal and for his support of hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas from shale deposits. The environmental group Food and Water Watch has warned that as energy secretary, he “could set renewable energy development back years.”
The criticism is misplaced. Instead of fighting hydraulic fracturing, environmental activists should recognize that the technique is vital to the broader effort to contain climate change and should be pushing for stronger standards and controls over the process.
Nowhere is this challenge and opportunity more pressing than in China. Exploiting its vast resources of shale gas is the only short-term way for China, the world’s second-largest economy, to avoid huge increases in greenhouse gas emissions from burning coal.
China’s greenhouse gas emissions are twice those of the United States and growing at 8 percent to 10 percent per year. Last year, China increased its coal-fired generating capacity by 50 gigawatts, enough to power a city that uses seven times the energy of New York City. By 2020, an analysis by Berkeley Earth shows, China will emit greenhouse gases at four times the rate of the United States, and even if American emissions were to suddenly disappear tomorrow, world emissions would be back at the same level within four years as a result of China’s growth alone.
The only way to offset such an enormous increase in energy use is to help China switch from coal to natural gas. A modern natural gas plant emits between one-third and one-half of the carbon dioxide released by coal for the same amount of electric energy produced. China has the potential to unearth large amounts of shale gas through hydraulic fracturing. In 2011, the United States Energy Information Administration estimated that China had “technically recoverable” reserves of 1.3 quadrillion cubic feet, nearly 50 percent more than the United States.
The risk is that what is now a nascent Chinese shale gas industry may take off in a way that leads to ecological disaster. Many of the purchasers of drilling rights in recent Chinese auctions are inexperienced.
Opponents of this drilling method point to cases in which gas wells have polluted groundwater or released “fugitive” methane gas emissions. The groundwater issue is worrisome, of course, and weight for weight, methane has a global warming potential 25 to 70 times higher than carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas that results from the burning of coal.
Moving away from fossil fuels entirely may make sense in the United States, where we can potentially afford to pay for more expensive renewable sources of energy. But developing countries have other priorities, like improving the education and health of their people. Given the dangers that hydraulic fracturing poses for groundwater pollution and gas leaks, we must help China develop an approach that is environmentally sound.
Mr. Moniz has warned of the need to curb environmental damage from the process. But he has also stressed the value of natural gas as a “bridging” source of energy as we strive to move from largely dirty energy to clean energy. Extracting shale gas in an environmentally responsible way is technically achievable, according to engineering experts. Accomplishing that goal is primarily a matter of engineering and regulation.
That is where we need the engagement of environmental activists. At home, they can push the United States to set verifiable standards for clean hydraulic fracturing and enforce those standards through careful monitoring. Internationally, American industry can lead by showing that clean production can be profitable.
We need a solution for energy production that can displace the rapid growth of coal use today. Switching from coal to natural gas could reduce the growth of China’s emissions by more than 50 percent and give the world more time to bring down the cost of solar and wind energy to levels that are affordable for poorer countries.
28 May 2013
Tuesday, 28 May 2013
08.45 – 09.00
H.E. Mr. Michael Spindelegger, Vice Chancellor and
Foreign Minister of Austria
Mr. Pavel Kabat, Director,
Mr. Kandeh Yumkella, Director General, UNIDO
09.00 – 09.15
Two pieces of music
Quartet of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
IIASA Goodwill Ambassador
09.15 – 09.45
Mr. Chad Holliday, Chairman, Bank of America
Ms. Renate Brauner, Vice-Mayor and Vice-Governor of
the City of Vienna
Message from the United Nations Secretary
General, Mr. Ban Ki
Press Conference (in parallel)
09.45 – 11.15
Ministerial and High-Level Dignitaries Segment
Ms. Nisha Pillai
H.E. Mr. Suhail Mohamed Almazroui, Minister of Ener
gy of the United Arab Emirates
H.E. Mr. Heikki Holmås, Minister of International D
evelopment of Norway
H.E. Mr. Edison Lobão, Minister of Mines and Energy
H.E. Mr. Lihua Liu, Vice Minister of Industry and I
nformation Technology of China
H.E. Mr. Anatoly Yanovskiy, Deputy Minister, Minist
ry of Energy of the Russian Federation
Mr. Peter Thomson, Permanent Representative of Fiji
to the United Nations New York and
Chairman of the G77
11.15 – 12.45
High Level Panel I:
Energy in the Post-2015 Agenda
Moderator Ms. Nisha Pillai,
General and Executive Secretary of the United Natio
Economic Commission for Europe, UNECE
Mr. Adnan Amin, Director General, IRENA
Mr. Jose Goldemberg
, Board Member, Sustainable Energy Institute
Ms. Maria van der Hoeven, Director General, Interna
tional Energy Agency
Ms. Rachel Kyte, Vice President, Sustainable Develo
pment, The World Bank
Mr. Gerhard Roiss, CEO, OMV
Ms. Elizabeth Thompson, Executive Coordinator for t
he UNCSD Rio + 20 Conference
Mr. Halil Yurdakul Yigitgüden,
ordinator of Economic and Environmental
12.45 – 14.30
Lunch hosted by OFID and IIASA (by invitation only
28 May 2013
14.30 – 16.00
High Level Panel II:
A New Action Agenda – High Level Group on Sustainab
le Energy for All
Moderator Ms. Nisha Pillai,
Mr. Alexander Bychkov, Deputy Director General, IAE
Mr. Jérôme Ferrier, President, International Gas Un
Mr. Victorio Oxilia, Executive Secretary, OLADE
Mr. N.P. Singh, Adviser, Ministry of New and Renewa
ble Energy of India
Mr. Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resource
Mr. Mohammed Taeb, Environmental Coordinator, OPEC
14.30 – 15.30
Special Event: Launch of the SE4ALL Global Tracking
Framework (parallel at Radetzky
Moderator Mr. Kandeh K. Yumkella
, Director General, UNIDO
Ms. Rachel Kyte, Vice
President, Sustainable Development, World Bank
Ms. Maria van der Hoeven, Director General, Intern
ational Energy Agency
Ms. Vivien Foster, Sector Manager, Sustainable Ener
gy, World Bank
Mr. Simon Trace, Executive Director, Practical Acti
16.00 – 16.30
Coffee and Tea Break
16.30 – 18.00
Special Event: Thematic Consultations on Energy (pa
rallel at Rittersaal)
16.30 – 18.00
Plenary Session 1:
Framework for Action – High Impact Opportunities
Moderator Mr. Albrecht Reuter
, Member of the Board, Fichtner IT Consulting
Mr. Albert Binger, Energy Science Advisor, Caribbea
n Community Climate Change Centre
Mr. Christoph Frei, Secretary General, World Energy
Ms. Helen Mountford, Deputy Director, OECD
Mr. Nebojsa Nakicenovic,
Deputy Director, IIASA and Professor of Energy Econ
Technical University of Vienna
Mr. Ebrima Njie, ECOWAS Commissioner for Infrastruc
Ms. Leena Shrivastava, Executive Director, The Ener
gy and Resource Institute
Mr. Arthouros Zervos, Chair of REN21and CEO and Pre
sident Public Power Corporation
Reception hosted by
EnDev and Partnership
29 May 2013
Wednesday, 29 May, 2013
08.30 – 09.00
Summary of the Previous Day
Co-President, Global Energy Assessment
09.00 – 10.00
Ministerial and High Level Segment
H.E. Mr. Marcin Korolec, Minister of Environment, P
H.E. Mr. Sospeter Muhonga, Minister of Energy and M
inerals of Tanzania
H.E. Mr. Ahmed Mostafa Emam, Minister of Electricit
y and Energy, of Egypt
H.E. Mr. Sok Siphana, Advisor of the Royal Governme
nt of Cambodia
Ms. Datuk Loo Took Gee, Secretary General of the Mi
nistry of Energy, Green Technology
and Water of Malaysia
Mr. Raúl García Barreiro, Deputy First Viceminister
of the Ministry of Energy and Mining
of the Republic of Cuba
10.00 – 11.30
Plenary Session 2:
Energy and Green Growth
Moderator Mr. Paul Hohnen
, Founder and Managing Director, Sustainability Str
Ms. Jacqueline Cramer, Director, Utrecht Sustainabi
Ms. Naoki Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, Global Enviro
Mr. Lambert Kuijpers, Co
Chair, Technology and Economic Assessment Panel of
Mr. Heinz Leuenberger, Director, Environmental Mana
gement Branch, UNIDO
Mr. Mark Radka, Head of Energy Branch, UNEP
Mr. Arthur Reijnhart, General Manager, Alternative
Energy Strategy, Shell
11.30 – 13.00
Plenary Session 3 –
Moderator Mr. Joan Clos
, Executive Director, UN HABITAT
Mr. Eddie Bet Hazavdi,
Director, Department of Energy
Conservation at Ministry of Energy
and Water of Israel
Ms. Brigitta Huckestein, Senior Manager, Communicat
ions & Government Relations
Energy and Climate Policy, BASF Group
Ms. Carina Lakovits, Advisor, International Financi
al Institutions, Austrian
Mr. Raj Liberhan, Director, Indian Habitat Centre
Mr. Thomas Madreiter, Director of the Urban Plannin
g, City of Vienna
B. Marré, Head of Division of Water, Energy, Urban
Development and the
Geoscience Sector, Federal German Ministry for Econ
omic Cooperation and Development
Mr. Marcos Pontes, UNIDO Goodwill Ambassador
13.00 – 14.30
Lunch hosted by GEF and UNIDO (by invitation only a
29 May 2013
14.30 – 16.00
Parallel Session 1 –
, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Columbia Uni
Mr. Jan Dictus, GOJA Consulting for Environment and
Mr. Wolfgang Engshuber, Chairman, Principles for Re
Mr. Michael Kelly, Deputy Managing Director, World
LP Gas Association
Ms. Richenda Van Leeuwen, Director, Energy Access I
nitiative, United Nations Foundation
Mr. Pradeep Monga, Director, Energy and Climate Cha
Mr. Lucius Mayer-Tasch, Energy Advisor, GIZ
Ms. Mary Robinson, UN Special Envoy for the Great L
akes Region of Africa
14.30 – 16.00
Parallel Session 2
– Energy Efficiency
Mr. Luis Gomez-Echeverri
, Senior Research Scholar, Transition to New Techno
Mr. Mark Hopkins, Energy Efficiency Expert, United
Ms. Doris Österreicher,
Head of Business Unit Sustainable Building Technolo
Institute of Technology
Ms. Marina Ploutakhina, Industrial Energy Efficienc
y, Unit Chief, UNIDO
Mr. Jigar V. Shah, Executive Director, Institute fo
r Industrial Productivity
Mr. David Shropshire, Section Head, Planning and Ec
onomic Studies Section, IAEA
16.00 – 16.30
Coffee and Tea Break
16.30 – 18.00
Parallel Session 3 –
Renewable Energy as a Tool for Sustainable Developm
Moderator Ms. Christine Lins,
Executive Director, REN 21
Mr. Gábor Baranyai, Deputy State Secretary, Ministr
y of Foreign Affairs of Hungary
Mr. Martin Hiller, Director General, REEEP
Mr. Mahama Kappiah, Executive Director, ECREEE
Mr. Diego Masera, Unit Chief, Renewable and Rural E
nergy Unit, UNIDO
H.E. Ms. Brigitte Öppinger-Walchshofer, Managing Di
rector, Austrian Development Agency
Mr. Jorge Samek, Director General, ITAIPU Binaciona
Mr. Peter Traupmann, Managing Director, Austrian En
16.30 – 18.00
Parallel Session 4–
Technology Transfer and Innovation
Moderator Mr. Omar El Arini,
Honorary Chief Officer, Multilateral Fund Secretari
Mr. Giovanni Federigo De Santi, Director of the Ins
titute for Energy and Transport of the Joint
Research Centre of the European Commission
Mr. Martin Krause, Regional Practice Leader for Env
Mr. David Rodgers, Senior Energy Specialist, Global
Mr. Sidi Menad Si-Ahmed, Director of Montreal Proto
col Branch, UNIDO
M.R. Mr. Pongsvas Svasti, Associate Professor, Tham
Mr. Sven Teske, Director of Renewable Energy, Green
Reception hosted by REEEP
30 May 2013
Thursday, 30 May 2013
08.30 – 09.00
Summary of the Previous Day
Co-President, Global Energy Assessment
09.00 – 10.00
Ministerial and High Level Dignitaries Segment
10.00 – 11.30
Plenary Session 4 :
Financing the Energy Future We Want
Mr. Robert Dixon, Team Leader of Climate Change and
Chemicals Team, GEF
Mr. Faris Hasan, Director of Corporate Planning and
Economic Services, OFID
Ms. Georgina Kessel, Partner, Spectron
Mr. Venkata Ramana Putti, Senior Energy Specialist,
Sustainable Energy Department, World Bank
Ms. Wang Yuan, Senior Advisor, China Development Ba
11.30 – 13.00
Plenary Session 5:
Public and Private Partnerships
Moderator Ms. Irene Giner-Reichl
, President, Global Forum on Sustainable Energy
Mr. Günter Maier, Managing Partner , MG Energy
Mr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman, IPCC and UNIDO Goo
Mr. Janez Podobnik, Director General, International
Centre for Promotion of Enterprises
Mr. Alexei Shevlyakov, Acting Director General, Rus
sian Energy Agency
Mr. Thomas Stelzer, Assistant Secretary
General, Policy Coordination and Inter
Affairs, United Nations Department of Economic and
Mr. Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public and Govern
ment Affairs, Philips
13.00 – 13.30
Coffee and Tea Break
11.30 – 13.00
Parallel Session 5:
Green Mini-Grids Africa –
Sector Transformation Towards Sustainable
Energy For All
Moderator Mr. Steven Hunt
, Energy Advisor, Low Carbon Development Team, DFID
Mr. Ryan Anderson, Head of Section for Renewable En
ergy Advisory Services, Norplan
Mr. Theophillo Bwakea, Principal Engineer, Tanzania
n Rural Energy Agency
Mr. Dean Cooper, Energy Finance Programme Manager,
Mr. Bertrand Deprez, European Affairs Manager, Schn
Mr. Mike Enskat, Senior Programme Manager, GIZ
Mr. Patrick Theuret, Access to Energy Programme, ED
13.30 – 14.30
Adoption of VEF 2013 Declaration: Energy Goals Beyo
Moderator Ged Davis
, Co-President, Global Energy Assessment
Closing remarks by Co-organisers
ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA: Business Partnerships – An effective instrument for development cooperation
How innovative cooperation supports the development of markets for renewable energy
Date – 28 May 2013
Time – 14:30 to 16:00
Location – Rittersaal
This side-event discusses innovative forms of cooperation between the private sector and established structures of development cooperation to develop new markets. Examples from the renewable energy sector show how both recipient countries and companies can utilize the opportunities of business partnerships. Traditional development cooperation faces many challenges, so alternative approaches are required. As business and development belong together, partnerships with the private sector are getting more and more important. Join the discussion on business partnerships and the development of renewable energy markets!
European Commission Joint Research Centre: Creating and sharing knowledge together on African Renewable Energy Sources
Date: 28 May 2013
Time: 16:00 – 17:30
Location: Mittlere Lounge
On the occasion of the Vienna Energy Forum 2013, JRC will release findings from the newest report “The availability of Renewable Energies in a changing Africa”. This report follows and extends the 2011 JRC report “Renewable energies in Africa” and focuses on the climatic, demographic and technological changes expecting to involve Africa in next decades and how they will impact the Renewable Energy production and deployment opportunities in the continent. This side event will explore to what extent climate change has affect the ability of the renewable energy sources to deliver their important resources to this goal and will look at the potential of the available options. Come and join the second report presentation, discuss issues with authors, and test the latest online tool developed to visualize off-grid electricity production options in Africa.
GFSE: Sustainable Energy Solutions for All: Made in Austria
Date – 29 May 2013
Time – 09:00 to 11:00
Location – Trabantenstube
Austrian know-how and technologies have a lot to offer to make inclusive sustainable energy solutions a reality. In this side event, the Austrian experience in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency will be presented. The event also seeks to facilitate the identification of cooperation opportunities for different actors in the context of SE4All. It will also highlight the value-added of multi-stakeholder networks in enabling joint action. We would be delighted if you could join the discussion.
IIASA: Multiple Benefits of the Global Energy Transformation Recent Research Findings
Date – 29 May 2013
Time – 09:30 to 13:00
Location – Künstlerzimmer
The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) is organizing the VEF side event “Multiple Benefits of the Global Energy Transformations: Recent Research Findings”. The main global problem areas of research at IIASA – energy and climate change, food and water, and poverty and equity – are among the greatest challenges facing humanity today. The side event will present recent research findings – focusing on energy and technology – and their relevance to the Post 2015 Development Agenda. The Global Energy Assessment (GEA), completed in 2012, was an important component of the energy-related activities at IIASA and some of the new research activities at IIASA are building upon the findings of GEA.
IAEA: Promoting a Sustainable Energy Future: the Role of the International Atomic Energy Agency
Date – 29 May 2013
Time – 10:00 to 12:00
Location – Mittlere Lounge
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) supports its Member States in their efforts towards a sustainable energy future. In this side event, IAEA representatives will showcase the successful contribution of the Agency to build capacity, disseminate information, raise awareness and foster cooperation within and among Member States to help them make informed decisions regarding the most appropriate energy strategies. Topics discussed will include the sustainability of nuclear power as a clean energy solution, capacity building activities, the role of innovative technology solutions and the critical steps to introduce or expand a nuclear power programme.
EUEI PDF: Africa-EU Private Sector Cooperation: Matchmaking for win-win business opportunities in the renewables sector?
Date – 29 May 2013
Time – 11:30 to 13:00
Location – Trabantenstube
The Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP) is a multi-donor and multi-implementer programme that aims to accelerate the use of renewable energy in Africa. It was launched by more than 35 African and European Ministers at the First High-Level Meeting of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) in Vienna in September 2010. While the programme has already launched a number of support interventions in the area of policy advisory services, this side event aims at reflecting on the types of support interventions necessary to foster an active exchange and linking of African and European private sectors actors, as well as highlighting some of the positive examples where European and African actors have successfully worked together.
Launch of the SE4All Global Tracking Framework
Date – 28 May 2013
Time: 14:00 to 14:45
Location – Radetzkysaal II
Prepared by a team of energy experts from 15 agencies under the leadership of the World Bank and the International Energy Agency, the report provides a comprehensive snapshot of over 180 countries’ status with respect to action on energy access, energy efficiency and renewable energy, as well as energy consumption. As the Millennium Development Goals process has clearly demonstrated, measurable goals that enjoy widespread consensus can mobilize commitments to action, strategic partnerships and widespread support from key stakeholders and whole societies. For many, the Sustainable Energy for All initiative is an illustration of what a Sustainable Development Goal for the energy sector would look like. However, it is well known that measure progress is critical to achieving goals and getting results. The Global Tracking Framework Report is the answer to the challenge of measuring and reporting progress towards achieving the Sustainable Energy for All goals and objectives.. The report’s framework for data collection and analysis will enable us to monitor progress on the SE4ALL objectives from now to 2030.
The Energy Future We Want – Including Water & Food in the Energy Debate
Date – 29 May 2013
Time – 14:30 to 16:00
Location – Radetzky II
The side-event will provide a global platform to discuss recent international undertakings and progress on the water-energy-food nexus. The side-event will stimulate contributions and insights from institutions and individual experts on strategies to include water and food in the energy debate as nations around the world develop new energy policies and evaluate the options they want to follow in response to the SE4All initiative. Contribute to the nexus debate by sharing your experience and expertise with representatives from the private sector, researchers, policy makers and water/energy experts around the world on the intricate links between water, energy and food.
Regional Sustainable Energy Centers in Africa: Creating Regional Markets to Support the Decade of Sustainable Energy For All (SE4ALL)
Date – 29 May 2013
Time – 14:30 to 18:00
Location – Trabantenstube
The Energy and Climate Change Branch of UNIDO, in close collaboration with the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and the Global Forum on Sustainable Energy (GFSE), are organizing the VEF side event “Regional Sustainable Energy Centers in Africa: Creating Regional Markets to Support the Decade of Sustainable Energy For All (SE4ALL)”. The side event will facilitate discussions on the added value and possible actions of a south-south cooperation network between regional sustainable energy promotion centers in Africa. It will highlight the roles of the Centers as part of the institutional structure of the SE4ALL initiative. In a learning event, the ECOWAS Observatory for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECOWREX), one of the flag-ship programs of ECREEE will be introduced to the audience. Finally, a new publication on Renewable Energy Status and Trends in West Africa will be presented.
UNIDO: Women’s Leadership on Energy Justice in Productive Sectors
Date – 29 May 2013
Time – 15:00 to 17:00; Networking Drinks from 17:00
Location – Künstlerzimmer
Increasing energy access for productive use will generate opportunities for women to earn a living for themselves and their families, but the debate thus far has been mainly focused on women’s domestic needs. At this side-event, we will look beyond the household door and discuss how to empower women to become active producers, managers, promoters, sellers and leaders of modern energy services for a truly sustainable solution to energy poverty. We would be delighted if you could join us to share your experiences and expertise in this debate.
Register for the event here
A continuing Climate Lobby: Energy Policy & Climate Program at Johns Hopkins University, Washington DC and the German Ecologic Think Tank with offices in Berlin, Brussels and Vienna in the EU, and Washington DC and San Mateo, CA in the US. The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 850 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 90 countries.
Ecologic Institute: An International Think Tank for Environment and Development.
Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 850 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 90 countries, working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.
CAN members work to achieve this goal through information exchange and the coordinated development of NGO strategy on international, regional, and national climate issues. CAN has regional network hubs that coordinate these efforts around the world.
CAN members place a high priority on both a healthy environment and development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Brundtland Commission). CAN’s vision is to protect the atmosphere while allowing for sustainable and equitable development worldwide.
Ecologic Institute is a private not-for-profit think tank for applied environmental research, policy analysis and consultancy with offices in Berlin, Brussels and Vienna in the EU, and Washington DC and San Mateo, CA in the US.
Ecologic Institute was founded in 1995 as an independent research institute. Since its founding, Ecologic Institute has built a reputation for excellence in transdisciplinary and policy-relevant research. Through its participation in large-scale international collaborations, Ecologic Institute increases the relevance of its project results and improves communication among scientists, policymakers and the public. Ecologic Institute also provides ongoing expert advice on emerging issues through its framework agreements with the European Parliament
The insights of Ecologic’s staff provide practical ways forward for policymakers seeking to address complex challenges. Over the years, Ecologic’s work has informed the decision-making processes of a wide variety of international institutions, national ministries, sub-national and local authorities and non-profit organizations.
43/44 Pfalzburger Strabe
Phone: +49 (30) 86880-0
Matthias Duwe of the German Think Tank Ecologic recently spoke on the future of European climate policy making as part of our EPC Forum Speakers Series. The presentation is available on our You Tube channel: www.youtube.com/watch?
Dr. Wil Burns, Associate Director
Master of Science, Energy Policy & Climate Program
Johns Hopkins University
1717 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20036
Skype ID: Wil.Burns
Blog: Teaching Climate & Energy Law & Policy, www.teachingclimatelaw.
In Vienna there is a bit of the Mediterranean – a Citrus hot house at the Schoenbrunn Palace Orangery; then we found that in Koernten (Carinthia) there is even an active commercial Citrus Garden. Say – Austria wants part of the Mediterranean as well.
The Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna has, since the Emperors’ days, hot-houses under the Orangery name, as seemingly the Emperors were keen of the citrus plants. Here you find a large collection of citrus varieties and fruit was produced for the Emperor’s Court.
May 17-20, 2013, were citrus-festival days at the Orangery of the Schoenbrunn Palace.
Sunday May 19th there was what amounted to a Citrus tasting class where Katharina Seiser, an Eating-culture specialist and culinary journalist, explained the three kinds of Citrus plants – the Lemon, the Mandarin and the Pamplemousse father of the Grapefruit. We were told that there was also a fourth line – that of the Asian Ichang-Papeda which was not presented. We got to taste some two dozen different varieties and a few secondary products such as marmalade and sweets. I clearly got convinced that a fresh-picked kumquat tastes immensely better then the market bought produce.
The Buddha’s Hand is a very strange looking species – tastes good.
Some other lemons were the size of cantaloupes – we saw them on trees on display.
Life Minister of the Austrian Federal Government, Mr.Niki Berlakovich, was the honorary chairman of the festival.
In Koernten (Carinthia), at Faaker Sea (Lake) one finds an actual Mediterranean Citrus Garden -
– that markets locally produced Lemon marmalade, Orange cakes and other products you would not expect to get from locally produced fruit in Austria. www.Zitrusgarten.at
At second thought – above should not surprise us,. In the Center of Vienna, on the cement floor at the side of the Danube canal, there is also a Tel-Aviv Beach were in the summer young people play paddle ball like on the Tel-Aviv beaches.
Looking up the Ichang-Papeda on the internet – I found:
The Ichang Papeda (Citrus ichangensis) is the hardiest of the evergreen citrus, said to withstand temperatures down to 0 degrees F. It is a tough, spiny, small tree growing wild on steep hillsides in the Himalayan foothills. Though its fruit is marginally edible, small, thick skinned, seedy and somewhat bitter with limited juice, it does make an interesting and attractive ornamental. Its most important use is in hybridizing with other citrus species to create super cold hardy, yet highly edible varieties.
One of our favorites of these here on the farm is the Shangjuan. It is a natural cross originating in China of Citrus ichangensis and C. maxima, the pummelo. Also called the Ichang Lemon, the Shangjuan, which means “fragrant ball” in Chinese, produces masses of large, juicy, yellow lemon like fruit. Somewhat rough skinned and with a generous amount of seeds that can be easily removed, each fruit can give up to ½ cup of good quality juice that can be used for fresh or for cooking and desserts. These fruits ripen October- January for us, starting a full month before our Meyer lemons, giving us an abundant supply of high vitamin C juice at a time when it is most needed. When fully ripe the fruits have a good grapefruit taste and can be eaten as such, especially with a little sweetening. This easy to grow vigorous evergreen tree makes a great ornamental, its broad glossy dark green leaves giving year round beauty. Fragrant white spring blooms are followed by a heavy crop of fruit in the fall. The Shangjuan is considered hardy down to 5 to 10 degrees, which gives it adaptability to many areas where commercial citrus cannot be grown.
Another popular hybrid is the Yuzu, an ancient natural cross of Citrus ichangensis X C.reticulata. In the past it was called C.junos. The Yuzu originated in east Asia and grows wild in central China and Tibet. It was introduced to Japan and Korea during the Tang dynasty and has become a very popular fruit in these countries. The fruit ripens in the fall and is about the size of a tangerine. It has a fragrant juice similar to a lemon that is much esteemed in Japanese cooking. The spicy rind is also used as a flavoring. In Japan several fruits are wrapped in cheesecloth and floated in a hot bath for their relaxing scent. In Korea a syrup is made from the fruit and added to hot water as a remedy for the common cold and other winter illnesses. The upright evergreen tree is very hardy, able to withstand temperatures in the 5 to 10 degree F range. Even if defoliated the fruiting wood can survive to bear the next year. Like the Shangjuan it has lustrous green leaves, fragrant white flowers, showy fruit and many thorns.
The Ichang Papeda is also used in breeding programs to develop cold hardy citrus. It has been found to have a better ability to convey cold hardiness without compromising fruit quality than its deciduous relative the Trifoliate orange. Who knows what interesting and useful Ichang hybrids await us in the future.”
Which means to me – forget now the Mediterranean – Asia gives us the possibility to enlarge indeed citrus growing to colder climates as well!
The Vienna Solar Table-of-Friends took up Thursday May 16, 2013 – to obvious acclaim – THE PROBLEM OF THE SHRINKING AGRICULTURE-BASED VILLAGES in Austria. We present a platform that makes the use of the land and the power from the sun – the main movers of the economy.
The Vienna Solarstammtisch that meets at the “Zum Hagenthaler” Restaurant at Wallgasse 32, 1060 Wien, every third Thursday of the month, is a creation of Eurosolar Austria. www.eurosolar.at
It is led by Professor Franz Niessler, and the information is usually conveyed by Eng. Herbert Eberhardt herbert.ebergardt at eurosolar.at
Many of the the Solar Table participants own electric vehicles and live in energy-saving homes equiped for use of solar energy.
At the May 2013 meeting, the First presenter was Rosemarie Dietz, a Green visionary from Perchtoldsdorf NO, who related her experiences when crossing on foot the length of Lower Austria (Niederoesterreich) looking for the implementation of renewable energy on her path. She was looking for location of wind-mills and for the use of photovoltaic use of solar energy, but she also found that there were no-more small local restaurants on her way where one could have stopped for a meal and a drink. The villages are shrinking and the young people move to the large cities. The small scale agriculture that was the base of the rural sector has vanished and everything is bought at the large supper markets like in the city – much of it imported from long distance.
The moderator was Gerhard Kohlmaier and the main speaker Professor Hannes Bauer who is now with the Union of Retirees of Lower Austria, Head of the Political and Economic Futures Forum and building an effort for change. His target is the economic security of the individual in a growing strength of the European Union. He clearly sees in providing safeguards for the communities in villages – people living on and from the land – the best way of providing this security – and it clearly grabs our attention because this is also our belief.
Dr. Bauer looked at the ethics of high social, ecological and democratic values as strength for Austria in the EU context – Quality of Life and the Social Security of the citizens are the goals of his sort of politics.
Dr. Hannes Bauer is not a newcomer to Austrian Politics. During the years 1989-1991 and 2000-2008 he was a Socialist Party member of the Austrian Parliament and 1986-1987 State Secretary in the Ministry of Trades, Industry, and Labor. His background is economics – business development. Having started out from the State Government of Lower Austria and entering in 1991 the Leadership of at the the Federal level of the Austrian Socialist Party. He belongs to the Chancellor Bruno Kreisky School of active policy-oriented Socialism.
The meeting of the Solar-Table May meeting was amazing. Besides the Austrian political Reds and Greens, present were also the Blacks, Blues, and the new Stronach Yellow – and all got involved in the conversation. Needless to say that all were for solar energy but had difficulty accepting each-others honesty in pursuing the goal of a decentralized, community-based, small-town or village based economy – though all adhered to such a goal.
Energy was a main topic. How do we build back an agriculture that will provide biofuels, and how do we do so that the villages rely on photovoltaic solar energy and windmills – being independent of big corporation electricity grids, and even able to supply energy to the National grid? How do we convince the governing powers that there is no need of shale-fracking – this beyond the obvious that fracking is dangerous to the environment? How does one handle American intervention in EU economy planning?
I will now do something unusual – I am going to put forward the ideas I voiced at the meeting and which I felt summarized the different points of view in an event that sounded like a political competition, but that could easily be turned into a united National front for independence from outside economic forces. All what is needed now is a single party to come up with such ideas in its platform and invite the others to join in.
Let us start now:
The thesis is that what grows on the land is sustainable and positive, what comes from the inside of the earth will not endure, is unsustainable, and negative.
Planting for food and fuel, for animal feed and industrial feed-stocks, for human and animal life, is all based on the continuous energy that reaches the earth from the sun – thus non depleting. This is done by people living in small communities on the land – this activity if cared for, with the help of appropriate National policies, will keep people on the land and avoid their migration to magnet-cities something the topic of the evening was aimed to achieve.
Planting wind mills and solar collectors, like the photovoltaic collectors, on the land or roof-tops, is just another act of reaping results with the help of solar energy – exactly like growing vegetation or animals. We see no difference here.
Looking under the land for riches deposited in the past, the likes of fossil fuels of all sorts – coal, shale, oil, gas, and figuring out technologies to extract them from underground, amounts to using up in a short time of natures bank-deposits. On top of this it gave us the CO2 problem and clear climate-change – both avoidable if we refrain from using fossil fuels.
ERGO: Working the land revives the villages and provides us with what we need. Searching ways to obtain products out of fossil deposits, destroys the land, the population living on the land, and eventually the whole economy, because of the way it effects the environment, the social and economic development of the State, and the security of the people who lose their direct relationship to the land.
What political party will have the courage to put a return to a land policy of growth on its election banner?
Mr. Eberhardt brought to show the new Renaud “Twizy” small two-seater electric vehicle.
Next Solar Table meeting will be Thursday, June 20, 2013, same location, 18:00 pm (6PM)
THE TOPIC: RENEWABLE PRIMARY MATERIALS – “NAWAROS” – (“Nachwachsende Rohstoffe”).
QUESTION: The impression in Europe is that we are going through a very far-reaching and deep crisis, possibly the last crisis, because Europe is losing ground against the Far East and South America. And it could really mean that we are losing our sovereignty. Do you think that Europe will be able to regain the economic and political strength to be a leader in the world, or is this really the end? Do you think that Europe will be a world leader again? Or do we have to prepare for a reversal of growth?
SOROS: I share your concern about the gravity of the crisis. I have taken it very seriously. As a believer in an open society, I have made it my first priority for the last few years. This book [Financial Turmoil] is a testament to my concern. I do not think that the euro crisis is the end of Europe. We must not allow it. The EU as it was originally conceived was the embodiment of the values and principles of an open society, and it had the potential to exercise a beneficial influence in the world in promoting those principles. It is a great loss for the world that the EU has become totally preoccupied with its own internal problems.
For the full text go to: www.project-syndicate.
On Sunday, yesterday, George Soros was awarded the Tiziano Terzani Prize for his 2012 book Financial Turmoil published in Italy by Hoepli. This posting is based on his latest comments about the European financial crisis, which are adapted from a press conference he held in Udine, Italy.
The German University of Technology (GU Tech) in Oman got a brand new, prize winning, Green Campus, in a State that for now has no use for Conservation of Energy. This is a clear first in Oman – a return to consciousness that was common here in pre-oil times.
Our website has proposed that geopolitics are headed to a new structure were it is needed to have a billion people in order to be considered a World Power. As such we proposed that besides China and India, the other World powers will be -
- an Anglo-American Block led by the US and that will include also the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and as well Mexico and Japan;
- an Islamic Block led by Turkey or Indonesia that will stretch from Mauritania to Indonesia;
- and a block “Of the Rest” that will be led by Brazil and include, with a few exceptions based on the US led Trans-Pacific Partnership (the TPP) , Latin America, Africa, the SIDS, parts of Asia.
We see the recent news of Brazil defeating Mexico for the leadership of the WTO as an important step in above direction.
Brazil Wins Leadership of the World Trade Organization
Brazilian Roberto Azevêdo has been chosen over Mexican candidate Herminio Blanco as the newest director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on May 7. El Palenque, AnimalPolitico’s debate forum for experts, discusses the effects this win will have on Mexican diplomacy, Brazil’s role in trade liberalization, and the prominence of the BRICS on the world stage. Azevêdo will be the first Latin American to head the WTO.
The Financial Times wrote May 7, 2013:
So, Roberto Azevêdo, Brazil’s candidate for director general of the WTO, has pipped his rival Herminio Blanco of Mexico for the job.
But there is still a question to be answered: Who won? The man or the country?
Between Azevêdo and Blanco, there may not be much to choose. Both have impressive credentials. Azevêdo, a career diplomat in one of the world’s most polished diplomatic services, has been Brazil’s ambassador to the WTO since 2008. He knows the organisation inside out. Blanco is a businessman steeped in trade, a trade consultant who was formerly Mexico’s trade minister and its chief negotiator during preparation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
If the race was between two technocrats, it must have been a photo finish.
But what if the WTO members voted for the country, not the man? Then, it was a matter of chalk and cheese. Disgruntled Mexicans – whose pride will have taken a severe knock – will call this a victory of protectionism over free trade.
It will also be a victory of the developing world over the developed one.
Mexico, which has free trade agreements with 44 different countries, is the new poster child of developed world policies at work in the developing world. Brazil has free trade agreements with nobody, and has shown a tendency to renegotiate what agreements it does have as soon as they become inconvenient – not least its auto agreement with Mexico. Many developing countries – in Africa and Asia as well as in Latin America – will have felt the Brazilian was much more likely to protect their fledgling manufacturers and farmers than was the Mexican. Many of those countries, especially in Africa, already have closer ties with Brazil than they do with Mexico.
In an interview with Reuters, Azevêdo played down the issue of nationality:
To those who say that, under Azevêdo, the WTO will lose sight of its mission to promote free trade, others will reply that it never had one in the first place.
But Tuesday’s decision will make a big difference. No matter how pure a technocrat he is, Azevêdo will find it hard to fend off the influence of Brasília. It was the Brazilian that won, and not the Mexican.
Related FT reading:
SO, WE WILL SAY – THE FT AGREE WITH OUR POINT OF VIEW THAT THE US CANDIDATE – MEXICO – LOST TO THE CANDIDATE OF THE THIRD WORLD – THAT IS OUR TRUE SIXTH WORLD – WHO WILL STAND UP TO THE BIGGER BOYS OF THE OTHER FIVE WORLDS – SPECIFICALLY THE US – WHO BLATANTLY USE THE INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS FOR THEIR OWN GOOD – EXCLUSIVELY!!!
FURTHER NEWS OF RELEVANCE TO THE NEW WORLD IN THE MAKING:
Former President Bill Clinton announced on May 6 that the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) would be expanding to Latin America in December 2013, with its first meeting set to launch in Rio de Janeiro. He was joined by Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes in making the announcement at the mid-year meeting for his annual conference.
President Dilma Rousseff announced the start of a small business ministry on May 6, saying that government banks will provide up to $7,500 to small businesses in 2013 and will reduce the public loan interest rate from 8 percent to 5 percent beginning on May 31. “The question of small business is indispensable for the country’s future and present,” said Rousseff. Brazil’s estimated 6 million micro and small businesses accounted for 40 percent of the country’s 15 million new jobs from 2001 to 2011.
Brazil plans to hire approximately 6,000 Cuban doctors to work in the country’s rural areas, said Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota on May 6. The Federal Medical Council–a Brazilian doctor’s organization–questioned the island nation’s medical qualifications, but Patriota called Cuba “very proficient in the areas of medicine, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology.” President Dilma Rousseff began the talks in January 2012, and both countries are currently consulting with the Pan American Health Organization to move forward.
The International Monetary Fund’s May 2013 Regional Economic Outlook predicts Latin America’s growth to increase approximately 3.5 percent by the end of the year. But, in an article for The Huffington Post, Director for the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department Alejandro Werner questions whether countries in the region will be able to “adjust policies to preserve macroeconomic and financial stability” after the near-future external benefits, such as easy external financing and high commodity prices, begin to decline.
Volcanoes and Geysers Could Fuel Chilean Energy
Chile will partner with New Zealand to develop its deep exploration drilling and to develop its geothermal energy production. Chile is home to 20 percent of the world’s active volcanoes, which can be harnessed for geothermal energy. However, only 5 percent of the country’s electrical power is attributed to renewable energy resources, reports IPS News.
The Pacific Alliance Creates a Legislative Committee
Heads of Congress from Pacific Alliance members Chile, Colombia, México, and Perú signed an accord to form a Pacific Alliance Inter-Parliamentary Committee on May 6, reports La República. The committee would serve as the legislative arm of the Alliance by developing a framework to approve free trade agreements and distribution of goods, services, and capital under the Alliance. The committee will be officially presented to the Alliance at a legislative session in Chile in June.
Washington to Host Chilean and Peruvian Presidents
Chile’s President Sebastian Piñera and Peru’s President Ollanta Humala will visit Washington D.C. in June to discuss economic relations with President Obama. Piñera’s visit will take place on June 4, and Humala will visit one week later on June 11. The agenda will likely touch on negotiations with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as all three countries hope to develop closer economic ties to Asian markets.
Obstacles to Sustainability at Centre of High-level discussions at UN Economic and Social Council
Monday, 13 May from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDTECOSOC Chamber at UN Headquarters
Concerned that implementation of sustainable development is seriously lagging, world leaders at Rio+20 committed to fostering and implementing sustainable development at all levels. To this end, the Economic and Social Council is taking action to fulfill its integration mandate.
The Council is gathering a wide range of senior officials and civil society representatives to examine how science, technology and innovation can contribute to the integration of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development for triple-win solutions in the energy and agriculture sectors at the upcoming ECOSOC Integration Meeting on 13 May. The theme is: Achieving sustainable development: Integrating the social, economic and environmental dimensions.
The dialogue aims to identify triple-win solutions that can emerge from a sustainable development approach, as well as measures to strengthen the science-policy interface. The dialogue will also help identify steps needed for the Council and its subsidiary bodies to effectively promote the integration of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. The outcome of the discussion will be considered by ministers when they meet for the Annual Ministerial Review in Geneva in July.
The event is open to the press. But will it be open to the truly interested press? Those affiliated with the topic of SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT that for years were excluded from what the UN defined as accredited media? We can hope only that the present leader of the DPI will establish a new policy to help the evolving efforts to turn the up to now useless ECOSOC into the intended Commission or Council for Sustainability – or what the Sustainable Development Commission was intended for but never became.
For a full list of speakers, visit:
For more background information, visit: www.un.org/en/ecosoc/
Daniel Shepard, email@example.com, +1 212-963-9495 – UN Department of Public Information
Paul Simon, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 917-367-5027 – UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs
2013 Economic and Social Council
Integration MeetingAchieving sustainable development: Integrating the
social, economic and environmental dimensions
Monday, 13 May 2013
10:00 a.m. – 06:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m.
Ø H.E. Ambassador Néstor Osorio, President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council
Ø Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations
Ø Mr. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Session 1: Policy convergence for sustainable development
0:25 a.m. – 01:00 p.m.
03:00 p.m. – 05:50 p.m.
05:50 p.m. – 06:00 p.m.
The two arms that crushed Nazism were the Anglo-Americans that came from the West and South and the Soviets that came from the East. As well there were several national armies of liberation, underground groups and plain individual heroes that resisted the madness. Those that fought in the armies of the madman were no heroes – the best of them were just misguided individuals. There is really very little else an honest individual could say about the 1938-1945 years in Austrian history. It is just plain dishonest to forget that Otto Adolf Eichmann was not just a tinny bureaucrat, and that most of Austria were his accomplices and not just soldiers obeying orders. Hitler himself was an Austrian. Having been killed while being part of a madman’s army does not make one a National hero. There were, and still are, those in Austria that find it difficult to level with above truth.
The fall of Nazism allowed for the hope of a new Austria and indeed today – after 68 years – finally – an Austrian government was brave enough to say so.
We regard this as a plain Austrian internal matter and we were proud standing up on our feet for the two hours of last night’s concert.
The Faymann & Spindelegger government of Austria will mainly be remembered by history for having participated willingly at last night’s event that was initiated by the organization that keeps up the memory of the Mauthausen Concentration and extermination camp on Austrian land.
The Heldenplatz is part of the Inner City where Austria as a whole pledged its allegiance to the “Anschluss” to NAZI Germany and at the outside – the Inner City Gate (Burgtor) contains a Crypt where relics related to those that gave their life to fulfill orders of the armies of the Monarchie, the Wehrmacht, and the Waffen-SS. Honoring the place as is – means honoring the Nazis as well – and that was what leaders of the FPOE – The Freedom Party that in the past was led by George Haider – people like Heinz Christian Strache in 2004 (he is now the Party head – in contention now to become Chancellor), Lutz Weininger in 2007, and Wolfgang Jung in 2011 and 2012 did. Their May 8th ceremonies were remembrances to the fallen Nazi soldiers (how can you argue to have been a conquered land and hero to the Nazis at the same time?), and led usually to brawls with those that just could not take it. What is needed now is a weeding out of that crypt – the removal of the undesired relics and their replacement with relics related to the true heroes of Austria – those that preferred life rather then those others who acted as angels of death. Those in the crypt now belong to a factual museum and not to a memorial of honor. This year the name of Dr. Karl Lueger Ring – the Anti-Semite Mayor of Vienna – was removed from the segment of the Ring Streets that is in front of the University and replaced with the much better choice of the University name. Austria is finally catching up to the reality that it is a Nation that was freed from itself thanks to outside justice and an inside opposition.
What also is highly of significance – on Wednesday IT WAS DECIDED TO BUILD, STILL THIS YEAR, under this Parliament and Government,
THE CELEBRATION OF JOY with families with children picnicking in the background, rings of police at the outskirts of the place, a huge bubble for stage and a seating area in case of rain – for an event that was scheduled for 7:30 PM – that was all crowded already an hour ahead of time.
The weather turned out most favorable and when we arrived like half an hour before starting time, we just found standing room behind the first row behind the last row of chairs. Eventually the estimate was that there were 10,000 people at the concert.
“The Joy was moderated” – that is how it translates for what is meant that the excellent Master of Ceremony was the actress Katherina Stemberger and the Conductor of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra was Bertrand de Billy.
The first speaker was Willi Mernyl the Head of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp Memorial Committee, followed by Kaethe Sasso – who wrote about her youth in the resistance – setting the stage that this is the combined celebration of the new life of the survivors while honoring the memory of the victims. This is totally different from the memory of the dead of the armies of perpetrators – as it was celebrated just a year ago.
Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindellegger spoke followed by Chancellor Werner Faymann.
City Councilman for Culture Mr. Andreas Mailath-Pokorny of the Socialist Party represented Mayor Haeupl, followed by Deputy Mayor Maria Vassilakou of the Green Party.
To free form the summary of these introductions – what was said was that while in other European Cities it is self evident to be happy that democracy and freedom are part of our life – that was not the case in Vienna where brotherhoods were still in mourning for the fall of the old regime – we have a reason to be happy and want to pass this on to those that until now used the day as a day of mourning.
OUR HEROES ARE THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY. WE WANT TO LEAVE THIS FOR THE FUTURE FROM NOW ON. May 8, 1945 was the start of the new Europe.
A solidarity for a new United Europe does not happen by itself – and for us this starts right here today – now.
Talking about the solidarity of a new Europe has many implications these days of an EU in financial difficulties with the States called to bundle together and build a closer EU. All of this was hinted at by the speakers and is on the order of the day.
The Concert that followed was obviously great – that is something that Austria excels in naturally and we will leave it to the professionals.
After this great event – rather then going directly home – I went to the Red Bar (ROTE BAR) at the venerable VOLKSTHEATER, where at 10:15 there was the KREISLER-KABARETT.
The performers were Konstanze Breitebner www.konstanzebreitebner.com) and Bela Koreny (www.belakoreny.at).
I had a premonition that I might find there something that will be germane to the day. And I found gold.
In 1996 – let me repeat 1996 – Gerhard Kreisler writes to the Austrian Government that he saved himself to the US after his citizenship was to be changed in 1938 from Austrian to German – and he escaped to save himself.
No, he was not NAZI, and his citizenship was not returned automatically to him, as it was to those that became Germans in 1938, after having been Austrians.
For him, he was told he has to apply in order to get back his Austrian citizenship – something he refused to do. So he applies to the Austrian Government now to be granted back an Austrian citizenship that was thus taken away from him for not having become a NAZI.
Was this not the great corollary to the 68 year late readjusting of the Austrian spine?
Also – important to note:
1.5 Million Jews Fought in Allied Armies in World War II – Daniel Estrin (AP)
How a Big Fracking Setback Got Overlooked
07 May 13
potential 2016 contender softens his pro-fracking stance, citing unsettled science. So why is it being ignored?
As an oft-rumored 2016 presidential candidate, a regular subject of obsequious profiles in the local and national press (including in this week’s New Yorker), and the chief executive of one of the biggest fossil fuel states in America, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s declarations about environmental issues carry weight. And so his stunning admission late last week is, indeed, big news in how it so definitively proves that political money buys hostility toward environmental science.
With his election campaigns bankrolled by the fossil fuel industry, Hickenlooper has long ignored troubling drilling-related data from (among others) the Environmental Protection Agency, Duke University, the University of Colorado and the fossil fuel industry itself. Instead, as he rakes in massive amounts of fossil fuel campaign cash Hickenlooper has paid back his donors by publicly declaring that “there is literally no risk” associated with hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and by claiming to Congress that fracking fluid is safe to drink (it isn’t).
That’s where Hickenlooper’s admission comes in.
At a forum on energy issues last week, Hickenlooper simultaneously defended his assertion that fracking is perfectly safe and yet according to the Associated Press, he also “said the science on the impact of fracking is far from settled.”
In other words, the chief executive of a major fossil fuel state is now on record at once claiming fracking is totally safe but admitting he believes we don’t have enough science to know that his reassuring assertions are true.
Worse, he is admitting the need for more scientific research into fracking while actively working to kill legislation to scientifically study the effects of fracking.
When a governor admits his absolutist positions in support of fracking are not rooted in science, it should generate headlines – especially when that same governor has amassed a record like Hickenlooper. He is, after all, one of the fossil fuel industry’s chief political spokespeople; indeed, he actually moonlights as one of the industry’s official spokesmen in its paid political advertisements. Additionally, Hickenlooper is one of the industry’s best political friends: He is not only right now fighting his own party’s legislation to punish polluters, he has also publicly denied that global climate change is even happening; appointed one of his fossil fuel industry donors to a key regulatory position; fought state legislative initiatives that would have empowered municipalities to better regulate oil and gas operations in their midst; threatened to sue cities that regulate drilling; and reduced regulatory enforcement in the face of drilling-related spills.
Yet, despite this industry loyalist admitting his public policy positions are not supported by science, and despite the media’s obsession with the Colorado governor, Hickenlooper’s statements have garnered little attention. Why?
First and foremost, the Hickenlooper fans in the national press corps typically drop into Denver for a few days and produce long essays about the governor’s charisma and charm – that is, about everything other than his actual record.
The resulting hagiography subsequently credits him for much of the state’s high-profile progressive successes despite the fact that most of those successes have come from the Legislature and ballot initiatives in spite, rather than because of, the governor. The one thing you don’t hear much about in this kind of puffery is arguably the single most important responsibility of any Colorado governor: the responsibility to regulate our state’s most financially powerful and environmentally rapacious industry. The result is that you hear more about how goofy and fun-loving and swell ol’ Hick is than you do about the fact the Hickenlooper Era has coincided with a frightening rise in drilling-related spills, a precipitous decline in environmental enforcement and parts of Colorado becoming toxic hazard zones.
But obsequiousness is only part of the explanation for the media blackout. The other part is about an undying devotion to The Narrative – that is, the meme that projects all political stories through a red-versus-blue prism, and that therefore casts hostility to science as only a Republican phenomenon rather than what it really is: a transpartisan side effect of political money.
Yes, it’s true; whether pretending climate change is a hoax or casting aspersions at the notion of independent peer-reviewed research, Republican politicians tend to reject scientific data more often than Democratic politicians. Because of that, a press corps that seems only able to portray issues as partisan showdowns tends to portray the so-called War on Science as an exclusively Republican onslaught. That same press corps, though, simply cannot process or comprehend the notion of a Democrat helping his donors wage a war on science (especially one like Hickenlooper who touts his geology degree) because that kind of politician contradicts the preconceived story line.
This Narrative, of course, is only further exacerbated by what I’ve previously called the “No Money” rule. Simply put, reporters don’t like to acknowledge the role that campaign cash plays in politicians’ positions because in elite political circles, acknowledging rank corruption is considered impolite and uncouth.
Thanks to these dynamics, a revealing and incredibly newsworthy admission by a bankrolled Democratic governor is, thus, wholly ignored – as is the science that should be driving our energy policy.
The Vienna Chamber of Commerce, backed by the Integration Federal Ministry, is promoting small businesses and employment using Diversity as an asset – if nothing else they try to take away the stigma of the different..
Following up on our posting:
we went to the 2nd “Day of Diversity (Vierfalt)” of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce (KPO) Monday May 6, 2013 at the KPO headquarters at Operngasse 17-21, 6th floor, 1040 Vienna, and were guided by Mr. Arber Marku who is in charge of the Chamber’s Department of Economy-Policy (Wirtschaftspolitik).
This second year of direct involvement of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce in Integration into the economy of the immigrants and all “Diverse” human elements such as the handicapped, the homosexuals, the young, the old – you name it – is being backed by the Austrian Ministry of Integration led by the youngest Secretary of State (this is in German language the equivalent of a Minister) Mr. Sebastian Kurz – a 27 year young bright star in the Austrian Government and former students’ leader phenomenon who is one of the most favored politicians these days.
To be honest – we followed up with thoughts in mind – “here something Mayor Bloomberg could have promoted as well and the Obama Administration needs in its effort to lessen the immigration faults – the tens of millions of illegals that are part of the cause of the fraying US economy while they could have become true assets of a booming economy.
Austria as part of the EU can not close its borders to people migrating to it from other EU States – including those that come from former communist States of East Europe, Central Europe, and the Balkan States – many of whom have no skills easily adaptable to the Western democracies and knowledge of the local language. They already own an EU pass and are free to try to establish themselves in a new home.
The Monday full day event had two parts that went on in parallel.
One part was a series of lectures explaining in German – to would be entrepreneurs – the art of being independent and building a new business in Austria.
The topics of the main series included: Promotions and Finances; Successful Marketing; On-line Marketing; Financial supervision by the Authorities – matters of taxation and transparency; A Business Plan; Navigating your business towards a goal; The Potential of Cooperating with others; and a set of Best Practices as example. Clearly this was an exercise in Small Business promotion – an important aspect of the Chamber of Commerce.
The parallel series of meetings was in foreign languages – the language of origin of many of these migrants. These included Spanish, Turkish, Polish, Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian,Chinese, Bulgarian, and Slovakian.
The topics were not exactly the same in all of these meetings – seemingly they were adapted to the needs expressed by the participants.
The topics ranged from Financial Aspects of running a company – the interaction with banks and other institutions, subsidies and Departments of Finance; Customer Orientation and Marketing; or Practical Handling the Taxation Laws.
At the day’s end there was a plenary moderated by Werner Sejka and a panel made up of Minister Sebastian Kurz, the President of the Chamber of Commerce of Vienna – Commissioner Brigitte Jank – a feisty woman that did not allow accusations pass by without pointing out that there may be objective issues like lack of skills that must be remembered as well, Mr. Dino Sose who runs the Bum media of the Migrants to Austria and publishes the “Wienner Vielfalt” or the “Vienna Diversity,” www.bumzeitung.com/ that explains the city to others in three languages, and Mr. Franz Wolf Mayer the CEO of OIF – The Austrian Integration Fund and Member of the Ministry of Interior.
Now, this day was actually part of a whole INTEGRATION WEEK - “2. Wiener Integrationswoche im Zeichen des Zusammenlebens – Über 140 Veranstaltungen von 40 KooperationspartnerInnen in ganz Wien.” – an effort to stress the life together of all these Diversities – and during the week between May 2nd and May 9th 140 events were planned. Some of these events were reflected in what Minister Kurz reported to the panel.
The following day, today, at a presentation by Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister, Mr. Michael Spindelegger, I met a previous migrant from Poland, Alexandra Izdebska, who came to Austria in her in her young years, and now owns with her husband a computer company that employs some 200 more recent immigrants – this because of languages – but told me that she makes special effort to employ as well the handicapped and specially women. She knew all about last night’s event and is one of the people now backing the government and Chamber of Commerce activism.
Further, Mr. Sose said last night that he came with values and Austria allowed him to develop – so now he wants to push to help others. Ms. Izdebska said today that she came with her parents from a Poland under communist dictatorship and was allowed to think for herself already as a young girl in an Austrian school – she saw the difference already then – and the Vice Chancellor said that he was proud of people like her – achievers in the Austrian economy that came from abroad and grew up in Austria. Minister Kurz told last night that when he visited as part of this week’s activities the known Felber Bakery, and asked Mrs. Felber if there were any problems – he was surprised when she told him they had even knife fights. Then she explained these were flight between two sides in a Balkan war – but not between the migrants and old Austrians – there was reasonable harmony she said. She said that she had a black American employee in one of her outlets who sports a curly Afro, and though initially there was criticism – there are no problems now. That is what we want Kurz said.
The moderator spoke of a democratic change and we cannot over-intellectualize what we do. The Society must evaluate the living together in a city where it starts without knowing each other.
Business is pushing for a negotiated position come the final end of the first period of the Kyoto Protocol to the Climate Convention in 2015 by asking questions from the UNFCCC. The new Key-Words for questions are AMBITION and EQUITY. Climate Change is not waiting for answers.
3 Encouraging Signs of Progress from the Bonn Climate Talks.
Submitted by Jennifer Morgan on May 3, 2013
Day 4 of the climate talks in Bonn, Germany. Photo credit: adopt a negotiator, Flickr
A slight breath of fresh air entered the UNFCCC climate negotiations this week in Bonn, Germany. Held in the old German parliament—which was designed to demonstrate transparency and light—the meeting took on a more open feel than the past several COPs and intersessionals.
Instead of arguing over the agenda, negotiators got down to work, discussing ways to ramp up countries’ emissions-reduction commitments now and move toward a 2015 international climate action agreement.
Reaching these two goals is imperative. It was encouraging to hear delegates make progress across three key issues involved in achieving them:
1) “Spectrum of Commitments”
This idea—put forward by the United States—is that every country should determine its own national “contribution” to curbing global climate change and present it to the international community. A “spectrum” of various commitments would thus emerge, which could be included in some sort of formal agreement.
The idea opened up a much-needed conversation about the concept itself and how it would work in practice. Beyond the issues of ambition and equity noted below, the first question was whether there would be any guidance or templates for how countries put forward such commitments, or would it be a more “wild west” atmosphere. The second question was if and how the contributions would be reviewed, if at all.
The United States proposed a review up-front, but did not state whether that review would result in any change in the initial offer. Other questions included what kind of mechanism could be used to ratchet up ambition, and how developing countries could put forward contributions without knowing what kind of financial support might be provided. Clearly one key question is how to ensure that nationally offered commitments add up to a level of action that keeps global average temperature increase below 2 degrees C.
While the talks yielded more questions than answers, discussing new ideas like the spectrum of commitments represented good progress in the negotiating process.
How to increase countries’ emissions-reduction commitments is clearly the key worry for just about everyone, as it should be. While in Bonn, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide approached the 400 parts per million (ppm) threshold, putting the planet on an extremely dangerous trajectory.
Delegates struggled to think through ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to prevent climate change’s worst impacts. They heard from cities, farmers, and business people about what they’re currently doing to shift to a low-carbon economy. But how does that all add up? And how does one create the benefits for countries to go faster and deeper in reducing emissions?
In the context of a spectrum of commitments, the key question asked was how to ensure that collective actions would get the world anywhere close to staying below 2 degrees C of temperature rise. Many noted that the current ambition gap exists because of the bottom-up pledge and a failed review system. Why would this situation be any different if we pursue a spectrum approach? The word “ratchet mechanism” was often heard, with delegates searching for new ideas and incentives to catalyze more action. This “ratchet up” process, which enables countries to increase their emissions-reduction pledges over time, may be combined with a periodic review and a robust set of accounting, measurement, reporting, and verification rules.
The issues of equity and climate justice blew through many of the sessions and dominated informal dinner table debates. Although the “e” word is not mentioned specifically in the Durban Platform, it is now abundantly clear that figuring out how to make the 2015 international climate agreement equitable is going to be one of the keys to its formation. Some asked whether an “equity reference framework” approach could work. A number of experts have been analyzing the different indicators that could help assess whether a national climate action plan is equitable. While negotiating this set of indicators within the UNFCCC process would likely prolong the negotiations, delegates acknowledged that there is value in finding evidence-based, pragmatic ways to integrate equity into the decision-making process.
It was an encouraging debate: After this intersessional, all subsequent UNFCCC discussions of equity will inevitably be taken more seriously.
WRI and the Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice hosted a Climate Justice Dinner one night during the talks. Stories of climate change’s real world impacts—which people in places like Bangladesh are already facing—connected negotiators with what’s really at stake for communities around the globe.
Negotiators made some progress and started asking the right questions. Now it’s time to start answering these questions to ensure that the 2015 agreement not only provides transparency, but drives a game change in the level of climate action that the world has seen to date.
Qatar is leading at the UN an Arab effort to punish Canada for its principled pro-Israel stand by asking for the removal of ICAO Headquarters from Montreal. How about moving some more UN offices to Doha?
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!
Athens, Amsterdam, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Koeln, Madrid, Mexico City, New York City, Paris, Tokyo, Toronto, Vienna – all had a Marijuana March today.
I witnessed it in Vienna, Austria where one tractor-trailer and seven large music trucks gathered this Saturday, at noon, off the Europa Place near the West Train Station, with about 1,000 people participating, that marched down Mariahilfer Street at 2 pm. The people ended up eventually at the Prater by 8pm.
Two of the trucks belonged to the young people’s Pirate Party. Another truck belonged to the Green Party. Several of the trucks had to do with agricultural outfits interested in planting Cannabis as a business and explaining in their posters the many positive uses of the plant.
The front tractor was parading for www.Indras-Planet.at which is an on-line business selling to people that sign a disclaimer.
They were followed by a truck of Medijuana www.future-grow.at that displayed the medical uses of marijuana making it clear that legalization has many pluses.
Truck two of Bush Planet – grow together was part of the Pirates participants followed by their other truck for www.cultiva.at and HanfMess@2013 where Hanf is in German Hemp or Cannabis.
Truck 5 connected to www.Hanfwandertag.at – the festivity of the day and www.isi-Europa.org – the first Hemp Charity Project in Europe.
Truck 6 had on the side written the Bertolt Brecht dictum:
It had in front also written that the Cannabis is a Sustainable Primary Material and that their vehicle uses Sustainable Energy.
Truck 7 at the end stated that Evolution comes with Marijuana.
All right – we are convinced – crime comes with illegal marijuana and no good purpose is achieved by making marijuana inaccessible to those who need it. legalizing the weed can achieve many positive goals and we do not see the forest of negatives that some present before us.
Others distributing leaflets were – www.stamm.baum.at from Vienna’s 15th district, the Vegans of www.vegan.at, www.hanfforum.at and Hanf-Hanf.at Also – Sensi Seeds, Paradise Seeds, and Bio Nova. There is already an active Austrian Hanf Union that sposors these folks.
There were at least 100 police around and the following day the papers mentioned only that the march disturbed the experiment that made 150 meter of the Mariahilfer Street into a pedestrian zone for this weekend.
The Decreasing Cost of Solar Energy – Italy, Spain, Germany, Portugal — and in parts of the US such as the Southwest, solar is already at grid parity. Chinese solar panels fell in cost 50% in the 2009-2012 period and it is expected they will fall in cost further at a 30%/year rate. Japan will become this year second largest solar energy market beyond China. South Africa, Israel, Saudi Arabia, India increase their Solar Energy production as well.
The Incredible Shrinking Cost of Solar Energy.
04 May 13
ob Wile uses a graph to point out the obvious, the dramatic fall in the cost of solar power generation. In many countries– Italy, Spain, Germany, Portugal — and in parts of the US such as the Southwest, solar is at grid parity. That means it is as inexpensive to build a solar plant as a gas or coal one. The pace of technological innovation in the solar field has also accelerated, so that costs have started falling precipitously and efficiency is rapidly increasing.
By 2015, solar panels should have fallen to 42 cents per watt.
Reneweconomy.com says that the best Chinese solar panels fell in cost by 50% between 2009 and 2012. That incredible achievement is what has driven so many solar companies bankrupt– if you have the older technology, your panels are suddenly expensive and you can’t compete. It is like no one wants a 4 year old computer.
Conservatives shed no tears when better computers drive slower ones out of the market, but point to solar companies’ shake-out as somehow bad or unnatural. No wonder US solar installations jumped 76% in 2012.
The reductions in cost over the next two years are expected to continue, at a slowing but still impressive 30% rate:
Construction has begun on the world’s largest solar plant. MidAmerican Solar and SunPower Corp. are building a 579 megawatt installation, the Antelope Valley Solar Project, in Kern and Los Angeles counties in California. That is half a gigawatt, just enormous. It will provide electricity to 400,000 homes in the state (roughly 2 million people?), and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 775,000 tons a year. The US emits 5 billion metric tons a year of C02, second only to China, and forms a big part of the world’s carbon problem all by itself. We just need 645 more of the Antelope Valley projects.
Important new research also shows that hybrid plants that have both solar panels and wind turbines dramatically increase efficiency and help with integration into the electrical grid. Earlier concerns that the turbines would cast shadows and so detract from the efficiency of the solar panels appear to have been overblown. Because in most places in the US there is more sun in the summer and more wind in the winter, a combined plant keeps the electricity feeding into the grid at a more constant rate all year round, which is more desirable than big spikes and fall-offs.
That Germany, then China, then the US are the world’s largest solar markets is no surprise. But that number 17 Japan will increase its solar installations by 120% in 2013 and so may be the second hottest solar market, just after China, this year, would mark a big change. Japan may well have 5 gigawatts of solar installed by the end of this year, even though the relatively new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, is no particular friend of the renewables. In my own view, if Japan made the right governmental and private investments, it could overtake China in the solar field and reverse its long post-bubble stagnation.
ABB has been commissioned a large solar electricity generating plant on the edge of the Kalahari Desert near Cape Town, South Africa. It will supply the electricity needs of around 40,000 persons and reduce annual emissions by 50,000 tons of carbon dioxide. South Africa emits 500 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, and is third in the world for per capita emissions. (Still, it only emits a 10th as much over-all as the US). But they just need a thousand more plants like the Kalahari one, and voila! South Africa is also imposing a carbon tax, which will hurry things along. (At the moment, South Africa is far too dependent on dirty coal plants, which not only fuel climate change but also spew deadly toxins such as mercury into the atmosphere, whence it goes into human beings.
Because of South African and Israeli demand in particular, demand for solar panels in the Middle East and Africa has risen over 600% during the past year. Saudi Arabia’s announced plans to save its petroleum for export by going solar at home will add a great deal to regional demand if it sticks to those plans. (In most countries, petroleum isn’t used much for electricity generation as opposed to transportation, but in oil states such as Saudi Arabia it often is used in power plants; but that cuts down on foreign exchange earnings.)
The two Indian states of Gujarat and Rajasthan are emerging as the solar giants in India, with each having now passed half a gigawatt in solar electricity generation capacity. The two account for some 88% of all of India’s solar power. But Rajasthan may soon outstrip Gujarat, given the state’s solar-friendly commitments, its ample amounts of scorching sunlight, and its vast deserts.
Oil Shales, Shale Gas, Shale Fuel for thermal plants – so many ways that produce spent shale and ash, heavy metals and Uranium, and to poison the underground aquifers. Do we really see the dangers when work is hidden from eye-sight by doing it under-ground?
April 15-21, 2013, I participated on a trip to Baltic Sea States of the KPV (Komunal Politische Vereignigung) of the Politische Akademie of the Austrian Peoples Party (OEVP). Above took us to Estonia Saturday April-20 to Sunday April 21-st. This was a weekend and it might have been a too short time for serious learning about matters of Energy Policy. But I was fortunate to come back with enough information because I had the chance to meet very helpful people and I was prepared ahead with my questions.
We drove from St. Petersburg in Russia to Narva in Estonia and then continued to the capital – Tallinn. We had the luck of having a very good Estonian guide and were honored that evening with a reception at the residence of Austrian Ambassador H. E. Ms. Renate Kobler who invited as well local and Austrian resource people and made sure to establish contacts according to our interests.
I had in effect two different set of interests. One was in regard to a transportation policy instituted this year by the city of Tallinn that offers free rides on the electric street-cars to documented residents of the city while having increased charges for the out-of-towners. The idea behind this being that people will be moving back to the city from the suburbs and increase the tax roles thus making up for some of the losses and allow for gains in air quality by getting out of their cars. I learned that though nice in theory, seemingly it did not work in practice because it applied mainly to the poor – so it did not result in enhanced income from taxes leaving just the lower income from the tram-rides. The topic was originally brought to my attention by the Austrian Standard of April 5, 2013.
This was the minor interest of my two suggested topics.
The other topic – and that one of major interest these days – dealt with the use of oil-shales for energy – an issue of global importance when Shale-Gas has become the energy interests’ battle cry. It was brought out of obscurity in the United States, and Europe is talking as if it was going to follow suit. Austria has also shales and at present media battles rage between business interests and the environmentalists – with the Eurosolar monthly table all convinced that Austria can become energy self-sufficient without touching the shales.
Estonia, as well as Spain, are countries with experience in what can happen when energy is obtained from these shales.
Under the Soviets, the shales were mined and used like a lower grade coal in thermal power plants. What was left are mountains of ash from the combustion process and mountains of spent shales from the retorting process in which the product was a synthetic crude oil. These mountains of by-product contain heavy metals and when washed by rains these heavy metals poisoned the underground water, thus making it unusable for drinking and agriculture. Everybody I talked to told me the same thing – the losses around Narva are immense.
Wikipedia tells us: “Oil shale in Estonia is an important resource for the national economy. Estonia‘s oil shale deposits account for just 17% of total deposits in the European Union but the country generates 90% of its power from this source. The oil shale industry in Estonia employs 7,500 people—about one percent of the national work force—and accounts for four percent of its gross domestic product.
There are two kinds of oil shale in Estonia – Dictyonema argillite (claystone) and kukersite. The first attempt to establish an open-cast oil shale pit and to start oil production was undertaken in 1838. Modern utilization of oil shale commenced in 1916. Production began in 1921 and the generation of power from oil shale in 1924.
In 2005 Estonia was the leading producer of shale oil in the world. Of all the power plants fired by oil shale, the largest was in this country. As of 2007, six mines (open cast or underground) were extracting oil shale in Estonia.“
Kukersite, named after the Kukruse settlement in Estonia, is the better quality shale. Estonian kukersite deposits are one of the world’s highest-grade shale deposits with more than 40% organic content and 66% conversion ratio into shale oil and oil shale gas. They have relatively a lower content of heavy metals.
in the 1830s, although the attempt of shale oil distillation failed, oil shale was used as a low-grade fuel. Then studies of Estonian oil shale resources and mining possibilities intensified in the beginning of 20th century because of industrial development of Saint Petersburg and a shortage of fuel resources in the region. Finally – the world’s two largest oil shale-fired power stations – Balti Power Plant and Eesti Power Plant (known as the Narva Power Plants) – were opened in 1965 and in 1973. Because of the success of oil shale-based power generation, Estonian oil shale production peaked in 1980 at 31.35 million tonnes. In 2004, two power units with circulating fluidized bed combustion (CFBC) boilers were put into operation at Narva Power Plant. In 1984, the scientific-technical journal Oil Shale was founded in Estonia.
Some of the spent shale is used in cement manufacturing and Uranium is a by-product.
Kerogen (from Greek for wax + -gen, that which produces) is a mixture of organic chemical compounds that make up a portion of the organic matter in sedimentary rocks. It is insoluble in normal organic solvents because of a huge molecular weight. The soluble portion is known as bitumen. When heated to the right temperatures in the Earth’s crust, (oil window ca. 60–160 °C, gas window ca. 150–200 °C, both depending on how quickly the source rock is heated) some types of kerogen release crude oil or natural gas, collectively known as hydrocarbons (fossil fuels). When such kerogens are present in high concentration in rocks such as shale they form possible source rocks. Shales rich in kerogens that have not been heated to a warmer temperature to release their hydrocarbons will eventually form oil shale deposits. (The name “kerogen” was introduced by the Scottish organic chemist Alexander Crum Brown in 1906.)
What above tells us is that the organic matter in shales is in the form of very large molecular weight polymers. These can be deconstructed at high temperature in retorts, and then the quality of the remaining ash (or spent shale) can be investigated and the potential damage to the environment assessed. An alternative could be to create a fire underground and collect above ground the released oil or gas created by breaking up the kerogen polymer. In such case the damage from the ash cannot be assessed without knowing the underground conditions and where the underground waters will take the released heavy metals. The Shale Gas operations now in the United States are underground production sites explained as examples of Hydro-Fracking which sounds incoherent when we do not know the operating temperatures which are needed to break chemical bonds of that polymer. Neither the new American production companies nor the EU Shale Gas production interests give us such technology details as they did not even obtain patents that would have required transparency.
This present posting has an added purpose.
I learned that June 10-13, 2013, the Estonian users of shale-for-energy intend a Shales Symposium in Tallinn as a follow up to the 2006 Symposium that was held in Ammann, Jordan.
The Symposium in Tallinn will be followed by a Field Trip to Estonian oil shale processing industry – an extraordinary opportunity to visit the most important sites of Estonian oil shale industry, including the new, recently completed Enefit280 Oil Plant.
I would like to hope that the European Commission send some inquisitive people to that symposium in order to learn about the side-effects or the environmentally harming “externalities” that could cause harm to the underground aquifers.
Further, as mentioned at the beginning, another European location were there was experience with Oil Shale Retorting is Puertollano, in the Ciudad Real region of Spain. With information from these sites the EU could be in a better position to judge the issues involved.
I was personally involved with the Purtollano plant of the Empressa Nacional de Pisara Bituminosa Calvo Sotelo in 1959. That plant was producing lubricants or viscous petroleum product alternatives in huge retorts and leaving behind mountains of spent shale as well. Looking at the remains of those mountains – in Puertollano and in Narva, could help the decision making process at the EU.
We realize the importance of the energy independence goal – but as it can be reached in various ways, it is important to start out with open eyes.