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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 1st, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Version française ci-dessous

ICC-CPI-20120601-PR800

Press Release

China University of Political Science and Law wins the ICC Trial Competition (Chinese version).

In a published photo – ICC Judge Cuno Tarfusser (centre), ICC Associate Legal Officer Silvestro Stazzone (left) and ICC Associate Legal Officer Simon Grabrovec (right) with the winners of the ICC Trial Competition (Chinese version), representing China University of Political Science and Law, at the seat of the Court in The Hague © ICC-CPI

China University of Political Science and Law is the winner of the ICC Moot Court Competition – Chinese version. The final round was held today, 1 June 2012, in Courtroom I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. The winning team is composed of (from left to right in above photo): Mr Guanqun Ge, Ms Ying Zhu, Ms Chenchen Liang, Coach Mr Lijiang Zhu and Mr Xinxiang Shi. China Foreign Affairs University and PekingUniversity won, respectively, the second and third places. The award for the Best Speaker went to Ms Chenchen Liang from China University of Political Science and Law.

The teams competed before ICC Judge Cuno Tarfusser (presiding) and ICC Associate Legal Officers Silvestro Stazzone and Simon Grabrovec, on a fictitious case, presenting oral arguments during a confirmation of charges hearing in the roles of Prosecution, Defence and the Legal representative for victims. The final round of the ICC Trial Competition in Chinese was also web streamed live on the Court’s official website.

Following the decision rendered by the Chamber on the winners of the competition, the ICC hosted an awards ceremony for the winners and participants. Judge Tarfusser, Mr Stazzone and Mr Grabrovec delivered awards to the best teams and top speakers.

This year, 13 universities in China participated in the competition, where students put to the test their knowledge of the applicable law and jurisprudence of the ICC. The three top teams came to The Hague for a five-day study visit before the final competition at the ICC. During their time in The Hague, the students visited four other international criminal tribunals: the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). The study visit offers to the students a unique opportunity to come together in an exciting setting and to meet with eminent personalities of the international law scene.

This version of the ICC Trial Competition is organised by Professor Yan Ling of the China University of Political Science and Law, with the institutional support of the ICC and the support of several institutions and organisations, including the Chinese Embassy in The Hague and the Royal Dutch Embassy in Beijing.

The Court is also supporting three other language versions of the ICC Trial Competition this year and hosting their finals in the ICC courtroom: English (27 April), Russian (1 June) and Spanish (22 June). It is envisaged that, in the medium and long term, the ICC Trial Competition will also be expanded, in cooperation with others, to the other official languages of the Court: French and Arabic.

Photos of the competition and awards ceremony are here.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 29th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)


Course on Climate change governance: adaptation and mitigation as institutional change processes.

“Climate Change Governance – Business as usual is not an option”

A course on Climate Change Governance will be held from 21 November – 2 December 2011 in Wageningen, the Netherlands. The course builds on experiences in capacity building programmes on climate change adaptation in developing countries in which Wageningen UR collaborates with research institutions and development networks world wide.

In the course climate change adaptation and mitigation are placed within the context of sustainable development and involve complex change processes which require the involvement of different stakeholders such as policy makers, scientists, communities, citizens, farmers, extension workers, media, businesses, etc.
Since climate change is so highly complex and uncertain, an emergent and learning process is required. This course will enable participants to play an active role in the governance of climate change processes. It offers conceptual frameworks to understand climate change, vulnerability and adaptation and mitigation options. It builds skills to apply tools for stakeholder engagement, policy influencing, advocacy and negotiation. The course includes practical field work and development of individual action plans.

If you or your colleagues are interested to participate in this course we would like to encourage you to find funding from your employer or any other sponsoring organisation.

This year there are no scholarships available from the Dutch Government.

In order to secure your place in this course and for more information please contact:

Contact: Mrs Titia Magendans/Mrs Elisabeth Hopperus Buma

e-mail: titia.magendans@wur.nlelisabeth.hopperusbuma@wur.nl

www: www.cdi.wur.nl/UK/newsagenda/agenda/Climate_change_governance.htm

————————————

Elisabeth Hopperus Buma

Project Support Department

Wageningen UR Centre for Development Innovation

P.O. Box 88, 6700 AB Wageningen,  the Netherlands

e-mail: elisabeth.hopperusbuma@wur.nl

website: www.cdi.wur.nl

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

September 7-8, 2011, The Hague, The Netherlands

Tenth Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change

With the livelihoods of millions of the world’s poorest at risk, leading experts from the human rights, climate, farming and forestry sectors gather to find common approaches to strengthen rights, improve land use governance, reduce hunger and environmental degradation  and catalyze joint action.
The convergence of global climate change, food insecurity, and political exclusion in the world’s poorest countries threatens to reverse global gains in poverty alleviation and raises the risks of conflict around the world.  Close to 1 billion people were undernourished in 2010, and food prices have continued to rise. Climate change is putting millions of the world’s poorest people at an even greater risk. Meanwhile, according to the World Bank, industrial land acquisitions, so called “land grabbing,” grew more than 1000% between 2008 and 2009, while local land rights have been weakened.

Poverty and exclusion in rural areas are not new phenomena, but the booming global demand for food and other commodities is putting unprecedented pressure on rural people, their land, and related natural resources.  The related increase in industrial agriculture presents a major threat to the rights and livelihoods of the rural poor by driving deforestation and carbon emissions that in turn exacerbates global climate change, causing a vicious circle.

Until now, the global development community has responded with particular programs focusing on each crisis, yet, limited rights and weak governance persists. While there has been growing recognition of just governance and the fundamental role that human rights play in preventing, diminishing, or dealing with these crises, the efforts of civil society, development organizations, and local actors working in these areas have not been well connected. There has not been adequate discussion, across sectors and levels, about the underlying institutional drivers of the lack of rights, weak governance, and political and social exclusion.

The Tenth Dialogue is hosted by Oxfam and the Rights and Resources Initiative, in collaboration with IS Academy on Land Governance (LANDac), Netherlands, and EcoAgriculture Partners.
EcoAgriculture Partners is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting innovators from the agriculture, conservation, and rural development sectors to strengthen and scale up ecoagriculture management approaches. EcoAgriculture Partners aims to improve understanding and knowledge of ecoagriculture, facilitate collaboration among practitioners from diverse sectors in rural landscapes, and mobilize strategic institutional change. Ecoagriculture refers to diverse landscape approaches that link farming and natural resource management to pursues three goals: conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services, sustainable agricultural production, and improved rural livelihoods. For more information, visit www.ecoagriculture.org.
IS Academy on Land Governance for Equitable and Sustainable Development (LANDac) is a partnership between several Dutch organisations (Academics, NGOs, private sector and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and their Southern partners involved in development-related research, policy and practice. The partners share a concern for increasing land inequality and new land-related conflicts, and how land governance – rules and practices on access to land – can be used to promote equitable and sustainable development in the Global South. LANDac aims at bringing together researchers, policy makers and practitioners in the field of land governance and development. LANDac is one of the IS Academies for International Cooperation. For more information on LANDac and the partner organisations involved, visit www.landgovernance.org
Oxfam International is an international group of independent non-governmental organizations dedicated to fighting poverty and related injustice around the world. Oxfam Novib in The Netherlands is part of Oxfam International, a framework which allows individual Oxfam’s to achieve greater impact with collective efforts. Oxfam programmes aim to address the structural causes of poverty and related injustice by working primarily through local accountable organizations. Oxfam seeks to strengthen their empowerment and help people directly where local capacity is insufficient by means of assisting the development of structures which directly benefit people facing the realities of poverty and injustice. For more information on Oxfam, visit www.oxfam.org (Oxfam International) and www.oxfamnovib.nl (Oxfam Netherlands).
The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) is a strategic coalition comprised of international, regional, and community organizations engaged in development, research and conservation to advance forest tenure, policy and market reforms globally. The mission of the Rights and Resources Initiative is to support local communities’ and indigenous peoples’ struggles against poverty and marginalization by promoting greater global commitment and action towards policy, market and legal reforms that secure their rights to own, control, and benefit from natural resources, especially land and forests. RRI is coordinated by the Rights and Resources Group, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C.  For more information, visit www.rightsandresources.org.
contact:Rights and Resources Initiative phone:+1 202 470 3900 fax:+1 202 944 3315 e-mail:dialogue@rightsandresources.org www:www.iisd.ca/ymb/rri/dfgcc10/


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

These states are:

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

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

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

and HONG KONG that sits on the rib of China.

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

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 24th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Italy and The Netherlands Join Canada, Israel, U.S. and the Czech Republic in Boycotting UN’s Durban III.

Italy and The Netherlands announced over the weekend that they will not take part in the notorious United Nations Durban III meeting scheduled for September 22, 2011 in New York City.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini pointed out that “The [Durban] Process has been transformed … into a tribunal for accusations against Israel.”
As the main reason for boycotting Durban III the Italian foreign minister pointed to the anti-Israel elements of the Durban Declaration and its progeny.
In the past few days, UN negotiators – who are currently drafting a final political declaration for Durban III – signalled rejection of Czech, Italian and Dutch proposals to denounce the anti-Israel portions of the original Durban Declaration.
The Italians had asked that Durban III “explicitly recognize that past references, in the context of the Durban Process, to the specific situation of the Middle East are not part of the international commitment against racial discrimination.”

According to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands, Italy and the Czech Republic all wanted to include in Durban III a statement that “all participating states emphatically distance themselves from the linking of subjects that have nothing to do with the fight against racism.”
Their request was ignored by conference organizers, who are largely being driven by Arab and Islamist states, as well as South Africa and UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay, herself a native of Durban.
For more United Nations coverage see www.EYEontheUN.org.
EYEontheUN monitors the UN direct from UN Headquarters in New York. EYEontheUN brings to light the real UN record on the key threats to democracy, human rights, and peace and security in our time. EYEontheUN provides a unique information base for the re-evaluation of priorities and directions for modern-day democratic societies.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 31st, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Roberto Foa has his BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economy from Oxford, and his and his MPhil from Jesus College, Cambridge.  In 2004 he was selected as a Peter Martin Fellow at Financial Times. He wrote –
“Before arriving at the Financial Times I was a consultant with the Future Foundation, where I had worked with BP, Defra and the Social Exclusion Unit. Prior to that I worked with the China-Britain Business Council in Shanghai and edited a webzine in Paris.”

Since 2006 he has been working in Washington DC towards creating the Social Development Indicators Project, which is a study being conducted on the relevance of social institutions and their effectiveness.
In 2007 he served as the coordinator for the World Values Survey in Rwanda.
He has Published in the Financial Times and consulted for various government projects.
He writes about economic integration, trade, and Europe’s ties to the world.
He has authored many papers and contributed to many chapters and books covering topics of social capital, democracy, and economic development.

Roberto Foa is now a doctoral researcher at Harvard University, Department of Government, Center for European Studies, and further information given out there:

Contact Information:
E-Mail (work): foa@fas.harvard.edu
Website: “Merchant of Venice” blog on EU Observer

Biographical Statement: Foa came to Harvard from the World Bank in Washington DC, where he was founder of the Washington European Society  www.eu-society.org). He is currently author of the “Merchant of Venice” blog on EU Observer, a consultant to the Club de Madrid, and has published a wide range of academic and journalistic articles covering such topics as democratization, economic policy, and institutional reform in the European Union. He is involved in research projects on the legacies of European colonialism, democratic consolidation in post-communist Europe, and in the European and World Values Surveys.

The following was posted as blogs.euobserver.com/foa/2011/05/… on May 31, 2011.

Why a European at the IMF?

After initial excitement that the resignation of Dominique Strauss-Kahn might lead to an emerging market candidate to follow him as head of the IMF, Europe has placed its seal firmly upon a successor – Strauss-Kahn’s own distant replacement as French Minister of Finance, Christine Lagarde.

At first glance, the insistence on a European candidate may seem odd. After all, even if the shareholders of a major company, such as Louis Vuitton, all come from a particular area – say, the western suburbs of Paris – they would be crazy to insist on having a CEO from the same neighbourhood. Their interest lies in finding the most competent person for the job. They are likely to search far and wide to find that person.

A similar logic may apply to the IMF, where European countries already have the lion’s share of the votes. Whoever becomes managing director will be responsible to Europe’s directors on the Board, so why insist on having a European to serve them?

The real reason, of course, is political. Europe needs a European to run the IMF, because in the absence of easy credit from the International Monetary Fund, the euro area is politically incapable of arranging and taking responsibility for its own eurozone rescue package. Moreover, even if it were thus capable, many believe that it is not in the best interests of the eurozone to do so.

Let us unpack this a little further. The need for a European to shepherd through easy credit is simple enough: most of the IMF’s lending is now in the European neighbourhood, including also non-eurozone countries such as Hungary, Ukraine or Iceland. The IMF package for Greece, at €30bn, was already the largest in its history, and the package for Portugal, approved last week, added another €26bn. A similar package for Spain could add over €100bn. Italy could be twice as large still. These are vast amounts, and will be hugely controversial if and when they arise. A non-EU director might not be inclined to jeopardise such sums.

Yet why cannot the eurozone arrange its own bailout mechanism? After all, rather than rely on the IMF for financing, Europe could very well establish its own “European” monetary fund, funded by Germany, France, and the Netherlands. Indeed, this is in part what the EFSF and the future ESM are intended to accomplish. However, as I have discussed long ago, the reality of a “European” Monetary Fund would spell death for the project of European integration. It would mean core European nations taking direct responsibility for implementing austerity policies in the eurozone periphery, and taking the resultant political flak. EU nations simply do not have the ‘political capital’ to dictate harsh spending cuts in neighbouring countries, unlike the IMF, which does so as a matter of routine. By shifting surveillance of austerity packages during their most difficult period to the Fund, the core Eurozone countries are able to continue dictating the agenda, but via the front of an international organisation with greater credibility, manouverability, and anonymity.

But what about simply allowing Greece and Ireland to default? After all, under the present Eurogroup and IMF packages, Greece and Ireland can neither pay off their debts, nor default on them, and are thus maintained in permanent debt servitude. Is this not a terrible policy failure?

The answer is no, insofar as these packages were never designed to save Greece and Ireland in the first place. Rather, their purpose is to save the eurozone banking system from collapse. The key beneficiaries of this long, drawn-out process are Dexia, BNP Paribas, and Commerzbank, and behind them, the French and German governments who currently insure their losses. Everyone knows that eventually, Greece and Ireland will have to default, but if they do so in two years time rather than today, then this gives eurozone banks enough time to transfer their assets to the European Central Bank, while shoring up their capital base ahead of the impending haircut. Leaving aside the problem of ECB recapitalisation, this means the contagion effect will be minimised: at the very least, it will not least to the wholesale meltdown that would have occurred if a default were effected today, say, or last summer.

Europe therefore needs a European to run the IMF: but not for reasons of competency, or familiarity. Rather, it is because the eurozone is incapable of fixing its own problems, and requires a candidate pliant and willing enough to take the controversial decisions needed for the currency bloc’s survival. Even, one might add, if such decisions may be perilous for the IMF itself.

——————–

What above translates to in our mind is that better forget the UN – IMF linkage. The evolving economies that really count – China, Brazil etc. better leave the IMF to the Europeans who anyhow use it for their own purpose mostly – this so the fiction of an EU and an EURO can be continued rather then face a splintered multi currency situation in Europe that will cause further havoc in World trade, and pass early the responsibility for managing such trade to China.

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

 
No more SEAL THE DEAL – UNSG Ban Ki-moon sees the light and Yvo de Boer again sort of seconds him – NO CHANCE FOR A CLEAR MULTILATERAL UN CLIMATE DEAL IN THE NEAR TERM.

News about the UN of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was told to the Guardian by Mr. Robert Orr, UN assistant secretary general for strategic planning and a key adviser in Mr. Ban’s office. He was brought in some three years ago to work in this capacity in order to save Mr. Ban’s image when things seemed to go bad. Since then they got worse and the Ban Ki-moon & Yvo de Boer climate change UN efforts turned into a lot of show and no results. To be fair to them – the cards were staked against them and they were blind to this reality talking about blue skies when in reality there was clear disinterest in the subject by the main players – the US and China. Mr. de Boer was of no help when he accepted the Ban Ki-moon blue sky concept of Seal the Deal knowing well that there was no deal to seal in his shop in Bonn.

Orr means light in Hebrew – so allow me please to say that finally the UN top – having been reduced from its 38th floor in the main building to a merely third floor of its present North building location – has seen the light at this lower level.

Yes, there is no chance for the 2011 UNFCCC meeting in Durban to do what the Cancun meeting of 2010 was not able to do. The ray of light is now to move to 2012 – to the Rio+20 meeting of 20 years after the big Rio de Janeiro 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development – the locus where the UN Convention on Climate Change sailed off to its voyage that by 1997 took it to Kyoto and the stillborn birth of the now infamous Kyoto Protocol that came about with the blessing of US Vice President Al Gore in spite of the fact that 95 US Senators said that without China being an active participant in the called for activities of that Protocol, there will be no US ratification of the deal.

OK – in Copenhagen, 2009, President Obama and the Chinese started out on a joint voyage – but this was not enough to call for a Kyoto II thus a completely new approach will indeed be hammered out – most probably without the UN G-192 help. Rio+20 comes now to revive the spirits of the UN functionaries, but it could also play to the advantage of the founders of that old AGENDA 21 – the main tool that came out from the original UNCED meeting. Let us hope that Mr. Morris Strong will be called from his present Beijing home so that he can devise a revival on the path he started in 1972 with the Stockholm UN Conference on the Environment, that was followed 20 years later by the incorporation of the idea of Sustainable Development as a tool to save the environment. In 2012 the obvious issue is the Global Environment or what we are used to call the issue of man induced climate change.

Seemingly, to avoid disaster, and with 40 years of experience behind us, the eventuality seems like a concept of MUTUAL SUSTAINABILITY in the form of a compilation of agreements, bilateral and between groups of Nations, with the goal of tackling the global problem by involving businesses, NGOs, civil society and whatever factors that will be ready to register their participation in the global effort based on the understanding of the participants self interest.

We believe that the greatest achievement of Kyoto was to highlight the problem.

We believe that the greatest achievement of Copenhagen was to bring on board the leaders of the US, China, India, Brazil, and South Africa.

We believe that the greatest achievement of Cancun was to show that decisions do not have to be unanimous. This time Bolivia was left out of the consensus. Actually they were not the worst opponents. Others will have to be left out also – some because they think that they have an irreversible right to sell petroleum, others because they only suffer but do not pollute. In the end – it will be some number close to 30, rather then 192 of the UN membership, that will list their contributions at Rio+20 and the future will be in their hand.

Having said the above we will now serve up the two articles of the Guardian.

The first article is all right – the Robert Orr light on the fouled up issue of UN global climate negotiations.

The second article by Yvo de Boer shows that the man still does not really realize what went wrong when he followed the Ban Ki-moon orders on the road to Copenhagen.

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Ban Ki-moon ends hands-on involvement in climate change talks.
www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jan/27/ban-ki-moon-un-climate-change-talks

UN secretary general will redirect efforts to making more immediate gains in clean energy and sustainable development

 Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent guardian.co.uk, Thursday 27 January 2011.
Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general who made global warming his personal mission, is ending his hands-on involvement with international climate change negotiations, the Guardian has learned.

In a strategic shift, Ban will redirect his efforts from trying to encourage movement in the international climate change negotiations to a broader agenda of promoting clean energy and sustainable development, senior UN officials said.

The officials said the change in focus reflected Ban’s realisation, after his deep involvement with the failed Copenhagen summit in 2009, that world leaders are not prepared to come together in a sweeping agreement on global warming – at least not for the next few years.

“It is very evident that there will not be a single grand deal at any point in the near future,” said Robert Orr, UN assistant secretary general for strategic planning and a key adviser to Ban.

The view from UN headquarters will likely dismay developing countries who fought hard at Copenhagen and last year’s summit at Cancún for countries to renew their commitments to the Kyoto protocol in just that type of grand deal.

UN officials say Ban will no longer be deeply involved in the negotiations leading up to the next big UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, meeting at Durban in December 2011.

“He will continue to encourage leaders to aim for a higher level of ambition but there will need to be less day-to-day stuff,” said one UN official. “The negotiations are very important, but it is the big-picture issues that he needs to be more engaged with.”

Ban will focus on broader issues of sustainability, which will be in the spotlight at a summit in Rio de Janeiro in 2012, marking 20 years since the first Earth summit.

“Because the circumstances have changed, the nature of his engagement is changing,” Orr said. “The relative balance of his time is shifting towards getting it done on the ground out there.”

UN officials, and those who closely track climate change negotiations, insist that Ban has not lessened his commitment to finding a solution to climate change. Ban has called global warming “the greatest collective challenge we face as a human family”.

“His heart is still there, and he does want to make a breakthrough in his tenure, but this might provide a better platform in the near future,” said one UN official.

However, they say he now believes there are more immediate gains to be made in mobilising international finance to support a green economy in developing countries than in trying to persuade world leaders to
commit to deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

Others inside the UN system as well as in world capitals have been circling towards a similar conclusion as Ban: that gains in clean energy technology and energy efficiency could do more in the near future to reduce emissions. They could then drive the overarching deal
that the UN still sees as necessary.

“The idea that the world will gather together and parcel out emissions cuts among the various nations is probably a non-starter at this point,” said Reid Detchon, vice-president for energy and climate at the United Nations Foundation, a Washington thinktank. “Whether it is in 2012 or 2013, the political consensus does not exist for a top-down approach.”

In operational terms, Ban’s climate change advisory team, which grew to about a dozen people ahead of the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009, has shrunk to less than five people.

Meanwhile, he is in the course of expanding his advisory team on sustainable development to about a dozen people ahead of the Rio meeting.

“The things that are moving faster are the investments in renewable energy, the kind of actual investments and changes on the ground that will make a difference,” said Tariq Banuri, director of the division of sustainable development at the UN’s department of economic and
social affairs. “There should be enough forums to accelerate and support those – some may have to wait for climate negotiations and some may not.”

Ban still believes an international agreement on climate change is essential, Orr said. “The sails haven’t been trimmed. We are still going in the same direction, but we will have to tack back and forth between the multilateral negotiating process and national realities on the ground.”

The strategic shift by the UN secretary general in some ways mirrors thinking in Washington, where environmentalists are looking at how to many progress on climate change without votes in Congress or the
regulatory help of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).

In the case of the UN, however, Ban’s decision is not a product of failure. The climate negotiations at Cancún produced modest progress on some of the essential pre-conditions to a global deal, such as climate finance and forest preservation.

The first public indication of a shift in direction was delivered in a speech to the UN general assembly on 14 January, in which Ban ranked sustainable development as the lead item on his agenda for 2011, ahead of climate change, human rights, security and humanitarian aid for
Haiti.

But UN officials and others who closely follow climate diplomacy say the UN chief had been considering how best to move forward on climate change at least since the failure of the Copenhagen summit.

Ban has said repeatedly he sees climate change as the challenge of the generation. He staked his reputation as secretary general on gathering world leaders at Copenhagen, arguing that environment ministers and
bureaucrats could not hope to command the authority to sign on to agreements that would essentially require the rewiring of their entire economy.

The hands-on approach worked in 2007 when Ban stepped in to prevent a collapse of the Bali summit over George Bush’s refusal to agree to emissions cuts.

But the elevated hopes for reaching a final deal at Copenhagen resulted instead in acrimony and a tentative last-minute understanding among the big polluters that was not fully endorsed by the 190 countries in the UN negotiating process.

The Cancún meeting, overseen by Christiana Figueres, managed to get the talks back on track, and some see Ban’s disengagement as a sign of confidence in the negotiation process.

“The phase the negotiations are going into now is one more of rule-making, rather than heads-of-state engagement,” said Jennifer Morgan, who directs the climate and energy programme at the World Resources Institute in Washington. “It is just in a different phase
than it was before, and the fact that Cancún was the moderate success that it was allows it to carry on the process in the way that it normally does with ministers and officials.”

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Yvo de Boer on Ban’s green growth agenda.
    guardian.co.uk, Thursday 27 January 2011.

www.guardian.co.uk/environment/cif-green/2011/jan/27/green-growth-ban-ki-moon
The Cancún climate change conference in December brought the UN negotiating process back from the precipice. It managed to formalise rich country targets tabled a year earlier in Copenhagen, captured major developing country commitments to action and promises
significant financial resources for poor nations. But perhaps most significantly Cancún delivered a roadmap for national action that revolves around national plans, intensified reporting requirements and the potential for future market-based approaches.

In doing this, Cancún also heralded two significant shifts. First a shift away from a top-down approach where targets are set internationally, towards a far more bottom-up approach that leaves countries free to formulate their own plans, but within a framework that revolves around international monitoring, reporting and verification. Secondly Cancún moved climate action away from a
standalone issue and embedded it in the concept of sustainable growth plans.

From here on the focus needs to be on implementation and convincingly making the green growth case at the national level. No mean feat, given that the concept of green growth enjoys near universal lip-service, while there is little real evidence that it can be made to work in practice.

Advancing the climate negotiations has been a top priority for UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon since the beginning of his tenure and he can rightly claim credit for what has been achieved. Now he must shift the UN’s focus to take climate into the mainstream debate on
sustainable development.

The 2012 celebration of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development represents a unique lens to bring this new focus. In all probability it will focus on two major themes: green growth and (related) reform of the United Nations system. By strategically
broadening his focus from climate to sustainable growth, Ban has the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. He can bring the Cancún action agenda into the heart of the green growth debate, while at the same time showing that the UN system can help deliver on an agenda that is of direct economic, social and environmental relevance to
member countries.

This is sorely needed for two reasons. First because the fight to combat climate change can only be won successfully if the economics of this can be argued and demonstrated convincingly. Secondly because the UN system does need to adjust to the emerging challenges the world is facing. The UN currently has no platform where governments can discuss energy issues. Environment, industry and development policy are
fragmented over different institutions. The UN’s relationship with its financial arm, the World Bank, also needs significant strength.

A shift in focus now can bring the UN new relevance and an opportunity to force some urgently needed change.

 Yvo De Boer is a senior adviser at KPMG, and formerly executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 5th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

From: Wilfried van Sark <w.g.j.h.m.vansark@uu.nl>
Date: Fri, Nov 5, 2010 at 3:54 AM
Subject: BOOK: “Technological Learning in the Energy Sector.”

We at the Copernicus Institute at Utrecht University have recently published an edited book on “Technological Learning In The Energy Sector Lessons for Policy, Industry and Science”. It is a major update with respect to the 10-year old IEA publication by Clavs-Otto Wene, who gladly volunteered to write the preface of our book.

We have received enthusiastic support:

‘This expert analysis provides an important contribution to understanding the technicalities of energy technology cost dynamics. Given the urgent need for delivery of low-cost renewable energy technologies in particular, it is vital to understand how to accelerate this process of technological learning.’
– Miguel Mendonca, World Future Council, Germany

‘“Experience curves” are an important instrument for policy makers. This book has a thorough discussion of such “curves” for a large number of energy technologies and will therefore be very useful around the world.’
– José Goldemberg, University of São Paulo, Brazil

The book describes technological learning to be a key driver behind the improvement of energy technologies and subsequent reduction of production costs. Understanding how and why production costs for energy technologies decline, and whether they will continue to do so in the future, is of crucial importance for policy makers, industrial stakeholders and scientists alike. This timely and informative book therefore provides a comprehensive review of technological development and cost reductions for renewable energy, clean fossil fuel and energy-efficient demand-side technologies.

It responds to the need for a quality-controlled data set of experience curves, including assessment of measurement methodology, technological knowledge and associated cost. The expert contributors present a thorough overview and discussion of the pitfalls of applying the experience curve approach, including aspects such as geographical system boundaries, whether the slope of the experience curves is constant or not, statistical error and sensitivity analysis of experience curves, and whether the experience curve approach can be utilized to quantify improvements in energy efficiency. A clear set of recommendations for the use of the experience curve approach is also prescribed.

Providing a significant contribution to the current literature on energy and climate models, scenario analysis, and methodological lessons on experience curves, this book will strongly appeal to academics and students in the areas focusing on energy and public sector economics. Policy makers in these fields will also find the book to be of great interest.

The book is edited by Martin Junginger, Wilfried van Sark, and André Faaij, all from the Copernicus Institute at Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

The book is published by Edward Elgar Publishing, and can be ordered directly from them or through various internet bookstores.

Direct link: www.e-elgar.co.uk/Bookentry_DESCR…

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 17th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

from: Ancha Srinivasan <asrinivasan2009@gmail.com>

subject:    Building Climate Resilience in Asian Agriculture – Side event on 3 November 2010 at the Hague.

We plan to organize a side event entitled “Building Climate Resilience in Agriculture: Asia at the Crossroads” at the Hague Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (to be held from 31 October to 5 November).

The event will be held from 1-3 pm on Wednesday, 3 November, 2010.

A panel discussion with key stakeholders follows an overview presentation on key findings from a recent study by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

We wish to use this event as a platform for exchange of views on key concerns for Asian food security in a changed climate. If you or your organization is interested in making a short intervention at this side event, please let us know.

The participation in this conference is only by invitation from the Government of the Netherlands. Applications for sponsorship by ADB will not be entertained.

Sincerely,
Ancha Srinivasan
————————————————-
Ancha Srinivasan, Ph.D. (Cantab.) FCPS, FCCS
Senior Climate Change Specialist
Asian Development Bank
6 ADB Avenue
Mandaluyong City, 1550 Metro Manila
Philippines
———————————————————

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 9th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

New York Energy & Environmental Funders, Center for Economic and Environmental Partnership, Inc.

At the monthly Breakfast Meeting – 2nd Friday of the month – October 8, 2020 – held at the New York offices of Dickstein Shapiro LLP at, 1633 Broadway, the guests reacted to all that talk of diabetes on the rise and the insanity of hauling lettuce from across the US continent, and spoke of a future of feeding  city folks with much healthier locally grown food that was produced at much lower total energy expense.

The presentations actually started by showing the human population rise from 15,000 years ago one million people and no farms, to the present 6.8 billion people with farms all over the potential arable land in the developed countries taken, and with the predictable increase of the World Population to 10 billion people whose food needs, if present model is continued, leading to the leveling-off of the Brazilian forests. This is clearly unsustainable.

The two presentations were by:

a. Dr. Dickson Donald Despomier, Professor Emeritus of Public Health and Microbiology at Columbia University, who spoke on

THE VERTICAL FARM: LOCAL FOOD FOR A HUNGRY PLANET.

and

b. Dr. Edward Harwood, CEO and Founder of AeroFarms, who spoke on

AEROFARM SYSTEMS, LLC – THE FUTURE OF URBAN AGRICULTURE – INDOOR AEROPONIC SYSTEMS THAT REQUIRE NO WASHING OR PESTICIDES.

Just a reminder – the NYE&EF and the CEEP are homes for networking services and investment information to individuals and institutions investing in energy and environmental products and services industries. Usually companies speaking at these meetings have proven technologies and hold onto patents or at least onto patent applications. They come to speak as they are open to investors in the several million dollar range – for enlarging the projects ahead of major marketing push. The investors are usually from venture funds and the potential for success is quite good. Needless to say that all the projects we reported on in the past were of good innovative value in answer to clear existing needs.

Dickson had a 76 slide presentation going from need for land to the creation of structures that increase a hundred times the amount produced per unit of land. He has come out with a book to be released next week:

VERTICAL FARMS

Buy new$25.99 $17.15
Available for Pre-order. This book will be released on October 12, 2010.
Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping.
Further, we pursued one of the examples presented – an example that uses the trade-marked name AeroFarm and its system that was recently written up for a school in Newark, New Jersey – right on the outskirts of New York City. The New York Times Green blog titled this as

“A Crop Sprouts Without Soil or Sunshine.”

The original release says:

–AeroFarms and EcoVeggies Partner with St. Philip’s Academy to Pioneer Aeroponic Farming in Newark–

Newark, NJ – Sept. 20, 2010 – Aero Farm Systems LLC (AeroFarms), a provider of aeroponic technology and solutions, and EcoVeggies urban farm, today announced a joint commercial venture in Newark, New Jersey.

EcoVeggies has provided the funding for the installation, AeroFarms developed the urban farming solution and St. Philips Academy has provided the location for the first aeroponic farm system in New Jersey.

Already home to a student run rooftop garden, St. Philip’s Academy has graduated into the future of urban agriculture through a new partnership with EcoVeggies, a company formed by three local entrepreneurs interested in using urban farming as part of a greater plan to revitalize the Newark metropolitan area. The school, which provides subsidized private school education to disadvantaged students in the Newark area, is now home to a one-of-a kind aeroponic growing structure, which will revolutionize the future of farming.

Through the schools much publicized EcoSPACES program, St. Philip’s Academy already uses farming as part of the curriculum, which includes a rooftop garden. There students plant, grow and harvest produce that is used in a Teaching Kitchen and healthy lunch program. Miguel Brito, Head of St. Philip’s Academy, is excited to start the school year off with a new partnership with EcoVeggies and the AeroFarms system. He said “it fits right in with our healthy lunch program, while being a wonderful teaching tool for children to think outside the box in how we grow sustainable food for the future.”

“EcoVeggies’s commitment to the renaissance of Newark was the impetus in locating our company here in Newark and striving to provide the tastiest, freshest, highest quality locally grown greens in town,” said Richard Charles, partner at EcoVeggies. “Our strategic partnership with AeroFarms Systems provides us with the necessary technology to make this happen.”

The partnership between AeroFarms and EcoVeggies is part of a greater plan to revitalize the city of Newark with urban farming as the centerpiece. As farmers markets and community supported agriculture (CSAs) have begun to take root in the Newark area, Agriculture 2.0 companies like AeroFarms and EcoVeggies are sharing resources and knowledge to bring the idea of urban farming into profitable enterprise. Farms like this one have the potential to change the definition of “local produce.” The farm of tomorrow could be in a school, an empty warehouse or distributed throughout an urban area.

“AeroFarms appreciates the opportunity to support the growth of urban agriculture in Newark with a system that grows fresh, safe, local, nutritious and pesticide free leafy greens,” said Ed Harwood, CEO and founder of AeroFarms. “As urban agriculture grows, pioneers like EcoVeggies and St. Philip’s Academy lead the way to address many of the adverse events affecting traditional agriculture: water scarcity, pesticide resistance, increasing fuel costs, more frequent and severe weather events, and persistent safety recalls of leafy greens. AeroFarms systems do this without sun or soil delivering a pristine product.”

What is AeroFarms Systems?

Aeroponics is a cutting-edge type of hydroponic technology that grows plants in a mist without soil or sun, in any location.  The aeroponic mist most efficiently provides roots with the nutrients, hydration and oxygen needed.    AeroFarms has designed its aeroponic system to eliminate nozzle clogging and reduce water consumption through nutrient re-circulation.  Although often categorized as an outgrowth of more conventional hydroponics, aeroponics uses less water and is more efficient than hydroponics. Compared to soil-based and traditional hydroponic methods, aeroponics consumes significantly less water due the system’s closed loop of nutrient application directly to the roots.

AeroFarms is also pioneering the use of LED (light emitting diode) lighting for growing and vertical farming systems, providing the plants with the most ideal amount and variety of lighting for optimal harvest. The controlled environment of the aeroponic farming system allows for a level of precise nurturing unavailable even to conventional or organic growing outdoors. In addition, AeroFarms has developed a proprietary, reusable cloth medium. The system employs cloth as a conveyor for plants from the seeding stage to harvesting. Cloth has a number of benefits such as durability and reusability, increased cleanliness and sanitation, and the efficient harvest of a dry and clean product.

About AeroFarms

AeroFarms provides aeroponic growing systems that grow produce without soil and without sun, all year round and in any location. AeroFarms modular, vertically stackable systems are designed for locating in old or vacant urban buildings, enabling local production of pesticide-free, fresh, clean greens. AeroFarms systems transform food production into a more sustainable, efficient, and safe process by enabling profitable, commercial-scale vertical farming in urban centers. Founded in 2004, AeroFarms is based in Ithaca, NY. More information can be found at aerofarms.com.

About EcoVeggies

EcoVeggies takes urban agriculture to a new level with the latest in hydroponic and aeroponic farming. Newark’s latest green endeavor is EcoVeggies, a hydroponic and aeroponic farm that will grow the highest quality, tastiest, pesticide free vegetables (greens) and herbs in eco-friendly spaces that will be constructed inside existing city buildings. Our approach to rehabilitating abandoned, vacated, and unused buildings contributes to the rebuilding of New Jersey’s greatest city by changing the landscape with green, sustainable enterprises and healthy living ingredients for the community.

About St. Philip’s Academy

St. Philip’s Academy is a co-educational independent school based in Newark, New Jersey which provides a first class education to aspiring K-8th grade students, regardless of their ability to pay tuition. More information can be found by visiting our website at www.stphilipsacademy.org

—————

As an aside, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, is looking into having such system established in abandoned buildings in the city. That would be nice.

—————

What we have here is thus the Vertical Farm idea with the AeroFarm systems that were originally experimented in Israel hydroponics by people like Ori Ronen and Adi Reich and worked at Cornell University in Ithaca by Professor Harwood.

Now any entrepreneur can step in and provide healthy food for efforts to improve the health in inner cities.

Sam Salamay, who was also at the breakfast, is the Business Development director at AeroFarms and can be reached at  Sam at AeroFarms.com    href=”http://www.AeroFarms.com” title=”http://www.AeroFarms. ” target=”_blank”>www.AeroFarms.com

Just think of the benefits of using 80% less water in farming, decreasing the carbon footprint by reducing energy waste in transportation, decreasing salinization, chemicals’ use, creating jobs in the city, and health care costs reduction.

—————

We were told of interest in Saudi Arabia that will do this with solar energy and capture the water resulting in the plants transpiration and recycle this water. The Masdar City project in the AEU will use this technology also.

————–

The artificial light – 24 hours – is the most expensive component of these projects and the LED lighting will use wave lengths that will be determined as most efficient. Already we were shown that a combination of red and blue – more of the blue – was found to produce more lettuce – this rather then the conventional absorption spectrum as expected when studying the absorption spectrum of Chlorophyll What Aerofarms is looking for now is a $3,5 million investment mainly in order to study these light absorption  spectra and find the most beneficial lighting to fast growth of the plants.

Also, starting with salads, the company wants to figure out which green leafs will return best results.

———–

Other innovative companies that would want to make presentations at NYW&EF of CEEP could contact  Gelvin.Stevenson at gmail.com

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 7th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

At the World Business Forum 2010, The Radio City Music Hall, New York City, October 6, 2010 – Mr. Marvin E. Odum, President of Shell Oil Company and Director Upstream of Royal Dutch Shell’s subsidiary companies in the Americas, member of the Boards of the US Business Roundtable, US Climate Action Partnership, and the American Petroleum Institute, and Commissioner of the US National Commission on Energy Policy and his company was one of the main sponsors of this Forum, as a featured speaker he described the non-petroleum activities at Shell Oil Company.

He said:

(1) We have an internal price of carbon in the company of $40/ton – even there is no price set yet by government regulation.

(2) We increased our activities in Natural Gas because there is less emissions.

(3) We got into biofuels with a major program in Brazil that will make us a major producer of ethanol, and we think that being in it will make it easier to innovate by producing ethanol from other crops or cellulosic materials.

We supported the Cap&Trade idea, he said, we know that eventually there will be regulatory means to decrease emissions – that is why we have already the $40 price for carbon in our internal financial calculations. In case there will be no Cap & Trade, there will be other sectoral approaches dealing with power generation, the cement industry, steel industry … or other sectors.

Above made it clear to us that basically the Shell Oil Company man, speaking in the US at a Global Business Forum, was addressing mainly the question of liquid fuels – so he was asked about other aspects of energy and at this stage he addressed Solar technologies and Carbon Capture and Storage.

He said that “WE HAVE RECENTLY TAKEN STEPS TO GET OUT OF SOLAR- WE RATHER GO TO BIOFUELS WITH NEW TECHNOLOGIES.”

CCS he practically dismissed as possible only in very specific cases. The main reason that it will not become a major player is that the power plant will have to spend at least 10% of the power it produces in order to operate the system – this in the best cases like the project supported with $1 Billion by the Canadian Government. It is really expensive, the right structures are hard to find and there is no financial return.

—————–

To us the statement about Solar Energy by Shell Oil Company President presented a clear puzzle caused by the previous day presentation we witnessed at the UN University  Sustainable Science Workshop on “Industry – Academia Collaboration Towards Sustainability.”

There, Dr. Katsumi Kushiya, Deputy General Manager Solar Business Center, Shawa Shell Sekiyo K.K., Kanagawa, Japan, showed very clear evidence at very solid involvement of the Shell Group of companies.

Showa Shell’s business covers crude oil procurement to refining and sales and Saudi Aramco is a major shareholder, but the company has non-oil business as well including solar business, power business, city gas business and property business.

Shova Shell is developing as part of its non-oil business a strong next-generation CIS solar business as a core operatio.along with an ongoing steady commercial production at a subsidiary Showa Shell Co. Ltd that has two plants of Production Miyazaki Plant 1 and 2 The research is already pushing for stage 3 a 900MW third plant in Miyazaki with full operation commencing in 2011. to round up the total solar production to 1 gigawatt in 2011. This separate from the Ohgshima power Station that starts still in 2010.

We saw serious financial commitment figures and the fact that Aramco has a 15% position in this Japanese and Shell cooperation. We learned about advances in photo-voltaics and the fact that they are able to use organic films that go beyond the conventional silicon products. From this it is clear that what Shell does in Japan – Shell does not state in the US. Someone in the know told me that Dr. Kushiya has indeed some very interesting work under his leadership and advised we pay attention.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 13th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)





































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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 24th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

from Kreisky Forum <einladung.kreiskyforum@kreisky.org>
date Tuesday, Aug 24, 2010
subject Vortrag Franz Walter,

Montag, 6. September 2010, 19.00 Uhr

Reihe: GENIAL DAGEGEN/ kuratiert von Robert Misik

Montag, 6. September, 19.00 Uhr

Bruno Kreisky Forum für internationalen Dialog | Armbrustergasse 15 | 1190 Wien

Anmeldungen unter: Tel.: 3188260/20 | Fax: 318 82 60/10 | e-mail: einladung.kreiskyforum@kreisky.org

FRANZ WALTER

Institut für Demokratieforschung Göttingen

VORWÄRTS ODER ABWÄRTS?

Hat die Sozialdemokratie noch eine Zukunft?

Moderation:   Robert Misik, Journalist und Autor

Vorwärts oder Abwärts?: Zur Transformation der Sozialdemokratie (edition suhrkamp)

Jospin, Blair, Schröder: 1998 sah es so aus, als stünde die europäische Sozialdemokratie vor einem goldenen Zeitalter. Elf Jahre später hat die SPD 10.192.426 Millionen Stimmen verloren und sechs Parteivorsitzende verschlissen, die niederländische Partij van de Arbeid fuhr 2002 das schlechteste Ergebnis ihrer Geschichte ein, die schwedischen Sozialdemokraten 2006, die österreichischen 2008. Der »Dritte Weg« erwies sich als Weg ins Abseits, längst ist vom Ende einer Volkspartei die Rede.

Es sieht so aus, als hätten die Sozialdemokraten keine überzeugende Antwort auf den radikalen Wandel der Arbeitswelt, auf Individualisierung und Globalisierung.

Franz Walter, einer der profiliertesten deutschen Parteienforscher, untersucht die Ursachen für den Niedergang der SPD. Er wirft einen Blick über die Grenzen Deutschlands und fragt, was Freiheit, Gleichheit und Solidarität in unserer Zeit bedeuten.

Melitta Campostrini
Bruno Kreisky Forum
for International Dialogue
Armbrustergasse 15
A-1190 Vienna
tel.: ++43 1 3188260/11
fax: ++43 1 3188260/10
e-mail: kreiskyforum@kreisky.org

www.kreisky-forum.org

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 24th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Fareed Zakaria discusses CC with Jeff Sachs (Columbia), Pat Michaels (Cato, ex-UVA) & NASA’s Gavin Schmidt.
bit.ly/cCQO4Y

Pat Michaels says he is 40% funded by Petroleum Industry. There is no need to fight global warming.

Gavin Schmidt says he thinks we’re too sane not to do something about global warming.

Jeffrey Sachs says – if we do not act we will end up with a catastrophic planet.

Is it clear?

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

Fareed Zakaria talks to Hirsi Ali who rejected Islam and Irshad Manji who wants to reform Islam.

Hirsi Ali, African Black, born in Mogadisho, Somalia and immigrated to Holland where she went to university and after 9/11 left Islam to become an atheist that says if you need a God take Christ. Her family says she risks hell for leaving Islam.

She says don’t lock 1.57 billion Muslims in a book written in the 7th century. She wrote “Nomad” about her leaving Islam.

She worked with Teo Van Gogh on a movie “Submission” about women in Islam, when he was killed. She was a member of the Netherlands Parliament, and now lives with security in the US and is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

She says that most Americans are unaware of Saudi Funded proselytizing in America.

Irshad Manji
, with Pakistani African complexion, born in Uganda, with her family escaped to safety the US in Idi Amin’s days. She heads project Ifthihad at the Moral Courage Institute at NYU. She wants to reform Islam. Good popular cause backed by a good university, but who listens? She tells about a group of young boys in Detroit listening to her mother.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 20th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)



29 September – 1 October 2010
Rotterdam, the Netherlands
www.climatedeltaconference.org

The conference ‘Deltas in Times of Climate Change’ starts 29 September 2010 in Rotterdam. More than 650 people from all over the world have already registered.

His Royal Highness the Prince of Orange, who is very much engaged in water management and climate change, will give the opening speech at the conference.  Also speaking at the opening session will be: Michael Oppenheimer (Princeton University), Ahmed Aboutaleb (Mayor of Rotterdam), Martin Parry (IPCC) and Malcolm Smith (ARUP).

A day-to-day overview of Conference events can now be found on our website: www.climatedeltaconference.org.

The programme includes 70 challenging sessions of interest to policy makers, practitioners, business people, politicians and scientists. These sessions cover a broad range of issues related to climate change in deltas: flood risk management, fresh water availability, health, climate in the city,  land use conflicts, governance, economics and estuarine ecosystems.
It is still possible to register for the conference, but as places are limited you are urged to do so soon.

Registration, travel and hotel reservations:
Registration
Travel and hotel reservations

We hope to welcome you at the conference in Rotterdam.

Florrie de Pater
Chair Organizing Committee


Organizing Committee:
Ottelien van Steenis
p/a Wageningen UR, P.O. Box , 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands
T +31 317 48 6540
M +31 6 2120 2447
E o.van.steenis@programmabureauklimaat.nl
W www.climatedeltaconference.org

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 24th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Looking at Europe’s ENERGY PORTAL – www.energy.eu/ – we found the recent posting:

German power plant testing CO2-scrubbing algae .

Swedish energy group Vattenfall launched a major pilot project on July 22nd using algae to absorb greenhouse gas emissions from a coal-fired power plant in eastern Germany.

The two-million-euro trial run, which will continue until October 2011, in the Lausitz mining region is one of several experimental attempts in the sector using algae to slash carbon dioxide output.

“The microalgae use climate-killing CO2 to create valuable biomass,” the chairman of Vattenfall Europe Mining and Generation, Hartmuth Zeiss, said in a statement. “Moreover the new technology will bring useful know-how to the Lausitz and increase its importance as a region for energy production.”

—————–

The above does not surprise us as we wrote about it after the Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil, presentation by Professor Ben Amotz of Israel, who did this kind of work, successfully, at the Reading Power plant outside Tel Aviv.

Using the search button at www.SustainabiliTank.info for Ben Amotz see the following of our postings:

under – www.sustainabilitank.info/?s=Ben+…

Dow Chemical and Algenol Biofuels, a start-up company, are set to announce today that they will build a demonstration plant that, if successful, would use algae to turn carbon dioxide into ethanol as a vehicle fuel or an ingredient in plastics. We wish to remind of “The Alga Dunaliella” that we wrote about in the past – as per Professor Ami Ben-Amotz of Israel.
Monday, June 29th, 2009
Posted in Brazil, California, Florida, Global Warming issues, Green is Possible, Israel, Reporting from Washington DC, The US States |

Israel has some of the most advanced algae research in the world. Now the Fletcher-Lauder Fellowship at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya is offering a Post-doc on bio-sequestration of carbon dioxide from carbon-rich sources, e.g., power plants, through algae production. We described the work that was done by Prof. Amos Ben-Amotz as he presented it to the Green Chemistry meeting in Fortaleza, Brazil, and we announced also his new book release.
Tuesday, May 19th, 2009
Posted in Futurism, Global Warming issues, Green is Possible, Israel, Job Offers, Massachusetts, New York, Reporting from Washington DC |

GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY REQUIRES DECREASED DEPENDENCE ON FOSSIL CARBON.
Thursday, March 27th, 2008
Posted in Africa, Brazil, European Union, Futurism, Global Warming issues, Green is Possible, Islands & SIDS, Latin America, Real World’s News, Reporting From the UN Headquarters in New York, Reporting from UNFCCC Meetings, Reporting from Washington DC, UN Commission on Sustainable Development, Uncategorized |

Two Conferences in Brazil that The UN Secretary-General Has Missed. We submit that the Meeting on “Green Chemistry” in Fortaleza, Ceara, and the Meeting on “Fair Trade and Responsible Tourism in context of Solidarity and Sustainability For The Amazonas” in Belem, Para, Would Have Taught Him More Then Visits With The Korean Scientists and the Chilean Military in Antarctica, and With The Brazilians At The Central Political Capital.
Tuesday, December 4th, 2007
Posted in Argentina, Brazil, Futurism, Germany, Global Warming issues, Green is Possible, IBSA, Israel, Italy, Reporting From the UN Headquarters in New York, Reporting from UNFCCC Meetings, Reporting from Washington DC, UN Commission on Sustainable Development |

1st Brazilian Workshop on Green Chemistry, Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil, November 18-21, 2007.
Sunday, November 11th, 2007
Posted in Argentina, Brazil, Future Events, Futurism, Germany, Global Warming issues, Green is Possible, Italy, Latin America, Reporting from Washington DC

——————————————

www.energy.eu

LED show EU symbol
Dexia Tower in Brussels.
150,000 LEDs displaying the EU symbol.

————————————————————-

Europe’s Energy Portal: Shedding a light on European Energy Developments

Europe’s Energy Portal is a commercial organization, strongly rooted within the EU, but run independently from the European Union.

The portal is ran by the undersigned, together with a small team of professionals from the energy and environmental sector.

The portal was founded in 2006 and has grown into a real online beacon, a trusted environment where professionals go for their energy-related news, key statistics and energy prices. Europe’s Energy Portal business model is to provide customized energy data, statistics and surveys related to the European Union.

The portal is operated from two locations, one office location in the Netherlands and one in Brussels. The Brussels office serves as a meeting point, the Dutch one as a data center.

Yours truly,

Michael Zwanenburg
Editor-in-Chief

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 24th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

from: Coninck,mw H.C. de (Heleen) <deconinck@ecn.nl>
subject: Call for papers: Special issue on CCS Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change”

The Journal for Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change will be publishing a Special Issue on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in 2011. The Special Issue is entitled “Five years after the IPCC Special Report on CCS: state of play”. The editors are looking for a broad range of review articles that examine and analyze the developments in a variety of CCS-related areas and/or build on the review done by the IPCC in 2005. The articles will be subjected to normal peer review.

———————–

The timeline for submitting articles is as follows:

October 30th 2010 First submission. It is possible to send an abstract to the editors in advance for an early quick scan

November 2010 Editors send the selected papers to reviewers

March 2011 Final submission by authors – June/July 2011 Publication

The aim is to have a critical review of several topics in CCS, for instance (but not limited to):

· Overview of technical progress in the field of capture technologies in power systems and/or in specific industrial processes

· Review of storage integrity studies: Is the “fraction retained” outcome in the IPCC Special Report still suitable?

· Economics of CCS, including retrofits versus new power plants with CCS

· Review of assumptions in scenario studies: what explains high CCS, high nuclear or renewable

· Biomass and CCS: what can we expect in terms of short- and long-term feasibility?

· CCS-readiness: what does it mean in practice?

· Insights from research on public perception, community engagement and communication issues around CCS

· Knowledge sharing, capacity building and technology transfer: How realistic is CCS in emerging economies and developing countries?

· Government policy and industry business models for CCS

The deadline for the first submission of articles is October 30th, 2010. Articles should be between 5,000 -8,000 words. For author instructions, related to electronic submission of manuscripts, can be found at www.editorialmanager.com/miti/. Inquiries or early abstracts can be sent to John Kessels at john.kessels@iea-coal.org, Heleen de Coninck at deconinck@ecn.nl, or Haroon Kheshgi at Haroon.S.Kheshgi@ExxonMobil.com

Also on behalf of the other guest editors John Kessels and Haroon Kheshgi, we look forward to your contributions!

Heleen de Coninck

———————————–

Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), Unit Policy Studies

Group manager international energy and climate issues

Radarweg 60, 1043 NT Amsterdam, Netherlands

Phone: +31 224 564316; Fax: +31 224 568339

Website: www.ecn.nl/units/ps/our-experts/heleen-de-coninck/

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 20th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Much of the UN rebuttal is mush and we will report on how this unfolds.

——————————

Departing U.N. official calls Ban’s leadership ‘deplorable’ in 50-page memo.

Inga-Britt Ahlenius wrote a 50-page memo upon the end of her term  as head of the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services.

Inga-Britt Ahlenius wrote a 50-page memo upon the end of her term as head of the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services. (2008 Photo By Mark Garten/Associated Press)

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

UNITED NATIONS — The outgoing chief of a U.N. office charged with combating corruption at the United Nations has issued a stinging rebuke of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, accusing him of undermining her efforts and leading the global institution into an era of decline, according to a confidential end-of-assignment report.

The memo by Inga-Britt Ahlenius, a Swedish auditor who stepped down Friday as undersecretary general of the Office of Internal Oversight Services, represents an extraordinary personal attack on Ban from a senior U.N. official. The memo also marks a challenge to Ban’s studiously cultivated image as a champion of accountability.

Shortly after taking office in 2007, Ban committed himself to restoring the United Nations’ reputation, which had been sullied by revelations of corruption in the agency’s oil-for-food program in Iraq.

But Ahlenius says that, rather than being an advocate for accountability, Ban, along with his top advisers, has systematically sought to undercut the independence of her office, initially by trying to set up a competing investigations unit under his control and then by thwarting her efforts to hire her own staff.

“Your actions are not only deplorable, but seriously reprehensible. . . . Your action is without precedent and in my opinion seriously embarrassing for yourself,” Ahlenius wrote in the 50-page memo to Ban, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post. “I regret to say that the secretariat now is in a process of decay.”

Ban’s top advisers said that Ahlenius’s memo constituted a deeply unbalanced account of their differences and that her criticism of Ban’s stewardship of the United Nations was patently unfair.

“A look at his record shows that Secretary General Ban has provided genuine visionary leadership on important issues from climate change to development to women’s empowerment. He has promoted the cause of gender balance in general as well as within the organization. He has led from the front on important political issues from Gaza to Haiti to Sudan,” Ban’s chief of staff, Vijay Nambiar, wrote in a response.

“It is regrettable to note,” Nambiar added, “that many pertinent facts were overlooked or misrepresented” in Ahlenius’s memo.

The departure of Ahlenius, 72, coincides with a period of crisis in the United Nations’ internal investigations division. During the past two years, the world body has shed some of its top investigators. It has also failed to fill dozens of vacancies, including that of the chief of the investigations division in the Office of Internal Oversight Services. That post has been vacant since 2006, leaving a void in the United Nations’ ability to police itself, diplomats say.

“We are disappointed with the recent performance of [the U.N.’s] investigations division,” said Mark Kornblau, spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations. “The coming change in . . . leadership is an opportunity to bring about a significant improvement in its performance to increase oversight and transparency throughout the organization.”

The U.N. General Assembly established the Office of Internal Oversight Services in 1994 to conduct management audits of the United Nations’ principal departments and to conduct investigations into corruption and misconduct. The founding resolution granted the office “operational independence” but placed it under the authority of the secretary general and made it dependent on the U.N. departments it policed for much of its funding and administrative support.

The dispute between Ahlenius and Ban has underscored some of the resulting tensions and exposed a protracted and acrimonious struggle for power over the course of U.N. investigations.

While Ahlenius cited Ban’s move to set up a new investigations unit as a sign that he was seeking to undermine her independence, Nambiar said that it was intended to strengthen the United Nations’ ability to fight corruption.

Ahlenius also clashed with Ban over her efforts to hire a former federal prosecutor, Robert Appleton, who headed the U.N. Procurement Task Force, a temporary white-collar crime unit that carried out aggressive investigations into corruption in U.N. peacekeeping missions from 2006 to last year. The unit’s investigations led to an unprecedented number of misconduct findings by U.N. officials and prompted federal probes into corruption.

Ban’s advisers said they blocked Appleton’s appointment on the grounds that female candidates had not been properly considered and said that the final selection should have been made by Ban, not Ahlenius.

“The secretary general fully recognizes the operational independence of OIOS,” Nambiar said. But that, he said, “does not excuse her from applying the standard rules of recruitment.”

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The above story, as per – www.orf.at/#/stories/2004590/ also echoed in Vienna.

Scheidende UNO-Diplomatin rechnet mit Ban ab.

Die scheidende Chefkontrolleurin der Vereinten Nationen geht laut Medienberichten mit Generalsekretär Ban Ki Moon hart ins Gericht. Ban habe ihre Arbeit als oberste Korruptionsbekämpferin unterlaufen und die UNO in eine Ära des Niedergangs geführt, schrieb Inga-Britt Ahlenius laut einem Bericht der „Washington Post“ gestern in einem vertraulichen Memorandum.

Entgegen seinen Ankündigungen zum Amtsantritt 2007 habe Ban die durch mehrere Affären angeschlagene Reputation der Vereinten Nationen nicht mit allen Mitteln geschützt.

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„Verwerflich“

Vielmehr habe er ihr Amt der Chefrevisorin mehr und mehr geschwächt, schreibe Ahlenius in dem 50-Seiten-Papier an Ban: „Ihr Handeln ist nicht nur bedauerlich, sondern sogar verwerflich.“ Es sei beispiellos und „meiner Meinung nach für Sie selbst beschämend“. Das Blatt zitierte: „Ich bedaure es, sagen zu müssen, dass das Sekretariat in einem Zerfallsprozess ist.“

Kritiker werfen Ban seit langem vor, die UNO nur zu verwalten und vor wirksamen politischen Initiativen zurückzuschrecken. UNO-Mitarbeiter wiesen die Vorwürfe in der „Washington Post“ als „unfair“ zurück. Ban habe mehrere politische Schwerpunkte gesetzt, etwa beim Klimaschutz und bei der Gleichstellung der Frau. Die Abrechnung der scheidenden Schwedin sei ein „höchst unausgewogener Ausdruck ihrer Differenzen“ mit Ban.,

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 11th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

A version of the following appeared on the Sunday Opinion page of the New York Times – and that was written definitely before the Spain – Netherlands game at the Soccer City Stadium of Cape Town. The Octopus made his predictions days earlier.

www.deccanherald.com/content/80813/a-big-kick-spain.html

A big kick for Spain.

By Carlos Ruiz Zafon


Like a steamy summer romance, this euphoria cannot last long, but it sure is nice while it does.

Is a country being reshaped by sports stars and a psychic octopus?


His name is Paul, he has eight legs and he flaunts a flexibility that would put to shame the ethics code of any self-respecting investment bank on Wall Street. What’s more, he’s one of the stars of the World Cup blazing on zillions of TV screens around the world. Yet Paul has never set foot on a soccer field, never kicked a ball and to this day most of his running has been devoted to chasing lobsters. Paul, you see, is an octopus.

OctoPaul is, at present, an inmate at the Oberhausen aquarium in Germany, where he has entered the VIP lounge of animal oracle lore due to the uncanny precision in his predictions on the outcome of crucial sports events. He works his magic according to a strict procedure: his caretakers introduce into his tank two boxes containing the flags of the opposing teams (and a mussel in each for him to snack on, post-decision). Then, while the world news media eagerly waits, OctoPaul, cucumber-cool and donning his trademark deep-thinking face, settles on one of them.

At it again
He deserves his own show in Vegas plus a cut of the action because, these days, the smart money is on Paul’s side, whichever he chooses. Some claim his infallibility nears that of the pope, while others, enraged by his prophecies, have complained that Paul should be served in a garlicky sauce with potatoes and parsley. Recently, Paul did it again, correctly predicting that Spain, sporting her best team in many years, would defeat the stellar German team last Wednesday.
Spain’s victory, won with a magnificent head strike from Barcelona’s Carles Puyol, set a historical mark: for the first time the Spanish team has advanced to the World Cup final. Thousands and thousands of Spanish fans in dire need of good news have taken to the streets in joy.

Good news in Spain, as in most of the western world, has proved scarce in recent times — so, yes, we’ll take any glimpse of the stocking we can get. But it’s true: what sense of unity and positive energy Spaniards have experienced in the past few months, that rare feeling of ‘getting it right’, has come almost exclusively from our athletes, from Rafa Nadal’s No 1 tennis ranking and eight Grand Slam titles to Pau Gasol’s recent triumph with the Los Angeles Lakers. Meanwhile, corruption scandals and somber economic signs and the farcical battles of everyday politics loom over perhaps too much circus and not enough bread.

I confess I was never a great soccer fan, yet in the last few days, seeing the sense of joy and passion the game is bringing to the lives of Spaniards looking to cheer for something or someone actually worth it, I’ve been following the World Cup and rooting for the team to crown what is already a job well done. Like a steamy summer romance, this euphoria cannot last long, but it sure is nice while it does. What the future will bring, maybe only Paul the Octopus knows. And by the way, Paul predicted Spain will win the final.
Which brings me to ponder if such a wise and charming creature shouldn’t be granted an amnesty and a return to the ocean. Or maybe it would be wiser to extend his contract and appoint him to higher responsibilities. Because when all the wonderful sound and fury of the World Cup has faded, it would be swell to have someone honest, decent and smart to point the way ahead. And these days, the more you look around, the more an octopus serving time in a German aquarium looks like a contender.

So, may the best win, and may that optimistic, hard-working spirit the Spanish team has displayed so far permeate other spheres of the country’s public life that could use a serious kick. Perhaps that, beyond Sunday’s chance at glory, should be the real goal. For once the game is over, all eyes must go back to the ball.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 11th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The Return of the Bicycle.
Analysis by Lester R. Brown*

 ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=52066

WASHINGTON, Jul 6, 2010 (IPS) – The bicycle has many attractions as a form of personal transportation. It alleviates congestion, lowers air pollution, reduces obesity, increases physical fitness, does not emit climate-disrupting carbon dioxide, and is priced within the reach of the billions of people who cannot afford a car.

Bicycles increase mobility while reducing congestion and the area of land paved over. Six bicycles can typically fit into the road space used by one car. For parking, the advantage is even greater, with 20 bicycles occupying the space required to park a car.

Few methods of reducing carbon emissions are as effective as substituting a bicycle for a car on short trips. A bicycle is a marvel of engineering efficiency, one where an investment in 22 pounds of metal and rubber boosts the efficiency of individual mobility by a factor of three.

The bicycle is not only a flexible means of transportation; it is ideal in restoring a balance between caloric intake and expenditure. Regular exercise of the sort provided by cycling to work reduces cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and arthritis, and it strengthens the immune system.

World bicycle production, averaging 94 million per year from 1990 to 2002, climbed to 130 million in 2007, far outstripping automobile production of 70 million. Bicycle sales in some markets are surging as governments devise a myriad of incentives to encourage bicycle use. For example, in 2009 the Italian government began a hefty incentive programme to encourage the purchase of bicycles or electric bikes in order to improve urban air quality and reduce the number of cars on the road. The direct payments will cover up to 30 percent of the cost of the bicycle.

China, with 430 million bikes, has the world’s largest fleet, but ownership rates are higher in Europe. The Netherlands has more than one bike per person, while Denmark and Germany have just under one bike per person.

China dramatically demonstrated the capacity of the bicycle to provide mobility for low-income populations. In 1976, this country produced six million bicycles. After the reforms in 1978 that led to an open market economy and rapidly rising incomes, bicycle production started climbing, reaching nearly 90 million in 2007.

The surge to 430 million bicycle owners in China has provided the greatest increase in mobility in history. Bicycles took over rural roads and city streets. Although China’s rapidly multiplying passenger cars and the urban congestion they cause get a lot of attention, it is bicycles that provide personal mobility for hundreds of millions of Chinese.

Among the industrial-country leaders in designing bicycle-friendly transport systems are the Netherlands, where 27 percent of all trips are by bike, Denmark with 18 percent, and Germany, 10 percent. By contrast, the United States and Britain are each at 1 percent.

An excellent study by John Pucher and Ralph Buehler at Rutgers University analyzed the reasons for these wide disparities among countries. They note that “extensive cycling rights-of-way in the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany are complemented by ample bike parking, full integration with public transport, comprehensive traffic education and training of both cyclists and motorists.”

These countries, they point out, “make driving expensive as well as inconvenient in central cities through a host of taxes and restrictions on car ownership, use and parking.… It is the coordinated implementation of this multi-faceted, mutually reinforcing set of policies that best explains the success of these three countries in promoting cycling.” And it is the lack of these policies, they note, that explains “the marginal status of cycling in the UK and USA”.

The Netherlands, the unquestioned leader among industrial countries in encouraging bicycle use, has incorporated a vision of the role of bicycles into a Bicycle Master Plan. In addition to creating bike lanes and trails in all its cities, the system also often gives cyclists the advantage over motorists in right-of-way and at traffic lights. Some traffic signals permit cyclists to move out before cars. By 2007, Amsterdam had become the first western industrial city where the number of trips taken by bicycle exceeded those taken by car.

Within the Netherlands, a nongovernmental group called Interface for Cycling Expertise (I-ce) has been formed to share the Dutch experience in designing a modern transport system that prominently features bicycles. It is working with groups in Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Ghana, India, Kenya, Peru, South Africa, and Uganda to facilitate bicycle use.

Sales of electric bicycles, a relatively new genre of transport vehicles, also have taken off. E-bikes are similar to plug-in hybrid cars in that they are powered by two sources – in this case muscle and battery power – and can be plugged into the grid for recharging as needed.

In China, where this technology came into its own, sales climbed from 40,000 e-bikes in 1998 to 21 million in 2008. China had close to 100 million electric bicycles on the road that year, compared with 18 million cars. These e-bikes are now attracting attention in other Asian countries similarly plagued with air pollution and in the United States and Europe, where combined sales now exceed 300,000 per year.

In contrast to plug-in hybrid cars, electric bikes do not directly use any fossil fuel. If we can make the transition from coal-fired power plants to wind, solar, and geothermal power, then electrically powered bicycles can also operate fossil-fuel-free.

Above all, the key to realising the potential of the bicycle is to create bicycle-friendly transport systems. This means providing bicycle trails and designated street lanes for bicycles, designed to serve both commuters and people biking for recreation, and making bike parking facilities and showers available at workplaces. This simple bicycle is a winner in the Plan B economy.

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*Lester R. Brown is founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute. This article is excerpted from Chapter 6, “Designing Cities for People” in Brown’s ‘Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilisation’ (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2009), available on-line at  www.earthpolicy.org

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