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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 2nd, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

<
unfccc.int/files/press/news_room/press_releases_and_advisories/application/pdf/pr20140106_ctcn.pdf
>

(Copenhagen/Bonn, 2 June 2014):

Developing countries are now beginning to make active use of the UN’s new global network for climate technology solutions, the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). This constitutes a promising signal that momentum for climate action is building ahead of a new, universal climate agreement in 2015.

So far this year, six countries have submitted eight requests for technology assistance to the CTCN, which is headquartered in Copenhagen.

These include – Afghanistan, Bhutan, Chile, Colombia, Honduras and Pakistan.

The requests for support relate to a broad range of climate action, from renewable energy policies to public transportation, and from biodiversity monitoring to saving mangrove forests for coastal protection.

Welcoming the development, Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said:

“Innovation is the engine of development, and replacing current technologies
with cleaner, low-carbon alternatives is a vital part of tackling the
causes and effects of climate change. The Climate Technology Centre and
Network works to accelerate the use of new technologies in improving the
lives and livelihoods of millions of people in developing countries who are
dealing with the impacts of climate change on a daily basis.”

According to Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the Bonn based UN
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – the growing use of the
CTCN is encouraging and now needs the necessary finance.

“As countries work towards a universal climate agreement in Paris in 2015,
the CTCN provides yet another foundation upon which optimism and action is
being built. For it to fully flourish and provide maximum support to
developing country ambitions, the requests for support now need to be
matched with the finance required, most notably through swift and
sufficient capitalization of the Green Climate Fund,” she said.

Last week, the board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) completed the
essential policy requirements to make the fund operational. The GCF was
established as a prime global channel to deliver public funds and to
leverage private sector finance for developing country climate action.

Meanwhile, the CTCN has put all central requirements for the transfer of
technology in place.

Since its launch in late 2013, over 80 countries have established national
CTCN focal points (known as National Designated Entities) who work with
country stakeholders to develop and relay requests to the Climate
Technology Centre’s network of regional and sectoral experts from academia,
the private sector, and public and research institutions.

A side event on the progress to date of the Technology Mechanism and the
CTCN will be held on the margins of the upcoming Bonn Climate Change
Conference on 7 June 2014, 18.30-20.00.

This side event is organized collaboratively by the Technology Executive
Committee (TEC) and the CTCN. It will opened by UNFCCC Executive Secretary
Christiana Figueres, and will include presentations by the Director of the
CTCN, Mr. Jukka Uosukainen, and the Chairs of the TEC and the CTCN.

More information: goo.gl/PUK0Kp.

For more information, please contact:
Karina Larsen, CTCN Knowledge & Communications Manager
+45 4533 5373; karina.larsen@unep.org
Climate Technology Centre & Network (CTCN)
Website: www.unep.org/climatechange/ctcn/

Nick Nuttall, Coordinator, Communications and Outreach: +49 228 815 1400
(phone), +49 152 0168 4831
(mobile) nnuttall(at)unfccc.int
John Hay, Communications Officer: +49 172 258 6944 (mobile) jhay
(at)unfccc.int
Website: unfccc.int

About the UNFCCC
With 196 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997
Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by 192 of the UNFCCC
Parties. For the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, 37 States,
consisting of highly industrialized countries and countries undergoing the
process of transition to a market economy, have legally binding emission
limitation and reduction commitments. In Doha in 2012, the Conference of
the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol
adopted an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, which establishes the second
commitment period under the Protocol. The ultimate objective of both
treaties is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at
a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate
system.

About the CTCN
The Climate Technology Centre and Network promotes the accelerated transfer
of environmentally sound technologies for climate change mitigation and
adaptation in developing countries. The CTCN quickly responds with
potential solutions as well as tailored capacity building in order to
transfer valuable knowledge and practical advice from one country to
another in order to accelerate the pace of climate technology
implementation. The CTCN is the operational arm of the UNFCCC Technology
Mechanism and is hosted by UNEP in collaboration with the United Nations
Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and 11 independent, regional
organizations with expertise in climate technologies.

See also:  <unfccc.int/press/items/2794.php>
Follow UNFCCC on Twitter:  @UN_ClimateTalks
UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres on Twitter: @CFigueres
UNFCCC on Facebook:  facebook.com/UNclimatechange

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 5th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Leadership 3,422 views

Meet The First Carbon-Neutral Hotel Group In The World, And Why Your Business Should Take Notice.

In an interview with Kirsten Brøchner of the Arthur Hotel Group in Copenhagen, Denmark, we discussed their journey to become the first carbon-neutral hotel group in the world, and how their 5-point climate action plan is not only good for the planet, but good for business.

 

Rahim Kanani: Tell me a little bit about the founding of Brøchner Hotels and the resulting Arthur Hotels group. Also, where did the desire to put sustainability at the core of the organization come from?

 

Kirsten Brøchner: Brøchner Hotels has been a family owned and family run business from day one in 1982. First by my parents, with my assistance, and later with the help of my brother. Until June 2013, Brøchner Hotels consisted of four hotels, but due to a generational change and different visions in management, my brother and I separated the company into two independent companies, and I thereby formed the Arthur Hotel group consisting of Hotel Kong Arthur and Ibsens Hotel.

 

Being climate-friendly was and is my mission, and this is why we continue our efforts for a greener planet with Arthur Hotels. I have been asked the question about why I have this desire to put sustainability at the core of the organization many times, and I have come to the conclusion that the reason must be found in the story of my upbringing. My family consists mainly of entrepreneurs and healthcare personnel—hospital professors, doctors and nurses—so I have always been inspired by both the desire to see new projects blossom and the desire to care for others. Quite a good combination when running a hotel group, when thinking about it. My philosophy has always been that if you value ethics highly in your business, the money will follow automatically.

 

When the climate debate began to rise, this immediately caught my attention. I found it important to take action, and this is why I decided that despite the hotel group being a very small player in the market, I believed we could make a difference and hopefully encourage others to make a difference as well. I am aware that we in my company cannot make a big change alone, but hopefully we could set an example, which we have done.

 

Hotel Group

 

Kanani: What did it take to become the first carbon-neutral hotel group in the world, and what challenges did you have to overcome to achieve such a feat?

 

Brøchner: I felt that we as a corporation had a co-responsibility for climate change and that we therefore had to take action. We investigated and discussed what to do, and I discovered that with the Kyoto Protocol, all parties committed were allotted the right to emit a certain amount of carbon. If emissions were not utilized, because an energy producer had converted their energy production into a more climate-friendly solution, these emissions could be sold via the European Union Emissions Trading System. I figured that if we bought some of these surplus energy offsets and destroyed them, and took them off the market, these emissions would not be utilized. Further, by buying these offsets we would also financially support these energy producers that had invested in alternative production methods. Finally, if buying and destroying offsets corresponding to the amount of carbon that our hotels emit, we would be able to neutralize our total energy consumption.

 

We then took the investigation one step further and researched what other businesses and hotels had done, and we discovered that we, by doing this, would become the first carbon neutral hotel group, which was confirmed by the international hotel organization IH&RA. However, it was nearly impossible to find out how to buy these offsets, as they were only available for energy companies. I talked to a lot of people, ministries, government boards and others, spending a lot of time to investigate this. Suddenly, I came in contact with the small, Danish, independent, climate-friendly energy company Modstrøm, who offered to sell energy offsets via them. Ever since, we have bought energy offsets equalling our annual carbon emission at the hotels based on electricity, heat and linen consumption. This was how we were able to call ourselves the first carbon neutral hotel in the world.

 

Besides buying offsets, we have changed our whole mindset in the company, investigating all details on how we can be climate-friendly in every corner of the company. And we have done this by creating a 5 step climate plan that we have followed since 2008. As the offsets market have lost value, we are thinking about what we can do next. But due to the recent creation of Arthur Hotels, we must be realistic and I must admit that this will take time if we want to present a new thought-through initiative and thereby make an even bigger impact. Nevertheless, our 5-step climate plan is still ruling.

 

The challenges with the offset system were not the only challenges we faced. I had a lot of ideas that were not realized, unfortunately. For instance, I wanted to set up a climate school for companies with training courses for employees, teaching them how to choose the green option at work and at home. One example is when boiling water for tea—only boiling the water needed, so energy is not wasted on boiling extra. Or eating more light than dark meat, as the production of beef is more harmful to the environment than the production of poultry. Unfortunately, none of the many government agencies I asked for help were interested in supporting the idea.

 

Through the years, I have met the Minister of Climate several times and have discussed my ideas. I have asked for more public information on how to choose green in the supermarket. How are we supposed to know, from a green perspective, what is best to buy: tomatoes grown in Danish greenhouses, or organic tomatoes transported from Spain? In my opinion, the government should create a system with which the average consumer will be able to understand how to shop with a carbon-minimizing mindset in the supermarket. I have also suggested the Minister carry out a governmental plan to help both citizens and companies finance the building of houses or renovation projects carried through by using alternative energy sources—giving people access to “cheap money”. Unfortunately, these are challenges I have yet to overcome.

 

Kanani: What are some of the details to your 5-step climate plan?

 

Brøchner: As of 2008, our plan is as follows:

 

1. CO2 neutralization now and in the future.
2. Create energy savings.
3. Involve guests.
4. Establish a CO2 neutral hotel network.
5. Collaborate with climate networks/alliances including climate friendly suppliers.

 

We have made many small adjustments such as changing to more energy-friendly sources when it comes to light bulbs, heating centrals, guest amenities, groceries and other items and always choose as green as possible when introducing new products. We bought electric cars for our guests to rent, and we have charging stations at Hotel Kong Arthur for guests arriving by electric car.

Electric Cars

 

The biggest change must be the reduction of our linen consumption by 22 per cent. Reducing our linen consumption means, from a green perspective, that less laundry detergent, which is harmful to the environment, is used, energy consumption from the washing machines is reduced, the transport of linen to and from the hotel is reduced, which reduces carbon emission from the transport and so on. And all of this is due to a simple idea put forth by one of our maids: instead of leaving all towels visible in the bathrooms, we leave some of the towels in the cupboard with a cute hand-written post-it message on the bathroom mirror inviting the guest to help us protect the environment by only using the towels needed – and if needed, more towels are available in the cupboard.

 

Of other ways we are enacting out a climate-friendly agenda is by collaborating with suppliers supporting the green initiative. A green chain collaboration so to speak. We buy primarily organic food products and bread, and actually our organic bread supplier, the bakery “Det Rene Brød”, even bought electric cars to deliver the bread to us after having seen our own. We have reduced transportation by, for instance, having milk delivered every other day instead of every day. And all of these great initiatives are based on ideas from employees in the company. Whenever someone gets a new climate-friendly idea, we discuss it and see if we can implement it.

 

Kanani: The city of Copenhagen intends to become carbon neutral by 2025—the first goal of its kind in the world. Were you inspired by the city’s ambition, or was the city inspired by yours?

 

Brøchner: This is a difficult question. When the Municipality of Copenhagen launched their Climate+ campaign, which has now resulted in the goal of becoming the world’s first carbon neutral city, we were appointed Climate+ Frontrunner, and I gave a speech at the opening ceremony. But I will say that the city’s ambition and our ambition were two parallel stories or processes. And I am very happy that the city and we share the same ambition, because it is only by working together towards the same goal that we can make a difference.

 

Kanani: Is pursuing a sustainable and climate-friendly agenda good for business?

 

Brøchner: Definitely. And in several ways. First, in relation to the market, being sustainable has always been good for us as a small player, as we have achieved great attention. Not only do we receive great media coverage, but it has also meant that we have expanded our client portfolio. Before becoming carbon neutral, it was difficult for us to attract the attention of big companies. However, a few years ago, the Danish government passed a law demanding that all medium-sized and large corporations in their annual accounts report their CSR accounting. These companies are welcome to report that they do not do anything at all, but who wants to write that? So when this law was passed, this definitely put pressure on, for instance, these companies’ green chain collaborations which meant that suddenly international companies like Novo Nordisk wanted us as their hotel partner.

 

Second, there is no doubt that being sustainable has an economical advantage for all types of businesses. Saving energy for instance also means saving money.

 

Third, thinking and acting green also has an impact on the company internally. When making an effort for good causes such as protecting our planet, companies will automatically attract the passionate fireballs who want to be part of that company, contributing to the good cause. In this way, sustainability is sustainable; it becomes a positive impact causal loop.

 

Fourth, being sustainable has had a great impact on me personally. These efforts have expanded my network. Suddenly, I was having dinner with Nobel Pease Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. I have met so many inspiring and creative people throughout this process, and continue to do so—people who have helped me develop my business in many creative ways. I believe that inviting innovation inside is always good for business.

 

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 30th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

 

 

Snowden Docs: U.S. Spied on Negotiators At 2009 Climate Summit.

Posted:   |  Updated: 01/30/2014

{WE ARE HONORED – FOLKS IN WASHINGTON THOUGHT THAT THE COPENHAGEN 2009 MEETING OF THE UNFCCC – the COP 15 – THE LAST ONE WE ATTENDED – WAS ACTUALLY OF IMPORTANCE. Now we believe that the 2015 meeting in Paris will also be important.}

WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency monitored the communications of other governments ahead of and during the 2009 United Nations climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark, according to the latest document from whistleblower Edward Snowden.

 

The document, with portions marked “top secret,” indicates that the NSA was monitoring the communications of other countries ahead of the conference, and intended to continue doing so throughout the meeting. Posted on an internal NSA website on Dec. 7, 2009, the first day of the Copenhagen summit, it states that “analysts here at NSA, as well as our Second Party partners, will continue to provide policymakers with unique, timely, and valuable insights into key countries’ preparations and goals for the conference, as well as the deliberations within countries on climate change policies and negotiation strategies.”

 

“Second Party partners” refers to the intelligence agencies of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, with which the U.S. has an intelligence-sharing relationship.

“While the outcome of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference remains uncertain, signals intelligence will undoubtedly play a significant role in keeping our negotiators as well informed as possible throughout the 2-week event,” the document says.

 

The Huffington Post published the documents Wednesday night in coordination with the Danish daily newspaper Information, which worked with American journalist Laura Poitras.

 

The December 2009 meeting in Copenhagen was the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which brings together 195 countries to negotiate measures to address rising greenhouse gas emissions and their impact. The Copenhagen summit was the first big climate meeting after the election of President Barack Obama, and was widely expected to yield a significant breakthrough. Other major developed nations were already part of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which set emissions limits, while the United States — the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases when the protocol went into effect in 2004 — had famously declined to join. The two-week meeting was supposed to produce a successor agreement that would include the U.S., as well as China, India and other countries with rapidly increasing emissions.

 

The document indicates that the NSA planned to gather information as the leaders and negotiating teams of other countries held private discussions throughout the Copenhagen meeting. “Leaders and negotiating teams from around the world will undoubtedly be engaging in intense last-minute policy formulating; at the same time, they will be holding sidebar discussions with their counterparts — details of which are of great interest to our policymakers,” the document states. The information likely would be used to brief U.S. officials, such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Obama, among others, according to the document.

 

The document does not detail how the agency planned to continue gathering information during the summit, other than noting that it would be capturing signals intelligence such as calls and emails. Previous disclosures have indicated that the NSA has the ability to monitor the mobile phones of heads of state. Other documents that Snowden has released indicate that the U.K.’s intelligence service tapped into delegates’ email and telephone communications at the 2009 G-20 meetings in London. Other previous Snowden disclosures documented the surveillance of the G-8 and G-20 summits in Canada in 2010, and the U.N. climate change conference in Bali in 2007.

The document also refers to some intelligence gathered ahead of the meeting, including a report that “detailed China’s efforts to coordinate its position with India and ensure that the two leaders of the developing world are working towards the same outcome.” It refers to another report that “provided advance details of the Danish proposal and their efforts to launch a ‘rescue plan’ to save COP-15.”

 

The Danish proposal was a draft agreement that the country’s negotiators had drawn up in the months ahead of the summit in consultation with a small number key of countries. The text was leaked to The Guardian early in the conference, causing some disarray as countries that were not consulted balked that it promoted the interests of developed nations and undermined principles laid out in previous climate negotiations. As Information reports, Danish officials wanted to keep U.S. negotiators from seeing the text in the weeks ahead of the conference, worried that it may dim their ambitions in the negotiations for proposed cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.

 

The Danes did share the text with the U.S. and other key nations ahead of the meeting. But the NSA document noting this as “advance details” indicates that the U.S. may have already intercepted it. The paragraph referring to the Danish text is marked “SI” in the Snowden document — which most likely means “signals intelligence,” indicating that it came from electronic information intercepted by the NSA, rather than being provided to the U.S. negotiators.

 

That could be why U.S. negotiators took the positions they did going into the conference, a Danish official told Information. “They simply sat back, just as we had feared they would if they knew about our document,” the official said. “They made no constructive statements. Obviously, if they had known about our plans since the fall of 2009, it was in their interest to simply wait for our draft proposal to be brought to the table at the summit.”

 

Members of the Danish delegation indicated in interviews with Information that they thought the American and Chinese negotiators seemed “peculiarly well-informed” about discussions that had taken place behind closed doors. “Particularly the Americans,” said one official. “I was often completely taken aback by what they knew.”

 

Despite high hopes for an agreement at Copenhagen, the negotiations started slowly and there were few signs of progress. Obama and heads of state from more than 100 nations arrived late in the second week in hopes of achieving a breakthrough, but the final day wore on without an outcome. There were few promising signals until late Friday night, when Obama made a surprise announcement that he — along with leaders from China, India, Brazil and South Africa — had come up with the “Copenhagen Accord.”

 

The three-page document set a goal of keeping the average rise in global temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius, but allowed countries to write their own plans for cutting emissions — leaving out any legally binding targets or even a path to a formal treaty. Obama called the accord “an unprecedented breakthrough” in a press conference, then took off for home on Air Force One. But other countries balked, pointing out that the accord was merely a political agreement, drafted outside the U.N. process and of uncertain influence for future negotiations.

 

The climate summits since then have advanced at a glacial pace; a legally binding treaty isn’t currently expected until 2015. And the U.S. Congress, despite assurances made in Copenhagen, never passed new laws cutting planet-warming emissions. (The Environmental Protection Agency is, however, moving forward with regulations on emissions from power plants, but a new law to addressing the issue had been widely considered as preferable.)

 

The revelation that the NSA was surveilling the communications of leaders during the Copenhagen talks is unlikely to help build the trust of negotiators from other nations in the future.

 

“It can’t help in the sense that if people think you’re trying to get an unfair advantage or manipulate the process, they’re not going to have much trust in you,” said Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists and a seasoned veteran of the U.N. climate negotiations. Meyer said he worried that the disclosure might cause the parties to “start becoming more cautious, more secretive, and less forthcoming” in the negotiations. “That’s not a good dynamic in a process where you’re trying to encourage collaboration, compromise, and working together, as opposed to trying to get a comparative advantage,” he said.

 

Obama has defended the NSA’s work as important in fighting terrorism at home and abroad. But the latest Snowden document indicates that the agency plays a broader role in protecting U.S. interests internationally.

 

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden declined to comment directly on the Snowden document in an email to the Huffington Post, but did say that “the U.S. Government has made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations.” She noted that Obama’s Jan. 17 speech on the NSA “laid out a series of concrete and substantial reforms the Administration will adopt or seek to codify with Congress” regarding surveillance.

 

“In particular, he issued a new Presidential Directive that lays out new principles that govern how we conduct signals intelligence collection, and strengthen how we provide executive branch oversight of our signals intelligence activities,” Hayden said. “It will ensure that we take into account our security requirements, but also our alliances; our trade and investment relationships, including the concerns of our companies; and our commitment to privacy and basic liberties. And we will review decisions about intelligence priorities and sensitive targets on an annual basis, so that our actions are regularly scrutinized by the President’s senior national security team.”

 

Read the full document here.

IT READS:

(U) UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen — Will the Developed and Developing
World Agree on Climate Change?

FROM:
Deputy SINIO for Economics and Global Issues (S17)
Run Date: 12/07/2009
(U) Delegates from around the world will convene in Copenhagen from 7 to 18 December for the
UN Climate Change Conference (COP-15). The event is intended to be the culmination of two
years of negotiations by the international community to reach consensus on legally binding
commitments to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that would enter into force in 2012, when
the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change expires. Over 90 world leaders, including
the U.S. President, are expected to participate. In Copenhagen, these leaders will attempt to reach
an agreement that both launches immediate action and ensures long-term commitments. However,
it remains to be seen if an agreement will be reached or whether negotiations will break down
entirely. Success or failure will have far-reaching effects in the areas of foreign policy,
environmental issues, and energy security.
(U) Reaching a global climate-change agreement will not be easy for the delegates. The greatest
challenge to the talks remains the North-South divide. The leaders from the North — i.e., developed
countries — see climate change as a problem with irreversible consequences that cannot be solved
without the full participation of developing countries, especially emerging market economies. The
leaders from the South — or developing countries, led by China and India — see the climate change
problem as not of their making and believe they are being asked to fix it in ways which will hamper
their ability to raise their standards of living.
(U) These divisions are deep, with both sides showing few signs of compromise. During the
opening session of preliminary negotiations in Barcelona last month, the 50-member Africa Group,
in a show of unity, walked out, announcing that they would boycott the Kyoto Protocol talks until
developed countries got serious about their climate change commitments. They ended their boycott
of the talks after winning promises for more in-depth talks on how much developed countries need
to reduce GHG emissions.
(U) To move the process forward, it will be necessary to bridge this divide. There are efforts
underway to do this, including the Franco-Brazilian common position, which aims to reduce GHG
emissions globally by at least 50 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. In a mid-November statement
to the press, Presidents Sarkozy and Lula emphasized that they hoped to demonstrate that two
countries with different national and regional situations can successfully adopt a joint position on
climate change. Meanwhile, the Danes, as host of the event, are tirelessly engaging world leaders to
garner support for their draft political agreement – which was created when it became clear that the
process had run out of time to reach agreement on a legally binding treaty. Supporters of this
approach hope the political agreement will subsequently be transformed into a legally binding
climate treaty sometime next year.
(TS//SI//REL) Analysts here at NSA, as well as our Second Party partners, will continue to provide
policymakers with unique, timely, and valuable insights into key countries’ preparations and goals
for the conference, as well as deliberations within countries on climate change policies and
negotiating strategies. A late November report detailed China’s efforts to coordinate its position
with India and ensure that the two leaders of the developing world are working towards the same
outcome. Another report provided advance details of the Danish proposal and their efforts to launch
a “rescue plan” to save COP-15.

ITS//SI//REL) Given such large participation (with all 192 UN member states invited to attend),
leaders and negotiating teams from around the world will undoubtedly be engaging in intense last-minute
policy formulating; at the same time, they will be holding frequent sidebar discussions with
their counterparts — details of which are of great interest to our policymakers.

While the outcome of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference remains uncertain, signals intelligence will

undoubtedly play a significant role in keeping our negotiators as well informed as possible
thouout the 2-week event.

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 13th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

The following is encouraging and opens the door to let in projects that can help as well in fighting climate change and its effects.

———————-

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is dedicated to implementing projects for the United Nations System, international financial institutions, governments and other partners in the aid world. The organization’s global headquarters is located in Copenhagen, Denmark[1] and it has five regional offices and more than 20 country offices around the world.

 

UNOPS implements more than $1 billion worth of projects for its partners every year, operating in more than 80 countries, providing management services that range from managing the construction of schools in Afghanistan, to building shelters in Haiti, and procuring educational computers in Argentina.

 

UNOPS employs close to 6,000 personnel annually and on behalf of its partners creates thousands more work opportunities in local communities.

UNOPS works particularly closely with UNDP, DPKO and The World Bank. It is a member of the United Nations Development Group.

 

———————————————-

 

 

PRESS RELEASE
December 12, 2013
For Immediate Release
Contact:

Ms. Carla O’Donnell

Director of Communications, R20:

codonnell@regions20.org

Mr. Nicholas George

 Head of Communications, UNOPS:

nicholasg@unops.org

R20 and UNOPS Sign Green Development Partnership

COPENHAGEN - Clean energy projects around the world are set to benefit from a new partnership signed between the R20-Regions of Climate Action (R20) and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

 

The agreement covers a range of services that will assist R20 in helping subnational governments around the world develop low-carbon and climate resilient economic development projects. This includes support to regional and local authorities to carry out feasibility studies on renewable energy and energy efficiency, and design portfolios of bankable projects to attract both public and private investors. The partnership also aims to administer funds for training programmes tailored to subnational authorities.

 

Under the agreement, UNOPS will provide support to R20 in organizing and hosting conferences, seminars and workshops, as well as with the recruitment of specialists for conducting feasibility studies.

 

“Action at the subnational level is critical to the shift from the brown to the green economy. This is what we at R20 have made our mission – to build the global green economy from the ground up, putting subnational regions at the forefront of our battle for a cleaner, more efficient world. Our partnership with UNOPS represents an important steppingstone for subnational action and our respective missions. Through this joint UNOPS-R20 Pre-Investment Facility, it removes certain barriers to sustainable development, one of the biggest being access to funding for feasibility studies,” said Dr. Christophe Nuttall, Executive Director of R20.

 

The partnership will benefit R20′s member regions and technical partners, as well as donors and investors, by providing easily accessible and trustworthy resources for green projects.

 

“Professional training and institution building are key to sustainable development. The R20-UNOPS joint training programmes will tackle such opportunities. They will help local authorities adapt technologies and policies to build a greener economy,” said Jan Mattsson, Executive Director of UNOPS.

 

Established in 2010, R20 works with leaders of districts, regions and provinces to facilitate the implementation of projects such as clean public transport, energy efficiency, sustainable street lighting, hydropower, wind energy and waste-to-energy projects. Partners include financial, academic, non-profit, intergovernmental and United Nations organizations.   For more information on the R20 please visit www.regions20.org.

UNOPS, an operational arm of the United Nations, provides project management, infrastructure and procurement services to its partners with a focus on sustainability and national capacity development. For more information on UNOPS please visit www.unops.org.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 10th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Henrik Ibsen 1828-1906 is for the Scandinavians what Shakespeare is for the Anglo-Saxons, Gogol and Chekhov for the Slavs or Cervantes for the Spaniards. These individuals saw man as he or she are and their writings become globalized. Take then a Bertolt Brecht “theater of ideas” approach to the staging of an Ibsen play – or a play of any of the great playwrights  – get the acting up to an intelligent level  so that there are hints to the daily live of the audience – don’t over-do it – let the audience participate  directly – and the show turns into an event. That is great theater today and ever.

While on Broadway a Tennessee Williams great play – “The Glass Menagerie” – is these days over-staged, over-laud, over expensive – a must for tourists that can afford $300 for a seat, across the river in Brooklyn, at the incomparable masterpiece Harvey Theater – named after Harvey Lichtenstein – who was a former dancer who became arts administrator and for 32-year  the executive director of the Brooklyn Academy of Music that he turned with his strong will from a struggling mainly unused opera house into a Mecca for new legitimate theater.  At the Academy building started out people like Robert Wilson and the yearly New Wave Festival was just a natural outgrowth. Then there was the need of a second theater and The Harvey Theater Hall was born just one block away on Fulton Street. Now foreign directors bring their companies from overseas to teach America how to get back to the promise of good theater. We just got to witness there a truly great production of a play, for one tenth of the cost of the Broadway theater, and got to learn a lot about ourselves as well. These foreigners truly understood the US, while the US theater on Broadway showed very little understanding of the foreigners that leave the theater there with a feeling of being had.

Looking up via the internet we found – “The Enemy of the People” (1882), follows earlier Ibsen plays, where controversial elements were important and even pivotal components of the action, but they were on the small scale of individual households. In An Enemy, controversy became the primary focus, and the antagonist was the entire community. One primary message of the play is that the individual, who stands alone, is more often “right” than the mass of people, who are portrayed as ignorant and sheep-like. Contemporary society’s belief was that the community was a noble institution that could be trusted, a notion Ibsen challenged.

In An Enemy of the People, Ibsen chastised not only the conservatism of society, but also the liberalism of the time. He illustrated how people on both sides of the social spectrum could be equally self-serving.

An Enemy of the People was written as a response to the people who had rejected his previous work, Ghosts. The plot of the play is a veiled look at the way people reacted to the plot of Ghosts. In “Enemy” the protagonist is a physician in a vacation spot whose primary draw is a public bath. The doctor discovers that the water is contaminated by the local tannery. He expects to be acclaimed for saving the town from the nightmare of infecting visitors with disease, but instead he is declared an ‘enemy of the people’  by the locals, who band against him and even throw stones through his windows.
The play ends with his complete ostracism. It is obvious to the reader that disaster is in store for the town as well as for the doctor.

Then the source continues – As audiences by now expected, Ibsen’s next play again attacked entrenched beliefs and assumptions; but this time, his attack was not against society’s mores, but against overeager reformers and their idealism. Always an iconoclast, Ibsen was equally willing to tear down the ideologies of any part of the political spectrum, including his own.   Ibsen thus liked more the interaction of positions rather then the taking of a position. In effect the whole society is being criticized by Ibsen.

The Wild Duck (1884)  that followed The Enemy is by many considered Ibsen’s finest work, and it is certainly the most complex. It tells the story of Gregers Werle, a young man who returns to his hometown after an extended exile and is reunited with his boyhood friend Hjalmar Ekdal. Over the course of the play, the many secrets that lie behind the Ekdals’ apparently happy home are revealed to Gregers, who insists on pursuing the absolute truth, or the “Summons of the Ideal”. Among these truths: Gregers’ father impregnated his servant Gina, then married her off to Hjalmar to legitimize the child. Another man has been disgraced and imprisoned for a crime the elder Werle committed. Furthermore, while Hjalmar spends his days working on a wholly imaginary “invention”, his wife is earning the household income.

Dr. Stockman is the idealist who naively believes he can win by being right, but then encounters the truth that all levels of society are corrupt. Some start on the corruption path knowingly and others backstep into it because circumstances might otherwise turn them into major losers.
Nobody is ready to lose intentionally.

The Enemy that hit the Harvey Theater comes from the Schaubuhne at the Lehniner Platz (The Lenin Square) in what used to be East Berlin. The artistic genius – Director Thomas Ostermeier -  was responsible for this production as he was for several previous shows that were seen previously at the BAM.

The acting was impeccable – down to the facial expressions of the stage dog. There were minutes of talking without words and you knew exactly what they were saying. Only very seldom did the actors shout – and that was in cases of natural crescendo. I was able to understand the clear German and compliment it with the flashed English. The updates were in many cases just results on inflection and accent rather then as changes in wording. Nevertheless we understood that the closing of the bath would lead to unimaginable economic losses that the town will not allow. The vested interests were ready to fight back and had already prepared an alternate study that says there is nothing at fault with those waters – this sort of the Koch Brothers funded pseudo-scientific studies that say there is no man-made global warming.

Then, if one was going to do any changes to the water system it would cost money and nobody will want to pay higher taxes in order to pay-off the debt that the town will incur. In the end this becomes the common attitude to all those involved – just like in the USA of 2013. At this point some of the actors moved over to the audience and an exchange started that brought in regular members of the audience. When eventually Dr. Stockman is bombarded with paint balls the audience seems like having been wrestled down as well – though those balls originated from the theater hall.

YES – WE ARE ALL THE ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE – this because except for Dr. Stockman and his faithful wife nobody is left with ideals – and the young couple themselves have been presented with the shares of those baths, bought up by the father in law who invested in this the money that he had intended originally for them as inheritance. Now they can be rich if they only declare that they have a way to save those baths.

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 17th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Mr. Martin Nesirky, the Spokesperson for The UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, speaking to the UN accredited PRESS, Monday July 15th, ended his daily briefing by saying:

“This morning, the Deputy Secretary-General spoke to a large group of representatives from non-governmental organizations and the private sector on international migration and development. He emphasized the need to establish sustained and strong partnerships between different actors to harness the benefits of migration and improve the situation of migrants. He also commended the role played by civil society in building such partnerships.

He said that the General Assembly was meeting on international migration and development in October, and that this was an opportunity for member States to lay the foundation for improved local, regional and international migration policies.” That’s what I have. Questions, please? Yes, Pam?

There was not a single question on this topic!

This statement relates to full three days of activities right here at the UN Headquarters in New York and across the street in the Church Center – which followed a full year of preparations outside the UN in a process that was started in 2006 when there was a UN General Assembly mandated first “High-Level” Dialogue on this topic and was succeeded by yearly meetings and further regional meetings.

Now we are at the preparation stage for the October 3-4, 2013 Second United Nations High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development with next planned meeting already for 2014 in Sweden, the home turf of Ambassador Ian Eliasson, the current Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations. And all of this in the name of figuring out the UN activities in the post-2015 era – as mandated at the 2012 RIO+20 Conference.

At Rio the recommendations included the removal of the non-producing Commission on Sustainable Development and its replacement with a High-Level Panel that will look into the creation of a system of Sustainable Development Goals that will follow in 2015 after the expiring Millennium Development Goals – and this allows for an unusual opportunity to try for making the avoidance of the need of Migration into a Sustainable Development Goal. But the UN seems to oppose this by all the means it has – and I will explain.

You see – when I walk the streets of New York these days I bump into people. This is because the daily temperature reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit and people do not walk in a straight line. You must try to anticipate which way they will deviate – and I am as guilty as anyone else – this because global warming and Climate Change are already here with us. Relating to our topic here – MIGRATION occurs now not just because people are attracted by magnets of freedom from dictatorships, from religious or sexual oppression, or because of a chance to better education, but now – more and more – there is the push of hunger – climate change has made it impossible to support populations in their country of origin and this migration has become the highest security issue in our days. If heat and Climate Change is impacting New York, just think what this has done in Mali or Darfur!

The UN is not blind to this. The UN Secretary-General was supposed to be the opening speaker at the Monday, July 15, 2013 event at the meeting at the UN General Assembly with Mr. Vuk Jeremik, President of the General Assembly as Chairman of the session. But Mr. Ban Ki-moon chose to be on a July fact finding tour of Europe that took him to see the effects of glaciers melting in Iceland, and a visit in Paris on Bastille Day with the French troops fighting in Mali.

Both above visits, as well as the meetings in-between, would have made a great story had the UN Secretary-General returned to New York and told on Monday July 15th his impressions to the meeting here. But this seemingly did not cross his mind, and surely this is no reflection on the way Mr. Elliason presented the case. It must be said that seven years ago – at the first dialogue – Mr. Eliasson presided because it was his position of President of the UN General Assembly, so he is well versed with the issues – the roles of Civil Society, Labor Unions and Employers’ organizations, diaspora organizations, and academics. He stressed that the challenge is to reach to the help of the media – “Knowing the facts is the source of wisdom” he quoted.

Mr. Eliasson said he wants to see as a post 2015 program a five year action program in five areas of priority:
- the cooperation between States,
- a comprehensive data system of migration facts,
- the integration of the migrants into our societies and economies,
- plan migration with labor markets and development consideration,
- a framework for managing migration from crisis and violence regions.

What he did not mention is the right of people to avoid migration that was pushed upon them because of changes in the local environment.

Mr. Jeremik reminded us of the Rio vision for the post-2015 as an aspiration to strive for equitable approaches to overcome poverty and inequality.

At the meeting on Monday participated over 200 Civil Society organizations and 80 UN member States.
The main organization was in the hands of Switzerland and Swiss based NGOs like Caritas, The International Catholic Migration Commission, The Global Economic Forum, with with Ms. Susan Martin of Georgetown University, Institute for the Study of International Migration that awards you a Certificate on the subject, and Mr. Dennis Sinyolo, Education and Employment Coordinator at Education International, as moderators.

I sat through the full three days and saw that very good people from all over the globe were present – but by no means was this an objective success.

Starting with the strong Swiss presence I must say that as Migration means Emigration from one place and Immigration to another – this except Migration within the same country, Switzerland is a country of poor record as it does not allow citizenship except when the candidate is weighed in gold – and I am not abstract on this – Just think of the Agha Khan and his Swiss based Foundation. So, when A good looking lady presented herself as a migrant from El Salvador to Switzerland, with dual nationality and diamonds sparkling from her earrings, spoke about the Global Economic Forum backing the economic advantages that come from migration – I had to wonder about what I was hearing. Then let us not forget that simple mortals could not stay in Switzerland when their life was in peril. In general – I was more impressed by the people in the room then by some of the presenters, as in UN fashion – the good turns easily into the trite, and good ideas can produce easily flying meetings that are not free to the introduction of ideas born outside the initiating circle. Trying to introduce the notion that the UN is changing and that MDGs are ending with new SDGs taking their place, and the fact that the UN just opened this month the office for Sustainable Energy – the SE4All concept, and that right now there is an opportunity to talk of migration in context of Climate Change – all that was beyond the interest of the organizers and the moderators – but very much of interest of many of the participants.

Civil Society is surely a mixed bag, and the stress on remittances from the Migrants back to their families in the homeland become very important part of the economies of some oppressive governments – so, indiscriminately stressing the economic value may not be any better idea then using military from countries in trouble in order to beef up the troops of UN Peace-Keeping forces in other countries in trouble, when the pay for this service is income for the government that sends these troops. This comment may have nothing to do with the subject at hand but is important to the understanding of the depth of the problem when you work in he UN context.

Without delving further in depth of what was said, this because the meetings were just an interactive exercise that will generate its own papers, the real news this Monday were not the Civil Society NGOs that were allowed to participate – but rather those organizations that were excluded in total lack of transparency and thus gave a blue eye to the UN institution as a whole.

The subject came up when the United States pointed out that three NGOs were eliminated from participation this last week by being BLACKBALLED by some secret member State. These were three organizations – one registered in the UK and two in Israel and the UN does not release the names of the countries that objected to their participation. TO ME THIS WAS THE REAL NEWS OF THE MEETING – COVERING ON ALL THE GOOD THINGS THAT WERE SAID AT THE MEETING.

After the US, spoke also Israel and the EU, and eventually this became an important part in the summary of the meeting, when at the end it was presented by the Chef de Cabinet to the UNGA President, Mr. Dejan Sahovic, who is also from Serbia like the UNGA President.

Mr. Sahovic explained that this had nothing to do with the organizers of the event but is a UN given. Whenever there is an event at the UN, after Civil Society makes up the list of registered NGOs, these lists are distributed to all governments which have then the veto right against any line on that list.

OK, we knew that China will take out any NGO that is based in Taiwan, but how is it that an observer organization at the International Organization for Migration (IOM), that is competent in the subject matter and is very active, could be eliminated? To make it sound even worse – the UN does not release the name of the blackballing country and the delegate for the EU said clearly that the EU is worried about the lately decreasing importance of Civil Society at the UN.

I followed up trying to find who are these three blackballed organizations, but will not allow myself to express a guess to who was the blackballing State as this guesswork is easy – but we refuse to do it. Nevertheless, we must say that wonders do happen at the UN sometimes.

In this case it was with two NGOs with interest in Human Rights of Women – specifically women in Arab lands – even more specific – in Saudi Arabia – they DID SPEAK UP.
Lala Arabian from a Beirut based NGO INSAN, part of the Arab Network for Migrants, which I was told speaks a fluent English, decided to speak out in Arabic against the treatment of Arab women – specifically in Saudi Arabia. Further – A woman in an impeccable English, coming from a United Arab Emirates NGO, but probably living overseas, made a similar statement from the floor. I did not note her name but she came from www.migrant-rights.org/category/g…


The Three NGOs that were absent are:

1. The Institute for Human Rights and Business Limited (IHRB) is the British organization.
They partner with the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) on issues like the establishment of the new Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business headed by Vicky Bowman.
They specifically look at how to persuade business to respect Human Rights with Migration one of the specific topics. June 17-18, 2013 they just had a meeting in Tunis on the subject of Free Internet. Is this what some despot did them in for?

2. Microfy – “Microfinance for African refugees and migrant workers in Israel” – an Israeli based NGO that provides assistance to African refugees and asylum seekers, many of them who fled the genocide in Darfur. www.microfy.org Clearly a highly ethical organization that might have difficulty being listened to by despots.

3.”The Center for International Migration and Integration (CIMI)” advises governments and NGOs around the world on migration and integration.
CIMI has Observer Status wit the International Organization foe Migration (IOM) since 2003 and participates actively in all its meetings.
CIMI also partners with many other national and International organizations including the UNHCR (The UN Refugee Agency) and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
This information was confirmed by Ms. Michele Klein Solomon, the Permanent Observer for IOM at the United Nations. CIMI is also based in Israel.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 7th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Who lives in Tallinn, travels free with public transport.

based on article by André Anwar of Der Standard of Vienna, 5 April 2013.
  • Passanten laufen in der estnischen Hauptstadt an einer Bahn vorbei. Seit Anfang des Jahres sind dort Fahrten mit Bus oder Straßenbahn gratis.  photo: apa / dpa / peer grimm

    Passersby walk past in the Estonian capital of a web. Since the beginning of the year there are free tours by bus or tram.

Since the inhabitants of the Estonian capital can drive for free on public transport, the traffic in the center of Tallinn is already decreased by 15 percent. Now also other cities consider to introduce free public transport.

Tallinn (from Stockholm) – Tickets are for sale on the buses and trams of Tallinn- but not for the citizen-residents of the Baltic metropolis. Since this year its 420,000 inhabitants, the capital of Estonia, the first capital in the world, they can be completely free and unlimited ride on public transport . This measure is intended to combat ever increasing number of traffic jams in addition to the air pollution.

15 percent less traffic

The city government now sees first successes. “The traffic in the city has declined by 15 percent,” said Allan Allaküla, traffic expert and head of the EU office of Tallinn, the standard. 21 percent of people say in surveys that they now use public transport more often. Last year, about 100,000 people a day used the public transport.

Mayor Edgar Savissar hopes that the number will increase significantly over the course of months yet. The new concept was flanked the year by numerous bus lanes on existing lanes in the city center. “Tallinn is innovative. Ours is the first capital, in which such a concept will be implemented on such a scale,” said Savisaar. The measure also increases the mobility significantly poorer families.

Controversial initiative

The initiative of the left-liberal city chief is highly controversial. Opponents – obviously from the right – criticize that with Tallinn’s bruised budget much more pressing social problems should be solved.

The transport had previously been heavily subsidized in Tallinn. A monthly ticket cost 18,50 €. Ticket proceeds from the end of 2012 show at least 33 percent of the cost of operating Öffi were covered. The loss is estimated by the opposition at 20 million euros. “The streets are full of potholes and there is no money for kindergartens,” criticizes Valdo Randpere of the bourgeois opposition.

Price increase for tourists

Tallin Mayor Savisaar disagrees saying that now more people are living in Tallinn, which ultimately increase tax revenues. In 2013, there were many people who take the public transport  and stay in Tallinn and its surroundings, yet continued to be registered for tax purpose in other municipalities. They now log on to Tallinn to enjoy the free electronic tickets – for only he who is registered in Tallinn, travels free.
For tourists and other visitors, the prices were doubled from 80 cents to 1.60 euros.

If the model works Tallinn in the longer term, it could set a precedent in the region as well. Namely the other two Baltic capitals Riga and Vilnius, as well as the Finnish Helsinki, consider the introduction of public transport for free as well.
(André Anwar, THE STANDARD, 6./7.4.2013)

We add to this that in a country like the United States this would not work – simply because it requires an identity card – and the US is reluctant at allowing the issuance of personal IDs. Progress in important issues – like the right to free transportation from a locality – to the people who are registered local tax payers – legal residents of the place – is just as important as the right to clean air and water – call it in UN fashion – an inalienable right.

So far as Austria goes – there will be a trip this month to Tallinn as part of the learning tour of Austrian local government – organized by the Think Tank Academy of the Austrian People’s Party. I will be on that tour and promise to make sure that the content of this article – originally brought to my attention by the left-of Center main Austrian newspaper – will not be lost to the members of the Austrian Right of center party. Mind you – both parties are part of long term government coalitions and starting to jostle in light of the September 2013 elections that could cause a relative change in strength that could lead to a change in the actual occupancy of the Chancellor’s office. We think that ideas like the one in this article should be on the table.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 1st, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Culture Change

30 November 2012
Denmark: Small, Happy Prosperous Families — In Contrast to U.S.

by Marilyn Hempel / Jan Lundberg
29 November 2012
ImageAccording to the OECD 2012 world report on life satisfaction, Danes are the happiest people in the world.

Editor’s note: Marilyn Hempel’s approach to equating happiness with low population size without out-of-control growth, plus equitable income levels, is simple and convincing. Some parts of the puzzle, such as stronger sense of community and safety in public without heavy policing, become more clear, as positive influences can be seen feeding upon each other. Following Ms. Hempel’s article is a complementary report by Jan Lundberg (a Danish and Swedish name).

Have you ever tasted a freshly baked Danish pastry? It’s delicious—why wouldn’t the Danes be happy! Putting pastries aside (reluctantly), studies of the happiness of nations are always fraught with difficulties. How does one quantify such a nebulous term as happiness? Isn’t happiness an individual state of mind?
As it turns out health, a balance of work and leisure, and a strong social support network continue to correspond highly with happiness.

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A metro station not far from Christiania anarchist enclave

Despite the difficulties associated with quantifying happiness, each year the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) unveils its report on life satisfaction in the developed world. Since it was founded in 1961, the OECD has strived to help governments design better policies for better lives for their citizens. Based on this experience, its 11 topics reflect what the OECD has identified as essential to well-being in terms of material living conditions (housing, income, jobs) and quality of life (community, education, environment, governance, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance).

Once again, the United States failed to make the top 10 list of happiest nations in the world, while all the Scandinavian nations did. They all have small stable populations. The US has the highest population growth rate of any industrialized nation.


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Sirens swim in Copenhagen’s harbor and canals

Denmark tops the OECD ranking with the most satisfied citizens. If one only glances at the numbers, the reason is not obvious.

Denmark ranks no higher than fourth in any of the categories that appear to correlate strongly with overall satisfaction. Yet, in addition to the OECD, organizations such as the World Map of Happiness and the World Database of Happiness have consistently put Denmark at the top of their list of the world’s happiest countries.

When asked why they are happy, Danes usually give two reasons. First, they point out that most of their society is not created for the upper class. Just the opposite, nearly all things are catered to the middle class. Hence, there is a sense of contentment, which is key. There is little of the mentality of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ or a 1% vs 99% debate.

Second, they mention the great services that the state provides. This comes at a price—extremely high taxes. But it turns out high taxes have another benefit. People tend to decide on an occupation based on what they like and not based on earning potential. Incomes are somewhat comparable across the country so that a garbage collector lives in the same kind of neighborhood as a doctor. As a general rule, prestige is not so important: the garbage collector gets the same kind of respect as the doctor for a job well done. This creates happiness as well.


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A wine-by-sail importer with his baby in typical courtyard loaded with bikes

Denmark has a high employment rate (73%), and a low percentage of employees working long hours (less than 2%). Not surprisingly, having enough leisure time affects a person’s mental health and strongly impacts happiness. The citizens of Denmark have the most leisure time per day of any country in the study, at 16.06 hours (including sleep) —and this is encouraged by government policies.

Badly hit by the 1973 Arab oil embargo, Denmark responded with a sustained, focused and systematic approach to energy production and use that today is the envy of the world. Denmark is one of very few energy independent nations. This didn’t happen by Danish politicians telling their people the solution was ‘drill baby drill’ and fracking.

What did Denmark do? They imposed on themselves a set of gasoline taxes, CO2 taxes and building-and-appliance efficiency standards that allowed them to grow their economy—while barely growing their energy consumption—and gave birth to a Danish clean-power industry that is one of the most competitive in the world. Denmark today gets nearly 20 percent of its electricity from wind. America? About 1 percent. Government policies have spurred developers to build homes with thick insulation, and consumers to only buy energy-efficient appliances.

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Hard-path energy still a threat

The result of these and many other policies is that Denmark’s energy consumption—the amount of fuel it uses to heat its buildings, drive its cars and power its economy—has held stable for more than 30 years, even as the country’s gross domestic product has doubled. (Remember, the population is stable as well.) During the same period, energy consumption in the U.S. has risen 40 percent, while its GDP has quadrupled. The average Dane uses 6,600 kilowatt hours of electricity a year (even with their fierce winters), compared with 13,300 for the average American.

Danish parents feel their children are safe within their families and in society as a whole (not true for American parents); baby prams are left unattended; bicycles are left unlocked; trust in other people and government is high.

Education, including sex education, is available to all with equity and with ease—99 percent of children graduate from high school (68 percent for the US). Higher education doesn’t come with an enormous student loan price tag that requires trading off financial ease for knowledge and expertise.

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Fan is bearing gifts for visiting tall ship crew

Denmark has national health insurance which provides for all. Family planning, counseling, and pre- and post-pregnancy services are given free. The Danes accept sexuality as a normal part of life, and feel that abortion should be allowed free of charge. They decided that prevention of adolescent pregnancy should have high priority, therefore sex education and responsible parenting classes are part of their school curriculum, starting at an early age. Denmark’s conception rates are less than 1/2 of those in the US. Not surprisingly, there are very few unwanted pregnancies, and few babies to be adopted.

Denmark is a small country with a relatively miniscule defense budget and no major defense obligations. Yes, if Denmark were attacked by a larger country, it is possible the Danes could not resist. However, they have good relations with their neighbors, and have no reason to fear them.

Denmark has a stable population, social cohesion, a great educational system, energy independence, fine health care including free family planning, jobs and a retirement system for everyone, comfortable housing, lovely countryside and plenty of leisure time to enjoy it. In short, why wouldn’t the Danish people be happy? They have built themselves a society that looks after their citizens and gives them many reasons to be satisfied with their lives.

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Pop!uplation Press banner

Marilyn Hempel is the editor of the Population Press, which can be found online at populationpress.org

Note from Culture Change’s Jan Lundberg, who visited Copenhagen one week last August:

Danes in their capital city are dedicated to having a good time by enjoying freedom and whatever their city has to offer. Life is more of a party each day. And when many citizens are on bikes as their main mode of transportation, they feel better about getting around — they see fit, trim, sexy people moving alongside instead of mostly concealed inside cars. Bicyclists in a group or a line are not apt to be full of road rage; to the contrary, they can be observed to be relaxed and smiling. To see a moderately overweight person walking around or biking is rare in Denmark or anywhere in Europe, and obesity is extremely rare.Work and survival are not the central purpose of life, as it is for almost everyone in the U.S. Much longer vacations, the right to walk along the urban lakes with open beers, no fear of being killed by a car for stepping off a sidewalk — there are advantages to better urban design and a live-and-let live spirit.

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Children and cops enjoy visit on Tres Hombres tall ship

Yet, Denmark is like the other Western European countries: affluence has come in the last few decades. This has a cost for almost everyone, such as higher prices, fancier living and less relaxed funkiness, and debt. Although energy efficiency is just over twice as high per capita in Denmark than the U.S., [see World Bank table], this is still unsustainable. The convenience of separate family appliances — that ultimately end up in the landfill if not totally recycled — means nonrenewable resources involving fossil fuels being exploited. Most renewable energy is run or derived via the petroleum infrastructure depending on oil’s liquid fuels, plastics, asphalt, petrochemicals, etc. For what it’s worth, by 2020, 35% of all energy in Denmark will be coming from renewable sources, half of which will be from wind power.

People get along more easily in cities in Denmark and Holland, than in world-class insane and violent U.S. Many in the U.S. are on average far more ill than the Danes, due to diet and pollution. USAnians are more stressed, propagandized, oppressed and ignorant. In the U.S. almost all people are suffering from the greed of the 1% and the bloated, military industrial complex. If such issues were not rife in the U.S., then people here too would be more mellow, celebratory, and content. There are countless friendly people to be found both in the U.S. and northern Europe. But too high a ratio of people without their own land in the U.S. are unhappy and unable to enjoy a Danish kind of existence in part because of overpopulation. Ecological carrying capacity has further been exceeded in some parts of the world than others — especially the U.S., based on the index “Ecological Footprint.” Arable land may appear to be extensive, but dwindling fresh water and soil erosion are major issues.

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A bank of windmills outside Copenhagen’s harbor, from tall ship Tres Hombres

In the U.S., any ethic of serious efficiency has been demonized as anti-freedom or for losers. Related to this is the nation’s twisted thinking among many to deny anthropogenic global warming and refusal to believe in evolution. This is not changing any time soon. In the U.S., the sight and sound of huge personal vehicles or noisy motorcycles — and the thoughtless, inconsiderate use of them — are just not encountered in Europe.

In Copenhagen I enjoyed walking everywhere at night with no fear of getting mugged, able to enjoy architecture and a modicum of nature instead of urban blight seen almost everywhere in U.S. cities and other parts of the world. In U.S., the waste of space is most pronounced, with large parking lots, ugly metal fences, garish signs, and poor taste in architecture. Such an environment does not breed happiness. However, it is more conducive to a police state, which some associate with protection and superiority.

Further reading: Europe’s Affluence Out On a Limb by Jan Lundberg, July 27, 2012

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Guitarists Sacha and Jan, deckhands of Tres Hombres schooner brig

All photographs by Jan Lundberg except for the mermaid statue.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 22nd, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The Candidates on Energy Policy

Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Issue Tracker – ENERGY.

Updated: October 21, 2012

The cost and availability of energy resources have become contentious issues in the United States amid slow economic growth and high unemployment. On the presidential campaign trail, Republican candidate Mitt Romney has blamed rising gas prices on President Barack Obama’s decision to temporarily block construction of the Keystone oil pipeline from Canada to the United States. Obama, meanwhile, has called for investing in alternative energy sources to reduce U.S. dependence on oil and gas.

Still, both candidates have advocated for a reduction in foreign oil imports and for an expansion of U.S. energy production in order to boost the economy and create new jobs. They also agree that increasing energy independence is critical to national security. However, Obama and Romney are at odds over the role government should play in subsidizing energy production–as well as which sectors should be favored–and regulating its environmental impact.

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ENERGY was the subject of two Fareed Zakaria programs on CNN/GPS this Sunday.

The second hour-long program was titled GLOBAL LESSONS and told us for a starter that Bill Gates has a dream – HE WISHES ENERGY THAT IS CHEAPER THEN COAL AND IS CLEAN – this seems to be the only way to solve the problems for our aching world – for the US as well.

President Jimmy Carter has installed solar panels on the White House roof, but they were taken down by the Republican Presidents and never put back up by the Democratic Presidents. Those panels were a mere symbol but let us not fake it – their removal was and is a badge of dishonnor to the US Presidency since Carter.

Fareed did not dwell on this but gave positive examples of forward looking countries.

Denmark, after the 1973 oil crisis unleashed on the world after the Yom Kippur war that the Arabs unleashed against Israel,  decided to climb down from its energy reliance 99% on Middle East oil and developed a wind energy industry that made it independent of oil period – this even though later they found offshore oil and gas. They keep the alternate energy afloat thanks to solid taxation of the gas pump. It is $8/gallon in Denmark and there are no complaints. Vestas is the largest wind energy company in the world. 30% of the electricity in Denmark comes currently from wind power, they intend to bring this up to 50% by 2020 and plan for a totally renewable energy base by 2050. No CO2 emissions from Denmark by that target date – no ifs or buts.
I say this because like everyone else’s their wind industry is hurt by competition from government subsidized Chinese products – so without bickering – the Danes understand that they must subsidize their own products so they can compete with the cheaper imports.

Germany developed solar power in particular and surely it is not a very sunny country. What helped was the Feed-in-tariff that obligates an electric company to buy-back of electricity from homes and other solar collector devices. The repayment time for a solar installation is 7 years in Germany and after that it is all the investors gain. This amounts to an income equal to $3000/year after 7 years. The son is the free source of energy and 2% of the Sahara desert could provide energy for the whole world. Germany went solar after the Chernobyl disaster when it was decided not to expand nuclear power. In effect Germany is in the proces of decommissioning its nuclear plants.

France decided to go nuclear  and gets 75% of its electricity this way. After Chernobyl it developed the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) and never had an accident.

The United States did very little and now fell upon the Fracking Gas – so the system moves on by replacing coal with natural gas that is produced from oil shale strata. This is a step in the direction of a cleaner fuel but it requires serious government supervision of the industry because if gas will come out from water faucets or fires from toilets, that will be the end of this industry – never mind what other pollution occurs to the drinking water from heavy metals and chemicals.

The fifth fuel Fareed talked about is EFFICIENCY or the reduction of the need for fuel. Better insulation of homes, lighter materials for motor vehicles with the introduction of parts made of carbon fiber. Visiting with Amory Lovins at his place in Colorado you see a tropical garden that provides him with bananas and you hear of the 240 miles/gallon vehicle.

In the first program this Sunday Fareed Zakaria hosted Mr. Fred Smith the Chairman and CEO of Fed Ex company who runs 90.000 motor vehicles and 500 planes and who saw his expenses for fuel move up in the last 10 years from 4% to 6%. He said this is a consumption $1300 tax on every American. The country pays for the imported oil $350 billion/year – so the shale gas and oil are going to get the US a turn-around he said.

Then he proceeded and said that the Prius and the Xgevy Volt are great vehicles and a step in the right direction. He also said that now it is 80% cheaper to operate an electric vehicle and the expense is in the vehicle itself – this expense will decrease with better batteries. He spoke of the battery exchange system operated by “Better Place” in Denmark and ended by talking of a great future in aviation for biofuels from algae, urban waste, etc.

Our question is now – will this become part of the US 2012 Presidential Debate on Foreign Policy? The reason why the country was kept in slavery by the oil industry so that it could not follow in the steps of a Denmark or Germany and left in limbo a company like Fed Ex and every single citizen of the US? Will somebody cross his heart and declare he will re-install the Carter panels on the White House roof? Pity there was not a Susan Katz, who asked about President GW Bush, that in a positive way could have asked about the disruption of the Carter efforts on true Energy Independence – the independence from the use of oil?

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But then arrived the CFR primer for the Lynn University – Third and Final 2012 Presidential Debate, and though we all understand that historically Energy means Security and is this was always the most important ingredient of US Foreign Policy, nevertheless no mention of Energy was made in this primer. We did expect from CFR to include questions on energy, though we agreed that climate change and the global environment are no subject for the 2012 US elections – BUT ENERGY?


President Barack Obama and former governor Mitt Romney will face off in Boca Raton, Florida, tonight for the final presidential debate. Here is a nonpartisan guide from CFR and Foreign Affairs on the most salient campaign issues. These and other resources can be accessed on the Campaign 2012 Project page.

The Candidates, In their Own Words

A collection of the candidates’ major speeches, statements, and op-eds. Browse the Essential Documents

Comparing the Candidates on the Issues

Fifteen continuously-updated summaries of Obama and Romney’s positions on Iran, Pakistan, defense policy, Afghanistan, and other campaign issues. View the Issue Trackers

Get Up to Speed on Foreign Policy

 Browse Backgrounders

Tonight’s Must-Ask Questions

Four CFR fellows weigh in on the questions they believe warrant discussion during the debate. Read the Roundup

Challenges for the Next President

CFR experts look ahead at the foreign policy issues confronting the next president, including Isobel Coleman on foreign aid, Stewart Patrick on the United Nations, and Elizabeth Economy on China. Watch the Video Briefs

How the Election is Viewed Abroad

Experts from South Africa, China, Brazil, Germany, and other countries share their take on the campaign, and what’s at stake for each country’s relationship with the United States. Browse the Views from Abroad Series

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 2nd, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Olympic Ideal Takes Beating in Badminton.

It is not strange at all what happened, people will tend to take advantage of bad rules – it is the best (or the richest in Romney’s case) that can take advantage of bad rules – it seems that the rules were skewed in their favor in the first place.

From material on the New York Times website –  August 1, 2012:

On Tuesday night at the London Games, some of the world’s best badminton players hit some of the sport’s worst shots. Sad serves into the net. Returns that sailed far wide. Howls from the crowd were loud and instant, and the calls for investigation immediate.

On Wednesday, four women’s doubles teams — two from South Korea and one each from China and Indonesia — were disqualified. But the circumstances were complicated by the fact that the rules of the sport seemed to give the athletes an incentive to lose.

The eight players were found to have tried to lose their matches intentionally, apparently because they had determined that a loss would allow them to play a weaker opponent in the next round.

Badminton officials introduced a preliminary round at the Olympics this year so that each team could play at least three times and not risk traveling thousands of miles only to be eliminated in the first match. But athletes and coaches have always looked for any available advantage, including throwing a match to save energy or to face an easier opponent in the next round.

There was nothing subtle about how the four teams of players — all of whom had already qualified for the quarterfinals — performed Tuesday night. They repeatedly served into the net and hit shots well out of bounds. During one match, a Danish umpire took the drastic step of flashing a black card to warn the players that they could be thrown out.

The disqualifications threw the tournament into turmoil and prompted protests and calls for rule changes. Indonesia appealed the decision and then withdrew the appeal, while the South Koreans had their appeal denied after officials reviewed the matches, interviewed the umpires and spoke to the players.

The eight disciplined players, who were found to have not tried their best and to have conducted themselves “in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport,” had been scheduled to play Wednesday. After their sudden exits, they were replaced by women’s doubles teams from Australia, Canada, Russia and South Africa. No coaches or teams were penalized.

——————-

Though rare, examples exist for cases in which a quirk of a sport’s rules or competition format has given an athlete or team an incentive to lose — or at least not try hard.

In a World Cup soccer match in 1982, West Germany and Austria appeared to stop trying after West Germany took a 1-0 lead early in the game. Both teams knew that such a result would allow them to advance. That prompted soccer officials to mandate that the final games in a round-robin group-play format must all be played at the same time so teams could not know the outcome of other important matches.

——————-

The charges of match throwing have been biting, with teams from Western nations taking aim at their Asian counterparts, especially the Chinese.

Niels Nygaard, the president of the national Olympic committee in Denmark, which has some of the best badminton players in Europe, applauded the world federation’s decision and blamed the coaches, not the players, for the persistent match throwing.

“For me, it’s really a matter of principle whether things are done in a correct way,” Nygaard said after the announcement.

Still, the tactic of purposely losing has an inner logic that has been used in other sports like soccer and baseball.

——————

When Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang from China lost to the South Koreans Jung Kyung-eun and Kim Ha-na on Tuesday, they were trying to avoid playing the world’s second-ranked women’s pair of Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei, from China. Ha Jung-eun and Kim Min-jung of South Korea and Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii of Indonesia also tried to steer clear of high-level foes in the quarterfinals.

The Chinese did not appeal their suspension and defended their approach. “We would try hard in every match if they were elimination games,” Yu said. “Because they are group stage, that’s why we are conserving energy.”

Lin Dan, the top-ranked men’s singles player, stood by his Chinese teammates and blamed the federation for not anticipating that this strategy might be used. “Think in the U.K.: would your football team want to meet Spain in the first round?” he asked after winning a match on Wednesday. “Athletes think for themselves and would have their best interests at heart.”

“It’s perfectly legal but morally indefensible,” said John MacGloughlin, a Briton who has played club-level badminton for 30 years and paid almost $50 to attend Wednesday’s afternoon session. “At that level, you don’t do that.”

This being Britain, where a bet can be laid on practically any event, the question of whether the match was thrown for profit is reasonable. Kate Miller, a spokesman for William Hill, one of Britain’s largest betting companies, said her 200-person trading team did not spot any irregularities surrounding the match.

And badminton was not the only sport in which teams trotted through a preliminary-round game. On Tuesday, in Cardiff, Wales, the Japanese women’s soccer team, the 2011 World Cup champion, played to a scoreless tie against a much weaker South African side.

The tie, as opposed to a win, meant that the Japanese, who had already qualified for the knockout round, avoided having to travel to Glasgow to play France in the quarterfinals. Instead, they will remain in Cardiff and play Brazil.

Afterward, Norio Sasaki, Japan’s coach, said he put in substitutes and told them to keep possession of the ball. The players, he said, “were on the same page as me.”

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And back to peole like Mitt Romney, please see the latest “CHECK THE LAW” successful event in Washington:

The House and Senate voted to close a loophole in an insider trading law that could have allowed lawmakers’ family members to profit from inside information.   CNN uncovered and reported on the loophole last month.

The STOCK Act, one of the rare bipartisan bills passed this year, was signed by President Barack Obama in April.

Someone sneaked into law “the possibility to cheat by law” by telling your wife to buy stocks based on your inside information – how neat indeed!

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 7th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

BREAKING DOWN THE POLITICAL BARRIERS TO FOSSIL-FUEL SUBSIDY REFORM.

Date/Time: Thursday 21 June 2012, 15:00 – 16:30

Location: Rio Centro Convention Centre – Room T-5, Rio Centro

———————-


Globally, governments subsidize fossil fuels to the tune of over $600 billion per year.

These subsidies directly contribute to over-consumption of fossil fuels and higher emissions of local and global pollutants.

They are also socially regressive, generally benefitting wealthier consumers more than the poor.

Yet reforming fossil-fuel subsidies is challenging. If introduced too quickly, and without sufficient public support, it can have serious political repercussions.

Moreover, there are often concerns about negative effects on the competitiveness of domestic energy-intensive industries.

This session, organised by the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s Global Subsidies Initiative and the Government of Switzerland, aims to foster an open and constructive discussion among all stakeholders on the political barriers to fossil-fuel subsidy reform and how they can be overcome.

Panel:

  • ·         Moderator: Mark Halle, Director, International Institute for Sustainable Development

Speakers:

  • ·        Keynote speaker: Hon. Martin Lindegaard, Minister for Climate, Energy and Building, Denmark
  • ·         Mr. Majid Al-Suwaidi, Deputy Director of Energy and Climate Change, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, United Arab Emirates
  • ·         Mr. Hans-Peter Egler, Head of Trade Promotion, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, Switzerland
  • ·         Mr. Fabby Tumiwa, Institute for Essential Services Reform, Indonesia
  • ·         Ms. Kerryn Lang, Global Subsidies Initiative, IISD

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 2nd, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

EU Fails To Resolve Dispute Over UN Climate Fund Seats.

Date: 02-Apr-12
Country: UK/BELGIUM
Author: Nina Chestney and Charlie Dunmore from Reuters.

European Union ambassadors failed to resolve a dispute over the allocation of seats on the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund (GCF) board on Friday, possibly undermining the bloc’s credibility in international climate talks.

The EU envoys were meeting for the second time in a week to decide which European nations will be represented on the governing board. This has 12 seats for developing countries and another 12 for developed countries.

“Despite willingness to compromise and adequately share board seats, it has, unfortunately, not been possible to come to an agreement within the EU,” the EU’s Danish presidency said in a statement.

As a result, the EU will miss a March 31 deadline for making a joint proposal on board membership, and EU governments and the bloc’s executive will now have to negotiate directly with other developed countries over who gets the seats.

“For this reason, respective nominations from the group of developed country parties will be withheld until these discussions have taken place,” delaying the entire process, the Danish presidency said.

U.N. climate talks in Durban last year agreed on the design of the fund, which is aimed at channelling up to $100 billion a year to help developing countries adapt to climate change.

Disputes of this kind could both slow the process towards the launch of the fund in 2013 and give other countries the impression that the EU is stalling on climate finance. “It shows that the EU unity we had in Durban has been eroded and that could damage Europe’s image in global climate change talks,” Danish presidency spokesman Jakob Alvi said.

The fund’s first board meeting is due on April 25 to 27, a U.N. spokesman said, subject to confirmation next week.

Despite the EU’s failure to reach an agreement, it should not affect the number of seats it will be allocated on the GCF board, he added.

SEAT DISPUTE

Thirteen of the 27 EU countries had requested a board seat, to ensure they had a say in funding decisions.

A draft EU document, seen by Reuters this week, shows that EU member states and Switzerland might together be able to obtain seven full seats plus associated alternating seats between them. Denmark had proposed that Britain, Germany and France, as the likely biggest financial contributors, should hold a full seat each and share three further alternating seats with another EU country.

But an EU source involved in the discussions said Germany – backed by France – refused to share its seat with any other EU country and insisted on a permanent position on the board, ending any chance of an EU compromise.

Poland also insisted on having a full seat, and told the meeting that in the absence of a joint proposal it would put itself forward to the U.N. in a separate bid outside the EU, sources said under condition of anonymity.

Poland, which relies heavily on coal production for its energy needs, says its economy would develop much more quickly if it wasn’t for the EU’s climate policy, which aims to make coal power generation more expensive.

“(The Commission) has tried to rob us so many times before. This time around we want to wear a second jacket – just in case – and let nothing we are eligible for miss us,” a Polish government source told Reuters.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 14th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

GWEC Newsletter
GWEC Newsletter
GWEC Newsletter

EWEA 2012 takes place in wind energy’s heartland

To be Opened by Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt and Danish Crown Prince Frederik, EWEA 2012 Annual Event – running from 16-19 April 2012 at Copenhagen’s Bella Center – is anticipated to attract over 10,000 people from professionals in wind power and industries related to wind energy, to national and EU policy makers and journalists.

Read more

EWEA/GWEC Communications Academy focuses on better tools for boosting public acceptance

EWEA and GWEC, are organising a Communications Academy on 19 April at EWEA 2012 in Copenhagen, with a special focus on boosting public acceptance. The one-day programme includes topics such as Wind turbines and Health and a full afternoon session with an interactive discussion on the points of view of developers, national associations and the grid industry on improving public acceptance and how to better communicate and share best practices.

Read more

A brief update on Global Wind Day

Global Wind Day, organised jointly by GWEC/EWEA, takes place on 15 June every year. It provides the opportunity for citizens to discover and find out more about wind energy. Preparations for the fourth annual Global Wind Day are well under way.

Read more

Events can now be WindMade certified – Product label following soon

The consumer label WindMade can now be used for events that are 100% powered by wind power. A WindMade events label was developed in response to numerous requests that the organisation has received from event, conference and trade show organisers who want to differentiate their events by showing their commitment to wind power.

Read more

Powering up sub-Saharan Africa – unlocking the win-win-wind opportunities

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) suffers from acute power shortages, detrimental to growth and poverty reduction. SSA also has significant wind resources, with an exploitable wind potential of almost 7GW over the next 15 years (excluding South Africa). Yet, wind energy investments in SSA are far below their potential, largely due to the political risks associated with financing.

Read more

Siemens and Shanghai Electric agree on strategic wind power alliance for China – A breakthrough in the world’s largest wind power market

Siemens and Shanghai Electric intend to set up two new joint ventures to form a strategic alliance for the Chinese wind power market. Corresponding agreements were signed on 8 December 2011, in Shanghai by the two companies. The aim of this alliance is to better serve China as the world’s largest wind power market.

Read more

China’s national grid code will come into force in June 2012

China’s National Standardization Committee approved and released “Technical Rules for Connecting Wind Farms to the Power System” (GB/T 19963-2011), which will begin being enforced on 1 June. The standard, also known as China’s national grid code, has been controversial throughout the multi-year drafting process, attracting much industry attention. The code includes technical requirements for individual WTGs as well as wind power plants.

BWE

Interconnected grid system under way for Brazil and Uruguay

Current regulatory rules between Brazil and Uruguay allow only for the exchange of surplus thermo and non-turbinable hydro, i.e., excess electricity. Brazil’s National System Operator (ONS) together with the Ministry of Mining and Energy have conducted a study on a more complete electrical interconnection with Uruguay. The project was initiated by the Brazilian and Urugayan governments last year, during President Dilma Roussef’s visit to Uruguay.

Read more

Offshore wind farm

Brazil Windpower 2012: Call for abstracts open until end April

Brazil Windpower will return to Rio de Janeiro from 29-31 August 2012 for its third edition. Brazil had a very active year in 2011, reaching the 1 GW milestone, and has a pipeline of more than 7,000 MW to be completed before the end of 2016.

Read more

Siemens wins order for offshore wind park in Germany

Siemens Energy has received another large order to build an offshore wind power plant in Germany. For the Amrumbank West project in the North Sea, the company is supplying 80 wind turbines, each with an output of 3.6 megawatts (MW) and 120 meter diameter rotor. The customer is Amrumbank West GmbH, a subsidiary of E.ON AG. With an installed capacity of 288 MW, this wind power plant will deliver clean energy for around 300,000 households when it goes online in 2015. This is Siemens’ seventh German order for offshore wind turbines.

Read more

Wind Energy in Italy in 2012

In 2011, 950MW of new wind capacity was added in Italy, roughly the same amount as in 2010. Since 10MW were dismantled, the cumulative capacity totalled 6,737MW at the end of 2011. The result is disappointing; given that many projects have been lining up for years for the approval process to be finalised. Indeed, the average time for the complete authorisation process is four years. There is currently a lack of new initiatives in Italy due to uncertainty that still prevails over the new regulatory framework and tariffs, which should enter into force in the beginning of 2013.

Read more

Spain risks losing its wind industry if moratorium is extended

Wind turbine manufacturers based in Spain warn of the risk of closing their factories and settling in other countries if the wind moratorium established in Royal Decree 1/2012 is extended. The industry, which currently provides employment to 30,000 people, needs a clear sign about the future.

Read more

CG powers E.ON’s Humber Gateway offshore wind farm in UK

CG has been awarded the contract for the design, engineering, supply and installation of the Onshore and Offshore Substations at the 219 MW Humber Gateway offshore wind farm in the United Kingdom. Humber Gateway is a Round 2 Offshore Wind Project owned by E.ON.

Read more

New Zealand Wind Energy Conference and Exhibition 2012

Wind energy is forecast to grow significantly in New Zealand. The Wind Energy Conference taking place in Hamilton from 2-4 April 2012 is your unique opportunity to discover the latest insights and information while meeting everyone from the wind energy industry.

Read more

RenewableUK

Events

02-02 April 2012: New Zealand Wind Energy Conference and Exhibition
16-19 April 2012: EWEA 2012, Copenhagen, Denmark
03-06 June 2012: AWEA Windpower, Atlanta, USA
13-14 June 2012: Global Offshore Wind, London, UK
29-31 August 2012: Brazil Windpower 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
18-22 September 2012: Husum WindEnergy 2012, Husum, Germany
16-18 October 2012: China Wind Power 2012, Beijing, China
22-24 October 2012: WindABA 2012, Cape Town, South Africa
28-30 November 2012: Wind Power India, Chennai, India
30-31 January 2013: Mexico WindPower 2013, Mexico City, Mexico

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 28th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Better Place’s Electric Cars Hit the Roads

Israeli company Better Place celebrates fourth anniversary, officially inaugurates its first fleet of electrical cars.
By Elad Benari & Yoni Kempinski

First Publish: 1/23/2012, 5:44 AM


Better Place electric car

Better Place electric car
Israel news photo: Chen Galili

The Israeli company Better Place on Sunday celebrated its fourth anniversary. The company marked this special occasion by officially inaugurating its first fleet of 100 electric cars. A convoy of 70 cars, driven by dozens of the company’s employees, took to the streets of Tel Aviv for their first rides.

The electric car developed by Better Place has no exhaust pipe and no gas cap, but rather a simple electric socket. It runs on a 450-lb. lithium-ion battery and can go as far as 140 miles before the battery needs to be swapped or recharged at the recharging stations. 200 such stations are expected to be available around the country in the future.

Better Place announced that the delivery process of the new cars will take place in stages and will progress as the infrastructure across the country is completed. The company expects that the deliveries to the general public will begin in the second quarter of 2012.

In 2010, Israel’s Ministry of Transportation gave Better Place a permit to import 13 Renault Fluence electric cars for testing. Israel has long been committed to electric cars, and has expressed hope that by the end of this year it will be the world’s first nation to host a national electric car network.

One of the innovations of the electric cars is that its motor is silent, eliminating the loud exhaust noises in regular cars.

“You hear a noise that lets you know the car is on,” Zohar Beit’or of Better Place told Arutz Sheva. “It’s exactly like the noise that an electric camera makes.”

“The car is so silent that you can actually speak quietly and have a nice conversation without the need to shout,” he said. “It really makes you relax.”

Beit’or noted that he was very excited about the official launch of the new cars, adding he has worked for three years on this project.

“When I started, we only had plans on PowerPoint and we shared many ideas on how this day would look,” he said. “And it’s happening now. For me, it’s a piece of history.”

The company’s Oren Kassif explained that while the Renault company makes the cars, the infrastructure is Israeli and developed by Better Place. This includes charging spots, battery swap stations, and the command and control software.

“This is the first time you can say, at a country-wide level, that you can drive an electric car anywhere in the country,” he said. “What we’ve shown today is that we can deliver the cars, we can sell them, we can have customers driving on the road anywhere they wish.”

He added, “It’s a very exciting day. For the past four years we’ve been developing the systems and the infrastructure, recruiting people and bringing in more investors and customers.”

Photos by Chen Galili







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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 3rd, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development (FIELD) |www.field.org.uk
A FIELD roundtable discussion on “A new governance body for the oceans? Focus on MPAs”  will be held at FIELD’s offices in London on 12 January 2012 (2.30pm – 5pm).

The FIELD roundtable “A new governance body for the oceans? Focus on MPAs” follows from a previous roundtable on “new rules for the oceans” held in July 2011 where the subject was the recent work of the UN Working Group on marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

This second roundtable will be an opportunity to continue discussions on UN developments, with a particular focus on the potential for a new global governing body dealing with marine protected areas in areas beyond national jurisdiction. This includes the role that a new global body may play in relation to the identification, designation and management of marine protected areas. These issues will be very relevant to continued discussions of the Working Group.

The event will be informal and it will be held under the Chatham House Rule of non-attribution. A more detailed agenda will follow nearer the time.

Please let anna.karklina@field.org.uk or Steve Cole (colemarinelaw@gmail.com) know if you can make it.

Best wishes,

Joy Hyvarinen
Executive Director

Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development (FIELD) |www.field.org.uk

Tel: + 44 (0)20 7842 8522| Suite D, 1st Floor | The Merchant Centre | 1 New Street Square | London, EC4A 3BF | United Kingdom

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 14th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

KIMO’s IISD Reporting Services of the ENB (Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI International Institute for Sustainable Development Environmental News Bulletin) provided the unofficial definitive report of the Durban Climate Change Conference – COP17/CMP7.

This is an invaluable unofficial document that will guide negotiators and participants in the intricate steps of governments dealing with the threats of Global Warming and Climate Change.

KIMO makes it clear that South Africa’s determination not to have the Kyoto Protocol die on African soil, and the determination of EU Commissioner for Climate Action,  Connie Hedegaard, to keep it alive, that eventually won the final night in the INDABA Diplomacy and kicked the ball down the road towards the next series of stops.
We provide here the link to this KIMO document that was prepared by about a dozen members of the IISD team, and supported with funds by a long list of Governments, that nevertheless do not interfere with the running of the reporting system nor with its conclusions, as it is understood by all that a professional team of reporters, outside the UN system, is imperative to provide the information Government negotiators, as well as Civil Society, must have, in order to be able to be effective in these intricate negotiations.

We hope our readers will take the time to read the report:
 mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1#inb…

Fast reading, noting that there were  12,480 registered participants, among them  over 5400 government officials, 5800 representatives of UN bodies and agencies, intergovernmental organizations and civil society organizations, and more than 1,200 defined as media, leads to the conclusion that it was a multi-level chess game that somehow ends up making some sense when seen as a whole. Indeed, the final outcome is to be blessed upon in the sense that it returned the game to the true players by creating new alliances. and it is evident that there is a sense now that the problem is real and something will have to be done about it.

An un-united Europe with its allies from the AOSIS and LDC groups cannot bring about a solution, but nevertheless was able to form a new bloc that can stand at those INDABAs to negotiate with India, China, the US, and Brazil. We accept this as an admonishment to our past postings, but will continue to write that a truly united Europe could be much more effective. Let us remember, though it was not mentioned in the Kimo report – Ms. Connie Hedegaard, a Danish politician, former member of the Conservative Party in the Danish Prliament, journalist,  and public intellectual, was Danish Minister for Climate and Energy, and  Danish Minister for the Environment, and honed her knowledge of the issues when she hosted  the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009. She was there at the time the EU fell of the negotiation table and believed that in Brussels she could redress this. We give her now credits for having done the best she could with her divided flock of Ministers. Oh Well!

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 12th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The “Monday After” the papers asked: Was the European Summit a “Fiasko” or a “Quality Jump?” The papers also wonder about the effectiveness of the “Durban Platform” having noted the strong involvement of the EU 27 in the Durban Conference fight. The Minister says it ended with a breakthrough – others say it was a “Mogelpackung.”

By the way – I happen personally to know know what a “Mogelpackung” is. Back years ago in New York some character sold me what I thought was a video-camera, but in reality it was just the box filled with trash. Surely I could have tried to accuse him of fraud but I preferred to condemn myself to a form of self-punishment for having been so brain weak – laughed it off and wrote off my loss on my self-education bill.  That was easy then, but what should an European State do now? Global 2000 NGO spokesman Wahlmueller said simply that another year in the war against climate change was just lost. We think he is right.

What happened in Brussels was indeed a “Tour de Force” of the Merkozy motor (Mme. Merkel and Herr Sarkozy) leading to the political exit of Mr. Cameron.  Yes, English will continue to be the diplomatic language of the evolving new European Union, but the UK is free to sail off to the Anglo-Saxon bloc led by the US – that is if the US can get its act together and lead again!

To the travails of the British Islands we attach an article from today’s New York Times – this just to say that the problems with the UK are  also internal.  This will be our only borrowed article of this posting – all the other material is of our own making, and as  we decided to write this up as we realized that we are not the only ones to think the way we do.
In effect at  an off the record meeting at the Vienna Diplomatic Academy  we heard that in Brussels it is understood that going it alone, the individual 27, do not amount to much.

In the real world of the 21st century it seems that as Thomas Friedman observed – the Globalized World is Flat – HOT, FLAT, and CROWDED. We add to this that it is important as well to think about how you draw the flat Map of the World. The realistic way is to put the Americas in the center of the map with the Pacific Ocean to the West – the left – and the Atlantic Ocean to the East – the right – with the Northern Hemisphere that includes among other States, the US and China on top – the North.

This maps shows the Trans-Pacific connection of the US to Japan, Australia and Indonesia, and the Trans-Atlantic connection to Europe and Africa.  In this map European Russia is in the periphery, but Asian Russia shows up closer.

A different map is the Euro-centric map. This map keeps Europe and Africa in the center with what the Europeans called the Western Hemisphere – the Americas – to the West – or left – and the huge Asian mass – all of it – to the East or right. The interesting thing is that on this map you see that Europe is just a small part at the West End of the Eurasian land-mass.

The history we learned in school was written by Europeans, and we never were given the true notion that in the last few hundred years it was the European tail that wagged the big Asian dog. We must now relearn our history and realize that the future belongs to big Asia and Europe could have an impact only if it unites and forgets some of the past grandeur, when small European States, Spain, Portugal, France, the netherlands, the British, Belgium, Denmark, later on Italy, Germany, even Austria, having developed their navies and rented  armies,  competed as colonial powers, and made inroads starting out from the coasts of that landmass. But even then – Europe was just an archipelago of small States with the British living on an actual island off the coast of Europe. And you know what? The colonies gone, this same picture stood on, though now, when the size of markets translates into economic power, these European economic islands are shrinking in size. Also, the former colonial powers that still have overseas possessions or linkages, create additional difficulties to their potential to create an integrated Europe. Denmark for instance, joined the EU without Greenland joining as well. Others, like France, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal had to find also ways to deal with their overseas possessions and linkages to their Francophone community or the British Commonwealth.

This last Friday, the unnatural division of the EU into 17 EURO-ZONE States and 10 Non-Euro States proved untenable and a much higher level of integration was suggested at least for the EURO-ZONE to be implemented with the agreement of the non-Euro States that will be called as well to contribute to the economic safety of the laggard States. Everybody agrees that the EURO idea was premature and showed up half backed, but now if the EURO laggards are not helped the whole global economy might collapse. A much higher level of integration is needed and the start is by calling for fiscal integration to back up the Euro-spending. After a lot of haggling 26 out of the 27 did bend to allow for the loss of some of their National decision making powers. But is it enough? The British opted out, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic showed unhappiness, so did the Hungarians, but in the end it was only the UK that did not vote in the positive and they may find out that the rest of the EU might now try to live without the UK as an active participant. Considering that what was decided upon will turn out to be insufficient, it may thus come to be that the UK will not be able to find its way back in = specially as 58% of the population might instinctively accept the notion that it will be to their advantage to leave the thinking Euro-ship.

But did the British lay people look at the Durban scene? That mob of 27 Environment Ministers that did not add up to a seat at the table with the China-India-US big polluters and nay-sayers of the UNFCCC event. In effect the EU 27 ended up being in alliance with over 100 of the smaller UN fray – the Small Island States, the Least Developed States and parts of Africa. Brazil and South Africa, even though they were not in full alignment with the other BASIC States or the US, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea … the other leading developing economies were still in the lead and the 27 Europeans were tripping over each other in trying to prove that they are on the side of the good and thoughtful. Oh well!
The final result was not satisfying at all and one could have imagined a united Europe with clear power to muscle its way to more concrete results – not just something that boils down to an agreement to meet again.

Kyoto is dead for all practical purposes with Canada, Japan, Russia, New Zealand, joining the US on the sidelines – so it is disingenuous to say that the individual EU States saved the day.

Please see the internal debate now in the UK:


Partner in British Coalition Criticizes Cameron’s Veto on Europe Treaty.

By 
Published: December 11, 2011, Printed in the New York TimesMonday,  December 12, 2011.
LONDON — Serious cracks appeared in Britain‘ s coalition government on Sunday, when Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, a Liberal Democrat, broke with the government line and said he was “bitterly disappointed” at the outcome of last week’s European summit meeting.

Mr. Clegg told the BBC that the decision by Prime Minister David Cameron, a Conservative, to veto proposed European treaty changes left Britain in danger of being “isolated and marginalized” in Europe. He added that if he had been in charge, “of course things would have been different.”

Mr. Cameron vetoed the proposals early Friday after seeking, and failing to secure, safeguards he said were vital for the health of London’s financial sector. But with the 26 other members of the European Union either agreeing to the proposed plan outright or saying they would put the matter before their Parliaments, Mr. Cameron’s veto left Britain alone on the margins at a time of great upheaval on the Continent, with the European Union struggling to resolve its financial crisis.

On Friday, Mr. Clegg appeared to support Mr. Cameron’s decision, although he warned the Conservative Party’s anti-Europe wing against being too triumphant about the problems facing the European Union. But his stance hardened over the weekend, and on Sunday he appeared to have backtracked, or at least tried to finesse his explanation to show that was in line with his party’s pro-Europe principles.

In fact, Mr. Clegg told the BBC that when Mr. Cameron called him at 4 a.m. Friday with the news that Britain had vetoed the plan: “I said this was bad for Britain. I made it clear that it was untenable for me to welcome it.”

Mr. Clegg has already lost the confidence of many Liberal Democrats by appearing to betray the party’s position when he has supported the government on other issues, like increasing the amount of tuition colleges can charge.

After the summit meeting, many prominent Liberal Democrats went further than Mr. Clegg.

A former party leader, Paddy Ashdown, described Mr. Cameron’s veto as a “catastrophically bad move” and said it would do nothing to shield London’s financial district, the City, from future European regulations. “In the name of protecting the City, we have made it more vulnerable,” he said.

Lord Ashdown also warned that the move had alienated Europe in a way that would haunt the United Kingdom.

“The anti-European prejudice of some in the Tory party,” he said, “has now created anti-British prejudice in Europe.”

Mr. Clegg, a former member of the European Parliament, said he would now “fight, fight and fight again” to make sure Britain remained an influential force inside the European Union. He said he would resist “tooth and nail” efforts by some Conservatives to take the country completely out of the union, particularly since the United States has found Britain a useful conduit to Europe.

“A Britain that leaves the E.U. will be considered irrelevant by Washington and a pygmy in the world, when I want us to stand tall in the world,” he said.

Mr. Clegg criticized Conservatives who had hailed Mr. Cameron as a “British bulldog” for his tough line on Europe.

“There’s nothing bulldog about Britain hovering somewhere in the mid-Atlantic, not standing tall in Europe, not being taken seriously in Washington,” he said.

To which one Conservative member of Parliament, Mark Pritchard, retorted, “Better to be a British bulldog than a Brussels poodle,” The Associated Press reported.

Mr. Cameron, meanwhile, was welcomed as a hero by his party’s anti-Europe right wing. “Up Eurs,” was the headline in Rupert Murdoch’s populist, anti-European tabloid newspaper, The Sun, along with a photograph of Mr. Cameron in a Churchillian bowler hat, holding two fingers up to Europe — the equivalent of an American middle finger.

“He did what I would have expected Margaret Thatcher to have done,” Andrew Rosindell, a Conservative member of Parliament, said approvingly.

But Kenneth Clarke, the Justice secretary and the Conservatives’ most prominent pro-Europe member, said in a radio interview that Mr. Cameron’s veto was a “disappointing, very surprising outcome.” He said he would be listening carefully to the prime minister’s statement in Parliament on the matter on Monday.

As upset as he is, Mr. Clegg said he did not want the coalition government to collapse.

“It would be even more damaging for us as a country if the coalition government was to fall apart,” he said. “That would cause economic disaster for the country at a time of great economic uncertainty.”

Related:

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 2nd, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

2011 Human Development Report

“Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All”

What: New York launch of the 2011 Human Development Report

When: Wednesday, 2 November 2011, at 10:30 a.m. EST

Where: UN Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium

Who:               William Orme, Chief of Communications & Publishing, Human Development Report Office

Milorad Kovacevic, Statistics Advisor at the Human Development Report Office

Satinder Bindra, Director, Office of Communications

The annual Human Development Report is an editorially independent publication of UNDP, produced annually since 1990. The Reports are available in ten languages for free downloading as PDFs or e-Books at

The Global launch of the Human Development Report will take place in Copenhagen, at 11:00 am GMT. Live webcast: on.undp.org/v2nDEC

We’ll also live tweet from @UNDP – join the conversation by using #hdr2011 in your tweets!

Join the discussion on Sustainable Human Development in a World at 7 Billion: Twitter chat with UNDP Administrator Helen Clark 13:30 GMT (9h30am EDT)

Join the conversation on Twitter by using #UNDPchat or follow it on www.undp.org/chat/

You do not need to have your own Twitter account to read chat contributions.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 29th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Q&A: “It Pays Off to Become More Energy Efficient”
Rousbeh Legatis interviews CONNIE HEDEGAARD, European Union commissioner for climate action
UNITED NATIONS, Sep 27 – With the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period set to expire in 2012, Connie Hedegaard, EU commissioner for climate action, is pushing for more countries to agree on binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
MORE >>
In Expanding Energy Access, Businesses Can Reap Benefits
Aline Cunico
UNITED NATIONS, Sep 27 – The United Nations is partnering with private sector firms to promote universal access to energy, improved efficiency and wider deployment of renewable sources.
MORE >>

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Connie Heidegaard, a Danish intellectual and politician, on behalf of Denmark, she hosted the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009 – she was then Danish Minister for Climate and Energy from 23 November 2007 till 10 February  2010, when she became European Commissioner for Climate Action in the (second BarrosoEuropean Commission. Before that – Danish Minister for the Environment from 2 August 2004 to 23 November 2007, as a member of the Cabinet of Anders Fogh Rasmussen I and II.

Connie Hedegaard / Credit:Courtesy of Connie Hedegaard

Connie Heidegaard, though a member of the Conservative People’s Party (DKF), she is of the school when Climate Change and Environment were issues that are global and local and are based on participation of business. These are not issues of diplomacy as per Foreign Ministries – the way the developing countries see this – a fight of political wills of the new that wants polluting rights equal to the old. She is now in a position to push the issue on a European level – as much as the EU membership will allow her. But she is not part of the leadership in upcoming Durban Climate Convention.

The second article brings back the issue to the teaching that good business looks for SUSTAINABILITY in good climate policy they need to direct their planning for the future.


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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 11th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

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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