[Spanner Films] We’ve passed 400ppm: now what?
You’ve probably heard the appalling news that, for the first time in human history, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has just passed 400 parts per million. (Eh? Scientific America’s explanation here). It’s been 2.5 million years since CO2 was last at this level – at which point, temperatures were 2 to 3 degrees C higher, the Arctic was ice-free, global weather patterns were completely different, sea levels were up to 40 metres higher and humans did not live on the planet.
Which means that we are heading for an even worse scenario than the one we depicted in The Age of Stupid: Africa uninhabitable, continental Europe mostly desert, Australia’s agricultural system destroyed, hundreds of major cities underwater, hundreds of millions of people dead and many more on the move. Possibly within my lifetime (born 1972, hoping to live to 2062), but almost certainly within my daughter Eva’s (born 2012, hoping to live to 2102).
Scientists (proper ones, not oil-industry sponsored) have calculated the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to be 350 parts per million (hence the campaign, 350.org, see their video explanation here). The last time we were in this safe zone was October 1988, which itself was a long way passed the 280ppm we were at when we started seriously burning fossil fuels at the beginning of industrialisation. To get back to safety at 350ppm, we need nothing less than a “transformation to a low-carbon economy for the entirety of human civilisation“, as Mark Lynas says in Age of Stupid, which is “obviously a huge, monumental task, probably the greatest that humanity has ever faced. “.
So what the hell are we all going to do now?
-> Should we pile pressure on to the UN, in the hope that they defy all expectations and finally make the international agreement needed to slash global emissions?
-> Should we start a National Strike, bringing the country to a standstill until the Government goes onto a war footing on climate change?
-> Should we go into survivalist mode, buying up guns and fortifying our homes? It sounds extreme, but it’s not a coincidence that people working on climate change are buying pieces of land far away from centres of population to move their families
-> Should we party party party now, flying all round the world gorging on fossil fuels, pretending we don’t know it’s happening?
-> Should we take the moral high ground and continue to cut our own emissions, despite knowing it will make F-all difference?
-> Should we transfer all our assets into geo-engineering, on the miniscule off-chance that someone will come up with a tech fix in time?
-> Should we leave our jobs and devote our working lives to building a new political movement to take over when this one inevitably collapses in the face of the catastrophe it did nothing to stop?
-> Should we join our local Transition Towns, working together to build resilience into our communities, despite it being hard to see what difference that could make when continental Europe becomes a desert and 700 million people start heading north?
- > Should we stockpile cyanide? You think I’m exaggerating, but a close friend of mine, who has four children, said she plans to kill herself and them when it comes to it.
I am extremely interested to know what everyone is thinking and whether anyone sees any positive ways forward… Please reply to this email or go to this webpage and add a comment.
Yours in despair,
PS: Stupid’s graphics dude Greg McKneally – who designed the tower which Pete Postlethwaite’s character lives in – has been given 20 hours (20 hours!) of interview time with Professor James Lovelock to make a definitive documentary on the great eco thinker. Greg’s team have just launched their crowd-funding campaign to raise £20K, please chip in if you can: www.kickstarter.
Our website has proposed that geopolitics are headed to a new structure were it is needed to have a billion people in order to be considered a World Power. As such we proposed that besides China and India, the other World powers will be -
- an Anglo-American Block led by the US and that will include also the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and as well Mexico and Japan;
- an Islamic Block led by Turkey or Indonesia that will stretch from Mauritania to Indonesia;
- and a block “Of the Rest” that will be led by Brazil and include, with a few exceptions based on the US led Trans-Pacific Partnership (the TPP) , Latin America, Africa, the SIDS, parts of Asia.
We see the recent news of Brazil defeating Mexico for the leadership of the WTO as an important step in above direction.
Brazil Wins Leadership of the World Trade Organization
Brazilian Roberto Azevêdo has been chosen over Mexican candidate Herminio Blanco as the newest director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on May 7. El Palenque, AnimalPolitico’s debate forum for experts, discusses the effects this win will have on Mexican diplomacy, Brazil’s role in trade liberalization, and the prominence of the BRICS on the world stage. Azevêdo will be the first Latin American to head the WTO.
The Financial Times wrote May 7, 2013:
So, Roberto Azevêdo, Brazil’s candidate for director general of the WTO, has pipped his rival Herminio Blanco of Mexico for the job.
But there is still a question to be answered: Who won? The man or the country?
Between Azevêdo and Blanco, there may not be much to choose. Both have impressive credentials. Azevêdo, a career diplomat in one of the world’s most polished diplomatic services, has been Brazil’s ambassador to the WTO since 2008. He knows the organisation inside out. Blanco is a businessman steeped in trade, a trade consultant who was formerly Mexico’s trade minister and its chief negotiator during preparation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
If the race was between two technocrats, it must have been a photo finish.
But what if the WTO members voted for the country, not the man? Then, it was a matter of chalk and cheese. Disgruntled Mexicans – whose pride will have taken a severe knock – will call this a victory of protectionism over free trade.
It will also be a victory of the developing world over the developed one.
Mexico, which has free trade agreements with 44 different countries, is the new poster child of developed world policies at work in the developing world. Brazil has free trade agreements with nobody, and has shown a tendency to renegotiate what agreements it does have as soon as they become inconvenient – not least its auto agreement with Mexico. Many developing countries – in Africa and Asia as well as in Latin America – will have felt the Brazilian was much more likely to protect their fledgling manufacturers and farmers than was the Mexican. Many of those countries, especially in Africa, already have closer ties with Brazil than they do with Mexico.
In an interview with Reuters, Azevêdo played down the issue of nationality:
To those who say that, under Azevêdo, the WTO will lose sight of its mission to promote free trade, others will reply that it never had one in the first place.
But Tuesday’s decision will make a big difference. No matter how pure a technocrat he is, Azevêdo will find it hard to fend off the influence of Brasília. It was the Brazilian that won, and not the Mexican.
Related FT reading:
SO, WE WILL SAY – THE FT AGREE WITH OUR POINT OF VIEW THAT THE US CANDIDATE – MEXICO – LOST TO THE CANDIDATE OF THE THIRD WORLD – THAT IS OUR TRUE SIXTH WORLD – WHO WILL STAND UP TO THE BIGGER BOYS OF THE OTHER FIVE WORLDS – SPECIFICALLY THE US – WHO BLATANTLY USE THE INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS FOR THEIR OWN GOOD – EXCLUSIVELY!!!
FURTHER NEWS OF RELEVANCE TO THE NEW WORLD IN THE MAKING:
Former President Bill Clinton announced on May 6 that the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) would be expanding to Latin America in December 2013, with its first meeting set to launch in Rio de Janeiro. He was joined by Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes in making the announcement at the mid-year meeting for his annual conference.
President Dilma Rousseff announced the start of a small business ministry on May 6, saying that government banks will provide up to $7,500 to small businesses in 2013 and will reduce the public loan interest rate from 8 percent to 5 percent beginning on May 31. “The question of small business is indispensable for the country’s future and present,” said Rousseff. Brazil’s estimated 6 million micro and small businesses accounted for 40 percent of the country’s 15 million new jobs from 2001 to 2011.
Brazil plans to hire approximately 6,000 Cuban doctors to work in the country’s rural areas, said Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota on May 6. The Federal Medical Council–a Brazilian doctor’s organization–questioned the island nation’s medical qualifications, but Patriota called Cuba “very proficient in the areas of medicine, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology.” President Dilma Rousseff began the talks in January 2012, and both countries are currently consulting with the Pan American Health Organization to move forward.
The International Monetary Fund’s May 2013 Regional Economic Outlook predicts Latin America’s growth to increase approximately 3.5 percent by the end of the year. But, in an article for The Huffington Post, Director for the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department Alejandro Werner questions whether countries in the region will be able to “adjust policies to preserve macroeconomic and financial stability” after the near-future external benefits, such as easy external financing and high commodity prices, begin to decline.
Volcanoes and Geysers Could Fuel Chilean Energy
Chile will partner with New Zealand to develop its deep exploration drilling and to develop its geothermal energy production. Chile is home to 20 percent of the world’s active volcanoes, which can be harnessed for geothermal energy. However, only 5 percent of the country’s electrical power is attributed to renewable energy resources, reports IPS News.
The Pacific Alliance Creates a Legislative Committee
Heads of Congress from Pacific Alliance members Chile, Colombia, México, and Perú signed an accord to form a Pacific Alliance Inter-Parliamentary Committee on May 6, reports La República. The committee would serve as the legislative arm of the Alliance by developing a framework to approve free trade agreements and distribution of goods, services, and capital under the Alliance. The committee will be officially presented to the Alliance at a legislative session in Chile in June.
Washington to Host Chilean and Peruvian Presidents
Chile’s President Sebastian Piñera and Peru’s President Ollanta Humala will visit Washington D.C. in June to discuss economic relations with President Obama. Piñera’s visit will take place on June 4, and Humala will visit one week later on June 11. The agenda will likely touch on negotiations with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as all three countries hope to develop closer economic ties to Asian markets.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is still on a hospital bed but the questions of his Human Rights and the US access to immigrants are weighed against ongoing foreign-sourced potential terrorism. HOW MUCH HUMAN RIGHTS DENIAL IS NEEDED TO INCREASE SECURITY – AND WHEN? Now Dzhokar is a US citizen and was granted full rights on 9/11/2013.
The surviving suspect in last week’s Boston Marathon bombings, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, “will not be treated as an enemy combatant” – but rather will be prosecuted “through our civilian system of justice,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said today. “Under U.S. law, United States citizens cannot be tried in military commissions,” he said.
“The suspect made an initial appearance in the hospital room in front of a federal magistrate judge,” Circuit Executive Gary Wente tells CNN. The complaint is under seal, Wente said. This initial appearance does not constitute an arraignment.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been charged in federal court with use of a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death.
The statutory charges authorize a penalty, upon conviction, of death or imprisonment for life or any term of years, according to a statement from the Department of Justice.
A moment of silence will be observed at 2:50 p.m. ET today, exactly a week after the twin explosions near the marathon’s finish line that killed three and injured more than 170 others.
Boston bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev conveyed to investigators that no international terrorist groups were behind the attacks, a U.S. government source told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev indicated his older brother, Tamerlan, was the driving force behind the attacks and wanted to defend Islam from attack, the source said.
The 19-year-old was “alert, mentally competent and lucid,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler found during a brief initial court appearance in Tsarnaev’s hospital room. During the hearing, he communicated mostly by nodding his head.
Glenn Greenwald | What Rights Should Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Get?
How Much Civil Liberty Should We Give Up?
Immigration and Fear.
If the goal is to reduce CO2 Emissions – Trading in Permits to Pollute was born at a dead-end and today’s European trading in such permits shows above to be true. New free thinking – that is outside the banking system – is being called for.
In Europe, Paid Permits for Pollution Are Fizzling.
Andrew Testa for The International Herald Tribune
By STANLEY REED and MARK SCOTT
Published: April 21, 2013
LONDON — On a showery afternoon last week in West London, a ripple of enthusiasm went through the trading floor of CF Partners, a privately owned financial company. The price of carbon allowances, shown in green lights on a board hanging from the ceiling, was creeping up toward three euros. That is pretty small change — $3.90, or only about 10 percent of what the price was in 2008. But to the traders it came as a relief after the market had gone into free fall to record lows two days earlier, after the European Parliament spurned an effort to shore up prices by shrinking the number of allowances.
“The market still stands,” said Thomas Rassmuson, a native of Sweden who founded the company with Jonathan Navon, a Briton, in 2006.
Still, Europe’s carbon market, a pioneering effort to use markets to regulate greenhouse gases, is having a hard time staying upright.
This year has been stomach-churning for the people who make their living in the arcane world of trading emissions permits. The most recent volatility comes on top of years of uncertainty during which prices have fluctuated from $40 to nearly zero for the right to emit one ton of carbon dioxide.
More important, though, than lost jobs and diminished payouts for traders and bankers, the penny ante price of carbon credits means the market is not doing its job: pushing polluters to reduce carbon emissions, which most climate scientists believe contribute to global warming.
The market for these credits, officially called European Union Allowances, or E.U.A.’s, has been both unstable and under sharp downward pressure this year because of a huge oversupply and a stream of bad political and economic news. On April 16, for instance, after the European Parliament voted down the proposed reduction in the number of credits, prices dropped about 50 percent, to 2.63 euros from nearly 5, in 10 minutes.
“No one was going to buy” on the way down, said Fred Payne, a trader with CF Partners.
Europe’s troubled experience with carbon trading has also discouraged efforts to establish large-scale carbon trading systems in other countries, including the United States, although California and a group of Northeastern states have set up smaller regional markets.
Traders do not mind big price swings in any market — in fact, they can make a lot of money if they play them right.
But over time, the declining prices for the credits have sapped the European market of value, legitimacy and liquidity — the ease with which the allowances can be traded — making it less attractive for financial professionals.
A few years ago, analysts thought world carbon markets were heading for the $2 trillion mark by the end of this decade.
Today, the reality looks much more modest. Total trading last year was 62 billion euros, down from 96 billion in 2011, according to Thomson Reuters Point Carbon, a market research firm based in Oslo. Close to 90 percent of that activity was in Europe, while North American trading represented less than 1 percent of worldwide market value.
Financial institutions that had rushed to increase staff have shrunk their carbon desks. Companies have also laid off other professionals who helped set up greenhouse gas reduction projects in developing countries like China and India.
When the emissions trading system was started in 2005, the goal was to create a global model for raising the costs of emitting greenhouse gases and for prodding industrial polluters to switch from burning fossil fuels to using clean-energy alternatives like wind and solar.
When carbon prices hit their highs of more than 30 euros in 2008 and companies spent billions to invest in renewables, policy makers hailed the market as a success. But then prices began to fall. And at current levels, they are far too low to change companies’ behaviors, analysts say. Emitting a ton of carbon dioxide costs about the same as a hamburger.
“At the moment, the carbon price does not give any signal for investment,” said Hans Bünting, chief executive of RWE, one of the largest utilities in Germany and Europe.
This cap-and-trade system in Europe places a ceiling on emissions. At the end of each year, companies like electric utilities or steel manufacturers must hand over to the national authorities the permits equivalent to the amount gases emitted.
Until the end of 2012, these credits were given to companies free according to their estimated output of greenhouse gases. Policy makers wanted to jump-start the trading market and avoid higher costs for consumers.
Beginning this year, energy companies must buy an increasing proportion of their credits in national auctions. Industrial companies like steel plants will follow later this decade.
Companies and other financial players like banks and hedge funds can also acquire and trade the allowances on exchanges like the Intercontinental Exchange, based in Atlanta. Over time the number of credits is meant to fall gradually, theoretically raising prices and cutting pollution.
The reality has been far different because of serious flaws in the design of the system. To win over companies and skeptical countries like Poland, which burn a lot of coal, far too many credits have been handed out.
At the same time, Europe’s debilitating economic slowdown has sharply curtailed industrial activity and reduced the Continent’s overall carbon emissions.
Steel making in Europe, for instance, has fallen about 30 percent since 2007, while new car registrations were at their lowest level last year since 1995.
Big investments in renewable energy sources like wind and solar also reduced carbon emissions, which have fallen about 10 percent in Europe since 2007.
As a result, there is a vast surplus of permits — about 800 million tons’ worth, according to Point Carbon. That has caused prices to plunge.
The cost of carbon is far too low to force electric utilities in Europe to switch from burning coal, a major polluter, to much cleaner natural gas. Just the opposite: Britain increased coal burning for electricity more than 30 percent last year, while cutting back gas use a similar amount, and other West European nations increased their coal use as well.
“The European energy scene is not a good one,” said Andrew Brown, head of exploration and production at Royal Dutch Shell. “They haven’t got the right balance in terms of promoting gas.”
Fearing that prices might go to zero because of the huge oversupply, the European authorities proposed a short-term solution known as backloading, which would have delayed the scheduled auctioning of a large portion of the credits that were supposed to be sold over the next three years. But the European Parliament in Strasbourg voted the measure down on April 16.
Lawmakers were worried about tampering with the market as well as doing anything that might increase energy costs in the struggling economy.
“It was the worst possible moment to try to implement something like that,” said Francesco Starace, chief executive of Enel Green Power, one of the largest European green-energy companies, which is based in Rome.
The European authorities, led by Connie Hedegaard, the European commissioner for climate change, have not given up on fixing the system. But analysts like Stig Scholset, at Point Carbon, say that there is not much the authorities can do in the short term and that prices may slump for months, if not years.
That means more tough times for financial institutions. Particularly troubled is the business of investing in greenhouse gas abatement projects like wind farms or hydroelectric dams in developing countries like China. JPMorgan Chase paid more than $200 million for one of the largest investors in these projects, EcoSecurities, in 2009.
Financiers say these projects used to be gold mines, generating credits that industrial companies could use to offset their emissions elsewhere. But so many credits have been produced by these projects — on top of the existing oversupply of credits in Europe — that they are trading at about a third of a euro.
Market participants say they see many rivals pulling back from world carbon markets. Deutsche Bank, the largest bank in Germany, has cut back its carbon trading. Smaller outfits like Mabanaft, based in Rotterdam, have also left the business.
Anthony Hobley, a lawyer in London and president of the Climate Market and Investors Association, an industry group, estimates that among the traders, analysts and bankers who flocked to the carbon markets in the early days, half may now be gone.
But carbon trading is unlikely to fade completely.
For one thing, European utilities and other companies now must buy the credits to comply with the rules. And they can buy credits to save for later use, when their emissions increase and the price of credits rises.
Despite Europe’s sputters, carbon trading is beginning to gain traction in places like China, Australia and New Zealand.
In London, Mr. Rassmuson concedes that the business has turned out to be more up-and-down than he anticipated when he and his partner set up their firm in a tiny two-man office in 2006.
But he said his firm was benefiting from others’ dropping out. He is also branching out into trading electric power and natural gas.
Like many in the carbon markets, he says what he is doing is not just about money.
“Trying to make the world more sustainable is important to us,” he said. “It is a good business opportunity that makes us proud.”
THE ISSUE IS NOW – HOW DO YOU STIMULATE INDUSTRIES THAT HELP REDUCE CARBON EMISSIONS WITHOUT RESORTING TO THE ABOVE GIMMICK OF CARBON-POLLUTION TRADING-in-CERTIFICATES?
WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN BETTER A SYSTEM THAT IS BASED ON ORDERING THE POLLUTING INDUSTRIES IN A DIRECT WAY? DESPITE ANYTHING THAT IS BEING SAID BY THE BANKING FINANCIAL TRADING COMPANIES – MUCH MORE OF THE TRADING SYSTEM WAS BASED ON EXPORTING POLLUTION OVERSEAS – “ON THE HOT AIR BALLOONS THAT RESULTED BY CLOSING INEFFICIENT INDUSTRIES” and on FOREIGN AID PROJECTS THAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED ANYWAY. WE HOPE THAT BIG MARKETS LIKE THE EU, the US, and CHINA, ESTABLISH NOW INTERNAL SYSTEMS, MODELED IN PART BY THE THE COASTAL USA PROGRAMS in CALIFORNIA AND THE EAST COAST – AND ESTABLISH COUNTRY-WIDE PENALTIES PER TONE OF CO2 – and yes – penalty always hurts initially but change in behavior eventually bears fruit.
Grateful for Dirty Dishes. And Taxes.
As April heats up and that midnight-on-the-15th deadline approaches, even the most civic-minded of us can end up feeling stressed and crabby about taxes. A quarter of households (like mine) will procrastinate until the last two weeks to take care of a task that can feel like an annual headache. As odd as it may sound in this context, reframing those tax forms as an opportunity to count your personal blessings and America’s blessings might be a mental health lifesaver.
Research shows that deliberately counting blessings or keeping “gratitude lists” has a host of mental health benefits, and cultivating a habit of gratitude reduces negative affect like resentment, irritability, stress, and depression.
My cousin Robyn is a hard-working mother of three whose joints don’t function as well as they once did. In fact, they hurt. A lot. The day-to-day can be a challenge, and most people in her situation do a fair bit of grumbling. But Robyn recently posted on Facebook: Lord, I thank You for dirty clothes, muddy shoes, messy rooms, a dusty house, tired legs, aching knees, and taxes. I thank You that I have clothes, shoes, a room to make a mess in, a house to get dirty, legs that work, knees that bend and a free country in which I can pay taxes.
Her words transported me all the way back to my childhood, to the 1962 tract house where I shared a room with two sisters, and a bathroom with another two brothers, and kitchen chores with the whole family – except that left of the kitchen sink was frequently stacked high with items waiting to be scrubbed, and the drainer seemed always full. But on the other side of the sink, attached to the upper cabinet, was a little sign that read, “Thank God for dirty dishes; they have a tale to tell; while others may be hungry; we’re eating very well. . . .” As a short child up to my elbows in soapy water, I liked the sign and I liked washing dishes, and I still like them both – most of the time – to this day.
I first broadened my appreciation from dirty dishes to taxes on a trip to Guatemala. My husband and I were winding our way up unpaved mountain roads in a “retired” American school bus, three to a seat, knees to our chests, on our way to language school in the highland village of Todos Santos. As the bus ground around gullies and erosion and potholes, it struck me, rather hard, that we get something for our tax money. The thought struck again when, once settled with a village family, we visited the local grade school. There, children were attempting to learn math, reading and writing without such basics as textbooks and paper, let alone the brightly colored posters and media and other learning tools I had taken for granted as a child. I’ve had a Canadian attitude toward taxes ever since (well, at least when my better self is in charge).
The Guatemalan roads and school may have brought the pattern into focus, but really, it was my parents who sketched the lines. If any bunch of five kids were primed to appreciate the bounty that we Americans share and that our taxes sustain, it was us. Public school classrooms that did have books and paper gave way each spring to summers spent traversing the interstate highway system, hiking, and sleeping in state parks, and poking through small-town museums and stretching out on picnic benches in a roadside rest stops. We saw astounding wonders – the Grand Canyon and the Mississippi River, Carlsbad Caverns, the Badlands – and got our heads filled with history at old monuments like Montezuma’s Castle and the Vicksburg Civil War cemetery. We slogged single file in scruffy boots up Pikes Peak and through Maroon Bells wilderness, with backpacks on, and eventually learned to love it.
As a teen, I read a book called Mama’s Bank Account about a Norwegian immigrant family scraping by in San Francisco at the turn of the century. Week after week, in the story, they carefully count out money to cover expenses, and the mother comments how good it is that they don’t have to take money from their bank account. Only after the children are grown do they find that the bank account doesn’t exist; Mama has made it up to give them a sense of security and prosperity. For me as a child, the delicious knowledge that I was a part-owner, albeit a very small shareholder, in America the Beautiful was my equivalent of Mama’s bank account. When life felt overwhelming, I imagined those highways and parks, familiar and beautiful, all places I was allowed to be because I had been born in the Land of the Free. To this day, when I travel to other countries, and natural wonders like caves or geysers are fenced off with private property signs and exorbitant entry fees, the child in me protests: But, but they’re supposed to belong to everyone!
As one who has received so many benefits from this country, it pains me sometimes how much of our national conversation is about taxes. It’s like going into a department store where the merchandise is all hidden behind enormous price tags. Our representatives spend so much time quarreling about who’s going to carry what share of the tax “burden,” that there’s no time left for the dish-washing, mess-scrubbing, everyday work that it takes to keep our communities great. We get so ground down from fighting with each other that we have a hard time coming together to ask the important questions: What do we want for our children? What do we want for our community? What do we want for our country? We put so much emotional energy into nursing resentment about those so-called “burdens” that we sometimes forget how astoundingly much we have received, both from those who came before us and from this extraordinary land of purple mountains and spacious skies.
Robyn’s Facebook prayer and my mother’s sign both were notes to self. They were small acts of commitment to living deliberately in a sense of bounty and gratitude, even when knees are sore and hands are chapped and the housekeeping seems endless. Affirmations like theirs get us out of our normal way of thinking and focus us on life’s goodness, and they have clear health and mental health benefits for us and people around us. Cultivating gratitude leads to better sleep, greater goal attainment, better relationships, more mutual support, and a stronger love life.
Gratitude as a life posture or a sense of being “blessed” is something that religious people talk about mostly in church and secular people like me, who have given up that traditional forum and vocabulary, mostly keep to ourselves. But Robyn, in her note, did an interesting thing. By adding taxes to her list, she crossed a boundary. Not the boundary between church and state – that one’s been crossed plenty of late – but the boundary between civic life and spiritual life. I wonder what it would it mean for our country if more of us said, to a God or to the universe: “I thank You that I have roads to maintain, schoolbooks to buy, a sewer to mend, rivers and mountains to protect and a free country in which I can pay taxes.”
Valerie Tarico is a psychologist. She is the author of ‘Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light.” She is also the founder of WisdomCommons.org.
By Julia Werdigier, The New York Times News Service | Report
By Zaid Jilani, ThinkProgress | News Analysis
By Simon Johnson, The Baseline Scenario | Op-Ed
The Saudis – they have Oil and a Subhuman Regime. A Saudi Islamic Judge just ordered a man surgically paralyzed according to Islamic Law (literally an eye-for-an-eye) and they were allowed to buy the Motiva Refinery of Texas – biggest in the United States. Shell Oil seems to be their partner in business and Shell Oil is now dancing to their tune. The US Department of State has just acknowledged that there might be a problem indeed.
Reports of Saudi Paralysis Sentence (Taken Question)
Office of the Spokesperson
April 5, 2013
Question: What is the U.S. response to reports that a Saudi judge gave a court order for a prisoner to be surgically paralyzed?
Answer: If these reports are true, they would be incredibly disturbing. We expect the Saudi Government to respect international human rights norms. We regularly make this point as part of our bilateral dialogue.
By CLIFFORD KRAUSS
The Motiva refinery in Port Arthur, the largest in the United States, ensures a bigger market for Saudi crude and a stronger global voice for the kingdom.
This can now be seen in context!
‘Shell to dump energy firm over its ties to Israel’
Australia’s Woodside Petroleum has a 30-percent interest in Israel’s Leviathan natural gas field
April 5, 2013, 3:28 pm 2
THE HAGUE (JTA) – Royal Dutch Shell declined to comment on reports that it will divest its stake in an Australian energy firm because of that firm’s investment in Israel’s gas fields.
According to the RTL Dutch television network, a spokesperson for Shell said on Wednesday that he had no comment on a report by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia which said Shell would likely dump its 23.1-percent stake in Australia’s Woodside Petroleum.
The report said Shell planned the move to avoid the risk of boycott by Arab countries following Woodside’s agreement to purchase a 30-percent interest in Israel’s Leviathan natural gas field. RTL reported that Shell’s stake in Woodside is worth more then $7 billion.
Last year, Shell said that involvement with Woodside was “incompatible” with Shell’s “long-term plans.”
For the sake of our European Friends – There are two Europes Now – the Triple A North and the South that was kept alive by the image of a Common Market for the North. Oh Well – the Voters in the North seem to rebel now and call for the South to grow up.
The following is a presentation of facts that cannot be ignored anymore. Deserves close reading by those in the North that thought you can bumble your way through without creating a real union capable of calling out “it is all for one and not just one for all!” The EU is not just the fulfilling of the German dream of takeover of Europe by peaceful means. Cyprus dreaming of being the Mediterranean base of Russia? What else? Austria a bridge to the East? Yes, but only after twinning up with Finland.
Everyone learned a lesson from the “bail-in” of the Cypriot banks: Russian account holders who’d laundered and stored their money on the sunny island; bank bondholders who’d thought they’d always get bailed out; Cypriot politicians whose names showed up on lists of loans that had been extended by the Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Bank but were then forgiven and written off. Even brand-new Finance Minister Michael Sarris who got axed because he’d been chairman of Laiki when this was going on. His lesson: when a cesspool of corruption blows up, no one is safe. And German politicians learned a lesson too: that it worked!
“With the Cyprus aid package, it was proven that countries like Germany, the Netherlands, and Finland, if they stick together, are able to push for a strict stability course,” Hans Michelbach told the Handelsblatt. The chairman of the finance committee in the German Parliament and member of the CSU, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition partner, called for deeper collaboration of the triple-A countries in the Eurozone “to strengthen the confidence of citizens and investors in the common currency.”
There are still five in that euro triple-A club: Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Finland, and Luxembourg. “It would be good if we could also convince Luxembourg to participate more strongly in this stability collaboration,” he said. It would be in the best interest of Luxembourg as major financial center, he added. A reference to Luxembourg’s precarious status, as Cyprus had learned, of being a tiny country with banks so large that it can’t bail them out by itself.
To protect the euro, the alliance of the triple-A countries must be united firmly against large euro countries like Italy and France, he said. “Strong signals of stability would be of great importance for the Eurozone,” particularly now, given the “unclear situation” in Italy, renewed doubts about Greece, and the failure of the French government in its stability policies.
Exactly what French President François Hollande needs: the euro triple-A club breathing down his neck. He’s already in trouble at home. To reverse the slide, he got on state-owned France 2 TV last Thursday to speak to the French people so that they could see how his sincerity, wisdom, and economic policies would stop the country from sinking ever deeper into a quagmire.
And a quagmire it is: double-digit unemployment, a Purchasing Managers Index just above Greece’s, new vehicle sales that plunged almost 15% so far this year, a budget deficit that refuses to be brought under control…. He has tweaked some policy measures here and there. And he dug up a new version of the 75% income-tax bracket that had been squashed by the Constitutional Court. But Jérôme Cahuzac, the Budget Minister who’d tried to get the first version through the system, went up in flames over allegations of tax fraud and “tax fraud laundering.”
Now the people have had it. After the TV appearance, his approval rating, ten months into his term, plummeted another 6 points to 31%, a low that scandal-plagued Nicolas Sarkozy took four years to reach. And only 27% approved of his economic policies. “The French simply don’t want austerity,” lamented an unnamed government insider.
France was suffering the consequences of the “socialist experiments” of its government and was becoming less and less competitive, explained Michelbach. He emphasized that France would remain an important partner of Germany. He wasn’t kidding: France buys 10% of Germany’s exports and is crucial to the German economy. But if France didn’t change course, he said, that could become a “serious problem” for the Eurozone.
As opposed to the mere hiccups of Cyprus or Greece. More banks and more countries will require bailoutsSlovenia, Spain, Italy, and Malta are on the list. And no one wants to see France on that list. Even Italy is too large to get bailed out by other countriesthough it’s rich enough to bail itself out, à la Cyprus [ A "Politically Explosive" Secret: Italians Are Over Twice As Wealthy As Germans].
But in Germany, a revolt against these save-the-euro bailouts has been brewing for a while. With elections in September, it’s taking on volume and voices, and the structure of a political party, the Alternative for Germany, not unpalatable radicals but the educated bourgeoisie, and they want to stop the bailouts and dump the euro.
The government is feeling the heat. No one can afford to lose votes. Michelbach’s triple-A club, a line of demarcation in the Eurozone, is one of the reactions. Merkel might benefit from it in the elections. The other four countries might find if appealing, though it will be of dubious appeal in the rest of the Eurozone. But if efforts fail to fix the Eurozone’s problemsand the Eurozone lumbering that waya tightly knit triple-A club could weather the storm together, more stable and more unified than the Eurozone ever was. And Michelbach had just floated a version of that idea.
Every country in the Eurozone has its own collection of big fat lies that politicians and Eurocrats have served up in order to make the euro and the subsequent bailouts or austerity measures less unappetizing. Here are some from the German point of view…. Ten Big Fat Lies To Keep The Euro Dream Alive
Wolf Richter wrote also – “White House Hypocrisy And Trade Sanctions Against China.” - Practically every car sold in the US contains Chinese-made components. But suddenly, in the middle of a heated presidential campaign, the Obama administration decided to do something about it.
Wolf Richter is a San Francisco based executive, entrepreneur, start up specialist, and author, with extensive international work experience.
In www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/03/w… he explains “Having worked a bit on international deals, and for companies operating in foreign markets, cross border transactions have an even lower success rate than domestic ones. The big reason is the one mentioned here, which is marked cultural incompatibility between the seller and buyer. Here the Chinese did less badly than they could have (they could have tried forcing Chinese practices on the German operation, which would have destroyed the value of the asset). But the logic of the transaction was unclear. Was it technology transfer? Consolidation? It appears both might have been goals, and neither happened very much.
But I find it intriguing that as lousy as the Japanese were at doing deals (they found it hard to understand that the contract was the deal, and were too inclined to overpay), they were good at managing workers in manufacturing operations (service businesses were another kettle of fish, there they tended to drive Americans crazy). This is a skill the Chinese will have to master, since they desperately need to re-invest their surpluses, and they are trying to acquire more real-economy assets.” FASCINATING.
His insights in Wall Street machinations are also very good.
The UK and the US Welcome the decision taken by the United Nations General Assembly meeting on the Arms Trade Treaty – 2 April 2013. With 22 countries abstaining – including China, India and Indonesia, it is quite untrue to say that it was accepted by consensus. Thanks to Matthew R. Lee for pointing this out – it takes good reporting to get facts about the UN. And What Probability For A US Senate Ratification?
Statement by UK Ambassador Joanne Adamson, Head of Delegation, to the United Nations General Assembly meeting on the Arms Trade Treaty – 2 April 2013
Thank you, Mr President.
Last Thursday, we were disappointed that success was deferred. Today, we have taken a decision that will save lives. It was the right decision, and we are proud of it.
Today, I have seen statements from my Prime Minister, my Foreign Secretary, my Deputy Prime Minister, and I have been in touch with our Foreign Office Minister, Mr Alistair Burt, who has been watching these negotiations with baited breath for the last two weeks.
This is a great success for the United Nations today and we in the UK are extremely proud.
Our action today is the product of ten years of campaigning and seven years of negotiation. But now, we must look ahead, to the future generations that will have a better chance to live safe and peaceful lives if this Treaty fulfills its promise.
It is up to us to make this happen. Today, we have shown what the United Nations can achieve. We have a strong text. We made it together. But it is the global implementation of this text that will make a real difference. The United Kingdom stands ready to play its part. We will work with others to ensure this Treaty matters.
So what we have achieved today is a significant milestone on our journey to a better world. But it is just one part of the process. We cannot rest now. Today is the end of the beginning. Tomorrow we begin the practical work of changing lives and improving the future.
As we move forward we will keep together that team – the team of diplomats, of people working in civil society, of people from our industry, of our politicians, of public opinion. I pay tribute to everyone who has been involved in this long journey and my message to the conference today is let’s move forward together.
Don’t look back in anger.
Let’s take the next step.
And the US joins its voice for the regulation of passing on arms to other countries:
Mr. President, the United States is proud to have been able to co-sponsor and vote in favor of adopting the Arms Trade Treaty. The treaty is strong, balanced, effective, and implementable, and we believe it can command wide support. We join others in congratulating Ambassador Peter Woolcott for his tireless efforts in guiding the negotiation.
The treaty is the product of a long, intensive negotiation, and I know that no nation, including my own, got everything it may have sought in the final text. The result, however, is an instrument that succeeds in raising the bar on common standards for regulating international trade in conventional arms while helping to ensure that legitimate trade in such arms will not be unduly hindered.
The negotiations remained true to the original mandate for them from UN General Assembly Resolution 64/48, which called for negotiating a treaty with the highest possible common international standards for the transfer of conventional arms and for the negotiations to be conducted in an open and transparent manner, on the basis of consensus. The consensus rule remains important
Mr. President, as the United States has urged from the outset, this Treaty sets a floor – not a ceiling – for responsible national policies and practices for the regulation of international trade in conventional arms. We look forward to all countries having effective national control systems and procedures to manage international conventional arms transfers, as the United States does already.
We believe that our negotiations have resulted in a treaty that provides a clear standard, in Article 6, for when a transfer of conventional arms is absolutely prohibited. This article both reflects existing international law and, in paragraph three, would extend it by establishing a specific prohibition on the transfer of conventional arms when a state party knows that the transfer will be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, or the enumerated war and other crimes. Article 7 requires a state party to conduct a national assessment of the risk that a proposed export could be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian law or international human rights law, as well as acts of terrorism or transnational organized crime. Taken together, these articles provide a robust and complementary framework that will promote responsible transfer of decisions by states parties.
Thank you, Mr. President.
At UN, ATT Passes With 22 Abstentions, Woolcott Tells ICP of Speakers List
By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, April 2 — When the Arms Trade Treaty was blocked on March 28 under the rules of consensus, the headlines read that only three countries were against it: Syria, North Korea and Iran.
But even then, in speeches like Sudan’s and Belarus’, one could hear abstentions coming.
And Tuesday in the UN General Assembly there were 23 abstentions, including the two most populous countries on Earth, China and India, and the most populous predominantly Muslim country, Indonesia.
Afterward, Inner City Press asked ATT president Peter Woolcott, after thanking him on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, about criticism of his allowing, before a promised ruling, Mexico and others to make an argument against the UN meaning of consensus.
He replied that there was speakers list that he followed. He said he personally does not favor negotiating under the rule of consensus. Other might say: it showed.
Inner City Press asked Mexico’s Luis Alfonso de Alba, who gave a thoughtful answer about “no vetoes,” that may resonate in the UN Budget Committee.
It was announced that Angola did not abstain, but voted Yes (hence, 22 abstentions, still quite populous.)
In speeches before Tuesday’s vote, as Syria’s Bashar Ja’afari spoke, US Ambassador Susan Rice was walking out. After that, a full hour into the speeches, Qatar’s delegation rolled in. They ended up abstaining. Qatar supports rebels in Syria.
Sudan on the other hand said it was abstaining, citing the failure to address the arming of “mutinous” groups, like the SPLM-North and rebels in Darfur.
Russia, which by a point of order Thursday night put an end to the Mexico-launched attempt to redefine consensus, on Tuesday morning zeroed in on what knowledge of genocide might mean, in Article 6.3. Its Ambassador Churkin said Russia would not have broken consensus on March 28, but would now abstain, as did China. It’s hard to call this consensus.
U.N. Treaty Is First Aimed at Regulating Global Arms Sales.
Published by The New York Times on-line April 2, 2013 – 107 Comments
Readers’ Comments: “There are too many in Congress who owe allegiance to the NRA and the armaments industry and not to the best interests of the U.S.” RHSchumann, Bonn
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to approve a pioneering treaty aimed at regulating the enormous global trade in conventional weapons, for the first time linking sales to the human rights records of the buyers.
Although implementation is years away and there is no specific enforcement mechanism, proponents say the treaty would for the first time force sellers to consider how their customers will use the weapons and to make that information public.
The goal is to curb the sale of weapons that kill tens of thousands of people every year — by, for example, making it harder for Russia to argue that its arms deals with Syria are legal under international law.
The treaty, which took seven years to negotiate, reflects growing international sentiment that the multibillion-dollar weapons trade needs to be held to a moral standard.
The hope is that even nations reluctant to ratify the treaty will feel public pressure to abide by its provisions.
The treaty calls for sales to be evaluated on whether the weapons will be used to break humanitarian law, foment genocide or war crimes, abet terrorism or organized crime or slaughter women and children.
“Finally we have seen the governments of the world come together and say ‘Enough!’ ” said Anna MacDonald, the head of arms control for Oxfam International, one of the many rights groups that pushed for the treaty. “It is time to stop the poorly regulated arms trade. It is time to bring the arms trade under control.”
She pointed to the Syrian civil war, where 70,000 people have been killed, as a hypothetical example, noting that Russia argues that sales are permitted because there is no arms embargo.
“This treaty won’t solve the problems of Syria overnight, no treaty could do that, but it will help to prevent future Syrias,” Ms. MacDonald said. “It will help to reduce armed violence. It will help to reduce conflict.”
Members of the General Assembly voted 154 to 3 to approve the Arms Trade Treaty, with 23 abstentions — many from nations with dubious recent human rights records like Bahrain, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
The vote came after more than two decades of organizing. Humanitarian groups started lobbying after the 1991 Persian Gulf war to curb the trade in conventional weapons, having realized that Iraq had more weapons than France, diplomats said.
The treaty establishes an international forum of states that will review published reports of arms sales and publicly name violators. Even if the treaty will take time to become international law, its standards will be used immediately as political and moral guidelines, proponents said.
“It will help reduce the risk that international transfers of conventional arms will be used to carry out the world’s worst crimes, including terrorism, genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement after the United States, the biggest arms exporter, voted with the majority for approval.
But the abstaining countries included China and Russia, which also are leading sellers, raising concerns about how many countries will ultimately ratify the treaty. It is scheduled to go into effect after 50 nations have ratified it. Given the overwhelming vote, diplomats anticipated that it could go into effect in two to three years, relative quickly for an international treaty.
Proponents said that if enough countries ratify the treaty, it will effectively become the international norm. If major sellers like the United States and Russia choose to sit on the sidelines while the rest of the world negotiates what weapons can be traded globally, they will still be affected by the outcome, activists said.
The treaty’s ratification prospects in the Senate appear bleak, at least in the short term, in part because of opposition by the gun lobby. More than 50 senators signaled months ago that they would oppose the treaty — more than enough to defeat it, since 67 senators must ratify it.
Among the opponents is Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the second-ranking Republican. In a statement last month, he said that the treaty contained “unnecessarily harsh treatment of civilian-owned small arms” and violated the right to self-defense and United States sovereignty.
In a bow to American concerns, the preamble states that it is focused on international sales, not traditional domestic use, but the National Rifle Association has vowed to fight ratification anyway.
The General Assembly vote came after efforts to achieve a consensus on the treaty among all 193 member states of the United Nations failed last week, with Iran, North Korea and Syria blocking it. The three, often ostracized, voted against the treaty again on Tuesday.
Vitaly I. Churkin, the Russian envoy to the United Nations, said Russian misgivings about what he called ambiguities in the treaty, including how terms like genocide would be defined, had pushed his government to abstain. But neither Russia nor China rejected it outright.
“Having the abstentions from two major arms exporters lessens the moral weight of the treaty,” said Nic Marsh, a proponent with the Peace Research Institute in Oslo. “By abstaining they have left their options open.”
Numerous states, including Bolivia, Cuba and Nicaragua, said they had abstained because the human rights criteria were ill defined and could be abused to create political pressure. Many who abstained said the treaty should have banned sales to all armed groups, but supporters said the guidelines did that effectively while leaving open sales to liberation movements facing abusive governments.
Supporters also said that over the long run the guidelines should work to make the criteria more standardized, rather than arbitrary, as countries agree on norms of sale in a trade estimated at $70 billion annually.
The treaty covers tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber weapons, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and launchers, small arms and light weapons. Ammunition exports are subject to the same criteria as the other war matériel. Imports are not covered.
India, a major importer, abstained because of its concerns that its existing contracts might be blocked, despite compromise language to address that.
Support was particularly strong among African countries — even if the compromise text was weaker than some had anticipated — with most governments asserting that in the long run, the treaty would curb the arms sales that have fueled many conflicts.
Even some supporters conceded that the highly complicated negotiations forced compromises that left significant loopholes. The treaty focuses on sales, for example, and not on all the ways in which conventional arms are transferred, including as gifts, loans, leases and aid.
“This is a very good framework to build on,” said Peter Woolcott, the Australian diplomat who presided over the negotiations. “But it is only a framework.”
Rick Gladstone contributed reporting from New York, and Jonathan Weisman from Washington.
A cry of Joy from Women in Saudi Arabia: from this April “Energy Fools’ Day” they will be allowed – dressed in abaya and with a male supervisor to their side – to ride circles on bikes in a park out of sight of joung men! Mind it further – bicycles and motor-bikes are meant for pleasure and forbidden as transportation – that would cause losses to the oil indusatry and deserves special remuneration from Western Democracies.
Saudi Arabia follows an ultraconservative – or should we say orthodox – interpretation of Islam, and bans women from driving. Women are also banned from riding motorcycles or bicycles in public places.
Let us see – AP relates from RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — that A Saudi newspaper today, Monday April 1, 2013 - said - “the kingdom’s religious police are now allowing women to ride motorbikes and bicycles — but only in restricted, recreational areas.”
The Al-Yawm daily cited an unnamed official from the powerful religious police as saying women will be allowed to ride bikes in parks and recreational areas – but they must accompanied by a male relative and dressed in the full Islamic head-to-toe abaya.
The newspaper didn’t say what triggered the lifting of the ban.
The official told the paper that Saudi women may not use the bikes for transportation, but “only for entertainment,” and that they should shun places where young men gather – “to avoid harassment.”
THEIR BREAK-THROUGH ACHIEVEMENT WILL NOT IMPACT THE PRICE OF OIL!
Ambassador Peter Thompson from Fiji calls at the Arria-formula non-meeting at the Security Council for the continuation of the ruinous policies of the UN in matters of Climate Change and Sustainable Development by sticking with the leadership of G77 & China, in the political confrontation with the West, and undermining the slight chance of action that only the UNSC can bring about at the UN.
Ambassador Peter Thompson from Fiji speaks for the G 77 and China at the Arria Formula Non-meeting at the UNSC and the same day speaks also on the MDGs at a different meeting at the UN. We have here both his presentations.
To put it in diplomatic terms, we are amazed how the representative of a Small Islands State participates in the thrashing of its own future by serving the forces of business-as-usual that came about because of the influence the Islamic Oil States have on what at the UN goes under the term G 77 & China.
The Arria formula meeting of the Security Council – by its own definition a Non-meeting – came about as Member States with eyes open – have realized that the UN was incapable of moving on the issue of Climate Change, and this while practically every UN State has already stories to tell about losses from Climate Change – within their own territory or in States they do business with. The most hurt are obvious the Small Island States that might be completely wiped out by the effects of man-made Climate Change committed by other States. As such, transferring the issue to the Security Council, from the moribund UNFCCC and UNCSD, is an attempt to move the issue from the General Assembly UN debating club to the only UN institution that has the power to act. The alternative would be to close this UN, like the League of Nations was closed, and negotiate anew an organization with 193 Nations participating in a decision-for-action new mechanism. Every decent person would say this alternative will be unachievable. So what does Ambassador Peter Thompson, a traitor to the SIDS, mean by his statement on behalf of the negativistic uncounted governments from among the 77+China?
Further, the UNCSD will expire at the 2013 General Assembly meeting this coming September – as per a decision of the Rio+20 meeting June 2012. They will be replaced by a mechanism yet unknown, and dependent on recommendations that will be forthcoming from a special panel that was established in September 2012. The Issues of the MDGs and the newly to be formulated Sustainable Development Goals is also pending in the air – and that is part of the decisions of new UN formulas for 2015 and beyond. The distinguished Ambassador does seem to ignore all of this and try instead to stick with the formula of things that were totally rejected in Rio. Our conclusion is thus in non-diplomatic terms – he is sticking with the old ways that are responsible for the inaction at the UN that resulted in 20 wasted years, and at the same time puts sticks into the possible wheels of the UNSC with which some try to find ways to move out from the UN swamp.
In our postings about the Arria-formula meeting of Friday, February 15th we were able to bring forward the ridiculous Statement made by Egypt that clearly shows, that though it started out differently it got bent in haste to the same conclusions as the G77+China with even not having had the time to reconsider its own numbering system from the previous Arab League bent. The ray of light comes from Pakistan that seemingly decided to cosponsor the call to the Arria formula event, and obviously the SIDS that part now ways with the G77&China that did nothing for them in these lost 20 years.
Statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China by Ambassador Peter Thomson, Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations and Chairman of the Group of 77, at the Arria-formula meeting on the security dimensions of climate change (New York, 15 February 2013).
I acknowledge the presence of Distinguished Panelist and Guest Speakers in today’s event. I thank the Secretary General for his Statement and note the interventions that have been made thus far.
I wish to express a special welcome to the Honorable Tony de Brum, Minister in Assistance to the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, I welcome the Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, and the Vice-President and Network Head for Sustainable Development at the World Bank Ms. Rachel Kyte. I also wish to welcome the contributions through video recordings by the President of Kiribati His Excellency Mr. Anote Tong and the Foreign Minister of Australia Senator Bob Carr.
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
We note the initiative of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in organizing this Meeting which we note is being convened under the informal Arria Formula of the United Nations Security Council on the subject “Security Dimensions of Climate Change”
The Group of 77 and China reiterates its position that the United Nations Security Council is not the appropriate forum for this discussion. The Group will repeat that the primary responsibility of the United Nations Security Council is the maintenance of international peace and security, as set out in the Charter of the United Nations.
On the other hand, other issues, including those related to economic and social development, are assigned by that same Charter to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and to the United Nations General Assembly (General Assembly).
The ever-increasing encroachment by the Security Council on the roles and responsibilities of other principal organs of the United Nations represents a distortion of the principles and purposes of the Charter, infringes on their authority and compromises the rights of the general membership of the United Nations.
The Group of 77 and China underlines the importance of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the ECOSOC to work within their respective mandates as set out in the Charter.
General Assembly resolution 63/281 recognized the respective responsibilities of the principal organs of the United Nations, including the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security conferred upon the Security Council and the responsibility for sustainable development issues, including climate change, conferred upon the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, and invited the relevant organs of the United Nations, as appropriate and within their respective mandates, to intensify their efforts in considering and addressing climate change, including its possible security implications.
The relevant bodies in the field of sustainable development are the General Assembly, the ECOSOC and their relevant subsidiary bodies, including the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The Group of 77 and China is of the view that it is vital for all Member States to promote sustainable development in accordance with the Rio Principles, in particular, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and fully implement Agenda 21 and Outcomes of other relevant United Nations Conferences in the economic, environmental and social fields, including the Millennium Development Goals Declaration.
We further emphasize the critical role of the international community in the provision of adequate, predictable, new and additional financial resources, transfer of technology and capacity building to developing countries.
We maintain that the UNFCCC is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change. In this sense, we recall that an appropriate response to this challenge should address not only the consequences but mainly the roots of the problem. At the DOHA COP 18, we made progress towards addressing Climate Change through concrete decisions on remaining work under the Bali Action Plan, a Plan of work under the Durban Platform and a Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol with a clear time line. The Second Commitment Period of Kyoto Protocol, however, lacks ambition and we hope that its level will be enhanced in 2014 as agreed in Doha
Let me emphasize that there is a strong case for developed countries’ emission reductions and mitigation actions to avoid adverse impacts of climate change. In this context, we are extremely concerned that current mitigation pledges from developed countries parties in the UNFCCC negotiations are not at all adequate to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions so as to hold the increase in global average temperature according to what is required by science.
We reiterate the need to coordinate international efforts and mobilize partners to assist the observation networks through regional initiatives such as South Pacific Sea Level and Climate Monitoring, and Caribbean Community Climate Change Center. In this regard, we call upon the relevant agencies and organs of the UN, including OCHA, to reinforce regional broadcastings systems to help island communities during disasters and increase the effectiveness of observation in these regions. Any measures taken in this context need to ensure an integrated approach in responding to environmental emergencies
The response to impacts of climate change and disasters must include the strengthening of the Hyogo Framework for Action for disaster risk reduction, the increasing of assistance to developing countries affected states, including by supporting efforts towards enhancing their national and regional capacities for implementation of plans and strategies for preparedness, rapid response, recovery and development.
The Group would like to underline the fact that developing countries continue to suffer from the adverse impacts of climate change and the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Developing countries are the most vulnerable to climate change, and support for their efforts needs to be stepped up.
In this regard, we call for the full and effective implementation of the commitments under the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, the Mauritius Declaration and the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. We reiterate that sea-level rise and other adverse impacts of climate change continue to pose a significant risk to small island developing states and their efforts to achieve sustainable development and, for many, represent the gravest of threats to their survival and viability including for some through the loss of territory.
The Group of 77 and China will continue to pursue the achievement of sustainable development and eradication of poverty, which are our first and overriding priorities, as well as the fulfillment of commitments by developed countries in all relevant bodies.
We strongly reiterate our expectation that the initiative of the Council to hold this debate does not create a precedent that undermines the authority or mandate of the relevant bodies, processes and instruments that already address these issues in all their complexities.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China by Ambassador Peter Thomson, Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations and Chairman of the Group of 77, at the first round of informal consulations for the preparatory process of the 2013 special event to follow up efforts made towards achieving the Millenium Development Goals (New York, 15 February 2013).
Thank you, Distinguished Co-Facilitators.
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
At the outset, may I express the Group’s congratulations on your appointment as Co-Facilitators on this very important item. I would also like to convey our appreciation for the dispatch of your Informal Food for Thought Paper which you intend to guide our reflections on the modalities and substance of the Special Event and, in particular, underlines the urgency of moving to an early decision on the modalities of the Event.
The Group of 77 notes that the Special Event is not a formal event of the General Assembly but an ad hoc meeting convened on a specific theme, that is, “To follow up on efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).” This process follows on from the request we made as Members States of the United Nations back in 2010 and it is a review of the efforts undertaken to date towards the achievement of the MDGs.
The Group is of the view that the Outcome of this Special Event must feed into an intergovernmental process for the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda. Notwithstanding the link between the review of the MDGs and the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda, the review that this Special Event will undertake must not be subservient to or dependent on other processes under way for the post-2015 agenda.
It is of fundamental importance that the Special Event produces concise and actionable outcomes which will sharpen the focus on achieving the MDGs. This must include means to prioritize funding for MDGs, particularly in line with international agreements on development financing.
Given the importance, complexity and time-sensitivity of the issues that the Special Event must address, the Group welcomes the holding of this event during the High-level segment of the 68th UN General Assembly. However, the Group is concerned that a one-day meeting may not achieve the kind of concrete results that is needed for this final push on MDGs within the MDG period. The Group would therefore like further consideration of the time allotted for this Special Event.
These are our initial thoughts. We will revert with more substantial input during the course of our consultations under your able facilitation. The Group assures you of its continued support and constructive engagement in the preparations and conduct of this Special Event.
I thank you Co-Facilitators.
“Where were they? Why didn’t the United States of America, the most powerful nation on earth, lead the international community in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and preventing the devastating damage that the scientific community was sure would come?”
Congress Must Take Bold Action on Climate Change
By Bernie Sanders, Guardian UK
16 February 13
nless we take bold action to reverse climate change, our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are going to look back on this period in history and ask a very simple question: Where were they? Why didn’t the United States of America, the most powerful nation on earth, lead the international community in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and preventing the devastating damage that the scientific community was sure would come?
The issue that we are dealing with is not political. It has nothing to do with the squabbling we see in Washington every day. It has everything to do with physics. The leading scientists in the world who study climate change now tell us that their earlier projections were wrong. The crisis facing our planet is much worse than they had thought only a few years ago. Twelve out of the last 15 years ranked as the warmest on record in the United States. Now, scientists say that our planet could be 8F warmer or more by the end of this century if we take no decisive action to transform our energy system and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
What would that mean to planet earth? Sea levels would rise by three to six feet, which would flood cities like New Orleans, Boston and Miami and coastal communities all over the world. It would mean that every year we would see more and more extreme weather disturbances, like Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, costing taxpayers tens of billions of dollars every year and resulting in devastating blows to our economy and productive capabilities.
We would see the price of food go up because crops in the US and around the world would be affected by temperatures substantially greater than what we have today. It would mean greater threats of war and international instability because hungry and thirsty people would be fighting for limited resources. It would mean more disease and unnecessary deaths.
Legislation that I introduced(pdf) with the support of leading environmental organizations in the country can actually address the crisis and do what has to be done to protect the planet. Senator Barbara Boxer of California, chairman of the Senate environment and public works committee, co-sponsored the bill that would reverse greenhouse gas emissions in a significant way. It also would help create millions of jobs as we transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and into energy efficiency and such sustainably energies as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass.
A major focus of this legislation is a price on carbon and methane emissions. This fee on the largest fossil-fuel polluters affects fewer than 3,000 entities nationwide but covers 85% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the US, according to the Congressional Research Service. The legislation ends fossil fuel subsidies. It also protects communities by requiring that drillers engaged in a new technology called fracking must comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act and disclose chemicals they use.
To help consumers, 60% of the carbon fee revenue will be rebated to every US resident. To level the playing field for US manufacturers and create incentives for international cooperation, there would be a border fee on imported fuels and products unless the nation they were shipped from had a similar carbon price.
To transform our energy system, the legislation would make the boldest ever investment in energy efficiency and sustainable energy. That includes weatherizing 1m homes a year, as President Obama has advocated. It also means tripling the budget for advanced research and investing hundreds of billions through incentives and a public-private Sustainable Technologies Fund focusing on energy efficiency and clean transportation technology, as well as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass alternatives.
In our bill, we also provide funds to train workers for jobs in the sustainable energy economy and to help communities become resilient in the face of extreme weather. We accomplish all of this while paying down the debt by roughly $300bn over 10 years.
With President Obama’s commitment in the state of the union address to reverse global warming, we have the opportunity now to make progress. The president must use his executive authority to cut down on power plant pollution and reject the dangerous Keystone XL project. But he must not give up on a comprehensive legislative solution, and neither should we.
We will never fully deal with this crisis until Congress passes strong legislation. Senator Boxer and I are going to fight as hard as we can to do that, and we will work to rally support from American families all across this country that care deeply about their children and grandchildren’s future, and want to protect them from this planetary crisis.
Preparations for the UN Security Council “Arria Formula” Non-Meeting of Friday, February 15, 2013, on Climate Change. With the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change bogged down in inaction it seems that the Security Council is most appropriate place if you agree that the issue is indisputably real.
posted on THU 14 FEB 2013 4:47 PM
Tomorrow morning (15 February) Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant (UK) and Ambassador Masood Khan (Pakistan) will co-chair an Arria formula meeting on the “Security Dimensions of Climate Change”. It seems that the aim of the debate is to have an interactive and frank session on how climate change can negatively impact the maintenance of international peace and security and to highlight the security implications of intensified climate change. The co-chairs are hoping that the discussion will also touch on possible steps that could be taken to move from a culture of reaction to a culture of prevention.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to make remarks at the start of the meeting.
This will be followed by presentations from a panel of speakers that includes the Honorable Mr. Tony deBrum, Minister in Assistance to the President of the Marshall Islands;
Professor Hans Schellnhuber, Head of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research;
Ms. Rachel Kyte, World Bank Vice-President for Sustainable Development;
and Mr. Gyan Acharya, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing states.
Following these presentations, Security Council members, other member states and civil society participants are also expected to make their interventions.
A concept paper was circulated earlier this month to help guide the discussion. It outlines some of the security challenges and highlights key issues that could be taken up during the meeting. For example, it notes that climate change can worsen threats created by poverty and poor management of resources. It also points out that climate change could eventually make citizens residing in low lying small island states “stateless”, thus raising a number of legal issues. Finally, the paper asks if there are ways to enhance cooperation to manage shared water resources more effectively given growing water scarcity, and whether current mechanisms to curtail competition over natural resources can be strengthened.
The Council has held two previous debates on the security implications of climate change. The first was held in April 2007 (S/PV.5663), under the UK presidency, and considered the relationship between energy, security and climate. At the time a number of Council members had reservations about holding the debate on the grounds that it was unclear whether or not climate change could usefully be addressed within the Council’s mandate and there was no attempt to have a formal outcome.
The second debate (S/PV.6587), held in July 2011 under the German presidency, was on the impact of climate change on peace and security. Although negotiations were difficult Council members were able to agree on a presidential statement (S//PRST/2011/15) which highlighted that rising sea-levels may carry security implications for low-lying island states. The presidential statement also requested the Secretary-General to ensure that his reports to the Council on peace and security matters contain contextual information on possible security implications of climate change.
Including climate change on its agenda has been quite a contentious issue for the Council.
There are still some members who are less comfortable with the Council making decisions on an issue that they are not convinced is an explicit threat to peace and security.
An Arria formula meeting perhaps provides an opportunity to pursue this issue in an informal format that allows Council members to hear the views of a diverse and informed group with a stake in the issue. Among the permanent members, France, the UK, and the US have argued that the Council is an appropriate forum to discuss threats to international peace and security related to climate change. In effect, they see the Council’s efforts to address climate change as a part of its conflict prevention efforts.
However, China and Russia have a different position, having argued that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is the appropriate venue within the UN system for deliberations on this issue.
Of the new Council members, Australia and Luxembourg in particular have shown concern about the security threats posed by climate change and believe that it is an issue that the Council should address.
BLOOMBERG NEWS is first Large Media Network to report on the Arias method meeting at the UN Security Council, with closed doors to the Press but open door to UN Member States in general, today, Friday, February 15, 2013, which we had on our website for a while, and the previous link we got was from Matthew Lee of the Correspondents for Free Access to UN news.
Also, the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, after his speech at the Council on Foreign Relations this past Monday, and his two days in Washington DC – Wednesday and Thursday, will participate at the UNSC meeting today. We hope that through his presentation the subject will become available to the public at large – that is, if the UN Department of Public Information will deem it important enough to sponsor it to the Press in general. So far we got this through UN Wire of the UN Foundation.
Climate Change’s Links to Conflict Draws UN Attention.
By Flavia Krause-Jackson – Feb 14, 2013 10:30 PM ET
Imagine India in 2033. It has overtaken China as the most populous nation. Yet with 1.5 billion citizens to feed, it’s been three years since the last monsoon. Without rain, crops die and people starve. The seeds of conflict take root.
This is one of the scenarios Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, will present today to members of the United Nations Security Council in New York to show the connection between climate change and global security challenges.
Either rich nations will find a way to supply needy nations suffering from damaging climate effects “or you will have all kinds of unrest and revolutions, with the export of angry and hungry people to the industrialized countries,” Schellnhuber said in an interview.
Climate change is a “reality that cannot be washed away,” according to notes prepared for diplomats at today’s session. “There is growing concern that with faster than anticipated acceleration, climate change may spawn consequences which are harsher than expected.”
The Security Council session is evidence of the increased focus on the link between climate change and global security.
Yet, today’s discussions will not be held as a formal meeting of the council because China and Russia, two of the larger emitters of the greenhouse gases that scientists tie to climate change, raised objections, said two UN diplomats who asked not to be named given the sensitivity of the subject. China was the largest gross emitter of carbon dioxide in 2011, followed by the U.S., the European Union, India and Russia, according to the European Commission’s Joint Research Center.
Informal Talks AT THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL – the ARIAS information gathering method:
Instead, the informal, closed-door discussions will be held away from the council chamber and led jointly by the U.K. and Pakistan, where floods have left millions of people homeless in a foreshadowing of the extreme weather scientists say will result from a warming planet.
“Before it was always an issue of the developed world, so the involvement of Pakistan is a very interesting sign,” said Schellnhuber, a climate change scientist who is German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s top adviser on the issue.
Representatives from nations not on the 15-member Security Council are invited to the session, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to participate. In 2011, the council agreed to a statement expressing “concern that the possible adverse effects of climate change may, in the long run, aggravate certain existing threats to international peace and security.”
“It was OK, but it was rather vague,” said Schellnhuber.
With 2012 the world’s hottest year on record, the implications for both domestic and foreign policy of wildfires in Australia and Russia, floods in Asia and hurricanes in the Americas give today’s discussion an added sense of urgency.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, it’s a topic that has moved higher on the list of U.S. domestic issues. President Barack Obama presented climate change as a priority for his second term during his Feb. 12 State of the Union address.
“Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods — all are now more frequent and intense,” Obama said in his speech. “We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science — and act before it’s too late.”
U.S. intelligence agencies said in a December report that climate change coupled with water shortages will alter global patterns of arable land, while greater demand for energy may curb the amount of raw materials available to make fertilizers.
Climate change will complicate resource management, particularly in Asia where monsoons are crucial to the growing season, according to the 140-page Global Trends 2030 report, produced by the U.S. intelligence community. It will worsen the outlook for availability of critical resources of food, water and energy, the report said.
Rising global temperatures may provoke conflict between the European Union and Russia as Arctic ice melts, easing access to fossil-fuel deposits in that area and opening new sea routes, Schellnhuber said.
The conflict in the Sudan’s western region of Darfur has generated headlines over the years as the first climate war because drought and the advancing desert stoked tensions.
“Many developing and fragile states — such as in Sub- Saharan Africa — face increasing strains from resource constraints and climate change, pitting different tribal and ethnic groups against one another,” according to the Global Trends report.
The millions of environmental refugees, such as those displaced by natural disasters and rising sea levels due to melting ice, will be one focus of the UN session, as will be the potential for conflicts.
The UN’s decision-making body will discuss the challenges from reduced water availability, a critical issue in the Middle East and Africa, and also explore the implications of glacial melting.
Melting ice caps has led to a push to strengthen the Law of the Sea, an accord granting countries bordering the Arctic rights to economic zones within 200 miles (322 kilometers) of their shores. Russia, for example, has staked a claim to a North Pole seabed worth billions of dollars in oil and natural gas.
“The impacts of climate change, such as sea-level rises, drought, flooding and extreme weather events, can exacerbate underlying tensions and conflict in part of the world already suffering from resource pressures,” according to the U.K.- Pakistan notes.
– With assistance from Alex Morales in London. Editors: Terry Atlas, Michael Shepard
To contact the reporter on this story: Flavia Krause-Jackson in United Nations at email@example.com
UPDATED: February 13, 2013, at Columbia U. School of Law, The United Nations Climate Negotiations: Perspectives From a Small Island Nation’ with the Marshall Islands made it clear that this is a matter for the UN Security Council. That is why it will be taken up this Friday in an Arria formula type of informative – fast-scheduled meeting.
Columbia Law School Climate Law Blog has posted a new item,’Upcoming Event -
On Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, the Center for Climate
The February 13, 2013 event at the Columbia University School of Law – was in effect a dry-run of what will be presented to the UN Security Council on Friday Februaruy 15, 2013 in an Arias format meeting – that is in an information gathering session – a closed meeting of the UNSC that will dash out the issue of climate change endangering the security of the people of the Marshall Islands in particular and of all small island States of the Pacific. Further the problem of climate change caused flooding of coastal areas, tsunamis, and the probable wiping out of whole populations will be on the UN table.
An Araias is not a negotiation that expects an outcome – it is plain information gathering that can later lead to discussions that come before attempts at decision making.
The Ambassador Representing the Republic of the Marshall Islands at the United Nations, H.E. Ms. Amatlain Elizabeth Kabua, was present at the Columbia University’s Center for Climate Change Law event.
Professor Michael B. Gerrard, head of the Center, has already produced several volumes of study of the problems posed by a budding Climate Change impacts legal system dealing with “Threatened Island Nations” and “The Law of Adaptation to Climate Change – US and International Aspects” – both being titles of appropriate volumes.
At the meeting on Wednesday, Prof. Gerrard introduced the general problem of Climate Change, Judge Jack B. Weinstein, US District Court, Eastern District of New York, introduced legal aspects, Professor Radley Horton of the Center for Climate Systems Research at Columbia University, spoke of the scientific aspects, with Tony deBrum of the Marshall Islands President’s office and former Foreign Minister describing the legal situation aspects of the Marshall islands and the impact the US had on those islands, and students and others fielding many questions.
Professor Horton showed a graph of sea level rise 1870-2006 by Church & White from UNEP (2006), and material from the US National Climate Assessment (2013) dealing with “Hawaii and Affiliated Lands.”
My eye caught here indication about VERTICAL LAND MOTIONS which a couple of years ago we attributed to the melting of the ice-cover of Antarctica and a release of pressure on the Antarctic plate that reaches to the “Ring of Fire” of volcanoes and earth-quakes on its border with other tectonic plates. We suggested the movement causes earth-quakes that cause the tsunamis that flood coastlines and islands – thus this whole set of events being Climate Change related. The issue explains thus enhanced flooding that impacts countries like Bangladesh. At the end of the meeting I had a chance to talk about this with Mr. deBrum of the Marshall Islands who will be the main presenter at the Arias meeting at the UN Security Council. We will revisit this later.
The case of the Marshall Islands is particularly bad and the responsibility of the United States is particularly great – this going back to the many nuclear experiments that for a couple of years were detonating powerful bombs in the Bikini and other island locations. The destruction of those islands started already at that time – now it is continued with the attacks of climate change greenhouse gas emissions.
As the Marshall Islands is a State with few inhabitants, the answer to move them somewhere else is not acceptable to the islanders. They prefer compensation and the condtruction of physical barriers. They also have suggestions for Renewable energy production using commercial OTEC technology (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion). The first 20 MW floating OTEC electric generation plant will be completed by 2017.
In my discussion with Mr. deBrum I suggested getting States like Bangladesh and other States of large population involved, as the Security Council has to hear about large number of people being affected in order to move them to action – and the mentioned Tsunami-effect ought to be pushed forward. I mentioned to him the Washington military-people event when a Brigadier-General from Bangladesh asked – “when 10 million people moving to higher ground because of the floods, get to the Indian border, which way am I supposed to shoot,” that was a moment of truth that an Arias meeting at the UNSC can start worrying about.
We just learned these news from ICP and it connects with the fact that the UN Secretary General will be back on Friday from his trip to Washington DC (Wednesday, Thursday).
The following UN Security meeting will have as outsiders the same speakers that come to Columbia Uiversity for a meeting on Wednesday the 13-th.
Please see our previous posting:
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 10th, 2013
It will relate to the damage Climate Change does to Small Island States. Are they entitled to compensation for that damage from those that are responsible for what causes climate change?
Climate Change In UNSC, Behind Closed Doors, Marshall Islands of Silence?
By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, February 11 – A big topic at the UN, but with little fanfare: the Security Council will hold a so-called “Arria formula informal meeting” on February 15 on the “security dimensions of climate change.”
The meeting was not on the Security Council’s program of work for February; it was not listed in Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson’s “Week Ahead.”
At an ill-attended press conference on February 11 about the International Year for Water Cooperation, Inner City Press asked a number of questions, including on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access.
In his response, the World Meteorological Organization’s Paul Egerton said that “there may be discussions at the high political level, in the UN Security Council or other venues, of the political issues.” He also said that the Security Council would an informal meeting about climate change.
Inner City Press asked some Council members, and found that the sponsors of the stealth session are the Pakistan and the UK, which had convened on the topic before.
Inner City Press’ inquiry with the UK mission’s so far responsive spokesperson Iona Thomas yielded this:
Matthew: The UK and Pakistan are co-hosting and Arria formula informal meeting on Friday to discuss the security dimensions of climate change. The meeting will aim to provide an opportunity to continue to discuss the potential for the adverse effects of climate change to impact negatively upon international peace and security.
There will be presentations from a panel including Mr Tony deBrum, Minister-in-assistance to the President of the Marshall Islands; Professor Hans Schellnhuber, Head of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research; Ms Rachel Kyte, World Bank Vice-President for Sustainable Development and Mr Gyan Acharya, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing states. Members of the Security Council and other members states will also have the opportunity to contribute.
Sounds interesting. But why so quiet? And why so closed-door? Not only Inner City Press, but now the Free UN Coalition for Access, will try to look into it. Watch this site.