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Posted on on February 6th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Shackleton’s Whiskey Found Buried Near South Pole.

Lauren Frayer
Contributor to
(Feb. 6, 2010) — It’s probably the most sought-after scotch in history – crates of whiskey buried in Antarctica by the famed explorer Ernest Shackleton a century ago. He abandoned them on a failed attempt to reach the South Pole in 1909, and they’ve been on ice – literally – ever since.

Researchers from New Zealand found the crates while restoring a hut Shackleton built and used during the expedition. He and his team were forced to cut short the trip and abandon supplies, including their booze, to sail away before winter ice trapped them there.

The New Zealand team first spotted two crates underneath the hut’s floorboards in 2006, but they were too deeply embedded in ice to be salvaged. Researchers returned to the site this past week, and finally extracted the crates after drilling into the ice around them. The surprise was that there were three more crates than expected – one more of whiskey and two of brandy.

The second trip was backed by the same Scottish company that distilled Shackleton’s whiskey, Mackinlay’s Rare Old Scotch. It could be the longest booze run in history. The Whyte and Mackay distillery hopes to replicate the whiskey, which hasn’t been made in a lifetime after the original recipe was lost.

“Given the original recipe no longer exists, this may open a door into history,” the company’s master blender, Richard Paterson, said in a release posted on the company’s Web site. He called the find “a gift from the heavens” for whiskey lovers.

“If the contents can be confirmed, safely extracted and analyzed, the original blend may be able to be replicated,” Paterson said.

Experts will try to extract the historic brew delicately. Some of the crates have cracked and ice has formed inside. Icebergs surrounding the crates smelled of whiskey, and there may have been leakage, according to Al Fastier, a restoration expert with the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust who made the find.

He told the BBC he heard the slosh of liquid inside the crates when they were moved, and is confident that much of the liquor is still inside.

Shackleton’s expedition ran short of supplies on a long trek to the South Pole that began in 1907. He had to turn back about 100 miles from the pole in 1909. The team had to move quickly to escape as winter ice began to form, so they were forced to abandon all but essential equipment and supplies – including their whiskey. No lives were lost.

A Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen, was first to reach the South Pole two years later, in 1911.

As for what the future holds for Shackleton’s whiskey, there are international treaties preventing the removal of artifacts from Antarctica, but Paterson wrote on his blog that he hopes to get his hands on at least a sample of the whiskey, if not a couple bottles.

“What you all want to know is: How will it taste?” Paterson wrote. “To which the answer is: Cold.”


Posted on on December 21st, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (

ON THIS DAY – On Dec. 21, 1988, a terrorist bomb exploded aboard a Pan Am Boeing 747 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people; now, 21 years later, remembering what addiction to oil can do to us, the New York Times starts to discern a path to a better future for the planet.

Copenhagen, and Beyond.

The global climate negotiations in Copenhagen produced neither a grand success nor the complete meltdown that seemed almost certain as late as Friday afternoon. Despite two years of advance work, the meeting failed to convert a rare gathering of world leaders into an ambitious, legally binding action plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It produced instead a softer interim accord that, at least in principle, would curb greenhouses gases, provide ways to verify countries’ emissions, save rain forests, shield vulnerable nations from the impacts of climate change, and share the costs.

The hard work has only begun, in Washington and elsewhere. But Copenhagen’s achievements are not trivial, given the complexity of the issue and the differences among rich and poor countries. President Obama deserves much of the credit. He arrived as the talks were collapsing, spent 13 hours in nonstop negotiations and played hardball with the Chinese. With time running out — and with the help of China, India, Brazil and South Africa — he forged an agreement that all but a handful of the 193 nations on hand accepted.

Mr. Obama aside, there were two keys to the deal. One was a dramatic offer of $100 billion in aid from the industrialized nations to poorer countries to help them move to less-polluting sources of energy and to deal with drought and other consequences of warming. The offer had an instant soothing effect on many poorer nations that had been threatening to walk out all week.

The other was China’s willingness to submit to a verification system under which all countries would agree to report on their actions and — assuming details could be worked out — open their books to inspection. Transparency is a huge issue in Congress, and Mr. Obama made clear in his opening remarks on Friday that he would not agree to a deal unless China gave ground.

An enormous amount of work lies ahead, both for the president and for the other signatories to what is now being called the Copenhagen Accord. In order to deliver on his promises to reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent by 2020 and provide a chunk of that $100 billion in aid, Mr. Obama must persuade the Senate to approve a cap-and-trade bill — a huge task.

Meanwhile, there can be no letup by the rest of the world’s negotiators, no matter how tired and beat up they may be. These talks have been so chaotic and contentious that some people believe the United Nations machinery has outlived its usefulness, and real progress will henceforth be made in smaller gatherings of the big players.

There may be some truth to this, but at the moment it is hard to see how many of the arrangements agreed to in principle at Copenhagen — the verification system, for instance — can be made to work without detailed agreements. There must also be some mechanism that holds all countries responsible for doing everything they can to tackle climate change. As it is, the pledges now on the table, from both rich and poor countries, are nowhere near enough to keep atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide from rising above dangerous levels.

But for the moment it is worth savoring the steps forward. China is now a player in the effort to combat climate change in a way it has never been, putting measurable emissions reductions targets on the table and accepting verification. And the United States is very much back in the game too. After eight years of playing the spoiler, it is now a leader with a president who seems to embrace the role.


Mixed Bag for Obama on Climate Change Deal Amid the Recession
A victory for President Obama in Copenhagen will not necessarily help his popularity at home.

December 21, 2009

    An Air of Frustration for Europe at Climate Talks
    Caught off guard by the Copenhagen accord, European leaders felt pressure to back it even though they thought it did not go far enough and had a process in which they had little influence.

    December 21, 2009

      Copenhagen’s One Real Accomplishment: Getting Some Money Flowing
      The accord in Copenhagen was “a big step forward” after previous talks offered no financial support mechanisms, Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. secretary general, said.

      December 21, 2009

        Compromising on 2 Issues, Obama Gets Partial Wins
          By PETER BAKER
          From Copenhagen to Capitol Hill, the president determined the outer limits of what he could accomplish on climate change and health care and decided that was enough, for now.

          December 20, 2009

            A Grudging Accord in Climate Talks
            By ANDREW C. REVKIN and JOHN M. BRODER
            After delays, theatrics and deal-making, climate talks ended with an agreement to “take note” of a pact shaped by five nations.

            December 20, 2009


            U.N. Climate Talks ‘Take Note’ of Accord Backed by U.S.
            By ANDREW C. REVKIN and JOHN M. BRODER
            The agreement left open the question of whether the accord would gain the full support of the countries involved in the talks on limiting the risks of climate change.

            December 20, 2009


            Off to the Races
            By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
            A competitive Earth Race led by America can be a more self-sustaining way to reduce carbon emissions than a festival of nonbinding commitments at a U.N. conference.

            December 20, 2009


            Updated Dec. 18, 2009

            Representatives of 192 nations gathered in Copenhagen to seek a consensus on an international strategy for fighting global warming, in a series of meetings between Dec. 7 and Dec. 18, 2009.

            Leaders concluded a climate change deal the Obama administration called “meaningful” but which fell short of even the modest expectations for the summit. The maneuvering that characterized the final week of the talks was a sign of their seriousness; never before have global leaders come so close to a significant agreement to reduce the greenhouse gases linked to warming the planet.

            President Obama injected himself into a multilayered negotiation that was far more chaotic and contentious than anticipated – frozen by longstanding divisions between rich and poor nations and a legacy of mistrust of the United States, which has long refused to accept any binding limits on its greenhouse gas emissions.

            The accord drops what had been the expected goal of concluding a binding international treaty by the end of 2010, which leaves the implementation of its provisions uncertain. It is likely to undergo many months, perhaps years, of additional negotiation before it emerges in any internationally enforceable form.

            Read More…


            Posted on on November 1st, 2009
            by Pincas Jawetz (

            ———- Forwarded message ———-
            From: christine campeau <>
            Date: Fri, Oct 30, 2009 
            Subject: How to reduce your emissions by more than 40% by 2020: Practical examples from Scotland

            Dear colleagues,

            Caritas Internationalis and SCIAF (Caritas Scotland) are pleased to invite you to attend “How to reduce your emissions by more than 40% by 2020: Practical examples from Scotland”, an event to be held in Barcelona on Tuesday November 3rd, from 9h00 – 10h30 in Room 5 of the convention centre.

            Scotland has recently passed legislation that commits it to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050, with at least 80% of these reductions coming from domestic sources. Please join us to hear Scotland’s Minister for Climate Change and Scottish NGO and business leaders discuss how they plan to meet these targets in practice.

            For more information, please contact:

            Christine Campeau, Caritas Internationalis (
            Rowan Popplewell, SCIAF (


            Also, don’t forget that Barcelona is the capital of Catalunya Government – another well advanced Regional Government in Europe. The latter had a very interesting event at the UN – sponsored by UNU – see our posting on that event. In the US this sort of activity can be found in the State of California. Proof that States, Regions, provinces, large cities, can come up with better and faster legislation then cumbersome governments that are UN Member States.


            Posted on on July 10th, 2009
            by Pincas Jawetz (

            Qaddafi met Mr. Brown dressed in White silk suit and wearing knee high boots, and surrounded female bodyguards that wore a blue uniform with gold epaulettes. Quite the showman he is thanks to his sitting on marketable barrels of oil.

            In the photos we saw, his outfit when meeting other leaders, including President Obama, was more African-desert like.


            From The London Times, July 10, 2009

            Gordon Brown asks for help from Colonel Gaddafi

            Philip Webster, Political Editor, in L’Aquila


            Gordon Brown today asked Muammar Gaddafi to intervene in the case of a British child abducted by her Libyan father as the Libyan leader was finally brought in from the cold by the world’s richest nations.

            Britain is seeking the repatriation from Libya of six-year-old Nadia Fawzi, who was taken from her mother Sarah Taylor, of Wigan, in 2007.

            Mr Brown raised her case when the two leaders met at the G8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy, today and told Colonel Gaddafi that it remained the case that Britain wanted Nadia to be reunited with her mother.

            Col Gaddafi, who as usual brought a Bedouin style tent and a contingent of female bodyguards with him for his visit, undertook to look into the case and see what he could do as soon as possible, said a Downing Street spokesman.

            Mr Brown and Col Gaddafi met ahead of talks between the G8 states – Britain, the US, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia – and African leaders on measures to improve food security in the world’s poorest countries. Col Gaddafi is present as chairman of the African Union.

            Today’s meeting is the first time Mr Brown has met Col Gaddafi, who was an international pariah for years following the Lockerbie bombing, for which Libya was blamed.

            His predecessor Tony Blair famously flew to Libya in 2004 to meet Col Gaddafi in his desert tent after he gave up his weapons of mass destruction capability and accepted responsibility for the attack.

            Mr Brown reiterated his “admiration and gratitude” for Col Gaddafi’s “brave” decision to scrap the WMD programmes.

            The meeting took place in a small room in the financial police barracks where the summit is being held. Col Gaddafii spoke in Arabic and Mr Brown in English. Each had three aides with them and there was some banter when Col Gaddafi realised that Simon McDonald, Mr Brown’s foreign affairs chief and a slightly rusty Arabic speaker, was picking up on everything that he was saying.

            Col Gaddafi wore a shiny white silk suit with a black undershirt, a black cape and scarf and knee high boots. His bodyguards wore a blue uniform with gold epaulettes. Behind the leaders was a Union Flag and a plain green Libyan flag.

            In an apparent reference to Iran and North Korea, Mr Brown said that, following the decision to hold a nuclear non-proliferation summit next spring, it would be necessary to try to persuade other countries to follow Libya’s example.

            During their 40-minute discussion, the two leaders talked about the current volatility in oil prices – which recently hit $75 a barrel.

            They agreed on the need to maintain close dialogue between the major oil-consuming countries and producers like Libya, as well as the need for greater transparency in the oil markets.

            Col Gaddafi raised the case of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, who is appealing against his conviction and seeking return to Libya, but Mr Brown said that it was a matter for the Scottish Government.

            Mr Brown also raised the case of Wpc Yvonne Fletcher, who was shot dead outside the Libyan embassy in 1984. No one has been convicted for her murder, though the Libyan government has accepted that its agents were responsible.

            Mr Brown and Col Gaddafi had a long discussion on Africa and their “strongly shared view” that the continent needs better representation in international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, said Downing Street.

            The Prime Minister made the point that Africa was not responsible for the current global recession and should be protected from its consequences.

            This was not the time for rich nations to retreat from their commitments to assist the poorest, said Mr Brown.

            He offered British help in developing Libya’s healthcare system, which Col Gaddafi accepted.

            A Downing Street spokesman said: “Throughout the conversation, there was agreement that the relationship between the UK and Libya was a strong relationship and had grown significantly since 2003 and that it would grow stronger still in the years to come.”

            Col Gaddafi met Barack Obama last night and enjoyed his first handshake with a US president since his long years of isolation.

            Mr Brown has already pledged to devote $1.8 billion dollars of Britain’s international aid to agriculture and hopes other G8 leaders will make similar promises today as part of a drive to make Africa self-sufficient in food.

            The global downturn has led to a sharp increase in food shortages, with the numbers of chronically hungry estimated to be growing at a rate of around 275,000 a day throughout 2008.


            Posted on on July 7th, 2009
            by Pincas Jawetz (

             I was just watching on C-Span the start of the Senate debate on Energy and Climate. I heard Senator Imhofe who chaired the killing sessions in several previous years. Now he is not chairman anymore – but he still is not convinced that climate change is for real, and witnesses like republican Governors Association Chairman from Mississippi, the Hon. Haley Barbour will help him slow the procedures. There will be talk of drilling – here, there, and everywhere – of cleaner coal, of cleanest nuclear – you name it it will be there. The best you can expect will be another Christmas tree that will have to be matched up in conference with the Waxman/Markey product – then you bet – it will be too little and too late to satisfy the Europeans and anyone else.

             Very sad again!

            But, out of nowhere flew into my hands today’s Financial Times article by two very centrists Professors of Law – and see what they say:  


            How Obama could introduce a petrol tax.
            By Michael Levine and Mark Roe
            an Opinion in Financial Times, July 7 2009

            Last month, a major climate change bill began winding through Congress. Meanwhile, carmakers, environmental regulators and the Obama administration announced with great fanfare a plan to raise the fuel efficiency of new vehicles – and energy secretary Steven Chu announced that a petrol tax was “not on the table” politically.

            Yet almost everyone who has studied the subject – including Mr Chu before his latest job – agrees that a petrol tax would be much superior to directives such as those announced last month. It is hard for the government to choose the right fuel efficiency targets; and when consumers see fuel is cheap it encourages them to drive big, fuel-hungry cars and to drive them further. A petrol tax would help consumers to make choices that face the environmental facts, instead of having the government nag them to do the right thing.

            If a petrol tax is as good an idea as the consensus takes it to be, why is it so politically dangerous that US politicians will not touch it? Four political forces combine to kill off significant petrol taxes.

            The average consumer hates it. It is too painful to see those numbers on the pump every time you fill up. Politicians fear that if they were seen to raise petrol prices by a tax of a dollar or two, voters would not forgive them.

            The second big strike against a tax is that heavy users of petrol, including people who live in the west, have powerful lobbying groups or senators who would derail it in Congress.

            The auto industry makes more money selling gas guzzlers than small cars – so count on senators from car-producing states to oppose a tax.

            The energy industry makes its money by selling energy – so senators from energy-producing states would oppose it too. Strikes three and four.

            But wait – if a petrol tax would really make us better off as a nation, there ought to be a way to get there.

            Facts and politics are changing. It may now be possible to get three of the four groups to support a petrol tax – or at least not oppose it vigorously. A window of opportunity is opening. We do not know how long it will stay open and the Obama administration ought to take advantage of it now.

            Consider first a textbook move to get the public to accept a costly change in policy: give voters their money back through another channel. If they got a tax credit or refund for the amount of the average voter’s petrol usage, they would see that they were no worse off. They could keep the money and drive less or buy a more economical car.

            Here is how it would work: Suppose you are the average driver, driving 12,000 miles a year in a 15 miles-per-gallon car. A $2 per gallon tax would cost you $1,600 a year. You would be unhappy about that. Sure, you would drive less if taxed and next time you would buy a car with better petrol mileage. But you would be so annoyed at the tax that you would not forgive your congressman for voting for it. But if you got a $1,600 cheque or a visible rebate on your taxes, you would understand that you were even: you might even think that with a little life adjustment, you could beat the game and come out ahead.

            Your rebate would not change if you used less petrol. So you would have an incentive to keep some of that $1,600 by driving a little less often in a more fuel-efficient car. The country would import that much less oil, produce less carbon dioxide and get that much more freedom to manoeuvre in the international arena.

            Heavy users would still have the motive and means to kill the bill in Congress. Taxi drivers and truckers, for example, use more fuel than average, so they would still strongly oppose a heavy tax. Suppose that each is powerful enough to kill the bill alone and that, if they acted together, no rational member of Congress would even propose a petrol tax.

            They can be bought: the rebate concept could be extended to each identifiable, definable veto group. Let us say that taxi drivers drive 50,000 miles per year in 15 mpg cars. A little arithmetic has a $2 per gallon tax costing them $6,667; for truckers it works out at $32,500. That would be their rebate. Taxi drivers would have an incentive to use less petrol, for example by using hybrid cars. The California Air Resources Board has estimated that truckers could burn 7 per cent less fuel just by installing aerodynamic fairings. Payback would be quick. Politicians might even grease the wheels a little by giving them a bit more.

            Auto manufacturers would be faced with customers who wanted more economical cars and could make money selling to them. They would also be faced with a government that now has power to help them re-adjust their thinking.

            Energy companies might be a problem, but they would be outnumbered. Done properly, with some inspired political salesmanship, the average citizen, as well as heavy users of petrol, could all be at the forefront of supporting the petrol tax in Congressional testimony.

            Yes, it would require some deft packaging to make it work. People would have to be helped to understand how the changes could work for them. But this president has a gift for explanation and we have a White House with Larry Summers and Rahm Emanuel. They should be able to make a plan and sell it convincingly to the public and Congress.
            Michael Levine is a law professor at New York University School of Law. Mark Roe is a law professor at Harvard Law School


            Posted on on July 3rd, 2009
            by Pincas Jawetz (

            Franny Armstrong Informs us that Scotland has become the first nation world-wide to comply in full with the IPCC CO2 emissions’ cut.   It is a 42% cut based on 1990 by 2020.

            Compare above with the US 14% based on 2005 by 2020 – it is indeed more then 10 times the cuts suggested in the US House of Representatives legislation and 5 times the EU’s 20 by 2020 plans.


            Scotland! Bonny, bonny Scotland has finally passed its own Climate Act, and in the process has become the first rich nation to commit to mid-term targets that are actually in line with the IPCC’s guidelines for avoiding that dreaded 2ËšC threshold. Massive bigups to Stop Climate Chaos, WWF, Christian Aid and Friends of the Earth Scotland for all their work to make that happen, as well as everyone else who took the time to lobby their MSPs about this. Scotland actually now leads the developed world in climate mitigation policy. Who knew?


                    Scottish parliament agrees tougher 42% target to cut emissions.

            Campaigners say ‘hugely significant’ vote to cut emissions by 42% by 2020 sets new ‘moral’ standard for the rest of the industrialised world

            Scotland has set itself the world’s most ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets after the Scottish parliament voted today to cut the nation’s CO2 emissions by 42% by 2020.
            In a rare show of unity, all political parties at Holyrood unanimously agreed to fix the target as part of a radical climate change bill which also requires the Scottish government to set legally binding annual cuts in emissions from 2012.

            The measures are tougher than the 34% target set in the UK government’s climate change act last year, which has no statutory annual targets. In common with UK government aspirations, the new act also commits Scotland to an 80% reduction on 1990 levels by 2050.

            The campaign coalition Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, which claims its 60 member organisations represent two million people, said this “hugely significant” vote set a new “moral” standard for the rest of the industrialised world.

            It comes the day after the US stated that a 40% cut by 2020 was “not on the cards”: developing nations have demanded this level of cut from rich nations.

            Kim Carstensen, head of WWF International’s global climate initiative, said: “At least one nation is prepared to aim for climate legislation that follows the science. Scotland made the first step to show others that it can be done. We now need others to follow.”

            However, the new measures are already under intense scrutiny. The act allows ministers to reduce the target later this year if the UK government’s advisory panel on climate change says it is unrealistic, or the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen in December fails to agree on a global deal to replace Kyoto.

            Environment groups are critical of the Scottish government’s refusal to abandon road, bridge and airport expansion programmes, its plans for a new coal-fired power station, and its unwillingness to tackle directly increasing car use.

            Furthermore, Scottish ministers only directly control about 30% of Scotland’s total annual emissions of 68m tonnes of CO2 – which only equates to a 700th of the world’s emissions. Most significant policies are controlled in Brussels and London, critics point out.

            About 40% is covered by the European Union carbon emissions trading agreement, while the UK government has policy responsibilities for a further 30% of Scotland’s emissions. That includes fuel taxation, low emission vehicles, VAT on energy efficiency and air taxes.

            The Committee on Climate Change, the panel set up to advise Gordon Brown’s government, has warned Salmond that Scotland is effectively jumping the gun by setting a 42% target in advance of a deal at Copenhagen.

            In a letter to Stewart Stevenson, the Scottish climate change minister, the committee’s chief executive, David Kennedy, said it believes Scotland should follow the UK strategy of waiting until the Copenhagen conference.

            If a deal is reached, it should follow the UK government’s lead and only then set a 42% target.

            The Scottish government had also increased the pressure on itself by including emissions from international aviation and shipping in its target, Kennedy wrote, even though it has no control over policy for these sectors.

            “I would therefore consider that an appropriate Scottish 2020 target could be set slightly below 34% to account for different treatments of international aviation under UK and Scottish approaches.”

            Despite these criticisms, the chairman of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, Mike Robinson, said the significance of the all-party consensus could not be underestimated.

            “It means Scotland’s climate change bill has the toughest target of any industrialised nation in the world and will be held up as an example, ahead of the climate talks in Copenhagen in December, of what can and should be done,” he said.

            “This is a moral commitment and we hope other developed nations will hear this call for action and follow Scotland’s lead.”

            Although on renewable energy the Scottish National party is very likely to surpass its ambitious targets to deliver half of Scotland’s electricity from renewables by 2020, ministers have failed to embark on any politically unpopular measures to combat car use or the growth in short-haul aviation.

            It has authorised a second road bridge over the Firth of Forth and abandoned bridge tolls, paid to extend the M74 motorway, supports a new ring road around Aberdeen and dualing the A9 and wants a major new coal-fired power station.

            Its most ambitious emissions-reduction policies, such as using carbon capture for all fossil fuel power stations, using marine energy, and a wholesale switch to green transport, either have targets set at 2030 or are largely UK-government controlled. The SNP has also completely ruled out any new nuclear power stations.


            Scotland ‘Leads the World’ in the Fight Against Climate Change

            The Scottish Parliament today (Wednesday 24 June) led the world by passing the strongest climate change legislation of any industrialised nation.

            MSPs voted in favour of legislation that commits Scotland to:

            at least 80% cuts of all greenhouse gases (on 1990 levels) by 2050
            a 2020 target of at least 42% reduction in greenhouse gases
            include the full effects of emissions from international aviation and shipping from the start
            a strong duty on all public bodies to make a full contribution to tackling climate change
            strong energy efficiency measures to tackle fuel poverty and save energy
            Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) has been campaigning for three years to see these key elements included in the Bill.

            Mike Robinson, Chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, said: This is a truly momentous day. The Scottish Parliament has voted for legislation that will be held up as a positive example to the world ahead of climate talks in Copenhagen in December. An emissions reduction target of at least 42% and the inclusion of aviation and shipping from the start sets Scotland’s Bill apart from the UK Act. We hope other developed nations will hear this call for action and follow Scotland’s lead. Now that MSPs from all parties have made these moral commitments, they have a responsibility to do what is necessary to deliver them.

            Stop Climate Chaos Scotland commends the Liberal Democrats and Greens for introducing robust targets early in the process and Labour and the SNP for their strong targets as the Bill neared conclusion.

            To the Editor:

            Re “In Climate Change Bill, What May Become an Election-Year Issue” (Congressional Memo, June 27, The New York Times):

            It is clear to me, having watched the climate bill debate in the House, that many Republicans simply do not believe that global warming is real, is caused by burning of fossil fuels and will lead to devastating consequences in a matter of decades if the status quo is maintained or actions to lower greenhouse gas emissions are inadequate.

            This is reinforced in your article, describing Republicans “almost in a celebratory mood” at the close of the debate, believing they had gained a trump card to be used in future elections.

            I can only hope that voters will take the time to read what the scientists are saying and see through the hot air offered by those politicians who deny global warming and deny the urgency of the situation.

            Michael Yellin
            Montclair, N.J., June 28, 2009


            To the Editor:

            “Betraying the Planet,” by Paul Krugman (column, June 29, The New York Times), recognizes that we can no longer afford to deny global warming, particularly in light of heavy Republican opposition to the Waxman-Markey bill that was passed in the House on June 26. Refuting global warming certainly constitutes betraying the planet, yet, surprisingly enough, so does supporting the bill.

            A minority of the 212 representatives who voted against the bill did so because they considered the bill too weak. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that countries should cut their emissions by 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Yet the short-term target in the bill offers only a 4 percent reduction by 2020, which just begins to signal the numerous problems with the bill.

            Supporting this bill is a step backward and would only further betray the planet and give in to these global warming deniers.

            Brian Howe
            Manlius, N.Y., June 30, 2009



            Posted on on May 10th, 2009
            by Pincas Jawetz (


            Breaking up Britain:
            Four nations after a Union

            Mark Perryman (editor)

            ‘This brilliant book helps us understand what Scots, Welsh, Irish and English neighbours, freed from an unhappy Union, might look like.’
            Billy Bragg

            May 2009 will be the tenth anniversary of the first elections to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly. This was the beginning of a decade of change – which now includes the restoration of powers to Stormont – that is showing every sign of being an irreversible process.

            Breaking Up Britain is a unique collection of English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish contributors, featuring key political activists from the nationalist parties, commentators and campaigners, academics and journalists. Each writer explores the change that the break-up demands in their own nation, but also discusses its impact upon the whole.

            This dialogue of differences is essential reading for anyone interested in the shape of politics and culture after a Union.

            Mark Perryman Introduction
            Mark Perryman A Jigsaw State
            Kevin Williamson Culture and the homecoming of Scottishness
            Leanne Wood Greening the Welsh Dragon

            Praise for Mark Perryman’s previous book Imagined Nation:
            ‘Some of the sharpest thinking around on both the pitfalls of nationalism and the potential for a progressive English identity’
            Gary Younge
            ‘A kind of primer for post-Britons’
            David Edgar

            Contributors: Gerry Adams, Arthur Aughey, Gregor Gall, John Harris, Michael Kenny, Peadar Kirby, Guy Lodge, Inez McCormack, John Osmond, Mike Parker, Lesley Riddoch, Richard Thomson, Vron Ware, Charlotte Williams, Kevin Williamson, Leanne Wood and Salma Yaqoob.

            Mark Perryman is a writer and regular media commentator on Englishness and football, and a research fellow in sport and leisure culture at the University of Brighton. He is convenor of the LondonEnglandFans supporters’ group, co-founder of Philosophy Football and author of a number of books, including Ingerland: Travels with a Football Nation and (as editor) Imagined Nation: England after Britain.


            Mark Perryman Introduction

            BREAKING UP BRITAIN: Keynote essay
            Mark Perryman A Jigsaw State

            John Harris An English Realignment
            Kevin Williamson Language and culture in a rediscovered Scotland
            Charlotte Williams The melting pot and the British meltdown
            Arthur Aughey Wild catastrophism to mild moderation in Northern Ireland

            Leanne Wood Greening the Welsh Dragon
            Salma Yaqoob Muslim communities in search of a politics of common ground
            Gerry Adams No more Mé Féin but ourselves alone, together and equal
            Richard Thomson The social-democratisation of Scottish nationalism

            Vron Ware The ins and outs of Anglo-Saxonism
            Inez McCormack A Northern Irish experience of shaping rights
            Gregor Gall In search of a Scottish outside left
            Mike Parker Independence – that’s when good neighbours become good friends

            Lesley Riddoch Tartanspotting and the contradictions of being Scots
            John Osmond Welsh independence in an era of interdependence
            Peadar Kirby How the Celtic Tiger tames Irish dissent
            Michael Kenny & Guy Lodge More than one English question

            Paperback, 256pp, All rights L&W May 2009
            ISBN: 9781905007967

            Price: £16.99



            Posted on on March 12th, 2009
            by Pincas Jawetz (

            Love in a warming climate. In a Glasgow Theatre Opens a Play Called Kyoto.
            By Steve Cramer, The Financial Times,   March 12 2009.
            This second of a planned trilogy of two-handed love stories from David Greig is an altogether darker piece than last autumn’s engaging trifle with music, Midsummer . Here, a timely reminder about the ecological catastrophe that has been knocked off the front pages by the economic one is proposed through the metaphor of a too often forestalled love affair.

            In it, we meet Dan (Matthew Pidgeon), who might be a civil servant or a representative of a mighty corporation. Whatever his role, it’s clearly opposed to Lucy’s (Vicki Liddelle), a researcher in climate change who has spent much of her time on the ever-diminishing polar ice caps. For all their ostensible ideological differences, an ancient, lurking passion first discovered at the summit of the title a decade before, but as yet unconsummated, lies between them. As they enter his hotel room, in some undesignated former Eastern Bloc country, darkened and chilled by a power cut that might foreshadow a future reality for the west, will they finally explore long-deferred emotions?

            Dominic Hill’s lunchtime production for Oran Mor and the Traverse makes the most of its metaphor, but leaves one wondering whether clothing the issues it raises in allegory is strictly necessary. Just as each of the two lovers has long since recognised their crush, so too have all but a handful of Free Market Taliban clustered round the former US president acknowledged the issue of climate change without acting. As the lovers wonder whether it’s too late, so must we.

            “The world is in the bar, drinking to forget,” comments Liddelle’s scientist of the rest of the international delegation at the conference. It’s an extension of the metaphor, but to the point where one wishes to see the delegates, however plastered, actually make their case. At times, indeed, one feels that this tryst, whatever its erotic potential, is missing the party outside.

            That said, Greig’s script has some witty moments, backed with sharp performances. Pidgeon replaces his feckless but endearing leading man from Midsummer with a character full of niggling, fastidious propriety, whose desire for consumerist perfection is such that he imperils the simple primal joy at hand with an obsessive search for the champagne and smoked salmon that will make it perfect. Liddelle, in the more difficult part of the commonsensical rationalist, is perhaps even stronger.


            Posted on on November 16th, 2008
            by Pincas Jawetz (

            Subject: Chaos or New World Economic Order?
            Date: November 15, 2008

            Interest Rates [Credit] are the Cause and Consequence of
            the Explosion of Income/Wealth Disparities and,
            Hence, of the Inherent Instability of this Economy:
            The Ominous Keynes’ Liquidity Trap.
            Origin of Economic Chaos.
            As Far as we Know, As of Today No Other Economist Has Yet Discovered
            The Link Between Income Distribution and the Liquidity Trap.
            None of the Traditional Tools of Governements Will Work:
            The Helpless Leaders of The G20 Countries Are Pathetic, Aren’t They?

            DIE ZEIT: Can the right monetary and fiscal policy keep the US out of a recession?

            Alan Greenspan:

            “Probably not. Global forces can now override most anything that monetary and fiscal policy can do.

            Long-term real interest rates have significantly more impact on the core of economic activity than the individual

            actions of nations. Central banks have increasingly lost their capacity to influence the longer end of the market.

            Two to three decades, ago central banks were dominant throughout the maturity schedule.

            Thus, the more important question is the direction of long-term real interest rates.”

            Chairman Sir Alan “El Maestro” Greenspan

            The Great Irony of Success

              ZEIT online, 30.1.2008

            When Long-Term Interest Rates Ar So Low As Not to Reward the Risk
            People Stop to Invest. Wouldn’t You? Who Can Coerce Them to Lose Money?
            Because It Is Through Investments That Money Is Created.
            The Blood of the Economy Stops to Flow,
            It is the Ominous Keynes’ Liquidity Trap, The Root of Economic Chaos.
            The Crash Will Be Brutal, With NO Prior Warning…
            You Need to Be Prepared.
            1776Annuit CÅ“ptis Can’t Avoid the Crash
            it Can Shield You From Its Consequences
            Everyone Need an Economy, Don’t You?
            There Is One Solution That Works:
            What Else?… What Is Exactly the Other Option?
            No One Will Chose the Chaos, Will You?
            Anyone Can Join But Still Needs to Be Prepared. Shouldn’t You?

            “At the present moment people are unusually expectant of a more fundamental diagnosis;
            more particularly ready to receive it; eager to try it out, if it should be even plausible.

            But apart from this contemporary mood, the ideas of economists and political philosophers,
            both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood.

            Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite
            exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.

            Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy
            from some academic scribbler of a few years back. Emperors and armies come and go;
            but unless they leave new ideas in their wake, they are of passing historic consequence.

            I am sure that the power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the
            gradual encroachment of ideas. Not, indeed, immediately, but after a certain interval;

            for in the field of economic and political philosophy there are not many who are influenced by new theories
            after they are twenty-five or thirty years of age, so that the ideas which civil servants
            and politicians and even agitators apply to current events are not likely to be the newest.
            But, soon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil.”

            John Maynard “Invisible Hand” Keynes,
            The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money,
            13 December 1935, p. 383.
            Quoted by Chairman Sir Alan “El Maestro” Greenspan
            Adam “Defunct Economist” Smith
            At the Adam Smith Memorial Lecture, Kirkcaldy, Scotland
            February 6, 2005

            It is NOT to Fix This Economy Which is Already Beyond Repair.

            The Intention Is to Create a New Economy
            With the Assets of the Old One Without its Liabilities.

            1776Annuit CÅ“ptis Will Jump Start Its Economy When:

            It Declares the State of Systemic Economic Collapse (Market Crash)


            The Number of Its Registred Participants Reaches 100,000,000

            Why Not Insure Against the Worst Case Scenario?

            It Is the Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World Economic Order.

            “Even apart from the instability due to speculation, there is the instability due to the characteristic of human
            nature that a large proportion of our positive activities depend on spontaneous optimism rather than on
            a mathematical expectation, whether moral or hedonistic or economic.

            Most, probably, of our decisions to do something positive, the full consequences of which will be drawn
            out over many days to come, can only be taken as a result of animal spirits—of
            a spontaneous urge to action rather than inaction, and not as the outcome of a weighted average of
            quantitative benefits multiplied by quantitative probabilities.

            Enterprise only pretends to itself to be mainly actuated by the statements in its own prospectus, however candid and sincere.
            Only a little more than an expedition to the South Pole, is it based on an exact calculation of benefits to come.
            Thus if the animal spirits are dimmed and the spontaneous optimism falters, leaving us to depend on nothing
            but a mathematical expectation, enterprise will fade and die;—
            though fears of loss may have a basis no more reasonable than hopes of profit had before.”

            Sir John Maynard “Invisible Hand” Keynes
            The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money,
            Chapter 12: The State of Long Term Expectation, VII
            December 13, 1935

            1 7 7 6 – Annuit CÅ“ptis believes that it won’t have time to contact you again till it declares the state of systemic economic catastrophe. However please read our Strict Direct Contacts Policy
            Should you need to contact 1776-Annuit CÅ“ptis please write to


            Posted on on October 13th, 2008
            by Pincas Jawetz (

            Monday, October 13th – Columbus Day 2008 – In Financial Markets The Chefs Of Europe Came To Washington to Save the Old World – The Week Will End With The Europeans Fighting Among Themselves For Positions at the UN.

            The good news are that this Monday is much better then the Monday of last week. This because after serious tutoring by the Chefs of Europe, the US was softened to accept what George Soros and a few others said for quite a while – you do not just bailout those that undermined the economy because of their greed, that was allowed to grow thanks to a wrong headed concept of “Less Government Is Best Government.” You re-capitalize the banks and take equity position in them, so you can re-establish rule of ethics in those institutions. The Europeans started by Nationalizing their weak institutions rather then let them fail (like the Lehman case in the US) or bail them out (like the Goldman-Sachs case in the US). As George Soros said, by letting the system in the hands of Goldman-Sachs graduates, you really do not signal that you want to see change indeed. (We add to this that it would be like seating McCain in the Oval Office when the need is to create deep change in Washington.)

            Further – just look at The Financial Times of today – for example at page 11 – “Goldman Connection Raises Questions Over Conflict of Interest’ and Page 24 – “Key Lehman Figures Stay On In Europe” – this after Japan’s Nomura bought the European and Middle East operations of Lehman Brothers. Then see page 24 – “Is Nationalization the answer to banks behaving badly?” and look for what went on in Iceland where the whole banking system was Nationalized. Look at the argument – “shareholders win – taxpayers lose” and the question “why not resolve it by making the two groups identical?” That is neither socialism nor demagoguery. It is not Corporate Socialism but plain “Country First” argumentation that has nothing to do with “me interrupt the campaign and go to Washington to pass the Paulson three page non-plan.”

            OK, President Bush listened to the G7 on Friday – and magic – after he declared that the US will now buy into banks – not just the “toxic assets” of those banks, the New York Stock market this morning, followed the example of global markets over the week-end, and started returning value to the share-holders. While I write this, Monday at noon, the New York Stock Market DOW is up 520 points. Clearly, not because they trust now Messrs. Paulson & Bernanke more then they did a week ago – it did happen because they trust more the Gordon Brown, Nicholas Sarkozy, Angela Markel consortium of individuals.

            But, do not jump yet at conclusions – this article is not exactly an ode to old Europe. You can conclude that I trust more The Financial Times then the Wall Street Journal, but I will also point out the show of hands that will happen at the end of this week at the UN, and that will bring to the limelight also shadier aspects of Europe 2008.


            The event will happen on Friday, October 17, 2008, when the UN General Assembly elects five non-permanent members of the UN Security Council.

            Outgoing council members are Belgium, Indonesia, Italy, Panama, South Africa.

            Uganda is the sole candidate for Africa and will replace South Africa. Mexico is the sole candidate for Latin America and will replace Panama. But for Asia there are two candidates and Japan has the definite advantage over Iran as replacement of Indonesia.

            The only real fight will be for the European two seats where Austria, Iceland and Turkey will be fighting for the two seats vacated by Belgium and Italy.

            Conventional wisdom at the UN says that Turkey will be a shoo-in with the 192 States voting, but Austria and Iceland will be in a tough fight for the second seat. And this is the reason for my bringing up now these elections.

            The last months was very hard on Austria and Iceland. Think of the complete melt-down of the Iceland financial system, and the melt-down of the Austrian governing scheme.


            Let us start with Iceland, as this is the easier case – it is on the surface only about money, but then also about eventual political freedom.

            Richard Portes writes in The Financial Times of today “The shocking errors behind Iceland’s meltdown.” Iceland’s Glitnir Bank was the first casualty of Washington letting down Lehman, and precipitating the hermetic closure of the global credit market. Like fellow Icelandic banks, Landsbanki and Kaupthing, they were all solvent and posted good first-half results and had healthy capital adequacy ratios. And that is important – NONE HAD ANY TOXIC SECURITIES. All of them were very well managed for the last two years, but when the credit crisis hit Glitnir, the Icelandic Central Bank (CBI) did not help and moved to Nationalize the bank, creating in its wake a run on all banks. All this triggered a fall of the Krona and a margin call from the European Central Bank. Eventually the banks became collateral damage and some foreign branches taken over.

            The problem was that the Icelandic banks   were highly leveraged, and like in the UK and Switzerland, too large relative to the domestic economy. The joke was that the large Icelandic banks had a small country attached to them.

            The CBI did some terrible mistakes. They announced on Monday a peg of the Krona to the Euro at a rate well above the market that was unsustainable, and abandoned by Tuesday. They contacted the International Monetary Institutions in Washington and when help was not forthcoming they asked for $4 Billion from Russia that was answered positively, but the deal was not yet consumeted. Now, following the Friday agreements in Washington, it is probable that Iceland will be the first country in this crisis to be helped by the IMF. Perhaps also the Russian deal will be finalized this week, and the question is at what political price will this be for a small country, not an EU member, and positioned from Russia at the opposite end of Europe.

            For our story here – What will this do to Iceland obtaining the votes it wants at the UN General Assembly, in its quest for a first-time membership at the UNSC – this as part of the group of Nordic States (that at the EU are indeed part of Europe). Will they get now sympathy votes, or will they be considered as economically non-viable?


            The other contestant is Austria, and its problems seem even worse. The problem is purely political and this week-end it got thrown into total chaos by the auto-racing death of its fast talking right wing politician Joerg Haider.

            The Story started with the brake-up of the traditional governing Red-Black coalition. That is the the left of center Socialists broke up their “Grand Coalition” with the right-of center Peoples Party. The voters at the polls punished both of them and elevated by a   close to 30% the two infighting extreme right parties, leaving 9% to the Austrian Greens. OK, one could go back to a diminished “Grand Coalition”with both parties – the Reds and the Blacks – headed by new leaders. This would be a punishment for their lack of acceptance of the previous debacles when these parties flirted with the extreme right.

            The Austrian Freedom Party (FPO – the Blue Party), a small party of 5% of the electorate, entered into a controversial coalition as junior partner to the Reds in May 1983 and remained in power with that party until January 1987.

            Appears Joerg Haider and in September 1986   he defeated the Austrian Vice-Chancellor Norbert Steger in a vote for the FPO leadership at the party conference in Innsbruck: many delegates feared that Steger’s liberal views and his coalition with the Social Democrats threatened the party’s existence. Haider attempted to increase his party’s standing by appealing to those opposed to the EU, those against immigration, and those who thought “the Third Reich was not all bad”, including its work creation programmes, and who believed that its crimes were exaggerated. Plain and simple – a Neo-Nazi ideology.

            Under Haider’s leadership the FPO went from 4.98 per cent of the vote in 1986 to 26.9 per cent in 1999, putting it on a par with the Blacks. The outgoing Reds could not find a coalition partner and months of negotiations followed until in 2000 the Blacks formed a coalition with Haider’s FPO. This caused a sensation – both in Austria and across Europe – the heads of the governments of the other 14 EU members decided to cease co-operation with the Austrian government.

            The coalition remained in office until 2007, although Haider stepped down as the FPO’s chairman in 2000. Without him his party’s voting bloc seemed to evaporate: at the 2002 election it lost nearly two-thirds of its support. Haider remained the FPO’s major figure until 2005, when he founded the Bündnis Zukunft Österreich (BZO, or Alliance for the Future of Austria), the Orange Party.

            He was expelled from the Blues but the Orange’s increasing popularity won it 11 per cent of the vote in the September 2008 general election. Last week, Haider and Heinz-Christian Strache, the leader of the Blues, negotiated to put aside their differences following their combined success at the polls. The results for their two parties came to 28.2 per cent of the ballot, as against 15 per cent in 2006. This placed them on a nearly equal footing with the “winning” Social Democrats.


            Mr Haider, 58, whose fatal car accident early this Saturday morning, October 11, 2008, left Austria in a state of shock. He was travelling near Klagenfurt in the southern province of Carinthia, his home Province – the Province where he was Governor. He was going   at 88mph (142kph) along a stretch of road which has a 42mph speed limit.

            State prosecutors investigating the crash said his car, a three-month-old Volkswagen Phaeton V6, careered off the road after overtaking another vehicle and flipped several times, causing the populist leader massive injuries to his head and chest even though he was wearing a seat-belt.

            An ambulance took Mr Haider to Klagenfurt hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Ruling out foul play as a cause of death, Gottfried Kranz, the chief prosecutor, said: “Further speculation about other causes for the accident are invalid.”

            Mr Haider, who had been on his way to his mother’s 90th birthday party, had been at a party at a night club less than a hour before the crash. State prosecutors declined to say whether they had found alcohol or traces of drugs in his blood.

            Police said the Volkswagen Phaeton that he was driving at speed went off the road.


            Haider was born in 1950 in the Upper Austrian town of Bad Goisern. His father was a shoemaker, his mother a teacher. Both had been more than nominal members of the Nazi party – his father served as a lieutenant in the Wehrmacht in the Second World War. After attending secondary school in Bad Ischl, where he had first contacts with nationalist youth organisations, in 1968 he moved to the University of Vienna to study law. In 1973 he graduated and shortly after was called up for military service, volunteering for extra service on top of the mandatory nine months. In 1974 he started work at the University of Vienna in the department of constitutional law.

            Haider had joined the youth wing of the Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs (FPO, or Austrian Freedom Party), founded in 1955 as a mixture of political currents opposed to the two main parties, the Catholic-orientated Österreichische Volkspartei (OVP, Austrian People’s Party) and the Sozialistische Partei Österreichs (SPO, Socialist, later Social Democratic Party). These two had ruled Austria in coalition from 1945-66. With its roots in the Pan-German movement, the FPO included both nationalists and liberals.

            In 1970 Haider became leader of the FPO youth movement, until 1974. He was party secretary of the Carinthian FPO from 1976 until 1983. In 1979, aged 29, he became the youngest MP of the 183 members of the federal parliament, serving until 1983. He served again in parliament from 1986 to 1989 and from 1992 to 1999. In September 2008 he was elected again to Parliament.

            Today’s Independent writes: “Jörg Haider: Charismatic right-wing politician whose controversial beliefs and policies led to isolation for Austria.” The article of The Financial Times is titled: “Demagogue who stirred up Austrian politics.”

            “A talented demagogue, he railed against asylum seekers, Muslims and the small Slovene minority in his home province of Carinthia. In 1995 he whipped up anti-EU sentiments.

            He praised a member of Hitler’s notorious Waffen SS convicted of eradicating the population of an Italian village as someone “who did his duty.” He said Nazis had created “a good policy of employment.” he condemned the “laziness of the southerners” – meaning immigrants from lands south of Austria, describing their countries as “the place of criminality and corruption.” And in a mocking reference to the first name of Vienna’s Jewish leader, Ariel Muzikant, Haider said: “I don’t understand how someone called Ariel can have so much dirt on his hands.”


            OK, Haider is dead now, and Haider was never Austria, but Austria has no government at this time, and there is a new bloc of 30% of people-haters that he has managed to gather – indeed only 11% of these seemingly bigots marching under his world-hating Orange flag, while the others might be just plain conservative people. Nevertheless, if this bloc returns to the Austrian Government, what face will Austria have on the international stage?

            The best thing that could happen for Austria is if the Reds and the Blacks seize the moment and declare by this Thursday the return to the “Grand Coalition.” If that does not happen, we feel sorry for the good Austrian Ambassador to the UN, H.E. Mr. Gerhard Pfanzelter, who labored for two years with the goal to get for Austria this coveted UN Security Council seat.

            Neil MacFarquhar, in the New York Times of this Sunday, October 12, 2008, describes the Icelandic and Austrian UN “charm offensives” in order to woo country votes in the Friday UNGA election. Pfanzelter even brought the Vienna Philharmonic to New York to serenade the 192 Ambassadors and their wives. Austria has had indeed a historic commitment to the UN. It knew to get the third UN Center, after those in New York and Geneva, to be established in Vienna. That was a very important achievement at a time that Austria was trying to safeguard its security and independence with the two superpowers breezing hard close-by in the days of the Cold War.

            The International Atomic Agency and the UN agencies for Development (UNIDO) and narcotics are housed there.

            IIASA or the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis – the cold war days’ scientific link between East and West is still housed, and doing work at Schloss Laxenburg near Vienna. Today studies like “Atmospheric Pollution and Economic Development” are again the latest rage and very much in fashion. Then, don’t forget also that OPEC is headquartered in Vienna, and personally, I am beholden because of the studies on Energy Policy I was involved at Laxenburg during the end of the 70s – mid 80s. That is when the word Energy was extended from oil, coal, and nuclear, to include also natural gas, and eventually biogas and renewable energy. Those days I had a hand in much of this, and I could see Austria retaking its central position in energy policy for the 21st Century.

            Considering above, I hope a miracle happens and Austria’s politicians come up this week with a plan that makes up somewhat for the mess they created this summer.

            We will wait to see the UN show of hands this Friday, and when the voting becomes available, we will analyze the outcome.


            Posted on on September 30th, 2008
            by Pincas Jawetz (

            Scotland to build world’s first ‘wind farms under the sea.’


            By Jenny Haworth, Environment Correspondent, The New Scotsman, September 29, 2oo8.

            SCOTLAND has taken a major step towards leading the way in marine renewable energy with the announcement that the world’s first tidal farms could be built within three years.

            Two tidal projects, each with up to 20 turbines, could be installed on the seabed in the Pentland Firth and the Sound of Islay. A third is planned off the North Antrim coast in Northern Ireland. The aim is that all the underwater turbines would be constructed in Scotland, kickstarting the renewables industry in this country.

            ScottishPower Renewables will apply for planning permission for the three tidal projects next summer. If permission is granted, they would be the first commercial underwater tidal turbine farms built anywhere in the world.

            The structures stand 30 metres tall and can work as deep as 100 metres. The 20-metre blades would turn at least 10 metres below the surface to avoid shipping, developers said, and the zones would be off-limits to trawlers for safety reasons.

            ScottishPower said tests in Norway proved the blades moved slowly enough for marine life to avoid them.

            Scotland, which aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, has the best tidal resources in Europe and it has been calculated that at least a third of Scotland’s energy demand could be met by tidal renewables.

            The tidal farm sites would have a combined output of 60 megawatts, enough to power 40,000 homes in Scotland and Northern Ireland. If planning approval is granted, ScottishPower Renewables says the projects could be operational by 2011.

            The company is also hoping to build a factory in the north-east of Scotland where all the turbines will be constructed, and the projects would be expected to bring hundreds of jobs.

            Keith Anderson, the director of ScottishPower Renewables, said this was Scotland’s chance to become the global leader in a new renewable energy industry.

            He said Scotland has the best tidal resources in Europe, with the Pentland Firth alone containing enough energy to meet a third of Scotland’s power requirements. “The rapid technological advance of tidal power has been startling and is now allowing us to progress plans for substantial projects delivering major environmental and economic benefits,” he said.

            “Tidal power is completely renewable, being driven by the gravity of the sun and moon, with no carbon dioxide emissions, plus the added benefit of being entirely predictable.”

            First Minister Alex Salmond, who will visit Caithness, near the potential site of the tidal farms, described the announcement as “significant”. He said: “We have an estimated 25 per cent of Europe’s tidal resource and 10 per cent of its wave potential. That is why this announcement is so significant.”

            Before it can be deployed, a £6 million prototype will have to be tested for about a year in Scottish waters, probably off Orkney.

            Engineers rising to the challenge of harnessing tidal power:

            THE tidal farms will use a machine known as the Lànstrøm device, which was invented in Norway and has already gone through four years of successful testing.

            Even though the devices seem likely to be the first to be used in a large-scale commercial tidal farm, many other machines are in development in what is set to become a very competitive market.

            Marine Current Turbines, based in Bristol, installed a 300kw tidal turbine called Seaflow off Lynmouth, Devon, in 2003.

            It’s a two-bladed rotor connected to an electrical generator mounted on a single steel tower drilled into the seabed.

            Irish firm OpenHydro Group has developed the Open-Centre Turbine, which has a single rotor. A single prototype turbine was installed at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney in 2006. In May 2008 it became the first tidal device to export power on to the UK grid.

            The Engineering Business, based in Newcastle, is developing the Stingray tidal generator, which uses the flow of the tide over a hydroplane, similar to an aeroplane wing, to generate electricity. In 2002 the 180-tonne, 150kw machine was tested in the Yell Sound, Shetland.

            SMD Hydrovision, based in Tyne and Wear, has developed the TidEL concept, which consists of a pair of contra-rotating 500kw turbines, mounted together on a single crossbeam.

            The unit is buoyant and tethered to the seabed, allowing it freedom of movement. The turbines can automatically align themselves downstream of the tidal flow as it changes during the day.


            IN NUMBERS:

            40 – Turbines that could be built in Scottish waters by 2011.

            40,000 – Homes that could be powered by the three turbine farms.

            80 – The percentage of the UK’s potential tidal power in Scottish waters.


            Posted on on August 1st, 2008
            by Pincas Jawetz (

            Nordic Climate Solutions – Scandinavia ´s annual marketplace for low carbon economy leaders – takes place on November 25th and 26th, 2008, in Copenhagen. The event is jointly organized with the Nordic Council of Ministers and a series of industry leaders from the Nordic Region.

            Nordic Climate Solutions takes form as a combined conference and trade show. While the conference identifies current challenges and opportunities, the tradeshow presents state of the art solutions for achieving a low carbon economy.

            Towards and beyond the Copenhagen UN Summit, NCS gathers a significant number of business and industry leaders. In 2007 the event gathered more than 600 decision makers. This year more than 1000 delegates are projected for the event in November.

            As we would like to offer our delegates key insight from experts WE ARE CURRENTLY LOOKING FOR SPEAKERS for the following sessions:

            – Building the Future – Energy Efficiency:

            What energy and carbon savings could be realized if older commercial buildings had the energy consumption of the newer commercial building stock? How can we improve the incorporation of different energy efficiencies into different types of domestic and non-domestic buildings? And what will it take to achieve mass deployment of carbon neutral buildings?

            – Adaptation in the Third World – Markets Beyond China and India:

            As a global problem, climate change demands global solutions – yet the majority of the technology and financing for these solutions are not accessible to emerging economies and developing nations. India and China are naturally the center of attention when it comes to CDM projects or other climate action projects and policies, but how can we ensure that countries in Africa, Asia and South and Central America also have the capacity and the technology to develop in a sustainable and climate friendly manner?

            – The Future of CDM – The Post 2012 Scene:

            At the moment, there are more than 3,000 CDM projects in progress. What is the potential of the CDM on the post 2012 scenario and what concrete measures will be presented a the COP15 to improve this mechanism and ensure that it is contributing to global emission reductions and to technology transfer to all developing nations

            Climate Solutions for China:

            China is on its way to become the largest energy market in the world, with the greatest environmental challenges. This creates an enormous potential for the Nordic companies. The current five-year plan of China contains 250 billion dollar for investments in energy savings and environmental considerations and a range of ambitious goals.

            Thinking Outside the Barrel:

            President George W. Bush has stated that: “America is addicted to oil.” At times when the price approaches $150 per barrel – it is an expensive addiction to have. Fortunately, several alternatives exist.

            The Finance of Climate Change – A Guide for Governments and Corporations:

            The financial markets hold an increasingly important role in government and corporate initiatives designed to fight climate change and make the transition to the low carbon economy.

            Less is More – Energy Efficiency (End Use):

            Improved energy efficiency is often the most economic and readily available means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Nevertheless, there exists a difference between the actual level of investment in energy efficiency and the higher level that would be economically beneficial from the consumer’s point of view.

            The Local Market of the Nordic: Russia:

            Recently the Russian economy has been developing at a very high pace and significant investments are being made in the energy and environmental sector, as well as in restructuring.

            Adaptation – Urban Climate Solutions:

            Even with substantial reductions in emissions today, the delay in the climate system means that emissions we have already released into the atmosphere will continue to affect the climate for years to come. The impact on cities and the people living there will be significant.

            De-linking Economic Growth from Emissions – Bypassing the Western Route to Low Carbon Economy:

            The interrelations between economic growth, energy and CO2 have a tremendous influence on the possibilities of a global ambitious treaty being drafted at the COP15.

            EU – Framework Conditions:

            This year a new EU energy market package has been submitted. The ambition is to create framework conditions for efficient and functioning sustainable energy markets. How can the EU balance energy policies between the aims of security of supply, competitiveness and sustainable energy?

            Renewable Energy Production;

            With a raising stream of billions of dollars into the sector, the investments in renewable energy production reach new records each year.The Nordic Region has great experience in renewable energy production from a wide spectrum of sources. How may this experience and knowledge be utilized in the global market and what are the barriers to expanding the renewable portfolio standard?
            If you are an expert who could speak on any of these issues or know someone who is, we would greatly appreciate any recommendations you could pass on.

            Please reply to  mwi at

            Thank you for any guidance/recommendations you can provide.

            Meik Wiking
            Project Manager
            Nordic Climate Solutions

            Monday Morning
            Huset Mandag Morgen A/S
            Valkendorfsgade 13
            P.O. Box 1127
            DK-1009 København K

            T: +45 33 93 93 23
            F: +45 33 14 13 94
            E:  mwi at




            Posted on on July 29th, 2008
            by Pincas Jawetz (

            Opinion: Polar Race.
            Monday 28 July 2008
            by: Guy Taillefer, Le Devoir


            Guy Taillefer argues in Le Devoir that the US Geological Survey’s most recent evaluation of the polar depths – that they contain 412 billion barrels of oil, or a third of the planet’s proven reserves – will put additional strain on the already-fragile international understandings with respect to polar sovereignty and development.

            The North Pole. Guy Taillefer writes, “Northern governments and oil companies have never salivated to quite the same extent over the Arctic, which becomes all the more hospitable to them as the ice melts … If one were a cynic, one would say that in this instance it is altogether to Ottawa’s advantage to drag its feet in the fight against greenhouse gases …”
            Four hundred and twelve billion barrels of oil. A third of the planet’s proven reserves. That’s what the depths of the Arctic contain, according to the US Geological Survey’s most recent evaluation. One may count on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to take advantage of the opportunity to reassert Canada’s “unquestionable” sovereignty over the North – and to reduce the debate over the development of the circumpolar world to a war of flags and icebreakers.
            Last Wednesday, after four years of research, the US Geological Survey, the American scientific agency specialized in hydrocarbons, delivered the first exhaustive estimate of potential oil and gas situated north of the polar circle: 90 billion barrels of crude, three times as much natural gas, 20 percent of the probable global reserves of liquefied natural gas…. The news is guaranteed to have a strong impact, given the present context of tightening energy supplies, surging prices at the pump, and the extraordinary growth of demand in developing countries. Northern governments and oil companies have never salivated to quite the same extent over the Arctic, which becomes all the more hospitable to them as the ice melts…. If one were a cynic, one would say that in this instance it is altogether to Ottawa’s advantage to drag its feet in the fight against greenhouse gases.
            Moreover, quite by chance, the US Geological Survey estimates were made public one year, almost to the day, after two little Russian sailors dove to a depth of 4,000 meters in the beginning of August 2007 to plant a flag on the North Pole. This striking gesture – without any legal effect, however – relaunched the debate on the subject of sovereignty over the Arctic in great style.

            Cut to the quick, then-Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay decreed that the region Russia coveted was “unquestionably” Canadian.
            Unquestionably? That remains to be seen. Experts from the UN, guarantors of the Convention on the Law of the Sea, will say between now and 2013 which between Ottawa and Moscow has the better-founded pretensions from a scientific perspective. At the moment, however, it seems that Russia is better placed to prove geologically that the Lomonossov Dorsal, a chain of undersea mountains that cross the Arctic, is the prolongation of the Russian continental plateau, and not of the Canadian plateau.
            Politicians, unfortunately, don’t bother much with such scientific details in their communications with the electorate, preferring to play a nationalistic rhetoric that is easily digested. So the bad scenario would be that, in this race for the summit of the world, the sharing of the Arctic will be less the result of a UN judgment and multinational dialogue than of power struggles between the five countries involved – Canada, Russia, the United States, Denmark, and Norway. That scenario is altogether plausible.
            “The Canadian Arctic is at the heart of our national identity,” Stephen Harper declared last year. He has announced, among other military measures in the last year, an investment of $7 billion over 25 years for buying naval patrol boats. A depressing prospect: that Canada seeks to take on its northern identity is laudable, that it proposes to get there by emphasizing military defense to the detriment of social, ecological and diplomatic initiatives, is much less so. It is difficult in any case to imagine that pugnacious Prime Minister-President Vladimir Putin will allow himself to be intimidated.
            Nonetheless, the Harper way remains very questionable, in that it is a thousand leagues from the Canadian Way – based on dialogue and cooperation. Still, the most recent decades have demonstrated that it’s by balancing its own interests with those of its circumpolar neighbors – and not by sticking out its chest – that Canada has succeeded in preserving its Arctic sovereignty.
            Moreover, in order to calm tensions, the five held a big meeting last spring, which ended in the participants’ commitment to settle any litigious question “in an orderly way,” to “strengthen their cooperation based on mutual trust and transparency” and to “assure the protection and preservation of the fragile marine environment of the Arctic Ocean.” Empty phrases? The future will show how these beautiful promises that we’d like to see kept will withstand the lust for 412 billion barrels of oil.

            We posted several days ago: “Reuters Reports That China Is Planting its Flag in the Arctic and Antarctic Regions. Actually they started already at least in 2003, so this is not just a reaction to the Russian Flag-posting of August 2007.”

            Posted on on July 27th, 2008
            by Pincas Jawetz ( PJ at

            So, face up to it – China is also in this game. And why should not Nauru or Grenada also be entiled to some of the profits? if they cannot afford the expense of drilling – bet you Brazil or Japan, even Korea and India, and who knows who else – can!

            OK – Now Let Us Sit Down And Talk. For Once We Are Behind China and Expect The Dragon To Stand Its Ground.

            The North Pole. Guy Taillefer writes, “Northern governments and oil companies have never salivated to quite the same extent over the Arctic, which becomes all the more hospitable to them as the ice melts … If one were a cynic, one would say that in this instance it is altogether to Ottawa’s advantage to drag its feet in the fight against greenhouse gases …” (Photo: NASA GSFC Direct Readout Laboratory / Allen Lunsford).


            Posted on on July 24th, 2008
            by Pincas Jawetz (

            Scotland Leapfrogs Europe’s Wind Energy Industry

            GLASGOW, Scotland, July 22, 2008 (ENS) – Europe’s largest onshore windfarm, able to generate enough power for 320,000 homes, has been approved by the Scottish government.
            Announcing the new windfarm approval ahead of the World Renewable Energy Congress in Glasgow, First Minister Alex Salmond said the 152-turbine Clyde windfarm near Abington in South Lanarkshire is “another step towards making Scotland the green energy capital of Europe.”

            “The Clyde windfarm will represent a very important step in the development of renewable energy in Scotland and in meeting shared European targets,” Salmand said on Monday.

            Clyde will be built in two phases, with commissioning of the first phase set for 2010 and completion of both phases scheduled for 2011.

            A new energy source will replace the old. A coal train traverses the site of the Clyde windfarm beside the M74 motorway at Abington. (Photo by Peter Schofield)

            The Scottish government has set a target of supplying a third of Scotland’s electricity demand from renewable sources by 2011 and half by 2020, said Salmond.

            “Today’s announcement makes it virtually certain that the 2011 target will be met early and exceeded by the end of this Parliamentary term and represents a significant milestone on the way to achieving the 2020 target,” he said.

            The Clyde windfarm application was submitted by Airtricity. It became part of Scottish and Southern Energy’s development portfolio when the company acquired Airtricity in February 2008.

            The development is expected to require an investment of £600 million (US$1.195 billion). Scottish and Southern Energy, SSE, estimates that half of the total investment will be placed with Scottish companies.

            SSE Chief Executive Ian Marchant said Monday, “Projects like Clyde are essential if Scotland and the UK are to have any hope of meeting legally-binding EU targets for renewable energy. Scottish Ministers aim to make Scotland the green energy capital of Europe, and giving the Clyde wind farm consent is evidence of a willingness to take decisions which are consistent with that ambition.”

            The windfarm will be built in clusters of turbines on either side of the M74 motorway in southern Scotland.

            Clyde will have a total capacity of up to 548 megawatts of power, more than double the biggest windfarm currently operating in Europe – the Maranchon windfarm in Guadalajara, Spain, which has a generating capacity of 208 megawatts.

            Another large windfarm is under construction in Scotland but it will not come close to the generating capacity of Clyde.

            Whitelee, on Eaglesham Moor, south of Glasgow, will consist of 140 wind turbines with a total capacity of 322 megawatts once it is completed next summer. It is expected to produce enough power for over 180,000 homes, more than two percent of the Scotland’s annual electricity needs, and will hold the title of largest windfarm in Europe until Clyde is completed in 2011.

            “Clyde is clearly going to be a major project, with significant economic opportunities for the local community,” said SSE’s Marchant. During construction, the Clyde project is expected to create 200 jobs, with some 30 staffers employed when the windfarm is fully operational, he said.

            Wind turbines already dot the Lanarkshire moors. (Photo by dfmac2001)

            “Scotland has a clear, competitive advantage in developing clean, green energy sources such as wind, wave and tidal power,” said Salmand. “We have put renewable energy at the heart of our vision of increasing sustainable, economic growth.”

            Current installed renewables capacity in Scotland totals 2,800 megawatts, while installed nuclear generating capacity is 2,090 megawatts.

            “Installed renewables capacity is already greater than nuclear capacity. But this announcement demonstrates that we are only at the start of the renewables revolution in Scotland,” the first minister said.

            “Combined with the crucial announcement of a new biomass plant in Fife on Friday, the Clyde declaration today makes this weekend one of the biggest advances ever in energy technology in Scotland,” Salmand said.

            On Friday, the first minister visited the future site of the 45 megawatt combined heat and power biomass plant in Markinch, Glenrothes, where he met with representatives from energy supplier RWE npower Cogen and papermaker firm Tullis Russell.

            The joint venture will be built and operated by npower Cogen, the cogeneration division of RWE npower, a UK developer of industrial combined heat and power, often called cogeneration.

            It will provide Tullis Russell with steam and electricity, reducing the papermill’s emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by around 250,000 metric tonnes each year.

            Approval of the Clyde windfarm means that the total installed capacity of renewable power plants either built or consented and under construction will be 4.55 gigawatts – just 450 megawatts short of the five gigawatts needed to reach the Scottish government’s interim target of generating 31 percent of Scotland’s electricity demand from renewable sources by 2011.

            The Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit is currently processing 37 renewable project applications – 28 wind farms, eight hydropower projects and one wave power project.


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