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Global Warming issues:
Tiempo

 

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 6th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

 

 

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

 

liebe Mitglieder und Interessenten!

 

 

 

Dr. Wolfgang Schüssel

 

Präsident der Österreichischen Gesellschaft für Außenpolitik und die Vereinten Nationen (ÖGAVN) 

 

lädt sehr herzlich zur nächsten Veranstaltung im Rahmen des “Internationalen Clubs” ein:

 

 

Mittwoch, 13. November 2013, 12:00 Uhr

 

 

Referent:

 

Dr. Johannes MEIER

 

Direktor der European Climate Foundation

 

 

zum Thema (in deutscher Sprache ohne Übersetzung):

 

“The End of Business-As-Usual?”

 

 

Veranstaltungsort:

 

Hofburg/Stallburg

 

A-1010 Wien, Reitschulgasse 2/2. OG

 

 

Es gilt die “Chatham House Rule”: “When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed”.

 

 

Der Club ist von 11:00 bis 15:00 Uhr geöffnet. Das Referat beginnt um 12:00 Uhr pünktlich, bitte kommen Sie zeitgerecht.

 

Die Diskussion mit dem Vortragenden ist bis 13:30 Uhr vorgesehen.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 3rd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

 

from: Leida Rijnhout

Executive Director
ANPED - Northern Alliance for Sustainability
Fiennesstraat 77, 1070 Brussels

Mob: + 32 (0) 494 89 30 52

Dear Colleagues (please circulate),

As you know, the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States will be held from 1 to 4 September 2014 in Apia, Samoa, to be preceded by activities related to the conference from 28 to 30 August 2014, also in Apia, Samoa. It will focus the world’s attention on a group of countries that remain a special case for sustainable development in view of their unique and particular vulnerabilities.


A Conference website has been prepared by the SIDS 2014 Secretariat, available at
www.sids2014.org

Preparatoryprocess


Several preparatory meetings are taking place throughout 2013, including national preparations and expert group meetings, following three regional meetings and an inter-regional meeting. A special accreditation process for organizations wanting to participate in the Conference and it’s preparation that are not in Consultative Status with ECOSOC. More information will be provided as decisions are made. A Global Intergovernmental Preparatory process will be launched by the President of the General Assembly at the end of 2013, with the first preparatory committee meeting to occur early in 2014. The preparatory process can be followed on the following page:
www.sids2014.org/index.php?menu=1494.

The page available at
www.sids2014.org/index.php?menu=1509  lists various activities undertaken by the UN system, including expert meetings and other relevant events/conferences. If you wish to have a meeting/event included on this page, please send us the details to dsd@un.org.

Partnerships for Small Island Developing States


The modality resolution adopted during the 67th session (
www.sids2014.org/content/documents/186N1249102.pdf) of the General Assembly called for the “strengthening of collaborative partnerships between SIDS and the international community” as one of the important ways and means to address new and emerging challenges and opportunities for the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).  At the SIDS inter-regional preparatory meeting held in Barbados, SIDS decided to recommend that the overarching theme of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States should be “the sustainable development of SIDS through genuine and durable partnerships.

The SIDS 2014 Conference website provides a “Partnerships Registry” of new and existing partnerships related to the sustainable development of SIDS, including relevant voluntary commitments from the Rio+20 Conference. It is expected that the SIDS Conference will lead to the announcements of new SIDS partnerships.


If you wish to include a Partnership in the Conference Partnerships Registry, please either 1) Register it online (address below), or 2) send us the details to
dsd@un.org for inclusion



Warm regards,

Chantal Line

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 29th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Exactly a year ago, a record 9.41 foot storm surge flooded Battery Park, Lower Manhattan, Staten Island, Far Rockaway, and Breeze Point, Long Island. New York City tunnels and subways were out of service for weeks, power outages closed schools, hospitals, community centers and whole neighborhoods. Overall there were $64 billion monetary damage, 72 casualties, and more then 6 million displaced.

This was the second deadliest and most destructive hurricane in the history of New York. Though as per NOAA – the Deadliest Hurricanes in the US happened in 1900 – the Great Galveston Hurricane that claimed 8,000-12,000 victims and the 1928 Okeechobee Lake Hurricane that claimed 2,500 – 3,000 lives but seems to have cost $180 Billion in today’s dollars. By comparison, Katrina cost 81 Billion. The overriding question the panel put out for itself was if we learned from past Hurricanes and are better prepared for the future ones? Let me say already here, that by the time of the Q&A it became clear that the preparation must be done in major part by us – that is the communities at large – and not just wait for a Government intervention that if it even comes will be delayed at best.

The panel, organized by Mehmet Kilic, Director of the center for Global Affair of the Institute was led by Ambassador Narinder Kakar (of Turkish Nationality) who after 30 years at UNDP, is now IUCN and the Costa Rica based UN Univercity for Peace representative to the UN. He gave the UN background on climate change.

He was followed by Dr. Thomas Chandler and Ms. Meg Sutton from The Earth Institute of Columbia University; Mr. ndrew Martin who is the Response Coordinator for FEMA in the New York Region, and Mr. Martin Cetiner who is Vice President for International Affairs of a Turkish NGO active in humanitarian aid in 103 countries www.KimSeyoKuu.org.tr

Mr. Kakar gave examples from South East Asia showing how preparation is leading to decreasing numbers of casualties though there was enhanced storm and flooding activity. He kept saying that Climate Change is the defining issue of our times and Adaptation to Climate change is the most imediate move to avoid hazards. Other needed activities are for mitigation.

His examples included the earlier start of seasonal bush fires in Australia’s New South Wales, and the Failin Cyclon of the coast of India where anticipation, food storage and early evacuation of 900,000 people has helped reduced – in the cyclon case the number of casualties from 10,000 to 15.

Dr. Chandler mentioned that Munich Re estimated that the weather risks in America are the highest in the world. He compared these to what happened in Cuba and it cannot be said that the US is well prepared for Climate Change effects. The FEMA manager was then in no position to make the audience feel any better.

The New York City free distribution daily newspaper – amNEWYORK had several pages today “City rebuilds to withstand next superstorm but much still needs to be done.” same for new Jersey where Governor Christie wants to build storm surge barriers and artificial dunes to protect the shores. Until then there is no answer in fact.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 8th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

 

The White House’s senior energy and climate adviser, Heather Zichal, is leaving the administration, officials said Monday, despite the president’s entreaties to stay.

Zichal, who has spent five years in the Obama administration coordinating the work of multiple agencies on issues ranging from air quality to global warming, played an instrumental role in pushing for stricter fuel efficiency standards for automobiles and limits on mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants.

 

In an effort to keep Zichal on board, White House officials raised the possibility of her chairing the Council on Environmental Quality in the event that its chair, Nancy Sutley, would leave, according to people familiar with the decision who demanded anonymity in order to discuss sensitive personnel issues.

Sutley’s departure has not been announced, but the people familiar with the situation said she would step down before the end the year.

In a statement, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough praised Zichal’s work.

“Heather is one of the president’s most trusted policy advisers,” McDonough said.

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy said Zichal was “tremendously influential,” but that her departure will not affect how the administration’s climate action plan moves forward.

“We’re into implementation,” McCarthy said. “We’ll miss Heather being there, but it’s not going to slow us at all.”

A former aide to then-Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Zichal worked on Obama’s 2008 campaign and has served at the White House since the president took office in 2009. She served under climate czar Carol M. Browner until 2011, when she took over the portfolio.

Reuters first reported Zichal’s departure Monday.

Joshua Freed, vice president for clean energy at the centrist think tank Third Way, said that since “one year in any administration should be measured in dog years, Heather has spent the equivalent of 35 years working at the White House. That’s a long time. At a certain time, everyone feels the need to have a change of scenery.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 25th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

We Just discovered a reference to our website that we want to bring to our readers’ attention:
 blog.maskil.info/2008/06/altneula…

That link leads to a lot of ALTNEULAND blog’s own information, but to toot our own horn we mention something they posted about us:

You can search for all Altneuland’s featured articles by clicking on the following search link:
 www.sustainabilitank.info/?s=Altn…

The SustainabiliTank website includes substantial coverage of sustainable development and other green issues concerning Israel, which you can find here:

from SustainabiliTank: Israel

According to Pincas Jawetz, the publisher of SustainabiliTank ,

Israel is the country that stands most to gain from the world’s decreased dependence on oil. We always looked upon the Israelis as the potential natural leaders in developing alternate fuels. Israel has the manpower, scientific institutions, and the private enterprise needed for such an endeavor. In effect, going back to the 1950?s, it had people aware of the problems that come from being dependent on oil when living in an unfriendly neighborhood. Israelis worked on oil shales first, then on solar, biomass, and geothermal technologies; the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) has even created a “Commission for Future Generations” when it became obvious that for environmental reasons, as well as for sustainable development reasons, the world will have to switch to non-fossil fuels. Nevertheless, Israel itself did not implement these technologies, it also did not give away for free the technologies it did develop, perhaps because of political reasons resulting from the government’s close relation to the US. In effect the Environment Ministry became a repository for politicians with other aspirations. In its own interest, as journalist Thomas Friedman said – “petrolism” is the main reason for lack of peace in the Middle East – the Israeli government should have taken a more aggressive position on this subject, one seriously wonders why this did not happen.

We launched this Israel section on SustainabiliTank.info because we realized that above may change, if not through the leadership of the government, then at least through the push of NGOs and perhaps with the help of aggregates of local government.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 15th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


The Gold Standard Conference 2014
10th – 11th March 2014

Europe – exact location TBC

Theme: Addressing the food, water, energy and climate nexus

More information will be provided in due course

If you would like to be involved in this event, please contact  info at cdmgoldstandard.org to discuss potential opportunities and the best way you can help support and participate in this conference.

  Permalink | | Email This Article Email This Article
Posted in Archives, Future Events, Futurism, Global Warming issues

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 15th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Extreme heatwaves are predicted as the new normal for British summers by 2040.
Report calls for dramatic curbs in greenhouse gas emissions and warns of threat to human society.

Tom Bawden, The Independent, Thursday 15 August 2013

for graphics – go please to –  www.independent.co.uk/environment…

Global temperatures are climbing so rapidly that by 2040 Britain will spend up to a fifth of its summer months in an extreme heatwave, a new report warns.

Unless something dramatic is done to curb the volume of greenhouse gas emissions widely regarded as responsible for climate change, then conditions currently regarded as “extreme” will become the “new normal” in the UK and most of the world by the end of the Century, the findings say.

Under this scenario, by the end of the century Spain and France are likely to be experiencing extreme temperatures during 80 per cent of their summer – across much of June, July and August – with the UK slightly lower at between 50 and 60 per cent, according to Dim Coumou, the lead author of the study from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

For Britain, this would mean the July 2006 heatwave – the hottest month since records began in 1659 with an average temperature of 36.5C – or higher by 17.8C from the average since then would become normal. (The United Kingdom’s all-time temperature high till now was 38.5 °C (101.3 °F) attained at Faversham, Kent, on 10 August 2003.)

“The tropics, the Mediterranean and the Middle East will be worst affected, but in the UK you will definitely see a very strong increase in heat extremes as well,” Mr Coumou said, adding that this would be hugely damaging to agriculture and health.

“Heat extremes can be very damaging to society and ecosystems, often causing heat related deaths, forest fires or losses to agricultural production. So an increase in frequency is likely to pose serious challenges to society,” Mr Coumous said.

The extreme heatwaves referred to in the report are known as “3-sigma” events. These are categorised by a hugely complex formula, which compares the average temperature over the course of a month with the average for that time and place for every year since the beginning of the 20th Century.

Technically, the chance of experiencing a 3-sigma event is roughly one in a hundred. However, given the impact of human-emitted greenhouse gases in recent decades, such events have gone from being virtually unheard of in 1950s to becoming increasingly common in the past decade, Mr Coumou said.

“A good example of a recent three-sigma event is the 2010 heat wave in Russia. In the Moscow region the average temperature for the whole of July was around 7C warmer than normal,” said Mr Coumou.

Other examples include the European heatwave of 2003, which was the hottest summer on record for the continent as a whole since at least 1540.

Last month, while cooler than July 2006, may also qualify as a 3-sigma heatwave, said Mr Coumou, who cannot confirm this because he has not finished analysing the data.

The report predicts that by 2020, a tenth of the world’s land surface will be on the receiving end of a 3-sigma heatwave at any one time during the summer months – a figure that will double to a fifth by 2040. At the moment, 5 per cent of the world’s land surface is affected in this way, compared to just 1 per cent in the 1960s.

The changes between now and 2040 will happen regardless of the amount of carbon dioxide that is pumped into the atmosphere over that period because there is typically a ten to 20 year time lag between greenhouse gases being emitted and the resulting warming of the planet, Mr Coumous says.

However, beyond 2040 the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere in the coming decades will have a huge bearing on the frequency and intensity of heatwaves as they exacerbate climate change, he says.

If carbon emissions keep on growing then by the end of the century, 85 per cent of the global land area will be subject to extreme heatwaves during the summer months, the research found.

However, if emissions are severely curtailed, the frequency and severity of heatwaves would stable at 2040 levels, Mr Coumous said. This makes it extremely urgent to take decision action to curb climate change, he said.

The Potsdam report comes shortly after research linking a warmer world with droughts with a substantial increase in violent conflict between both individuals and entire societies. A review of 61 detailed accounts of violence published in the journal Science concluded that personal disputes and wider civil conflicts increase significantly with significant changes to weather patterns, such as increases in temperature and lack of rain.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 14th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

from Sébastien Duyck  sebastien.duyck at tcktcktck.org
Network Engagement Coordinator
Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA) - tcktcktck.org

Ten Young People of 18 to 30 years of age can get Climate Action Fellowships to Participate at the Warsaw Cop 19 of the UNFCCC (from November 8th to November 24th, 2013) if they know their Governments’ Climate Policy and are ready to be active in influencing their Governments to take more active positions.

This Fellowship is a volunteer opportunity. However, support for participation in the Warsaw Climate Change Conference (transportation, accommodation and per diems) as well as continuous support and capacity building is provided by the Global Call for Climate Action.

Here are some of the qualities we are looking for:

* You understand the landscape. Our Fellows should not only understand climate change, they are also familiar with their country’s national and international climate politics; preferably with the UNFCCC itself – its history, its inner workings, and its roles in addressing climate change.

* You are an excellent communicator. Our Fellows can quickly translate the complex and hard to communicate developments that happen during climate negotiations and other key moments into compelling, accessible, creative, actionable communications across multiple channels and mediums. Our primary tool is blogging – Fellows must be skilled bloggers – but the ability to leverage other communications tools and channels with strategic and/or large audiences via new and traditional media is also key to their success.

* You have informed empathy. Our Fellows seek out a deep understanding of how climate change affects people in different situations, in different ways, all over the world – security, health, livelihood, values, politics, business, etc – and can tap into that understanding to help them connect with with various audiences (including their negotiators).

* You are brave. In a short amount of time, each Fellow has to build relationships with experts in our partner network, members of the media, their country’s negotiators and other decision makers. Fellows need to quickly absorb and synthesize new information; take public stands on complicated issues; get their ideas and opinions out to fellow activists and media in their home country in meaningful ways.

* You are fast. Our Fellows are able to rapidly respond to events and opportunities inside climate negotiations and out.

* You are dedicated. Our Fellows understand the stakes involved in responding to climate change, and are dedicated to helping push for progress in spite of the many setbacks, challenges and complications we face along the way. While we expect to count on our Fellows’ full-time participation during the Warsaw Climate Change Conference, they also actively participate in the project throughout their Fellowship’s duration.

Are you looking for an incredible experience on the front lines of an essential fight in the effort to address climate change? Do you think you can excel in the Fellowship role? If so, we want to meet you. Apply here:

LEARN MORE & APPLY FOR TO BECOME AN ADOPT A NEGOTIATOR 2013/2014 FELLOW.

————

*** The Opportunity ***

The Global Campaign for Climate Action is awarding Adopt a Negotiator (AaN) Fellowships to exceptional young people that we think possess the ability to effectively push their countries toward unlocking climate solutions nationally and internationally. AaN Fellows will have an opportunity to help shape their government’s role in solving climate change. They’ll join a team of passionate, dedicated and talented activists from around the world; participating in moments that will shape if and how the governments respond adequately to the climate challenge. Their efforts will build on a proud legacy of past ‘Negotiator Trackers,’ and make important contributions to the climate movement in a creative, challenging and exciting role.

Applicants must be 18 to 30 years of age; available to attend the Warsaw Climate Change Conference in Poland (from November 8th to November 24th, 2013); and able to actively contribute to the Adopt a Negotiator project as an activist and blogger from mid-September of this year through May of 2014.

LEARN MORE & APPLY FOR TO BECOME AN ADOPT A NEGOTIATOR 2013/2014 FELLOW

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

Michael T. Klare does it again. He warns us that we are worshiping the old Golden Calf set up there by the Fossil Fuels Establishment.

———————-

How to fry a planet.
Michael T.Klare and Tom Engelhardt 9 August 2013

Don’t for a second imagine we are heading for an era of renewable energy.

Look at it any way you want, and if you’re not a booster of fossil fuels on this overheating planet of ours, it doesn’t look good. Hardly a month passes, it seems, without news about the development of some previously unimaginable way to extract fossil fuels from some thoroughly unexpected place. The latest bit of “good” news: the Japanese government’s announcement that natural gas has been successfully extracted from undersea methane hydrates. (Yippee!) Natural gas is gleefully touted as the “clean” fossil-fuel path to a green future, but evidence is mounting that the newest process for producing it also leaks unexpected amounts of methane, a devastating greenhouse gas. The U.S. cheers and is cheered because the amount of carbon dioxide it is putting into the atmosphere is actually falling. Then Duncan Clark at the British Guardian does the figures and discovers that “there has been no decline in the amount of carbon the U.S. is taking out of the ground. In fact, the trend is upwards. The latest year for which full data is available – 2011 – is the highest level on record.” It’s just that some of it (coal, in particular) was exported abroad to be burned elsewhere.

In the meantime, the next set of articles come out of scientific circles suggesting that the results of all this are far from cheery. An example: a recent paper in the prestigious journal Scienceindicates that “climate change is now set to occur at a pace ‘orders of magnitude more rapid’ than at any other time in the last 65 million years,” and we should prepare for a wave of species extinctions. In other words, the much-ballyhooed coming of North American energy “independence” is an upbeat way of saying that we will continue to heat the planet till hell boils over. Of course, those who run the giant energy companies, the politicians in their pay, and their lobbyists and associated think tanks — the real global “terrarists” for their urge to make historic profits off the heating of the planet — will, of course, continue to cheer. Though it is notoriously hard to claim climate change as the author of any specific weather event, in theever-hotter continental U.S., the experience of what’s being called “extreme weather” — fromdrought to record wildfires, record heat waves to devastating tornadoes — is increasingly part of the warp and woof of everyday life.

In this context, the latest TomDispatch post by Michael Klare, author of The Race for What’s Left, is singularly important, if also singularly unnerving. Klare, who has long been ahead of the curve in his work on energy and resources, offers a clear-eyed look at the energy road chosen, and the view to the horizon is anything but pretty.
Tom Engelhardt

—————

The original article we got and was intended to disillusion us from belief that Washington is ready for switching to Renewables, was:

 www.truth-out.org/news/item/18060…

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The third carbon age.


By Michael T.Klare

When it comes to energy and economics in the climate-change era, nothing is what it seems. Most of us believe (or want to believe) that the second carbon era, the Age of Oil, will soon be superseded by the Age of Renewables, just as oil had long since superseded the Age of Coal. President Obama offered exactly this vision in a much-praised June address on climate change. True, fossil fuels will be needed a little bit longer, he indicated, but soon enough they will be overtaken by renewable forms of energy.

Many other experts share this view, assuring us that increased reliance on “clean” natural gas combined with expanded investments in wind and solar power will permit a smooth transition to a green energy future in which humanity will no longer be pouring carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. All this sounds promising indeed. There is only one fly in the ointment: it is not, in fact, the path we are presently headed down. The energy industry is not investing in any significant way in renewables. Instead, it is pouring its historic profits into new fossil-fuel projects, mainly involving the exploitation of what are called “unconventional” oil and gas reserves.

The result is indisputable: humanity is not entering a period that will be dominated by renewables. Instead, it is pioneering the third great carbon era, the Age of Unconventional Oil and Gas.

That we are embarking on a new carbon era is increasingly evident and should unnerve us all. Hydro-fracking – the use of high-pressure water columns to shatter underground shale formations and liberate the oil and natural gas supplies trapped within them -is being undertaken in ever more regions of the United States and in a growing number of foreign countries. In the meantime, the exploitation of carbon-dirty heavy oil and tar sands formations is accelerating in Canada, Venezuela, and elsewhere.

It’s true that ever more wind farms and solar arrays are being built, but here’s the kicker: investment in unconventional fossil-fuel extraction and distribution is now expected to outpace spending on renewables by a ratio of at least three-to-one in the decades ahead.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), an inter-governmental research organization based in Paris, cumulative worldwide investment in new fossil-fuel extraction and processing will total an estimated $22.87 trillion between 2012 and 2035, while investment in renewables, hydropower, and nuclear energy will amount to only $7.32 trillion. In these years, investment in oil alone, at an estimated $10.32 trillion, is expected to exceed spending on wind, solar, geothermal, biofuels, hydro, nuclear, and every other form of renewable energy combined.

In addition, as the IEA explains, an ever-increasing share of that staggering investment in fossil fuels will be devoted to unconventional forms of oil and gas: Canadian tar sands, Venezuelan extra-heavy crude, shale oil and gas, Arctic and deep-offshore energy deposits, and other hydrocarbons derived from previously inaccessible reserves of energy. The explanation for this is simple enough. The world’s supply of conventional oil and gas – fuels derived from easily accessible reservoirs and requiring a minimum of processing — is rapidly disappearing. With global demand for fossil fuels expected to rise by 26% between now and 2035, more and more of the world’s energy supply will have to be provided by unconventional fuels.

In such a world, one thing is guaranteed: global carbon emissions will soar far beyond our current worst-case assumptions, meaning intense heat waves will become commonplace and our few remaining wilderness areas will be eviscerated. Planet Earth will be a far – possibly unimaginably – harsher and more blistering place. In that light, it’s worth exploring in greater depth just how we ended up in such a predicament, one carbon age at a time.

The first carbon era

The first carbon era began in the late eighteenth century, with the introduction of coal-powered steam engines and their widespread application to all manner of industrial enterprises. Initially used to power textile mills and industrial plants, coal was also employed in transportation (steam-powered ships and railroads), mining, and the large-scale production of iron. Indeed, what we now call the Industrial Revolution was largely comprised of the widening application of coal and steam power to productive activities. Eventually, coal would also be used to generate electricity, a field in which it remains dominant today.

This was the era in which vast armies of hard-pressed workers built continent-spanning railroads and mammoth textile mills as factory towns proliferated and cities grew. It was the era, above all, of the expansion of the British Empire. For a time, Great Britain was the biggest producer and consumer of coal, the world’s leading manufacturer, its top industrial innovator, and its dominant power – and all of these attributes were inextricably connected. By mastering the technology of coal, a small island off the coast of Europe was able to accumulate vast wealth, develop the world’s most advanced weaponry, and control the global sea-lanes.

The same coal technology that gave Britain such global advantages also brought great misery in its wake. As noted by energy analyst Paul Roberts in The End of Oil, the coal then being consumed in England was of the brown lignite variety, “chock full of sulfur and other impurities.” When burned, “it produced an acrid, choking smoke that stung the eyes and lungs and blackened walls and clothes.” By the end of the nineteenth century, the air in London and other coal-powered cities was so polluted that “trees died, marble facades dissolved, and respiratory ailments became epidemic.”

For Great Britain and other early industrial powers, the substitution of oil and gas for coal was a godsend, allowing improved air quality, the restoration of cities, and a reduction in respiratory ailments. In many parts of the world, of course, the Age of Coal is not over. In China and India, among other places, coal remains the principal source of energy, condemning their cities and populations to a twenty-first-century version of nineteenth-century London and Manchester.

The second carbon era

The Age of Oil got its start in 1859 when commercial production began in western Pennsylvania, but only truly took off after World War II, with the explosive growth of automobile ownership. Before 1940, oil played an important role in illumination and lubrication, among other applications, but remained subordinate to coal; after the war, oil became the world’s principal source of energy. From 10 million barrels per day in 1950, global consumption soared to 77 million in 2000, a half-century bacchanalia of fossil fuel burning.

Driving the global ascendancy of petroleum was its close association with the internal combustion engine (ICE). Due to oil’s superior portability and energy intensity (that is, the amount of energy it releases per unit of volume), it makes the ideal fuel for mobile, versatile ICEs. Just as coal rose to prominence by fueling steam engines, so oil came to prominence by fueling the world’s growing fleets of cars, trucks, planes, trains, and ships. Today, petroleum supplies about 97% of all energy used in transportation worldwide.

Oil’s prominence was also assured by its growing utilization in agriculture and warfare. In a relatively short period of time, oil-powered tractors and other agricultural machines replaced animals as the primary source of power on farms around the world. A similar transition occurred on the modern battlefield, with oil-powered tanks and planes replacing the cavalry as the main source of offensive power.

These were the years of mass automobile ownership, continent-spanning highways, endless suburbs, giant malls, cheap flights, mechanized agriculture, artificial fibers, and – above all else – the global expansion of American power. Because the United States possessed mammoth reserves of oil, was the first to master the technology of oil extraction and refining, and the most successful at utilizing petroleum in transportation, manufacturing, agriculture, and war, it emerged as the richest and most powerful country of the twenty-first century, a saga told with great relish by energy historian Daniel Yergin in The Prize. Thanks to the technology of oil, the US was able to accumulate staggering levels of wealth, deploy armies and military bases to every continent, and control the global air and sea-lanes – extending its power to every corner of the planet.

However, just as Britain experienced negative consequences from its excessive reliance on coal, so the United States – and the rest of the world – has suffered in various ways from its reliance on oil. To ensure the safety of its overseas sources of supply, Washington has established tortuous relationships with foreign oil suppliers and has fought several costly, debilitating wars in the Persian Gulf region, a sordid history I recount in Blood and Oil. Overreliance on motor vehicles for personal and commercial transportation has left the country ill-equipped to deal with periodic supply disruptions and price spikes. Most of all, the vast increase in oil consumption — here and elsewhere — has produced a corresponding increase in carbon dioxide emissions, accelerating planetary warming (a process begun during the first carbon era) and exposing the country to the ever more devastating effects of climate change.

The age of unconventional oil and gas

The explosive growth of automotive and aviation travel, the suburbanization of significant parts of the planet, the mechanization of agriculture and warfare, the global supremacy of the United States, and the onset of climate change: these were the hallmarks of the exploitation of conventional petroleum. At present, most of the world’s oil is still obtained from a few hundred giant onshore fields in Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, and Venezuela, among other countries; some additional oil is acquired from offshore fields in the North Sea, the Gulf of Guinea, and the Gulf of Mexico. This oil comes out of the ground in liquid form and requires relatively little processing before being refined into commercial fuels.

But such conventional oil is disappearing. According to the IEA, the major fields that currently provide the lion’s share of global petroleum will lose two-thirds of their production over the next 25 years, with their net output plunging from 68 million barrels per day in 2009 to a mere 26 million barrels in 2035. The IEA assures us that new oil will be found to replace those lost supplies, but most of this will be of an unconventional nature. In the coming decades, unconventional oils will account for a growing share of the global petroleum inventory, eventually becoming our main source of supply.

The same is true for natural gas, the second most important source of world energy. The global supply of conventional gas, like conventional oil, is shrinking, and we are becoming increasingly dependent on unconventional sources of supply — especially from the Arctic, the deep oceans, and shale rock via hydraulic fracturing.

In certain ways, unconventional hydrocarbons are akin to conventional fuels. Both are largely composed of hydrogen and carbon, and can be burned to produce heat and energy. But in time the differences between them will make an ever-greater difference to us. Unconventional fuels – especially heavy oils and tar sands – tend to possess a higher proportion of carbon to hydrogen than conventional oil, and so release more carbon dioxide when burned. Arctic and deep-offshore oil require more energy to extract, and so produce higher carbon emissions in their very production.

“Many new breeds of petroleum fuels are nothing like conventional oil,” Deborah Gordon, a specialist on the topic at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote in 2012. “Unconventional oils tend to be heavy, complex, carbon laden, and locked up deep in the earth, tightly trapped between or bound to sand, tar, and rock.”

By far the most worrisome consequence of the distinctive nature of unconventional fuels is their extreme impact on the environment. Because they are often characterized by higher ratios of carbon to hydrogen, and generally require more energy to extract and be converted into usable materials, they produce more carbon dioxide emissions per unit of energy released. In addition, the process that produces shale gas, hailed as a “clean” fossil fuel, is believed by many scientists to cause widespread releases of methane, a particularly potent greenhouse gas.

All of this means that, as the consumption of fossil fuels grows, increasing, not decreasing, amounts of CO2 and methane will be released into the atmosphere and, instead of slowing, global warming will speed up.

And here’s another problem associated with the third carbon age: the production of unconventional oil and gas turns out to require vast amounts of water – for fracking operations, to extract tar sands and extra-heavy oil, and to facilitate the transport and refining of such fuels. This is producing a growing threat of water contamination, especially in areas of intense fracking and tar sands production, along with competition over access to water supplies among drillers, farmers, municipal water authorities, and others. As climate change intensifies, drought will become the norm in many areas and so this competition will only grow fiercer.

Along with these and other environmental impacts, the transition from conventional to unconventional fuels will have economic and geopolitical consequences hard to fully assess at this moment. As a start, the exploitation of unconventional oil and gas reserves from previously inaccessible regions involves the introduction of novel production technologies, including deep-sea and Arctic drilling, hydro-fracking, and tar-sands upgrading. One result has been a shakeup in the global energy industry, with the emergence of innovative companies possessing the skills and determination to exploit the new unconventional resources — much as occurred during the early years of the petroleum era when new firms arose to exploit the world’s oil reserves.

This has been especially evident in the development of shale oil and gas. In many cases, the breakthrough technologies in this field were devised and deployed by smaller, risk-taking firms like Cabot Oil and Gas, Devon Energy Corporation, Mitchell Energy and Development Corporation, and XTO Energy. These and similar companies pioneered the use of hydro-fracking to extract oil and gas from shale formations in Arkansas, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Texas, and later sparked a stampede by larger energy firms to obtain stakes of their own in these areas. To augment those stakes, the giant firms are gobbling up many of the smaller and mid-sized ones. Among the most conspicuous takeovers was ExxonMobil’s 2009 purchase of XTO for $41 billion.

That deal highlights an especially worrisome feature of this new era: the deployment of massive funds by giant energy firms and their financial backers to acquire stakes in the production of unconventional forms of oil and gas — in amounts far exceeding comparable investments in either conventional hydrocarbons or renewable energy. It’s clear that, for these companies, unconventional energy is the next big thing and, as among the most profitable firms in history, they are prepared to spend astronomical sums to ensure that they continue to be so. If this means investment in renewable energy is shortchanged, so be it. “Without a concerted policymaking effort” to favor the development of renewables, Carnegie’s Gordon warns, future investments in the energy field “will likely continue to flow disproportionately toward unconventional oil.”

In other words, there will be an increasingly entrenched institutional bias among energy firms, banks, lending agencies, and governments toward next-generation fossil-fuel production, only increasing the difficulty of establishing national and international curbs on carbon emissions. This is evident, for example, in the Obama administration’s undiminished support for deep-offshore drilling and shale gas development, despite its purported commitment to reduce carbon emissions. It is likewise evident in the growing international interest in the development of shale and heavy-oil reserves, even as fresh investment in green energy is being cut back.

As in the environmental and economic fields, the transition from conventional to unconventional oil and gas will have a substantial, if still largely undefined, impact on political and military affairs.

US and Canadian companies are playing a decisive role in the development of many of the vital new unconventional fossil-fuel technologies; in addition, some of the world’s largest unconventional oil and gas reserves are located in North America. The effect of this is to bolster US global power at the expense of rival energy producers like Russia and Venezuela, which face rising competition from North American companies, and energy-importing states like China and India, which lack the resources and technology to produce unconventional fuels.

At the same time, Washington appears more inclined to counter the rise of China by seeking to dominate the global sea lanes and bolster its military ties with regional allies like Australia, India, Japan, the Philippines, and South Korea. Many factors are contributing to this strategic shift, but from their statements it is clear enough that top American officials see it as stemming in significant part from America’s growing self-sufficiency in energy production and its early mastery of the latest production technologies.

“America’s new energy posture allows us to engage [the world] from a position of greater strength,” National Security Advisor Tom Donilon asserted in an April speech at Columbia University. “Increasing US energy supplies act as a cushion that helps reduce our vulnerability to global supply disruptions [and] affords us a stronger hand in pursuing and implementing our international security goals.”

For the time being, the US leaders can afford to boast of their “stronger hand” in world affairs, as no other country possesses the capabilities to exploit unconventional resources on such a large scale. By seeking to extract geopolitical benefits from a growing world reliance on such fuels, however, Washington inevitably invites countermoves of various sorts. Rival powers, fearful and resentful of its geopolitical assertiveness, will bolster their capacity to resist American power – a trend already evident in China’s accelerating naval and missile buildup.

At the same time, other states will seek to develop their own capacity to exploit unconventional resources in what might be considered a fossil-fuels version of an arms race. This will require considerable effort, but such resources are widely distributed across the planet and in time other major producers of unconventional fuels are bound to emerge, challenging America’s advantage in this realm (even as they increase the staying power and global destructiveness of the third age of carbon). Sooner or later, much of international relations will revolve around these issues.

Surviving the third carbon era

Barring unforeseen shifts in global policies and behavior, the world will become increasingly dependent on the exploitation of unconventional energy. This, in turn, means an increase in the buildup of greenhouse gases with little possibility of averting the onset of catastrophic climate effects. Yes, we will also witness progress in the development and installation of renewable forms of energy, but these will play a subordinate role to the development of unconventional oil and gas.

Life in the third carbon era will not be without its benefits. Those who rely on fossil fuels for transportation, heating, and the like can perhaps take comfort from the fact that oil and natural gas will not run out soon, as was predicted by many energy analysts in the early years of this century. Banks, the energy corporations, and other economic interests will undoubtedly amass staggering profits from the explosive expansion of the unconventional oil business and global increases in the consumption of these fuels. But most of us won’t be rewarded. Quite the opposite. Instead, we’ll experience the discomfort and suffering accompanying the heating of the planet, the scarcity of contested water supplies in many regions, and the evisceration of the natural landscape.

What can be done to cut short the third carbon era and avert the worst of these outcomes? Calling for greater investment in green energy is essential but insufficient at a moment when the powers that be are emphasizing the development of unconventional fuels. Campaigning for curbs on carbon emissions is necessary, but will undoubtedly prove problematic, given an increasingly deeply embedded institutional bias toward unconventional energy.

Needed, in addition to such efforts, is a drive to expose the distinctiveness and the dangers of unconventional energy and to demonize those who choose to invest in these fuels rather than their green alternatives. Some efforts of this sort are already underway, including student-initiated campaigns to persuade or compel college and university trustees to divest from any investments in fossil-fuel companies. These, however, still fall short of a systemic drive to identify and resist those responsible for our growing reliance on unconventional fuels.

For all President Obama’s talk of a green technology revolution, we remain deeply entrenched in a world dominated by fossil fuels, with the only true revolution now underway involving the shift from one class of such fuels to another. Without a doubt, this is a formula for global catastrophe. To survive this era, humanity must become much smarter about this new kind of energy and then take the steps necessary to compress the third carbon era and hasten in the Age of Renewables before we burn ourselves off this planet.

This piece, including a new Tom Engelhardt introduction, is reposted on UK’s OpenDemocracy.net from TomDispatch.com with the original site’s permission.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 3rd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


From the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund

Polar Bears Going Hungry as Arctic Ice Diminishes.

Don’t Let the Koch Brothers Win.

Dear Pincas,

High summer temperatures are melting away Arctic ice at alarming levels. And in response, Alaska’s polar bears are going without food for longer and longer.

Meanwhile, a recent report by American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop has uncovered that billionaire fossil fuel tycoons, Charles and David Koch, have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to block climate change legislation. {David Koch also eliminated the New York City Opera from the Lincoln Center and bought the right to rename the building for himself. Lots of things you can do with Oil-Money. Just look at the Washington Post that allowed itself – for everybody to see – to be bought by the American Petroleum Institute. That is our own comment.}

The two brothers are creating a network of climate change-denier groups of unprecedented size and scope, and are even persuading many members of Congress to sign a pledge to vote against any meaningful bill to combat climate change.

We’re running out of time to make a critical difference for polar bears’ future. Please speak up for starving polar bears today!

Despite obstacles created by the “Koch Brothers,” who have made billions off of polluting our planet, this summer marked a turning point in the fight for polar bears’ future.

In response to pressure from people like you, President Obama recently released a bold new plan to address climate change. The President’s plan includes supporting Environmental Protection Agency limits to carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants—and it is not a minute too soon for polar bears.

But, the Koch Brothers’ are using their influence in Congress to try to block limits on carbon pollution. That’s why we must act quickly to tell our members of Congress to let the Environmental Protection Agency do its job.

Arctic ice hit a record low last summer—and it is looking bad again this year. Scientists expect polar bears will once again be forced to wait long into the fall before ice returns near Alaska, where the bears so desperately need ice platforms to hunt for food.

The lengthening wait for sea ice to freeze is dire for polar bear cubs and the polar bear moms who need more time on the ice to hunt for enough seals to sustain themselves and their young.

Unless Big Polluters and their allies in Congress stop attacking the Environmental Protection Agency, the President may not be able to put his new plan into action—and it could be too late for our polar bears.

From:
Andy Buchsbaum
Interim Executive Director, NWF Action Fund
 info at nwa.org

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 25th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

from:  pschierl at worldbank.org

The 7th Latin American and Caribbean Carbon Forum (LACCF) will take place August 28–30, 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The conference, the foremost event for knowledge sharing and networking on current and future carbon trends, is expected to attract a wide range of government officials, business experts, major international investors and local financial institutions to share experiences on low emissions development, innovative climate finance instruments and domestic initiatives.

While the focus is on the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region, the agenda will also take stock of global climate policy and market developments such as the mapping of carbon pricing initiatives at regional and domestic levels to put a price on carbon to stimulate climate-smart investments, as well as carbon taxation and what is needed to make the market more attractive for the private sector.

For details on the event and for free registration, visit the website - www.latincarbon.com/2013/english/…

The Latin American and Caribbean Carbon Forum (LACCF) is a free of charge regional conference and exhibition platform established in 2006 to promote knowledge and information sharing while facilitating business opportunity environments among main carbon market stakeholders.

Building on the success of six previous editions, the 2013 Latin American & Caribbean Carbon Forum (LACCF) will be held on 28-30 August, at the Windsor Barra Hotel, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

This annual Conference and Exhibition is jointly organized by the World Bank, the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and its UNEP Risø Centre, the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

With over 800 local, regional and international participants from private, public and the financial sectors and this unique mix of co-organizers, the LACCF is the pre-eminent regional ‘Pulse Taking’ and ‘Business to Business’ platform. It brings together leading individuals and organizations in the field to share knowledge and information, discuss new tendencies, propose solutions, and identify business opportunities in a rapidly changing area towards low carbon economies and societies.

This event occurs at a crucial moment for global carbon markets:

*

With the widespread uncertainty as to the architecture of the carbon market post-2012.
*

The increasing fragmentation of the market.
*

The abundance of emerging mechanisms and sources of climate finance.

Objectives

The core objective of the
LACCF is to bring together main stakeholders of the climate change mitigation arena and the carbon markets such as:

*

Designated National Authorities (DNAs), national climate change focal points, investment promotion agencies;
*

Project owners, project developers and potential CDM sectoral institutions;
*

Financial institutions, national development banks, stock exchanges, service providers and intermediary companies.

The LACCF promotes a discussion and exchange of experiences among these stakeholders and provide participants with the latest developments regarding emissions trading schemes, low emission development and the future of the carbon markets .

The Forum also facilitates debates around the international and national climate change mitigation policies to promote greenhouse gases (GHG) emission reductions. Finally the LACCF seeks new impulses for increasing a higher volume of low carbon investments in Latin American and the Caribbean.

Specifically, the VII Latin American Carbon Forum aims to:

* Updating on the different views of the challenges associated with global climate change, and the most recent developments in the international carbon market;
* Discussing with project developers and technical specialists of a wide range of sectors and technologies arising from best practices and lessons learned for the implementation of CDM projects and Programmatic CDM in Latin America and the Caribbean region;
* Learning from the most respected experts from the public and private sector on strategies and measures aimed to reduce GHG and to promote the benefits of the CDM in the region;
* Discussing about the potentialities of the carbon markets under the upcoming mitigation efforts to be implemented at international and national levels;
* Developing the understanding of NAMAs and and Low Carbon Development Strategies;
* Advancing the understanding of new market mechanisms;
* Learning on climate financing and green investments in Latin America and the Caribbean region;
* Holding bilateral meetings, both as attendance and by virtual means, between the national CDM offices, project owners, buyers of carbon credits, etc., during the business sessions; and
* Seize opportunities to establish contacts throughout the Forum.

==———–==

The Forum is hosted by the Government of the State of Rio de Janeiro and is convened once again by a partnership amongst the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and its Risø Centre, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the World Bank.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 23rd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Shuttle diplomacy under way on global aviation emissions deal.

Date: 23-Jul-13

Reported by Valerie Volcovici of the Environmental News Service of Reuters by geting the information by e-mail.

Diplomatic talks on a deal to curb greenhouse gas emissions from the global aviation industry have intensified recently as EU and U.S. officials try to stave off the threat of a trade war, lawmakers and observers said.

Peter Liese, a member of the European Parliament from the conservative German Christian-Democratic Union, led a delegation to meet with Obama administration officials in Washington last week to discuss the issue.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations’ civil aviation body, has until September to complete a resolution on a market-based plan that would curb rising greenhouse gas emissions from global airlines.

Should the UN organization fail, the European Union could try to re-impose an emissions trading system on global airlines. The EU postponed the implementation of the law in 2012 to give the ICAO time to devise a global approach.

Liese sees only a 50 percent chance the ICAO talks can deliver a deal strong enough to avoid a revival of the law and avoid threats of a trade war.

“Unless we have progress in the next six to seven weeks, we will run into a big problem,” Liese told Reuters.

Liese said drafts of the resolution that ICAO assembly delegates will consider at their triennial meeting, which starts in Montreal on September 24, might not be not ambitious enough to pass muster.

“We made very clear that what is on the table now is not enough,” Liese said.

He added that a deal acceptable to Europeans would unambiguously clarify that there will be an international agreement from 2020 onward.

The ICAO narrowed its options in May to three market-based measures, including a mandatory offsetting scheme.

The following month, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), set up to help the UN harmonize aviation after World War II, backed a system in which airlines would offset increased emissions after 2020 by buying carbon credits from projects that cut them in other sectors. A wider coalition of aviation groups endorsed the plan in recent weeks.

Nancy Young, vice president for environmental affairs for U.S. airline lobby group Airlines for America, said the strong industry backing of a market-based emissions plan should give the ICAO “very strong momentum to reach an agreement.”

The agreement, she said, will not be a detailed framework, but “a glide path toward a single market-based measure by 2016,” the year the next ICAO assembly takes place.

SHUTTLE DIPLOMACY !!!

The ICAO’s 36-member leadership council is scheduled to meet on September 4, when it is expected to discuss a final resolution.

If the council agrees to the draft, it is likely the plan will be endorsed by the full assembly when it convenes in late September-early October, said Annie Petsonk, international counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund, who tracks the negotiations.

Petsonk and Young said there has been intensive “shuttle diplomacy” over the last few weeks, with European officials coming to Washington and U.S. officials going to the ICAO headquarters in Montreal.

In addition, meetings between countries with similar views on the issue have been taking place. For example, China and India, which along with the United States strongly opposed the imposition of the European trading scheme on their airlines, are likely meeting ahead of the assembly to coordinate objections to the ICAO’s proposed resolution.

Liese said U.S. and EU officials might also have to consider a potential bilateral agreement if the ICAO fails to agree on a deal that would stave off the threat of a trade war.

But Jos Delbeke, director-general for climate action for the European Commission, was optimistic.

“Negotiations inside ICAO are in full swing, and we are confident that a useful resolution is going to be adopted in Sept/Oct,” Delbeke told Reuters in an email.

————————-

Talking Carbon Credits is just not the way to do something about global emissions – taxation is the way to sharpen the mind of private enterprise and trade wars in this respect are nothing to shrink away from – this is in every environmentalist’s balanced mind.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 19th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


An Air Quality Action Day is forecast in the New York City region for tomorrow (Friday, July 19, 2013).

URGENT!

Here are several simple steps to take TOMORROW to prevent pollution:

* Combine errands into a single trip.
* Postpone unnecessary trips.
* Take the subway, bus or train instead of driving.
* Avoid letting your vehicle idle, such as at the drive-thru.
* Forward this message to family and friends.
* Avoid operating gas-powered gardening equipment such as lawn mowers on Air Quality Action Days. Wait for a day when air quality is better.

The New York State Department of Transportation has declared that tomorrow, Friday, July 19, 2013, is an Air Quality Action Day in the downstate metro area due to forecasted high levels of ground-level ozone pollution in parts of the region (please visit the Clean Air NY Web site for more information cleanairny.org/DoYourPart.html).

While tomorrow is still a day when people can go about most of their normal activities, such as going to work, driving may be one of the most polluting activities that people do tomorrow, and we encourage everyone to leave their cars at home if possible.

Ground-level ozone is a respiratory irritant that can trigger asthma attacks and aggravate emphysema, bronchitis and other respiratory ailments. Children, people with pre-existing respiratory or heart conditions, people doing strenuous outdoor work or exercise and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to the effects of ozone.

To learn more about improving air quality or if you were forwarded this message and want us to send updates to your own e-mail address, visit CleanAirNY.org.

Clean Air NY is sponsored by the New York State Department of Transportation in support of regionwide air-quality efforts.

511NY is New York State’s official traffic and travel info source. Whether you drive or take public transit, click here for precisely what you need, or simply dial 511 on your phone.

Follow Clean Air NY on Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger.

To ensure the delivery of these Bulletins, please be sure to add  info at CleanAirNY.org to your e-mail address book or safe list.
 ” title=”mailto:info@CleanAirNY.org
“>info at CleanAirNY.org

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

Now I understand why I had breezing problems yesterday and felt weak. Today I will not jog to avoid this, and wonder if there are still people left in New York politics that do not perceive the evil of fossil fuels.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 18th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

U.S. Endures Heat Waves, Extended Drought.

WASHINGTON, DC, July 16, 2013 (ENS) – Heat waves and drought conditions are touching off wildfires, shriveling grasslands across the western states and stressing eastern urban residents, forcing lawmakers and public lands managers alike to rethink their approach to water supplies.

In Washington, the Senate Water and Power Subcommittee is holding a hearing today on the future of the Colorado River. The hearing follows recent deadly wildfires, a record-breaking heat wave and worsening drought conditions in the Southwest that have put the region’s residents, wildlife and natural resources at risk.

The subcommittee is examining the Bureau of Reclamation’s Colorado River Basin Water Demand and Supply study, released last December, which found that there is not enough water in the Colorado River to meet the basin’s current water demands or future demand increases.

Spanning parts of Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, the Colorado River Basin is one of the most critical sources of water in the West. The Colorado River and its tributaries provide water to nearly 40 million people for municipal use, supply water used to irrigate nearly 5.5 million acres of land, and is also the lifeblood for at least 22 federally recognized tribes, seven National Wildlife Refuges, four National Recreation Areas, and 11 National Parks.

Climate change will reduce water available from the Colorado River by nine percent, increasing the risk to cities, farms and the environment, the study concludes.

“This study serves as a call to action and underscores the importance of prioritizing innovative conservation solutions rather than resorting to costly pipelines, dams and other diversions,” said Matt Niemerski, water policy director at the nonprofit American Rivers. “We need to step up our efforts and manage our water wisely in order to meet the current and future needs in the basin.”

Across the country, more than 40 percent of U.S. freshwater withdrawals are used for power plant cooling. These plants also lose several billion gallons of freshwater every day through evaporation.

New research released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists indicates that increasing demand and drought are putting a great strain on water resources. Low water levels and high water temperatures can cause power plants to cut their electricity output in order to avoid overheating or harming local water bodies.

John Rogers, a senior energy analyst with UCS’s Climate and Energy Program, said, “In our water-constrained world, a 20-year delay in tackling the problem leaves the power industry unnecessarily vulnerable to drought and exacerbates competition with other water users. We can bring water use down faster and further, but only by changing how we get our electricity.”

A pathway that includes strong investments in renewables and energy efficiency, according to the UCS study, would greatly reduce power generation’s water use and carbon emissions. Under such a scenario, water withdrawals would drop by 97 percent from current levels by 2050, with most of that drop within the next 20 years.

Meanwhile, hot, dry conditions persist west of the Mississippi River, with at least 15 states experiencing drought. Wild horses and livestock compete for the same scarce water resources.

Drought conditions are taking a toll on western rangelands, leaving little water and forage for animals and livestock, prompting the Bureau of Land Management to provide supplemental water and food for wild horses, reduce grazing, and enact fire restrictions.

In New Mexico, 93 percent of rangeland and pastures are rated poor or very poor. The figure is 59 percent in Colorado; 35 percent in Wyoming; and 17 percent in Utah.

Similar conditions exist in Nevada, where more than 60 percent of the state has been in severe or extreme drought conditions since the beginning of 2013.

“Since last fall and winter, we have been working with grazers across the West in anticipation of tough conditions related to drought. In southwestern Montana, for example, the BLM worked with permitted ranchers to graze no more than 70 percent of their alloted forage on BLM-managed lands,” said BLM Principal Deputy Director Neil Kornze.

“As drought conditions continue, wild horses, livestock, and wildlife that rely on rangeland forage and water will face extremely challenging conditions that may leave them in very poor condition,” said Kornze. “We are taking action to address these situations as quickly and as effectively as we can, but our options are increasingly limited by conditions on the land.”

In Nevada, all BLM Districts have been hauling water to wild horses. There, the BLM is trucking 5,000 gallons of water per day, five days a week to four locations in the Winnemucca District at a cost of $1,000 a day.

In the next few days, a USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service veterinarian will join BLM specialists in assessing horses in Lincoln County, Nev., after BLM employees noted that horses were not drinking water from trucked-in troughs and were not eating supplemental hay. This raised concerns about the health of the animals.

Over the past week in Nevada, average temperatures have been 10 degrees above normal, hovering around 100 degrees. The state has recently had only 0.1 to 0.5 inches of rain, resulting in sparse, poor-quality forage, according to the BLM.

Scarce water sources have put pressure on all users, including wild horses, livestock, and wildlife; causing long-lasting damage to plants, stream channels, spring areas, and water quality.

The heat wave continues across the eastern United States, with highs Tuesday expected to reach the 90s across much of the eastern third of the country, says the National Weather Service. Combined with humidity, this will create heat index values of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

The heat and humidity is here for several more days for the Eastern states, including the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Ohio Valley, and spreading into the Midwest and Great Plains. A large upper level ridge and sinking air in the lower atmosphere are causing the hot conditions, says the National Weather Service, which says, “Although this is the hottest weather so far this season, it is less than the extreme heat observed last summer over these areas.”

In New York, Con Edison’s crews, working 12-hour shifts, are pulling cables, replacing fuses and other equipment to bring power back to customers as the heat wave blankets the metropolitan area. The heat wave is expected to extend into Saturday.

Crews have been responding to scattered outages and have restored power to more than 7,600 customers in New York City and Westchester County since the heat settled here on Sunday.

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn called New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly personally after an intern fainted in the heat and paramedics did not arrive for more than 30 minutes.

“This whole situation is outrageous and I don’t know what happened, and I’m going to get to the bottom of it. It’s inexcusable,” Quinn told the “New York Daily News.”

Across the Great Plains, AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski and Head of AccuWeather.com’s Long-Range Forecasting Team Paul Pastelok, say heat will be coming in and out of the Plains over the next 30 days.

For the next two weeks, the Midwest will have temperatures in the 80s and 90s.

Meanwhile, temperatures will remain below normal across parts of the southern and southwestern states, mainly from Texas to Arizona, where heavy rain and flash flooding are possible.

The Southwest will catch a break as building monsoon conditions ease the heat down for the Four Corners area, but temperatures will increase over the Great Basin and West, according to AccuWeather forecasters.

All this week, the odds favor above-median precipitation over western Alaska, the southern Rockies, the Northern Great Plains, Western and Central Gulf Coasts, and from the Great Lakes to the Mid-Atlantic, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, a service of the federal government.

Dry conditions are likely across the Pacific Northwest, eastern Alaska, and the Central Great Plains. Temperatures are likely to be above normal west of the continental divide, and from the Midwest to the Northeast, with below-normal temperatures favored over New Mexico and the Southeast.

AccuWeather predicts the mercury will soar come September when the Southwest region will reach its hottest point of the year.

OUR MAIN COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE IS THAT IT SOMEHOW FORGOT MEXICO WHICH HAS RIGHTS TO THE COLORADO RIVER WATER AS WELL. THE SITUATION IS THUS MUCH MORE COMPLICATED THEN MENTIONED HERE. THE ARTICLE ALSO DID NOT MENTION THAT SOME OF THE AGRICULTURE IN ARIZONA IS SIMPLY MISPLACED – GROWING COTTON IN THE DESERT IS JUST NOT THE THING THAT SHOULD BE ALLOWED. OH WELL – YOU CANNOT MAKE SENSE EASILY WHEN YOU TALK CONSERVATION OF RESOURCES!

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

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

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

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

There was not a single question on this topic!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The Three NGOs that were absent are:

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

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

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

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 3rd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Op-Ed Columnist
The Amazing Energy Race
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: July 2, 2013
*

President Obama delivered his most important national security and jobs speech last week. I think he also mentioned something about climate change. — Josh Haner/The New York Times

Opinionator: Let’s Not Braise the Planet (July 1, 2013)

The headline from Obama’s speech was his decision to cut America’s carbon emissions by bypassing a dysfunctional Congress and directing the Environmental Protection Agency to implement cleaner air-quality standards. If the rules are enacted — they will face many legal challenges — it would hasten our switching from coal to natural gas for electricity generation. Natural gas emits about half the global-warming carbon dioxide of coal, and it is in growing supply in our own country. As a result of market forces alone, coal has already fallen from about one-half to one-third of America’s electric power supply.

But I would not get caught up in the anti-carbon pollution details of the president’s speech. I’d focus on the larger messages. The first is that we need to reorder our priorities and start talking about the things that are most consequential for our families, communities, nation and world. That starts with how we’re going to power the global economy at a time when the planet is on track to grow from seven billion to nine billion people in 40 years, and most of them will want to live like Americans, with American-style cars, homes and consumption patterns. If we don’t find a cleaner way to grow, we’re going to smoke up, choke up and burn up this planet so much faster than anyone predicts. That traffic jam on the Beijing-Tibet highway in 2010 that stretched for 60 miles, involved 10,000 vehicles and took 10 days to unlock is a harbinger of what will come.

“In reducing coal’s historic dominance, the president is formalizing a market trend that was already taking shape,” remarked Andy Karsner, who was an assistant secretary of energy in the last Bush administration. His bigger message, though, was “no matter where you find yourself on the political spectrum, it’s useful for the nation to discuss, debate and consider a strategy for climate change. The consequences of inaction are potentially greater than all the other noise out there.”

Sadly, many Republican “leaders” rejected Obama’s initiative, claiming it would cost jobs. Really? Marvin Odum, the president of the Shell Oil Company, told me in an interview that phasing out coal for cleaner natural gas — and shifting more transport, such as big trucks and ships, to natural gas instead of diesel — “is a no-brainer, no-lose, net-win that you can’t fight with a straight face.”

But, remember, natural gas is a fine gift to our country if, and only if, we extract it in a way that does not leak methane into the atmosphere (methane being worse than carbon dioxide when it comes to global warming) and if, and only if, we extract it in ways that don’t despoil land, air or water. The Environmental Defense Fund is working with big oil companies, like Shell, to ensure both.

But there is one more huge caveat: We also have to ensure that cheap natural gas displaces coal but doesn’t also displace energy efficiency and renewables, like solar or wind, so that natural gas becomes a bridge to a clean energy future, not a ditch. It would be ideal to do this through legislation and not E.P.A. fiat, but Republicans have blocked that route, which is pathetic because the best way to do it is with a Republican idea from the last Bush administration: a national clean energy standard for electricity generation — an idea the G.O.P. only began to oppose when Obama said he favored it.

Such a standard would say to every utility: “Your power plants can use any fuel and technology you want to generate electricity as long as the total amount of air pollutants and greenhouse gases they emit (in both fuel handling and its electricity conversion) meet steadily increasing standards for cleaner air and fewer greenhouse gases. If you want to meet that standard with natural gas, sequestered coal, biomass, hydro, solar, wind or nuclear, be our guest. Let the most cost-effective clean technology win.”

By raising the standard a small amount every year, we’d ensure continuous innovation in clean power technologies — and jobs that are a lot better than coal mining. You can’t make an appliance, power plant, factory or vehicle cleaner without making it smarter — with smarter materials, smarter software or smarter designs. Nothing would do more to ensure America’s national security, stimulate more good jobs and global exports — the whole world needs these technologies — than a national clean energy standard. And, of course, the climate would hugely benefit.

Improving our energy system plays to our innovation strength. Clinging to our fossil-fuel past plays to the strengths of Russia and Iran. Why would we do that? Why would the G.O.P.? It’s already losing young voters. Question: How many college campuses today have environmental clubs and how many have coal clubs?

“The Germans and the Chinese are already in this clean energy race, and we’re still just talking about it,” said Hal Harvey, the chief executive of Energy Innovation. “The question is: Do we want to control our energy future, or continue to rent it from other countries?”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 2nd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

UN Report Says New Strategies Needed to Meet People’s Needs
Due to Rapid Urbanization

In a world of more than 9 billion by 2050, most of the 6.5 billion urban dwellers
will live in developing countries

Geneva, 2 July 2013 – New strategies are needed to address the impacts of rapid urbanization around the world, including increasing demands for energy, water, sanitation, public services, education and health, according to the World Economic and Social Survey 2013, launched today at the United Nations.

The 2013 Survey examines the many challenges that must be addressed to achieve sustainable development. The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development—Rio+20–set out a framework for action and follow-up across a wide range of issues and the Survey zooms in on three critical challenges – food security, energy transformation and sustainable cities.

According to the Survey produced by the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs, more than 6.25 billion people will be living in cities by 2050. During the period from 2000-2050, developing regions could add 3.2 billion new urban residents, a figure larger than the entire world’s population in 1950.

The rapid rate of urbanization underlines the urgency to address multiple sustainable development challenges facing the planet, including many outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference in 2012.

“Rio+20 reaf­firmed commitment to sustainable development and adopted a framework for action and comprehensive follow-up,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote in the foreword to the Survey. “The World Economic and Social Survey 2013 serves as a valuable resource as we look towards translating the outcome of Rio+20 into concrete actions.”

The Survey found that the vision of sustainable development—promoting economic and social well-being while protecting the environment — has not been achieved, despite encouraging progress. Rising inequality, gaps and shortfalls in development partnership, rapid population growth, climate change and environmental degradation have hampered efforts.

Damage to the global environment is reaching critical levels and threatens to lead to irreversible changes in global ecosystems, according to the Survey. The overarching environmental challenge is anthropogenic climate change with the increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere—most importantly, CO2— which is leading to a warming of the planet.

Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said the Survey highlighted the need for innovative strategies and investments to promote sustainable development, including in the world’s cities. “Cities play an essential role in expanding the pos­sibilities for economic growth, innovation and social development,” he noted. “But we have to take actions now that will enhance the benefits of cities, while reducing the threats to sustainable development.”

If no policy framework is established to address this issue, the Survey says, the number of people living in slums lacking access to basic infrastructure and services such as water, sanitation, electricity, health care and education might triple from one billion at present to three billion by 2050.

Sustainable development of urban areas, the Survey states, requires integration and coordination, and investments to tackle land-use issues, food security, employment creation, transportation infrastructure development, biodiversity conserva­tion, water conservation, renewable energy sourcing, waste and recycling management, and the provision of education, health care and housing.

The Survey calls for ambitious, action-oriented sustainable development strategies to address the different levels of urban development that are adaptable to different contexts.

Strategies must aim at systemically changing consumption and production patterns in all countries. Significant price corrections of goods and services will be needed to reflect scarcity now and in the future and provide the right signals for producers and consumers to switch to less resource-intensive renewable products. Change at all levels of the food chain, from production to consumption, is needed since an estimated 32 per cent of the total food produced globally is wasted, the survey says.

Sustainable development would be key to the eradication of poverty, said Shamshad Akhtar, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development.

“It is simply not acceptable that hunger and malnourishment, while decreasing in many developing countries, remains persistent in so many others,” she said. “One in eight people in the world today are still chronically undernourished. We need to promote an integrated approach to our development goals and ecosystems.”

Estimates indicate that food production will have to increase 70 per cent globally to feed an additional 2.3 billion people by 2050. Food demand is anticipated to continue to shift towards more resource-intensive agricultural products, such as live­stock and dairy products, which will exert even more pressure on land, water and biodiversity resources.

Along with food and nutrition security, the provision of energy is among the core elements of the sustainable development agenda. The survey highlights the critical need to find creative mechanisms to promote forward-looking efforts, such as the Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative.

This initiative has suggested explicit energy goals to end the dependence on traditional biomass as a source of thermal energy and to improve access to reliable, adequate and high-quality electricity. Unreliable or low-quality energy sources compromise the opportunities of the working poor who are self-employed or run household enterprises.

Such efforts must embrace new technologies, which will play a major role in the transformation to sustainable production and consumption. Appropriate technical regulation and social standards need to be adopted, with technical and financial support for developing countries. Markets by themselves will not tackle these enormous challenges. Public resources will need to crowd-in private long-term investments.

The Survey emphasizes that economic and financial incentives for creating and adopting new technologies will require policy reforms including taxes and subsidies, as well as regulatory reforms, in order to achieve core targets relating to technology adaptation, the reduction of food waste and enhanced energy efficiency.

Background about the World Economic and Social Survey: www.un.org/en/development/desa/po…

Media contacts
Geneva: Alessandra Vellucci, UN Info. Service,  avellucci at unog.ch, +41 22 917 2336 or +41 79 2173065
New York: Dan Shepard, UN Department of Public Information,  shepard at un.org, tel +1 212-963-9495

Issued by the UN Department of Public Information

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 2nd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Bhopal (/bo??p??l/ (Hindustani pronunciation: [b?o?pa?l] is the capital of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and the administrative headquarters of Bhopal District and Bhopal Division. The city was the capital of the former Bhopal State. Bhopal is known as the City of Lake for its various natural as well as artificial lakes and is also one of the greenest cities in India.

Bhopal houses various institutions and installations of national importance. Some of these include ISRO’s Master Control Facility, the CSIR, AIIMS Bhopal, National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) AMPRI, MANIT, IISER, SPA, IIFM, BHEL and NLIU.

The city attracted international attention after the Bhopal disaster, when a Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide manufacturing plant leaked a mixture of deadly gases including methyl isocyanate on the intervening night of 2 / 3 December 1984, leading to the worst industrial disaster in the city’s history. Since then, Bhopal has been a center of protests and campaigns which have been joined by people from across the globe. {Wikipedia}

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

Alternet’s Smirking Chimp / By Bob Burnett

Is America Turning into Texas?
What’s happened Texas graphically illustrates the choice facing America.

July 2, 2013

On April 17 there was a horrific explosion at the West Chemical and Fertilizer plant in West, Texas, that killed 15 people, injured more than 200, destroyed or damaged 150 homes and caused at least $100 million in losses. Five days later, Texas Governor Rick Perry was in Illinois trying to lure business to Texas, praising his state’s limited regulations. Is Texas America’s future?

Republican conservatives have a simple economic precept: what’s good for business is good for America. Conservatives believe states should provide a “business friendly” environment with low taxes and few regulations. They argue this inevitably creates jobs and builds community through the “trickle-down” theory of Reaganomics: “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

Texas is the foremost practitioner of the conservative theory. This year Chief Executive Magazine voted Texas “the best state to do business in” for the ninth consecutive year, citing factors such as low taxes and sparse regulations. Texas’ 6.5 percent unemployment rate is below the national average.

But the Texas economy has negative aspects that contributed to the explosion at the West Chemical and Fertilizer plant. There is no state fire code and McLennan, the county that housed the plant, also has no fire code. According to the New York Times

Texas has also had the nation’s highest number of workplace fatalities — more than 400 annually — for much of the past decade. Fires and explosions at Texas’ more than 1,300 chemical and industrial plants have cost as much in property damage as those in all the other states combined for the five years ending in May 2012.

In much of Texas zoning laws are non-existent. In 1962, when the West Chemical and Fertilizer plant originally opened, the facility was far from downtown; in recent years, a school, nursing home, and apartment complex were built nearby.

A consequence of Texas’ “anything goes” attitude is not only the nation’s highest number of workplace fatalities but also America’s dirtiest environment. According to the Houston Chronicle Texas leads the U.S. in greenhouse gas emissions.

Texas’ coal-fired power plants and oil refineries generated 294 million tons of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in 2010, more than the next two states — Pennsylvania and Florida — combined.

Regrettably, many Texans lack adequate health care. The Texas Observer reports that the state ranks first in the nation for adults without health insurance.

Over the last decade, Texas added thousands of jobs in construction and energy. Unfortunately, Texas leads the nation in construction fatalities.

The Texas construction industry is characterized by dangerous working conditions, low wages, and legal violations that hurt working families and undercut honest businesses.

Furthermore, an average of 39 energy industry workers die each year.

Oil and gas field services and drilling workers were killed on the job in Texas more than those in any other profession, according to a Houston Chronicle analysis of five years of fatal accidents investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

And when Texans are injured on the job, they often have great difficulty getting their medical claims reimbursed. Texas is the only state where employers have a choice about paying worker’s compensation. If the worker’s employer doesn’t provide coverage, the worker has to file a civil claim. But even when there is worker’s compensation, the system is notoriously difficult.

Texas Governor Rick Perry roams the U.S. luring workers to Texas with the promise of good jobs, but the reality is unimpressive. Writing in the American IndependentPatrick Brendel observed the new Texas jobs are primarily low-wage jobs:

Texas has by far the largest number of employees working at or below the federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour in 2010) compared to any state, according to a [Bureau of Labor Statistics] report. In 2010, about 550,000 Texans were working at or below minimum wage, or about 9.5 percent of all workers paid by the hour in the state.

On June 14, Governor Perry vetoed an equal pay bill.

Meanwhile, the ruined city of West, Texas, is struggling to recover. Total losses will be more than $100 million and FEMA likely will reimburse only 10 percent. The City of West has sued the owner and supplier of the West Chemical and Fertilizer Plant.

On April 22 Texas Governor Rick Perry was asked about the explosion at the West Chemical and Fertilizer Plant and contended that “more government intervention and increased spending on safety inspections would not have prevented” the West catastrophe.

What’s happened in West and Texas graphically illustrates the choice facing America. We can adopt an extreme pro-business strategy and subordinate worker pay and safety; we can, in effect, tell the 99 percent, “You’re on your own.” Or we can adopt a strategy that puts people first; we can decide that capitalism has to be subordinate to democracy and protect the rights of all Americans.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 25th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Activists at George Washington University June 25, 2013
Young climate-change activists at Georgetown University express their views
ahead of President Obama’s speech. The say YES WE CAN Fight Climate Change.

Today, President Obama announced the biggest steps to fight climate change that any president has ever taken — including the first-ever EPA limits on how much carbon pollution existing U.S. power plants can create.

Change can only happen when ordinary people join in and say we’ll do our part – and join the fight to combat climate change.

You don’t have to consider yourself an environmentalist to care about this. If you care about leaving our planet in a better place for our kids and grand-kids, then you’ve got skin in the game.

and from Michael Brune of the Siera Club:
I just had a short meeting with the president this morning before his climate speech and I’m more convinced than ever that he is ready to tackle climate change.

In his speech, he announced that he’s directing his administration to crack down on climate-disrupting carbon emissions from power plants, scale up renewable energy, and boost energy efficiency for commercial, industrial, and federal buildings.

He also said he will reject the Keystone XL pipeline if it is bad for the climate. (Hint: it is.)

Today’s announcement is a big deal, and it’s happening because you, your neighbors, and hundreds of thousands of others helped show our country and our president the way forward.

—————————

President Obama Speech On Climate Change – The Transcript

President Barack Obama:

Thank you! (Applause.) Thank you, Georgetown! Thank you so much. Everybody, please be seated. And my first announcement today is that you should all take off your jackets. (Laughter.) I’m going to do the same. (Applause.) It’s not that sexy, now. (Laughter.)

It is good to be back on campus, and it is a great privilege to speak from the steps of this historic hall that welcomed Presidents going back to George Washington.

I want to thank your president, President DeGioia, who’s here today. (Applause.) I want to thank him for hosting us. I want to thank the many members of my Cabinet and my administration. I want to thank Leader Pelosi and the members of Congress who are here. We are very grateful for their support.

And I want to say thank you to the Hoyas in the house for having me back. (Applause.) It was important for me to speak directly to your generation, because the decisions that we make now and in the years ahead will have a profound impact on the world that all of you inherit.

On Christmas Eve, 1968, the astronauts of Apollo 8 did a live broadcast from lunar orbit. So Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, William Anders — the first humans to orbit the moon -– described what they saw, and they read Scripture from the Book of Genesis to the rest of us back here. And later that night, they took a photo that would change the way we see and think about our world.

It was an image of Earth -– beautiful; breathtaking; a glowing marble of blue oceans, and green forests, and brown mountains brushed with white clouds, rising over the surface of the moon.

And while the sight of our planet from space might seem routine today, imagine what it looked like to those of us seeing our home, our planet, for the first time. Imagine what it looked like to children like me. Even the astronauts were amazed. “It makes you realize,” Lovell would say, “just what you have back there on Earth.”

And around the same time we began exploring space, scientists were studying changes taking place in the Earth’s atmosphere. Now, scientists had known since the 1800s that greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide trap heat, and that burning fossil fuels release those gases into the air. That wasn’t news. But in the late 1950s, the National Weather Service began measuring the levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, with the worry that rising levels might someday disrupt the fragile balance that makes our planet so hospitable. And what they’ve found, year after year, is that the levels of carbon pollution in our atmosphere have increased dramatically. That science, accumulated and reviewed over decades, tells us that our planet is changing in ways that will have profound impacts on all of humankind.

The 12 warmest years in recorded history have all come in the last 15 years. Last year, temperatures in some areas of the ocean reached record highs, and ice in the Arctic shrank to its smallest size on record — faster than most models had predicted it would. These are facts.

Now, we know that no single weather event is caused solely by climate change. Droughts and fires and floods, they go back to ancient times. But we also know that in a world that’s warmer than it used to be, all weather events are affected by a warming planet.
The fact that sea level in New York, in New York Harbor, are now a foot higher than a century ago — that didn’t cause Hurricane Sandy, but it certainly contributed to the destruction that left large parts of our mightiest city dark and underwater.

The potential impacts go beyond rising sea levels. Here at home, 2012 was the warmest year in our history. Midwest farms were parched by the worst drought since the Dust Bowl, and then drenched by the wettest spring on record. Western wildfires scorched an area larger than the state of Maryland. Just last week, a heat wave in Alaska shot temperatures into the 90s.

And we know that the costs of these events can be measured in lost lives and lost livelihoods, lost homes, lost businesses, hundreds of billions of dollars in emergency services and disaster relief. In fact, those who are already feeling the effects of climate change don’t have time to deny it — they’re busy dealing with it. Firefighters are braving longer wildfire seasons, and sAtates and federal governments have to figure out how to budget for that. I had to sit on a meeting with the Department of Interior and Agriculture and some of the rest of my team just to figure out how we’re going to pay for more and more expensive fire seasons.

Farmers see crops wilted one year, washed away the next; and the higher food prices get passed on to you, the American consumer. Mountain communities worry about what smaller snowpacks will mean for tourism — and then, families at the bottom of the mountains wonder what it will mean for their drinking water. Americans across the country are already paying the price of inaction in insurance premiums, state and local taxes, and the costs of rebuilding and disaster relief.

So the question is not whether we need to act. The overwhelming judgment of science — of chemistry and physics and millions of measurements — has put all that to rest. Ninety-seven percent of scientists, including, by the way, some who originally disputed the data, have now put that to rest. They’ve acknowledged the planet is warming and human activity is contributing to it.

So the question now is whether we will have the courage to act before it’s too late. And how we answer will have a profound impact on the world that we leave behind not just to you, but to your children and to your grandchildren.

As a President, as a father, and as an American, I’m here to say we need to act. (Applause.)

————-

I refuse to condemn your generation and future generations to a planet that’s beyond fixing. And that’s why, today, I’m announcing a new national climate action plan, and I’m here to enlist your generation’s help in keeping the United States of America a leader — a global leader — in the fight against climate change.

This plan builds on progress that we’ve already made. Last year, I took office — the year that I took office, my administration pledged to reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions by about 17 percent from their 2005 levels by the end of this decade. And we rolled up our sleeves and we got to work. We doubled the electricity we generated from wind and the sun. We doubled the mileage our cars will get on a gallon of gas by the middle of the next decade. (Applause.)

Here at Georgetown, I unveiled my strategy for a secure energy future. And thanks to the ingenuity of our businesses, we’re starting to produce much more of our own energy. We’re building the first nuclear power plants in more than three decades — in Georgia and South Carolina. For the first time in 18 years, America is poised to produce more of our own oil than we buy from other nations. And today, we produce more natural gas than anybody else. So we’re producing energy. And these advances have grown our economy, they’ve created new jobs, they can’t be shipped overseas — and, by the way, they’ve also helped drive our carbon pollution to its lowest levels in nearly 20 years. Since 2006, no country on Earth has reduced its total carbon pollution by as much as the United States of America. (Applause.)

So it’s a good start. But the reason we’re all here in the heat today is because we know we’ve got more to do.

In my State of the Union address, I urged Congress to come up with a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one that Republican and Democratic senators worked on together a few years ago. And I still want to see that happen. I’m willing to work with anyone to make that happen.

But this is a challenge that does not pause for partisan gridlock. It demands our attention now. And this is my plan to meet it — a plan to cut carbon pollution; a plan to protect our country from the impacts of climate change; and a plan to lead the world in a coordinated assault on a changing climate. (Applause.)

This plan begins with cutting carbon pollution by changing the way we use energy — using less dirty energy, using more clean energy, wasting less energy throughout our economy.

——————

Forty-three years ago, Congress passed a law called the Clean Air Act of 1970. (Applause.) It was a good law. The reasoning behind it was simple: New technology can protect our health by protecting the air we breathe from harmful pollution. And that law passed the Senate unanimously. Think about that — it passed the Senate unanimously. It passed the House of Representatives 375 to 1. I don’t know who the one guy was — I haven’t looked that up. (Laughter.) You can barely get that many votes to name a post office these days. (Laughter.)

It was signed into law by a Republican President. It was later strengthened by another Republican President. This used to be a bipartisan issue.

Six years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that greenhouse gases are pollutants covered by that same Clean Air Act. (Applause.) And they required the Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA, to determine whether they’re a threat to our health and welfare. In 2009, the EPA determined that they are a threat to both our health and our welfare in many different ways — from dirtier air to more common heat waves — and, therefore, subject to regulation.

Today, about 40 percent of America’s carbon pollution comes from our power plants. But here’s the thing: Right now, there are no federal limits to the amount of carbon pollution that those plants can pump into our air. None. Zero. We limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury and sulfur and arsenic in our air or our water, but power plants can still dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air for free. That’s not right, that’s not safe, and it needs to stop. (Applause.)

So today, for the sake of our children, and the health and safety of all Americans, I’m directing the Environmental Protection Agency to put an end to the limitless dumping of carbon pollution from our power plants, and complete new pollution standards for both new and existing power plants. (Applause.)

I’m also directing the EPA to develop these standards in an open and transparent way, to provide flexibility to different states with different needs, and build on the leadership that many states, and cities, and companies have already shown. In fact, many power companies have already begun modernizing their plants, and creating new jobs in the process. Others have shifted to burning cleaner natural gas instead of dirtier fuel sources.

Nearly a dozen states have already implemented or are implementing their own market-based programs to reduce carbon pollution. More than 25 have set energy efficiency targets. More than 35 have set renewable energy targets. Over 1,000 mayors have signed agreements to cut carbon pollution. So the idea of setting higher pollution standards for our power plants is not new. It’s just time for Washington to catch up with the rest of the country. And that’s what we intend to do. (Applause.)

Now, what you’ll hear from the special interests and their allies in Congress is that this will kill jobs and crush the economy, and basically end American free enterprise as we know it. And the reason I know you’ll hear those things is because that’s what they said every time America sets clear rules and better standards for our air and our water and our children’s health. And every time, they’ve been wrong.

For example, in 1970, when we decided through the Clean Air Act to do something about the smog that was choking our cities — and, by the way, most young people here aren’t old enough to remember what it was like, but when I was going to school in 1979-1980 in Los Angeles, there were days where folks couldn’t go outside. And the sunsets were spectacular because of all the pollution in the air.

But at the time when we passed the Clean Air Act to try to get rid of some of this smog, some of the same doomsayers were saying new pollution standards will decimate the auto industry. Guess what — it didn’t happen. Our air got cleaner.

In 1990, when we decided to do something about acid rain, they said our electricity bills would go up, the lights would go off, businesses around the country would suffer — I quote — “a quiet death.” None of it happened, except we cut acid rain dramatically.

See, the problem with all these tired excuses for inaction is that it suggests a fundamental lack of faith in American business and American ingenuity. (Applause.) These critics seem to think that when we ask our businesses to innovate and reduce pollution and lead, they can’t or they won’t do it. They’ll just kind of give up and quit. But in America, we know that’s not true. Look at our history.

When we restricted cancer-causing chemicals in plastics and leaded fuel in our cars, it didn’t end the plastics industry or the oil industry. American chemists came up with better substitutes. When we phased out CFCs — the gases that were depleting the ozone layer — it didn’t kill off refrigerators or air-conditioners or deodorant. (Laughter.) American workers and businesses figured out how to do it better without harming the environment as much.

The fuel standards that we put in place just a few years ago didn’t cripple automakers. The American auto industry retooled, and today, our automakers are selling the best cars in the world at a faster rate than they have in five years — with more hybrid, more plug-in, more fuel-efficient cars for everybody to choose from. (Applause.)

So the point is, if you look at our history, don’t bet against American industry. Don’t bet against American workers. Don’t tell folks that we have to choose between the health of our children or the health of our economy. (Applause.)

The old rules may say we can’t protect our environment and promote economic growth at the same time, but in America, we’ve always used new technologies — we’ve used science; we’ve used research and development and discovery to make the old rules obsolete.

Today, we use more clean energy –- more renewables and natural gas -– which is supporting hundreds of thousands of good jobs. We waste less energy, which saves you money at the pump and in your pocketbooks. And guess what — our economy is 60 percent bigger than it was 20 years ago, while our carbon emissions are roughly back to where they were 20 years ago.

So, obviously, we can figure this out. It’s not an either/or; it’s a both/and. We’ve got to look after our children; we have to look after our future; and we have to grow the economy and create jobs. We can do all of that as long as we don’t fear the future; instead we seize it. (Applause.)

And, by the way, don’t take my word for it — recently, more than 500 businesses, including giants like GM and Nike, issued a Climate Declaration, calling action on climate change “one of the great economic opportunities of the 21st century.” Walmart is working to cut its carbon pollution by 20 percent and transition completely to renewable energy. (Applause.) Walmart deserves a cheer for that. (Applause.) But think about it. Would the biggest company, the biggest retailer in America — would they really do that if it weren’t good for business, if it weren’t good for their shareholders?

A low-carbon, clean energy economy can be an engine of growth for decades to come. And I want America to build that engine. I want America to build that future — right here in the United States of America. That’s our task. (Applause.)

——————

Now, one thing I want to make sure everybody understands — this does not mean that we’re going to suddenly stop producing fossil fuels. Our economy wouldn’t run very well if it did. And transitioning to a clean energy economy takes time. But when the doomsayers trot out the old warnings that these ambitions will somehow hurt our energy supply, just remind them that America produced more oil than we have in 15 years. What is true is that we can’t just drill our way out of the energy and climate challenge that we face. (Applause.) That’s not possible.

I put forward in the past an all-of-the-above energy strategy, but our energy strategy must be about more than just producing more oil. And, by the way, it’s certainly got to be about more than just building one pipeline.
(Applause.)

Now, I know there’s been, for example, a lot of controversy surrounding the proposal to build a pipeline, the Keystone pipeline, that would carry oil from Canadian tar sands down to refineries in the Gulf. And the State Department is going through the final stages of evaluating the proposal. That’s how it’s always been done. But I do want to be clear: Allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation’s interest. And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution. (Applause.) The net effects of the pipeline’s impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward. It’s relevant.

Now, even as we’re producing more domestic oil, we’re also producing more cleaner-burning natural gas than any other country on Earth. And, again, sometimes there are disputes about natural gas, but let me say this: We should strengthen our position as the top natural gas producer because, in the medium term at least, it not only can provide safe, cheap power, but it can also help reduce our carbon emissions.

Federally supported technology has helped our businesses drill more effectively and extract more gas. And now, we’ll keep working with the industry to make drilling safer and cleaner, to make sure that we’re not seeing methane emissions, and to put people to work modernizing our natural gas infrastructure so that we can power more homes and businesses with cleaner energy.

The bottom line is natural gas is creating jobs. It’s lowering many families’ heat and power bills. And it’s the transition fuel that can power our economy with less carbon pollution even as our businesses work to develop and then deploy more of the technology required for the even cleaner energy economy of the future.

—————

And that brings me to the second way that we’re going to reduce carbon pollution — by using more clean energy. Over the past four years, we’ve doubled the electricity that we generate from zero-carbon wind and solar power. (Applause.) And that means jobs — jobs manufacturing the wind turbines that now generate enough electricity to power nearly 15 million homes; jobs installing the solar panels that now generate more than four times the power at less cost than just a few years ago.

I know some Republicans in Washington dismiss these jobs, but those who do need to call home — because 75 percent of all wind energy in this country is generated in Republican districts. (Laughter.) And that may explain why last year, Republican governors in Kansas and Oklahoma and Iowa — Iowa, by the way, a state that harnesses almost 25 percent of its electricity from the wind — helped us in the fight to extend tax credits for wind energy manufacturers and producers. (Applause.) Tens of thousands good jobs were on the line, and those jobs were worth the fight.

And countries like China and Germany are going all in in the race for clean energy. I believe Americans build things better than anybody else. I want America to win that race, but we can’t win it if we’re not in it. (Applause.)

So the plan I’m announcing today will help us double again our energy from wind and sun. Today, I’m directing the Interior Department to green light enough private, renewable energy capacity on public lands to power more than 6 million homes by 2020. (Applause.)

The Department of Defense — the biggest energy consumer in America — will install 3 gigawatts of renewable power on its bases, generating about the same amount of electricity each year as you’d get from burning 3 million tons of coal. (Applause.)

And because billions of your tax dollars continue to still subsidize some of the most profitable corporations in the history of the world, my budget once again calls for Congress to end the tax breaks for big oil companies, and invest in the clean-energy companies that will fuel our future. (Applause.)

————-

Now, the third way to reduce carbon pollution is to waste less energy — in our cars, our homes, our businesses. The fuel standards we set over the past few years mean that by the middle of the next decade, the cars and trucks we buy will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. That means you’ll have to fill up half as often; we’ll all reduce carbon pollution. And we built on that success by setting the first-ever standards for heavy-duty trucks and buses and vans. And in the coming months, we’ll partner with truck makers to do it again for the next generation of vehicles.

Meanwhile, the energy we use in our homes and our businesses and our factories, our schools, our hospitals — that’s responsible for about one-third of our greenhouse gases. The good news is simple upgrades don’t just cut that pollution; they put people to work — manufacturing and installing smarter lights and windows and sensors and appliances. And the savings show up in our electricity bills every month — forever. That’s why we’ve set new energy standards for appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers. And today, our businesses are building better ones that will also cut carbon pollution and cut consumers’ electricity bills by hundreds of billions of dollars.

That means, by the way, that our federal government also has to lead by example. I’m proud that federal agencies have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by more than 15 percent since I took office. But we can do even better than that. So today, I’m setting a new goal: Your federal government will consume 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources within the next seven years. We are going to set that goal.
(Applause.)

We’ll also encourage private capital to get off the sidelines and get into these energy-saving investments. And by the end of the next decade, these combined efficiency standards for appliances and federal buildings will reduce carbon pollution by at least three billion tons. That’s an amount equal to what our entire energy sector emits in nearly half a year.

So I know these standards don’t sound all that sexy, but think of it this way: That’s the equivalent of planting 7.6 billion trees and letting them grow for 10 years — all while doing the dishes. It is a great deal and we need to be doing it. (Applause.)

So using less dirty energy, transitioning to cleaner sources of energy, wasting less energy through our economy is where we need to go. And this plan will get us there faster. But I want to be honest — this will not get us there overnight. The hard truth is carbon pollution has built up in our atmosphere for decades now. And even if we Americans do our part, the planet will slowly keep warming for some time to come. The seas will slowly keep rising and storms will get more severe, based on the science. It’s like tapping the brakes of a car before you come to a complete stop and then can shift into reverse. It’s going to take time for carbon emissions to stabilize.

So in the meantime, we’re going to need to get prepared. And that’s why this plan will also protect critical sectors of our economy and prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change that we cannot avoid. States and cities across the country are already taking it upon themselves to get ready. Miami Beach is hardening its water supply against seeping saltwater. We’re partnering with the state of Florida to restore Florida’s natural clean water delivery system — the Everglades.
The overwhelmingly Republican legislature in Texas voted to spend money on a new water development bank as a long-running drought cost jobs and forced a town to truck in water from the outside.

New York City is fortifying its 520 miles of coastline as an insurance policy against more frequent and costly storms. And what we’ve learned from Hurricane Sandy and other disasters is that we’ve got to build smarter, more resilient infrastructure that can protect our homes and businesses, and withstand more powerful storms. That means stronger seawalls, natural barriers, hardened power grids, hardened water systems, hardened fuel supplies.

So the budget I sent Congress includes funding to support communities that build these projects, and this plan directs federal agencies to make sure that any new project funded with taxpayer dollars is built to withstand increased flood risks.

And we’ll partner with communities seeking help to prepare for droughts and floods, reduce the risk of wildfires, protect the dunes and wetlands that pull double duty as green space and as natural storm barriers. And we’ll also open our climate data and NASA climate imagery to the public, to make sure that cities and states assess risk under different climate scenarios, so that we don’t waste money building structures that don’t withstand the next storm.

So that’s what my administration will do to support the work already underway across America, not only to cut carbon pollution, but also to protect ourselves from climate change. But as I think everybody here understands, no nation can solve this challenge alone — not even one as powerful as ours. And that’s why the final part of our plan calls on America to lead — lead international efforts to combat a changing climate. (Applause.)

And make no mistake — the world still looks to America to lead. When I spoke to young people in Turkey a few years ago, the first question I got wasn’t about the challenges that part of the world faces. It was about the climate challenge that we all face, and America’s role in addressing it. And it was a fair question, because as the world’s largest economy and second-largest carbon emitter, as a country with unsurpassed ability to drive innovation and scientific breakthroughs, as the country that people around the world continue to look to in times of crisis, we’ve got a vital role to play. We can’t stand on the sidelines. We’ve got a unique responsibility. And the steps that I’ve outlined today prove that we’re willing to meet that responsibility.

Though all America’s carbon pollution fell last year, global carbon pollution rose to a record high. That’s a problem. Developing countries are using more and more energy, and tens of millions of people entering a global middle class naturally want to buy cars and air-conditioners of their own, just like us. Can’t blame them for that. And when you have conversations with poor countries, they’ll say, well, you went through these stages of development — why can’t we?

But what we also have to recognize is these same countries are also more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than we are. They don’t just have as much to lose, they probably have more to lose.

Developing nations with some of the fastest-rising levels of carbon pollution are going to have to take action to meet this challenge alongside us. They’re watching what we do, but we’ve got to make sure that they’re stepping up to the plate as well. We compete for business with them, but we also share a planet. And we have to all shoulder the responsibility for keeping the planet habitable, or we’re going to suffer the consequences — together.

So to help more countries transitioning to cleaner sources of energy and to help them do it faster, we’re going to partner with our private sector to apply private sector technological know-how in countries that transition to natural gas. We’ve mobilized billions of dollars in private capital for clean energy projects around the world.

Today, I’m calling for an end of public financing for new coal plants overseas — (applause) — unless they deploy carbon-capture technologies, or there’s no other viable way for the poorest countries to generate electricity. And I urge other countries to join this effort.

And I’m directing my administration to launch negotiations toward global free trade in environmental goods and services, including clean energy technology, to help more countries skip past the dirty phase of development and join a global low-carbon economy. They don’t have to repeat all the same mistakes that we made. (Applause.)

We’ve also intensified our climate cooperation with major emerging economies like India and Brazil, and China — the world’s largest emitter. So, for example, earlier this month, President Xi of China and I reached an important agreement to jointly phase down our production and consumption of dangerous hydrofluorocarbons, and we intend to take more steps together in the months to come. It will make a difference. It’s a significant step in the reduction of carbon emissions. (Applause.)

And finally, my administration will redouble our efforts to engage our international partners in reaching a new global agreement to reduce carbon pollution through concrete action. (Applause.)

Four years ago, in Copenhagen, every major country agreed, for the first time, to limit carbon pollution by 2020. Two years ago, we decided to forge a new agreement beyond 2020 that would apply to all countries, not just developed countries.

What we need is an agreement that’s ambitious — because that’s what the scale of the challenge demands. We need an inclusive agreement -– because every country has to play its part. And we need an agreement that’s flexible — because different nations have different needs. And if we can come together and get this right, we can define a sustainable future for your generation.

So that’s my plan. (Applause.) The actions I’ve announced today should send a strong signal to the world that America intends to take bold action to reduce carbon pollution. We will continue to lead by the power of our example, because that’s what the United States of America has always done.

I am convinced this is the fight America can, and will, lead in the 21st century. And I’m convinced this is a fight that America must lead. But it will require all of us to do our part. We’ll need scientists to design new fuels, and we’ll need farmers to grow new fuels. We’ll need engineers to devise new technologies, and we’ll need businesses to make and sell those technologies. We’ll need workers to operate assembly lines that hum with high-tech, zero-carbon components, but we’ll also need builders to hammer into place the foundations for a new clean energy era.

————–

We’re going to need to give special care to people and communities that are unsettled by this transition — not just here in the United States but around the world. And those of us in positions of responsibility, we’ll need to be less concerned with the judgment of special interests and well-connected donors, and more concerned with the judgment of posterity. (Applause.) Because you and your children, and your children’s children, will have to live with the consequences of our decisions.

As I said before, climate change has become a partisan issue, but it hasn’t always been. It wasn’t that long ago that Republicans led the way on new and innovative policies to tackle these issues. Richard Nixon opened the EPA. George H.W. Bush declared — first U.S. President to declare — “human activities are changing the atmosphere in unexpected and unprecedented ways.” Someone who never shies away from a challenge, John McCain, introduced a market-based cap-and-trade bill to slow carbon pollution.

The woman that I’ve chosen to head up the EPA, Gina McCarthy, she’s worked — (applause) — she’s terrific. Gina has worked for the EPA in my administration, but she’s also worked for five Republican governors. She’s got a long track record of working with industry and business leaders to forge common-sense solutions. Unfortunately, she’s being held up in the Senate. She’s been held up for months, forced to jump through hoops no Cabinet nominee should ever have to –- not because she lacks qualifications, but because there are too many in the Republican Party right now who think that the Environmental Protection Agency has no business protecting our environment from carbon pollution. The Senate should confirm her without any further obstruction or delay. (Applause.)
But more broadly, we’ve got to move beyond partisan politics on this issue. I want to be clear — I am willing to work with anybody –- Republicans, Democrats, independents, libertarians, greens -– anybody — to combat this threat on behalf of our kids. I am open to all sorts of new ideas, maybe better ideas, to make sure that we deal with climate change in a way that promotes jobs and growth.

Nobody has a monopoly on what is a very hard problem, but I don’t have much patience for anyone who denies that this challenge is real. (Applause.) We don’t have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society. (Applause.) Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer, but it’s not going to protect you from the coming storm. And ultimately, we will be judged as a people, and as a society, and as a country on where we go from here.

Our founders believed that those of us in positions of power are elected not just to serve as custodians of the present, but as caretakers of the future. And they charged us to make decisions with an eye on a longer horizon than the arc of our own political careers. That’s what the American people expect. That’s what they deserve.

And someday, our children, and our children’s children, will look at us in the eye and they’ll ask us, did we do all that we could when we had the chance to deal with this problem and leave them a cleaner, safer, more stable world? And I want to be able to say, yes, we did. Don’t you want that? (Applause.)

Americans are not a people who look backwards; we’re a people who look forward. We’re not a people who fear what the future holds; we shape it. What we need in this fight are citizens who will stand up, and speak up, and compel us to do what this moment demands.

Understand this is not just a job for politicians. So I’m going to need all of you to educate your classmates, your colleagues, your parents, your friends. Tell them what’s at stake. Speak up at town halls, church groups, PTA meetings. Push back on misinformation. Speak up for the facts. Broaden the circle of those who are willing to stand up for our future. (Applause.)

Convince those in power to reduce our carbon pollution. Push your own communities to adopt smarter practices. Invest. Divest. (Applause.) Remind folks there’s no contradiction between a sound environment and strong economic growth. And remind everyone who represents you at every level of government that sheltering future generations against the ravages of climate change is a prerequisite for your vote. Make yourself heard on this issue. (Applause.)

I understand the politics will be tough. The challenge we must accept will not reward us with a clear moment of victory. There’s no gathering army to defeat. There’s no peace treaty to sign. When President Kennedy said we’d go to the moon within the decade, we knew we’d build a spaceship and we’d meet the goal. Our progress here will be measured differently — in crises averted, in a planet preserved. But can we imagine a more worthy goal? For while we may not live to see the full realization of our ambition, we will have the satisfaction of knowing that the world we leave to our children will be better off for what we did.

“It makes you realize,” that astronaut said all those years ago, “just what you have back there on Earth.” And that image in the photograph, that bright blue ball rising over the moon’s surface, containing everything we hold dear — the laughter of children, a quiet sunset, all the hopes and dreams of posterity — that’s what’s at stake. That’s what we’re fighting for. And if we remember that, I’m absolutely sure we’ll succeed.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 14th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Currently building the largest stored-power vanadium redox battery in the world in Ohio.

To register, send your contact information to Gelvin Stevenson at gelvin.stevenson@gmail.com or 917-599-6089. And contact Gelvin If you have questions or need more information.

After over four years working on designing, manufacturing and integrating vanadium redox flow batteries (regenerative fuel cells) into the electric grid, Ashlawn Energy is now building the world’s largest stored-power vanadium redox battery in the world (8 MWh of stored power) at Painesville Municipal Electric Plant (PMEP) in Painesville, Ohio, where it will also manufacture its redox flow batteries. .

Ashlawn’s VanCharg™ vanadium redox flow battery system is used with wind and solar installations to reduce variability from these intermittent renewable sources, and for utility peak shaving for utilities and industrial large power users. With the advantages it has over other forms of large-scale stored power, VanCharg™ could be a major part of the solution to the intermittency of wind and solar power, as more installations come on stream. 

 Ashlawn has licensed vanadium redox battery technology from its original inventor in Australia, and developed its all-American proprietary design, manufactured largely in northeast Ohio. The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded Ashlawn the prestigious Smart Grid Demonstration Project (SGDP) grant to build, install and demonstrate that 8 MWh battery at PMEP. In addition to PMEP, Ashlawn has formed strategic alliances with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) (Battelle Institute, Richland, WA), to develop an all-American design and manufacturing team. Ashlawn will manufacture redox flow batteries in Painesville, Ohio.

 The vanadium battery Ashlawn is building for PMEP is supported by an ARRA-funded Smart Grid Demonstration Project (one of 16 awarded in the U.S.) to manufacture and demonstrate this 8 MWh vanadium redox battery as a peak shaving storage battery for PMEP. The peak shaving benefits to PMEP include higher fuel efficiency and reduced emissions at Painesville’s city-owned 32 MW coal-fired generating plant. It is worth repeating that this battery will be the largest of its type in the world.

 Ashlawn Energy is ambitious. It intends to become the dominant US provider for electrical storage for wind, solar, utility and industrial peak management by 2015. The company provides proven, affordable, technical solutions to vital energy problems in the US, to engage its community stakeholders by providing a productive local impact, and to provide meaning and a sense of purpose to all of our stakeholders, to include our employees, strategic alliance partners, and communities.

Norma Byron, founder and President, will discuss the benefits vanadium redox flow battery systems will provide to utilities, large electric users and in incorporating solar and wind energy systems to the grid.

 Sector Expert Larry Austin, President, SunWalker, will discuss the financing of these batteries, and the large markets they face in the United States and around the world.

 Date:            June 14, 2013

Time:           8:00 – 10:00 am

Place:           Crowell Moring LLC

Room 20A

590 Madison Ave. at 57th Street, south-west corner

Transport:     Nearest subway station: 59th Street & Lexington Ave.

                      The N, Q, R and the E, M and the F aren’t far, either.                    If coming from the west side, the 57th Street bus also works well.

 Security:      Tell the security personnel that you are attending the Center for Economic and Environmental Partnership, Inc. meeting at Crowell Morning. You will need personal ID. They will issue a pass. If there is a problem, please contact Ellen Reilly at (212) 895-4265 (first choice) or call Gelvin Stevenson at 917-599-6089.   

 Fees:            $50, payable ahead of time or at the door. Cash or checks (payable to CEEP) and credit cards accepted.

                     $25 for call-in. Registered call-ins will be emailed the call-in numbers and, if available, the slides to be presented.

                     $25 for students.

                     See below for Annual Registration opportunities and other important conditions.  

 Agenda       8:00 to 8:30  -     Networking with Colleagues

                  8:30 to 8:40  -     Introductions

8:40 to 9:10  -     Norma Byron, Founder and President, Ashlawn Energy

9:10 to 9:30  -      Larry Austin, President, SunWalker

9:30 to 10:00   Discussion and Networking 

 To register, send your contact information to Gelvin Stevenson at gelvin.stevenson@gmail.com or 917-599-6089. And contact Gelvin If you have questions or need more information.

 Advisory Board

Mark Austin, Chandler-Reed

John Cusack, Gifford Park Associates

Ira Rubenstein, Center for Economic and Environmental Partnership, Inc.

Gelvin Stevenson, Ph.D., Center for Economic and Environmental Partnership, Inc.

 NYE&EF Annual Subscriptions and Sponsorship Opportunities

1.         An Annual Subscription for NYE&EF is available for $450.  It provides admittance (in person or by phone) to all regularly scheduled meetings held through December 2013 (11 are planned, including this one), all electronic copies of company and Sector Expert presentations that are made available, plus Contact lists of all attendees. All this is sent to you whether or not you attend that meeting.

2.         Sponsorships are also available.  A $1,000 Sponsorship provides transferable admission for two people, copies of all electronic presentations made available, and recognition on all emailed and printed material.  Contact Gelvin Stevenson at Gelvin.Stevenson@gmail.com for further information. 

 

Formed in October 2001 as a spin-off of the Environmental Business Association of New York State, Inc. (EBA/NYS), NYE&EF provides networking, information, and other services to investors interested in energy and environmental companies.  NYE&EF activities are produced by the Center for Economic and Environmental Partnership, Inc. (CEEP) in furtherance of its educational mission.

 

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES:

Norma Byron, founder and president, founded Ashlawn Energy in 2008. Prior to forming Ashlawn Energy, Norma founded The Ashlawn Group, LLC, in 2001, after many years in the munitions field, to perform research and development under contract to the U.S. Army for developments in materials sciences to advance warhead performance. Starting in 2004, Ashlawn Group focused solely on developing its proprietary small hydrogen PEM fuel cells to increase warhead performance and reliability.

Ms. Byron has a BA from the University of Maryland, and an MBA from Marymount University, Arlington, VA.

Sector Expert Larry Austin has an extensive history of corporate financings as well as merger and acquisition activity, both in the US and abroad. He has worked extensively in China, and has conducted due diligence on dozens of portfolios of distressed bank loans and other assets in China, Hong Kong, Korea, and Indonesia.

He has been instrumental in the development of several new financing structures, from credit enhancement work in the New York capital markets, to zero-coupon loan facilities in London and New York. He has worked extensively as a corporate lawyer, consultant and lecturer in the fields of technology start-ups (robotics, telecommunications, materials applications and AI) and commercialization of low-earth orbit activities, and served on the Commercial Advisory Subcommitee for NASA.

One of the most experienced lawyers in the field of Section 17 Corporate charters issued by the US Government to Native American Tribal Governments which enable such bodies to engage in commercial activities worldwide in a non-taxable vehicle, Mr. Austin also has experience in trademarks and copyright protection disputes. In this regard, he represented US based group of International Association of Motion Pictures Exporters, Porsche and other companies.

Larry Austin received his Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School.

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