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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 1st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

CIFNews
Administrative Unit,
Climate Investment Funds

T: 1.202.458.1801 | F: 1.202.522.2937 |
 cifnews@worldbank.org
1818 H St. NW, Washington D.C. 20433

www.climateinvestmentfunds.org | Follow us on @CIF_Action

Recent updates to the CIF Voices (blogs), videos  and news articles on CIF projects:

Snakes, Tomatoes, and Other Take Aways from the Asia-Pacific Dialogue on the GCF
Martha Stein-Sochas, CIF AU, Feb 26
Last week at the Asia-Pacific Dialogue on the Green Climate Fund (GCF), I heard many helpful suggestions and ideas from private sector participants on the GCF’s future Private Sector Facility, which aims to provide financing for climate action in the private sector.  But no advice was more powerful than that of Paul Needham, President and Co-founder of Simpa Networks, who related to us the need to move quickly, take risks, and be catalytic.

Lessons from the field on CIF results monitoring and reporting
Emmanuel Kouadio, CIF AU, Feb 14
For the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), understanding the tangible results of its funding is essential to learning and accountability. It has been no small task to make monitoring and reporting (M&R) a reality across the four programs and 48 countries that comprise the CIF. But this year, 2014, all CIF pilot countries will report on results and annually thereafter.

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World Bank, Government of Samoa Launch Climate Resilience Program
World Bank, February 6
“The World Bank is committed to helping small island states manage pressing risks from natural disasters and climate change,” said Drees-Gross. “Through the Climate Investment Funds, we are proud to support Samoa in critical efforts to increase the resilience of coastal communities and infrastructure, which could help protect their very survival as well as long-term development.”
Keeping Partnership Strong as PPCR Planning Turns to Action in Samoa
Litara Taulealo, Ministry of Finance, Samoa, Feb 18
Last week the government of Samoa and the World Bank announced the launch of a new project to support climate change adaptation measures for coastal communities. Our Enhancing the Climate Resilience of Coastal Resources and Communities Project, supported by $14.6 million from the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), will assist 45,000 Samoans in coastal communities in adapting to climate change and climate variability, protect coastal infrastructure, and increase awareness about climate change impacts and adaptation activities among communities, civil society, and government entities.

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Drawing lessons from Turkey’s energy use, emissions and fuel mix
Sandy Ferguson, EBRD, Feb 5
One thing jumps out when looking at the Turkish Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (TurSEFF) report: with the right combination of financing, one can achieve substantial changes in energy use, emissions, and fuel mix in middle income countries.

Transforming Waste to Energy in Nepal
Nepal is part of the larger effort to expand energy access and markets for renewable energy in the world’s poorest countries. Today, Nepal is using SREP to develop large-scale commercial, institutional, and municipal bioenergy projects

Menengai Geothermal Power Plant in Kenya
Africa Express stopped in Kenya to learn more about geothermal power development at Menengai. SREP $25 million is supporting development of Menengai which envisions 120 wells injecting 400 megawatts of electricity into the national grid

AfDB facilitates private sector finance for climate-readiness in Niger, Mozambique and Zambia
AfDB, February 26
Over US $30 million in concessional funds has been made available for innovative private sector projects that seek to improve climate change adaptation or readiness in Niger, Mozambique and Zambia. This financing is part of the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), a financing window of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF)

Open Call to Private Sector
CIF AU, Feb 20
Access over $65 million in concessional financing set aside for innovative private sector projects in PPCR and SREP pilot countries. Proposals being accepted until March 31 (SREP) and April 30 (PPCR). Read more.

Rooted in Learning, Growing with Results
CIF AU, February 17
2013 was a year of growth for the CIF. The 2013 CIF Annual Report highlights emerging results, key lessons learned, and the momentum we are building for climate-smart development.

USELF Boosts Ukraine’s Renewable Energy Sector
EBRD, February 14
The first phase of the EBRD’s Ukraine Sustainable Energy Lending Facility (USELF) will deliver 200 GWh of renewable energy through an innovative combination of EBRD commercial financing, dedicated technical assistance support and

AfDB affirms its support for Power Africa, with a commitment of more than US $600 million
AfDB, February 13
In addition, under the aegis of the Climate Investment Funds, the Bank has led work on the Scaling-up Renewable Energy Program (SREP) Investment Plan for Tanzania and prepared jointly with the World Bank the Scaling-up Renewable Energy Program (SREP) Investment Plan for Liberia. This will lead to projects in both countries.

AfDB supports Ghana local communities with $14.55 million to reduce deforestation
AfDB, February 4
The project, called Engaging Local Communities in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) /Enhancement of Carbon Stocks, benefits from the support from the Climate Investment Funds’ (CIF) Forest Investment Program (FIP).  It will directly benefit 12,000 people, half of them women, by providing capacity building, seeds and equipment, and financial incentives through benefit-sharing agreements to develop forestry, agroforestry and alternative livelihoods. The project will also indirectly benefit 175,000 people in the two regions.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 22nd, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

First He Ran the Obama Seder. Now Eric Lesser is Running for Office.

Former White House aide launches campaign for Massachusetts State Senate

The White House Seder in April 2009. Lesser is fifth from President Obama’s right. (White House / Pete Souza)

Back in April 2008, Eric Lesser began what would become a White House tradition when he helped organize a seder for staffers on the Obama campaign trail. “We were feeling a little down because we realized it wouldn’t be possible to get home for Passover,” the 28-year-old recalled. “So we set up our makeshift seder in this windowless basement in the Sheraton in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and when we were down there getting ready to begin, all of a sudden Senator Obama popped his head in and said, ‘Is this where the seder is?’ and asked, ‘Can I join?’ It was actually a little funny, because we were planning to have a bit of a briefer version, but he was very interested in it, and so we went through almost the entire haggadah, which is much more than I had ever done with my own family.”

The seder became a yearly tradition for the Obama family, and Lesser would go on to serve as a special assistant to David Axelrod and later director of strategic planning for the Council of Economic Advisers. He was profiled–along with his weekly shabbat dinners with other young Obama administration staffers–in the New York Times, and then moved on to Harvard for law school, where he’d previously attended college. And just this week, he launched his own political career by announcing his candidacy for State Senate in Massachusetts.

Lesser casts his campaign as a community-building exercise, rather than a particularly partisan affair. “My family wasn’t very political per se, but was very community-oriented,” he explained. “I was very active in my synagogue in Springfield, MA., Sinai Temple. I was active in my synagogue youth group, which was a branch of NFTY. And that was one of my early paths into community work,” he said. One of Lesser’s first political acts was to work with his local community to successfully fight budget cuts for his high school in 2002. “I’m a proud Democrat, but I don’t particularly care if an idea comes from a Democrat, from a Republican, or from none of the above. My focus is on good ideas,” he said. “We didn’t even know what party the community members and the volunteers were, and we didn’t care. What we cared about was that we fought for a good idea.”

Both of Lesser’s parents worked their way through college in New York–his father as a taxi driver–and became professionals in Holyoke, MA. Lesser’s goal is “to give more families that kind of opportunity”–to enable others to live the success story of his own family’s rise into the middle class. At the moment, however, he is still in listening mode. He intends to release “a variety of new innovative policy proposals.” Until then, he’s demurring on hot button issues like the role of charter schools, which has split progressives across the country, and pitted his former boss President Obama against liberal leaders like New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. “My goal now is to listen to people, and to make sure I’m hearing from all people in the district, regardless of party or position.”

In the end, Lesser’s hope for his political career is simple. “My background in Judaism is there’s no greater work than tikkun olam, and that’s always been a very strong part of my identity and my motivating force,” he said. “The idea is that you work in some small way to try to leave things a little better off than how you found them.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 17th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From:

 

Fossil Free NYC Open House
Fossil Free NYC: A Divestment Open House
Wednesday, February 26th, 7- 9pm
New York Society for Ethical Culture
2 West 64th St, NY, NY
(Near Columbus Circle & Lincoln Center)


(** Rain/snow date is 2/27 – hope we don’t need it!)

——–

We are excited that our long-awaited Fossil Free NYC Open House will take place in just over a week.  We are building a movement to shift investment away from the big fossil fuel companies and we need your voice and your action to make this a truly effective campaign. Please RSVP to let us know you plan to join us and help us spread the word.

RSVP to the Open House and learn more about the Fossil Free NYC divestment campaign on the 350NYC website.  Please share this email and our Facebook invitation to the event with your friends.

On February 26th, join 350NYC and partners for an Open House  to launch a fossil fuel divestment campaign in New York City. One by one, cities around the world are making the commitment to divest from fossil fuels and we want New York City to be a leader in this effort.  Come learn what this important movement means for our communities, get the latest news on what’s happening with the city campaign, and how you and your organization can help create a Fossil Free NYC. Join with us to become part of the solution for a sustainable future for all.

If it’s wrong for coal, oil and gas companies to wreck the climate, then it’s wrong for NYC to profit from that wreckage.

You can take action right now to send a message and influence our elected leaders.
Sign the divestment petition to Comptroller Scott Stringer and learn about the Fossil Free NYC Campaign

Event is free and open to the public. RSVP encouraged but not required.
Hosted by New York Society for Ethical Culture.
Co-sponsored by Responsible Endowments Coalition, GreenFaith, and the NYC Grassroots Alliance

 “It is clear that cities and local governments – whose citizens will bear the brunt of impacts from the climate crisis – should refuse to financially benefit from fossil fuels and should seriously consider the future volatility of those assets. We shouldn’t be funding our retirement by investing in companies whose operations ensure we won’t have a safe planet to retire on.” -Mayor’s Innovation Project

 

 

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 17th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

 

Polar Bears, Grizzlies to Merge.

By Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker

16 February 14

 

The article below is satire.

Andy Borowitz is an American comedian and New York Times-bestselling author who satirizes the news for his column, “The Borowitz Report.”

 

n what observers are calling the largest merger ever between two species of mammal capable of mauling humans to death, polar bears and grizzly bears announced on Friday that they were joining forces in a friendly acquisition.

If the merger goes through, the polar bears and grizzly bears would together be able to terrorize a much larger landmass than ever before, experts said.

Speaking at a packed press conference in New York accompanied by their investment bankers from Goldman Sachs, the jubilant bears gave their spin on the unprecedented deal.

“To say that we’re excited would be an understatement,” said a spokesman for the grizzlies. “For years, we’ve admired the way polar bears have dismembered hikers who’ve encroached on their territory. To be on the same team with talent like that—whoa. It’s a dream come true.”

While critics of the merger have argued that it is anticompetitive, a spokesman for the polar bears disagreed.

“I think working with the grizzlies is just going to push us to savage more human flesh than ever before. Speaking for myself, I’m ready to start mauling,” he said, underscoring his point by eating a reporter.

The merger is not expected to face regulatory hurdles.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 16th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

  Environment  February 15, 2014

The Ultimate Guide to Shutting Down Climate Trolls.

Next time someone tells you that snowy weather means global warming isn’t real, you’ll know exactly how to respond.

The Southern U.S. has been  paralyzed by a historic ice storm, and the Northeast is  well on its way to another foot-plus of snow. If all that wasn’t bad enough, the climate trolls are coming out.

This time, top honors goes to the  Federalist, which can’t get over the irony of Senate Democrats scheduling a hearing on global warming right as a blizzard is expected to hit D.C. In fact, there’s good reason to believe that  global climate change is linked to extreme weather like this, but arguing that is an advanced move. Demonstrating that cold and snowy weather in no way disproves global warming? Anyone can do that.

Below, three tried-and-true retorts to climate deniers. You can try a fast and simple zinger, back it up with a blunt chart or, if you’re tired of explaining, let one of these smart videos do it for you. Why not try a healthy combination of all three? And, as a last resort, there’s always the  weather report for Australia.

The zingers

– SkepticalScience, a reliable font of detailed information, also breaks it down into this one-sentence explanation:

“A local cold day has nothing to do with the long-term trend of increasing global temperatures.”

Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy is something of an evangelist for the cause. He recently tweeted:

In one sentence: “Warming things up means the atmosphere can hold more moisture.” Science!

– Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer  sums up the current reality of climate change:

“Shorter snow season, less snow overall, but the occasional knockout punch. That’s the new world we live in.”

– And, courtesy of the NRDC, a simple analogy:

“The effect of global warming on our climate is not unlike the effect of steroids on an athlete’s performance: It supercharges storms; it causes abnormal conditions like drought and heat and ultimately, it causes damage.”

The charts

Here, data  from the NOAA and NASA clearly shows that global temperatures have been higher than average for the past 37 consecutive years:

This one,  courtesy of Skeptical Science, plots the annual numbers of record high maximum temperatures (the red dots) along with the record lows (the blue dots), averaged over the U.S. That black line — the one that doesn’t line up with what’s plotted — shows where the dots would theoretically lie should no global warming or cooling be taking place. You can see how, over time, we’ve ended up with more record highs than lows:

Heavy precipitation (Oppenheimer’s “occasional knockout punch”) is also becoming more common, as this next map from the  Global Change Research Research program shows:

US Precip Trends p32_Dec11

As to the less overall snow,  SkepticalScience has this nice breakdown of seasonal and annual snowfall in the Northern Hemisphere. It demonstrates how earlier and more extensive melting in the spring and summer more than makes up for the smaller increase in fall and winter precipitation. The total decline in snow extent between 1972 and 2010 was a full 1.3 million square kilometers:

This last one’s actually a comic, courtesy of the fantastic  XKCD, but it’s got a chart drawn in. And it once again makes the  important point that extreme cold is becoming less and less common:

 

The Videos

Chris Hayes, an ironic sparkle in his eyes, asks climate scientist Michael Mann how it’s possible for snow and global warming to be happening at the same time. His reply: “Well, we climate scientists actually have a technical term for this phenomenon. It’s called winter” (you can file that one away with the other zingers):

Peter Sinclair of  ClimateCrocks delves deeper into the science with this 2009 video response to that infallible argument: ”I looked outside, and it was snowing, therefore, there is no climate change”:

The Climate denial crook of the week said that The White House released this  “propaganda” in honor of the infamous polar vortex, which received a fair amount of  trolling. Featuring John Holdren, President Obama’s science adviser, it’s notable both for its acknowledgment that man-made climate change could actually be responsible for patterns of extreme cold, and for its reminder that no single weather event can either prove or disprove global warming.

To see the videos go to original - www.alternet.org/environment/ulti…

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 14th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Lockheed Martin Signs Contract with Victorian Wave Partners to Develop Wave Energy Project.

Published on February 12, 2014

To advance the availability of alternative energy solutions, Lockheed Martin announced today that it has signed a contract with Victorian Wave Partners Ltd. to begin developing the world’s largest wave energy project announced to date. This is a significant step toward making ocean energy commercially available.

Wave power uses special buoys that use the rising and falling of ocean waves to generate electricity. (PRNewsFoto/Lockheed Martin)

The 62.5-megawatt peak power wave energy generation project will be built off the coast of Victoria, Australia, using the PowerBuoy® wave energy converter technology of Ocean Power Technologies (OPT). The project is scheduled to be built up in three stages, with the first stage producing approximately 2.5-megawatt peak power. Once completed, the project is expected to produce enough energy to meet the needs of 10,000 homes. As this project also contributes to Australia’s goal of 20 percent renewable energy by 2020, it has received significant grant support from ARENA (Australian Renewable Energy Agency).

Wave power devices extract energy from the surface motion of ocean waves. Unlike wind and solar sources, energy from ocean waves is very predictable and can generate electricity for more hours in the year than wind and solar. In addition, wave power devices are typically quieter and much less visually obtrusive as compared to wind turbines, which typically run more than 130 feet in height. In contrast, a PowerBuoy is only 30 feet in height above the waterline and is barely visible, as it is typically three miles offshore.

“We are applying our design and system integration expertise to commercialize promising, emerging alternative energy technologies, including ocean power,” said Tim Fuhr, director of ocean energy for Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Training business. “This project extends our established relationship with OPT and Australian industry and enables us to demonstrate a clean, efficient energy source for Australia and the world.”

In this project, Lockheed Martin will provide overall project management, assist with the design for manufacturing of the PowerBuoy technology, lead the production of selected PowerBuoy components and perform system integration of the wave energy converters.

“We are pleased to be working with Lockheed Martin in connection with this exciting project in Australia,” said Charles F. Dunleavy, chief executive officer of OPT. “Development of this project draws on core strengths of both our companies and represents an important undertaking for commercialization of the PowerBuoy technology.”

Victorian Wave Partners Ltd. is an Australian special purpose company owned by Ocean Power Technologies Australasia Pty Ltd. OPT is a leader in wave energy technology development. The company’s PowerBuoy wave generation technology uses a “smart,” ocean-going buoy to convert wave energy into low-cost, clean electricity. The buoy moves up and down with the rising and falling of waves. This mechanical energy drives an electrical generator, which transmits power to shore via an underwater cable. The system is electrically tuned on a wave-by-wave basis to maximize the amount of electricity produced.

Lockheed Martin takes a comprehensive approach to solving global energy and climate challenges, delivering solutions in the areas of energy efficiency, smart energy management, alternative power generation and climate monitoring. The company brings high-level capabilities in complex systems integration, project management, information technology, cyber security, and advanced manufacturing techniques to help address these challenges. Today, Lockheed Martin is partnering with customers and investing talent in clean, secure, and smart energy – enabling global security, a strong economic future, and climate protection for future generations.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 115,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.

For additional information, visit our website: www.lockheedmartin.com/naturalenergy

Source: www.lockheedmartin.com/

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 9th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Supported by the Permanent Mission of El Salvador to the UN,
The Journalists & Writers Foundation (JWF) – an ECOSOC NGO at the UN – based in Turkey, and
The Peace Islands Institute based in New York City

Chaired by Galymshan Kirbasov, Adjunct Faculty at Columbia University with a pannel :

Mr. Huseyin Hurmali, Vice President JWF,

H.E. Carlos Enrique Garcia Gonzalez, El Salvador Ambassador to the UN,

Prof. Alastair Smith, Dept of Politics at the New York University,

Prof. Severine Autesserre, Barnard College, Columbia University,

Prof. Johannes Urpelainen, Columbia University,

Friday, February 7, 2014 – during the lunch-break time slot at the last day of the 8-th Session of the OWG on the topic of the post-2015 SDGs.

The JWF is active since 1994 in efforts to promote love, tolerance and dialogue in an effort to create common living space based on reconciliation and mutual respect. The strategy is to bring together people from different backgrounds in order to find intellectual capital for social peace. They are active in 146 countries on 5 continents. and are inspired by the philosophy of the Turkish preacher, former imam, writer, and Islamic opinion leader  who lives  in self-imposed exile to Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania – Mr. Fethullah Gulen.

Why is Fethullah Gulen's stance vis-à-vis Mavi Marmara wrong?
Throughout his life and until today, Fethullah Gulen has been greatly influenced by the ideas and writings of many great Muslim scholars, amongst them: Said Nursi, Mawlana Jalaladdin Rumi, Abu Hanifa, Ghazali, Imam Rabbani, Yunus Emre.

In line with these great thinkers, Fethullah Gulen’s philosophy and writings embody ideas of altruistic service to one’s community and likewise to humanity in general; harmony between intelligence and heart; sincerity; a holistic view of the human; a profound devotion and love of creation. Throughout his life, Mr. Gulen has been noted for his support of democracy, science, dialogue and non-violence.
In 1994, Mr. Gulen co-founded the “Journalists and Writers Foundation” and was given the title “Honorary President” by the foundation. In March 1999, upon the recommendation of his doctors, Fethullah Gulen moved to the U.S. to receive medical care.

In July 2008, Fethullah Gulen was voted the top public intellectual in the world by Foreign Policy Magazine.
He is serving also as the Honorary President of the Rumi Forum since 1999. He was recently listed by Time 100 of 2013.

Despite the high regard millions hold for him, Mr. Gulen considers himself a volunteering member of the civil society movement he helped found and does not accept any credit of leadership for the Hizmet (Service) Movement.

Fethullah Gulen devotes his time to reading, writing, and religious devotion. He has based his understanding of service upon this guiding principle, ‘living to let others live’ (‘yasatmak icin yasamak’ in Turkish).

The Gülen movement has been described as “having the characteristics of a cult” and its secretiveness and influence in Turkish politics likened to “an Islamic Opus Dei.     In the Turkish context, Gülen appears as a religious conservative.

Gülen is actively involved in the societal debate concerning the future of the Turkish state and Islam in the modern world. Gullen has millions of followers in Turkey and outside Turkey.

His teachings differ in emphasis from those of other mainstream Islamic scholars in two respects, both based on his interpretations of particular verses of the Quran. Let us repeat this – He teaches that the Muslim community has a duty of service (Turkish: hizmet) to the “common good” of the community and the nationand to Muslims and non-Muslims all over the world; and also that the Muslim community is obliged to conduct interfaith dialogue with the “People of the Book” (Jews and Christians) – though this does not extend to other religions and it seems he dislikes atheists

His teachings about hizmet (altruistic service to the “common good”) have attracted a large number of supporters in Turkey, Central Asia, and increasingly in other parts of the world.

Gülen has supported Turkey’s bid to join the European Union and has said that neither Turkey nor the EU have anything to fear, but have much to gain, from a future of full Turkish membership in the EU.

Gülen has condemned terrorism. He warns against the phenomenon of arbitrary violence and aggression against civilians and said that it “has no place in Islam”. He wrote a condemnation article in the Washington Post on September 12, 2001, one day after the September 11 attacks, and stated that “A Muslim can not be a terrorist, nor can a terrorist be a true Muslim.” Gülen lamented the “hijacking of Islam” by terrorists.

Gülen criticized the Turkish-led Gaza flotilla for trying to deliver aid without Israel’s consent. He spoke of watching the news coverage of the deadly confrontation between Israeli commandos and multinational aid group members as its flotilla approached Israel’s sea blockade of Gaza. He said, “What I saw was not pretty, it was ugly.” He has since continued his criticism, saying later that the organizers’ failure to seek accord with Israel before attempting to deliver aid was “a sign of defying authority, and will not lead to fruitful matters.

Gülen is strongly against Turkish involvement in the Syrian Civil War. No doubt in our mind – Gullen is best advised not to return to Turkey or to any Muslim led country these days.

 

Despite Gülen’s and his followers’ claims that the organization is non-political in nature, analysts believe that a number of corruption-related arrests made against allies of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an reflect a growing political power struggle between Gülen and the prime minister. These arrests led to the 2013 corruption scandal in Turkey, which the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s supporters (along with Erdo?an himself) and the opposition parties alike have said was choreographed by Gülen after Erdo?an’s government came to the decision early in December 2013 to shut down many of his movement’s private Islamic schools in Turkey.

The ongoing power struggle between the Erdo?an government and the Gülenists in the police force and the judiciary has allegedly revealed the existence of a well-organized and powerful “parallel state” directed by Gülen himself.The scandals uncovered what the Erdo?an government has said are the long term political agenda of Gülen’s movement to infiltrate security, intelligence, and justice institutions of the Turkish state, a charge almost identical to the charges found against Gülen by the Chief Prosecutor of the Republic of Turkey in his trial in 2000 before Erdo?an’s party had come into power. Gülen was tried in absentia in 2000, and acquitted in 2008 under Erdo?an’s AKP government from these charges.

In emailed comments to the Wall Street Journal in January 2014, Gülen said that “Turkish people … are upset that in the last two years democratic progress is now being reversed,” but he denied being part of a plot to unseat the government  ] Later, in January 2014, in an interview with BBC World, Gulen said “If I were to say anything to people I may say people should vote for those who are respectful to democracy, rule of law, who get on well with people. Telling or encouraging people to vote for a party would be an insult to peoples’ intellect. Everybody very clearly sees what is going on.

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After this large introduction about one unusual intellectual Muslim living now in the US – let us see now what the Journalists & Writers Foundation and their Panel of Academics  have as advise to the UN?

Professor Alastair Smith, who studied for years hunger in Ethiopia found that foreign aid funds that do-good NGOs funelled to ethiopian government or local NGOs never reached their intended targets for help, but were rather reaching arms dealers to supply the forces involved in the ongoing civil war. The money helped the dictators in order to increase the misery that was providing them with outside funding – a convenient cycle to them. So, the EU gave money through the UN affiliates to support arm exporters? Did I just hear an honest description of how the concept of Sovereignty at the UN makes it hard to do humanitarian work through the UN?

A Democratic Donor feeding money to an Autocratic Recipient is a self defeating procedure – anyone at the UN is honest enough to accept this true fact?

The Democracy helping the authoritarian government to keep the peace for trade and export of commodities, may look as a good deal to the democracy – but guess what – the poor people that were not helped by this will now hate the Democracy even more then their direct oppressors.

Then – if you get elected to the Security Council you get more aid then in the years you are not on the Security Council – that he checked easily by using not only indicators that related to GDP and growth in poor authoritarian countries that rotate in and out of the UN Security Council. He also checked indices of Human Rights and Freedom of the Press – and found that these are connected to aid money as well. When it arrives and when it is lower.

If you are supposed to do preventive work to avoid floods – but you find that aid money arrives after the floods did occur, you find it convenient to have those floods. What now with Climate Change an increasing  factor? The remedy?
Do not give Misery-Money – rather Pay for Success Stories!
Some pearls from Prof. Smith I found on the Internet:The Dictator's Handbook 2011 PublicAffairs.

Quick study: Alastair Smith on political tyranny

How to be a dictator

 

 

ALASTAIR SMITH is professor of politics at New York University. The recipient of three grants from the National Science Foundation and author of three books, he was chosen as the 2005 Karl Deutsch Award winner, given biennially to the best international-relations scholar under the age of 40. He is co-author of “The Dictator's Handbook: How Bad Behaviour is Almost Always Good Politics” (2011).

To whom do your guidelines apply?

Everyone. It doesn't matter whether you are a dictator, a democratic leader, head of a charity or a sports organisation, the same things go on. Firstly, you don't rule by yourself—you need supporters to keep you there, and what determines how you best survive is how many supporters you have and how big a pool you can draw these supporters from.

Do they actually have to support me, or can I just terrify them into supporting me by threatening them with death?

No, they absolutely have to support you on some level. You can't personally go around and terrorise everyone. Our poor old struggling Syrian president is not personally killing people on the streets. He needs the support of his family, senior generals who are willing to go out and kill people on his behalf.  The common misconception is that you need support from the vast majority of the population, but that's typically not true. There is all this protest on Wall Street, but CEOs are keeping the people they need to keep happy happy—the members of the board, senior management and a few key investors—because they are the people who can replace them. Protesters on Wall Street have no ability to remove the CEOs. So in a lot of countries the masses are terrified but the supporters are not.

What about Stalin? Even his inner circle was terrified.

Well, the brilliance of the Soviet regime was not just that you relied on few people, but that there were lots of replacements. In a tsarist system you have to rely only on aristocrats, but in a Soviet system everyone can be your supporter. This puts your core circle on notice that they are easily replaced. That, of course, made them horribly loyal. The Mob are very good at this.

Suggested viewing: "On The Waterfront" (1954)

This sounds typically mammalian to me—just groups of gorillas with a silverback?

It is virtually impossible to find any example where leaders are not acting in their own self interest. If you are a democrat you want to gerrymander districts and have an electoral college. This vastly reduces the number of votes a president needs to win an election.  Then tax very highly. It's much better to decide who gets to eat than to let the people feed themselves. If you lower taxes people will do more work, but then people will get rewards that aren't coming through you. Everything good must come through you. Look at African farm subsidies. The government buys crops at below market price by force. This is a tax on farmers who then can't make a profit. So, how do you reward people? The government subsidises fertilisers and hands it back that way. In Tanzania vouchers for fertilisers are handed out not to the most productive areas but to the party loyalist areas. This is always subject to the constraint that if you tax too highly people won't work. This is the big debate in the US. The Republicans are saying that the Democrats have too many taxes and want to suppress workers. But when they were in power five years ago they had no problem with taxing and spending policies, but now it's taxing their supporters to reward Democrats.

Suggested reading: "Markets and States in Tropical Africa: The Political Basis of Agricultural Policy" by Robert Bates (2005)

Okay. So, I have a small group of rewarded cronies and a highly taxed population. Now what?
Don't pay your supporters too much! You don't want them saving up and forming their own power base. Also, don't be nice to the people at the expense of your coalition. A classic example is natural disasters. Than Shwe was the ruler of Burma when Cyclone Nargis hit in 2008, and he did nothing to help the people. The Generals didn't warn anybody; though they knew it was coming, they provided virtually no emergency protection. He sent the army in to prevent the people from leaving the flooded Delta areas. He was the perfect example of a leader who never made the mistake of putting the people's welfare above himself and his coalition.

But what if you really are trying to work for the common good? Is there no way of doing that?

None. If you're working for the common good you didn't come to power in the first place. If you're not willing to cheat, steal, murder and bribe then you don't come to power.

What if you're Lech Walesa?

I'm pretty certain he had his own political power base. He wanted to make society more inclusive. This is always the battle cry of revolutionary leaders. When they get into power they change their tune. The real question is what stops politicians from backsliding once they get in? Typically, it's that the country is broke and the only way you can get people to work is by empowering them socially, but once you do that it becomes hard to take powers back from them. Broke countries are the ones that end up having the political reforms that make them nice places with good economic policy in the long run. Places where there is oil, like Libya, have a very low chance of having democracy. The leaders don't really need the people to pay the bills of their cronies, because they have oil.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

French speaking Professor Severine Autesserre had first hand experience in Congo.

Dr. Autesserre’s current research project examines how everyday elements influence international peacebuilding interventions on the ground. She has conducted extensive fieldwork for this project between 2010 and 2012, with a primary case study on the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and comparative research in Burundi, Cyprus, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, South Sudan, and Timor-Leste. Findings from this project have appeared in Critique Internationale and African Affairs, and Dr. Autesserre is finalizing a book entitled Peacebuilders: An Ethnography of International Intervention (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press in 2014).

 

Professor Autesserre's previous research project focused on local violence and international intervention in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where she has traveled regularly since 2001. It culminated in the book The Trouble with the Congo: Local Violence and the Failure of International Peacebuilding (Cambridge University Press, 2010). The book won the 2012 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order and the 2011 Chadwick Alger prize presented by the International Studies Association to the best book on international organizations and multilateralism. Research for this project has also appeared in Foreign Affairs, International Organization, the Review of African Political Economy, the African Studies Review, the African Security Review, the Revista de Relaciones Internationales, and the Journal of Humanitarian Affairs.

Professor Autesserre's work has been supported by two research awards from the United States Institute of Peace (2004-2005 and 2010-2012), two Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation research grants (2010 and 2011), a Presidential Research Award from Barnard (2010-2011), several grants from Columbia University (2010 – 2012), two Mellon Fellowships in Security and Humanitarian Action (2004-2006), and a Fulbright Fellowship (1999-2000). Her Ph.D. dissertation at New York University was nominated for the award for best dissertation for 2007 in the areas of in international relations, law, and politics. Her paper "Local Violence, National Peace? Post-war 'Settlement' in the Eastern D.R. Congo," was awarded the Graduate Student Paper Prize Award of the African Studies Association in 2006.

Professor Autesserre has extensive experience working with international humanitarian and development agencies in Afghanistan, Kosovo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nicaragua, India, and the United States. She has worked for organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and Doctors of the World.

Professor Autesserre says that in Congo a main problem was that outside intervention  did very little work with grass-roots - it was rather a top-down story for a top-down solution.

The Trouble with the Congo

Prof. Séverine Autesserre pens op-ed about Congo for The New York Times
Political science professor urges support of local grassroots efforts to establish peace.

among Working papers:

The Responsibility to Protect in the Congo: The Failure of Prevention
Chapter in O’Bannon, Brett; Roth, John; and Bellamy, Alex (eds.) The Evolution of the Responsibility to Protect: Imperfect Duties?, Global Politics and the Responsibility to Protect series, Routledge, accepted for publication, forthcoming 2014

French speaking Prof. Autresserre analyses the local reasons that in times of stress cause peaceful neighbors to turn against each other leading to scale-up, or if you wish a bottom-to-top fight. But she finds also the total lack of preventive work by outsiders that appear is if to help after the fact and address this as a top-to-bottom issue. Sustainable Development as a preventive means is the way to go but she makes it clear that we are in a two-way system - tus the title of our meeting.So in summary - LOCAL CONFLICT HINDERS DEVELOPMENT - MAKE PEACE SUSTAINABLE!

The Congo is her forte - it got disorganized via Belgium colonialism, and a question from the audience was about Mozambique - the former Portuguese colony. How is it that there the same post-colonialism period got its differences tamed down rather early. What else could one infer from this? The answer was not clear - it may be that a better local leadership evolved earlier. Whatever, the conclusion is still that conflict must be resolved from bottom-up and outside funding has to go to local support.

---------------------------------------------------------------

Professor Johannes Urpelainen of the Political Science Department at Columbia is closest to our own themes.

He spoke recently  at Yale Climate& Energy Institute examining the potential for using renewable sources of energy, notably solar power, to combat energy poverty in India where two-thirds of the population relies on traditional biomass for cooking and one-third does not have access to basic household electricity. His presentation argued that solar power holds a lot of promise for providing deprived rural communities with basic electricity services, but power sector reforms are necessary for the provision of larger, productive loads of power.

He also described an experimental research design for identifying the socio-economic effects of solar power on rural communities in Uttar Pradesh.

Also of interest we found his:
Explaining the Schwarzenegger Phenomenon: Local Frontrunners in Climate Policy. 2009. Global Environmental Politics 9 (3): 82-105.

examines the potential for using renewable sources of energy, notably solar power, to combat energy poverty in India where two-thirds of the population relies on traditional biomass for cooking and one-third does not have access to basic household electricity. His presentation argues that solar power holds a lot of promise for providing deprived rural communities with basic electricity services, but power sector reforms are necessary for the provision of larger, productive loads of power.  He also describes an experimental research design for identifying the socio-economic effects of solar power on rural communities in Uttar Pradesh. - See more at: climate.yale.edu/event/can-renewa...

the potential for using renewable sources of energy, notably solar power, to combat energy poverty in India where two-thirds of the population relies on traditional biomass for cooking and one-third does not have access to basic household electricity. His presentation argues that solar power holds a lot of promise for providing deprived rural communities with basic electricity services, but power sector reforms are necessary for the provision of larger, productive loads of power.  He also describes an experimental research design for identifying the socio-economic effects of solar power on rural communities in Uttar Pradesh. - See more at: climate.yale.edu/event/can-renewa...

Can Renewables Address Energy Poverty in India?
Can Renewables Address Energy Poverty in India?

At the meeting at the UN he took for granted that Peace is a precondition for Sustainable Development but raised the question if indeed Sustainable Development is a pre-condition for Peace.  This is more complicated and not so clear. In effect,  just a few years ago it seemed not accepted yet that environmental dgradation leads to violence. This changed now with our awareness of Climate Change and its effects.

Higher temperatures in Africa co-relates  with the starting of wars. He continued by saying:

"WE MUST CONSIDER WHAT WE DO HERE IN AMERICA AS A REASON OF WAR THERE IN AFRICA" - "WE MUST FIND NEW WAYS TO TREAT LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL STRESS."     {I did the unusual thing and clapped my hands.}

"Green Growth is important also in the developing countries of the south. This because what happens in India will influence Africa and this will influence us here as well."

If you are a poor country there is little you can do to prepare yourself - you find that misery is transferred to you from the outside via Global Warming.

For SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT THE ENVIRONMENTAL DIMENSION MUST BE CONSIDERED IN THE SDGs,
he stressed.

---------------------

In the discussion that followed it was stressed from around the table that Congo (and Mozambique) are among the wealthiest countries in the world because of the presence of large natural resources. In Congo the revenue flow to the government lets nothing for the people. This is actually a resource curse that is at the root of problems. AID is negative. The problem is that there are many rich people and their income is not taxed so there is no official money for the poor. This is an outside involvement problem and a lack of governance. It is the pits.

The Peace Islands hosts of the meeting mentioned here Syria where the conflict involves the people versus the government directly. To which Prof Autesserre said that you must have different policies for different dimensions of conflict. This gets us to the issue of how we react to the concept of the Sovereignty of the State. We must approach this in a way we support the local actors without creating the feeling that we take over the State. That was the problem that has led t people hating the US when it acted as a tool to regime change.

Migration was mentioned - also here the issue is internal migration as separate from international migration. Africa has a set of rules for internal migration under the Kampala agreement - but there is nothing in the books about external migration.

------------------------------

In relation to this panel, I will also include an official UN panel that made its work now that same day - actually in parallel - that same time.

Chaired by former South Africa President Thabo Mbeki with a Vice-President from business, Carlos Lopez, as his co-chair,  and other 8 distinguished members, the UN High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows that leave Africa, was established by the UN Secretary-General and the UN General Assembly President. This Panel announced its findings - and they are atrocious - showcasing what our Panel was all about.

As said in the opening speech by Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson of Sweden, it is $50 billion per year that leave Africa - the damage to individuals and Africa's development and governance agenda as a whole. This figure is much higher then the official ODA that goes to Africa - so is it not that Africa's poor actually finance the World's rich?
Eliasson continued and said that this is looked at by the Un, not just for Africa, in regard to the post-2015 Development Agenda
that will have to address the illicit flows and tax evasions and help recover some of these stollen assets.

The Panel's findings were that two thirds of the out-flow from Africa came from the two regions - West Africa (38% and North Africa 28%. The other regions were as follows: Southern Africa 13%, Eastern Africa 11%, and Central Africa 10%.

The money came from OIL and  PRECIOUS METALS AND MINERALS - with 3-4% sourced each from categories - ores, machinery, fruits and nuts, copper, iron &steel, cocoa, textiles, fish and crustaceans.
This meaning that about 75% came from the exports of oil, gold, platinum, and diamonds.

Further - Corruption defined as - bribery, embezzlement - accounted only for 5% of the financial flows  - with 35% defined as Criminal activities such as the trade in drugs, weapons, and people.
Astonishingly this leaves 60% as leaving the continent in Commercial transactions through multinational companies.

Under-Secretar-General Eliasson commended the Panel for their research and for reaching out to officials from: "the United States Government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and others in Washington Dc - and looks forward to further insights the distinguished members of the Panel will have on this important issue."

---------------------------------

One last comment about all of this regards the UN Department of Public Information and the official UN Spokesman for the Secretary General.

That office's MEDIA ALERT knew to announce only a 1:15 pm Panel discussion of "Decent Jobs in the Transition to a Sustainable Economy" - totally by-passing any reference to the PRESS about the Peace and Sustainable Development panel - but that is an old story - some at DPI just do not like the Sustainable Development concept - it is too closely related to a future decrease of oil money flows.

On the other hand - they had to make place for a few minutes to President Mbeki - that would have been too much to cut him out - but that same day they did cut out completely the event with the President of the UN General Assembly by first announcing 10 minutes with his spokesperson Ms. Afaf Konja and then pushing her out as it obviously was going to fall to the way-side because of "Stake-Outs" at the Security Council. Oh Well - did we ever believe the UN bureaucracy will help?

 

the potential for using renewable sources of energy, notably solar power, to combat energy poverty in India where two-thirds of the population relies on traditional biomass for cooking and one-third does not have access to basic household electricity. His presentation argues that solar power holds a lot of promise for providing deprived rural communities with basic electricity services, but power sector reforms are necessary for the provision of larger, productive loads of power.  He also describes an experimental research design for identifying the socio-economic effects of solar power on rural communities in Uttar Pradesh. - See more at: climate.yale.edu/event/can-renewa...

Can Renewables Address Energy Poverty in India?

 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 1st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Shelley Welton to <swelto@law.columbia.edu>
December 6, 2014

Columbia Law School Climate Law Blog has posted a new item,
‘New Columbia
Resource Tracks the President’s Climate Action Plan.’

On June 25, 2013, President Obama delivered a major speech on the topic of
climate change. In it he outlined a broad policy agenda aimed at addressing the
challenges posed by the changing climate. The agenda, detailed in The
President’s Climate Action Plan, relies almost entirely upon executive powers;
Congress is not even mentioned in [...]

You may view the latest post at
blogs.law.columbia.edu/climatechange/2014/01/06/new-columbia-resource-tracks-the-presidents-climate-action-plan/

Best regards,

Shelley Welton
Center for Climate Change Law
Columbia Law School
www.columbiaclimatelaw.com

So indeed we followed the trail:

 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 26th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

 

Kumi Naidoo | Don’t Bet on Coal and Oil Growth
Kumi Naidoo, Reader Supported News
Naidoo writes: “A mind-boggling sum of about $800 for each person on the planet is invested into fossil fuel companies through the global capital markets alone. … The amount of money invested into the 200 biggest fossil fuel companies through financial markets is estimated at 5.5 trillion dollars. This should be an impressive amount of money for anyone reading this.”
READ MORE

 

How the Coal Industry Impoverishes West Virginia
Omar Ghabra, The Nation
Ghabra writes: “There’s a joke circulating among Syrians who fled the brutal conflict devastating their country to the quiet mountains of West Virginia: ‘We escaped the lethal chemicals in Syria only for them to follow us here.’ Of course, what’s happening in West Virginia right now is no laughing matter.”
READ MORE

———-

By Kumi Naidoo, Reader Supported News

 

25 January 14

 

mind-boggling sum of about $800 for each person on the planet is invested into fossil fuel companies through the global capital markets alone. That’s roughly 10 percent of the total capital invested in listed companies. The amount of money invested into the 200 biggest fossil fuel companies through financial markets is estimated at 5.5 trillion dollars. This should be an impressive amount of money for anyone reading this.

 

By keeping their money in coal and oil companies, investors are betting a vast amount of wealth, including the pensions and savings of millions of people, on high future demand for dirty fuels. The investment has enabled fossil fuel companies to massively raise their spending on expanding extractable reserves, with oil and gas companies alone (state-owned ones included) spending the combined GDP of Netherlands and Belgium a year, in belief that there will be demand for ever more dirty fuel.

 

This assumption is being challenged by recent developments, which is good news for climate but bad news for anyone who thought investing in fossil fuel industries was a safe bet. Frantic growth in coal consumption seems to be coming to an end much sooner than predicted just a few years ago, with China’s aggressive clean air policies, rapidly dropping coal consumption in the U.S. and upcoming closures of many coal plants in Europe. At the same time the oil industry is also facing slowing demand growth and the financial and share performance of oil majors is disappointing for shareholders.

 

Nevertheless, even faced with weakening demand prospects, outdated investment patterns are driving fossil fuel companies to waste trillions of dollars in developing reserves and infrastructure that will be stranded as the world moves beyond 20th century energy.

 

A good example is coal export developments. The large recent investment in coal export capacity in all key exporter countries was based on the assumption of unlimited growth of Chinese demand. When public outrage over air pollution reached a new level in 2012-2013, the Chinese leadership moved swiftly to mandate absolute reductions in coal consumption, and banned new coal-fired power plants in key economic regions. A growing chorus of financial analysts is now projecting a peak in Chinese coal demand in the near future, which seemed unimaginable just a couple of years ago. This new reality has already reduced market capitalization of export focused coal companies. Even in China itself, investment in coal-fired power plants has now outpaced demand growth, leading to drops in capacity utilization.

 

Another example of potentially stranded assets is found in Europe, where large utilities ignored the writing on the wall about EU moves to price carbon and boost renewable energy. Betting on old business models and the fossil-fuel generation, they built a massive 80 gigawatts of new fossil power generation capacity in the last 10 years, much of which is already generating losses and now risk becoming stranded assets.

 

Arctic oil drilling is possibly the ultimate example of fossil companies’ unfounded confidence in high future demand. Any significant production and revenue is unlikely until 2030, and in the meanwhile Arctic drilling faces high and uncertain costs, extremely demanding and risky operations, as well as the prospect of heavy regulation and liabilities when (not if) the first major blowout happens in the region. No wonder the International Energy Agency is skeptical about Arctic oil, assuming hardly any production in the next 20 years. Regardless, Shell has already burnt $5 billion of shareholders’ money on their Arctic gamble.

 

Those investing in coal and oil have perhaps felt secure seeing the global climate negotiations proceed at a disappointing pace. However, the initial carbon crunch is being delivered by increasingly market-driven renewable energy development, and by national level clean energy and energy efficiency policies — such as renewable energy support schemes and emission regulation in Europe, or clean air policies in the U.S. and in China. Global coal demand, and possibly even oil demand, could peak even before a strong climate treaty is agreed.

 

Investors often underestimate their exposure to fossil fuels, particularly indirect exposure through e.g. passively managed pension funds and sovereign debt of strongly fossil fuel dependent states. Assessing exposure, requiring fossil energy companies to disclose and reduce carbon risks, and reducing investments in sunset energy technologies will lead to profitable investment in a world that moves to cleaner and smarter energy systems.

 

Improving competitiveness of renewable energy, growing opposition to destructive fossil fuel projects, concerns on water shortage and the imperative of cutting global CO2 emissions all point in the same direction: Governments, companies and investors should all be planning for a world with declining fossil fuel consumption — not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it makes economic sense. It is the direction the world will be moving to — faster than many yet anticipate.

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

Following our original posting, we watched today the Fareed Zakaria show at CNN/GPS and reporting from Davos – from the World Economy dialogues, he pointed out that 85 people own as much wealth as the lowest 3.5 billion people of the World.

Then he also mentioned that the 5 members of the family that owns Walmart own a disproportionate part of the wealth of the US – to be exact – just as much as 42% of all Americans.

He also said that there were no problem if everybody would improve their economic standing and the few at the top just grow more – but the reality is that the Middle class is receding and the explanation is that we moved from the human based Manufacturing Age to a machine based Manufacturing Age that does not need humans in the production line. This is endemic and this spiral is bound to drive us further down.
Now a big company like Apple employs only 50,000 Americans – so he has a true argument.

Because he mentioned Walmart this triggered my Sustainable Development thinking as I know that the Walmart company is in partnership with Mr. Jigar Shah in order to decrease their expenditure on electricity by allowing him the use of the roofs covering their stores to produce with photovoltaics the electricity they need. In effect they just did what the US government ought to campaign for. If they are so smart they indeed deserve being so rich – and they put the rest of us to shame because we do not have the initiative to improve our lives by ourselves.

In the context of this posting – why do we not rebel against those in Washington that insist the government sends dollars overseas to buy oil when there is no compelling reason to continue this man-made dependency on unneeded resources? Just think what array of industries could spring up from alliances like that of Jigar and Walmart? The whole Davos exercise ought to be reorganized – the apple of the economy is rotten not because of high-tech apples but because of the intentional subsidization of the old low-tech industries and the move to a globalized market that does not allow for globalized sustainability. You can bet safely that the Koch Brothers will push the US deeper in the hole of retardiness – this because it benefits their old ways of making money.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 14th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

If we refuse to understand environment – let us talk economics:

Rising Sea, Sinking Land.

Tide gauges along the East Coast show a long-term increase in relative sea levels, in part because the ocean is rising and in part because areas of the coast are sinking.

Each unit of those barrels signifies half an inch per decade. The line as function of time signifies the losses for Norfolk, Virginia, and Battery Park, New York City.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 4th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Green Prophet Headlines – Dubai exploded 400,000 fireworks in record-shattering NYE display [video]

Link to Green Prophet

mailed-by: feedburner.bounces.google.com – Dubai exploded 400,000 fireworks in record-shattering NYE display [video]

Posted: 03 Jan 2014 01:44 PM PST

guinness world records, world's largest fireworks display, the palm, world islands, artificial islands dubai, dubai fireworks, NYE Dubai, 2014 fireworks display Dubai

Dubai rang in 2014 with a record-shattering fireworks display. In an effort to break the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest fireworks extravaganza previously held by Kuwait, the emirate exploded a whopping 400,000 fireworks in less than 10 minutes.

Choreographed by America’s Phil Grucci, Dubai’s fireworks display was spread across 100 kilometers and lasted six full minutes.

The event took 10 months to plan and more than 200 pyrotechnicians arranged around The Palm and The World artificial islands ensured the display went off without a hitch.

Fireworks used were purchased in China, Spain and the United States, according to The National, and were hauled to the launching site by a long series of trucks.

We’re being given the challenge of breaking the world record,” said Grucci, who has worked in Dubai in the past, “so the scale of this is nothing that anybody has had the opportunity to oversee.”

Kuwait’s previous record was shattered by Dubai’s over-the-top performance, where nearly 100,000 fireworks were set off every minute.

“[Kuwait's] firework display stretched over 5 km (3.11 miles) of seafront, started at 8 p.m. and lasted 64 minutes,” according to the Guinness World Record website. “Event organizers Parente Fireworks srl and Filmmaster MEA produced the event, which included the pyrotechnic display and a lights and sound show. Preceding this, an airshow was staged in the afternoon.”

Albeit impressive, the show somehow undoes all of the small steps that Dubai has taken over the last year to become a little less environmentally destructive.

While those that saw the show were extremely impressed and lauded Dubai’s efforts to draw tourists to the city, some commentators expressed regret over the extraordinary expense and extravagance.

“When I see this and remember that Gaza has been without electricity for 40 days,” said Oussama Bargougui on YouTube “I really feel ashamed to be Arabic.”

Screengrab from Dubai Media video

—————————————————————————–

Above reminded me of the Arab UN official supervisor who at 60 years age bragged of just having had a baby.

###

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

 

fron:Jock Gilchrist & 350.org <350@350.org>
to Pincas

This email was sent by 350.org on behalf of Jock Gilchrist, an activist working on fossil fuel divestment.

Dear friends,

I spent my senior year of college trying to convince the University of Delaware to divest from fossil fuels, and I can tell you one thing for certain: the fossil fuel divestment movement is changing the way young people like me think about climate change, and it’s just getting started.

As much fun as I had being a student activist, now that I’ve graduated I realize I have a new kind of power. Those of us who are college & university graduates are in a unique position to impact the divestment movement, and it’s time for us alumni to step up!

As 2013 draws to a close and the holiday giving season ramps up, we’re asking college & university alumni around the country to take a pledge: this year, don’t give to your alma mater. Don’t donate until they agree to divest from fossil fuels.

Click here to take the alumni divestment pledge.

To college and university administrators, alumni are potential donors first and foremost — so let’s send them a message they can’t ignore. Tell your alma mater that if they’re investing in fossil fuels, you’re NOT investing in them. We need to remind them of the ideals they stand for: the pursuit of truth, the development of a strong moral compass, and the ability to use that compass to stand up for what’s right.

But whether or not you’re a college or university alum, there’s something you can do to help the divestment movement.
Click here to watch a great video about all the work we’ve done in just over a year (I promise you’ll be inspired):

 

Watch the video: http://act.350.org/go/4291?t=4&akid=3931.190159.A61jm5

Student divestment campaigners around the country have been doing amazing work. They’ve run petitions, tabled on campus, held educational events, pushed the envelope with marches and sit-ins, and met with dozens of administrations. They’ve had some exciting victories — and received a few (temporary!) rejections that have only made them stronger. Now it’s time for the rest of us to pitch in.

If you’re an alumnus or alumna, we need your voice. Click here to take the pledge.

Onward,

Jock & the team at 350.org

P.S. OK, I’m asking you not to donate to your alma mater (unless they divest). But if you need a good home for those donation dollars, the team at 350.org would like me to add a plug for their year-end fundraising push. You could do a lot worse than helping to fund a bigger, better climate movement in 2014!

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

 

 

EXIL: BRUCHSTÜCKE UND LEBENSMODELLE

JULYA RABINOWICH IN TEXT UND GESPRÄCH.

 

 

Julya Rabinowich: österreichische Schriftstellerin, Dramatikerin, Malerin und Simultandolmetscherin.

 

Moderation: Isolde Charim, Autorin und Philosophin

Anmeldungen unter:

Tel.: 3188260/20

Fax: 318 82 60/10

e-mail: einladung.kreiskyforum@kreisky.org

Melitta Campostrini
Bruno Kreisky Forum
for International Dialogue
Armbrustergasse 15
www.kreisky-forum.org

###

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

 

###

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

We wrote about these issues when we participated at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik a month ago – we smelled there rat. Now the issue is hitting main-shore USA. 

We said in Reykjavik that the analogy with the DISCOVERY DAYS of Columbus and Balboa are no  comparison with the UNCOVERY DAYS when our warming sins that melted the ice allow us easy access to oil, gas, minerals, transportation – you name it.  The subject is worthy indeed of a good academic threshing out.

———————————————–

Fueling Our Future: The Geopolitics and Economics of Energy in the 21st Century
The Last Frontier: Security, Resources, and Politics in the Arctic

Thursday, December 5
6.30-7.45pm

RSVP here

With 7 billion people in the world (9 billion projected by 2050), many of whom live in rapidly developing countries, the need for modern technologies with their attendant energy demands is increasing at an exponential rate. Will it be possible to provide sufficient energy for this generation and the next? How will the energy race change global economies and politics? Join CGA Academic Director and Clinical Associate Professor Carolyn Kissane, and experts in the field to discuss the changing landscape of global energy: its potential, challenges, and its impact on how we live today.

Special Event at NYU Washington , D.C.!
Note special location:
The NYU Washington, D.C. Center
1307 L Street NW, Washington, D.C.

The Last Frontier: Security, Resources, and Politics in the Arctic

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Diminishing sea ice and melting permafrost are expanding intercontinental shipping, increasing access to energy resources and minerals, and potentially igniting geopolitical and security challenges in what many consider the world’s final frontier.

Emerging from these new realities are increasingly complex challenges to sovereignty and security.

What current and future geopolitical and security issues stem from increased focus on this region, and what are the implications for nations holding territory there as well as other stakeholders?

Join the CGA at the NYU Washington, D.C. Center for a conversation about policy challenges and potential solutions for the future of the Arctic.

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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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