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Melanesia:

 

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 12th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From: Alexandra Soezer —  alexandra.soezer at undp.org

The Ministry of Climate Change and Natural Disasters and UNDP MDG Carbon have issued the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) on Rural Electrification in Vanuatu.

The overall target of the NAMA is to support Vanuatu in achieving the goal defined in the National Energy Road Map (NERM), namely to provide access to electricity to all households in Vanuatu. The NAMA represents an opportunity for sustainable development for Vanuatu, and at the same time an opportunity for low carbon development. The government can build on the existing policy framework, which targets the implementation of various policies, plans and actions aimed at mitigating GHG emissions while achieving sustainable development, so as to define a comprehensive and coherent NAMA development framework for Vanuatu.

The implementation of the NAMA will be led by the Ministry of Climate Change and Natural Disasters as the NAMA Coordinating Authority (NCA). The National Advisory Board (NAB) will be appointed as NAMA Approver/Focal Point to the UNFCCC. The role of NAMA Implementing Entity (NIE) will be taken by the Department of Energy (DoE) in cooperation with the Project Management Unit (PMU).

Best regards,
Alexandra

Alexandra Soezer, Ph.D.
Project Manager MDG Carbon
United Nations Development Programme
Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

304 E 45th Street, FF-954
New York, NY 10017, USA

 alexandra.soezer at undp.org
Phone: +1-212-906-6433
Cell phone: +1-917-293-6269

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 31st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Fijians negotiating with Islamist captors of 44 {or 45?} peacekeepers.

Head of Fiji’s army says exact location of kidnapped troops cannot be confirmed.

By Times of Israel staff and AP  – August 31, 2014, 3:12 pm
For what the UN releases on this – please look www.InnerCity.Press.com – whose reporter at the UN Headquarters in New York – Matthew Russel Lee – is following closely this topic.
The Freedom House Map of “Press Freed0m 2014” has Fiji and The Philippines among the “Partly Free States” – thus reflecting on the source of the UN Mercenary hired personnel that is the human fodder to Peace Keeping Missions that do not get full UN backing when finding themselves in difficult situations.
Members of United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) using binoculars to watch the Syrian side of the Golan Heights near the Quneitra border crossing, on August 31, 2014. (photo credit: AFP Photo/Jalaa Marey)

Members of United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) using binoculars to watch the Syrian side of the Golan Heights near the Quneitra border crossing, on August 31, 2014. (photo credit: AFP Photo/Jalaa Marey)

The Fijian military said Sunday that it was pursuing negotiations with the Syrian Islamic rebel group which kidnapped 44 UNDOF peacekeepers in the Syrian Golan Heights Thursday, but still had not received word on where the soldiers were being held.

Fiji has been told that the men were unharmed and were being treated well, but “we still at this stage cannot confirm the exact location of our troops. We are continuing negotiations at all levels,” said Brig. Gen. Mosese Tikoitoga, head of the Fijian army, according to a Reuters report.

 

“However, we are still very concerned that we cannot confirm at this stage their exact location, whether they are still in Syria or whether they have been moved to neighboring countries,” the general added.

Tikoitoga’s comments came after 40 Filipino peacekeepers made a daring escape after being surrounded and under fire for seven hours by Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights on Sunday, leaving the 44 Fijian troops in the hands of al-Qaeda-linked insurgents.

The peacekeepers became trapped after Syrian rebels entered the UN-patrolled buffer zone between Syria and Israel this past week, seizing the Fijian soldiers and demanding that their Filipino colleagues surrender. The Filipinos, occupying two UN encampments, refused and clashed with the rebels on Saturday. The first group of 35 peacekeepers was then successfully escorted out of a UN encampment in Breiqa by Irish and Filipino forces in armored vehicles.

As night fell and a ceasefire took hold, a further 40 Filipinos fled with their weapons, traveling across the chilly hills for nearly two hours before meeting up with other UN forces, who escorted them to safety inside Israel early Sunday, Philippine officials said.

The clashes erupted after Syrian rebel groups — including al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front — overran the Quneitra crossing on the frontier between Syrian- and Israeli-controlled parts of the Golan on Wednesday and seized the 44 Fijians.

The SITE Intelligence Group reported that the Nusra Front posted a statement on its Twitter account Saturday taking responsibility for detaining the Fijian peacekeepers. The Nusra Front stated that the Fijian detainees “are in a safe place, and they are in good health, and that we have given them what they need of food and treatment.”

The Nusra Front also posted a photo showing what it said were the captured Fijians in their military uniforms along with 45 identification cards, SITE said.

SITE added that the Nusra Front claimed the Fijians were seized in retaliation for the UN’s ignoring “the daily shedding of the Muslims’ blood in Syria” and even colluding with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s army “to facilitate its movement to strike the vulnerable Muslims” through a buffer zone in the Golan Heights. The SITE report could not be independently confirmed.

The UN mission has 1,223 troops from six countries: Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal, Netherlands and the Philippines. A number of countries had previously withdrawn their peacekeepers due to the escalating violence.

Philippine officials said Filipino forces would remain in Golan until their mission ends in October despite the rebel attacks and the capture of the Fijian peacekeepers.

Both UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council strongly condemned Saturday’s attack on the peacekeepers’ positions and the ongoing detention of the Fijian peacekeepers.

The Nusra Front has recently seized hostages to exchange for prisoners detained in Syria and Lebanon.

Read more: Fijians negotiating with Islamist captors of 44 peacekeepers | The Times of Israel www.timesofisrael.com/fijians-negotiating-with-islamist-captors-of-44-peacekeepers/#ixzz3BzEeLB38

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As of July 31, 2014 UNDOF has 1,223 peacekeepers from six countroies – Fiji, India, Irelamd, Nepal, Netherlands and the Philippines.

The mission was established in 1974 with the purpose to monitor the disengagement accord between Syria and Israel after the 1973 war (the Yom Kippur War). In effect they monitor the line between the no-man’s zone and the Syrian State. But let us not forget that the Syrian Government these days rules only over part of Syria and rebels of Al-Qaeda persuasion – organized in the Al-Nusra front and the ISIL – Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – are what the UN peacekeepers are facing now – this rather then a Syrian State military. Does the original mandate hold under these conditions? Seemingly Austria had some doubts and pulled out their troops at last mandate-renewal.

Actually – the mandate is up to renewal every 6 months and the current mandate ends on December 31, 2014.  Would this not be a good opportunity to allow the current forces to go home? Ireland, Netherlands and Austria were not there for the money, and those that are in for the money better learn that this is a tough spot, and it is rather without real purpose – only potential harm.

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

 

Palau Would Defend Marine Sanctuary With Italian Drones that crashed in DRC.

By Matthew Russell Lee, Inner City Press at the UN, Free United Nations Coalition for Access

UNITED NATIONS, February 4 — Palau’s president Tommy Remengesau returned to the UN on February 4, promoting a stand-alone Sustainable Development Goal about the oceans and speaking of a marine sanctuary which would ban all commercial fishing in an area as large as France.

  Inner City Press asked President Remengesau how the ban on fishing would be enforced, given for example the illegal fishing that takes place off Somalia and, doubly illegal, off Western Sahara.

  Remengesau responded that drones could be part of the solution. Palau’s Ambassador Stuart Beck added that drones could take photographs which could be evidence.

  Italy’s Mission to the UN is promoting an event with its Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi and Palau featuring Italian firm Finmeccanica, which made the Selex Falco ES drone procured by UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous which recently crashed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A crash in the ocean would be less dangerous. Still.

  Remengesau explained that sharks are worth substantially more to Palau alive than dead, given its eco-tourism economy. Inner City Press asked about other countries joining the shark sanctuary movement that Palau started. Beck mentioned Mexico, and hoped that the broader marine sanctuary idea would also spread. The oceans being a Sustainable Development Goal would be a good step in that direction.

Background: With fifteen months to go until the “Sustainable Development Goals” are determined by the UN General Assembly, Palau’s Ambassador Stuart Beck back on June 25 made the case for an oceans SDG. He recounted that only last night, Palau had its highest tide ever.

  The seas have become so acid, he continued, that mussels and clams are having a hard time forming their shells.

   Inner City Press asked Beck about Palau’s shark sanctuary, which became with 600,000 square kilometers and is now up to 12.5 million square kilometers, with subsequent joiners like Mexico, Honduras and Costa Rica, Bahamas, Barbados, Micronesia and the Maldives. If sharks could say thanks, he concluded, they’d give thanks for the sanctuary. Video here from Minute 7:05.

  Accompanying Beck was Ghislaine Maxwell of the TerraMar Project, who said the oceans account for 16% of humanity’s food and spoke of using social media in the campaign. It must target all 193 states, Beck pointed out. (Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, it is understood, doesn’t know much about the idea.)

It seems Ban’s UN doesn’t know much about social media or new style network organizations either. The new Free UN Coalition for Access, formed after the old UN Correspondents Association showed itself willing to spy for the UN and seek to get new media thrown out, has been using the Internet and now Twitter to press for media access.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 21st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Bolivia’s Evo Morales: Critical of  “The Empire” But Proud of How Far his Nation’s Has Come.

 

     by George Baumgarten, Accredited United Nations Correspondent

 

     His face and native garb have grown more familiar now: the colorfully-trimmed jacket, and the wide, warm smile. Some have been critical, calling him a clone of the late Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. But Evo Morales Ayma, Bolivia’s now 54-year old President for the last eight years, is nobody’s clone.

Left wing he most surely is—both Socialist and anti-American. But Morales is an original. His greatest pride and priority is his leadership and defense of Bolivia’s native peoples, of whom he most certainly is one. And he can now point with pride to what are said to be significant accomplishments on their behalf.

 

     Juan Evo Morales Ayma was born on 26 October 1959, in the small village of Isallawi, near Orinoca in western Bolivia’s Oruro Department, south of the capital city of La Paz and just west of Lake Poopo. As a youngster he worked as a farmer in Bolivia and northern Argentina, and first learned to speak the native Aymara language. He would go on journeys of several weeks with his father, to trade salt and potatoes for maize and coca (Coca, the raw material of cocaine, is also made into tea, which visitors are advised to drink to combat possible altitude sickness on Bolivia’s (and Peru’s)high plains.  It is a major cash crop, and an important part of their culture.). He also attended university in Oruro, and completed all but his final year. After university, Morales spent mandatory time in the army (1977-78), and even once served as a military guard at La Paz’s Palacio Quemado (Presidential Palace). These were tumultuous years in Bolivia, with five presidents and two military coups, in the short space of just two years.

 

     Bolivia shares with Paraguay the distinction of being one of only two land-locked countries on the American continents. It sits on a plain at high altitude, over which tower the snow-capped peaks of the Andes, most notably the volcano of Cotopaxi, overlooking La Paz. The city itself sits at an altitude of some 12,300 feet in a valley, with the airport, known as El Alto (“The High One”) International, overlooking it from a plateau one thousand feet higher. Coming into the capital at night has been described as descending from the airport into a “bowl of stars”.

 

     Returning from his army service, Morales moved with his family to the city of El Chapare, near Cochabamba in the eastern lowlands. There they had a farm which grew rice, oranges, grapefruit, papayas bananas and coca. El Chapare was a town of 40,000 in 1981, which grew in the next seven years into a city of 215,000 people. Morales became active in the union of cocaleros (coca growers), which was his initiation into local politics. He was one of a group of cocaleros who refused a payment to eradicate his coca crop, as urged by the United States. To the farmers, this was an issue of Bolivian national sovereignty.                                                                              

 

     After serving as General Secretary of the cocalero union, Morales was involved in huge protests against the price of water, and then was finally elected President in late 2005. He was widely regarded as the first democratically-elected indigenous President in Latin America. He quickly let it be known that the improvement of the lot and standard of living of Bolivia’s indigenous peoples would be his first and highest priority. At that time, 16% of Bolivians were said to have been illiterate, and within just a few years, he declared illiteracy to have been eradicated in the country. He also is said to have brought rural electrification to almost all of the country.

 

     Morales came to speak to the U.N. press corps, in his capacity as the newly-installed Chairman of the “Group of 77 [and China]”-  a non-aligned (and somewhat anti-western) group within the United Nations General Assembly (not to be confused with the “Non-Aligned Movement”, or N.A.M.).

   Bolivia had “inherited” the leadership of the G-77 from Fiji. I asked the President what he thought the Group of 77 could be doing—or should be doing, or what influence they hoped to have—given the current tumultuous world situation, with various wars on several continents. He told me that the “Empire” (as he calls the United States), can neither now stage coup d’etats, or win elections. Sometimes they send in the Blue Helmets (i.e., U.N. Peacekeeping Forces) or N.A.T.O. They “intervene, in order to seize the natural resources” (as in Iraq). Who, he asked, now controls the Libyan oil?

 

     He said that he would ask former Presidents of the G-77 for their advice. He noted that there had been a controversy over Bolivia’s doctors only working for 3-4 hours a day, and that there were those advocating a “blue helmet intervention” – Therefore, he would ask his predecessors as to how to deal with conflicts that are “created and financed” by the “Empire”.

 

     Morales also met with the President of the General Assembly, Antigua’s John W. Ashe, and informed him that he was calling for a conference this coming June in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the G-77. President Ashe thanked Morales for his invitation to participate, and the two leaders agreed on the importance of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the successor phase to the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals. Thus was begun this new phase in the career of one of the world’s unique leaders.

Evo Morales may have some contempt for the U.S., and for the West in General. But he is a true leader of his people, and has dedicated himself to the redress of their long-held grievances. And he is genuinely beloved by those whom he serves.

    Copyright 2014  – George Alan Baumgarten

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 22nd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

15 February 2013

Press Conference held inside the UN with access to the room available only to those the UN calls PRESS, and allows in by means of a stranglehold on the process of Media Accreditation. As such, the many websites belonging to environmental media are not part of this process. No wonder that the outside world is hardly provided information on subjects like this one. Non Member-State government-backed media does not stand a chance under such scrutiny.

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Press Conference on Impact of Climate Change on Marshall Islands.

The Security Council should consider climate change as a threat to international peace and security, particularly for such low-lying nations as the Marshall Islands whose “very existence” was at risk, a Government minister from that country said at a Headquarters press conference today.

“This organization [the Council] that we put faith in to provide the security of our country is saying that that is not a security matter,” said Tony deBrum, Minister in Assistance to the President of the Marshall Islands, as he briefed journalists on today’s so-called “Arria Formula” meeting on security implications of climate change.

Initiated in 1992 by Ambassador Diego Arria, the representative of Venezuela on the Security Council, such informal gatherings do not constitute an activity of the Council and are convened at the initiative of a member or members of the Council.

Mr. deBrum said he had participated as a panelist and reminded the Council that 35 years ago, he had come to the United Nations to petition for the independence of the Marshall Islands.  Between 1976 and 1986, his delegation had annually visited the United Nations.  In 1986, the Security Council finally approved the termination of the trusteeship and the establishment of an independent Government for the Marshall Islands, he added.

“We are very grateful for that, but it is hard to be excited about the independent Government seeking prosperity, progress and good life for its people to be faced with the situation where its very existence is threatened through climate change,” he said.

“It seems ironic that the very same agency whose approval was needed for my country to become a country again would consider my coming back to ask for help […] is not relevant to their work,” he said.  There was no outcome document or a running record from that meeting, but he expected that his appeal had convinced some or more of the participants that climate change “is in fact a security issue, not just an economic/social/political issue”.

When asked which countries opposed treating climate change as the Council’s prerogative, he said China, Russian Federation and Guatemala were among them.  “Surprisingly”, the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, of which the Marshall Islands was a member, had taken a position that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was the appropriate venue for deliberations on that issue.  That revealed that “many of our own friends throughout the world do not realize the urgency of the problem,” he said.

Describing the situation, he said rising tides had started severely impacting the islands, with roads inundated every 14 days in keeping with the moon cycle.  In southern parts of the nation, where there used to be a military base in the Second World War, ordnances were being exposed by the tides, presenting a clear danger to the life and welfare of people there.  Even the nation’s capital was required to ration water.  In the northern part, emergency kits for making drinking water were being distributed as well water was inundated with salt.

“It became unsuitable for human consumption, and dangerous even to our staple food and citrus,” he said. He said he was not predicting a looming crisis — it was already happening, affecting not just his own country but also Kiribati, Tuvalu and some of the other low-lying islands of the Pacific.
He hoped that “logic will prevail and people see it as a just cause”.

In September, there will be a Pacific Islands Forum meeting to be held in his country, he said.  He wished to invite the most significant players in the politics of climate change to visit the Marshall Islands to see the situation first hand.  “We are not just sitting under coconut trees and waiting for coconuts to fall,” he said, stressing the need for proactive measures.

To an inquiry about Palau’s bid to bring the climate change issue before the International Court of Justice as a security and human rights violation, he said it was an interesting effort, but was not moving anywhere.

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


Ambassador Peter Thompson from Fiji speaks for the G 77 and China at the Arria Formula Non-meeting at the UNSC and the same day speaks also on the MDGs at a different meeting at the UN. We have here both his presentations.

To put it in diplomatic terms, we are amazed how the representative of a Small Islands State participates in the thrashing of its own future by serving the forces of business-as-usual that came about because of the influence the Islamic Oil States have on what at the UN goes under the term G 77 & China.

The Arria formula meeting of the Security Council – by its own definition a Non-meeting – came about as Member States with eyes open – have realized that the UN was incapable of moving on the issue of Climate Change, and this while practically every UN State has already stories to tell about losses from Climate Change – within their own territory or in States they do business with. The most hurt are obvious the Small Island States that might be completely wiped out by the effects of man-made Climate Change committed by other States. As such, transferring the issue to the Security Council, from the moribund UNFCCC and UNCSD, is an attempt to move the issue from the General Assembly UN debating club to the only UN institution that has the power to act. The alternative would be to close this UN, like the League of Nations was closed, and negotiate anew an organization with 193 Nations participating in a decision-for-action new mechanism. Every decent person would say this alternative will be unachievable. So what does Ambassador Peter Thompson, a traitor to the SIDS, mean by his statement on behalf of the negativistic uncounted governments from among the 77+China?
Further, the UNCSD will expire at the 2013 General Assembly meeting this coming September – as per a decision of the Rio+20 meeting June 2012. They will be replaced by a mechanism yet unknown, and dependent on recommendations that will be forthcoming from a special panel that was established in September 2012. The Issues of the MDGs and the newly to be formulated Sustainable Development Goals is also pending in the air – and that is part of the decisions of new UN formulas for 2015 and beyond. The distinguished Ambassador does seem to ignore all of this and try instead to stick with the formula of things that were totally rejected in Rio. Our conclusion is thus in non-diplomatic terms – he is sticking with the old ways that are responsible for the inaction at the UN that resulted in 20 wasted years, and at the same time puts sticks into the possible wheels of the UNSC with which some try to find ways to move out from the UN swamp.
In our postings about the Arria-formula meeting of Friday, February 15th we were able to bring forward the ridiculous Statement made by Egypt that clearly shows, that though it started out differently it got bent in haste to the same conclusions as the G77+China with even not having had the time to reconsider its own numbering system from the previous Arab League bent. The ray of light comes from Pakistan that seemingly decided to cosponsor the call to the Arria formula event, and obviously the SIDS that part now ways with the G77&China that did nothing for them in these lost 20 years.
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Mr. President,

I acknowledge the presence of Distinguished Panelist and Guest Speakers in today’s event. I thank the Secretary General for his Statement and note the interventions that have been made thus far.

I wish to express a special welcome to the Honorable Tony de Brum, Minister in Assistance to the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, I welcome the Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, and the Vice-President and Network Head for Sustainable Development at the World Bank Ms. Rachel Kyte. I also wish to welcome the contributions through video recordings by the President of Kiribati His Excellency Mr. Anote Tong and the Foreign Minister of Australia Senator Bob Carr.

Mr. President,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

We note the initiative of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in organizing this Meeting which we note is being convened under the informal Arria Formula of the United Nations Security Council on the subject “Security Dimensions of Climate Change”

Mr. President,

The Group of 77 and China reiterates its position that the United Nations Security Council is not the appropriate forum for this discussion. The Group will repeat that the primary responsibility of the United Nations Security Council is the maintenance of international peace and security, as set out in the Charter of the United Nations.

On the other hand, other issues, including those related to economic and social development, are assigned by that same Charter to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and to the United Nations General Assembly (General Assembly).

The ever-increasing encroachment by the Security Council on the roles and responsibilities of other principal organs of the United Nations represents a distortion of the principles and purposes of the Charter, infringes on their authority and compromises the rights of the general membership of the United Nations.

Mr. President,

The Group of 77 and China underlines the importance of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the ECOSOC to work within their respective mandates as set out in the Charter.

General Assembly resolution 63/281 recognized the respective responsibilities of the principal organs of the United Nations, including the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security conferred upon the Security Council and the responsibility for sustainable development issues, including climate change, conferred upon the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, and invited the relevant organs of the United Nations, as appropriate and within their respective mandates, to intensify their efforts in considering and addressing climate change, including its possible security implications.

The relevant bodies in the field of sustainable development are the General Assembly, the ECOSOC and their relevant subsidiary bodies, including the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The Group of 77 and China is of the view that it is vital for all Member States to promote sustainable development in accordance with the Rio Principles, in particular, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and fully implement Agenda 21 and Outcomes of other relevant United Nations Conferences in the economic, environmental and social fields, including the Millennium Development Goals Declaration.

We further emphasize the critical role of the international community in the provision of adequate, predictable, new and additional financial resources, transfer of technology and capacity building to developing countries.

We maintain that the UNFCCC is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change. In this sense, we recall that an appropriate response to this challenge should address not only the consequences but mainly the roots of the problem. At the DOHA COP 18, we made progress towards addressing Climate Change through concrete decisions on remaining work under the Bali Action Plan, a Plan of work under the Durban Platform and a Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol with a clear time line. The Second Commitment Period of Kyoto Protocol, however, lacks ambition and we hope that its level will be enhanced in 2014 as agreed in Doha

Mr. President,

Let me emphasize that there is a strong case for developed countries’ emission reductions and mitigation actions to avoid adverse impacts of climate change. In this context, we are extremely concerned that current mitigation pledges from developed countries parties in the UNFCCC negotiations are not at all adequate to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions so as to hold the increase in global average temperature according to what is required by science.

We reiterate the need to coordinate international efforts and mobilize partners to assist the observation networks through regional initiatives such as South Pacific Sea Level and Climate Monitoring, and Caribbean Community Climate Change Center. In this regard, we call upon the relevant agencies and organs of the UN, including OCHA, to reinforce regional broadcastings systems to help island communities during disasters and increase the effectiveness of observation in these regions. Any measures taken in this context need to ensure an integrated approach in responding to environmental emergencies

The response to impacts of climate change and disasters must include the strengthening of the Hyogo Framework for Action for disaster risk reduction, the increasing of assistance to developing countries affected states, including by supporting efforts towards enhancing their national and regional capacities for implementation of plans and strategies for preparedness, rapid response, recovery and development.

Mr. President,

The Group would like to underline the fact that developing countries continue to suffer from the adverse impacts of climate change and the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Developing countries are the most vulnerable to climate change, and support for their efforts needs to be stepped up.

In this regard, we call for the full and effective implementation of the commitments under the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, the Mauritius Declaration and the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. We reiterate that sea-level rise and other adverse impacts of climate change continue to pose a significant risk to small island developing states and their efforts to achieve sustainable development and, for many, represent the gravest of threats to their survival and viability including for some through the loss of territory.

The Group of 77 and China will continue to pursue the achievement of sustainable development and eradication of poverty, which are our first and overriding priorities, as well as the fulfillment of commitments by developed countries in all relevant bodies.
Mr. President,

We strongly reiterate our expectation that the initiative of the Council to hold this debate does not create a precedent that undermines the authority or mandate of the relevant bodies, processes and instruments that already address these issues in all their complexities.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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

Thank you, Distinguished Co-Facilitators.

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

At the outset, may I express the Group’s congratulations on your appointment as Co-Facilitators on this very important item. I would also like to convey our appreciation for the dispatch of your Informal Food for Thought Paper which you intend to guide our reflections on the modalities and substance of the Special Event and, in particular, underlines the urgency of moving to an early decision on the modalities of the Event.

Co-Facilitators,

The Group of 77 notes that the Special Event is not a formal event of the General Assembly but an ad hoc meeting convened on a specific theme, that is, “To follow up on efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).” This process follows on from the request we made as Members States of the United Nations back in 2010 and it is a review of the efforts undertaken to date towards the achievement of the MDGs.

The Group is of the view that the Outcome of this Special Event must feed into an intergovernmental process for the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda. Notwithstanding the link between the review of the MDGs and the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda, the review that this Special Event will undertake must not be subservient to or dependent on other processes under way for the post-2015 agenda.

It is of fundamental importance that the Special Event produces concise and actionable outcomes which will sharpen the focus on achieving the MDGs. This must include means to prioritize funding for MDGs, particularly in line with international agreements on development financing.

Co-Facilitators,

Given the importance, complexity and time-sensitivity of the issues that the Special Event must address, the Group welcomes the holding of this event during the High-level segment of the 68th UN General Assembly. However, the Group is concerned that a one-day meeting may not achieve the kind of concrete results that is needed for this final push on MDGs within the MDG period. The Group would therefore like further consideration of the time allotted for this Special Event.

Co-Facilitators,

These are our initial thoughts. We will revert with more substantial input during the course of our consultations under your able facilitation. The Group assures you of its continued support and constructive engagement in the preparations and conduct of this Special Event.

I thank you Co-Facilitators.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 25th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

California Law Tests Company Responses to Carbon Costs.

By
Published, The New York Times: December 24, 2012 160 Comments

LOS BANOS, Calif. — The Morning Star Company’s three plants in California emit roughly 200,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year — about the same amount as the Pacific Island nation of Palau — as they turn tomatoes into ketchup, spaghetti sauce and juice used by millions of consumers around the world.

Ramin Rahimian for The New York Times
A Morning Star tomato processing plant in Los Banos, Calif. Morning Star and 350 other companies statewide will begin paying for carbon emissions on Jan. 1.

Beginning Jan. 1, under the terms of a groundbreaking California environmental law known as AB 32, Morning Star and 350 other companies statewide will begin paying for those emissions, which trap heat and contribute to global warming.

Companies are trying to figure out how this will affect their bottom lines and have lobbied state regulators to minimize the costs. In the meantime they are weighing their options. Should they stay and adapt or move operations elsewhere? Should they retrofit and innovate to reduce emissions? Should they swallow the regulatory costs or pass them on to customers?

Each company’s calculus depends on its particular circumstance. Morning Star, a top producer in a $926 million industry, has to be near the tomato fields of California’s Central Valley, so relocating was never an option. Its biggest question is how to handle the extra costs.

About 600 facilities with hefty emissions are covered by the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Oil refiners, electric utilities and cement makers, whose greenhouse-gas output totals in the millions of metric tons annually, are the biggest. But over all, dozens of industries are affected.

In recent months, as the start date of the new cap-and-trade program neared, California regulators have fine-tuned the rules, industry by industry, to avoid imposing severe economic hardship while trying to keep the rules stringent. It is a delicate balance. Regulators do not want California companies to lose their competitive edge, because that could make other state governments reluctant to adopt this approach.

Cement plants near Los Angeles compete with plants across the Arizona border. State tomato processors control more than 95 percent of the American market, but they fear that the fast-growing Chinese sector could make inroads.

Officials in affected industries acknowledge they are struggling with how to proceed. As Meredith Fowlie, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, explained, “Their calculations have to be that we either sit here and emit and pay the cost of doing so, or alternatively we can look at options” like paying for major capital improvements to reduce emissions.

The state’s Air Resources Board is using an array of policies to reach its intended goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. It has tried to structure the cap-and-trade program to encourage industry investment in energy efficiency that could cut costs as well as lower emissions. Investing in energy efficiency may make sense for companies under California’s rules, Dr. Fowlie said, “but if they are making them before their competitors, that could be fatal.”

The rules are relatively simple for producers like Morning Star. At the end of 2014, they must present state-issued allowances — one per metric ton of emissions — for the greenhouse gases they emitted in 2013.

For the 200,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted annually by Morning Star’s three plants, the company is being awarded about 192,500 free allowances the first year; the company must buy the remainder on the open market. In the first allowance auction in November, the allowance price settled at $10.09 a ton, meaning in the first year Morning Star has to pay roughly $75,000 to cover its emissions.

But over the next five years, the number of free allowances will decrease sharply to encourage further emissions cuts. At current rates, that means Morning Star will have to buy 100,000 allowances for both 2017 and 2018, by which time the prices may have doubled or tripled in an open market. The company estimates the law will cost it an extra $20 million over the next seven years.

Nick Kastle, a company spokesman, said it would almost certainly pass on the new costs to makers of ketchup and frozen pizza, which would be likely to share the extra costs with consumers. “People nationwide are going to be affected by AB 32,” he said.

But many economists said they think such a cost-centric analysis ignores the jobs and economic activity that the law could generate. Emission and efficiency standards for cars, buildings and appliances in California over the last four decades have succeeded in cleaning the air, making residents’ per-capita energy use rate among the lowest in the country and spurring innovations and new industries, like the one that arose around catalytic converters.

“It’s almost a Darwinian point,” said Matthew Kahn, an economist at the University of California, Los Angeles. While some companies’ costs will no doubt rise, he said, the law creates moneymaking opportunities by forcing a rethinking of industrial processes.

For some industries, the options are limited. Cement cannot be made without releasing carbon dioxide as a byproduct, although engineers are trying to reduce the amount emitted. At least one new California company is experimenting with a process that captures and stores carbon that would otherwise be emitted.

Morning Star, praised for its management innovations, has also won respect for improving its energy efficiency through equipment retrofits over the years. “If you have any ideas for efficiency,” Mr. Kastle said, “we’ll look at them.”

“We deploy what we believe, based on the economics, are the most efficient tomato-processing facilities in the world,” he said in an interview at the company’s plant in Los Banos. “And there are only two major costs in producing tomato paste: tomatoes and energy.”

He was standing at the center of the plant’s steaming Emerald City-like pipes and towers, beneath a network of artificial watercourses along which 838 tons of bobbing, colorful fruit move through the factory each hour in harvest season.

To run the conveyor system and to heat and sterilize the product, the plant uses five boilers, the newest of which is four years old and the oldest, 30. Replacing a boiler costs millions of dollars.

Mr. Kastle said Morning Star’s margins are too slim to absorb new regulatory costs. But he also worries about the consequence of passing them on. He knows that the California garlic industry lost half its market to Chinese imports in less than a decade, and notes that China’s tomato-processing industry is on the rise.

The Air Resources Board is also wary of this competitive situation, which is why it has been flexible about adjusting its regulation.

Steven Cliff, the California regulator most familiar with food processing, said that companies need the free allocations in the early years. “In a global marketplace you can’t pass along all of your costs,” he said.

More allocations go to industries that are at risk of leaving the state and emitting their pollution elsewhere or of ceding market share to foreign companies that are likely to be big emitters. The term of art for the problem is “leakage.” The more leakage, the less effective the California law will be at reducing greenhouse gas emissions over all.

State regulators consider cement manufacturers highly vulnerable to leaving the state, and food processors moderately vulnerable; both have been granted additional allowances to ease the transition.

For many economists, the crucial issue for now is not emissions but the creation of a viable market that sets a price on carbon. “The bottom line of what we’re trying to achieve here is a stable, predictable price of carbon,” said Frank A. Wolak, a Stanford economist. “If it’s a stable price, people are more likely to say, ‘I’ll make the investment because at this price it is going to save me money.’ ”

For now, Morning Star plans to stay here and pass on the new costs. Whether that changes the dynamics of its market is anyone’s guess.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 24th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

PALAU SEEKS UN WORLD COURT OPINION ON DAMAGE CAUSED BY GREENHOUSE GASES

The Pacific island nation of Palau announced plans today to seek an advisory opinion from a United Nations court on whether countries have a legal responsibility to ensure that any activities on their territory that emit greenhouse gases do not harm other States.

President Johnson Toribiong told the General Assembly’s annual general debate that, along with the Marshall Islands, Palau will call on the 193-member Assembly to urgently seek an advisory opinion – which would be non-binding – from the International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court.

Palau is one of several Pacific island countries that have repeatedly spoken out at the General Assembly about the impact of climate change, with rising sea levels resulting from the emissions of greenhouse gases threatening to swamp their islands.

Mr. Toribiong said it was vital that urgent action is taken to combat climate change, given the immediacy of the threat.

“The case should be clear,” he said, referring to Palau’s plan to seek an ICJ advisory opinion. “The ICJ has already confirmed that customary international law obliges States to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction and control respect the environment of other States,” he said.

“Similarly, Article 194(2) of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea provides that States shall take all measures necessary to ensure that activities under their jurisdiction or control do not spread and do not cause damage by pollution to other States. It is time we determine what the international rule of law means in the context of climate change.”

In his address Mr. Toribiong also warned about the damaging effects of over-fishing in the waters around his country and that of other Pacific nations.

He said a regional meeting to be held in Palau in December will consider whether to establish a special zone to conserve tuna.

“For too long, the exploitation of tuna has overridden its conservation. This imbalance is not sustainable and must be reversed through the creation of a tuna conservation zone.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 27th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Japan offered $2 billion in aid Wednesday with just three days left until Friday’s conclusion of the conference on the Convention on Biodiversity with 193 countries (192 + the EU) the two weeks exercise not moving a bit.

“We must stop this great extinction in our lifetime,” Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said at the conference in Nagoya, southwest of Tokyo, in announcing the $2 billion aid offer over the next three years. But please – do not forget that thse are Japan and Norway that still insist on killing whales as others will not give up killing the animals in their lands, and hunting for fish where they can.

Yesterday, a study published online in the journal Science showed that 1 in 5 of the world’s vertebrates, or animals with backbones — mammals, fish, birds, reptiles and amphibians — are threatened with extinction, although efforts to save endangered animals are helping.

Another area of disagreement is the demand for  equitably sharing the profits from genetic resources, such as plants that Western drug companies have harvested to produce drugs.

Developing nations and indigenous groups  argue for years that they have seen little benefit from such resources, and delegates are seeking to create a legal framework for such “access and benefit-sharing.” In some cases if genetic human material is harvested by the Pharmaceutical companies as if they were there for the tacking.

Environmental ministers from the member nations were due to pick up the negotiations, some of which have been bogged down by concerns about how to pay for increases in protected areas. Japan offered to help. Reports from Nagoya say that it seems Japan really wants to find a way out.

Sue Lieberman, director of international policy at the Pew Trust, said the move could prompt other governments to step up with financial aid to keep the talks from collapsing, as the U.N. climate talks did in Copenhagen last year.
But she also say that Japan has a miserable record on marine biodiversity.

Delegates are divided over how much of the world’s oceans to designate as protected by 2020 — which can range from ocean sanctuaries to areas that have sustainable fishing. Currently, less than 1 percent of the world’s marine areas are protected. Delegates are debating whether to raise that to 6 percent — a figure advocated by China — 10 percent or as high as 20 percent.

American actor Harrison Ford, who has been on the board of Conservation International for more than 15 years, was also in Nagoya to encourage delegates to set ambitious goals.

“I just feel it’s an ethical responsibility to help do whatever I can to work for the benefit of nature,” Ford said. “I’ve got five kids and I want to see that there’s something left for them, enough of intact nature so that they can enjoy its beauty and benefits as my generation has.”

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Dear Friends:

There are only 300 northern right whales left, and 99% of blue whales have been wiped out. These majestic giants are endangered species, and their case is being played out across the world, time and again. In fact, one third of all life forms on the planet are on the brink of extinction.

The natural world is being crushed by human activity, waste and exploitation. But there is a plan to save it — a global agreement to create, fund and enforce protected areas covering 20% of our lands and seas by 2020. And right now, 193 governments are meeting in Japan to address this crisis.

We have just 36 hours left in this crucial meeting. Experts say that politicians are hesitant to adopt such an ambitious goal, but that a global public outcry could tip the balance, making leaders feel the eyes of the world upon them. Click to sign the urgent 20/20 petition, and forward this email widely — the message will be delivered directly to the meeting in Japan:

www.avaaz.org/en/the_end_of_whales/?vl

Wow – over 300,000 people have signed on in 2 days! We’ve got 36 hours left in this summit — sign also the awaaz petition. Please.

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Nevertheless, we feel we have to add a reminder that we wrote earlier:

Forget the UN – It is the Small Island States like Palau that will step out to SAVE THE WHALES AND OURSELVES – One More Reason We Should Save The Small Island States From Extinction.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 26th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

PALAU DECLARES SOUTH PACIFIC SANCTUARY FOR WHALES, DOLPHINS.
NAGOYA, Aichi, Japan, October 25, 2010 (ENS) – The South Pacific island nation of Palau has declared all the waters within its Exclusive Economic Zone to be a marine mammal sanctuary for the protection of whales, dolphins, and dugongs

Harry Fritz, Palau’s minister of the environment, natural resources and tourism, announced the new 600,000 square kilometer (231,660 square mile) sanctuary on behalf of President Johnson Toribiong at a news conference Saturday during Oceans Day at the Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Nagoya.

“From ancient times to today we have conserved our biodiversity through the tools of “bul” or moratoria, and protection of critical areas,” said Fritz.

“Biodiversity has always been integral to the Palauan culture,” he said. “Our traditional identity, values, legends, and practices are intimately linked to our surroundings and to our relationships with living creatures. Conservation of biodiversity is ingrained in our daily approach to life and inherent in the meaning of our words.”

Dolphins leap from the water about 15 miles from Palau’s most populated island, Koror, seen in the background. (Photo by Brian Glass Photography)

A close group of islands, Palau has at least 11 species of cetaceans in its waters, including a breeding population of sperm whales and as many as 30 other species of whales and dolphins. Palau’s dugongs are the most isolated and endangered population in the world, said Fritz.

“This sanctuary will promote sustainable whale-watching tourism, already a growing multi-million dollar global industry, as an economic opportunity for the people of Palau,” Fritz said.

Much of Palau’s economy comes from tourism and the country hosts Dolphins Pacific, the world’s largest dolphin research facility, and the Palau International Coral Reef Center, a modern aquarium and research facility specializing in tropical coral reefs. The region’s spectacular underwater biodiversity includes over 1,500 species of fish and 700 species of coral and anemone.

“The hunting of marine mammals, largely by foreign countries, in the 19th and particularly the 20th centuries has dramatically reduced populations in the Pacific Islands Region,” he said. “The International Whaling Commission has recognized that there is clear scientific evidence that in the Pacific Islands region many of the great whale species remain severely depleted in numbers, due to the impacts of past whaling.”

“It is a well-established scientific principle that to protect migratory species it is necessary to protect them not only in their feeding areas and migratory routes but also in their breeding grounds,” Fritz said.

Establishment of the sanctuary is intended to prohibit the deliberate hunting and harassment of any marine mammals.

The waters of the Palau archipelago are vast. (Photo by Wei-shiu)

But Palau has only one patrol boat at its disposal to patrol waters that cover an area just a little smaller than the U.S. state of Texas. The boat is supplied by Australia and operated by the government of Palau.

Fritz said that Palau is seeking assistance from neighboring countries in patrolling and surveillance of its EEZ for illegal taking of marine mammals.

“We urge other countries to join our efforts to protect whales, dolphins, and other marine mammals – for the sake of the species, as well as the future economic, social, and spiritual development of coastal peoples,” he said.

Palau also needs help to deal with all the illegal fishing taking place in its EEZ. “Last August I received a report from the U.S. officials in Guam showing more than 850 vessels fishing illegally in Palau?s waters,” Fritz told reporters in Nagoya. Illegal fishing with the use of dynamite has also been reported.

“Palau’s support for the conservation of marine species underscores this small island nation’s tremendous commitment to protecting life in the oceans that surround it. Other countries should join Palau in safeguarding species in their waters,” said Dr. Susan Lieberman, director of international policy for the Pew Environment Group, which has contributed a grant to fuel the patrol boat.

The Republic of Palau lies in the Pacific Ocean, some 800 km (500 miles) east of the Philippines and 3,200 km (2,000 miles) south of Tokyo. The islands were seized by Japanese ships during World War I and governed by Japan until 1947 when the islands passed formally to the United States under United Nations auspices as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

Emerging from trusteeship in 1994, Palau is one of the world’s youngest and smallest sovereign states. About 70 percent of the population of Palau’s approximately 21,000 residents live on the island of Koror.

Until now, Palau has voted with Japan in favor of commercial whaling at the annual meetings of the International Whaling Commission, and the establishment of its marine mammal sanctuary is viewed as a signal that Japan may no longer be able to count on Palau’s vote for whaling.

Queen of Koror Bilung Gloria Salii (Photo courtesy U.S. Navy)
Environment Minister Harry Fritz (Photo courtesy Government of Palau)

Asked whether the new marine mammal sanctuary will affect Palau’s relationship with Japan, Fritz said Palau is now making its position known and that it will be “understood by friends.”

More than 1,500 whales are hunted and killed each year for their meat, most of them by Japan. This occurs despite a global moratorium on commercial whaling since 1986 and the establishment of the Southern Ocean as an international whale sanctuary in 1994.

Palau, in partnership with the South Pacific Whales Research Consortium, Whaleology, and the Pew Environment Group, announced Wednesday that it is beginning to lay the groundwork for a sustainable whale-watching industry.

During a presentation Wednesday night on the importance of marine mammals in the region, the Queen of Koror Bilung Gloria Salii said Palau is in the process of completing a whale-watching feasibility study.

At the event, entitled, “The Role of Marine Reserves and Wildlife Sanctuaries in Conserving Large Pelagic Species,” hosted by the Pew Environment Group, Salii said whale and dolphin-watching alone already generates approximately US$23 million each year in direct revenues worldwide.

Lieberman, who represented Pew at the presentation Wednesday, said, “Palau, which once supported the Japanese position on commercial whaling, now supports conserving marine mammals, along with sharks and other species. By aiding economic development through ecotourism, Palau recognizes the importance of keeping these species alive and thriving.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 12th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) currently has 2 vacancies for Senior Programme Officers on Energy:

Thank you in advance for circulating these to any colleagues you think may be suitable.

Nadine McCormick
Energy Network Coordinator
IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)
Out-posted to the IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands

Plantage Middenlaan 2K, 1018 DD Amsterdam

Tel: +31 20 626 1732, Ext. 30

www.iucn.org/energ

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 24th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Climate change, natural disaster and the triple crises of food, finance and fuel jeopardize sustainable development gains made by many developing nations.

We add here that Climate Change, Loss of Biodiversity, and the slow-down in Poverty Reduction are inter-related – talking about one of them while ignoring the others is counter-productive. And what do you know – Climate Change imposed on others by our own excesses is it not, indeed, a novel way of terrorism?

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Peruvian President Alan García told the General Assembly today that terrorism and climate change, as well as other global illnesses, require that the United Nations be the forum for world cooperation.

Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernández  called for the creation of a new global coalition under United Nations auspices of nations at risk of catastrophe to share experiences and knowledge. He told General Assembly, on the first day of its annual high-level segment,that this year alone – up to now – there have been 47 floods and landslides; 12 hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons; eight serious droughts followed by fires; seven earthquakes; and volcanic eruptions.

“Additionally, we have to include the numerous cold waves, floods, and storms that have occurred as well as the epidemics that took place as a result, particularly cholera in Africa and dengue in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Dr. Fernández proposed the establishment of a World Alliance of Countries at Risk which would be “a great contribution towards designing and implementing policies to help save lives and minimize material damages.”

Many natural disasters, he pointed out, are caused by climate change, underscoring the need to set guidelines to regulate carbon emissions and protect the planet’s biodiversity.

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Calling for a new mechanism to stave off the worst effects of natural disasters at the Assembly debate today was Turkish President Abdullah Gül.

“This would also help maintain international peace and security by mitigating the threats stemming from weak governance, collapse of public order and domestic or inter-State conflicts over diminishing natural resources,” he noted.

Dedicating just a small fraction of nations’ defense expenditures to financing this new mechanism could more cost-effectively achieve results in maintaining global peace and stability, he said.

“Moreover,” the Turkish leader said, “If we could pool some of our defense equipment that lost its effective utilization in military terms but are still relevant disaster relief operations, we would swiftly build the said rapid reaction capability.

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Climate change, natural disaster and the triple crises of food, finance and fuel jeopardize sustainable development gains made by small island developing States (SIDS), according to a new United Nations report.

The report points out that these events exacerbate the vulnerability of the SIDS due to their small size, remoteness, susceptibility to shocks and narrow resource bases, the publication says.

In some instances, it points out, improved economic and governance capacity in SIDS has been offset by reduced resilience to external shocks.

“Although SIDS are confronted with increasing challenges, the growing international consensus surrounding the need to support SIDS offers an unprecedented opportunity to advance their sustainable development efforts,” the report says.

Its release comes ahead of a high-level General Assembly gathering to review progress towards sustainable development made in these nations. The two-day meeting kicks off tomorrow.

In the past nearly four decades, SIDS including Samoa, Grenada, Vanuatu and Maldives top the list of 180 countries recording the highest economic losses in relative terms due to natural disasters.

In Samoa, a 1983 tropical storm and forest fire, along with three tropical storms in the late 1980s, may have set its capital stock back more than 35 years.

Despite advances made towards realizing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the eight globally-agreed targets with a 2015 deadline, in areas such as health and gender equality, the eradication of poverty is still a major hurdle for small island nations.

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In a side event at the UN, Dr. Christiana Figueres, the top UN climate change official, today stressed the urgent need for governments to move forward in their negotiations ahead of the Cancun, Mexico, meeting where the UN contends that she is expected to conclude agreements related to issues such as technology transfer, mitigation and adaptation, and funding.

“We are barely two months away from the UN climate change conference in Cancun, the place where Governments need to take the next firm step on humanity’s journey to meet the full-scale challenge of climate change,” said Christiana Figueres, Executive Director of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Ahead of the next conference of parties to the Convention, to be held in November in Cancun, governments will hold a negotiating session in Tianjin, China, next week.

It is in Tianjin, said Ms. Figueres, that they will need to “cut down the number of options they have on the table, identify what is achievable in Cancun and muster the political compromises that will deliver those outcomes.”

She told a news conference at UN Headquarters that governments are converging on the need to mandate a full set of ways and means to launch a new wave of global climate action.

“On the whole, governments have been cognizant this year that there is an urgent need to move forward and they have been collaborating in moving beyond their national positions to begin to identify common ground so that they can reach several agreements in Cancun.”

The UN climate change chief said that negotiations are on track towards reaching agreements on the sharing of technology, jump-starting activities in developing countries dealing with reducing deforestation and degradation, setting out a framework for adaptation, and establishing a fund that would help developing countries with their mitigation and adaptation efforts.

“Let me be clear: there is no magic bullet, no one climate agreement that will solve everything right now,” she said.

“To expect that is naïve. It does not do justice to the crucial steps already achieved since the beginning of the Convention and it dangerously ignores the need to keep innovating.”

She noted four major trends shaping the future – energy supply and security; natural resource depletion; population growth; and climate change.

“An unchecked climate change is the flame that would make the other three burn most seriously,” said Ms. Figueres. “Governments can either stand together to turn these four threats into a new development paradigm that harnesses the full power of society, science and business, or they will fail divided.”

But let us not think that Dr. Figueres believes in the “Seal the Deal” mantra – she is on the record of having said earlier that she does not expect a Kyoto Protocol kind of agreement to emerge from Cancun – so the Tianjin meeting is very important in order to avoid renewed failure because of exaggerated expectations.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 14th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation Meets in Samoa.

BY PACIFIC REGIONAL ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME.
Honiara, 15 July 2010

Press Release – “Climate Solutions: Invest in Biodiversity” is the theme of the thirteenth gathering of the Pacific Islands Round Table for Nature Conservation that opened in Samoa this morning.

The coalition of nature conservation partners works to improve collaboration and coordination towards effective conservation action in the Pacific region.

Close to 100 participants will discuss effective biodiversity conservation as the key frontline response to climate change.

Opening the meeting at the Development Bank Building in Apia today, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Government of Samoa, Hon. Faumuina Tiatia Liuga asked that participants not only focus on climate change but also recognise the importance of other environment concerns such as biodiversity conservation.

“While climate change is perceived as a hot topic on the international agenda, don’t lose sight of other environment issues in our region. Nature conservation is important and it is linked to our cultures and traditions.”

2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity which underlies the importance of the meeting of the Pacific islands roundtable for nature conservation. Nations around the world are expected to have met key international targets for biodiversity loss as agreed to by Heads of State at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable development to halt biodiversity loss by 2010. The Pacific has adopted the theme “Value Biodiversity – It’s our Life” to celebrate this year.

Mr. Taholo Kami, Chair of the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation and IUCN Oceania Regional Director, welcomed participants to the regional meeting and urged them to also celebrate good conservation efforts in the region.

“We haven’t come close to reaching the 2010 target to have a declining biodiversity loss and climate change hovers as a threat and challenges us as Pacific islanders with our livelihoods and as conservationists. From this meeting we should have exciting outcomes as we look at the link between biodiversity and conservation and take time to learn from each other in the region. “

Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation partners have been encouraged to sign a charter outlining their commitment to the 2008 to 2010 Action Strategies and Principles adopted at the 8th Pacific Nature Conservation and Protected Areas conference held in Alotau, Papua New Guinea in 2007. 13 key partners have now signed this charter.

This week the 2010 Round Table meeting aims at setting longer term priorities for the next 10 years which will be consolidated to develop as priorities for the next Action Strategy for 2013 to 2017. The role of biodiversity as a climate change solution may be reflected in the coming priorities.

Mr David Sheppard the Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) during his keynote speech on Climate change and Natural solutions outlined that effective biodiversity conservation is the key frontline response to climate change.

“We need to develop more effective links between climate change and biodiversity as well as Pacific solutions to Pacific problems. Nature based solutions to climate change should be given more emphasis.”

The conference ends on Friday with a presentation of meeting outcomes and resolutions. Participants are meeting in the Development Bank of Samoa in Apia and they represent nature conservation and development organisations, governments, inter-government, donor agencies, Pacific governments and community groups with an interest in Nature Conservation.

Source: www.sprep.org/article/news_detail.asp?id=797

 www.solomontimes.com/news.aspx?nw…

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 13th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010 10:31 AM
Bottom-UP- Approach
BY GEORGE SAEMANE FROM HONIARA

 www.solomontimes.com/letter.aspx?…
Thank you Dr. Tara for your analytical and thought provoking article that painted the true picture of the last four years.

I pledge no addition or edition of your opinion but simply to ask those who are intending to contest the next election not to hide behind politic rhetoric to confuse the voters to vote for you.

Please give us a clear definition of how our villages are going to included in your plan and do not cover it with pictures of utopia because we know things will get tougher.

We want people who can distinguish between their entitlements and public money.

Marginalization of the villages in meaningful development of villages is an old issue, we have hoped to instill change in the previous elections but failed.

Most new MPs who we banked on were caught unprepared by, gold, glory and you name it.

In this election the loudest voice calling for change are the existing politicians and they are doing this by forming Political Parties left, right and center. Is this not a political ploy to divid us to vote them in, only to find that they throw their different colors and wear the same coats we see in the last house?

Old times we know your works and some a below satisfactory, you have nothing to prove cause your history has already proven who you are and what you are capable of doing.

New Kids on the Block, please if you are going to represent us then go in and do not be lured by power,money and entertainment. We want our villages to have good water supply, sanitation, improved housing, road systems and skills to run our canteens, grow our cocoa, coconut plantations etc. We want to be players in the economic activities in this nation.

We believe you have enough money to achieve the above in the next 12 years if our friend in need and indeed Taiwan continues t help us

Please do not confuse us in the name of dialogue by linking us with the Arab league, they have enough internal problems. Please do not allow us to bear part of their problem. History has shown over and over again that money is linked to human resource.

Old Timers there is still time for you to change your attitudes to deserve our votes. There is room for improvements

New candidates you must be a changed person to induce change . For we can only offer what we have.

Let us forget about “Bottom up Approach”, Rural Advancement” and Rural Development to talk more about Village Development, after all Solomon Islands is made up of villages.

God Bless our villages and Solomon Islands.

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Wednesday, July 07, 2010 8:21 PM
Green Party Charter
BY PAUL DRAKE FROM NEW ZEALAND

 www.solomontimes.com/letter.aspx?…
Dear Editor; a couple of weeks ago I wrote to the Solomon Times suggesting that a Solomon Island Green Party be formed.

I have had quite a few enquiries for the Green Party (NZ) constitution from Solomon Islanders in Brisbane, Wellington Taiwan and Japan and I hope they take the initiative and form a SIGP by the next election.

I have read a very good letter from Travis Kalione advising voters to steer clear of candidates making promises. I agree promises are cheap!

Those standing for parliament, however should state very clearly what they stand for; eg. Labour or business etc.
“A man who does not stand for something.
Will fall for anything”
G.K. Chesterton.

This is the Aotearoa New Zealand Charter:

The charter is the founding document of the Green Party of Aotearoa , New Zealand.

The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand accepts Te Tiriti o Waitangi [The Treaty of Waitangi] as the founding document of Aotearoa NZ; recognises Maori as Tangata Whenua in Aotearoa NZ; and commits to the following four principles.
[Tangata Whenua; means the 1st people of the land]

Ecological Wisdom:
The basis of ecological wisdom is that human beings are a part of the natural world.
This world is finite, therefore unlimited material growth is impossible. Ecological sustainability is paramount.

Social Responsibility:
Unlimited material growth is impossible; therefore the key to social responsibility is the just distribution of social and natural resourses, both locally and globally.

Appropriate Decision Making:
For the implementation of ecological wisdom and social responsibility, decisions will be made directly at the appropriate level by those affected.

Non Violence:
Non violent conflict resolution is the process by which ecological wisdom, social responsibility and appropriate decision making will be implemented. This principle applies at all levels.

The above is the Greens philosophy in a nut shell, the constitution is an elaboration of the above.

The Charter is simply a declaration of what a party or individual stands for.

The above document can be used as a good yard stick to measure the other parties in the coming election.

Any more inquiries are welcome you can e-mail me at ekard at slingshot.co.nz

God bless

Paul Drake

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010 10:20 AM
SI Independence Celebrated in Adelaide, South Australia
BY APOLLOS KALIALAHA IN ADELAIDE

The highlights on the occasion were the Warriors welcome performed by the community’s men and the community’s Children singing the two National Anthems of Solomon Islands and Australia.

The Solomon Islands Community in Adelaide, South Australia, has celebrated the Solomon Islands 32nd Independence Day on the 10th July, 2010.

It was a real Pacific Island atmosphere, as those took part and attended included friends from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, North Solomons, Tuvalu and Tongan communities. Others were friends, in-laws and Ex-RAMSI officers.

The two special guests on the occasion were the South Australian Lieutenant Governor Mr Hieu Van Le and the Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Australia His Excellency Mr. Beraki Gino. The Governor in his speech spoke highly of the effort that the Solomon Islands community has put together to register their community in the Multicultural Community of South Australia.

In his capacity as Chairman of South Australian Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission, the Governor has pledged his support for the Solomon Islands Community just as any newly formed community in South Australia. Solomon Islands High Commission to Australia His Excellency Mr. Beraki Gino has congratulated the group and thanked them for inviting him to this historical event.

“Because this is the first official event the community has hosted since becoming a community last year, it was indeed an honor to be part of the celebration,” he said.

As guest of honor he cut the Solomon Islands birthday cake, kindly donated by a PNG family who are very close to the SI community. The High Commissioner hosted a breakfast with the Solomon Islands community before catching his flight back to Canberra the next day.

The highlights on the occasion were the Warriors welcome performed by the community’s men and the community’s Children singing the two National Anthems of Solomon Islands and Australia. Food for the night was an Island dinner menu, something that really impressed most of the guests.

President of the Solomon Islands Wantok Association of South Australia, Apollos Kalialaha thanked the Solomon Islands community and guests for their attendance.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 10th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria (Spanish pronunciation: [mi?t?el ?at?e?let]; born September 29, 1951) is a moderate socialist politician who was President of Chile from 11 March 2006 to 11 March 2010—the first woman president in the country’s history.

She won the 2006 presidential election in a runoff, beating center-right US dollar billionaire businessman and former senator Sebastián Piñera with 53.5% of the vote.

She campaigned on a platform of continuing Chile’s free-market policies, while increasing social benefits to help reduce the gap between rich and poor, one of the largest in the world.

Bachelet, a pediatrician and epidemiologist with studies in military strategy, served as Health Minister and Defense Minister under President Ricardo Lagos.

Bachelet is the second child of archaeologist Ángela Jeria Gómez and Air Force Brigadier General Alberto Bachelet Martínez.

Facing growing food shortages, the government of Salvador Allende placed Bachelet’s father in charge of the Food Distribution Office. When General Augusto Pinochet came to power in the September 11, 1973 coup, General Bachelet, refusing exile, was detained at the Air War Academy under charges of treason. Following months of daily torture at Santiago’s Public Prison, on March 12, 1974, he suffered a cardiac arrest that resulted in his death. On January 10, 1975, Bachelet and her mother were detained at their apartment by two DINA agents, who blindfolded them and drove them to Villa Grimaldi, a notorious secret detention center in Santiago, where they were separated and submitted to interrogation and torture.[13] Some days later they were transferred to Cuatro Álamos (“Four Poplars”) detention center, where they were held until the end of January. Later in 1975, thanks to sympathetic connections in the military, both were exiled to Australia, where Bachelet’s older brother Alberto had moved in 1969.

Her paternal great-great-grandfather, Louis-Joseph Bachelet Lapierre, was a French wine merchant from Chassagne-Montrachet who emigrated to Chile with his Parisian wife, Françoise Jeanne Beault, in 1860 hired as a wine-making expert by the Subercaseaux vineyards in southern Santiago.

In February 1979, Bachelet returned to Santiago, Chile from East Germany. Her medical school credits from the GDR were not transferred, forcing her to resume her studies from where she had left off before fleeing the country. [citation needed] She graduated as M.D. on January 7, 1983. She wished to work in the public sector wherever attention was most needed, applying for a position as general practitioner; her petition was, however, rejected by the military government on “political grounds.” Instead, because of her academic performance and published papers, she earned a scholarship to specialize in pediatrics and public health at Roberto del Río Children’s Hospital (1983–1986). During this time she also worked at PIDEE (Protection of Children Injured by States of Emergency Foundation), a non-governmental organization helping children of the tortured and missing in Santiago and Chillán. She was head of the foundation’s Medical Department between 1986 and 1990. Some time after her second child with Dávalos, Francisca Valentina, was born in February 1984, she and her husband legally separated. She is a separated mother of three and describes herself as an agnostic.

In 1990, after democracy was restored in Chile, Bachelet worked for the Ministry of Health’s West Santiago Health Service and was a consultant for the Pan-American Health Organization, the World Health Organization and the German Corporation for Technical Cooperation.

Driven by an interest in civil-military relations, in 1996 Bachelet began studies in military strategy at the National Academy for Strategic and Policy Studies (Anepe) in Chile, obtaining first place in her class.[2] Her student achievement earned her a presidential scholarship, permitting her to continue her studies in the United States at the Inter-American Defense College in Washington, D.C., completing a Continental Defense Course in 1998. That same year she returned to Chile to work for the Defense Ministry as Senior Assistant to the Defense Minister. She subsequently graduated from a Master’s program in military science at the Chilean Army‘s War Academy.

In 1996 Bachelet ran against future presidential adversary Joaquín Lavín for the mayorship of Las Condes, a wealthy Santiago suburb and a right-wing stronghold. Lavín won the 22-candidate election with nearly 78% of the vote, while she finished fourth at 2.35%. At the 1999 presidential primary of Coalition of Parties for Democracy (CPD), Chile’s governing coalition since 1990, she worked for Ricardo Lagos’s nomination, heading the Santiago electoral zone.

On March 11, 2000 Bachelet—virtually unknown at the time—was appointed Minister of Health by President Ricardo Lagos. She began an in-depth study of the public health-care system that led to the AUGE plan a few years later. She was also given the task of eliminating waiting lists in the saturated public hospital system within the first 100 days of Lagos’s government. She reduced waiting lists by 90%, but was unable to eliminate them completely and offered her resignation, which was promptly rejected by the President.  Controversially,  she allowed free distribution of the morning-after pill for victims of sexual abuse.

On January 7, 2002 Bachelet was appointed Defense Minister, becoming the first woman to hold this post in a Latin American country and one of the few in the world. While Minister of Defense she promoted reconciliatory gestures between the military and victims of the dictatorship, culminating in the historic 2003 declaration by General Juan Emilio Cheyre, head of the army, that “never again” would the military subvert democracy in Chile.  She also oversaw a reform of the military pension system and continued with the process of modernization of the Chilean armed forces with the purchasing of new military equipment, while engaging in international peace operations.

A moment which has been cited as key to Bachelet’s chances to the presidency came during a flood in northern Santiago where she, as Defense Minister, led a rescue operation on top of an amphibious tank, wearing a cloak and military cap.

In late 2004, following a surge of her popularity in opinion polls, Bachelet was established as the only CPD figure able to defeat Lavín, and she was asked to become the Socialists’ candidate for the presidency.

According to The Economist magazine the government of Bachelet opted to make social protection and the promotion of equality of opportunity her main priority. Since becoming President, her government built 3,500 crèches daycare for poorer children. It introduced a universal minimum state pension and extended free health care to cover many serious conditions.
A new housing policy aimed at abolishing the last remaining shanty-towns in Chile by 2010 featured grants to the poorest families. Some of them had to pay just US$400 for a house costing about US$20,000.

In October 2009 Ms Bachelet’s popularity peaked at 80 percent according to a public opinion poll by conservative polling institute Adimark GfK., and in March 2010 she showed an approval rating of 84%, and in terms of specific characteristics attributed to Chile’s president, ‘loved by Chileans’ reached a record 96%.

The Chilean Constitution does not allow a president to serve two consecutive terms, so Bachelet left office in March 2010.

Chile’s October 16, 2006 vote in the United Nations Security Council election—with Venezuela and Guatemala deadlocked in a bid for the two-year, non-permanent Latin American and Caribbean seat on the Security Council — developed into a major ideological issue in the country, and was seen as a test for Bachelet. The governing coalition was divided between the Socialists, who supported a vote for Venezuela, and the Christian Democrats, who strongly opposed it. The day before the vote the president announced (through her spokesman) that Chile would abstain, citing as reason a lack of regional consensus over a single candidate, ending months of speculation.

Continuing the coalition’s free-trade strategy, in August 2006 Bachelet promulgated a free trade agreement with the People’s Republic of China (signed under the previous administration of Ricardo Lagos), the first Chinese free-trade agreement with a Latin American nation; similar deals with Japan and India were promulgated in August 2007. In October 2006, Bachelet promulgated a multilateral trade deal with New Zealand, Singapore and Brunei, the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (P4),  also signed under Lagos’ presidency.  She also held free-trade talks with other countries, including Australia, VietnamTurkey and Malaysia. Regionally, she signed bilateral free trade agreements with Panama, Peru and Colombia.

At the beginning of 2010 Chile became the OECD’s 31st member, and its first in South America. This acceptance for OECD membership marked international recognition of nearly two decades of democratic reform and sound economic policies; for the OECD, Chile’s membership was a major milestone in its mission to build a stronger, cleaner and fairer global economy

She speaks Spanish (her native language), English, German, Portuguese and French.

In 2009 Forbes magazine ranked her as the 22nd in the list of the 100 most powerful women in the world (she was #25 in 2008, #27 in 2007, and #17 in 2006). In 2008, TIME magazine ranked her 15 on its list of the world’s 100 most influential people.

Eleanor Clift wrote on politicsdaily.com on June 10, 2010 that Michelle Bachelet moved the Chilean Government from Macho – to – Maternal. She was clearly the best qualified person to establish and head the new UN institution that was baptized with the terrible name UNWOMEN. And you know what, letting into the UN building a highly qualified person may endanger the minions working there. That, is what doomed on me today, this because I also learned an additional fact about Bachellet’s Chile, and that is why I write this UPDATE.

 www.politicsdaily.com/2010/06/10/…

The additional fact I learned today came from reading material that will appear in an Energy Management Magazine Published in India. The article is by – Ms. Jimena Bronfman, Vice Minister of Energy, Chile , and it deals with Chile moving into leadership position on energy issues – and you guessed right if you said that Dr. Bachelet started this. In effect the Ministry of Energy – which for Chile is a Ministry of Energy Efficiency – was set up at the end of her days in the Presidential Office. We are sure that this was not an easy task to fulfill – but we are sure that it will be one of her most important legacies. We know that Energy Efficiency is not a top priority of the G77 real on-going leadership and this, more then anything else, explains the diatribe we described in our original posting which we updated now.

The creation of the Ministry of Energy in February 1st 2010 is an important milestone in this process. The law that is the basis for Chile’s current institutional framework also includes the creation of the Chilean Energy Efficiency Agency, a public private entity that will implement the public policies designed by the Energy Efficiency Division of the Ministry.

Energy Efficiency is one of the main goals of Chile’s national energy policy, families are changing their habits and industries, corporations and local governments are trying to reduce their energy consumption by adopting energy-efficient measures. This fostering environment was recently faced by the February 27th earthquake and tsunami that devastated several regions of our country. We have taken this catastrophe as an opportunity and a challenge to rebuild our towns and cities using energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The Ministry of Energy is working with other ministries, such as the Ministry of Housing, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education to include energy efficiency measures and non-conventional renewable energies in the reconstruction of health and education infrastructure and emergency housing. We are also developing a pilot project to rebuild a town with the leading best practices in sustainability and energy consumption, so it can be replicated in other parts of the region and world.

Energy Efficiency is key to Chile’s competitiveness and economic growth. According to studies carried out before the earthquake, energy efficiency measures could help reduce Chile’s energy demand by around 14% by 2020. This would have a positive financial impact in the reconstruction process, as public funds saved by reduction of energy consumption can be reallocated to other priorities of the rebuilding program.

Energy Efficiency will also help Chile, whose economy is based on exports, to reduce its carbon footprint and be competitive in a world that is increasingly carbon-conscious. Although Chile’s contribution to global greenhouse emissions is low compared to many other nations, our wines, copper, fruits, fish and wood products are sold in developed markets that will require sustainable production processes.

In order to achieve our goals we are currently developing the Energy Efficiency Strategy for 2020. At the moment a draft proposal is being reviewed by key actors from the private and the public sectors who will be involved in the actual implementation of the strategy. The main objective of this process is to promote a broad discussion of the specific proposals, introduce appropriate improvements and gain comprehensive support for the energy saving goals contemplated in the strategy.  The official version of the E3 will be published after completion of this discussion period, hopefully by the end of November 2010.

Other challenges for this year include the implementation of the rest of our institutional framework, which will be completed by the creation of the Chilean Energy Efficiency Agency, a public-private non-profit entity that will implement the Ministry’s public policies. It will be funded mainly through public funds but will include private sector representatives in its board. The focus of the Agency’s work will be guided by the E3 strategy; however, we shall also aim at developing other important projects such as education. We strongly believe that a crucial driver for change in these matters is highly-skilled human resources. Therefore, education in schools, undergraduate and post-graduate education is needed to introduce strong energy efficiency programs. Other important aspects of energy efficiency lie in smart-grid and net-metering programs.

Another main priority for 2010 is the development of energy efficiency labelling for cars, new houses and domestic appliances. Labelling is currently mandatory for refrigerators and light bulbs, and we aim to expand this initiative so consumers have all the information available to make the right decisions.

We also want to continue growing our international alliances and cooperation. We have already executed collaboration agreements with several countries and organizations worldwide, and we will work to strengthen and deepen those relationships. Energy Efficiency is a global effort that can be fostered by exchanging best practices that will benefit consumers, industries and countries all over the world.

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The China and Developing States, the full name of the G77 that purports speaking for 130 out of the 192 UN Member States, is a UN charade – simply, because there never was a common interest among all these various States Now, with China becoming at least a G2 with the United States, if not the straight Global Economic Super power, for her to use the leadership of this rag-tag bunch and push into leadership positions at the UN – Libya, Zimbabwe, Sudan etc. resulted in turning the whole UN into a laughable enterprise. Bravo to little Palau that walked out on this continuous obstructionist committee circuit that calls for time-out whenever the UN tries to reach some decision. We watched them at climate Change meetings where Saudi Arabia is their representative.

Perhaps there was once s difference between the industrialized European  – North American countries plus Japan, and the rest of the world – this when the UN was created and the decolonizing process was giving birth to many new UN Member States – in effect multiplying by three the total number of global independent States, but since then much has changed.

The Latin ABC, Mexico, Korea, Turkey, India, Indonesia, South Africa have all knocked successfully at the corporate doors of development and entered the G20. The OECD club includes most of these G20 plus most EU States and Israel that is a perpetual  G77 pariah. They have now real interests to defend and not much time for posturing – so we will see slowly a realignment also at the UN. OK, China and South Africa will not want to give up their positions as leaders of the 130. It keeps some of their diplomats in the circuit and the UN will continue the fiction, but how long hence that the AOSIS/SIDS will still play this game? When will they see that Palau was indeed a trailblazer? Will the lack of action on Climate Change by some of the major OECD members who effectively joined the Saudis in opposing real action on climate, push these States back into the G77 arms?

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THURSDAY, JULY 08, 2010
Chile Threatens to Split South Unity in World Body.
Thalif Deen

 ipsterraviva.net/UN/currentNew.as…

UNITED NATIONS, Jul 7 (IPS) – The Group of 77 (G77) has historically maintained a united front, vociferously protecting the economic interests of developing countries at the United Nations. But its longstanding solidarity is now being threatened by the continued presence of a single Latin American country which recently joined the ranks of a rich elitist group.

Chile, which was formally inducted last May into the 30-member Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), described as an exclusive club of industrial nations, has given no indications of leaving the G77, thereby triggering a sharp division of opinion among its 130 members. “Chile wants to have it both ways,” one G77 member told IPS, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It wants to have one foot in the OECD and another in the G77. But this is unacceptable to some of us.”

When Mexico and South Korea broke ranks with the developing world and joined the Paris-based OECD back in 1994 and 1996, respectively, both countries quit the G77, the largest single coalition of developing countries at the United Nations.

Chakravarti Raghavan, editor emeritus of the Geneva-based South-North Development Monitor published by the Third World Network, told IPS if Chile does not voluntarily quit the G77, the group must find a way around its longstanding convention of consensus decisions, and “politely but firmly throw Chile out”.

“This will be in line with the spirit and the intentions behind the formation of the Group of 77 and its functioning over all these years,” he added.

“It is probably about time that the G77 being an informal grouping expel Chile – on the simple ground that you can’t belong to two different groupings,” said Raghavan, who is considered a foremost authority on the G77, and who has written extensively about the Group since its inception in June 1964.

“It is my impression that Mexico, when it joined OECD, initially wanted to be in both camps, but was told it was not possible,” he added.

On North-South economic issues at the United Nations, the G77 and the OECD hold diametrically opposite views – most or all of the time.

The OECD is home to some of the world’s major economic powers, including the United States, Britain, Germany, France and Japan. Most of the emerging economic powers, including Brazil, India, China and South Africa, are longstanding members of the G77 and not members of the OECD.

But according to the OECD, it is planning to have discussions with Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa – all active members of the G77 – “with a view to possible membership”.

The G77 has lost four other members over the years: Cyprus and Malta (both in May 1994) and Romania (January 2007) when they joined the European Union.

A fourth country, Palau, a small island developing nation in the Pacific, withdrew from the G77 in June 2006, ostensibly for financial reasons.

Besides Chile, Mexico and South Korea, the OECD has also added three other non-G77 members into its ranks: Estonia, Slovenia and Israel.

Speaking off-the-record, a diplomat from a G77 country expressed a dissenting point of view when he told IPS: “There is nothing in the G77 rules or guidelines stating that an OECD member has to quit the G77.”

He said Chile is well within its rights to remain a member of the G77.

“And, while there may be a few in G77 who may not be pleased about Chile remaining in the G77, there are no serious moves afoot to push them out of the grouping,” he said. “Most of us, support Chile remaining in the G77. There will be strong resistance from a number of us if anyone tries to eject Chile from the G77.”

And as an after-thought, he added: “The OECD had made leaving the G77 a condition for Mexico’s entry into the OECD. However, when Chile was applying to the OECD, there was no such condition.”

Moreover, he said, Mexico stated that leaving the G77 should not be a condition for Chile’s entry.

Another G77 delegate told IPS that if Chile does not voluntarily leave the Group, as Mexico and South Korea did in previous years, a divided G77 may be forced to take a decision either way.

Meanwhile the former G8 – the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia – has been expanded into the G20 to include seven developing nations (besides Australia, Mexico, South Korea, Turkey and the European Union).

The seven developing countries – Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa – are still members of the G77.

Chile has argued that G77 members that belong to the G20 should be considered in the same light as G77 members belonging to the OECD. But the G20 is not considered a formal body like the OECD, which is treaty-based and whose decisions are binding on all its members.

According to an OECD statement, the invitation to Chile to become the Organisation’s 31st member came at a time when the OECD is expanding its relations with the region.

As an OECD member, Chile will participate in all areas of the OECD’s work, from economic and financial policy to education, employment and social affairs. It will also join with other OECD countries to share experiences and best practices, setting new standards and developing new governance mechanisms for its economy and society more broadly.

The statement said that during two years of accession negotiations, Chile was reviewed by some 20 OECD committees with respect to OECD instruments, standards and benchmarks.

The invitation to take up membership confirms that Chile is taking appropriate steps to reform its economy including in the areas of corporate governance, anti-corruption, and environmental protection, the statement said.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 1st, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The Reuters title says: “Rich-Poor Rifts Stall Progress At U.N. Climate Talks.” But really – this is not a “Rich and Poor” issues. In effect on both sides are the rich – perhaps it would br more fitting to talk of old rich and new rich that were made rich because the old rich do not perform up to their needs. There are many sides to this and eventually a solution will be found with US and China agreeing on a pact first. Now we hear of the US, the ALBA group, the SIDS, Southern Africa as the initial players. You bet that Saudi Arabia will throw more sticks into the spikes to help (?) the poor. We understand that of the 192-194 potential participants, this feast has 185 present. We note with interest that Germany in particular, and we assume with it the whole EU mechanism, will try to pay back the US for having been left outside the room in Copenhagen and will go their own way to fluster the US. We believe that the meek will have to lead and we mean the Small Island States. We will also watch carefully where Costa Rica will come down in the US – ALBA contest. This because coming July 1, 2010 it will be Christiana Figueres who takes over the UNFCCC mantle from Yvo de Boer.

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The June 1, 2010 Reuters reporting by Gerard Wynn Date: 01-Jun-10 from Bonn:

U.N. climate talks opened on Monday, exposing familiar rifts between rich and poor countries which delegates said were likely to delay a re-start of formal negotiations.

The 185-nation Bonn conference, which will run until June 11, is the biggest international meeting on climate change since a summit last December in Copenhagen failed to agree a new pact.

Several countries {the ALBA and more} said they could not give a green light to formal negotiations on a new text published in mid-May and which outlines a huge range of options for fighting climate change.

The Copenhagen summit last year struggled to overcome suspicion on how to share global effort to curb greenhouse gases under a new deal to succeed the Kyoto Protocol after 2012.

On Monday differences re-emerged when a clutch of Latin American countries {the ALBA – our addition} said they could not start negotiations on the new text.

The United States said it did not think the new text was intended as a basis for negotiations and South Africa said the document put too much burden on developing countries.

The Latin American group including Bolivia, Venezuela and Cuba said on Monday that the new text placed too much emphasis on the Copenhagen accord, which they opposed in December.

“The chair has prioritized the Copenhagen Accord,” said Rene Gonzalo Orellana Halkyer, a member of the Bolivian delegation, speaking on the sidelines of the talks in Bonn.

Bolivia also wanted tougher targets, for example to return atmospheric greenhouse gases to a level far below where they are already, he added.

The Copenhagen Accord seeks to limit a rise in average world temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) over pre-industrial times but does not spell out how.

Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe of Zimbabwe chairs the U.N. talks on forging agreement on global action and is expected to release a revised version next weekend, delegates said.

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FIRST STEP

The United States said it believed Mukahanana-Sangarwe’s text was not intended to be the basis of negotiations.

“Our view is that the text is Margaret’s effort to elicit views so she can develop a formal negotiating text,” said Jonathan Pershing, head of the U.S. delegation. “It’s a constructive next step.”

It remained to be seen whether countries can start negotiations on a revised text in the next two weeks, he told Reuters.

The head of the South African delegation, Alf Wills, said the new text focused too far on cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by developing countries.

“It’s completely unbalanced in that respect,” he said.

However Karsten Sach, head of Germany’s delegation, said: “We think it is a basis for negotiation.”

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An additional, specific gap to be addressed at the Bonn talks was whether or not developed countries should be allowed to exclude from their national greenhouse gases carbon emissions from chopping trees to produce renewable energy.

That rule, allowed under the existing Kyoto Protocol, would represent “fraudulent accounting,” said the head of Papua New Guinea’s delegation, Kevin Conrad.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 7th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The SIDS just cannot be told that their consumption is a reason for their suffering from climate change. If their islands go under it is not because of their sins, but because of our way of life – right here in New York, in Beijing and in Brussels, Johannesburg, Tokyo, New Delhi, Sao Paulo and in most developed and developing countries. The Commission on Sustainable Development makes sense for them only if it is ready to talk about climate change. For the SIDS, the avoidance of global warming caused by us is a matter of survival for them. That is why they practically walked out from the G-77 – this because the concept of development – if not sustainable – is poison to the SIDS. On the other side, some of the developing countries still think in terms of “development for us” is an indisputable or inalienable right.

Vanuatu, the Maldives, and Grenada are breaking the UN taboo that keeps Sustainable Development and Climate Change on different tracks, and will burst into the proceedings on Monday May 10th. Will UNSG Ban Ki-moon listen to what they have to say? Will he listen to their advice when picking his new Climate Chief?

We will not be there because the UN DPI is not interested in our coverage. In effect, some three years ago, when Ambassador Angus Friday of Grenada brought me in to this same kind of Press Conference, as the SIDS and AOSIS had at that time, he was reprimanded by UN officials Ahmad Fawzi and Gary Fowley who did not think that coverage has to go beyond the few UN journalists they blessed with their accreditation. Climate change or sustainable development was just a matter for the unruly NGOs they thought. Luckily not all the world goes by censorship rules of Egypt or China, but the success of this kind of rules brought down the UN to its present low relevance and when it comes to reporting on what goes on in this world.

Nevertheless, we bring here the announcement of that Press Conference as interested readers could follow on the webcast, what eventually will be said by the Small Islands, and we will have also material on the SIDS position that we will try to obtain directly from them.

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Press Conference on the challenges facing Small Island Developing States
18th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development – 10 May 2010

WHAT:         Commission on Sustainable Development to discuss challenges facing Small Island Developing States

WHO:       The Honorable Sela Molisa, Minister of Finance and Economic Management, Republic of Vanuatu;

H.E. Amjad Abdullah, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives

H.E. Ambassador Dessima Williams, Permanent Representative, Grenada

WHEN:                 Monday, 10 May 2010 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE:                 Library Auditorium, United Nations Headquarters

BACKGROUND :

Small Island Developing States are very vulnerable and face unique and special challenges. Their social, economic and natural systems are among the most at risk in the world. The main question being discussed at the current session of the Commission on Sustainable Development is how to move from disaster management towards sustainable development.

The press conference will focus on the special vulnerabilities of SIDS, such as those to climate change and natural disasters. They will also focus on ways to address these challenges through international cooperation efforts, platforms and mechanisms, such as those offered by the five-year review process of the Mauritius Strategy of Implementation.

Leading up to this meeting, one full day (10 May) during this Commission on Sustainable Development will be devoted to discussing preparations and ensuring that the key issues at the heart of the sustainable development challenge of SIDS are addressed.

Live webcast: www.un.org

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 3rd, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The problem was the 51 cents/gallon of ethanol from sugar-cane tariff, the US imposes against imports from international producers of bioethanol – so they do not compete with US agro-ethanol.

We are cynics by nature and wonder if the release today has anything to do with Shell Oil Company having announced last weekend that they will invest over a billion dollars in the production of sugar-cane ethanol in Brazil. So, did we have to wait until an oil company steps heavily into this area – so we finally allow US door to be opened to a non-petroleum liquid fuel?

WE ARE VERY PARTIAL TO THIS TOPIC BECAUSE BACK IN 1978 AT UNIDO IN VIENNA, AND IN 1979 IN NEW ORLEANS, I WAS PERSONALLY INVOLVED IN BRINGING THIS SUBJECT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE LIQUID FUEL HUNGRY WESTERN WORLD. IN VIENNA WE SHOWED THE CUBAN EXPERIENCE AT A UN – AUSTRIA – SWEDEN EVENT. IN NEW ORLEANS THIS WAS “THE FIRST INTER-AMERICAN CONFERENCE ON RENEWABLE SOURCES OF ENERGY” THAT I HELPED ORGANIZE. OBVIOUSLY – TO LOUISIANA WE COULD NOT BRING THE CUBANS – BUT BRAZIL, ARGENTINA AND MANY OTHERS WERE PRESENT UNDER THE FRIENDLY EYES OF THE US DEPARTMENT OF STATE. ETHANOL BECAME A RECOGNIZED FUEL, BUT US AGRICULTURE MADE SURE IT WILL BE US CORN AS FEEDSTOCK. WE COULD NOT EVEN GET PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT FOR IMPORTS FROM FRIENDLY COUNTRIES BECAUSE OIL AND AGRICULTURE – SOME OF THE STRONGEST LOBBIES IN WASHINGTON – WOULD NOT ALLOW IT , EVEN AFTER THE INTERVENTION OF US REPUBLICAN SENATORS LIKE FRANK CHURCH, JACOB JAVITS, CHARLES PERCY – SO WHAT WILL IT BE NOW? WILL THOSE TARIFFS COME OFF?

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EPA Reaffirms Sugarcane Biofuel is Advanced Renewable Fuel with 61% Less Emissions than Gasoline.
Brazil Sugarcane Update – Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Welcomes U.S. EPA’s Renewable Fuels Rules.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed that ethanol made from sugarcane is a low carbon renewable fuel, which can contribute significantly to the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As part of today’s announcement finalizing regulations for the implementation of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2), the EPA designated sugarcane ethanol as an advanced biofuel that lowers GHG emissions by more than 50%.

“The EPA’s decision underscores the many environmental benefits of sugarcane ethanol and reaffirms how this low carbon, advanced renewable fuel can help the world mitigate against climate change while diversifying America’s energy resources,” said Joel Velasco, Chief Representative in Washington for the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA).

Sugarcane ethanol is a renewable fuel refined from cane that grows typically in tropical climates. Compared to other types of ethanol available today, using sugarcane ethanol to power cars and trucks yields greater reductions in greenhouse gases and is usually much cheaper for drivers to purchase. Brazil has replaced more than half of its fuel needs with sugarcane ethanol – making gasoline the alternative fuel in that country and ethanol the standard.  Many observers point to sugarcane ethanol as a good option for diversifying U.S. energy supplies, increasing healthy competition among biofuel manufacturers and improving America’s energy security.

The RFS2 will help the United States meet energy security and greenhouse gas reduction goals sought by the Energy Security and Independence Act of 2007 (EISA). The new regulations establish minimum biofuels consumption in the U.S. of more than 12 billion gallons (45 billion liters) in 2010, rising to 36 billion gallons (136 billion liters) in 2022, of which 21 billion gallons per year would have to be one of three types of advanced biofuels: cellulosic, biomass diesel, and “other advanced,” that meet required GHG reduction thresholds as determined by the EPA.

Today, EPA affirmed that sugarcane ethanol meets the “other advanced” category in the RFS2, although with a GHG reduction level that exceeds the requirement for all categories as well.  Specifically, EPA’s calculations show that sugarcane ethanol from Brazil reduces GHG emissions compared to gasoline by 61%, using a 30-year payback for indirect land use change (iLUC) emissions.

“We are pleased that EPA took the time to improve the regulations, particularly by more accurately quantifying the full lifecycle greenhouse emission reductions of biofuels. EPA’s reaffirmation of sugarcane ethanol’s superior GHG reduction confirms that sustainably-produced biofuels can play a important role in climate mitigation. Perhaps this recognition will sway those who have sought to raise trade barriers against clean energy here in the U.S. and around the world. Sugarcane ethanol is a first generation biofuel with third generation performance,” noted Velasco.

Last year, UNICA submitted comments to EPA with abundant scientifically credible evidence showing that – even including indirect emissions – sugarcane ethanol has a reduction of GHG emissions of 73-82% compared with gasoline, on a 30- or 100-year time horizon respectively. The RFS2 requires the use of at least 4 billion gallons (over 15 billion liters) of “other advanced” renewable fuels a year by 2022. In 2010, the RFS requires 200 million gallons of this type of advanced renewable fuels.

“While we are reviewing the final rule, it is clear that EPA has incorporated many of the comments that UNICA and other stakeholders made during the public process. EPA should be congratulated for the way it upheld the Obama’s goals of transparency and scientific integrity in the environmental rulemaking. And we hope that other governments should take note of the manner that EPA has handled this process,” concluded Velasco.

Brazil is a leader in the production of sugarcane ethanol, which is widely considered as the most efficient biofuel available today. In 2009, Brazil produced over 7 billion gallons of sugarcane ethanol, most of which is used in Brazil in flex fuel vehicles. As a result of Brazil’s innovative use of sugarcane ethanol in transportation and biomass for cogeneration, sugarcane is the leading source of renewable energy in the nation, representing 16% of the country’s total energy needs. In fact, gasoline has become the alternative in Brazil, reducing the country’s dependence on fossil fuels lowering emissions. A recent study in the November 2009 edition of the journal Energy Policy indicated that since 1975, over 600 million tons of CO2 emissions have been avoided thanks to the use of ethanol in Brazil.

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ABOUT UNICA. The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) represents the
top producers of sugar and ethanol in the country’s South-Central region, especially the
state of Sao Paulo, which accounts for about 50% of the country’s sugarcane harvest
and 60% of total ethanol production. UNICA develops position papers, statistics and
specific research in support of Brazil’s sugar, ethanol and bioelectricity sectors. In 2008,
Brazil produced an estimated 565 million metric tons of sugarcane, which yielded 31.3
million tons of sugar and 25.7 billion liters (6.8 billion gallons) of ethanol, making it the
number-one sugarcane grower and sugar producer in the world, and the second-largest
ethanol producer on the planet, behind the United States.

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Brazil Hopes Shell-Cosan Can Boost Ethanol Exports

Date: 04-Feb-10, Reuters from Brazil
Author: Inae Riveras – Analysis

SAO PAULO – Brazil’s ethanol industry, which invested heavily to boost output of the cane-based biofuel, is counting on a tie-up between sugar and ethanol producer Cosan and Royal Dutch Shell Plc to revive its prospects after exports fell short of expectations.

The $21-billion-a-year ethanol joint venture announced by the two companies on Monday will enable Cosan, Brazil’s biggest ethanol maker, to move product more efficiently thanks to Shell’s global fuel distribution and retail system.

Cosan views the venture as a way to make Brazil’s ethanol a global commodity.

But whether that happens will depend largely on outside factors: whether oil is costly enough to make ethanol competitive; whether Brazil’s mills can provide a steady stream of biofuel; and whether key markets such as the United States will be more open to ethanol imports.

“Shell chose ethanol as the renewable fuel they want to be in and it chose Brazil. Whether this will mean more exports will depend on a series of circumstances beyond the companies’ control,” said ethanol expert Eduardo Pereira de Carvalho.

The slow rate of growth for ethanol exports has disappointed Brazil, where more than 450 mills joined the ethanol sector’s expansion drive in recent years.

Some analysts say any growth in ethanol exports will depend on oil prices more than other factor.

“The deal itself does not raise or reduce the economic viability of blending anhydrous ethanol in gasoline. This will be determined by the oil market,” said sugar and ethanol analyst Julio Maria Borges, director at Job Economia.

In 2008, when oil prices reached record highs of $147 per barrel, Brazil exported 5.1 billion liters of ethanol, up sharply from 3.5 billion liters the previous year. Countries simply bought more of the fuel to replace gasoline.

High oil prices together with environmental woes were then feeding discussions about a broader adoption of biofuels as an alternative to fossil fuels.

But oil prices tumbled as the global credit crisis intensified, and there was a similar decline in foreign interest for the cane-based fuel. Brazilian ethanol exports in 2009 slipped to 3.3 billion liters despite extremely low prices on the Brazilian market.

STEADY SUPPLIES, TARIFFS

If ethanol is economically viable compared to oil, however, Brazilian ethanol exports should benefit from Shell’s global infrastructure, commercial relationships and know-how.

Shell, with distribution centers and 45,000 filling stations around the world, will have access to annual supplies of 2 billion liters of Cosan ethanol.

“Shell will be able to strike long-term deals with clients around the world, something that currently hardly exists, as it will be backed by a big provider,” Borges said.

But the lack of steady supplies from Brazil, which produces 26 billion liters of ethanol a year that are mostly consumed domestically, may trouble potential long-term buyers.

Futures markets for ethanol have been incapable of minimizing producers’ risks. Deals are largely done on a spot basis — both in and outside Brazil. This makes it difficult for buyers and sellers to hedge against market volatility.

Brazil’s government has worked on ways of softening this problem by providing financing to mills to build stocks, which also smoothes out local prices over the year. But the system remains stubbornly inefficient.

“The same old problem will continue. Mills say they will expand production if there’s demand but demand will only be created if there’s the certainty of stable supplies,” said an ethanol expert based in the United States.

A U.S. tariff on imports of cane-derived ethanol is another roadblock to Brazil’s expansion goals. Some in the industry have suggested Shell’s entry into ethanol production in Brazil could mean extra pressure for removal of the tariff.

But it is not clear whether there could be a move in that direction.

“The oil industry was always against the U.S. tariff. The news is that it is now seeing a solution in cane,” said Joel Velasco, the North American representative for Brazil’s Sugarcane Industry Association, Unica.

But the announcement that the biggest-ever foray into biofuels by an oil major would happen in Brazil was a clear sign of preference for the fuel over other options.

“It’s difficult to predict (when exports could rise)… but the strategic meaning of a company the size of Shell to invest here is the most important point,” Carvalho said.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 12th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Close to the departure of President Obama on his all-important trip to Asia with stops in Tokyo November 12th, Singapore November 13-15, Shanghai November 15th, Beijing November 16-18, and Seoul November 18-19, the Japan Society has planned co-incidentally the event we are reporting about here.

Japan is the only original OECD member in Asia, as such Japan clearly feels justifiably it is a US prime partner in Asia. It also was clearly instrumental in nailing down the 1987 Kyoto Protocol to The Framework Convention on Climate Change, and hopes that this material will continue to be the base for future climate negotiations. That was the basis for having co-organized and hosted  the following meeting – November 10th.

————-

Copenhagen & Beyond: A Multilateral Debate about Climate Change Policy.
Green Japan Series
Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at the Japan Society, New York.

The positions and participation of Japan, China and the United States in any successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol will help determine its success or failure. In a Tuesday November 10, 2009 panel, at the Japan Society, New York, Masayoshi Arai, Director, JETRO New York, Special Advisor, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI); The Honorable Zhenmin Liu, Ambassador Extraordinary and Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations; Elliot Diringer, Vice President, International Strategies, Pew Center on Global Climate Change; and Takao Shibata, chair of the working group that drafted the Kyoto Protocol, debated the direction of international climate change policy.

It was Moderated by Jim Efstathiou, Correspondent, Bloomberg News, and co-organized by the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs

————–

Takao Shibata, who is now a Chancellor Lecturer at the University of Kansas and Japan Consul General in Kansas City,mentioed that Japan is ready to commit to a 2020 reduction of 25% in emissions provided that there is FAIR and EFFECTIVE agreement with a VIGUROUS COMPLIANCE agreement as part of it. He stressed that the problem with Kyoto was that there was no compliance paragraph in the Protocol. All it said was that we postpone decision.

The OBJECTIVE must be: THE STABILIZATION OF CO2 CONCENTRATION IN THE ATMOSPHERE rather then fighting over figures of temperature increase or concentrations in parts per milion numbers. We have already a Framework he said – the Copenhagen process should be about STABILIZATION. Later he added that we must at least agree to a 2050 position.

Mr. Masayoshi Arai, who is in New York since June 2009, with The Japaese External Trade Organization (JETRO), after having held 16 positions within Japan Government, includingthe Prime Minister’s task force that created the Japan Consumer Protection Agency, and with The Fair Trade Commission and Agency for Natural Resouces and Energy and its Research Institute, Supervised manufacturing industries in their CO2 emissions reduction, and has also an MBA from Wharton, probably because of his present government trade position, was rather careful in what he said. He said that we ned something “meaningful”  for global warming  and left the Japanese point of view to Professor Shibata.

————-

Eliot Diringer whose organization, the Washington based Pew Center, is a link between Environmentalism, industry and government made it clear that what is lacking is a legal architecture in place to deal with the problems created by climate change to which now Professor Shibata answered on the spot that the history is such that already in Berlin, later in Kyoto, the US was against a legal concept – that is a clear 15 year old problem. In Kyoto, the US Vice President came to seal the Protocol in full knowledge that it is unratifiable in Washington. Shibata does not want a repeat of this with a US that is in no position to ratify an agreement.

Diringer came back with the suggestion that he can see that Developing countries will accept self prescribed domestic reductions and will request an agreement that makes this possible for them to do so. That means a new FRAMEWORK that is more flexible then the original.

—————

Ambassador Zhenmin Liu, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the UN in New York since 2006, in charge of China’s participation on the Second Committee at the UN, with prior experience at the UN in Geneva and as Director-General of the Treaty and Law Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been involved in Climate Change negotiations for China. He was actually the only member of the panel entitled to express a national negotiating position, and he did indeed come through.

Ambassador Liu said that he cannot have now a document to replace Kyoto – this lines him up with what might be a Japanese interest, but clearly is no answer to the problems that were pointed out at why Kyoto was a failure.

But then he also said that you need a GLOBAL CAP for the GHG emissions that must then take into account, when talking about individual nations, their level of industrialization.

A certain raport evolved between him and Washingtonian Diringer.

It was agreed that there is the need for Technology Innovation, Technology Cooperation, and Technology Transfer.

Diringer said that China is very well positioning itself for the green technology economy. People in the US start to understand that the US will lose the competition for future technology and there must be a start for support in US Congress for energy action right now.

These exchanges gave me an opening to ask mty question about what goes on right now – the days that President Obama plans for his trip to Asia with a long stopover in China.

I started my question to ambassador Liu by saying that on the internet there is a lot of talk about a G-2 US-China agreement needed to jump start the Copenhagen negotiations, and I saw visually the Ambassador cringe.  to this idea of a G-2. I continued by asking that what can we expect as an outcome from the meetings in Beijing if there is anything he could tell us as we believe that some concluding material was negotiated prior to the deision for this trip considering tha this is in effect the second meeting between the leaders?

I was honored with a long answer that included several main points.

The first point is that the US has accepted Kyoto and I guess China does not want to renegotiate Kyoto.

Then, China has 20% of the world population the US only 5%, but China has only a fraction of the GDP per capita then the US, so there is no G-2 situation here. That must have been the reason for the cringing – China does not want to lose its place as leader of the underdeveloped nations.

Secondly – this is not a US – China negotiation but a negotiation for all groups.

Thirdly, there is place for clean energy cooperation, bilateral programs and projects – to jointly use clean technology.

——-

Professor Shibata added that we talk of the atmosphere where there are no national boundaries. We talk of sovereign areas only on the surface of the earth – and we must realize that the effects turn up in the air and we have no national control of the air.

Further, he said that in the west when something bad happens, the first thing we do is we sue the polluter – ask him to pay. He continued saying “I would encourage everyone to think about that.”

Mr. Diringer added that the CDM was introduced to harness market forces to get reduction of CO2 emissions at lowes cost.

——-

To summarize – it was nice for Japan to try to host a US-China debate before moves that will inevitably have to bring the US and China closer together. To follow up – let us look at President Obama’s itinerary to get further in depth to what a reorientation of the US towards Asia could mean.

Japan, South Korea, and China are trying to form an East Asia Trilateral grouping with a Free Trade Agreement among the three countries. Obviously, this will open the Chinese market to Japan and Korea and there is no way for the US, with its own effective NAFTA agreement with Canada and Mexico. Japan wants thus perhaps more then just be a pivot in US – Chiba negotiations, it rather has also to make sure that it can hold on to its own agreements with both main countries. President Obama has thus quite a few non-climate topics to talk about in his Yokyo and Seoul stops.

The second big stop is in Singapore where he will meet the 21 members of APEC: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong (part of China), Indonesia, Japan,  Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, The Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Thailand, The United States, and Viet Nam. This will be the reintroduction of the US to the Pacific region in general – an area that the locals contend was totally neglected by the US in the eight years of the Bush administration. A main point in this meeting will be to help redirect the participating economies from export to the US to supply to their local populations – this so that they help both areas – their own and the US economy as well.

Will they also consult on whom to back for the job of UN Secretary-General in 2010? That is about the time to start this sort of negotiations, and Singapore seems to be the right place to look for the best viable candidate.

Eventually, the Third leg of the trip – the stops  in China – will have to be the clear main target of the trip – as said here by Ambassador Liu, the business deals in clean energy that can underpin both economies  (US and China) so they become an example for cooperation on climate change that presents direct benefits to economies looking for sustainable growth, that is a match to the needs of the people and the climate as well –  this is what we call Sustainable Development that is mutual – for the newly industrializing nation and for the phasing out of the old polluting industries of the past.

——————

for information from President Obama’s Asian trip we recommend:

www.ft.com/obamainasia 

www.ft.com/rachmanblog

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 1st, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The following are the top 28 finalists in the Official 2009 New 7 Wonders of Nature competition – nominated from among hundreds of sites around the world that have been proposed.


see please: www.new7wonders.com/ and you can vote – for up to 7 of the 28 list – at that link.

you can vote for your choice of 7 on line, by phone, or text message. It is expected that one billion people will vote and the winner will be announced in 2011.

A similar effort two years ago elected seven manmade wonders generated considerable publicity. We backed at that time Machu Picchu, Peru

These selections are being organized by a Swiss filmmaker and entrepreneur, Bernard Weber, and the committee that chose the 28 finalists included Federico Mayor, former chief of UNESCO, and Rex Weyler, co-founder of Greenpeace International.

Like everything else that has a UN connection, obviously such selections will be politicized beyond the simple angle of national pride – just see the country called Chinese Taipei for what most call Taiwan.

In this year of climate change we thing the Amazon will get the world’s nod, but watching in Vietnam (it is Halong Bay) how a whole country can get beyond a particular location we would have said that China could muster the vote, but will they do it for Taipei?

From among the many places on the list that we have been to – I am voting as Numero Uno for the Iguazu Falls.

Country

VENEZUELA
SURINAME
PERU
GUYANA
FRENCH GUIANA
ECUADOR
COLOMBIA
BRAZIL
BOLIVIA

VENEZUELA

CANADA

GERMANY

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

IRELAND

PALESTINE
ISRAEL
JORDAN

PUERTO RICO

ECUADOR

UNITED STATES

PAPUA NEW GUINEA
AUSTRALIA

VIET NAM

BRAZIL
ARGENTINA

LEBANON

KOREA (SOUTH)

TANZANIA

INDONESIA

MALDIVES

POLAND

SWITZERLAND
ITALY

NEW ZEALAND

AZERBAIJAN

PHILIPPINES

INDIA
BANGLADESH

SOUTH AFRICA

AUSTRALIA

ITALY

CHINESE TAIPEI

From the competition on the 7 Man-made wonders – a stamp collection from Gibraltar:

For all media inquiries and interview requests, please contact:

Tia B. Viering, Head of Communications
Mobile: +41 79-762-2784
Phone: +49 89 489 033 58 (Munich office)
Email at press@n7w.com.

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