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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.

###

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 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.
———————————————————————————————————-

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 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

###

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?

—————-
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.

———

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.

—————-

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 August 16th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

WIP on our website means WORK (WRITING) IN PROGRESS – or simply unfinished article. When finished the WIP will be taken off but the article will stay in place without the UPDATED designation. Nevertheless, theses introductory lines will remain as a reminder that the article had a long birth.

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The meeting, August 15, 2008 was chaired by the Ambassador For Palau. Present were also the Ambassadors from Nauru and from Fiji. Many other Missions were represented – some of these missions have representatives on the working committee. Involved are also some of the active NGOs.

At present the sponsors of a resolution to be brought before the UN General Assembly are 11 from among the 14 Pacific Small Island Developing States – Fiji, Marshall Islands, The Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu; the Maldives and Seychelles from non-Pacific SIDS; Canada, the Philippines from among larger States. But these 15 States will pick up many more co-sponsors. Mentioned were Turkey, the EU, Austria and Iceland that have expressed their eagerness to join. There is no opposition we were told – but only some hesitation because it is seen as a new approach to the problem of the humanitarian impact of climate change that goes on already – this while in major UN institutions the debate has not led yet to action. The inhabitants of the small islands of the Pacific are the first to lose their habitat – and what we see is the eradication of UN Member States by this predictable catastrophe.

On our website we announced this encounter between the proponents of the resolution and the NGOs:

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 15th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)We also pointed out the topically relevant event at the Lincoln Center’s “Mostly Mozart Festival” when Lemi Ponifasio’s REQUIEM had its two evenings before a New York audience.The history of this special effort by the Pacific SIDS started on February 15, 2008, in a speech by Ambassador Stuart Beck of Palau, before the UN General Assembly:www.palauun.org/news_archive.cfm?news_id=189Palau Calls for Security Council Action to Protect Island Nations From Sea-Level Rise.

NEW YORK, NY,  www.islandsfirst.org February 15, 2008 — Addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations at the High Level Debate on Climate Change, H.E. Stuart Beck, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Palau, citing the “life or death” nature of sea-level rise for the world’s island nations, urged the Security Council to utilize its powers under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to address this threat to member states by imposing mandatory greenhouse gas emission standards on all member states, and utilizing the power to sanction, if necessary, to encourage compliance with such standards.

He said:
“The waters continue to rise in Palau, and everywhere else…Though this litany of disasters has become well known in these halls, no action with remedial consequences has been taken…We take this opportunity to respectfully call upon the Security Council to react to the threat which we describe. Would any nation facing an invading army not do the same?”

States reacted swiftly to the statement. This week, Ambassadors are meeting in New York to draft a General Assembly Resolution requesting Security Council intervention to prevent an aggravation of the climate change situation caused by greenhouse gas emissions by states. Pacific Island states will be in the forefront of the effort, since they are both the most vulnerable states, and amongst the least responsible for the problem.

Last year, the Security Council debated the security implications of climate change. Its then President, Foreign Minister Margaret Beckett of the United Kingdom, affirmed that climate change is a threat to “our collective security in a fragile and increasingly interdependent world”. Chapter VII of the UN Charter conveys to the Security Council the necessary tools to address the problem, as it has done so in recent years in connection with terrorism and HIV/AIDS. No other international body has the power to mandate change in an effort to save the threatened island cultures of the world.

The full text of Ambassador Beck’s remarks at the UN Climate Change debate is as follows:

“Mr. President, esteemed colleagues, friends:

The waters continue to rise in Palau, and everywhere else. Salinization of fresh water and formerly productive lands continues apace. The reefs, the foundation of our food chain, experience periodic bleaching and death. Throughout the Pacific, sea level rise has not only generated plans for the relocation of populations, but such relocations are actually in progress. Though this litany of disasters has become well known in these halls, no action with remedial consequences has been taken. Larger countries can build dikes, and move to higher ground. This is not feasible for the small island states who must simply stand by and watch their cultures vanish.

Is the United Nations simply powerless to act in the face of this threat to the very existence of many of its member states? We suggest that it is not.

Last April, under the Presidency of the United Kingdom, the Security Council took up the issue of climate change. At that time, while there were some expressions of discomfort with the venue of the debate, a discomfort which we decidedly did not share, there was general agreement with the notion expressed by the President of the Security Council, UK Foreign Minister Margaret Beckett that climate change is a threat to “our collective security in a fragile and increasingly interdependent world”.

Islands are not the only countries whose existence is threatened. Ambassador Kaire Mbuende of Namibia characterized climate change as a ” a matter of life or death” for his country, observing that ” the developing countries in particular, have been subjected to what could be described as low-intensity biological or chemical warfare. Greenhouse gases are slowly destroying plants, animals and human beings.”

Speaking on behalf of the Pacific Island Forum at last years Security Council debate Ambassador Robert Aisi, of Papua New Guinea observed that climate change is no less a threat to small island states than the dangers of guns and bombs to larger countries. Pacific Island countries are likely to face massive dislocations of people, similar to flows sparked by conflict, and such circumstances will generate as much resentment, hatred and alienation as any refugee crisis.

Ambassador Aisi observed then, and we reiterate now, that it is the Security Council which is charged with protecting human rights and the integrity and security of States. The Security Council is empowered to make decisions on behalf of all States to take action on threats to international peace and security. While we applaud the efforts of the President of the General Assembly and the Secretary General to shine a light on this awful problem, we take this opportunity to respectfully call upon the Security Council to react to the threat which we describe. Would any nation facing an invading army not do the same?

Under Article 39 of the Charter, the Security Council “shall determine the existence of any threat to peace…and shall make recommendations…to maintain or restore international peace or security”. We call upon the Security Council to do this in the context of climate change.

Under Articles 40 and 41 of the Charter, it is the obligation of the Security Council to “prevent an aggravation of the situation” and to devise appropriate measures to be carried out by all States to do this. While we Small Island states do not have all the answers, we are not unmindful of the scientific certainty that excessive greenhouse gas emissions by states are the cause of this threat to international security and the existence of our countries. We therefore suggest that the Security Council should consider the imposition of mandatory emission caps on all states and use its power to sanction in order to encourage compliance.

We further propose that under Article 11 of the Charter, the General Assembly is empowered to call to the attention of the Security Council “situations which are likely to endanger international peace and security” and, at the appropriate time, we will call upon this body to do so. In the event that the General Assembly chooses not to avail itself of this right, then we will call upon the countries whose very existence is threatened to utilize Article 34 of the Charter, which empowers each Member State to bring to the attention of the Security Council any issue which “might lead to international friction”.
I think we can all agree that international friction is a mild term to describe the terrible plight in which the island nations now find themselves.

Our Charter provides a way forward. Our Security Council has the wisdom and the tools to address this situation. And while we debate, the waters are rising.

Thank you.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 1st, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

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

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

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

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

– Building the Future – Energy Efficiency:

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

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

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

– The Future of CDM – The Post 2012 Scene:

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

Climate Solutions for China:

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

Thinking Outside the Barrel:

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

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

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

Less is More – Energy Efficiency (End Use):

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

The Local Market of the Nordic: Russia:

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

Adaptation – Urban Climate Solutions:

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

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

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

EU – Framework Conditions:

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

Renewable Energy Production;

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

Please reply to  mwi at mm.dk

Thank you for any guidance/recommendations you can provide.

Meik Wiking
Project Manager
Nordic Climate Solutions

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

T: +45 33 93 93 23
F: +45 33 14 13 94
E:  mwi at mm.dk
W: www.mm.dk

NORDIC CLIMATE SOLUTIONS – NOVEMBER 25TH AND 26TH – 2008.

WWW.NORDICCLIMATESOLUTIONS.COM

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