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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 11th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From KIMO’s IISD:

The International Civil Aviation Organization and its 191 member States agreed in October 2016 to implement a Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) to limit future increases in greenhouse gas emissions from the sector.

Now countries are undertaking technical discussions on what types of emission reductions will be eligible for airlines to use under CORSIA. While the discussions are yet to conclude, one potential option could be Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, or REDD+.

Recent IISD analysis, available here, finds that Colombia could meet some of this demand through its current and projected supply of emissions reduced from deforestation and forest degradation, and through forest restoration.

By choosing to participate in the early Phases of this scheme, starting in 2021, the Colombian Government could generate more than $300 million in additional investment at an estimated cost of $23 million to its aviation industry, which represents a small fraction – less than 0.4 percent – of global emissions from international aviation. Depending on the level of participation and other factors, the potential revenues could be much higher.

Key Findings:

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in October 2016 created a potential global demand of more than 2 billion tonnes of investment-grade emissions reductions from 2021 to 2035 that could be partially met through continuing development of programs and projects in Colombia.

Colombia has the potential to benefit by linking this market demand to domestic supply through eligible supply-side activities, including REDD+, structured via existing World Bank and business investment tools and structures and its many on-going long-term international investment supply contracts for emissions reductions.
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The value to Colombia of supplying the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) is, conservatively, around $300 million in additional private institutional investment.

To facilitate this investment, the Colombian national government policy must deliver the necessary institutional and legal conditions for REDD to succeed, at national and subnational jurisdictional levels, building on those currently applied to existing programs and projects.
Colombia can increase the impact of CORSIA and augment the associated demand for offset credits by opting-in to the scheme starting in 2021, and by encouraging others in the region to do the same.

For more information, please check out the full analysis.

Linking the ICAO Global Market-Based Mechanism to REDD+ in Colombia

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 29th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From the list of mportant News in The New York Times of Tuesday April 25, 2017:

• The middle class grew in Western Europe even as it shrank in the U.S. over the last two decades, according to a new study.

• The Spanish and Brazilian governments plan an undersea fiber optic cable in the Atlantic Ocean, to improve internet speed for both sides and route traffic outside the reach of U.S. intelligence agencies.

• Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and Ivanka Trump, the U.S. president’s daughter and adviser, will share a stage at the W20 Summit in Berlin today. [Politico]

• U.S. embassies posted, but later removed, an article praising President Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Fla., Mar-a-Lago. [The New York Times]

ECONOMY

Middle Class Contracted in U.S. Over 2 Decades, Study Finds
By NELSON D. SCHWARTZAPRIL 24, 2017
Continue reading the main storyShare This Page

U.S. Steel’s Granite City Works in Illinois – the plant was idled in 2015. Some displaced employees found new work, but often it paid much less than their jobs at the mill had, forcing them to adjust. “I’ve had to rethink my whole life to make ends meet on what I’m now making,” Mike McCabe, a former U.S. Steel worker, said. Credit Luke Sharrett for The New York Times
Mike McCabe’s neighbors in rural Gillespie, Ill., consider him lucky. After being out of work for a year, he landed a job in January making cardboard boxes at a nearby Georgia-Pacific plant for $19.60 an hour.

He would agree with them, were it not for the fact that his previous job in a steel mill near St. Louis paid $28 an hour. “I’ve had to rethink my whole life to make ends meet on what I’m now making,” Mr. McCabe said. “The middle class is struggling for sure, and almost anybody in my position will tell you that.”

Middle-class Americans have fared worse in many ways than their counterparts in economically advanced countries in Western Europe in recent decades, according to a study released Monday by the Pew Research Center.

What is more, as Mr. McCabe’s experience suggests, the authors of the Pew study found a broader contraction of the American middle class, even as the ranks of the poor and the rich have grown.

Where Trump Sees Economic ‘Disaster,’ Experts See Something More Complex JAN. 5, 2017

INCOMES AND OUTCOMES
The Economic Expansion Is Helping the Middle Class, Finally SEPT. 13, 2016

Middle-Income Jobs Finally Show Signs of a Rebound AUG. 18, 2016

A SHIFTING MIDDLE
Middle Class, but Feeling Economically Insecure APRIL 10, 2015

“Compared with the Western European experience, the adult population in the U.S. is more economically divided,” said Rakesh Kochhar, associate director for research at Pew. “It is more hollowed out in the middle. This speaks to the higher level of income inequality in the United States.”

For example, between 1991 and 2010, the proportion of adults in middle-income households fell to 59 percent from 62 percent, while it rose to 67 percent from 61 percent over the same period in Britain and to 74 percent from 72 percent in France.

Households that earned from two-thirds to double the national median income were defined as middle income in the Pew study; in the United States that translated into annual income of $35,294 to $105,881, after taxes, in 2010.

A shrinking middle class is not necessarily cause for alarm, if the reason for the contraction is that more people are moving up the income ladder, said David Autor, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The proportion at the top did rise, but so did the proportion at the bottom, rising to 26 percent from 25 percent. That is much more worrisome, said Mr. Autor, who was not involved with the Pew study.

Moreover, the middle-income group was smaller — and the groups at either extreme larger — in the United States than in any of the 11 Western European countries studied.

And incomes in the middle rose faster in Europe than they did in the United States, according to Pew. Median incomes in the middle tier grew by 9 percent in the United States between 1991 and 2010, compared with a 25 percent gain in Denmark and a 35 percent increase in Britain.

The United States, including the middle class, has a higher median income than nearly all of Europe, even if the Continent is catching up. The median household income in the United States was $52,941 after taxes in 2010, compared with $41,047 in Germany and $41,076 in France.

And while inequality may be widening, the proportion of households in the upper-income strata rose to 15 percent from 13 percent.

“Financially, the U.S. remains well ahead of the countries in Europe,” Mr. Kochhar said. “The difference is how incomes have evolved, and they are catching up.”

Although the cutoff of the study, 2010, may have highlighted weak income gains because it was in the immediate aftermath of the Great Recession, he said that was not enough to alter the study’s findings.

“It’s a clear trend that the middle class in the U.S. is shrinking and not keeping up financially with the upper-income group,” he said. “There is an aura of redistribution of income from middle income to upper income.”
[and we note this predates Trump – and we must add that it helped create Trump – the study in our opinio does not do full justice to the numbers it came up with.]

The study acknowledges that “middle class” can connote more than just income — like a college education, white-collar work, economic security, homeownership or even self-image — but for the purposes of the study, it was defined by income.

Whether in Europe or the United States, technological change and globalization mean that people who can adapt and learn new skills can reap bigger rewards, Mr. Kochhar said.

Since founding LaSalle Network, a staffing company based in Chicago, with two employees nearly 20 years ago, Tom Gimbel has watched revenues grow to a projected $70 million this year.

“I know a lot of people who have done much better in the last five years,” he said. “I have people working for me who made $35,000 to $60,000 a few years ago and are earning $60,000 to $150,000 now.”

Mr. Gimbel, who grew up in a comfortable Chicago suburb, has seen his own fortunes improve as well. “We didn’t want for anything, but my dad wasn’t rolling in money,” he said. “I’ve succeeded beyond where my parents were.”

On both sides of the Atlantic, the pressure on the middle class is translating into frustration with the political establishment and distrust of the elites.

Like his father and uncle, Mr. McCabe worked at the U.S. Steel mill in Granite City, Ill. But after the plant was idled in late 2015, he looked for a new job rather than waiting to be called back if the economy improved.

As a result, Mr. McCabe voted for Donald J. Trump in the presidential election last year, even though he grew up in what he calls a staunchly Democratic home. “My dad is probably rolling over in his grave,” he said.

“But I liked Trump’s message that he was going to help the middle class and get the jobs back,” Mr. McCabe said. “I was amazed that he won, and sat up all night watching.”

“You can only wait so long, and your unemployment runs out and you run out of choices,” he added. “I’m divorced with no kids. For people with kids, I can only imagine how tough they got it.”


Spain, Brazil plan subsea fiber optic cable by 2019

Reuters

SAO PAULO, April 24 (Reuters) – The Spanish and Brazilian governments have teamed up to lay an undersea cable in the Atlantic Ocean to offer fast online and cloud services to citizens of both countries by 2019, underscoring efforts to rout communications outside North America.

The EllaLink subsea cable will connect to data centers in Madrid and São Paulo, as well as in Lisbon, using shielded fiber rings, officials said on Monday. The cable will also connect the archipelagoes of Madeira, Spain’s Canary Islands and Africa’s Cape Verde along the route, they added.

At an event in São Paulo, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said the venture to build the first subsea fiber optic cable linking Europe to Brazil should help improve data security and privacy by routing calls and internet navigation outside the reach of the United States.

The idea gained traction almost four years after former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and other officials were target of personal and economic espionage by U.S. intelligence agencies.

Documents leaked by former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden in 2013 showed the U.S. National Security Agency had tapped Rousseff’s telephone calls and those of millions of other Brazilians.

The 9,200 km-long (5,700-mile), 72-terabytes-per-second- capacity subsea cable is about seven times the size of existing communications capacity between Latin America and the rest of the world, said Alfonso Gajate, president of EulaLink, one of the partners in the venture. No cost estimates were provided.

The only existing direct link between Europe and South America is a 20-Gb copper cable laid in 1999 by a consortium of voice operators. (Reporting by Brad Haynes; Writing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 3rd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


AMERICAS In The TIME OF TRUMP.

MUCH OF THE CORN MEXICO CONSUMES COMES FROM THE US. MEXICO’S SECURITY WILL BE BETTER SERVED
BY CUTTING THIS DEPENDENCE ON US AGRICULTURE EXPORTS (FOOD – AND SEEDS) AND REDEVELOP ITS OWN
PRODUCTION.

FOR ADDED QUANTITIES THEY WILL BE WELL ADVISED TO HELP THE AGRICULTURE OF THE LATIN COUNTRIES TO ITS SOUTH.


Mexico Ready to Play the Corn Card in Trade Talks.


After Calling Nafta ‘Worst Trade Deal,’ Trump Appears to Soften Stance MARCH 30, 2017

By KIRK SEMPLE, THE NEW YORK TIMES, APRIL 2, 2017

Much of the corn that Mexico consumes comes from the United States.

MEXICO CITY — From the hundreds of millions of tortillas consumed every year to the countless tons of corn-enriched feed that fattens livestock and poultry, corn is perhaps Mexico’s most important agricultural commodity, one at the center of its life and culture.

Now corn has taken on a new role — as a powerful lever for Mexican officials in the run-up to talks over Nafta, the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The reason: Much of the corn that Mexico consumes comes from the United States, making it America’s top agricultural export to its southern neighbor. And even though President Trump appears to be pulling back from his vows to completely overhaul Nafta, Mexico has taken his threats to heart and has begun flexing its own muscle.

The Mexican government is exploring buying its corn elsewhere — including Argentina or Brazil — as well as increasing domestic production. In a fit of political pique, a Mexican senator even submitted a bill to eliminate corn purchases from the United States within three years.

American corn shipments to Mexico totaled nearly $2.6 billion last year and are part of an elaborate agricultural trade relationship between the two nations that has helped to interlace their economies. But though the corn business is a tiny fraction of the overall $525 billion in annual trade between the two countries, it has gained outsize importance and become something of a symbol for the nations’ economic codependence.

{OUR COMMENT: CHEAP US CORN HAS RUINED THE AGRICULTURE OF MEXICO AND IMPOVERISHED ITS COUNTRY-SIDE, LIKE IT DID IN MANY UNDERDEVELOPED COUNTRIES – SPECIALLY IN AFRICA.
CUTTING OFF TRADE DEALS LIKE NAFTA COULD EFFECTIVELY EMPOWER POORER COUNTRIES. WE THINK
THUS THAT TRUMP THREW HIS IDEAS IN HISTORY’S HOPPER AND MAY INDEED FORCE COUNTRIES TO DO
WHAT IS GOOD FOR THEM. GROW YOUR OWN – FROM YOUR SEEDS}

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The prospect that the United States could lose its largest foreign market for corn and other key products has shaken farming communities throughout the American Midwest, where corn production is a vital part of the economy. The threat is particularly unsettling for many residents of the Corn Belt because much of the region voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Trump in the presidential election.

“If we lose Mexico as a customer, it will be absolutely devastating to the ag economy,” said Philip Gordon, 68, who grows corn, soybeans and wheat on a farm in Saline, Mich., that has been in his family for 140 years.

Mr. Gordon said he planned to call Mr. Trump at the White House “and remind him we need trade.”

“He’s a businessman,” Mr. Gordon said. “He understands how much support for him came from the agricultural community.”

A Trump administration document that circulated on Capitol Hill last week appeared to present a more moderate approach to Nafta negotiations, seeking to preserve much of the existing agreement and recognizing the interconnectedness of the two nations’ economies, cultures and histories.

Still, people involved in agricultural trade on both sides of the border said they were not about to rest easy on the basis of the document, which even the White House seemed to disavow.

“It’s really hard to track with this president,” said Todd Hultman, a grains analyst at DTN, an agriculture news and data service based in Omaha. “The campaign rhetoric has been really over the top. But what actions are really going to come from the White House is still a mystery.”

Mr. Trump has repeatedly asserted that Mexico has been the big winner under Nafta, and the United States the loser. But many leaders in the agricultural and food industries in the United States — not just in the corn market — hope Mr. Trump does not disrupt the agreement too much.

“When you mix politics with economics, you hope that economics influences your political decisions and not vice versa,” said Luis A. Ribera, associate professor of agricultural economics and director of the Center for North American Studies at Texas A&M University.

Many leaders in the American agriculture industry say Nafta has been a boon for farmers in the United States, particularly because it opened up new foreign markets and helped to expand agricultural exports more than fourfold since the agreement was signed.

In 2016, the United States exported nearly $18 billion of agricultural products to Mexico, the third-largest market for these American exports, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Mexico is not only the leading destination of American corn, but it also imports more dairy products, poultry and wheat from the United States than any other nation, and is one of the top importers of American pork, soybeans and beef, the department says.

——————————–

Varieties of Mexican corn displayed in Oaxaca. The government is considering an increase in domestic production. Credit Omar Torres/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Mexico imported about 13.8 million tons of American corn last year, according to the Mexican government. Nearly all — about 12.7 million tons — was yellow corn, which is largely used for livestock feed, supplementing about 3.5 million tons of homegrown yellow corn.

The remainder of corn imports were of the white variety, which is used mostly for human consumption and is a key ingredient in tortillas. Mexico is essentially self-sufficient in white corn. The country produced 22.2 million tons last year and imported about 1.1 million tons of American white corn to make up for lucrative white corn exports to South Africa and other countries, according to the Mexican government.

And just as international supply chains in automobiles, aerospace and other industries crisscross the border, the same is true of agricultural products. Mexican calves — possibly fed American corn — are exported to the United States, where they are further fattened and then butchered for meat that may be exported for sale abroad, including to Mexico.

———————————————-

Farmers and agricultural industry representatives say that American farmers are already reeling from higher production costs and declining commodity prices, and that Mr. Trump’s threats on trade and immigration have injected more uncertainty.

“There’s a lot of volatility in agricultural markets to begin with,” said Barbara Patterson, government relations director of the National Farmers Union, “and shutting off our borders or losing access to trading partners has farmers concerned.”

The loss of Mexico as a market for agricultural products, farmers say, could presage job losses and bankruptcies.

“We’d like to see careful consideration and a cautious approach,” Ms. Patterson said.

———————————

Formal talks to renegotiate Nafta are still at least several months away. Still, corn producers, as well as their counterparts elsewhere in American agriculture, have begun to lobby elected officials and the administration.

“Soup to nuts: corn, dairy, meat, specialty products, fruit — they’re all pretty much gathered together,” said Tom Sleight, president and chief executive of the U.S. Grains Council. Producers, he said, are seeking to remind the administration of the importance of trade and Mexico to agriculture’s bottom line.

The administration’s threats have already begun to sour longstanding business arrangements between American sellers and Mexican buyers.

“Relationships are getting frosty with our customers right now,” Mr. Sleight said. “Usually it’s been a very symbiotic relationship, but recently it’s gotten a little more difficult. Mexicans are saying, ‘Why are you doing this to us? We’ve been your best customers.’”

The Mexican government has not delayed in exploring other markets in which to purchase corn.
A top agricultural official from Argentina visited Mexico City last month to discuss the possibility of increasing sales of Argentine yellow corn to Mexico. Officials from Mexico’s Agriculture Ministry are planning a trip to Argentina and Brazil this month to discuss increasing corn purchases from those countries.

Last month, Mexico’s deputy economy minister told The Financial Times that Mexico was exploring the possibility of allowing duty-free access to Argentine and Brazilian corn imports.

Developing new import arrangements with South America will not be easy, officials said. New relationships would have to be brokered, and costs to import may also be higher, officials say, in part because there are fewer established transportation routes between Mexico and the Mercosur countries of South America.

Mexican officials say, however, that an increase in trade between the regions might lead to more competition, which could increase efficiency and lower costs.

——————–

The showdown on Nafta has also inspired Mexican agricultural officials and producers to step up programs that would increase domestic corn production and revive a sector undercut by the agreement, said Alejandro Vázquez Salido, director of Aserca, a Mexican government agency that supports farmers and promotes the marketing of Mexican agricultural products.

Some economists blame Nafta for causing widespread unemployment in the Mexican agricultural sector by opening the floodgates to heavily subsidized American agricultural products, especially corn. A 2014 study estimated that 1.9 million agricultural jobs were wiped out, mainly those of small family farmers, helping to drive more illegal immigration into the United States.

Mr. Vázquez said that even before Mr. Trump began to attack Nafta and Mexico, the Mexican authorities had begun to discuss plans to substitute imports with national production. “But these new challenges, these new policies that we’re facing, are having us move in that direction faster than we were,” he said.

Mr. Trump has knocked Mexicans “out of our comfort zone,” forcing agriculture officials to find ways for Mexico to be less dependent on American imports, Mr. Vázquez continued. “We’re starting to move where we should’ve moved a long time ago: trying to produce internally what we’re importing.”

Meredith Hoffman contributed reporting from San Antonio.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 5th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

As reported by Irith Jawetz from Vienna:


Fareed’s Take: He tackled the 54 billions Trump wants to spend on additional Military. He quoted General Petraeus who told him a few years ago that during the Gulf war he wished he had more Foreign Office people to advise him.


Why? Soldiers do not understand the problems of the Middle East, the difference between the Shiites and Sunis, the history, the culture, and a brave officer who knows how to fight is not enough to win a war.

The Military budget of the US is already huge. It is 9 times the size of the Russian Military budget and 3 times them size of China’s,

Then he interviewed two National Security Advisors. Tom Donillon who was under President Obama and denied the allegation of wiretapping. He also said that Trump has no idea how the system works. The President cannot order wiretapping without a court order. Presidents cannot just order wiretapping..As for Jeff Sessions he was right to recuse himself and should not resign. We have to wait for his new explanation which will come this week.

Stephen Hadley who was National Security Advisor under George W. Bush agreed with Donillon on the wiretapping..Presidents cannot just do it.. If the Obama Administration was really worried about ties to Russia they may have had a reason to do it, but until now there is no proof that it happened. He also said what the panel today said that Trump likes to distract. Whenever something does not go his way and he gets criticized, he tweets something outrageous and diverts from the issue. This now seems to be a general idea floating around.

As for Sessions – he did the right thing and should not resign until he clarifies his position in the coming days. Then we’ll see.

They both agree that: North Korea is the biggest crisis Trump will face now. President Clinton faced the Oklahoma bombing, President Bush 9/11, President Obama the financial crisis and Trump will face North Korea. However if he does not appear to be reliable and trustworthy there will be trouble.

On the idea that Trump’s immigration policy will be good for the economy, Fareed disputes it vehemently. The costs of more agents, building that wall and not having immigrants for menial work will cost more than it will save.

Then he talked about Canada which has now surpassed the USA and a Land of opportunities. In every poll Canada ranks before the US in welfare, economy, freedom, healthcare.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 18th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Antarctic Sea Ice Shrinks to Smallest Ever Extent.

By Reuters
17 February 17


Data contradicts climate change skeptics, who have pointed to earlier increases in areas of sea ice to support their views.

Ice around Antarctica has shrunk to the smallest annual extent on record after years of resisting a trend of manmade global warming, preliminary US satellite data has shown.

Ice floating around the frozen continent usually melts to its smallest for the year towards the end of February, the southern hemisphere summer, before expanding again as the autumn chill sets in.


This year, sea ice extent contracted to 883,015 sq miles (2.28m sq km) on 13 February, according to daily data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).


That extent is a fraction smaller than a previous low of 884,173 sq miles recorded on 27 February 1997 in satellite records dating back to 1979. Mark Serreze, director of the NSIDC, said he would wait for a few days’ more measurements to confirm the record low.

“But, unless something funny happens, we’re looking at a record minimum in Antarctica,” he told Reuters. “Some people say it’s already happened. We tend to be conservative by looking at five-day running averages.”

In many recent years, the average extent of sea ice around Antarctica has tended to expand despite the overall trend of global warming, blamed on a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, mainly from burning fossil fuels.

People sceptical of mainstream findings by climate scientists have often pointed to Antarctic sea ice as evidence against global warming.

Some climate scientists have linked the paradoxical expansion to shifts in winds and ocean currents.

“We’ve always thought of the Antarctic as the sleeping elephant starting to stir,” Serreze said. “Well, maybe it’s starting to stir now.”

World average temperatures climbed to a record high in 2016 for the third year in a row. Climate scientists say warming is causing more extreme days of heat, downpours and is nudging up global sea levels.

At the other end of the planet, ice covering the Arctic Ocean has been at repeated lows in recent years.

In the northern winter, sea ice expands and is at its smallest extent for mid-February, at 5.38m sq miles.

A Comment:

+1 # mashiguo 2017-02-17 15:21
it’s already too late.
the sleep walkers can take a load off and go back to watching ‘dancing with the stars’

those who are awake can buy up some soon-to-be-beach front-property in Kansas.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 7th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

HOW ABOUT DISALLOWING INVESTMENTS BY ANYONE, OR ANY ENTITY, CONNECTED DIRECTLY TO ANY MEMBER OF THE PRESENT US ADMINISTRATION? CONSIDERING THE WHITE HOUSE BEHAVIOR, PEOPLE OF THE US ADMINISTRATION HAVE MORE AND MORE BECOME A DANGER TO THE WORLD ORDER AND TO PEACE – UNDERMINING IN EFFECT WHAT USED TO BE FRIENDLY GOVERNMENTS. Mr. BONDEVIK COULD LEAD THE WAY.

——————————————

CNN – International Edition+

Former Norwegian PM held at immigration over Iranian visa
By Kara Fox and Mohammed Al-Saiegh, CNN

February 7, 2017
Former Norwegian PM detained at US airport

(CNN) If you’re the former leader of a European nation, the president of a major human rights organization and the owner of a diplomatic passport, you’re not likely to encounter a long wait at airport immigration.

But on January 31, Kjell Magne Bondevik, the former Prime Minister of Norway, encountered more than just a lengthy queue.
Bondevik told CNN’s “Connect the World” he was interrogated by officials at Washington’s Dulles International Airport because he had an Iranian visa in his diplomatic passport.
“When they found the Iranian visa, where I was in December 2014, they said that there was a … regulation that with such a visa I had to be flagged up,” Bondevik said.

After the former European leader detailed his travel history — he was in Tehran speaking at an anti-extremism conference — Bondevik said he “assumed and presumed that they would let me go immediately.” But instead, Bondevik said he was questioned for over an hour.

“Did they really believe that I presented a problem or threat to the US? I expected they would show more flexibility and wisdom,” he said.

Bondevik said he was held along with migrants from the Middle East and Africa who were also facing additional screening. Although Bondevik was eventually released, he said the atmosphere surrounding President Donald Trump’s travel ban had shaken his core values.
Bondevik told CNN’s Becky Anderson he disagrees with the ban entirely, calling it “a contradiction” to his “view on human dignity.”
“I really dislike that he is treating people from some Muslim countries as a group and not individuals,” he said.

Bondevik, who heads the human rights organization Oslo Center, said the incident speaks to a wider issue of concern brought on by the President’s first actions in office.
It’s not just the ban that’s worrying Bondevik.

“I also must say that I dislike very much his approach to other international leaders — the Prime Minister of Australia, the President of Mexico … and how he is acting in the international community.”

He said many others, including Norway were concerned.
Last week, Trump signed an executive order that banned citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, from traveling to America. The ban also suspended the refugee program for four months, and stopped the admission of all Syrian refugees indefinitely.
These are the faces of Trump’s ban

On Friday, the executive order was temporarily halted after a federal judge suspended key parts of the order nationwide. As of Monday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had denied the US government’s emergency request to resume the ban and had ordered both sides to submit their arguments for or against it before a final ruling.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 2nd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

North American Energy Infrastructure: An Opportunity
for Cooperation?

From the CENTER FOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS, the NEW YORK UNIVERSITY SCHOOL of PROFESSIONAL STUDIES:
Co-sponsored by the Consulates-General of Canada and of Mexico in New York City

Monday, February 13, 6.30 – 7.45 pm


How to create a more economically vibrant and connected North America and support energy production? The answer may be infrastructure. Much of the infrastructure developed during the twentieth century is in need of renewal and is not adequate to support the energy revolution and transformation that has taken place across the continent over the last decade. The extraordinary increase in energy production demands a new vision for North American energy infrastructure.

U.S. President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, and Mexican President Pena Nieto have all committed to significant infrastructure spending. Will these plans lead to greater cooperation, interconnection, and integration of the American, Canadian, and Mexican economies? This panel will examine the opportunities and challenges facing the continent, including the role of governments and the private sector to develop and promote greater infrastructural development through pipelines, energy grids, and transmission lines.

Panelists:

Graham Campbell, President, Energy Council of Canada

Pedro Haas, Director of Advisory Services, Hartree Partners LLC

Rachel Ziemba, Managing Director of Research, 4CAST-RGE

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 1st, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

United Nations, New York City

UN chief decries discriminatory border bans in rebuke to Trump travel decree
António Guterres: ban based on religion or ethnicity violates basic values
Secretary general says such a ban risks fueling terrorist propaganda.

António Guterres denounced border policies ‘based on any form of discrimination related to religion, ethnicity or nationality’.

Julian Borger in Washington, The Guardian, Wednesday 1 February 2017

António Guterres, the new UN secretary general, said on Wednesday, in a clear response to the Trump administration’s refugee ban, that border policies based on religion, ethnicity or race were “against the fundamental principles and values on which our societies are based”.

US travel ban puts 20,000 refugees in ‘precarious circumstances’, UN says

Guterres did not mention the US or Donald Trump in his written statement but he directly addressed the political, legal and moral debate triggered by the president’s executive order suspending entry for refugees and other visitors from a list of seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Guterres, who was formerly the UN high commissioner for refugees, also had implicit criticism for other western countries that have increasingly closed their doors to the vast numbers of refugees seeking safe haven around the world, and compared them unfavourably to poorer countries who host the overwhelming bulk of them.

The statement said Guterres was on his “way back from Ethiopia, the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa that for decades has been keeping its borders open to hundreds of thousands of refugees from its neighbours, many times in dramatic security situations”.


“Countries have the right, even the obligation, to responsibly manage their borders to avoid infiltration by members of terrorist organizations,” the secretary general said, but he added: “This cannot be based on any form of discrimination related to religion, ethnicity or nationality because … that is against the fundamental principles and values on which our societies are based.”

He added two other practical objections that have been at the core of much criticism of Trump’s executive order, on the grounds that it is poor national security policy. Guterres said such a ban “triggers widespread anxiety and anger that may facilitate the propaganda of the very terrorist organisations we all want to fight against” and that, furthermore, “blind measures, not based on solid intelligence, tend to be ineffective as they risk being bypassed by what are today sophisticated global terrorist movements”.

“This is not the way to best protect the US. or any other country in relation to the serious concerns that exist about possible terrorist infiltration,” Guterres told reporters in reference to Trump’s executive order. “I don’t think this is the effective way to do so. I think that these measures should be removed sooner rather than later.”

Ben Emmerson, the UN special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights, said on Monday: “Trump’s executive order clearly breaches US international human rights obligations on non-refoulement and non-discrimination. It is unlawful.”

“Apart from being in breach of international law, Trump’s Executive Order carries a risk of inc . reasing rather reducing the risk of terrorism,” Emmerson said on Twitter on Tuesday evening

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Seemingly the new UN Secretary-General, a former Portuguese Head of State, does indeed have the backbone to stand up to his American host – this even as expected – President Trumps cabinet appointees may present a danger to the continuation of the present UN structure. Though only 10 days old and many members of the cabinet not yet approved by US Congress – this new US Administration has already managed to put in motion many revolutionary activities that clash with laws intended to protect the weak from the interests of the rich.

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Further, we received also the following from the outgoing US Mission to the UN:

This is to let you know that Ambassador Haley will be spending her first few months learning about the UN and Security Council and its members. She will not be meeting with NGOs for a while.

My last day is February 28. Have really enjoyed working with you.
Peggy

Peggy Kerry
NGO Liaison
U.S. Mission to the UN
799 UN Plaza

We clearly are sorry for losing Ms. Peggy Kerry from her position as NGO liaison to the UN
and we also note that the new US Ambassador for the UN – Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina – will be inactive for several months, and not having the background to function at the UN, and in need of a learning experience before she is ready to enter the fray – she in effect sees no need to ask also for advice in that learning time from the NGOs. This in itself is a major retrogressive step for the US in its international relations – that we will follow and watch attentively.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 3rd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

BREAKING — THE DANGLING FRUIT IN FRONT OF TRUMP: Ford is canceling plans to build a new manufacturing plant in Mexico and instead is investing $700 million in Michigan. The company’s CEO Mark Fields told CNN that the move is a “vote of confidence” in President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to create a pro-business environment. Fields emphasized, however, that he did not negotiate any special deal with Trump. “We didn’t cut a deal with Trump,” he said. “We did it for our business.” bit.ly/2j4UZZ4

U.N.’s Israel vote: The House will vote Thursday on a resolution disapproving of the United Nations Security Council resolution criticizing Israel’s settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Many Democrats could join with Republicans to pass the measure as a means of demonstrating their support for Israel, even if their votes would put them at odds with President Obama. The U.S. refused to veto the Security Council resolution and instead abstained from the vote.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 26th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Convening from 19-23 October 2015, the Bonn Climate Change Conference was the last in a series of meetings under the UNFCCC in preparation for the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21), scheduled to take place in November-December 2015, in Paris, France.

In their scenario note  ADP.2015.7.InformalNote), ADP Co-Chairs Ahmed Djoghlaf (Algeria) and Daniel Reifsnyder (US) identified the objective of the session as intensifying the pace of text-based negotiations among Parties, with a view to preparing the draft Paris climate package for presentation at the opening of COP 21.

At the end of the week-long meeting, Parties issued two non-papers, one containing draft agreement text and draft decision text related to the agreement (workstream 1 of ADP’s mandate) and the other containing draft decision text related to pre-2020 ambition (workstream 2).

The full and best reporting of what went on in Bonn can be found at: mail.google.com/mail/u/1/#search…
Summary of the Bonn Climate Change Conference, 19-23 October 2015, Bonn, Germany.

Going over the Summary it becomes clear – if it was not before – that there will be no UN document ready for the Paris meeting and that UN bickering will continue – be assured that some Arab State will find space to bash Israel. All what the UN can do is to bring the problem to the public’s attention, and it is left to the public to push their governments to make a commitment, that is in those countries where a public opinion counts.

Paris COP 21 of the UNFCCC will not be a wash. This thanks to the fact that over 150 countries have already presented their commitments to act on Climate Change. Take for instance the US where by now commitments from companies that are joining the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, bringing the total number of US companies that have signed onto the pledge to 81. Together, these companies have operations in all 50 US states, employ over nine million people, represent more than US$3 trillion in annual revenue, and have a combined market capitalization of over US$5 trillion.

And yes, in the EU, Japan, Brazil there are similarly industry commitments – pushed by the public. In China and India as well, the public pushes for government action on pollution of any kind and this includes a better understanding of Climate Change disasters.

In a more general way see the The International Energy Agency’s evaluation of the situation:

The IEA’s “Energy and Climate Change: World Energy Outlook” tells us that full implementation of the intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by mid-October would decouple power sector emissions from electricity demand but would still lead to an average global temperature increase of around 2.7°C, which falls short of the declared “major course correction necessary” to stay below an average global temperature rise of 2°C.

The Outlook Special Briefing for COP21′ analyzes INDCs submitted by more than 150 countries, accounting for close to 90% of global energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and assesses in particular their energy sector-related impacts.

According to the briefing, given that energy production and use account for two-thirds of global GHG emissions, “actions in the energy sector can make or break efforts to achieve the world’s agreed climate goal” of staying below a 2°C temperature rise.

The briefing examines what the energy sector will look like globally in 2030 if all INDCs are fully implemented, and whether this will place the energy sector on a path consistent with the 2°C goal.

If implemented, the INDCs will lead to an improvement of global energy intensity at a rate almost three times faster than the rate since 2000. Emissions will either plateau or decline by 2030 in countries accounting for more than half of global economic activity at present. Of new electricity generation through 2030, 70% will be low-carbon.

The IEA estimates that the full implementation of the INDCs will require US$13.5 trillion in investments in energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies through 2030.

And excerpted from a bright blogger for Huffington Post (UK):

Over the past three decades annual climate talks under the United Nations banner have become part of the Zeitgeist of a large movement. They draw government officials, think tanks, civil society, journalists and the occasional hipsters into negotiations over which ride trillions of dollars and our future well-being on Earth.

Expect a lot of drama at the next instalment, taking place in Paris in late November – early December.

Heads of state will make grandiose pronouncements.

Negotiators from 190 countries will huddle, whisper, argue over words for days and bargain in stuffy rooms in a style that would make bazaar traders proud.

Civil society will push for strong outcomes, prod for more climate finance, demonstrate occasionally (a welcome activity in Paris), express anger followed by frustration before going home let down again.

The press and the public will turn an inattentive, occasional eye to the 45,000 people gathered in Paris, then turn their attention away.

The private sector, two-thirds of global GDP and employment, will be largely absent (it is not formally represented in the negotiations) and mostly ignore the whole thing.

At the end, governments will cobble together a weak agreement to set emission reduction targets. Some will declare a major win, others will accurately note that we need to do much, much more. Then everyone will go home in time for the Christmas holidays and most of COP21, as the Paris UN gathering is known, will be forgotten.

Deeply buried in this cacophony are two emerging themes with the potential to significantly impact the private sector.

National Low Carbon Business Plans

A Paris climate agreement, no matter how wobbly, will involve more than 150 countries publishing mini business plans for their economy describing what each will do to help limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius by 2030. In typical UN jargon, these low-carbon business plans are known as INDCs, short for “intended nationally determined contribution.”

The INDCs are the driving force of COP21 and will become the development pathway for all countries. Weak and general at first, they will become stronger and more detailed over time.

Two major consequences will follow.

First, multi-trillion dollar investment opportunities for the private sector will be clearly delineated, while others, far from where the country is heading, should be avoided.

For example, India’s business plan shows it wants to increase its clean energy generation capacity from 36 GW today to a whopping 320 GW by 2030. Similarly, China wants an extra 775 GW of renewables by 2030, on top of its existing 425 GW, the US wants to add an extra 179 GW and the EU another 380 GW.

Taken together, that’s double the world’s current renewable energy installed capacity (excluding hydropower) in investment potential, all of which comes with strong institutional support now that it is anchored in an INDC.

Second, the breadth of these INDCs means that within a few years, all finance will be climate finance; and all bonds will be green bonds.

We already know the commitments in Paris are nowhere near enough: The US, Europe, and China alone use up the world’s entire carbon budget by 2030. Therefore it’s reasonable to expect that they will get tougher, tighter and more precise with time because countries will be under increasing pressure to deliver, as climate change hits all of us harder and harder.

Post-2020 (the INDCs will most probably be reviewed in five year cycles), there is therefore likely to be a “wall of shame” hitting anyone who invests in non-INDC compatible, non-climate friendly technologies. In fact perhaps we will see “black bonds” emerge, highlighting investments that are increasingly unacceptable and at risk of being stranded because of their high emissions.

INDCs will make green investments even more mainstream than they are today and ensure that dirty investments are avoided on a long-term scale.

Loss and Damage

“Loss and damage,” another major theme in Paris, could have enormous financial consequences.

“Loss and damage” refers to the need to account for the impact of climate change, for example on a small island nation losing territory because of sea level rise. An element of climate negotiations for several years, its significance could be enormous for insurance companies, reinsurers, financial analysts and the markets.

Governments will continue to argue whether loss and damage is a euphemism for liability and compensation. Richer nations will end up ensuring that the answer is vague, and that therefore they can’t be held liable and won’t have to pay compensation.

However, the door is likely to be kept open for clever lawyers to use the “loss and damage” aspects of a climate change agreement to launch claims against companies: Victims of climate change will aggressively try to go after corporate polluters for compensation, particularly the likes of Exxon, Shell and BP who have known about climate change for decades but either buried the evidence or ignored it to accumulate profits at the expense of our collective health and well-being.

The results of these claims could be shocking for many. The Dutch proved earlier this year that climate liability lawsuits can stand up in courts.

The business and the financial world will be markedly absent from Paris, but should closely monitor the evolution of INDCs and of “loss and damage” in Paris. These could upend how they currently do business.

From the above, we conclude that COP 21 of the UNFCCC in Paris will have picked up from where COP 15 of Copenhagen left the Climate Change issue. Copenhagen was where the Kyoto stillborn Protocol was buried by Obama bringing for the first time the Chinese on board, now it will be the Obama-Xi alliance that will bring most true Nations on board. And let us not forget Pope Francis and the ethics of “we are the creation’s wardens.” This resonates very well with much of the public and helps the businesses that will move green.

We will not go to the opening of the Paris meeting, but will be there for the end – this so me can evaluate the outcome which promises to have practical value.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 18th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

93 of 211,083

The Lima-Paris Action Agenda new website launched
Inbox
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Judith Adrien  JAdrien at unfccc.int via lists.iisd.ca

3:14 PM (16 hours ago)

to Climate

Dear Colleagues,

The Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) is a joint undertaking of the Peruvian and French COP Presidencies, the Executive Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the UNFCCC Secretariat.

It brings both state and non-state actors together on the global stage to accelerate cooperative climate action now and into the future in support of the new, universal climate change agreement which governments will reach in Paris.

To get more information about the LPAA and the launch of the website, see our press release – available in 3 languages:

o English newsroom.unfccc.int/lpaa/lpaa/wel…

o French newsroom.unfccc.int/fr/bienvenue/…

o Spanish newsroom.unfccc.int/es/bienvenida…

To visit the website, you can go to: —  unfccc.int/lpaa/
or access it via the NAZCA portal at  climateaction.unfccc.int/.

Stay tuned for the Spanish and French versions currently being developed – they will be available soon!

Judith Adrien
Associate Communications Officer
UN Communication for development Unit
UN Communication and Outreach

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 17th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Pope Francis’ Visit to the United States

This coming week, Pope Francis will visit the United States. During this momentous visit, he will address a joint session of Congress on September 24 at 10am, as well as the United Nations General Assembly on September 25 at 8:30am. In addition to visiting Washington D.C. and New York City, he will also visit Philadelphia.

The Pope’s visit is a very important event in support of the encyclical on the environment, “Praised Be: On the Care of Our Common Home” (Laudato Si’), in which Pope Francis highlights issues of “integral ecology,” namely concerns for people and the planet. There are a number of resources on the Forum site  fore.yale.edu) to provide you more information on the encyclical.

For the Pope’s schedule, visit:

 www.popefrancisvisit.com/official…

 www.usatoday.com/story/news/natio…

Many events are being organized throughout the United States in light of the Pope’s visit. For details, please see below.

We encourage you to download a free Pope Francis’ Encyclical Climate Action Kit that Interfaith Power & Light has put together in conjunction with the Catholic Climate Covenant.

You can download it here: fore.yale.edu

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 5th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


‘The next UN Secretary General will be…’ The beginning of the media buzz.

 blog.felixdodds.net/2015/09/the-n…

The blog Felix Dodds did on who the next Executive Director of UNEP should be seemed to go down well with my readers. Though I did think I missed a potential candidate in Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, who will finish at the UNFCCC after the Paris Climate meeting and therefore be available.

I was contemplating doing a blog about who the next UN Secretary General should be for the beginning of September, but I see that the New York Times and Slant have beaten me to it.

Of course, it helps if you know the process of selection a little better before writing the article. For starters, you cannot have a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council (China, France, Russia, UK and USA [P5]) as the UN Secretary General. The New York Times suggested Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. She is unfortunately a French national, therefore she isn’t a possible candidate; nor is the excellent suggestion by Slant of Ertharin Cousin, the US World Food Programme head.

The UN is a set of checks and balances – just like the US Congress. Well… we hope not like the present US Congress.


It makes complete sense that the P5, as they are called, should not have even more power taking the UN Secretary General’s position. Until the mid-2000s, you would not find them on Bureaus of UN Commissions and Conferences, either. It’s not a written rule but one cannot imagine that the other 188 countries would agree to a P5 Secretary General. There is some feeling that the P5 want to ensure that the candidate is not too strong, and that the UN itself is not too strong. Giving away power to the multi-lateral level is not seen as in their interest.

The process:

The election for the next UN Secretary General is due to be held in 2016 to determine who succeeds Ban Ki-moon, whose term as the eighth United Nations Secretary-General will conclude December 31, 2016.

At present, the Security Council recommends a candidate for appointment to the General Assembly – ANY of the P5 can veto a candidate. The issue is discussed and decided in private meetings.
The actual appointment is “by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council,” which is traditionally through a GA resolution.
Historically, the Secretary-General has been selected based on an informal system of regional rotation. The GA Resolution 51/241 states that, “due regard shall continue to be given to regional rotation and shall also be given to gender equality.” To date, there have been NO women, and so it is highly likely that the next Secretary General will be a woman.

There are five regional blocs the UN recognizes when elections are conducted within the UN institutions. The distribution of the past Secretary-General has been:

Western Europe and Other Group (WEOG) (Trygvie Lie [Norway], Dag Hammarskjold [Sweden], Kurt Waldheim[Austria])
Asia (U Thant [Burma], Ban Ki-moon[Republic of Korea])
Latin America and the Caribbean (Javier Perez de Cuellar [Peru])
Africa (Boutros Boutros-Ghali [Egypt], Kofi Annan[Ghana])
To date, no Secretary-General has hailed from Eastern Europe, which is why it is expected that Eastern Europe is likely to have a strong case for that position and that Russia will play a significant role in that choice.

The candidates:

Before going into suggestions, I want to take a step back. There are some suggestions of what the next Secretary General should have, as a skill base, produced by a number of NGOs. Clearly, it would help enormously if the candidates were to have a strong track record of implementing organizational-wide reforms. It would be vital for the UN to publish the job description and the person spec for everyone to see.

The UN is in need of another period of reform, so it is ‘fit for purpose’ in ensuring that the new Sustainable Development Goals become the agenda of all its organs over the next 15 years.

Perhaps candidates should have support from countries making up every region of the UN to be considered?

What I would very much like to see is for the UN Security Council to produce a short list (3 to 5 people). These people could then have a set of televised debates perhaps one in each of the five UN regions, for the world to participate in.

Although I recognize the final decision has to be member states, it would ensure that the candidates would be seen under pressure and would become household names at the start of their term. It would also enable an online conversation about the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate, perhaps even an online poll which member states can take note of in their decision.

It is clear that member states are looking to have a woman as the next Secretary General – though that is not guaranteed.



So far two candidates announced and have the support of their governments. They are:

Mr Danilo Türk (Slovenia), former President of Slovenia, former Assistant Secretary-General of the UN, former Ambassador to the UN, former President of the Security Council of the UN (nominated by the Slovenian government in January 2014)

Ms Irina Bokova (Bulgaria), UNESCO Director-General (nominated by the Bulgarian government in June 2014)

Of the two declared candidates, both have extensive experience in the UN, but only one is a woman. So, Irina must – at this point – be seen as the front-runner of the declared candidates. It’s also true to say she has done an excellent job dealing with the withdrawal of its financial commitment of the US from UNESCO in 2011 and the funding crisis that has caused. She has supported staff and managed to keep the organization active in many areas.

A few other possible candidates have indicated an interest from Eastern Europe. They are:

Mr. Vuk Jeremi? (Serbia), former President of the United Nations General Assembly and former Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs

Ms. Vesna Pusi? (Croatia), Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs
It is still early days in that we are about a year away from the beginning of the informal process for selection. My further suggestions will ONLY be women.

Other possible candidates from Eastern Europe might be:

Kristalina Georgieva (Bulgaria), Vice-President of the European Commission

Dalia Grybauskaite (Lithuania), President of Lithuania she would be be the first former Head of State to be a UN Secretary General.

If for some reason it does not go to Eastern Europe then it is likely to go to Latin America and Caribbean Group as the region has only had the Secretary General once. There are two excellent potential women candidates in:

Michelle Bachelet (Chile), President of Chile and former Executive Director of UN Women – though not finishing her term before going back to stand for election as President of Chile. She would also be the first former Head of State to be a UN Secretary General, which has some clear advantages when dealing with governments.

Alicia Bárcena Ibarra (Mexico), Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Alicia was also the UN USG for Management and Budgetary Affairs so in a reforming UN would already have a very clear idea where that reform could come from. She also has been a strong advocate for the SDGs and is well liked within stakeholders.

If it were to go to Africa, then the candidate that seems to have some support is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – the 24th President of Liberia and Africa’s first democratically elected female Head of State. She’s serving her second term as President after winning the 2011 presidential election. She also co-chaired the UN Secretary Generals High level panel that brought forward some great suggestions for what the SDGs should be in 2013.

If for some reason, it were to go to the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) – which I very much doubt it will – then Margot Wallstrom, currently Foreign Minister of Sweden is a good candidate. She was also the UN experience as the representative for women and the EU Environment Commissioner and, subsequently, its VICE-PRESIDENT.

There is also Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Denmark), former Prime Minister of Denmark,
and Federica Mogherini (Italy), current High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the European Union’s foreign minister both would also be strong candidates.

Conclusion
If you are interested in this process, there is an NGO campaign called “1 for 7 Billion,” which has developed its own set of criteria for a new Secretary General and has met the incoming President of the UN General Assembly Mogens Lykketoft.

The new Secretary General will not only have to oversee the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, but the continuing crisis in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, as well as the humanitarian crisis around refugees, Climate Change and the emergence of new technologies and their massive impact on global work force – in particular –tomorrow’s youth unemployment crisis.

Let’s choose a UN Secretary General who can address these issues effectively.
Posted 2 days ago by felix dodds
Labels: Alicia Bárcena Ibarra Dalia Grybauskaite Danilo Türk Irina Bokova Kristalina Georgieva Michelle Bachelet, Vesna Pusi? and Vuk Jeremi?, also new UN Secretary General UN Secretary General election 2016.

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Some of the comments Felix Dodds posted:

Ross BaileySeptember 2, 2015 at 2:25 PM

Good blog Felix. Will be fascinating to see what happens next.

You’ve made very clear that she would be an outside but in reality, surely no chance for President Sirleaf surely? She would bring real gravitas but isn’t 78 quite old to be starting an 8 year term.

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Stephanie HodgeSeptember 4, 2015 at 2:14 PM

The UN is in need of another period of reform, so it is ‘fit for purpose’ in ensuring that the new Sustainable Development Goals become the agenda of all its organs over the next 15 years.

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Loy RegoSeptember 4, 2015 at 4:10 PM

Thanks Felix. Far more substantive than the NY Times article, which emphasized only gender as a factor. Keep blogging.

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Loy RegoSeptember 4, 2015 at 4:14 PM

.. and in implementing reform, making the UN fit for purpose, and advancing the SDGs while reversing climate change and building climate and disaster resilience, we need a “Super woman’ selected through a new process and therefore having a greater public buy in than ever before.

Felix Dodds comments on sustainable development, coffee & life

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Sep 2 a reply note from Felix Dodds:
‘The next UN Secretary General will be…’ The beginning of the media buzz

The blog I did on who the next Executive Director of UNEP should be seemed to go down well with my readers.

UN publishes draft SDG Summit outcome and policy briefs for September Summit

The General Assembly will convene a meeting on 1 September at 10 a.m. in the General Assembly Hall to take action and transmit the draft outcome for consideration at the 25-27 September Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda.

Upcoming climate change related events. Green Economy Principles:

I am attending a very interesting Green Growth and Travelism Summer School organized by he Green Growth and Travelism Institute at Hasselt University in Belgium. A very interesting venue where a former prison has been converted into a prison.

Yet again another article on why the SDGs are not perfect………………………

I have to say I am getting bored with armchair journalists and academics who think they know better than 193 countries, thousands of NGOs and experts. So I am going to try and make this the LAST comment on an ill informed article….but i cant promise it.
Very nice graphic for the 5Ps in the preamble to ‘Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

As the SDGs start to be promoted there is the need for good graphics. This is the best one i’ve seen so far for the 5 P’s that are in the preamble to ‘Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Bringing the ?SDGs? to life: real change for real people video by IIED.

Time for all of us to be creative – Nice contribution from IIED. Are there any other creative ideas out there? If so send them to me at felix[at felixdodds.net and the best i’ll promote here in the blog.


With the next meeting of the Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs), in Bangkok 26-28th of October they have opened a consultation on the development of a global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Bjorn Lomborg Wrong Again:

I had missed Bjorn Lomborg’s article in the Guardian “These are the four SDGs we need to agree on to help the planet” in the section sponsored by Business call to Action.

Summer book reads from some of my friends:

Im enjoying a little downtime after the crazy 2015,2014,2013,2012 processes and wanted to share some books out by some of my friends which you may enjoy for summer reading.

Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

We now have an agreement and a very good name for the agreement it will be called ‘Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.’ This was important because of the ongoing discussion in the negotiations of taking poverty eradication out of sustainable development.

Comments on the new Post 2015 text:

Well who would have expected me to be writing another blog about another final text? Governments return at 11am Sunday to try and finish the negotiations on the Post 2015 Development Agenda. I myself left on Friday assuming it would finish then and went to see Mission Impossible last night.

Comments on the new Post 2015 text

Love the new preamble YES YES YES People need to read the SDGs and their targets and not a summary in a preamble.
We are here to help with delegate therapy

Bracketing Therapists – As the negotiations are coming to an end on the Post 2015 Agenda you must be worrying what you will do with all that time you now will have.

Part 2: NGOs such as Save the Children and Corporations —- Tuesday also saw a very good article in the Guardian which raises some very serious issues relating to Save the Children’s relationship with the corporate sector.

It was a good warning for all NGOs to look at who they are having funding from in the corporate world.

Part 1: The UN and Corporations

Tuesday I went to an excellent side event by the Global Policy Forum who pre-launched what I think is an excellent report called Fit for Purpose: Private funding and corporate influence in the United Nations.

Some initial thoughts on the Final Declaration Draft:

Wow we are, we hope, into the last five days of the Post 2015 process!!!!

By Friday there should be an agreement and lots of hugs, I understand, all round. Between now and then though there is some tough negotiations to be undertaken.

The year of negotiating precariously

This is a reproduction of the Guardian article written by myself and Michael Strauss ‘The year of negotiating precariously’ in the Guardian on the 23rd of July 2015 which can be read on the Guardian web site.

New Book Governance for Sustainable Development: The Post-2015 Agenda is an unprecedented effort that embodies universal aspirations for achieving a better, more just, equitable, peaceful and sustainable future. Representatives from 193 governments and multiple stakeholders, from all sectors, have actively participated in its creation.

Civil Society Response to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development Addis Ababa, 16 July 2015

Below is the CSO response to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. As very little changes have happened in the txt relating to sustainable development and sustainable development goals. My criticism of that text stands.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 5th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


In the run-up to Paris2015 Kevin Rudd of the New York based Asia Society argues that “U.S., China, and India Must Lead Together for a Climate Deal in Paris,” Lord Nicholas Stern said that there will be a complete change in what the planet will look like in 100 years from now, and Christiana Figueres said that what countries have prepared for Paris is insufficient, but she hopes that in those 100 coming years they will be more forthcoming.

On August 28, 2015 – on CNN International’s Amanpour – Kevin Rudd, the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) President, discussed the effects of climate change – with Lord Nicholas Stern, chairman of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, and international climate policy, with Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Noting that projected levels of greenhouse gas emissions would cause average temperatures to rise by three-and-a-half to four degrees Celsius over the next 100 years, Lord Stern said “that is very dangerous territory” that the planet hasn’t seen “for around three million years,” since the end of the last Ice Age.

“These kinds of temperature increases are just enormous and would rewrite where we could live, where the rivers are, where the seashores are, what the weather is like,” said Lord Stern.

The poorest areas of the world would be “hit strongest and earliest,” he added. “Probably most of Southern Europe would look like the Sahara Desert.”


Figueres said that countries’ national climate change plans, which governments have been announcing ahead of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris this December, will fall short of “where we should be, according to science, to be on the two degree [temperature increase] pathway.”

The resulting gap “will not be filled in Paris,” Figueres said. “It will not be filled in January.”

She noted that the Paris climate agreement “is being constructed, actually, as a progressive effort over a certain period of timeframes, during which countries need, and will be able to, because of increased technology and further capital flows … increase their contribution to the solution.”

Video: Kevin Rudd discusses climate change with Lord Nicholas Stern and Christiana Figueres on CNN International’s Amanpour.

Related Links
Kevin Rudd on CNBC: Don’t Confuse the Chinese Stock Market with Overall Economy
Kevin Rudd in the New York Times: U.S., China, and India Must Lead Together for a Climate Deal in Paris

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THE UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 5, 2015


Ms. Christiana Figueres – the Executive Secretary of UNFCCC will end her contract at the end of this year after the conclusion of the Paris 2015 meeting – having guided the organization through all this preparatory years. It is being suggested that her candidacy be submitted for the 2016 selection process for next UN Secretary-General position. She would be the best informed person to lead the UN in the crucial 2017-2026 period when Climate Change and Sustainability become main UN topics under the incoming title from Paris – “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

The UN is in need of another period of reform, so it is ‘fit for purpose’ in ensuring that the new Sustainable Development Goals become the agenda of all its organs over the next 15 years.

————————————————————–

UN climate chief: No such thing as ideal pace for pre-Paris talks

By EUOBSERVER
4. Sep, 13:47

 euobserver.com/tickers/130117

UN climate chief Christiana Figueres countered criticism that preliminary talks for a Paris climate treaty were moving too slowly. “There is no such thing as an objective [ideal] pace of negotiations that everyone can agree on”, she said at a press conference Friday after a round of talks in Bonn.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 25th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From Laura Musikanski: The Happiness Alliance – Home of the Happiness Initiative and the GNH (Gross National Happiness) Index

Hi Friend of the Happiness Alliance,

Happiness is important to a new economic paradigm, the sustainability of our future and your happiness.

You are one of 61K people who took the Gross National Happiness Index and, in doing so, are the happiness movement. And the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) agrees – happiness, wellbeing & sustainability are important.

Who is the OECD? Here is a little history lesson. The OECD is the international organization that first started collecting Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers and comparing them for all countries. As such, they became a major force pushing GDP to the forefront for policy makers and our society. The backstory is that the superpowers got together after WWII and decided the best way to end future world wars was to bind their economies together (anybody remember Bretton Woods in history class?). The measure they decided to use for economic success was GDP. The term “globalization” had not been coined yet, and the full effects of exponential growth of production, pollution and GDP were still to come. About ten years ago the OECD, and many others, started seeing that wider measures of well-being were needed.

So what? October 13-15 in Guadalajara, Mexico is the OECD’s Fifth World Forum on statistics, knowledge and policy “transforming policy, changing lives.” We will be there (chat with us at our booth), as will be nef, Richard Layard, Jeffrey Stiglitz, Gus O’Donnell and so can you.

There is no fee to participate, but you must apply as a participant by August 31. Send an email to  wellbeing at oecd.org to apply as a participant.

There is more news from our project:

Our latest tool, Happiness for the Depressed, takes a real look at how to address depression. It is quickly becoming one of our more popular tools in part because it does not to give a bandaid to real problems.

And for the data and policy geeks, our second of a four essays that will constitute a white paper on the happiness movement has finally been published. The peer review process is no joke – but we are grateful to the Journal for Social Change for the input and editing. The essay is Measuring Happiness to Guide Public Policy Making. The end includes a grid of the areas included by different measures.

Community activists – check out the wonderful work Laura Hannant had been leading in the Creston, British Columbia region. Elected and appointed officials from the city, region and community boards came together with volunteers to measure and now manage the happiness and wellbeing of the community as part of a three year long project.

Academics and Researchers – check out the article covering the research Professor David Pendery did with four different universities in Taiwan. He is particularly concerned with the happiness and wellbeing of Chinese youth.

Laura Hannant and David Pendery both plan to be at the OECD fifth world forum and share a booth with the Happiness Alliance.

Last, please keep using the Gross National Happiness Index for your life and for your group. If you have not tried the new platform, check it out! You can create a group with one click. If you have, please let us know what you think and of any problems ( info at happycounts.org)

Thank you!
Laura Musikanski, other volunteers & the board of the Happiness Alliance.

P.S. We need donations to help us cover costs for posters, handouts and a banner for the OECD forum. If you can help, please donate here!

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 4th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


WikiLeaks Reveals NSA’s Top Brazilian Political Targets

By Glenn Greenwald and David Miranda, The Intercept

04 July 15 – reported by RSN

Top secret data from the National Security Agency, shared with The Intercept by WikiLeaks, reveals that the U.S. spy agency targeted the cellphones and other communications devices of more than a dozen top Brazilian political and financial officials, including the country’s president Dilma Rousseff, whose presidential plane’s telephone was on the list. President Rousseff just yesterday returned to Brazil after a trip to the U.S. that included a meeting with President Obama, a visit she had delayed for almost two years in anger over prior revelations of NSA spying on Brazil.

That Rousseff’s personal cell phone was successfully targeted by NSA spying was previously reported in 2013 by Fantastico, a program on the Brazilian television network Globo Rede. That revelation – along with others exposing NSA mass surveillance on hundreds of millions of Brazilians, and the targeting of the country’s state-owned oil company Petrobras and its Ministry of Mines and Energy – caused a major rupture in relations between the two nations. But Rouseff is now suffering from severe domestic weakness as a result of various scandals and a weak economy, and apparently could no longer resist the perceived benefits of a high-profile state visit to Washington.

But these new revelations extend far beyond the prior ones and are likely to reinvigorate tensions. Beyond Rousseff, the new NSA target list includes some of Brazil’s most important political and financial figures, such as the Finance Ministry’s Executive Secretary Nelson Barbosa; Luiz Awazu Pereira da Silva, a top official with Brazil’s Central Bank; Luiz Eduardo Melin de Carvalho e Silva, former Chief of Staff to the Finance Minister; the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s chief of economics and finance, Luis Antônio Balduíno Carneiro; former Foreign Affairs Minister and Ambassador to the U.S. Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado; and Antonio Palocci, who formerly served as both Dilma’s Chief of Staff and Finance Minister under former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Most notable about the list, published simultaneously by WikiLeaks, is the predominance of officials responsible for Brazil’s financial and economic matters (last four digits of the listed telephone numbers are redacted; click to enlarge):

NSA list covering the high priority targets in Brazil. (photo: The Intercept)
 readersupportednews.org/opinion2/…

Next to each name on the list, there are codes which indicate the purpose of the surveillance and the group of analysts within NSA responsible for it. The codes appear under under the column entitled “TOPI,” which stands for “Target Office of Primary Interest.”

Alongside most of the government officials’ phone numbers is the designator “S2C42,” a reference to an NSA unit that focuses on intelligence collected from Brazil’s political leadership. The same code was seen in the previously reported document revealing NSA’s targeting of Dilma’s cellphone:

But even more revealing on this new list is the designation next to several of the targeted officials responsible for financial and economic issues. Many of these individuals have a different code next to their phone number – S2C51 – which refers to NSA’s “international financial policy branch.” Brazilians are particularly sensitive to economic espionage by the U.S., both for historical reasons (as a hallmark of American imperialism and domination on the continent) and due to current economic concerns (for that reason, the story of NSA’s targeting of Petrobras was arguably the most consequential of all prior surveillance stories).

Several Brazilian officials expressed anger over the latest revelations. Gilberto Carvalho, former Chief of Staff to Lula and a top aide to Dilma, harshly denounced the spying in an interview with the Intercept. He described his reaction as “maximum indignation,” declaring it a “violation of Brazilian sovereignty” which the U.S. “does not have the right to do.” Carvalho added that the fact that Brazil “is trying to repair our relationship with the U.S. does not in any way diminish the gravity of these new revelations.”

For his part, the Central Bank’s Pereira da Silva said his reaction is to fully embrace the stinging denunciation of NSA’s electronic surveillance contained in Dilma’s September, 2013 United Nations speech, delivered while Obama waited in the hallway to speak. That blistering speech was widely regarded in Brazil as a high point of Dilma’s leadership on the world stage.

Speaking from the General Assembly podium, she declared that “tampering in such a manner in the affairs of other countries is a breach of international law and is an affront of the principles that must guide the relations among them, especially among friendly nations.” She condemned U.S. mass surveillance as a “grave violation of human rights and of civil liberties” and, in a rare invocation of her own personal history as a rebel against the country’s oppressive military dictatorship, said: “As many other Latin Americans, I fought against authoritarianism and censorship, and I cannot but defend, in an uncompromising fashion, the right to privacy of individuals and the sovereignty of my country. In the absence of the right to privacy, there can be no true freedom of expression and opinion, and therefore no effective democracy.”

Other Brazilian targets on the newly released NSA list include the long-time diplomat and author André Amado, as well as a current official with the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Fernando Meirelles de Azevedo Pimentel. It also includes the “cell” numbers for several of the key targets along with their office numbers. And it lists the Brazilian ambassadors in Paris, Berlin and Geneva, with the official “residence” of the latter targeted.

Questions submitted to NSA were not answered by the time of publication. Prior to the disclosure about its spying on Petrobras, the NSA insisted to the Washington Post that (emphasis in original) “the department does ***not*** engage in economic espionage in any domain, including cyber.” In response to the Petrobras report, however, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that “it is not a secret that the Intelligence Community collects information about economic and financial matters” but claimed that it does not “use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of – or give intelligence we collect to – US companies.”

The list obtained by The Intercept from WikiLeaks is extracted from an NSA database. Dates that appear on it indicate that the eavesdropping on several of the officials began in early 2011, but others were first targeted in 2010 while Lula, Rousseff’s predecessor, was still President. There is no indication that the surveillance has stopped. Rather than a one-time document created on a single day, the list appears to be an aggregate list of targets continually compiled and updated by the NSA. Last week, WikiLeaks released similar documents showing surveillance of French and German political and financial officials, and that spying took place over many years.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 30th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

By the end of the second day of the Dilma Rousseff mission to the US – it becomes clear that the Brazilian President had the upper hand, and this was about overcoming the repugnant fact that under this US President US agencies spied on the President of Brazil by hacking into her private phones and mail.

For one thing, Brazil wins now the right again to export its beef to the US, and there was also some mention of Brazil-US cooperation on Climate Change — though this was much less at the forefront as we wished to see it.

REUTERS – Politics | Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:30pm EDT

Obama, Rousseff turn page on spy spat, work on trade, travel

WASHINGTON | By Roberta Rampton and Idrees Ali

President Barack Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff used a White House visit on Tuesday to turn the page on a spying scandal that had damaged bilateral relations and said they want to work to bolster economic ties.

The presidents agreed to a series of steps to make it easier for people and goods to move between the two countries, including reopening fresh beef trade.


During an hour-long press conference, Rousseff said “things have changed” since October 2013, when she canceled an official state visit after revelations from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that the United States had spied on her.

“The change is particularly due to the fact that President Obama and the U.S. government have stated on several occasions that they would no longer engage in intrusive acts of spying on friendly countries. I believe President Obama,” Rousseff said.

Obama greeted Rousseff with a warm hug when she arrived in Washington on Monday, taking her for an impromptu visit to a memorial for civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. before a working dinner.

Obama praised Brazil during Tuesday’s press conference as a “global power” and an “indispensable partner” playing a critical role in addressing climate change with a deal to boost renewable power production.

—————————–


2 years after spying flap, Obama and Brazil’s Rousseff declare end to chapter of tense ties.

Writes US News and World Report of June 30, 2013

The president and visiting Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff sought Tuesday to cast their nations as “natural partners” collaborating closely on critical issues like climate and regional diplomacy, glossing over recent tensions over spying that have strained relations between the U.S. and Brazil.

Associated Press
June 30, 2015 | 4:48 p.m. EDT
+ More

By JOSH LEDERMAN, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two years after revelations about U.S. spying frayed ties between their countries, President Barack Obama and visiting Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff publicly closed that chapter Tuesday, declaring that the relationship between the U.S. and Brazil is on an upward swing.

Rousseff canceled a 2013 visit to Washington in the wake of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden’s disclosures that the U.S. had intercepted her emails and phone calls, and U.S. leaders have been working to repair the damage ever since. On Tuesday, the two leaders were all smiles in the East Room of the White House, trading bets about the 2016 Summer Olympics, to be held in Rio de Janeiro.

“I believe President Obama,” Rousseff said, referring to the U.S. pledge to no longer engage in intrusive spying on friendly nations.

“I trust her completely,” Obama rejoined.

Both leaders acknowledged that the NSA leaks had strained the relationship between two of the hemisphere’s largest powers. Even still, Rousseff said the conditions today are different than they were in 2013, noting that Obama has since told her that should he ever need confidential information about Brazil, he’ll pick up the phone and call her directly.

“Countries do go through crises and difficulties. It’s just natural,” Rousseff said through a translator.

Aiming to move past those difficulties, Obama and Rousseff put a spotlight on areas of growing cooperation between the U.S. and Brazil as she wrapped up her two-day visit to the White House. The leaders touted a recent defense agreement as well as a U.S. decision Monday to begin allowing fresh beef imports from all 14 of Brazil’s states — a longstanding Brazilian request.

Yet the capstone of the attempt to show common cause was a joint announcement on climate change, an issue Rousseff deemed “one of the central challenges of the 21st century.”

Brazil pledged to curb illegal deforestation and expand renewable energy use as it gears up to unveil its contribution to a global climate treaty that Obama has been championing and world leaders expect to finalize this year. Although the announcement stopped short of a commitment to bring deforestation down to zero, as many environmentalists wanted, the pledge offered some of the first signs of how Brazil intends to curb its greenhouse gas emissions as part of the treaty.

The South American nation also vowed to restore and reforest 12 million hectares — an area roughly the size of England — by 2030. About three-quarters of Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions come from destruction in the Amazon rainforest, which acts as a giant absorber of carbon dioxide.

Both the U.S. and Brazil announced plans to increase the share of renewable, non-hydropower electricity sources to 20 percent by 2030. That will require tripling the amount of renewable energy on the U.S. electricity grid, while doubling it in Brazil. The White House said it was counting on gains from Obama’s controversial power plant emission rules to meet the new goal.

From its inception on Monday with a visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Rousseff’s stay in Washington appeared designed to show that the U.S. and Brazil were no longer saddled by the spying flap that drew headlines and outrage from Brazilian lawmakers in 2013 and 2014.

And after an Oval Office meeting and joint news conference with Obama on Tuesday, Rousseff headed to the State Department for lunch, where she was toasted by Vice President Joe Biden — the point person in the White House’s charm offensive to regain Rousseff’s trust.

Rousseff had been scheduled to be honored with a state dinner in October 2013, an honor meant to demonstrate the growing importance of Latin America’s largest nation and a particular nod to Rousseff, who adopted a friendlier foreign policy toward the U.S. than her predecessor when she took office in 2001.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 30th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

News
BASIC Ministers Outline Views on Paris Agreement

28 June 2015: Ministers from the four BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) countries convened for the group’s 20th Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change to discuss: the outcomes of the previous sessions of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP); the upcoming sessions of the ADP; and the elements of the expected Paris Agreement.

The 20th BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change was held at the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the UN in New York, US, on 27-28 June 2015. In a joint statement issued at the end of the meeting, BASIC Ministers welcome: the convening of the High Level Event on Climate Change by the President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on 29 June 2015; the outcome of Lima Climate Change Conference in 2014; and the work of the Peruvian Presidency.

They further: commit to work constructively to ensure a successful outcome at the Paris Climate Change Conference in December 2015; reaffirm that the ADP process and outcome should be guided by, and be in accordance with, the Convention; and express appreciation for the progress achieved in the recent ADP sessions, but stress the need to accelerate the pace of negotiations.

Ministers underscore the need for the Paris Agreement to: address, in a balanced manner, mitigation, adaptation, finance, capacity building, technology development and transfer, transparency of action and support; not solely focus on mitigation; provide a framework for Parties to enhance actions to limit warming to below 2 degree Celsius and enable adaptation; and include comprehensive contributions that will be nationally determined and reflect each Party’s highest possible effort, in accordance with its common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR).

They call for the upcoming ADP negotiations to focus on the core provisions to be included in a protocol, another legal instrument or agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention. They highlight that the streamlined negotiating text being prepared by the ADP Co-Chairs should be concise, including all core elements of the Durban mandate, and that COP decisions should detail the agreement’s provisions, including modalities and technical aspects.

Ministers consider that ambition and effectiveness will be achieved by maintaining differentiation among developed and developing countries in the agreement. They call on developed countries to provide new, additional, predictable, adequate and sustained public support to enhance actions by developing countries, and for the Paris agreement to establish a link between developing countries’ actions and the scale of finance, technology and capacity building support.

On pre-2020 ambition (or workstream 2), they stress that: the pre-2020 ambition gap shall be primarily addressed through the implementation of the 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and the outcome of the Bali Action Plan; and that developed countries’ current emission reduction, financial and technological commitments are inadequate. They support the call by the G77 and China for the ADP Co-Chairs to prepare an inclusive paper as a starting point for the discussions under Workstream 2 at the next ADP session in August-September 2015.

They express disappointment over the lack of a clear roadmap for developed countries to provide USD 100 billion per year by 2020, as well as on substantially scaling up financial support after 2020. Ministers also underlined that domestic preparations for their respective intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) are at an advanced stage and will reflect their “utmost efforts towards the objective of the Convention.”

The 21st BASIC Ministerial Meeting will be hosted by China in the second semester of 2015. [Joint Statement of BASIC Ministers]

read more: climate-l.iisd.org/news/basic-min…

——————————————————————————

News
UNGA Holds High-Level Event on Climate Change

29 June 2015: “We must act with courage,” UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Sam Kutesa told UN Member States gathered at the High-Level Event on Climate Change he hosted. He called for “bold, collective action” to “reverse the current trends and preserve our planet.” The High-Level Event was convened at the midpoint between the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 20) to the UNFCCC and COP 21, and aimed to provide political momentum for an ambitious climate agreement.

Held on 29 June 2015, in New York, US, the High-Level Event also featured remarks from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who called climate change and sustainable development “two sides of the same coin” that are being addressed by “two mutually reinforcing agendas.”

Also addressing the links between these agendas, Kutesa stressed that 2015 is a critical year, “when the world’s attention is focused on the future,” adding that “a successful outcome at COP 21 will send a resounding message that the well-being of the planet must go hand-in-hand with development efforts.”

Both Ban and Kutesa focused on the building blocks, such as intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) and finance, needed to achieve an ambitious agreement and commended large emitters for coming forward with commitments. Noting some controversial issues remain to be resolved ahead of COP 21, Kutesa said “a successful outcome can be reached if all Parties engage constructively and with flexibility.” Ban reminded that the agreement must not be an “end point,” but rather a “turning point” in how the world collectively acts to address climate change.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres also spoke at the event, asserting that “Never before has it been so evident that we can address both climate change and sustainable development with the same measures,” and urging negotiators to show leadership to “create jobs, ensure energy access, safeguard food and water, improve health and protect economic and social stability for the future.”

After the opening session, two high-level panel discussions were held. The first consisted of two segments, moderated by UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner and Global Commission on the Economy and Climate Chair Felipe Calderón, respectively. It focused on mobilizing political momentum for ambitious actions on mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation (MOI). Panelists discussed: equity; differentiation; renewable energy development; scaling action under current commitments; China’s green development strategy; anti-poverty efforts; transparency; and adequacy of support.

The second panel, on mobilizing stakeholders for ambitious actions on mitigation, adaptation and MOI, addressed the US$100 billion goal, private sector perspectives, land restoration for food security and increased resilience and falling costs of renewables. Green Climate Fund (GCF) Executive Director Héla Cheikhrouhou and Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO Naoko Ishii spoke on the financing efforts their institutions are undertaking. Cheikhrouhou urged “significant, predictable funding” for the GCF, saying it “can play a key role in driving the transition to climate-resilient and low emission societies.”

Kutesa intends to circulate a President’s summary of the High-Level Event to all Member States and other stakeholders. The event will reconvene for its closing session on 30 June 2015. [High-Level Event on Climate Change Webpage] [UNGA President Opening Statement] [UN Press Release] [UNFCCC Press Release] [UNFCCC Executive Secretary Remarks] [GCF Executive Director Remarks] [UNEP Press Release] [UN Meeting Summary]

read more: climate-l.iisd.org/news/unga-hold…

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 30th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Remarks by President Obama and President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil Before Meeting

ATLAPA Convention Center
Panama City, Panama

The White House Press, April 11, 2015

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, it is wonderful to be able to meet once again with my good friend, President Rousseff, and her delegation.

PRESIDENT ROUSSEFF: I understand. (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: She doesn’t need a translator.

Brazil is obviously not only one of the most important countries in the hemisphere, but is a global leader on a whole range of issues. And so I’m looking forward to this meeting where we can discuss furthering the cooperation that we already have on a whole range of issues, including climate change, energy, educational exchanges, and science and technology.

I’m also very pleased that President Rousseff is going to be able to visit Washington at the end of June, on June 30th, where we’ll be able not only to deepen our discussions, but also put forward some very concrete plans for mutual cooperation in these areas.

So let me just say once again, thank you to President Rousseff for her leadership and her friendship. And I’m looking forward to a very productive meeting.

PRESIDENT ROUSSEFF: (As interpreted.) I would also like to say that, to me, it is of course very important that we, the U.S. and Brazil, be able to ensure continuity of our relations. Brazil and the U.S. have had a very longstanding track record in our bilateral relations, and I think a very solid one.

We have before us a wide array of different topics in the areas that can serve as subjects for further cooperation, not only between the two countries but also throughout Latin America and the world at large. May I quote just one example of an area for fruitful cooperation, such as climate change, which is not only a pressing need but also a much-needed area for joint initiatives in the world at large. Brazil has experienced a very harsh drought. The U.S., in turn, has experienced a very rigorous winter. So the climate change agenda is an illustration, a clean-cut example of where we can cooperate jointly.

Science and technology, education, as well as all manners pertaining to economic growth are just examples of what we can do together to improve and boost the quality of our production activity, which is key for Brazil and which I think will help us elevate our relations to a higher threshold than it is currently today.

I am very much pleased to learn about the upcoming visit on June the 30th in the United States, and do look forward to that occasion.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you, everybody.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 30th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The US and Brazil are about equal in size, in numbers of citizens, in economic potential, and in post colonial history. While the US was dependent on England and became part of an Anglo-American Trans-Atlantic culture, Brazil was dependent on Portugal but did develop its own Southern Hemisphere culture. Today the US is the Global economic leader that is destined to share this space with a rising China – Brazil is the Global sixth largest economy and China is its largest trade partner.

The US and Brazil have clashed on many issues because of US government and industry intrusion in Brazil’s affairs. One result is that Brazil suffers from an oil industry Malaise like the US does – while like the US it could actually make itself independent of the use of oil. Now, Petrobras, has become a source of large problems for the Brazilian President and a damper on the visit of Brazil’s President that came to the US with 11 of her cabinet ministers. Five of them sat on the stage when she summarized yesterday a meeting with potential investors in Brazil’s infrastructure. She then flew to Washington to meet President Obama in a private visit followed today with a joint visit to the Reverend Martin Luther King memorial, and a non-State-Dinner. She then continues to San Francisco for further business meetings.

We expected joint statements in view of the fact that Brazil is a leader on the introduction of Sustainable Development to the lingo of the Environment and Development. This might yet come today after having been hammered out between her Minister of the Environment and the Head of the US EPA. We will deal with this when it comes. As for now – we just bring here published various expectations from different points of view. We would like to see a better alignment of the Obama Administration with this most significant State of the Western Hemisphere.

President Barack Obama talks with President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil as they tour the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, D.C., June 29, 2015. (Official White House)

10:15 AM: The President holds a bilateral meeting with President Rousseff; the Vice President will also attend

12:05 PM: The President and President Rousseff hold a joint press conference WATCH LIVE – White House Snapshot <info@mail.whitehouse.gov> for June 30, 2015. We assume this was followed by lunch.

Politics – PBS – Rundown
Obama, Rousseff aim to show they’ve moved past spy scandal.

BY Darlene Superville and Adriana Gomez Licon, Associated Press June 29, 2015 at 12:05 PM EDT

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff meets with business leaders in New York Monday during a visit to the United States.


WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff will aim to show they have smoothed over tensions sparked by a spying scandal, as they open two days of talks at the White House Monday.


The meetings come nearly two years after Rousseff canceled a rare state visit to Washington following revelations that Brazil was a target of American spy programs. The disclosures by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden deeply strained relations between the two hemispheric powers.


Rather than rehash the spying controversy, officials from both countries say Obama and Rousseff want to delve into talks on trade, investment and climate change.

“They are putting behind the Edward Snowden affair,” said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue. “The meeting is to create good atmosphere, a good mood, establish communication and get the relationship back on solid footing.”

Obama and Rousseff will meet for a private dinner Monday evening, and then hold more formal talks and a joint news conference on Tuesday.

The leaders are meeting six months before a United Nations-sponsored conference in Paris in December to finalize a climate treaty. Obama has argued that a gradually warming planet could worsen social tensions and political instability worldwide, in addition to harming the U.S.

Countries are making their positions on climate change clear ahead of the Paris talks. The U.S. already has announced a 2025 deadline to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases by 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels.

Brazil, the seventh largest economy, is one of the top emitters that has not presented pollution-control targets. Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira, who is traveling with Rousseff to Washington, has said that developed nations bear more responsibility than the developing world because of their emissions track record.

Brazil’s first female president started her second term in January — Vice President Joe Biden attended her inauguration — but she since has been weighed down by low approval ratings, her country’s poor economic performance and a massive corruption scandal involving Petrobras, a state-owned oil company. Tens of thousands of Brazilians filled streets across the country earlier this year to protest her leadership.

Snowden’s disclosures showed that in addition to spying on Rousseff’s communications, the NSA had hacked the oil company’s computer network. Rousseff served on the company’s board, but has not been implicated in the scandal.


With Brazil bracing for recession, officials are emphasizing the economic agenda for the Obama-Rousseff meeting. The U.S. is Brazil’s second largest trading partner after China, exchanging $62 billion in trade flows.

Carlos Eduardo de Freitas, an economist and former Central Bank executive director, said the White House meeting may invigorate Brazil as it seeks to cut down government spending to avoid being shunned in credit markets. Rousseff is traveling with 11 cabinet members and met with Brazilian businessmen and U.S. investment fund managers and government officials in New York to discuss infrastructure before arriving in Washington.

“The government needs to unshackle its economy,” Freitas said.

The timing of Rousseff’s trip was settled months ago; Obama announced it when the two met on the sidelines of a summit in Panama in April. But for Rousseff, being seen warmly received by an American president coming off one of the best weeks of his time in office could help her back home.

Since Rousseff is not on a state visit, she will not receive a welcome ceremony on the White House South Lawn or be celebrated with the formal State Dinner.

The Wall Street Journal – World – Latin America

Brazil’s President Seeks Investment During U.S. Visit
Business friendly environment is needed to attract investors and restore growth, Rousseff says
By Paulo Trevisani
Updated June 29, 2015 12:01 a.m. ET

NEW YORK—This week’s meeting of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington is expected to be short on splashy announcements, but it could go a long way to healing a breach between the leaders of the hemisphere’s two largest economies.

U.S.-Brazilian relations have been frosty since 2013, when leaked National Security Agency files revealed that the U.S. had spied on Brazil. Ms. Rousseff’s decision…
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Popular on WSJ

REUTERS Commodities | Mon Jun 29, 2015 9:13pm BST

By Daniel Bases

(Reuters) – Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff on Monday drew on her own experience as a political prisoner during the country’s dictatorship to denounce informants in a corruption scandal that has pummeled her popularity.

Rousseff also forcefully denied her campaign had received illegal donations originating from the scandal, which involves kickbacks allegedly paid by construction companies to politicians and former executives at state-run oil firm Petrobras.

Speaking to journalists in New York, Rousseff contrasted her experience in jail in the early 1970s opposing Brazil’s dictatorship with that of informants cooperating with prosecutors investigating the Petrobras scandal.

“I do not respect informants because I know, I was jailed in the dictatorship and they tried to turn me into one,” she said following a speech to investors focused on infrastructure projects. As a young Marxist, Rousseff was jailed, hung upside down and tortured with electric shocks.

Many of the key informants in the Petrobras corruption scandal have turned state’s witness after serving lengthy pre-trial jail terms.

Rousseff spoke after Veja magazine reported on Friday that Ricardo Pessoa, an executive linked to the scandal, had said in plea bargain testimony that part of the money resulting from the overpricing of contracts was donated to the campaigns of several politicians, including for Rousseff’s 2014 re-election.

Pessoa, the head of Brazilian construction firm UTC Engenharia, is under house arrest. He was jailed last year and prosecutors say he may have led the cartel. Veja did not say how it obtained the details of his testimony.

Rousseff has denied knowing about corruption at Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, when she chaired its board from 2003 to 2010, when much of the alleged graft occurred.

The nine prosecutors who brought the case are known as “The Untouchables” in a country where the elite has enjoyed impunity. But defense lawyers have criticized their practice of combining preventive detention and plea bargaining, calling it coercion.

Monday was the first time Rousseff addressed Pessoa’s testimony, though her Communications Minister Edinho Silva said on Friday that 7.5 million reais donated by Pessoa to Rousseff’s 2014 campaign were legal and approved by electoral authorities. Silva was Rousseff’s campaign treasurer.

Rousseff’s chief of staff, Aloizio Mercadante, also denied donations made to him in 2010 by companies owned by Pessoa were linked to kickbacks.

Workers’ Party Treasurer Joao Vaccari was arrested in April and will stand trial for corruption. (Writing by Walter Brandimarte and Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Mary Milliken and Christian Plumb)

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UPDATE 3-Brazil’s Petrobras slashes spending to cut debt, restore confidence |30 Jun
UPDATE 3-Oil bounces off 3-week lows as Greek debt default looms |30 Jun

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