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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 27th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 We feel the more countries get involved, the less possibility for a single country grab of the resources will be possible. According to the UN approved “The Law Of The Sea” – those resources belong to all humanity and are extraterritorial to country sovereignty. Multiplicity of contenders may thus pose the needed opposition to one country grab onto these resources, and avoidance of rules of the jungle.

BEIJING, Reuters, July 28, 2008 – China plans to install its first long-term deep-sea subsurface mooring system in the Arctic Ocean, to monitor long-term marine changes, the Xinhua news agency said on Sunday.

The system will collect data on the temperature, salinity and speed of currents at various depths around 75 degrees north in the Chukchi Sea, where Atlantic and Pacific currents converge above the Bering Strait. That will allow studies of the impact on China’s climate of changes in the Arctic, Xinhua said.
A trap will catch marine life for scientific research, it said, citing Chen Hong Xia, a member of the 122-member expedition team aboard the Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, an ice-breaker which set off from Shanghai this month.

The mooring system will be retrieved in 2009.

China is increasing scientific research at both poles at a time when global warming and high resources prices are raising international interest in Arctic and Antarctic territories.

It deployed a 40-day mooring system in the Bering Sea in 2003, and is building a new station at Dome A, the highest point of Antarctica, to study ice cores.

A Russian submersible planted a flag on the seabed of the North Pole last August, setting off a race among northern nations to increase their presence in the polar regions.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 26th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

12-26-2007 16:14
 www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opi…

071225_p9_first.jpg

First Year as UN Chief

By Ban Ki-moon
U.N. Secretary-General

I have not sat still this year. From the very first day that I took office, I have been on the go-engaging leaders in their capitals and across the UN community to push progress on four main fronts:

U.N. Reform

We need to change the U.N. culture and re-engineer the United Nations for life in our fast-paced modern world. We need to move faster and more effectively in responding to global challenges, within all three pillars of the U.N.’s work: peace and security, economic and social development, human rights. As one U.N. team, we need to be more mobile and more flexible. And we must meet the highest standards of ethics, transparency and accountability.

To better deliver on the world’s expectations and growing demands upon us, I have set out to re-organize key departments. We began with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, improving performance and efficiency by splitting it into separate operational and logistical departments. Now we will turn our attention to the Department of Political Affairs to become more proactive in tackling global crises, especially in the realm of preventive diplomacy.

I have placed special emphasis on ethics and set the highest standards of disclosure and transparency. We have new standardized ethics policies governing the Secretariat as well as the Funds and Programs. The Procurement Task Force continues its critical work. We will seek over the coming year to put it on permanent footing, with full investigative independence.

Climate Change

I have made the fight against global warming my top priority, focusing world attention on this defining issue of our era. More than 80 heads of state came to the U.N.’s High Level Meeting on Climate Change in New York. I have traveled to Antarctica, the Amazon, the Andes, Lake Chad and the Great Man-made River in Libya in an effort to dramatize the scale of the problem. I launched the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which garnered another Nobel Peace Prize for the U.N. I worked to galvanize global public opinion and political will in advance of the all-important climate change conference in Bali, where world leaders took a vital first step toward reaching a comprehensive climate change accord by 2009. This is the year’s key achievement.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDG)/Human Rights. We are at the mid-point of a great campaign to end global poverty. I have focused attention on the progress we have made-and highlighted the areas where we must do better. I established the MDG Africa Steering Group to address the special problems of Africa, home to the “bottom billion” of the world’s poor who have largely been left behind by rising global economic growth. During the coming year, I shall devote great effort to strengthening the U.N.’s role in development. For the poorest of the world’s poor, economic and social advancement should be considered an innate human right. I have appointed a full-time Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities and launched a global awareness campaign for the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Geopolitics and Security

I have visited half a dozen of our peacekeeping missions, from MONUC in Congo-DRC to MINUSTAH in Haiti. The Special Tribunal in Lebanon is on track and we are helping the country’s leaders resolve their constitutional crisis. The U.N. has expanded its role in Iraq and responded effectively to humanitarian disasters in Bangladesh, Congo, Sudan and the Occupied Palestinian territories.

In the Middle East, I worked behind-the-scenes to help launch the recent Annapolis peace talks, particularly in convincing regional leaders to attend. I will continue these efforts within the Quartet.

No geopolitical issue has absorbed more of my time than Darfur. A year ago, there was no movement toward peace in Darfur. Today, peace talks are underway in Sirte and a joint AU-U.N. peacekeeping force is about to deploy. The challenge for the coming year is to work continuously with the Sudan government, rebel movements, representatives of civil society and regional leaders, as well as the U.N. Security Council and the international community, to ensure the ultimate success of both the talks and the military mission.

By the Numbers

I Flew 125,000 miles during 57 official visits (to more than 120 separate cities and sites) in 39 countries or territories on 6 continents. I had more than 300 bilateral meetings with government officials. (130+ during the General Assembly.) I spent a total of 132 days on the road.

——————————

It says that his bigest achiement was   on Climate Change at Bali and to get there “I have traveled to Antarctica, the Amazon, the Andes, Lake Chad and the Great Man-made River in Libya, in an effort to dramatize the scale of the problem.” He does not recognize that in effect it was the amount of CO2 that he emmitted in his trips were the longest lasting result, and that Australia and Papua New Guinea were indeed to be complimented as having brought about the results at Bali.

Talking to Korea, he makes no mention about efforts the world body is making regarding denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, or as a matter of fact, working on the Iranian problem either. Perhaps this is something that he does not mention to the new Korean government – it is slowly starting to get into our vision – though we are on the record for having said the reunification of Korea might be Mr. Ban’s only real contribution in his UN Secretariat – are we going now to start thinking that plain diplomacy will squash this one chance also?

Reorganizing the furniture on a huge glass-Titanic will require billions, but will it improve the operation of this mamoth world enterprise? What did the UN do to stop Africa from Shooting its leaden feet? Is the moribund Commission on Sustainable Development on Mr. Ban’s radar screen? Does he think that MDGs are anythink but fiction if the CSD is inoperative? Has he invited Zimbabwe to look into its leader’s face – or even better – did he go have a look at that starving hyper-hyper inflation country, and ask its neighboring Malawy for a view of its phylosoper’s stone on how to do things better?
Can he try to create a Levitown heaven for failed despots – to simply send them there for safekeeping, and have the world body reshape their fallen empires? Really? What has he actually done in his first year? How has he helped a merchantilistic Korea, his home-country, by not looking into the development of a consumer market in that large one billion poor people’s Africa? Has he looked at what China does there? Was that good for Korea?

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 16th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 November 200 “Making of the New 7 Wonders” DVD Now Available!
New7Wonders Voting Analysis Now Online   – Nominate & Support New7Wonders of Nature Candidates NOW!
Check out the New7Wonders Official Silver Medals, Medallions and Song.

Nominate New7Wonders of Nature Candidates NOW, get an Official Supporting Committee going!
New7Wonders Voting Analysis Now Online
EXCLUSIVE EARLY OFFER to N7W Members Before the Holidays: Get Behind the Scenes with New7Wonders on our Brand-New DVD
The new New7Wonders of Nature campaign was launched at the end of the Declaration gala on 07.07.07. Since then, we have received input from more than half a million people around the planet, and hundreds of natural sites have been nominated.

There is a wonderful diversity in the nominees. They include bodies of water such as Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, Lake Titicaca in Peru and Bolivia or the Dead Sea between Israel, Jordan and Palestine, canyons such as the Grand Canyon in the U.S. and Colca Canyon in Peru, waterfalls including Iguassu Falls in Brazil and Argentina, Victoria Falls in Zambia, Angel Falls in Venezuela and Niagara Falls between the U.S. and Canada, islands such as Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands and Yemen’s Socotra Island, as well as fjords such as Norway’s Geirangerfjord. Perhaps less easy to categorize but equally impressive are other natural marvels being nominated, such as Sunderbans, the largest mangrove forest in India and Bangladesh, the world’s largest salt flats, Salar de Uyuni, in Bolivia, Giant’s Causeway in Ireland, Mongolia’s Flaming Cliffs and the submarine Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean.

Click here to nominate your favorite natural sites, or to support a favorite. We will soon be announcing the start of the first voting stage, during which we will have a live ranking of the Official Supported Nominees online. This phase will determine the Top 77 nominees, from which the 21 finalists will be chosen. So these steps are really important – think of all the beautiful places you know, and nominate them! Then, since only Official Supported Nominees will be able to receive votes, get an Official Supporting Committee going to support them! Spread the word to your family, friends and encourage them to get involved in the world’s only democratic campaign.


Please note: No Official Supporting Committee means no participation in the New7Wonders of Nature campaign.

New7Wonders Official Song.

The beat of the first-ever global election has people grooving from all four corners of the planet. Click here and experience the musical heart of the New 7 Wonders of the World – your feet will soon be tapping along.

Please see the diagram at the bottom of this newsletter for the stages and timing of the New7Wonders of Nature campaign.        The first-ever global election revealed some surprising insights, first and foremost that the largest group that took part in the campaign was – contrary to what you may think – not the Chinese or the Indians, but rather the children! Yes, kids worldwide participated by voting, campaigning, submitting artwork, showing how New7Wonders is stimulating intercultural dialogue and fostering an environment of mutual appreciation.
Unexpectedly to many, it was not the wealthy world, with its Internet connections and non-stop media access which played the key role in choosing the 7 symbols of global unity! Rather, it was people across Latin America, Asia and Africa who voted en masse.

In another interesting twist, monuments inspired real cross-cultural support – sometimes more than national! For example, more Koreans and Japanese voted for the Eiffel Tower than did people in France, and children everywhere cast their votes for fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle – more than people in Germany. In an African sprint, an avalanche of votes in support of Timbuktu were cast in the final weeks of the event from throughout Africa.

Founder and President of New7Wonders Bernard Weber says, “On a personal note, I am especially pleased to see that my two countries, Switzerland and Canada, were amongst the most active participants without having national candidates, along with some more exotic countries like Yemen, Albania and Afghanistan.” Read Bernard Weber’s fascinating, short analysis of the vote by clicking here.

The 07.07.07 celebration truly spanned the globe! Huge, often spontaneous parties were held in the winning countries, like those held to celebrate being named Olympic Games host or winning a major international sporting event.

The journey to the spectacular gala Declaration of the New 7 Wonders in Lisbon was full of exciting, thought-provoking and enlightening moments. Follow Bernard Weber and his team as they travel and work to fulfil the vision of bringing our world together to choose the New 7 Wonders of the World. See magnificent footage of many of the New7Wonders finalists, listen to rare music from many of the cultures represented, and enjoy interviews with people around the world who played a special part in the birth of the New 7 Wonders of the World. This is a great holiday gift, so order NOW!
Exclusive to New7Wonders Members:
special discount price
free airmail postage worldwide

Limited Edition New7Wonders Silver Medals, and Medallions and Pins

Three exciting new additions can now be found in the New7Wonders shop.
Official New7Wonders Silver Medals.
These are produced by the National Mint of Portugal, and only 7,777 of each silver medal featuring one of the New 7 Wonders of the World is being minted, each weighing 14 grams and with a diameter of 30 mm. Your New7Wonders medal is packed in a special wallet with a numbered certificate of guarantee. They are available now, so order yours before they run out!

Official New7Wonders Color Medallions.
Only 777 of each colorful New7Wonders medallion, showing the stylized image of one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, are being produced – this is a true collector’s item. Click here to order.

Official New7Wonders Pins.
Proudly display the polished golden and silver effect official pin on your chest, or collect all seven in a presentation box. Click here to order.

To edit your New7Wonders member profile, click here
Unsubscribe from this newsletter here.

 www.new7wonders.com

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 12th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 environment.independent.co.uk/cli…

This is from The Reporter for The Independent, Gideon Long, Directly From The Chilean Military Outpost, The Eduardo Frei Base, That Is A Bone Of Contention Between 2 or 3 Sovereign UN Member States, November 12, 2007.

As Said, in Order To Get There The UN Secretary-General Will Have Traveled 12,000 miles and No Word Yet If His Trip Was Covered With Emission Off-Sets.

“UN chief visits scientists in Antarctica for global warming fact-finding tour,” writes Gideon Long, but when we were there two years ago we visited baracks of the military that were decorated inside still with Photos of General Pinochet.

When Ban Ki-moon clambered out of a Chilean Air Force transport plane and planted his boots in the snows of Antarctica, he became the first head of the United Nations ever to visit the world’s icy underbelly.

A fleeting visit, perhaps, but one which underscores how rapidly global warming is rising up the political agenda. Mr Ban was on a fact-finding mission over the weekend ahead of a major United Nations conference on climate change in Bali next month.

At the Asia Society diner we wrote about, Mr. Ban was talking about an ECO-FACT-FINDING MISSION.

There, at Bali, the international community will try to work out what steps it can take to curb greenhouse emissions. A key deadline of the much-ignored Kyoto protocol is due to expire in 2012 and so far the world has yet to decide what comes next.

On Antarctica, scientists told Mr Ban of the changes they have witnessed on the continent’s peninsula, the finger of land that reaches out from the South Pole towards the southern tip of South America. “The temperature increase here over the last 50 years has been up to 10 times the global average,” said Gino Casassa, a Chilean expert and member of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

In early 2002, Larsen B, an ice shelf about 10 times the size of the Isle of Wight, peeled away from the continent and crashed into the sea. “Nobody believed that Larsen B … could collapse in a matter of weeks,” Mr Casassa said.

From the Chilean base Mr Ban hopped into a snowmobile and dropped in on his compatriots at South Korea’s King Sejong research station, where another retreating glacier is being monitored.

From Antarctica, Mr Ban flew over Grey’s Glacier in southern Chile, a wall of ice four miles wide, the façade of the which is riven with cracks that experts blame on global warming. Chile, which accounts for 0.2 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions, is home to three-quarters of all the glaciers in South America. It is also home to the world’s driest desert, the Atacama, which has been encroaching southwards as rainfall diminishes.

Mr Ban flew yesterday to Brazil, where he was due to see the effects of logging and burning on the Amazon rainforest.

The secretary general and his entourage will have clocked up about 17,000 air miles by the time they get back to New York.

———-

The Reuters Reporting by Juan Jose Lagorio From Eduardo Frei Base:

U.N.’s Ban says global warming is “an emergency.”

EDUARDO FREI BASE, Antarctica, Nov 10 (Reuters) – With prehistoric Antarctic ice sheets melting beneath his feet, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for urgent political action to tackle global warming.

The Antarctic Peninsula has warmed faster than anywhere else on Earth in the last 50 years, making the continent a fitting destination for Ban, who has made climate change a priority since he took office earlier this year.

“I need a political answer. This is an emergency and for emergency situations we need emergency action,” he said during Friday’s visit to three scientific bases on the barren continent, where temperatures are their highest in about 1,800 years.

Antarctica’s ice sheets are nearly 1.5 miles (2.5 km) thick on average — five times the height of the Taipei 101 tower, the world’s tallest building. But scientists say they are already showing signs of climate change.

Satellite images show the West Antarctic ice sheet is thinning and may even collapse in the future, causing sea levels to rise.

Amid occasional flurries of snow, Ban flew over melting ice fields in a light plane, where vast chunks of ice the size of six-story buildings could be seen floating off the coast after breaking away from ice shelves.

“All we’ve seen has been very impressive and beautiful, extraordinarily beautiful,” he told reporters. “But at the same time it’s disturbing. We’ve seen … the melting of glaciers.”

It was the first visit by a U.N. chief to Antarctica.

Ban is preparing for a U.N. climate change conference in Bali, Indonesia, in December, which is expected to kick off talks on a new accord to curb carbon emissions after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

Ban has focused strongly on the environment and held a climate change summit at the United Nations on the eve of the annual General Assembly gathering of world leaders.

On Saturday, he is expected to continue his South American tour at Chilean national park Torres del Paine, where Andean glaciers are also being affected by global warming.

He will then visit Brazil, a leading force in developing biofuels from crops as an alternative to fossil fuels. Fears about climate change have fueled a boom in biofuels.

Despite the controversy of diverting food crops into fuel production, Ban has said alternative energy sources are vital to addressing climate change.

Antarctica — a continent with only about 80,000 temporary residents — is 25 percent bigger than Europe and its ice sheets hold some 90 percent of the fresh water on the Earth’s surface.

(( helen.popper at reuters.com; +54 911 4198 3488; Reuters Messaging: helen.popper.reuters.com@reuters.net))

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 31st, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Next week, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina for an official visit, and then to Santiago, Chile to attend the Ibero-American Summit, was announced October 30, 2007 at the UN.

Then, to help the secretary-general prepare for negotiations in December on a new international deal to tackle global warming, his spokesperson, Ms. Montas, said, that Mr. Ban will visit Chile, Antarctica, Brazil seemingly for pupose of climate change tourism, and end up eventually in Valencia, Spain, where scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will release a new report on Nov. 17.

As we know, the U.N. climate panel, that is the official IPCCC, shared this year’s Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore.

The IPCCC final report to be released in Valencia November 17, 2007, will set the stage for the annual U.N. climate conference on the Indonesian island of Bali in December that is tasked to start discussing a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCC to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which expires in 2012. Clinching a deal on new mandatory, deeper emissions reductions will likely take several years of intense and difficult negotiations and common knowledge is that if the negotiations do not get their start in Bali there will be no proposal ready for the 2009 meeting in Copenhagen – the target date for clenching an agreement that will make it possible to have actions prepared that can then kick in in 2012.

Montas said the secretary-general will visit Punta Arenas, Chile, “whose residents live with a hole in the ozone layer” and Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, where glaciers have been affected by climate change. We have been to these places and this is great tourism that will also show the UNSG interest in furthering actions to slow down global warming and to provide for further steps on the ozone hole subject – after all seeing by yourself, and hearing complaints on location, will sharpen further his views on these subjects.

He will fly to Antarctica where he will be briefed by scientists at research stations, and then to Brazil where he plans to visit an ethanol plant and meet researchers and indigenous people living in the Amazon region, she said.

The secretary-general will wrap up his Latin American trip to the ABC countries of the LA cone, with an official visit to Brazil’s capital – Brasilia – and then fly to Valencia for the release of the report by the U.N. climate scientists, Montas said.

As we expect ourselves to be in Brazil starting November 17, 2007, we will be in good position to report then what the Brazilians, and the other Latin Americans of the South American Cone region, will say of the UNSG’s visit to their area.

————

The official announcement about the Valencia November 12-17, 2007 meeting:

Ban Ki-moon to attend IPCC press conference in Valencia on 17 November.

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, will participate
in a press conference to launch the Synthesis Report of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change in Valencia, Spain, on 17 November, the last day of the
IPCC 27th Session.

The “Synthesis Report” is the final part of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
titled “Climate Change 2007.” This report is the latest instalment in a series
of IPCC Assessments that have provided the most comprehensive scientific
evidence regarding the state of the Earth’s changing climate. This work has been
conducted by hundreds of scientists around the world since 1988, when the IPCC
was founded by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United
Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It led to the IPCC being jointly awarded
the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Mr. Al Gore for increasing knowledge on man-made
climate change and options to counteract such change.

Media opportunities for the IPCC 27th Session will be the Opening Ceremony on 12 November and the press conference on 17 November. Speakers at the Opening Ceremony will include Ms. Cristina Narbona, Spanish Minister of Environment; Mr. Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; Mr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC and representatives from WMO and UNEP.

TO THOSE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING AT THE MEDIA EVENTS – LET US WORN YOU THAT UNLESS YOU ARE BLESSED BY THE UN MEDIA ACCREDITATION OFFICE OF THE UN DPI IN NEW YORK – YOUR CHANCE TO GET IN IS ZERO – AND SOME FOLKS THERE MAKE IT THEIR BUSINESS TO WEED OUT SUCH MEDIA THAT IS SPECIFIC FOR TOPICS OF CLIMATE CHANGE. SO, IF YOU ARE REALLY INTERESTED IN THE SUBJECT, AND YOU MAY HAVE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE READING YOUR WEBSITE, YOU DO NOT QUALIFY UNLESS SOME COMMERCIAL MEDIA OUTLET HAS RECOGNIZED YOUR ACTIVITIES AND ASKED FOR YOU TO BE ACCREDITED AT THE UN.

Just to make sure we are not misunderstood – we believe the Valencia conclusive meeting is important, and the material that will be released will be brought to the attention of the media outlets by the European governments. We also believe that the EU and others will continue to promote the main ideas in the report – that global warming is man-made and that we will thus have to learn to live within the frame of an emissions’ budget; this until three years from now – the incoming US Administration will bring the US back to a leadership position in matters of global warming.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 8th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Live Earth: One Big Gesture for Humans, One Giant Problem for the Earth.
By Cole Moreton and Geoffrey Lean
The Independent UK, Sunday 08 July 2007

Live Earth was watched by two billion people on a day when 20 million tons of carbon were emitted, a square kilometre of the Antarctic ice shelf was lost and a major new study, exclusively revealed by the ‘IoS’, shows the damage we are doing worldwide.
The sun was shining; the bands were good – well, some of them – and the summer had arrived at last. Tennis players fought it out at Wimbledon and cyclists raced down the Mall in the Tour de France. But as the crowd inside Wembley Stadium for the London Live Earth concert was joined by two billion viewers around the world, other things were happening yesterday too.

Live Earth took place on seven continents, over 24 hours. During that time five million people travelled by plane – and nearly 5,000 people died as a result of air pollution. More than 83 million barrels of oil were consumed – and the Antarctic lost a kilometre from its melting ice shelf. The population of the world increased by 211,000 – and the forests of the world decreased by 20,000 hectares.

All this happens every day – symptoms of the global crisis that Live Earth hopes to help to stop. And the true picture is even worse than we fear, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

Startling new research shows that humanity is pushing the Earth to breaking point by devouring the life-support systems that make it habitable. Even before the feared climate change really begins the bite, the planet is already under intolerable strain. An unprecedented study by top ecologists and climatologists, to be published by the US National Academy of Sciences, shows that a quarter of all plant life in the world is being destroyed each year by the demands of just one species: homo sapiens.

“That is mind-boggling,” said Kevin Wall, co-founder and producer of the Live Earth shows which started in Sydney, Australia, at 2am British time and ended in Rio de Janeiro early this morning. “It is part of the challenge we face, which is so overwhelming that people tend to go along with their lives in the same way, because it’s invisible moment by moment.”

Live Earth hoped to beat that inertia by challenging members of its unprecedented global audience to reduce their own carbon emissions and campaign for serious political action. “The Earth is a blue ball covered with a very thin layer of lacquer, within which the air, water and living beings exist,” said the former US presidential candidate Al Gore, who also put the concerts together. “This fragile layer is all we have. It is our only home – and we owe it to our children and our children’s children to protect it.”

But the new research in 161 countries – the most extensive study ever made into humanity’s impact on the planet’s production of life, powered by the Sun – shows that the Earth is already in serious trouble. In some parts of the world humans are using up far more than 25 per cent of plant life for food, fuel and other needs. In Western Europe we gobble up 40 per cent of the earth’s natural bounty, in Eastern Europe 52 per cent, and in India a staggering 63 per cent. About half of this is accounted for by growing crops and another 40 per cent in forestry and grazing domesticated animals.

“This is a remarkable impact on the biosphere caused by just one species,” said the German government’s chief adviser on climate change. The US Academy’s study, actually carried out at Austria’s Klagenfurt University and Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Research, is backed by some of the world’s most distinguished experts. Dr Nathan Moore of Michigan State University called the results “alarming”. Professor Christopher Field, founding director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology, said: “With millions of species sharing the leftovers, it is hard to know how many will be squeezed out of the game.”

Global warming will place even greater strain on the natural world, the survey says. But it also warns that one of the main measures proposed to combat climate change – growing extra crops for to make biofuels – places ” massive additional pressures on ecosystems.”

Live Earth took place on seven continents in Sydney, Tokyo, Shanghai, Johannesburg, Hamburg, London, New York and Rio de Janeiro. (Also on the Antarctica where 27 people on a scientific mission performed for themselves and let us in, and in Kyoto where a Japanese band reminded us of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC, and further in Washington DC where the AmerIndians let Al Gore and his crew in to the Washington Mall – a feat that was previously denied him by he Washington ruling powers – comment by  PJ at SustainabiliTank.com)   Crowded House were headlining in Australia long before the doors opened at the new Wembley Stadium, and their lead singer Neil Finn said this event would shame other rock promoters and set a new standard for responsible shows. “This is the least we can do at this point in the planet’s history. It’s a groundswell we want to be part of.”

But Roger Daltrey of The Who (not on the bill anywhere) had said: “The last thing the planet needs is a rock concert.” And Arctic Monkeys said the artists appearing were patronising and hypocritical, “especially when we’re using enough power for 10 houses, just for stage lighting”.

British fans at Wembley were well aware of the absurdity of super-rich rock stars lecturing ordinary people about how to live a greener life. Darren Goddard, 32, a bricklayer from Norwich, was looking forward to seeing Madonna. But asked whether she would have come by National Express to cut down emissions, as he had, he just laughed.

“It is ridiculous and a bit insulting to hear them when they’ve got all that wealth,” agreed his friend Jim Clancy, 45, a builder, ” but you need big stars to attract people.” And Maria Clancy, 32, a teaching assistant, said: “If she manages to make 100 people change their minds today then it’s almost worth it.”

Prime Minster Gordon Brown echoed the need for more awareness. “People are asking, ‘What can I do?'” he said. “When I go round the country and I meet people, they say to me, ‘Look, if we knew what we could do to make a difference to helping the planet, then we would do it.’ One of the things we’ve got to do in the next few months is have more information about the different things that we can do to improve the planet.”

Live Earth was organised by the Alliance for Global Protection, the charity set up by Al Gore when his unexpected hit film An Inconvenient Truth turned a failed US politician into the world’s leading green statesman. Kevin Wall, his partner in making the concerts happen, was also the man behind the Live8 in 2005. Like those shows, this one was not after money. “The southern hemisphere – in particular Africa – is already the most affected by the climate crisis,” Mr Wall told the IoS, “but Live Earth isn’t about the haves and the have-nots. The air we breathe here is the same air they breathe in Africa and China. The crisis will affect us just the same, rich and the poor.”

As a promoter he was aware how ridiculous and hypocritical it might look. ” But it’s not about what anybody has done in the past. This is about their commitment going forward. If we can get the rock industry and promoters to make a commitment, if we can get consumers to sign the pledge, we will achieve something.”

Everyone watching was urged to sign up by text or online for a sevenfold pledge to plant trees, protect forests, buy from eco-friendly businesses, vote for green-minded politicians and make “a dramatic increase” in energy savings. But the pledge also involved promising to fight for new laws and policies, to demand that their country sign a new treaty – and the very specific demand that any new coal power station be able to trap and store the CO2 it produces.

Inside the stadium, the power was coming from renewable sources, the organisers claimed, and food, drink and souvenirs were being sold in recycled or biodegradable packaging. The burgers came in boxes made from sugar cane and reed fibre and Madonna’s backstage pass hung from a lanyard made from the recycled stems of grain crops. Her flights – and all those taken by Live Earth staff and performers – were offset. But most of that was only for this event.

Sharon Looremeta had come from her Masai village in Kenya to speak to the world from the Wembley stage. “We lived for many years with lots of animals and food but with time we have become poorer than any other human beings on earth,” she said. “Our rivers have dried up. Our vegetation is drying up too because we do not get the rains we used to. Women cannot work and children are stopped from going to school because they must walk long distances to look for water.”

How did it feel then, to share a microphone with some of the world’s richest stars? “There is a disparity,” she said. “But I have come to share our story and they want to hear it. They are human. They have feelings and morals. I can go back and say that people here have a commitment to help us and to change”

Even the reformed spoof rock gods Spinal Tap had their say on global warming. “We’re premiering our new song called ‘Warmer than Hell,'” said the bass player Derek Smalls.

And in a speech in South Africa, the Benin singer Angélique Kidjo said: “Get your butt out there and do something. If we don’t do something today, then when there’s another tsunami then that cynical person, his arse is going to be on that wave.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 11th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

WASHINGTON, April 11, 2007, for Reuters by Jeremy Pelofsky – Rebuffed in Washington, former US Vice President Al Gore is taking his “Live Earth” rock concert to New Jersey.

The concert to raise awareness about global warming will be held on July 7 at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, organizers said on Tuesday.
Gore had wanted to use the National Mall in Washington but two other groups had already obtained permits for that day. Then, an effort to stage the show on the nearby US Capitol grounds was opposed by some Republicans in Congress.

“We had a number of cities all over the United States saying ‘come here, come here,'” said Live Earth founder and executive producer Kevin Wall.

“New York and the state of New Jersey really wanted us to be there and went out of their way to accommodate us.”

Artists at the Giants Stadium concert will include the Dave Matthews Band, the Police, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, Ludacris, and close Gore friend and New Jersey native Jon Bon Jovi, organizers said.

It will be one of several concerts held on July 7 on each of the seven continents. The others are slated for Shanghai, Sydney, Johannesburg, London, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Antarctica.

Organizers predict more than 1 million people will attend the shows, with millions more tuning in via the Internet, television, radio and wireless services.

Gore has embarked on a mission to warn that the world is facing a “planetary emergency” and has called for emissions of carbon dioxide by the United States, the largest source of the greenhouse gas, to be frozen at current levels.

Staging the concert on the Capitol grounds would require congressional approval and Gore ran into opposition from some Republicans, including Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, who has referred to global warming as a “hoax.”

While one of New Jersey’s other famous rock musicians, Bruce Springsteen, was not on the lineup on Tuesday, Wall hinted that he could be added.

“You think we’ve announced everything?” he said.

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And Mike Collett-White reports from LONDON: Environmental campaigner Al Gore hopes the Live Earth concerts on July 7 will do for climate change awareness what Live Aid did for Africa.

The former US Democratic presidential candidate is spearheading efforts to get the world of pop music to back his crusade to avert what he calls a “planetary emergency”, and already has Madonna and the Red Hot Chili Peppers on board.

“The Live Earth concerts on July 7 of this year will be the largest musical event in world history and the beginning of the biggest change we’ve ever had to make,” Gore told Reuters in a recent interview to promote the concerts.

“It will be profitable for us. People who make the change to less pollution are going to find that their lives are better, the jobs are better.

“But we have to really make a commitment to this change, and that’s what the Live Earth concert is really designed to symbolise and kick off.”

The former US vice president said there would be a series of concerts held across the world over a 24 hour period.

Following the model Bob Geldof used for his anti-poverty Live 8 gigs in 2005, Live Earth will be held in Johannesburg, London, New Jersey, Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Sydney and Tokyo.

A US venue was only announced on Tuesday after some Republicans in Congress rebuffed Gore’s suggestion to stage a gig on US Capitol grounds in Washington.

Organisers say the concerts could be watched and heard by two billion people worldwide, and acts already confirmed for London include James Blunt, Madonna and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

“It will … mobilise public opinion in ways that we hope will affect public policy and nations from the United States to China and every place in between,” said Gore.

CLIMATE CHANGE, CELEBRITY

Gore believes that recruiting world famous performers is an important way of getting the message on climate change out.

He has already caused a stir in Hollywood with “An Inconvenient Truth”, the Oscar-winning documentary he inspired with his slideshow, and celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Sheryl Crow are active environmental campaigners.

A handful of complaints about Live Earth have already surfaced on the Internet, with bloggers questioning whether pop stars and their taste for conspicuous consumption are the best advocates for cutting fossil fuel emissions.

Gore himself has come under attack for high energy consumption at his home, although the 59-year-old defended his environmental record.

“It was very misleading,” he said of the report from a Tennessee-based think tank.

“My wife and I, first of all, we have combined our home and office so the office activities are included in that.

“But more importantly we pay for green energy from sources like wind power that don’t produce CO2 and at present in the United States, at least, that means paying considerably more to bypass the CO2 pollution.

“I’m walking the walk as well as talking the talk, and there will always be those who don’t like the message and who want to attack the messenger.”

Gore, who was vice president under Bill Clinton for two terms and narrowly lost a controversial presidential election to George W. Bush in 2000, said environmental campaigning had taken the place of politics.

“I don’t have any plans to be a candidate again.”

When asked if he was enjoying his return to the limelight in a new guise, he replied: “It’s hard to enjoy something that is premised on solving this crisis that is very threatening. I think a great deal about my children and grandchildren.

“But alongside that, if you’re doing work that feels fulfilling and useful and worthwhile, then there’s a certain joy of labour that goes into that.”

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But Not Everyone Is Happy – “Carbon cost of climate change concert criticised” writes   Arifa Akbar for The Independent. Published: 11 April 2007.
It has been billed as the greenest concert of the summer, a continent-crossing event aimed at galvanising support for the fight against global warming. But yesterday, as the main acts for Live Earth were announced, among them Madonna, Corinne Bailey-Rae and the Black Eyed Peas, critics were raising eyebrows at the $2m to $3m ( £1.1m to £1.6m) that the event is expected to cost in carbon offsetting.

About a hundred artists will require transporting by air to their respective concerts, to be staged in London, Sydney, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, Shanghai and New Jersey. And complaints about Live Earth have begun to surface on the internet, with bloggers asking if pop stars and their taste for conspicuous consumption are the best advocates for cutting fossil fuel emissions.

John Picard, environmental director for the event, said he was “upset” by the offsetting cost of Live Earth, but there was no other option. “There are areas where we are going to be really successful and areas where we are terribly challenged. The air travel involved in all this is a nightmare and there is nothing you can do other than buy the offset. But, in terms of power in the venues, I think we will have a carbon-neutral event,” he said.

Each singer will receive a “green briefing” on how they can change lifestyles to minimise their own, often above-average, carbon footprints. The briefing to which singers have agreed – to ensure they practise what they preach on 7 July when messages on the danger of global warming will be beamed to 2 billion people at the 24-hour concert – comes amid concerns that those delivering the green message are the worst offenders. Organisers have defended the concerts, which are the brainchild of the former US vice-president Al Gore, which aim to set a “green example” for other music events by using measures such as eco-friendly electricity, sustainable lighting and carbon-neutral travel. Mr Gore has come under attack for high energy consumption at his home.

In May, Mr Picard will begin a “briefings” programme with every artist taking part in Live Earth, by visiting their homes or offices for a “sustainability consultation”. “You have to walk the walk. You can’t get up there and tell the public to save the planet but leave in a big car to go to your big home,” he said. He has already advised artists to trade in their vehicles for hybrid cars.

Ashok Sinha, director of Stop Climate Chaos, a group involved in the event, said: “Carbon will be produced, but it enables us to reach out to large numbers of people who will be encouraged to learn about how they can reduce their carbon footprint, so it will be worth the carbon.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 15th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

Space Lasers Detect Big Lakes Under Antarctic Ice. Reports from Washington DC Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent, Reuters, February 16, 2007

WASHINGTON – Lasers beamed from space have detected what researchers have long suspected: big sloshing lakes of water underneath Antarctic ice.

These lakes, some stretching across hundreds of square miles (km), fill and drain so dramatically that the movement can be seen by a satellite looking at the icy surface of the southern continent, glaciologists reported in Thursday’s editions of the journal Science.
Global warming did not create these big pockets of water — they lie beneath some 2,300 feet (700 metres) of compressed snow and ice, too deep to be affected by temperature changes on the surface — but knowing how they behave is important to understanding the impact of climate change on the Antarctic ice sheet, study author Helen Fricker said by telephone.

About 90 percent of the world’s fresh water is locked in the thick ice cap that covers Antarctica; if it all melts, scientists estimate it could cause a 23-foot (7-metre) rise in world sea levels. Even a 39-inch (1-metre) sea level rise could cause havoc in coastal and low-lying areas around the globe, according to a World Bank study released this week.

“Because climate is changing, we need to be able to predict what’s going to happen to the Antarctic ice sheet,” said Fricker, of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and the University of California, San Diego.

NEW COMPUTER MODELS

“We need computer models to be faithful to the processes that are actually going on on the ice sheet,” she said. At this point, computer models do not show how the subglacial water is moving around.

To detect the subglacial lakes, Fricker and her colleagues used data from NASA’s ICESat, which sends laser pulses down from space to the Antarctic surface and back, much as sonar uses sound pulses to determine underwater features.

The satellite detected dips in the surface that moved around as the hidden lakes drained and filled beneath the surface glaciers, which are moving rivers of ice.

“The parts that are changing are changing so rapidly that they can’t be anything else but (sub-surface) water,” she said. “It’s such a quick thing.”

“Quick” can be a relative term when talking about the movement around glaciers, which tend to move very slowly. But one lake that measured around 19 miles by 6 miles (30 km by 10 km) caused a 30 foot (9 metre) change in elevation at the surface when it drained over a period of about 30 months, Fricker said.

The project took observations from 2003 through 2006 of the Whillans and Mercer Ice Streams, two of the fast-moving glaciers that carry ice from the Antarctic interior to the floating ice sheet that covers parts of the Ross Sea.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 31st, 2006
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has published its second Sustainable Development Annual Report.

The report can be found at:
 www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutD…

Defence objectives are fully consistent with the aspirations of sustainable development.

MoD’s sustainable development policies and processes are at an early stage of development and this report sets out the Department’s long-term sustainability objectives.

The report highlights MOD’s performance across fourteen priority themes and its continued efforts to minimise and reduce the impact that defence activities have on the environment and the wider community. Several case studies are highlighted. The report also sets out eight new additional themes.

The report also begins to set out how the Armed Forces make an ongoing contribution to sustainable development on an international scale, by strengthening international peace and security and acting as a Force for Good in the world.

Some of the positive outcomes from 2005 are:

– the increased proportion of electricity bought from renewable sources, up to 7% against a target of 10%.
– Record numbers of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) meeting the statutory conservation bodies’ standards in favourable/unfavourable-recovering condition.

The report has, once again, been verified by an independent environmental consultancy. The report is only available as a pdf.

MoD’s UK estate is about 1.5 times the size of London. MoD has locations throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The estate comprises around 4,000 sites, 50,000 houses across 240,000 hectares and MoD has rights to train over an additional 125,000 hectares.
The Defence footprint also extends beyond the UK with forces stationed in more than 20 countries including garrisons or detachments in the Falklands Islands, Gibraltar, Cyprus, Ascension Island and at Diego Garcia.

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Visit www.CorporateRegister.com to access this publication together with a further 12,000 CSR reports.

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