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This section of SustainabiliTank.info – REAL WORLD’S NEWS – will be carrying short notes with information not based on the daily press of the United States.

We will not attempt here to write lengthy articles, neither will we editorialize on why the information did not see light in the US.

If readers find other material relevant to sustainable development that was not published, please forward it to us at: Submissions@SustainabiliTank.info


 
Real World’s News:

 

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 29th, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

May 28 2018 we saw on CNN’s Christiane Amanpour program her interview of Mr. Kaveh Madani
An renown Iranian water scientist who goes now by titles like “Former Deputy Head of Environment Department and “Former Vice President of Iran”.

The name rang bells with us as we remembered from mailings by the American-Iranian Council:

“The campaign known as Bi-Zobaleh (Persian for “no rubbish”) focusing on the issue of waste, which was initiated by Kaveh Madani, the education and research deputy at the Department of Environment, has successfully completed its 100-day operations.”

“Iranian Academic’s Death Puts Spotlight on Political Infighting.”

“The feud turned more fraught over the weekend with the death of Kavous Seyed Emami, an academic, and confusion about the whereabouts of Kaveh Madani, the deputy head of Iran’s Department of Environment.

Since his first election in 2013, Rouhani has been in the hardliners’ crosshairs over his desire to open Iran through a nuclear deal with world powers, and his declared commitment to greater personal liberties. His recent decision to tackle a growing crisis over heavy smog and a water shortage — an issue where Iranians with Western links have been active — has given rivals another opportunity to pounce on him. (Bloomberg)”

Above quotes sent us to look up KAVEH MADANI. We found in THE GUARDIAN – Environment section:
by Saeed Kamali Dehghan Iran correspondent – Wed 18 Apr 2018.

“Top scientist leaves Iran after crackdown on environmentalists
Kaveh Madani had been seen as symbol of Rouhani government’s attempt to reverse brain drain.”

“A top Iranian environmental scientist wooed by Hassan Rouhani’s administration to return home from the UK has left Iran amid a crackdown on environmentalists and pressure from hardliners.

Kaveh Madani had been persuaded to leave his position at Imperial College London last year to serve as the deputy head of Iran’s environment department.

He was seen as a symbol of Rouhani’s efforts to reverse the country’s brain drain, but his decision to step down less than a year later demonstrates the president’s failure to curb the power of the unelected faction of the Iranian establishment that is bent on undermining his policies.

Madani was named as one of the four winners of the Arne Richter award for outstanding young scientists by the European Geosciences Union in 2016. His appointment in Iran was widely applauded. The water conservation expert was promoted because of his expertise and international profile rather than his political affiliation, at a time Iran is facing its worst drought in modern times.

At 36, Madani was the youngest and the most educated government official at his level. His resignation and decision to leave the country has sparked a huge reaction online.

When Iran carried out mass arrests of environmental activists in February, Madani was detained for 72 hours. It also emerged at the time that an Iranian-Canadian environmentalist, Kavous Seyed-Emami, died in custody in mysterious circumstances. At least 13 other activists remain behind bars.

As hardliners launched an onslaught against Madani in the conservative press at the end of March, images surfaced on social media that they said showed him drinking and dancing abroad. Others accused him of being a dual national at a time when suspicion runs high against such Iranian citizens, despite the fact that Madani is solely Iranian.

Madani confirmed the news of his departure from Iran on Twitter after an outspoken member of the parliament broke the news. “Yes, the accused fled from a country where virtual bullies push against science, knowledge and expertise and resort to conspiracy theories to find a scapegoat for all the problems because they know well that finding an enemy, spy or someone to blame is much easier than accepting responsibility and complicity in a problem,” he wrote.

Madani has been critical of Iran’s past policies on water, believing the country has passed the time of crisis and entered an era of water bankruptcy. He has been particularly critical of Iran’s aggressive dam building and cloud seeding. Many such policies have been propagated by the Revolutionary Guards through its industrial arm, which has benefited from the projects.

This meant Madani fell foul of the Guards, who act independently of Rouhani’s administration and have huge influence within the judiciary and the intelligence apparatus.

After his appointment, Madani had tweeted: “I have returned with the hope of creating #hope.” In December, he told the Tehran Times that “there are a lot of people abroad, waiting and watching closely to see what’s going to happen. If I succeed, we might see more people coming back to help the government”.

Abbas Milani, an Iranian-American historian and the director of Iranian studies at Stanford University, said on Twitter that Madani’s departure was an instance of a 38-year battle between elites “who want good for Iran and know how to rescue it” and those who were hiding their hunger for power and self-interest under the cover of Islam.”

We see thus that Madani is an Iranian-Britisher who feels Iranian at heart and
was ready to help Iran in an area of his expertise – The Environment and water
problems. President Rouhani was happy to see him back but the Ayatollas saw
a danger in his professionalism that was received with open arms by the people.
It is these PEOPLE that could bring about change by quiet protests.

Madani’s professionalism showed in the Amanpour interview by saying that Israel
is part of the region and can help with water technology in dry areas like
those he wants to help with his people in Iran.

Clearly, the political leadership does wrong for the PEOPLE of Iran.

We write this because we found another area in the Middle East where the
politicians just led to a missed opportunity. It is the story we quote here
and the country is Palestine – the Gaza part thereof – that just hosted the
Student Alumni of the MENA Water Research Alumni Forum (the Arab World).
By excluding any help from the Israeli water technologists they harm the
Arab World like the Iranians harm their own country.

We like the fairness of Professor Kaveh Madani.


MEDRC Introduce New Student Led Alumni Forum.

07 05 2018 00:00
Gaza May 7th, 2018: The first event of the newly revamped MEDRC Water Research Alumni Forum was held today in Palestine.

The Alumni Forum is a follow up initiative of the Fellowship program, designed to further facilitate support for water research by offering a platform from which current students and alumni can showcase their work, view research outputs of their peers and connect with leading experts in the water sector.

To further maximize development opportunities MEDRC have introduced a student led approach to organizing the forum, whereby students are given responsibility to propose the Forum theme, curate discussion panel topics, nominate expert participants, select moderators and manage event logistics.

The Student Steering committee was selected following a call for applications and consists of several key elected positions which were determined by the Higher Committee. The Higher Committee is chaired by the Deputy Head of the Palestinian Water Authority, Eng. Rehby Al Sheikh.

Today’s event was held under the title ‘Desalination and Treated Water Reuse, Towards Sustainable Development’ and was attended by MEDRC Center Director, Ciarán Ó Cuinn, Kirsten Winterman, Head of Development Cooperation, MEDRC and Brendan Smith, Development Cooperation Program Manager, MEDRC . Leading water experts and stakeholders were also present, with Eng. Rebhy El Skeikh, Deputy Head of the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) delivering the key note address.

The discussion panel topics included; Economics of Desalination and Water Reuse; Desalination Technologies; Wastewater Treatment and Reuse and Water and Energy Nexus. 6 of the most outstanding Alumni were selected to be given the honor to present their work as part of the Research Showcase.

Jordan based Alumni will host their Alumni Forum at the Geneva Hotel, Amman on May 10th, 2018 under the forum title ‘Integrated, Decentralized Wastewater Management for Resource Recovery in Rural and Peri-Urban Areas’.

MEDRC’s Fellowship program is delivered in partnership with water authorities in Palestine and Jordan. It offers exceptionally talented students an opportunity to pursue post graduate research at participating universities. To date the program has awarded 191 Fellowships in Palestine and Jordan with 30 more due to be awarded this year, bringing the total to 221.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 28th, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Why the lingering dispute between Denmark and Canada over a high Arctic island is so important.

ANALYSIS: The long-running dispute over an island halfway between Nunavut and Greenland is a reminder that sovereignty matters.

By Martin Breum -May 27, 2018

Not many people ever get to this island, which is a real pity. This tiny, nondescript, icy and basically useless piece of real estate far up in the Kennedy Channel between northwestern Greenland and Ellesmere Island in the far north of Canada is one of the only pieces of territory still disputed by two Arctic nations.

Canada claims that this rocky, uninhabited piece of rock is 100 percent Canadian. Denmark says that every inch of it is part of Greenland and that the entirety therefore belongs to the Danish Kingdom. I cannot imagine many purposes for which Hans Island, or Tartupaluk in Greenlandic, would be useful for a government at all. It is extremely remote, provides no shelter, no decent landing for any vessels. No oil and gas reserves are known to hide in its vicinity, no mineral deposits in its core. It is ice-encapsulated and dangerously windswept most of the year. Perhaps in a distant ice-free future a bit of high Arctic marine traffic might pass by, but it would still most likely have no reason to dwell here.

But, of course, as a political phenomena Hans Island is extremely provoking. It bears testimony to just how easily even the lowliest, most desolate piece of territory may still excite otherwise friendly, democratic, NATO-embedded nations and make them unable to reach any semblance of an agreement even after 45 years of negotiations. The Danish foreign minister Anders Samuelsen this week told the media that a diplomatic task force will now seek a solution, but he did not specify why this force is more likely to succeed than previous attempts.

[Denmark, Canada agree to settle Hans Island dispute]

Hans Island, all 1.3 square kilometers of it, is worth keeping in mind for several reasons.

For one, so that we may reflect more deeply over our own ways when we come across calls for increased sovereignty in Scotland, Greenland, Nunavut, the Faroe Islands, Catalonia or elsewhere. These are deep-rooted sentiments that one cannot meet only with simplistic counter-arguments.

Hans Island also reminds us of our own potential tenacity when we look forward to the diplomatic negotiations over who owns which parts of the seabed under the Arctic Ocean. Here a lot more is at stake and in this instance Canada and Denmark will not be the only contenders. Russia has also filed a claim. Russia has done so peacefully, according to U.N. procedures and not aggressively wide — but nevertheless a claim that overlaps the even more ambitious Danish-Greenlandic claim and most likely also the upcoming Canadian claim that was delayed only so that Canada could also claim the North Pole.

Two flagpoles
I landed on top of Hans Island in an Air Greenland helicopter 168 meters above sea level in blasting sunshine and with a spectacular view of the Kennedy Channel high up in the Nares Strait. Snowy Canadian mountain peaks were easily visible some 18 kilometers to the west and their Greenlandic counterparts just as easily visible to the East. Hans Island lies precisely in the middle of the channel. It was named after Hans Hendrik, one of the Greenlandic assistants on the 1871 so-called North Polar Expedition, led by C. F. Hall. Our helicopter, a large, red Sikorsky S-61, arrived from the north as part of the support for a team of Swiss climate scientists, artist and a business leader touring north Greenland on a private, unofficial visit; an initiative to boost Switzerland’s presence in the Arctic and its contributions as a new observer-member of the Arctic Council.

No flags fly on Hans Island any longer, but the two flagpoles are still there, some 10 meters apart. The island is not divided in two; both countries claim the entire island, but the Canadian flagpole stands towards Nunavut, the Danish one towards Greenland.

The Danish flagpole is white and in wood, with a broken white cord and very evidently between jobs. The Canadian flagpole is metallic, constructed in three pieces, only the lowest still standing, the two other rusty and dismantled on the ground. The Canadian flag was metallic, too. A red, broken and haggard piece of red metal, the last part of the flag, is still screwed onto one of the dismantled parts of the pole. The rest of the flag has probably been secured for posterity.

In 2005 the two claimants to Hans Island, the government in Ottawa and that in Copenhagen, formerly agreed to stop all national posturing on the island, hence the absence of flags. Only smaller signs of patriotic chest-thumping are still here: On a brick pillar about 1.5 meters high, next to the Danish flagpole, the names of visiting Danish naval ships can still be read on small metallic placards. Danish soldiers used to come here to replenish wind-torn Danish flags. Tradition was that they would leave a bottle of Danish booze as a gesture to their Canadian counterparts, who would then retaliate with Canadian booze when possible. All very cozy until it was not so cozy anymore.

The Canadian — unofficial — story of the escalation goes that in the early part of this century the Danish navy began popping by more frequently. The Danes acknowledge no such change of attitude. Then, in 2005, Canada’s minister of defense, Bill Graham, paid a visit.

The Canadian flag was hoisted, and a inukshuk — a traditional stone-structure once used as a way-points by Inuit travelers from Canada — was built. Bill Graham also had the Danish flag on Hans Island carefully downed, folded, shipped back to Ottawa and officially handed over to Her Majesty, Queen Margrethe II’s representatives at the Danish Embassy.

Legend in Denmark has it that this flag was delivered neatly folded in a cardboard box from a local bakery in Ottawa. It was badly shredded by several years of Arctic storms on Hans Island. I know, since I saw it later on a wall in the office of an official in the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He had had it framed, probably as a reminder of how unresolved sovereignty can potentially lead to bad trouble. The same man later became one of the lead authors of the famous Ilulissat Declaration from 2008 in which the five states around the Arctic Ocean, including Canada and Denmark, Russia, Norway and the U.S. vowed to solve all issues of sovereignty in the central Arctic Ocean by peaceful, U.N.-sanctioned rules. This declaration, which celebrates its 10th anniversary these days, was provoked by the Russian planting of the Russian flag at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean where sovereignty is still disputed – precisely at the North Pole – the year before.

Still unresolved
In 2005, the Danes were not amused by Bill Graham’s visit or the downing of the Danish flag. A Danish naval ship was dispatched towards Hans Island and for a brief moment things looked unsavory. Nobody really knew what the Danish marines would do when, or if, they reached Hans Island, inaccessible as it often is because of ice and bad weather.

Then of course, common sense took sway. The foreign ministers of the two nations, Per Stig Møller from Denmark and Pierre Pettigrew of Canada, both of whom where in New York anyway, met and quickly agreed to stop all further foolishness at Hans Island, hence today’s absence of flags. The Danish navy was called back and the ministers agreed that no more posturing would henceforth take place. They also declared their common desire to soon find a lasting solution.

The problem is that this was 13 years ago and that nothing has since changed except the decaying flagpoles. In 2008, a joint Automated Weather Station was installed between the flagpoles, but as far as sovereignty is concerned, there has been no news for more than a decade. In 2012, Canada and Denmark agreed on the exact border in the waters between Canada and Greenland all the way to the shores of Hans Island, but the island itself remains as disputed as ever.

Inuit land
To some in Canada and Greenland much of the ice, land, water, inlets, islands, polynyas, fish, mammals and fowl in the part of the Arctic that includes Hans Island shouldn’t even be considered as something to which the governments may lay claim.

To those who support this line of argument, this is ancestral land, inhabited by Inuit for millennia without much attention being paid to legal title. And in the great open water not far south of Hans Island something is stirring.

The so-called North Water Polynya, or Pikialasorsuaq, is home to very rich hunting; whales, polar bears, walrus, seals and waterfowl congregate here in astonishing numbers, and a joint commission of Inuit from Nunavut in Canada and from Greenland has recently suggested that this phenomenal polynya — water that never freezes over — should be governed by the Inuit themselves, regardless that the governments of Canada and Denmark each hold sovereignty over parts of it. The Pikislasorsuaq Commission, established by the Inuit Circumpolar Council in 2014, does not concern itself with Hans Island at all, but it takes little imagining for the rest of us to extend potential inuit governance over Pikialasorsuaq to Hans Island. In 2015 a suggestion was indeed made to hand over power over Hans Island to the Inuit of both Canada and Greenland, not by the Inuit themselves, but by two prominent Arctic experts, professor Michael Byers from the University of British Columbia and associate professor Michael Böss of the University of Aarhus, Denmark.

When we landed on Hans Island last Saturday, the mechanic on the Sikorsky, Søren Lund, born in Greenland and of Inuit descend, was very happy to have his picture taken on the island. Like me, he also brought a small piece of the island with him home. He would have liked to also wave the Greenlandic flag, just to make a subtle point, but he held back, not wanting to create any trouble for the Swiss guests or Air Greenland, his employer. Flags of any sort on Hans Island may cause turbulence. When tourists from a Danish cruise vessel landed on the island in 2010 and Facebook showed them planting the Danish and Greenlandic flags, the head of Denmark’s Arctic Command had to act. He urgently called his Canadian counterpart and made sure that there was no room for misinterpretation: The flags were not officially Danish and did not represent any hostile act whatsoever. It seems the situation remains volatile.

Personally, as a happy greeting to all future visitors, I left my business card on the island, tucked behind one of the old placards with names of ships on it. I hope no one who might find it takes offense.

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The views expressed here are the writer’s and are not necessarily endorsed by “ArcticToday” which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary (at) arctictoday.com.

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This lingering dispute is just a tiny taste of what will go on with the USA, Russia, China joining the fight about territory and resources of the high Arctic region.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 5th, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Europe Shouldn’t Be Too Smug with US About Emissions – suggests CNN’s Fareed Zakaria of the Global Public Square:


A UN climate meeting began in Bonn this week. But while Europe has talked a good game in recent years, America actually bested the continent in cutting emissions last year, writes Bob Berwyn for Pacific Standard.

“Despite a year-long pro-fossil fuel propaganda campaign by the government, US emissions dropped in 2017 by 0.5 percent (32 million tons); the EU, which talks a good climate game, saw emissions increase by 1.5 percent last year,” Berwyn notes.

“Regarding the one-year comparison between emissions in the US vs. the EU, [climate expert Glen] Peters says that, while it doesn’t tell the whole story, the comparison is a clarifying piece of that story, and demonstrates that market incentives can be just as important as policies and regulations.”

“The US emissions decline was bigger than in any other major developed economy, mainly thanks to rapid deployment of renewable energy sources, including in red states like Texas and Kansas. But that may change in the future, pending the outcome of current efforts to encourage expanded oil and gas drilling, as well as coal production, and to roll back anti-pollution measures like auto efficiency standards and the Clean Power Plan.”

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WHY THIS WEEK’S CLIMATE TALKS IN BONN WILL BE A LITTLE AWKWARD
Europe talks a good game on climate, but its emissions rose last year—while in the U.S., despite the efforts of the Trump administration, emissions fell.
BOB BERWYNMAY 3, 2018, THE PACIFIC STANDARD based in Ventura County, California.

Climate negotiators gathering in Bonn, Germany, this week must grapple with the fact that the carbon age still hasn’t peaked.

After plateauing for three years, global CO2 emissions increased in 2017 by 1.4 percent, to a record 32.5 gigatons, according to the International Energy Agency. The European Union, China, and India all registered a hefty increase in emissions, but in the United States, they dropped, despite the Trump administration’s pro-coal agenda.

Overall, the global increase is bad news for communities trying to adapt to climate extremes caused by heat-trapping pollution. It also raises the stakes at the current round of climate talks under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bonn this week, where the focus is on on finalizing the rulebook for the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to less than two degrees Celsius.

The remaining questions about the rulebook are big ones: Who will count and verify carbon emissions? What will assessments of emission-reduction measures look like? How will we know that we’ve finally bent the global emissions curve downward for good?

Last year’s jump in CO2 emissions increases the pressure on the climate negotiators because it puts the most ambitious target of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius farther out of reach. Hitting that goal would require a 70 to 90 percent reduction of emissions by 2050 (from 2010 levels), according to Climate Analytics, a non-profit climate think tank. And that will become nearly impossible if emissions continue to go up for just a few more years.

If emissions don’t peak by 2020, we’ll be forced to try the much more expensive paths of trying to suck CO2 out of the air, or potentially dangerous geo-engineering.

The global emissions increase in 2017 was driven by increased energy demand from the rapidly growing economies of India and China, showing that economic growth and carbon emissions have not yet been completely decoupled, says Glen Peters, a climate expert with the Global Carbon Project, a non-profit think tank that closely tracks the world’s CO2 budget. But both countries are headed in that direction. China’s economy grew by 7 percent in 2017, while its emissions grew by just 1.7 percent.

Notable was the contrast, highlighted in the IEA report, between emissions in the U.S. and the E.U., Peters says. Despite a year-long pro-fossil fuel propaganda campaign by the government, U.S. emissions dropped in 2017 by 0.5 percent (32 million tons); the E.U., which talks a good climate game, saw emissions increase by 1.5 percent last year.

Regarding the one-year comparison between emissions in the U.S. vs. the E.U., Peters says that, while it doesn’t tell the whole story, the comparison is a clarifying piece of that story, and demonstrates that market incentives can be just as important as policies and regulations.

The U.S. emissions decline was bigger than in any other major developed economy, mainly thanks to rapid deployment of renewable energy sources, including in red states like Texas and Kansas. But that may change in the future, pending the outcome of current efforts to encourage expanded oil and gas drilling, as well as coal production, and to roll back anti-pollution measures like auto efficiency standards and the Clean Power Plan.

“The damage may not come for a few years in the U.S.,” Peters says. “The changes to regulations on oil and gas extraction could take years to take effect.” At the same time, he notes that some of the U.S. emissions reductions in the past decade did not come from climate policy, but were driven by simple energy economics: the declining price of wind and solar.

Recent adjustments to the E.U. emissions system should start raising the price of carbon by 2020, leading to bigger CO2 cuts, and individual European countries have announced an ambitious slew of initiatives to make much deeper cuts in the years ahead.

The United Kingdom, for example, is aiming for net zero carbon by 2050; Norway wants to electrify all domestic flights by 2040, and a group of seven major European countries, including France, agreed in advance of the Bonn negotiations to enact a more ambitious European climate policy that would include big emissions cuts by 2030 to reach the Paris target.

But those good intentions are partly at the mercy of the E.U.’s unwieldy decision-making process.

“The E.U. is a slave to its weakest link, and that’s Poland. Your climate policy can only be as strong as Poland will allow, and that’s going to make things harder,” Peters says.

Poland still relies heavily on coal to keep its economy growing, and there’s no sign of a significant short-term shift in that country’s energy policy. The real debate for Europe is about goals for 2030, since the bloc has essentially already met its 2020 target, Peters adds.

One year’s worth of data doesn’t necessarily indicate a trend, so we shouldn’t overhype the 2017 drop in U.S. emissions, Kelly Levin, a climate analyst with the World Resources Institute, tells Pacific Standard.

“If you look behind the numbers, the pace of decline certainly slowed in the U.S.; CO2 emissions from energy production fell at half the rate of the 2005–16 average. This 2017 blip may not be indicative for what’s coming in the U.S.,” Levin says, explaining that the drop from emissions in the power sector masks increases from transport, industry, and aviation.

Overall, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects U.S. emissions will increase by 1 percent in 2018, which is is a big deal, because the U.S. is still the second-biggest global emitter after China, responsible for 14 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions.

But the pro-coal push by the current U.S. government may be more sound and fury than anything else, according to Susanne Droege, an energy and climate policy expert with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

“[President Donald] Trump isn’t really getting anywhere with coal revival. Producing more coal-fired electricity is not happening on any large scale,” Droege says.

The global push to cut emissions may also hit an obstacle in November, when Poland hosts the COP 24 talks, the penultimate UNFCCC session as the earliest deadlines for mitigation, financing, and stock-taking under the Paris Agreement approach in 2020.

According to Droege, there is some concern that Poland’s current nationalistic path will be reflected in a continued pro-coal climate policy that could hinder E.U.-wide efforts toward more ambitious reductions.

And since it will be tough for the world to reach its global climate goals if U.S. emissions were to soar over the next few years, the American negotiating team will once again be scrutinized for clues as to the direction of U.S. climate and energy policy—especially after speculation that French President Emmanuel Macron may be able to woo Trump back into the climate deal.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 2nd, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

from the American-Iranian Council in the US.

Rouhani: Iran ‘ready’ to talk to Arab neighbors.


US-Iran Relations

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday said Iran is ready to discuss regional security issues with its Gulf Arab neighbours as long as foreign powers are kept out of any potential talks.

“We don’t need foreigners to guarantee the security of our region,” Rouhani said in a speech broadcast on state television.

“When it comes to regional security arrangements, we are ready to talk to our neighbours and friends, without the presence of foreigners,” he added. (The New Arab)


Trump Administration Turns Away Iranian Christians

The Trump administration has denied asylum to more than 100 Iranian Christians and other refugees who face possible persecution in their home country, despite White House promises to relieve the plight of religious minorities in the Middle East.

The group of refugees, mostly Christians along with other non-Muslims, have been stranded in Vienna for more than a year, waiting for final approval to resettle in the United States. Now they face possible deportation back to Iran, where rights advocates say they face potential retaliation or imprisonment by the regime in Tehran for seeking asylum in the United States.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has vowed action to alleviate the suffering of Christians in the region and the administration has condemned Tehran’s treatment of religious minorities. But critics say the decision on the Iranian Christians shows the administration had failed to live up to its own rhetoric. (Foreign Policy)

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 2nd, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

By ANDREW RETTMAN

BRUSSELS, TODAY, 09:27

US plans to impose steel and aluminium tariffs risk prompting a wider trade war after the EU, China, and others vowed to retaliate.
“We will not sit idly while our industry is hit with unfair measures that put thousands of European jobs at risk,” European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday (1 March).
He said the EU would “react firmly” in “the next few days” with “countermeasures” that were compatible with World Trade Organisation rules.

He also indicated that US president Donald Trump’s “blatant … protectionism” risked doing wider harm to transatlantic relations.

“The EU has been a close security ally of the US for decades,” Juncker noted, after Trump ignored proposals by his own trade chief to exclude “friendly states” from the metals decision.

Trump said, earlier on Thursday, that steel importers would have to pay a 25 percent tariff and aluminium importers 10 percent after the measures entered into life next week.

Germany is the EU’s biggest steel exporter to the US and shipped 1.4 million tonnes there last year.

That figure is small compared to Canada and Brazil, which shipped around 5 million tonnes each to the US.

But VW Stahl, the German steel lobby, said Trump’s move threatened to flood the EU market with foreign steel when those countries diverted exports from the US.

“If the EU does not act, our steel industry will pay the bill for protectionism in the US. Europe is threatened by trade diversion by a new steel spill, in a situation where the import crisis in the EU market is far from over,” VW Stahl chief Hans Juergen Kerkhoff said, referring to global overcapacity in the sector.

With Canada, Brazil, and other steel exporters, such as China, also threatening retaliatory measures, Kerkhoff added that the risk of a broader trade war risked seeing EU exporters shut out of other markets as well.

“German supplies to other countries would also be affected, as the US measures would have imitation effects and thus an increase in global protectionism,” he said.

He spoke after Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland said “Canada will take responsive measures to defend its trade interests and workers”.

The US measures “overturn the international trade order,” Wen Xianjun, vice chairman of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, said, adding: “Other countries, including China, will [also] take relevant retaliatory measures.”

The Chinese reaction is expected to target US exports of soy beans as well as metals, highlighting the risk of a wider protectionist backlash around the world.

The Trump tariffs raise “risks of an all-out trade war, which could dampen economic growth,” the Australia & New Zealand Banking Group said in a note.

Trump made the announcement at a meeting with a dozen or so CEOs of US steel makers, including US Steel Corp and Arcelor Mittal, which stand to gain from his decision.

But the resulting hike in raw materials costs for US steel-using industries, such as energy companies, car makers, and the aerospace and construction sectors, which employ 80 times as many people as US steel makers, risked undoing any benefits for the American economy.

“We are urging the administration to avoid killing US jobs through a steel tariff that impacts pipelines,” said Andy Black, CEO of the Association of Oil Pipe Lines, a US pressure group.

The situation was quickly reflected on Wall Street, where shares in US steel firms rose by 7 percent on Thursday, while those in steel-users such as Ford, Caterpillar, and Boeing fell by 3 percent.

Shares in steel firms in China, Japan, and South Korea also fell on the news.

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And from The New York Times – March 2, 2018:

Major stock markets in the U.S. and Asia fell after President Trump announced stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum.
The European Union, Canada and others threatened to retaliate. The stability of the global trade system is at risk, our senior economics correspondent writes.
Mr. Trump’s announcement highlighted the dysfunction in the White House, which has not completed a legal review of the measures. The president’s chief economic adviser, who lobbied fiercely against the measures, threatened to quit.

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And from Trump’s Washington:

President Trump on March 1 announced tariffs on steel and aluminum. “Without steel and aluminum, your country is not the same,” Trump said.

President Trump on Thursday said he has decided to impose punishing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum in a major escalation of his trade offensive, disappointing Republican congressional leaders and inviting retaliation by U.S. trading partners.

Speaking at the White House, the president said he has decided on tariffs of 25 percent for foreign-made steel and 10 percent for aluminum.

“We’ll be imposing tariffs on steel imports and tariffs on aluminum imports,” the president said. “…You will have protection for the first time in a long while, and you’re going to regrow your industries.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 2nd, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


The Ultimate Blowback Universe, a Planet Boiling With Unintended Consequence.

By Tom Engelhardt in TomDispatch of 01 March 2018


The Ultimate Blowback Universe
A Planet Boiling With Unintended Consequences.

ou want to see “blowback” in action? That’s easy enough. All you need is a vague sense of how Google Search works. Then type into it phrases like “warmest years,” “rising sea levels,” “melting ice,” “lengthening wildfire season,” or “future climate refugees,” and you’ll find yourself immersed in the grimmest of blowback universes. It’s a world which should give that CIA term of tradecraft a meaning even the Agency never imagined for it.

But before I put you on this blowback planet of ours and introduce you to the blowback president presiding over it, I want to take a moment to remember Mr. Blowback himself.

And what a guy he was! Here’s how he described himself in the last piece he wrote for TomDispatch just months before his death in November 2010: “My own role these past 20 years has been that of Cassandra, whom the gods gave the gift of foreseeing the future, but also cursed because no one believed her.”

He wasn’t being immodest. He had, in many ways, seen the shape of things to come for what he never hesitated to call “the American empire,” including — in that 2010 piece — its decline. As he wrote then, “Thirty-five years from now, America’s official century of being top dog (1945-2045) will have come to an end; its time may, in fact, be running out right now. We are likely to begin to look ever more like a giant version of England at the end of its imperial run, as we come face to face with, if not necessarily to terms with, our aging infrastructure, declining international clout, and sagging economy.”

You know how — if you’re of a certain age at least — there are those moments when you go back to the books that truly mattered to you, the ones that somehow prepared you, as best anyone can be prepared, for the years to come. One I return to regularly is his. I’m talking about Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire.

The man who wrote that was Chalmers Johnson, a former CIA consultant and eminent scholar of modern Asian history, who would in that work characterize himself in his former life as a “spear-carrier for empire.”

Blowback was published in 2000 to next to no notice. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, however, it became a bestseller. There was so much to learn from it, starting with the very definition of blowback, a word he brought out of the secret world for the rest of us to consider. “The term ‘blowback,’ which officials of the Central Intelligence Agency first invented for their own internal use,” he wrote, “refers to the unintended consequences of policies that were kept secret from the American people. What the daily press reports as the malign acts of ‘terrorists’ or ‘drug lords’ or ‘rogue states’ or ‘illegal arms merchants’ often turn out to be blowback from earlier American operations.”

And if “unintended consequences” isn’t a supremely appropriate title under which to write the misbegotten history of the years that followed 9/11 in the era of the self-proclaimed “sole superpower” or, as American politicians love to say, “the indispensable nation,” what is? Of course, in the best blowback fashion, al-Qaeda’s attacks of that day hit this country like literal bolts from the blue — even the top officials of George W. Bush’s administration were stunned as they scurried for cover. Of all Americans, they at least should have been better prepared, given the warning offered to the president only weeks earlier by that blowback center of operations, the CIA. (“Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” was the title of the presidential daily brief of August 6, 2001.)

Osama bin Laden would prove to be the poster boy of blowback. His organization, al-Qaeda, would be nurtured into existence by an all-American urge to give the Soviet Union its own Vietnam, what its leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, would later call its “bleeding wound,” and to do so in, of all places, Afghanistan. In October 2001, 12 years after the Red Army limped out of that country in defeat and a decade after the Soviet Union imploded, in part thanks to that very wound, Washington would launch a “Global War on Terror.” It would be the Bush administration’s response to al-Qaeda’s supposedly inexplicable attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. The Taliban’s Afghanistan would be its first target and so would begin America’s second Afghan War, a conflict now almost 17 years old with no end in sight. Yet in our American world, remarkably few connections are ever made between the present war and that blowback moment against the Soviets nearly 40 years ago. (Were he alive, Chalmers Johnson, who never ceased to make such connections, would have been grimly amused.)

Giving Imperial Overstretch New Meaning

Talk about the endless ramifications of blowback. It was bin Laden’s genius — for a mere $400,000 to $500,000 — to goad Washington into spending trillions of dollars across significant parts of the Islamic world fighting conflict after conflict, all of which only seemed to create yet more rubble, terror outfits, and refugees (who, in turn, have helped fuel yet more right-wing populist movements from Europe to Donald Trump’s America). Tell me it’s not a blowback world!

As it happened, bin Laden’s 2001 attacks brought official Washington not to its knees but to its deepest post-Cold War conviction: that the world was its oyster; that, for the first time in history, a single great power potentially had it all, a shot at everything, starting with Afghanistan, followed by Iraq, then much of the rest of the Middle East, and sooner or later the whole planet. In a post-Soviet world in which America’s leaders felt the deepest sense of triumphalism, the 9/11 attacks seemed like the ultimate insult. Who would dream of doing such a thing to the greatest power of all of time?

In an act of pure wizardry, bin Laden drew out of Bush, Cheney, and company their deepest geopolitical fantasies about the ability of that all-powerful country and, in particular, “the greatest force for freedom in the history of the world,” the U.S. military, to dominate any situation on Earth. The early months of 2003, when they were preparing to invade Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, may have been their ultimate hubristic moment, in which imagining anything other than success of a historic sort, not just in that country but far beyond it, was inconceivable.

Until then, never — except in Hollywood movies when the bad guy rubbed his hands with glee and cackled that the world was his — had any power truly dreamed of taking it all, of ruling, or at least directing, the planet itself. Even for a globalizing great power without rivals and wealthy almost beyond compare that would prove the ultimate in conceptual overstretch. Looking back, it’s easy enough to see that almost 17 years of ceaseless war and conflict across the Greater Middle East, Africa, and even parts of Asia, of massive destruction, of multiplying failed states, of burgeoning terror outfits, and of blowback of every sort, have given the old phrase, “biting off more than you can chew,” new geopolitical meaning.

Washington created what was, in effect, a never-ending blowback machine. In those years, while the distant wars went on and on (and terrors of every imaginable sort grew in this country), the United States was transformed in a remarkable, if not yet fully graspable, fashion. The national security state now reigns supreme in Washington; generals (or retired generals) are perched (however precariously) atop key parts of the civilian government; a right-wing populist, who rose to power in part on the fear of immigrants, refugees, and Islamic extremists, has his giant golden letters emblazoned on the White House (and a hotel just down Pennsylvania Avenue that no diplomat or lobbyist with any sense would dare not patronize); the police have been militarized; borders have been further fortified; spy drones have been dispatched to American skies; and the surveillance of the citizenry and its communications have been made the order of the day. Meanwhile, the latest disturbed teen, armed with a military-style AR-15 semi-automatic, has just perpetrated another in a growing list of slaughters in American schools. In response, the president, Republican politicians, and the National Rifle Association have all plugged the arming of teachers and administrators, as well as the “hardening” of schools (including the use of surveillance systems and other militarized methods of “defense”), and so have given phrases like “citadel of learning” or “bastion of education” new meaning. In these same years, various unnamed terrors and the weaponization of the most psychically distraught parts of the citizenry under the rubric of the Second Amendment and the sponsorship of the NRA, the Republican Party, and most recently Donald Trump have transformed this country into something like an armed camp.

It seems, in other words, that in setting out to take the world, in some surprising fashion this country both terrorized and conquered itself. For that, Osama bin Laden should certainly be congratulated but so should George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and all their neoconservative pals, not to speak of David Petraeus, James Mattis, John Kelly, H.R. McMaster, and a host of other generals of America’s losing wars.

Think of it this way: at what looked like the height of American power, Washington managed to give imperial overstretch a historically new meaning. Even on a planet without other great power rivals, a Pax Americana in the Greater Middle East, no less the full-scale garrisoning and policing of significant parts of the rest of the globe proved far too much for the sole superpower, no matter how technologically advanced its military or powerful and transnational its economy. As it turned out, that urge to take everything would prove the perfect launching pad for this country’s decline.

Someday (if there is such a day), this record will prove a goldmine for historians of imperial power and blowback. And yet all of this, even the fate of this country, should be considered relatively minor matters, given the ultimate blowback to come.

Humanity Nailed to a Cross of Coal

There was, in fact, another kind of blowback underway and the American empire was clearly a player in it, too, even a major one, but hardly the only one. Every place using fossil fuels was involved. This form of blowback threatens not just the decline of a single great imperial power but of humanity itself, of the very environment that nurtured generation after generation of us over these thousands of years. By definition, that makes it the worst form of blowback imaginable.

What I have in mind, of course, is climate change or global warming. In a way, you could think of it as the story of another kind of superpower and how it launched the decline of us all. On a planetary scale, the giant corporations (and national fuel companies) that make up global Big Energy have long been on the hunt for every imaginable reserve of fossil fuels and for ways to control and exploit them. The oil, natural gas, and coal such outfits extracted fueled industrial society, still-spreading car cultures, and consumerism as we know it.

Over most of the years such companies were powering human development, the men who ran them and their employees had no idea that the greenhouse gasses released by the burning of fossil fuels were heating the atmosphere and the planet’s waters in potentially disastrous ways. By the late 1970s and early 1980s, however, like scientists elsewhere, those employed by ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company, had become aware of the phenomenon (as would those of other energy companies). That meant the men who ran Exxon and other major firms recognized in advance of most of the rest of us just what kind of blowback the long-term burning of oil, natural gas, and coal was going to deliver: a planet ever less fit for human habitation.

They just didn’t think those of us in the non-scientific community should know about it and so, by the 1990s, they were already doing their damnedest to hide it from us. However, when scientists not in their employ started to publicize the new reality in a significant way, as the heads of some of the most influential and wealthiest corporations on Earth they began to invest striking sums in the fostering of a universe of think tanks, lobbyists, and politicians devoted to what became known as climate-change denial. Between 1998 and 2014, for instance, Exxon would pump $30 million into just such think tanks and similar groups, while donating $1.87 million directly to congressional climate-change deniers.

It doesn’t take a lot of thought to realize that, from its inception, this was the functional definition of the worst crime in history. In the name of record profits and the comfortable life (as well as corporate sustainability in an unendingly fossil-fuelized world), their CEOs had no hesitation about potentially dooming the human future to a hell on Earth of rising temperatures, rising sea levels, and ever more extreme weather; they gave, that is, a new, all-encompassing meaning to the term genocide. They were prepared, if necessary, to take out the human species.

But I suspect even they couldn’t have imagined quite how successful they would be when it came to bringing the sole superpower of the post-9/11 world on board. In a sense, the two leading forms of blowback of the twenty-first century — the imperial and fossil-fuelized ones — came to be focused in a single figure. After all, it’s hard to imagine the rise to power of Donald Trump in a world in which the Bush administration had decided not to invade either Afghanistan or Iraq but to treat its “Global War on Terror” as a localized set of police actions against one international criminal and his scattered group of followers.

As it happened, one form of blowback from the disastrous wars that were meant to create the basis for a Pax Americana planet helped to produce the conditions and fears at home that put Donald Trump in the White House.

Or put another way, in the face of the evidence produced by essentially every knowledgeable scientist on Earth, on a planet already feeling the early and increasingly extreme results of a warming atmosphere, millions of Americans elected a man who claimed it was all a “hoax,” who was unabashedly dedicated above anything else (except perhaps his “big, fat, beautiful wall” on the Mexican border) to a fossil-fuelized American planet, and who insisted that he would run an administration that would make this country “energy dominant” again. They elected, in other words, a representative of the very set of lobbyists, climate deniers, and politicians who had, in essence, been created by Big Energy. Or put another way, they voted for a man who pledged to bring back the dying American coal industry and was prepared to green-light oil and natural gas pipelines of whatever sort, open the nation’s coastal waters to drilling, and lift restrictions of every kind on energy companies, while impeding the development of alternative sources of energy and other attempts to mitigate climate change. As the ultimate President Blowback, Donald Trump promptly filled every last faintly relevant post in his administration with climate-change deniers and allies of Big Energy, while abandoning the Paris climate accord.

In other words, President Donald Trump has dedicated himself to nailing humanity to a cross of coal.

Where’s Chalmers Johnson now that we really need him?

Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The United States of Fear as well as a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture. He is a fellow of the Nation Institute and runs TomDispatch.com. His latest book is Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World. His next book, A Nation Unmade by War (Dispatch Books), will be published in May.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Alfred McCoy’s In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power, as well as John Dower’s The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II, John Feffer’s dystopian novel Splinterlands, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt’s Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

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[Note for TomDispatch readers: Just another of my small reminders as 2018 becomes the year from hell. At our donation page, you can, as ever, find a set of outstanding books on that very hell ready to be signed and personalized in return for a donation of at least $100 to this website ($125 if you live outside the United States). Among them are historian Alfred McCoy’s hit Dispatch Book, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power; John Feffer’s dystopian thriller, Splinterlands; Rebecca Gordon’s American Nuremberg; and my own Shadow Government. Check out our donation page for the details and keep in mind that this website relies on your never-ending generosity to stay afloat in rough seas.

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Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of The United States of Fear as well as a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture. He is a fellow of the Nation Institute and runs TomDispatch.com. His latest book is Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World. His next book, A Nation Unmade by War (Dispatch Books), will be published in May.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Alfred McCoy’s In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power, as well as John Dower’s The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II, John Feffer’s dystopian novel Splinterlands, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt’s Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 3rd, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From Gaylor Montmasson-Clair  gaylor at tips.org.za
January 31, 2018

Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS) and the Green Economy Coalition (GEC) invite you to the following Development Dialogue on the theme of ‘Electricity beyond the national grid’.

The event will take place in Pretoria, South Africa on Thursday 22 February 2018 (9:30-13.00). Please see below and attached for more details.

Looking forward to welcoming you at TIPS.

Best regards,

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 3rd, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From Alexander Zahar,
Wuhan University, Research Institute on Environmental Law.
January 29, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

The Research Institute of Environmental Law at Wuhan University’s School of Law is pleased to announce a one-day Writers’ Workshop to be held at Wuhan University, China, in mid-September 2018. Please see the attachment for details.

I also take this opportunity to encourage graduating LLM/Master’s students interested in environmental law to apply for the fully-funded PhD positions at the Institute (a total of six in 2018). The closing date for these is March 2018.

Please email me at the earliest about your interest in the Writers’ Workshop or for more information on the PhD scholarships.

Alexander Zahar
Luojia Distinguished Professor and Assistant Director
Research Institute of Environmental Law
Wuhan University, China
Email: zahar.edu@gmail.com

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 26th, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Cape Town is set to become the first major world city to run out of water
Day Zero, when the taps run dry, is just around the corner.

E.A. CRUNDEN
JAN 25, 2018

South Africa’s second-largest city is set to become the first major world hub to exhaust its water supply, once its reservoirs dry up in mid-to-late April. At least 4 million people will run out of water when that happens.

Residents of Cape Town are facing an increasingly dire situation: in less than three months, they will need to stand in line to receive individual allotments of water. At present, those living in the city have been asked to limit themselves to 87 liters of water per day, or 23 gallons. On February 1, that number will drop to 50 liters (13 gallons). For context, the average American uses around 100 gallons of water per day — more than seven times what Capetonians will be asked to use.

Plans for “Day Zero” — the day when taps will run dry — are even more strict, with each person limited to 6.6 gallons of water. Police and other officials will be on hand to direct crowds and contain anticipated protests and backlash. For many in Cape Town, the logistics could grow impossibly complicated, with officials expecting insufficient water for toilets, and some residents — including the very young, elderly, and disabled — unable to physically wait in line before carting gallons of water back to their homes.

That stark reality has been met with a range of reactions.

“Until the end of last year, even until Cape Town water restrictions were at ‘Level 5,’ people in general were calm,” said Shravya Reddy, a climate change adviser at Pegasys Consulting, who is based in Cape Town. Reddy told ThinkProgress that it wasn’t until this month, when the alert level reached Level 6, that many Capetonians actively began to worry.

“I think the idea of leaving one’s home, standing in line, and carrying buckets for the 25 liter quota — the associated concerns about law and order at such collection points and overall logistical challenges of this proposed system — has now sparked some real panic,” she said.

Cape Town’s crisis is years in the making. An enduring drought brought on by three years of below-average rainfall is a major underlying factor, but years of unprecedented growth coupled with a breakdown in city planning have exacerbated the problem. Adherence to city advisories has also gone unheeded; only 39 percent of Capetonians complied with water restrictions in January, forcing officials to shift Day Zero predictions from April 21 to April 12. If that trend continues, taps could run dry even sooner.

Official restrictions have spurred outrage across the city. Moratoriums on water usage have led some to recycle toilet water, while others have opted for shorter hair in order to cope with one-and-a-half-minute shower recommendations. Restrictions on lawn watering and refilling swimming pools have been especially challenging for Cape Town’s large tourism industry.

Concern has led Capetonians to invest in large 25-liter plastic jugs of water along with a number of other water management devices. All come with their own environmental implications, but for residents, they’re rapidly becoming a necessary last-ditch resort.

Cape Town’s problems aren’t unique. The Brazilian city of São Paulo came close to the same fate three years ago, when its 20 million residents grappled with daily water shut-offs in response to rapidly shrinking reservoirs. Strict measures and water brought on by the El Niño climate phenomenon ultimately helped the drought, but São Paulo remains an at-risk city. Others could see the same fate: experts have expressed concern about major global hubs like Tokyo and London, as well as U.S. cities like Miami.

While climate change has played a significant role in Cape Town’s problems, a lack of preparation on the part of city officials has also drawn the ire of local residents. Warnings about water scarcity go back more than a decade, but residents say the local government failed to take action.

Whatever factors are to blame for the crisis, it’s pretty clear who will disproportionately bear the brunt of Day Zero.

“For the past seven years, we’ve seen a huge increase in the volumes of tourists visiting Cape Town,” a resident named Yves wrote in an open letter to IOL, a South African publication. “A large number of hotels have been built. What about the housing projects for underprivileged communities?”

Reddy agrees, telling ThinkProgress those already flush with cash will largely be able to escape the crisis.

“No matter what the circumstances, people with higher income levels will fare better when water is cut off,” she said. “[They have the] ability to buy more new clothes as a response to laundry reduction, ordering takeout food as a response to less cooking and dishwashing, leaving the city for long stretches of time to escape elsewhere. People from under-resourced and low-income communities already are at a disadvantage from lack of access to adequate information — since much of what’s trickling out is through online communications — and lack of disposable income to buy stocks of drinking water in advance.”

For many disadvantaged communities, water rationing is already a way of life. In a series of tweets on Wednesday, one South African argued that Cape Town’s residents are experiencing something the rest of the country is already very familiar with.

“I used to wash my face, wash my armpits, brush my teeth and wash my hands with a single cup of water […]. I used to watch my grandfather stand in front of the house every morning to [do] exactly the same,” Mail & Guardian columnist Khaya Dlanga wrote. “It’s not amazing that one can use little water for so much. What amazed me when I went to the city was how much water was used. It was shocking to me.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 18th, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Net Neutrality Appeal, Barcelona Goes Open-Source.

January 18, 2018
New Economy Roundup  araz at neweconomy.net via sg.actionnetwork.org

This week we’re talking about the Net Neutrality appeal; why Finland has more coop members than citizens.

The CODFATHER: After a corrupt fisherman worked to disenfranchise small-scale cod-farmers of New Bedford, NEC member Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance worked to have him stopped and convicted…and the story made it to Netflix. Read more about the show “Cod is Dead” here.

Be A Localist: After discovering the city of Phoenix was offering major chain stores massive tax subsidies while driving out small businesses, a Phoenix record shop owner rallied her neighbors to fix a system that was failing them. They reintroduced people to their towns, showed them what they can buy locally, and dispelled the myth that it’s more expensive. Read more about their work here.

Net Neutrality Appeal: The push to reinstate net neutrality is being fought on multiple fronts, but as of this week, 21 states filed lawsuits to appeal the repeal. While the Senate is one vote away from a repeal, the Republican-held House would also need to vote before the FCC decision can be undone. Read more.
Solidarity Economies Abroad

Open-Sourced: The city of Barcelona is ditching Microsoft in favor of Linux and other open-source technologies.

Barcelona became the first municipality to join the European campaign: “Public Money, Public Code“ – an initiative started by advocates who believe that software funded publicly should be free.

Cooperation Nation: There are more member-owners of co-operative enterprises in Finland than there are people. What can the rest of the world learn from the country where the average adult is a member of at least two co-ops? Read how they make cooperation a priority here.

Catalan Cooperative: The world watched as Catalan held historic elections last fall, but a project eight years in the making—Catalan Integral Cooperative—shows, citizens want more than independence, they want to be self-sufficient. CIC is made up of hundreds of people including 400 makers—of food, materials, and more. “(The cooperative) is explicitly, deliberately, about the long term goal of replacing both capitalism and control by the state… they are taking control over their own fate, setting up their own productive arrangements, food supply systems, warehouses.” Read more about their work here.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 18th, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Norway’s government goes green, keeps Lofoten free of oil drilling.
Coalition government expands to include the Liberal Party.
That gave a greener political platform.
By Thomas Nilsen

The Independent Barents Observer,
January 14, 2018.

Controversies about possible opening the waters outside Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja in northern is put on halt. The areas will remain off-limits, the three parties in the new, but still minority, government announced on Sunday.

Oil companies have been eager to drill, but opposition is strong, arguing the values of the important fisheries and tourism in the area.

According to WWF, the water off Lofoten is breeding area for 70 percent of all fish caught in Norwegian waters in the north.

Estimates by the Ministry of Oil and Energy claims Lofoten to hold 1,3 billion barrels of oil equivalent. The industry says the value of the oil could represent as much as $65 billion.

Politically, Norway’s government goes from being blue-blue to become blue-green. “The [political] platform paves the way for how we can manage to create a sustainable welfare society and a safer Norway, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said at a press conference. She represents the Conservative Party that has been in power together with the Progress Party since 2013.

It is not yet clear which possible minister posts the Liberal Party will get in the broadened government.

Additional to pushing the oil industry away from the pristine waters near Lofoten archipelago, no drilling will either take place near Jan Mayen in the Norwegian Sea or near the ice-edge in the northern Barents Sea, the agreed political platform reads:

14.01.2018 – Høyres kommunikasjonsavdeling TwitterFacebook
Les den nye regjeringsplattformen her

-Vårt felles mål er at Norge skal være et land med muligheter for alle. Plattformen tar utgangspunkt i hvordan vi skal klare å skape et bærekraftig velferdssamfunn og et tryggere Norge, sier statsminister Erna Solberg under en pressekonferanse søndag ettermiddag.

Godt samarbeid
-Etter nesten to uker med forhandlinger om ny regjeringsplattform er partiene nå kommet til enighet.
Jeg er glad for det gode samarbeidet som nå tegner seg. Det har vært intensivt og hardt arbeid de to siste ukene. Vi har spilt hverandre gode og funnet løsninger sammen. Det har vært politikk på sitt beste, sier Solberg.

Seks hovedutfordringer
Gjennom samtalene har Høyre, Fremskrittspartiet og Venstre oppsummert hvilke seks utfordringer som må løses for at Norge også i fremtiden skal være verdens beste land å bo i.

Vi skal omstille norsk økonomi for å skape vekst, nye arbeidsplasser og sikre flere ben å stå på.
Oppfylle Norges klimaforpliktelser
Skape et inkluderende arbeidsliv
Sikre gode og bærekraftige velferdsordninger
Redusere fattigdom og utenforskap
Gjennomføre et integreringsløft
Det vil også være viktig å arbeide for å skape et tryggere Norge. Vi må styrke samfunnssikkerheten. Norge skal fortsatt være et land som bidrar til å løse globale utfordringer.

Bred borgerlig plattform
For Høyre er det viktig å bygge et bredt borgerlig samarbeid. Dette er ikke en flertallsregjering, men vi bygger nå en bredere borgerlig plattform.

-Jeløya-plattformen bygger videre på de mange enighetene våre partier har stått sammen om de siste årene. KrF har valgt å ikke bli en del av den nye regjeringen. Likevel bygger vi på enighetene fra Nydalen og i Stortinget, utdyper Solberg.

I mange land ser vi et mer polarisert politisk landskap, og at partier vegrer seg for å ta ansvar. Det vi nå gjør er å finne felles løsninger som er bra for Norge og bra for folk.
Det gir et godt grunnlag for arbeidet fremover.

-Vi inviterer Stortinget til samarbeid om å skape et bærekraftig velferdssamfunn, sier Erna Solberg avslutningsvis.

Plattformen i korte trekk:
Skape flere jobber:

Det må bli lettere å skape nye arbeidsplasser og mer lønnsomt å investere i norske bedrifter. Norge trenger flere ben å stå på økonomisk, derfor må vi skape nye jobber i flere næringer. Vårt nye arbeidsliv må være grønt, smart og nyskapende.

En H/Frp/V-regjering vil blant annet:

Fortsette å redusere skattenivået.
Øke bunnfradraget og rabatten for arbeidende kapital i formueskatten.
Legg til rette for ansattes medeierskap ved å Styrke den generelle ordningen for gunstig kjøp og tildeling av aksjer og opsjoner i egen bedrift.
Evaluere skattefunnordningen og vurdere forbedringer.
Fortsette å redusere næringslivet kostnader ved å forenkle rapportering, lover og regler. Målet er reduserte kostnader på 10 mrd. kroner i perioden 2017-2021.
Vurdere hvordan staten kan bidra til at lønnsomme prosjekter har tilgang til kapital, herunder vurdere ordninger knyttet til såkornfond/presåkornfond.
Videreutvikle Katapult-ordningen for å stimulere til mer og raskere innovasjon, samt utvikling og deling av kompetanse.
Legge til rette for testfasiliteter for utvikling og bruk av ny teknologi i alle næringer.
Arbeide for å utvikle havnæringene.
Styrke Norge som sjømatnasjon og sikre god markedsadgang for norske produkter.
Utvikle norsk næringsliv gjennom satsing på klimateknologi som kan være lønnsom over tid.
Legge til rette for lønnsom produksjon av olje og gass, blant annet gjennom forutsigbare rammevilkår.
Kvalifisere flere for jobb:

Det må skapes flere jobber og flere må kvalifiseres for jobbene. Et velfungerende arbeidsmarked er avgjørende for at hver enkelt skal kunne realisere sine drømmer og ambisjoner. Det må alltid lønne seg å jobbe. Flere må stå i arbeid lenger, og flere må inkluderes i arbeidslivet. Vårt arbeidsliv må også ha rom for mennesker med utenlands-klingende navn. For dem som ikke går til jobb, men ruller på jobb og for de som har hatt en krevende periode i livet sitt, og dermed fått hull i CV-en. Vi inviterer offentlig og privat sektor til en inkluderingsdugnad. Vi skal utvikle og forbedre velferdstjenestene slik at vi sikrer små forskjeller og den sosiale tilliten i samfunnet.

En H/Frp/V-regjering vil blant annet:

Iverksette en kompetansereform for at ingen skal gå ut på dato.
Styrke innsatsen mot langtidsledighet og ungdomsledighet **Videreføre og styrke effektive ordninger som lønnstilskudd og arbeidstrening i ordinære virksomheter for å hjelpe flere inn i arbeidslivet.
Ta initiativ til en inkluderingsdugnad for å få flere inn i arbeidslivet
Sette mål om at minst 5 prosent av nyansatte i staten skal være personer med nedsatt funksjonsevne eller ”hull i CV-en”.
Sørge for raskere og bedre helsehjelp, særlig innenfor psykisk helse.
Styrke samarbeidet med sosiale entreprenører, frivillige og andre aktører som kan bidra til at flere kommer i arbeid og aktivitet.
Tidlig innsats i skolen:

Kunnskap er grunnlaget for demokrati, verdiskaping og velferd. Barnehage og skole skal gi barna trygge rammer og bygge opp nødvendige ferdigheter til å realisere sine evner og ambisjoner. Regjeringen vil prioritere tidlig innsats i skolen for å sikre at de som sliter skal få hjelp tidlig, og mener at hver enkelt elev må gis kunnskap og ferdigheter til å gripe de muligheter fremtidens arbeidsliv byr på.

En H/Frp/V-regjering vil blant annet:

Prioritere tidlig innsats fra 1. til 4. klasse og ha som mål at ingen elever skal gå ut av grunnskolen uten å ha lært å lese, skrive og regne skikkelig.
Innføre plikt for skoler for å gi ekstra oppfølging til elever som strever med lesing, skriving og regning.
Ha mål om å gi alle skoler tilgang til lærerspesialister vedå gi 3 000 lærere mulighet til å bli lærerspesialister i skolen innen fem år
Ha som mål at alle lærere skal ha fordypning i fagene de underviser i. s
Sikre flere voksenpersoner i barnehagen gjennom en ansvarlig bemanningsnorm, og øke andeler pedagoger.
Styrke språkopplæringen i barnehagene.
Videreføre likebehandlingen av offentlige og private barnehager.
Skaffe flere lærlingeplasser, blant annet gjennom å bedre de økonomiske ordningene, stille klare krav til det offentlige om å ta inn lærlinger og jobbe sammen med fylkeskommuner og arbeidslivet.
Pasientens helsetjeneste:

Høyres ambisjon er å skape pasientens helsetjeneste. Hver enkelt pasient skal oppleve respekt og åpenhet i møte med helsetjenesten og slippe unødvendig ventetid. Ingen beslutninger skal tas om pasienten, uten pasienten. Det er et offentlig ansvar å sikre gode helse- og omsorgstjenester til alle. Høyre vil sørge for et godt samarbeid med ulike private aktører som bidrar til innovasjon, mangfold, kvalitet og valgfrihet i tjenestetilbudet. Helsekøene skal fortsatt reduseres. Tilbudet til de mest utsatte, særlig innen rus og psykisk helse, samt syke eldre må fortsatt styrkes.

En H/Frp/V-regjering vil blant annet:

Forbedre og modernisere fastlegeordningen, for å sikre god legedekning i hele landet.
Gi tilskudd til netto tilvekst av plasser i sykehjem og omsorgsboliger.
Innføre flere pakkeforløp for å sikre raskere og bedre helsehjelp, herunder for hjerneslag, smertebehandling, utmattelses, muskel- og skjelettlidelser, rus, psykisk helsevern og for ”kreftpasienter hjem”.
Utvide fritt behandlingsvalg til nye områder.
Gjennomføre en rusreform for å sikre et bedre tilbud til rusavhengige, der ansvaret for samfunnets reaksjon på bruk og besittelse av illegale rusmidler til egen bruk overføres fra justissektoren til helsesektoren.
Legge frem en opptrappingsplan for barn og unges psykiske helse.
Styrke tilbudet om habilitering og rehabilitering, slik at flere kan få hjelp til å mestre hverdag og jobb.
Målrettet innsats mot fattigdom:

Høyres mål er et samfunn med små forskjeller og muligheter for alle. Vi vil målrette innsatsen for å bekjempe fattigdom, spesielt blant barnefamilier. De viktigste virkemidlene vil være en inkluderingsdugnad for å få flest mulig i arbeid og et løft for psykisk helse og rusomsorg.

Videreføre redusert foreldrebetaling og gratis kjernetid i barnehage for barn av foreldre med lav inntekt.
Innføre ordninger med redusert foreldrebetaling og gratis halvdagsplass i SFO, tilsvarende ordningene i barnehage, for barn av foreldre med lav inntekt.
Tilby gratis barnehage til alle barn i integreringsmottak.
Legge til rette for at flere kan eie sin egen bolig, for eksempel ved i større grad å ta i bruk leie- til-eie-modellen i hele landet.
Arbeide for at alle barn og unge får delta på fritids- og kulturaktiviteter.
Styrke bostøtten for barnefamilier.
Gjøre det mer lønnsomt å jobbe, spesielt for personer med lave inntekter, blant annet ved å senke skatten på inntekt.
Forsvar og beredskap:

Statens viktigste oppgave er å sørge for innbyggerne trygghet og sikkerhet. Regjeringen mener at norsk sikkerhet best ivaretas gjennom internasjonalt samarbeid, forpliktende allianser, økt handel og dialog med flest mulig land. Stortingsforlikene om Langtidsplanen for Forsvaret (LTP) og Landmaktsproposisjonen danner grunnlaget for politikken på området.

En H/Frp/V-regjering vil blant annet:

Fortsette med en reell styrking av Forsvaret og sikre balanse mellom oppgaver, struktur og økonomi. I tråd med enigheten fra NATO-toppmøtet i Cardiff har regjeringen som mål å øke forsvarsbudsjettene i retning av å nå toprosentsmålet på sikt.
Opprettholde Norges NATO-forpliktelser, og sikre fortsatt norsk innflytelse i NATO gjennom aktiv deltakelse i politiske og militære fora.
Norge skal ta sitt internasjonale ansvar og støtte internasjonalt samarbeid blant annet gjennom NATO, EØS og FN.
Arbeide for å nå målet om 2 politifolk per 1000 innbygger i løpet av perioden.
Åpne for punktbevæpning på spesielt sårbare steder etter politifaglige vurderinger.
Fullføre beredskapssenteret på Taraldrud innen planlagt tid, i tråd med reguleringsplanen i samarbeid med lokalmiljøet og naboer.
Distriktspolitikk:

Regjeringen vil legge til rette for sterke, levende lokalsamfunn i hele landet.
Dette krever først og frem en politikk som fremmer verdiskapning og vekst, som gir flere trygge arbeidsplasser. Regjeringens politikk for å fremme kunnskap, innovasjon og næringsutvikling vil gi grundere og bedrifter i hele landet nye muligheter for vekst og utvikling.

Lokalsamfunn og deres folkevalgte skal få større frihet til å forme sin egen hverdag og samfunnsutvikling. Regjeringen vil blant annet;

Beholde ordningen med regionalt differensiert arbeidsgiveravgift der bedrifter i distriktene betaler en lavere avgift for sine ansatte.
Gi kommuner og fylker større myndighet og lokalt handlingsrom i arealpolitikken.
Gi kommuner og fylker utvidet forvaltningsansvar i verneområder.
Fortsette arbeidet med å forenkle utmarksforvaltningen gjennom samordning og digitalisering.
Revidere statlige planretningslinjer for strandsonen med sikte på mer differensiert forvaltning i spredt bebygde strøk, slik at det blir større lokal handlefrihet samtidig som man ivaretar rekreasjonsmuligheter og vernet av kulturlandskap.
Overføre oppgaver, makt og ansvar fra statlige myndigheter til lokale folkevalgte
Kommunereformen skal fortsette, og regionreformen skal gjennomføres
Arbeidet med lokalisering av statlige arbeidsplasser i hele landet skal fortsette, for å bidra til sterke arbeidsmarked og kompetansemiljø også utenfor de store byene.
Grønnere Norge:

Norge må omstille seg slik at vi når våre klimaforpliktelser og tar vare på naturen. Det må satses på ny grønn teknologi, forurenser må betale og vi må utvikle markeder for nullutslippsløsninger.

En H/Frp/V-regjering vil blant annet:

Kutte norske klimautslipp med 40 prosent i ikke-kvotepliktig sektor i samarbeid med EU. Innfasing av ny teknologi, teknologiutvikging og CO2-prising vil være hovedvirkemidler for å oppnå dette målet.
Videreføre arbeidet med CO2-fond for næringslivet.
Forsterke og profesjonalisere innsatsen mot marin forsøpling, ved blant annet å øke støtten til ulike former for oppryddingstiltak.
Legge til rette for samfunnsøkonomisk lønnsom produksjon av fornybar energi i Norge.
Legge til grunn at nye personbiler og lette varebiler skal være nullutslippskjøretøy i 2025.
Fortsette utbyggingen av effektive løsninger for kollektivtransport, gange og sykkel i byområdene gjennom etableringen av byvekstavtaler og belønningsordninger i tråd med NTP.

—————-

Norway will ban oil drilling until at least 2021 in the ecologically sensitive Arctic waters off Lofoten, Vesterålen, and Senja, Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced January 14.

The new coalition government platform also protects territory near Jan Mayen, a volcanic island in the Arctic Ocean, and near the ice edge in the Barents Sea, the Barents Observer reports.

The Lofoten region is a breeding ground for 70% of the fish caught in the country’s northern region, according to WWF. Norway’s Ministry of Oil and Energy believes Lofoten holds 1.3 billion barrels of oil or equivalent, a resource the fossil industry values at US$65 billion.

“This is a big win for both people and planet,” said Silje Lundberg, head of Naturvernforbundet/Friends of the Earth Norway. “For years, the majority of the Norwegian people have been against oil drilling in these pristine areas, a majority that hasn’t been reflected in Parliament. Since 2001 we’ve fought off big oil six times—and we’ve won every single time.”

With public resistance on the rise, “I don’t think we’ll ever see an oil rig in operation outside the Lofoten Islands ever again,” Lundberg added.

“Politically, Norway’s government goes from being blue-blue to become blue-green,” the Observer states, as governing coalition negotiations continue. Solberg’s Conservatives have led Norway since 2013 with support from the right-wing populist Progress Party. But with its combined seat count reduced in parliamentary elections last September 11, the coalition—which still holds a minority of the 169 seats in the country’s Storting—reached out to the centrist Liberals. for an additional nine seats.

The three parties’ evolving political platform also extends tax exemptions for electric vehicles for as long as the government remains in office, in a country where half of all cars sold last year were hybrid or fully electric, and aims to decarbonize public transit by 2025.

“The platform paves the way for how we can manage to create a sustainable welfare society and a safer Norway,” Solberg told media Sunday.

The Lofoten Islands recently lent their name to a major international declaration, led by Oil Change International, in which more than 220 organizations from 55 countries affirm the “urgent responsibility and moral obligation of wealthy fossil fuel producers to lead in putting an end to fossil fuel development and to manage the decline of existing production.”

The declaration states that “a global transition to a low-carbon future is already well under way.” That means “continued expansion of oil, coal, and gas is only serving to hinder the inevitable transition, while at the same time exacerbating conflicts, fueling corruption, threatening biodiversity, clean water and air, and infringing on the rights of Indigenous Peoples and vulnerable communities.”

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

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 13th, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

New York City Just Declared War on the Oil Industry
By Bill McKibben, Guardian UK
13 January 2018

New York City Just Declared War on the Oil Industry
By Bill McKibben, Guardian UK
13 January 2018

The home of Wall Street announced on Wednesday that it will be divesting its massive pension fund from fossil fuels. That hits fossil fuel giants where it hurts.

Over the years, the capital of the fight against climate change has been Kyoto, or Paris – that’s where the symbolic political agreements to try and curb the earth’s greenhouse gas emissions have been negotiated and signed. But now, New York City vaulted to leadership in the battle.

On Wednesday, its leaders, at a press conference in a neighborhood damaged over five years ago by Hurricane Sandy, announced that the city was divesting its massive pension fund from fossil fuels, and added for good measure that they were suing the five biggest oil companies for damages. Our planet’s most important city was now at war with its richest industry. And overnight, the battle to save the planet shifted from largely political to largely financial.

That shift had been under way for a long time, of course. The divestment campaign, which my organization 350.org helped launch, has become the largest of its kind in history, with now more than $6tn in endowments and portfolios divesting in part or in whole from coal, oil and gas.

Smart money has been pouring into renewables; dumb money has stuck with fossil fuel, even as it underperformed markets for the last half-decade. Just two months ago Norway’s vast sovereign wealth fund began to divest, which was a pretty good signal: if even an oil industry stalwart thought the game was up, they were probably right.

But New York is different, and that’s why its decision signals the start of a real rout. For one thing, of course, it’s the center of world finance – you could toss a chunk of coal from the mayor’s press conference and hit Wall St. Its money managers have a well-deserved reputation for excellence, so when city comptroller Scott Stringer said divestment was necessary to protect the retirement savings of city workers, he implied the obvious: the go-along investors thinking that Exxon is still a blue-chip aren’t doing their homework.

Many pension fund administrators and institutional trustees have refused to divest because they say they’d rather “engage” with oil companies and get them to change their ways. But New York called out that sophistry on Wednesday too. For all the “climate risk disclosure” and token investments in renewables that the industry promises, it’s clear that nothing is really changing with their business model.

Indeed they’ve doubled down in recent weeks, using their political clout to convince Washington that they should be allowed to drill in wildlife refuges and winning the right to put up platforms along every American coast. Someday New Yorkers may stand on the Battery and stare out at Lady Liberty lifting her torch – and then on into the distance where a giant drilling light is flaring gas into the night sky.

But of course when New Yorkers stand at the Battery they should probably be looking down – at the narrowing gap between the top of the water and the top of the seawall. In the end, that’s the real bottom line.

New York and most of the world’s other great cities aren’t viable if the sea keeps rising: they will be destroyed. And New York, for one, isn’t taking it any more. It’s going to use its considerable power to try to hold the oil companies accountable.

That includes taking them to court. Journalists have done a superb job over the last three years of exposing the truth: companies like Exxon knew everything there was to know about climate change decades ago.

But instead of ’fessing up, they covered up, funding the massive campaigns of denial that ended with Donald Trump in the White House convinced climate change was a Chinese hoax. It seemed like a great strategy at the time, buying the fossil fuel companies more years of record profits. But now it exposes them to vast, essentially infinite levels of risk. Who isn’t going to sue? Who wants to be the chump?

The industry’s irresponsibility (a kinder word than it deserves) has cost us a crucial quarter-century when we could have been taking on this crisis. New York’s action on Wednesday means, finally, that these companies are being called to account. Let’s hope it’s not too late.

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


NEW REPORT: Regardless of Trump’s indecision on Paris, US states, cities and businesses accelerate climate action.

Yasmin Perez
Attachments1:18 PM (1 hour ago)

Following media speculation on the US position on the Paris Agreement, and ahead of Climate Week NYC Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group has reiterated the findings of a report released today (see below and attached) which shows the climate actions being delivered by US states, cities and businesses can already get the US halfway to delivering its commitments by 2025 under the Paris Agreement.

Please see below and attached the full press release (for immediate release), and do get in touch with me to discuss. Helen Clarkson is available for interview.

Thanks,
Yasmin

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
***ANNOUNCED AT CLIMATE WEEK NYC***

US states, cities and businesses keep US climate action on track

The US can already meet half its climate pledge by 2025 thanks to the unstoppable action of US states, cities and businesses

New initial analysis released at Climate Week NYC today includes 342 commitments coming from 22 US states, 54 cities and 250 businesses headquartered in the US

Because of their leadership and size, large states such as New York, California and Colorado are making the largest contribution to projected greenhouse gas reductions

Cities are generally more ambitious and have crucial role in implementing greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets

Businesses are setting the most ambitious GHG goals (25% reduction in the next ten years)
NEW YORK: The impact from the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement could be significantly mitigated thanks to the determined action demonstrated by US states, cities and businesses – a new report shows.

The findings from the report, entitled ‘States, cities and businesses leading the way: a first look at decentralized climate commitments in the US’ authored by NewClimate Institute and The Climate Group and powered by CDP data, show that the US can already meet half of its climate commitments under the Paris Agreement by 2025, if the 342 commitments included in the analysis are implemented.

This report provides the first steps in helping to quantify the contribution of states, cities and business to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions. As more and more commitments emerge, further analysis will be undertaken within the Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT), where this work originated.

Launched today at the Climate Week NYC Opening Ceremony, Helen Clarkson, Chief Executive Officer, The Climate Group, organizers of Climate Week NYC, said:

“US states, cities and businesses are not waiting for the US federal government to make its position clear on Paris. This new report clearly highlights their unwavering commitment to climate leadership. Importantly, it shows us that climate action is not solely dependent on the actions of national government. US states, cities and businesses have the power to mitigate the consequences of a full Paris pull out.

“At Climate Week NYC, we are highlighting the unstoppable force of action from business and government in tackling climate change, and how this can drive innovation, jobs and prosperity for all – our central theme for the week. Through our work with businesses, states and regions, we will continue to drive the implementation of these goals, so that we can keep global warming well below 2°C.

In the report, the analysis shows that because of their leadership and size, large states such as New York, California and Colorado are making the largest contribution to projected greenhouse gas reductions. In fact, US states alone deliver more than two thirds of the total estimated emissions reductions. However, cities are more ambitious (average of 22% GHG reduction between 2015 and 2025) and crucial for the implementation of specific actions. Businesses currently have the steepest targets, aiming for a 25% reduction in the next ten years.

“Strikingly, there are more reasons to believe that the calculated impact of states, cities and businesses in the report is currently underestimated rather than overestimated”, said Prof. Dr. Niklas Höhne from NewClimate Institute, one of the authors. “We only included currently recorded and quantified commitments and the actors represented in this report currently only represent 44% of total US emissions. Much more action is happening that is not yet recorded or formulated in a quantified way.”

For example, global climate initiatives, such as the Under 2 Coalition, for which The Climate Group acts as Secretariat, and the organization’s RE100 campaign have not yet been fully included in the study although they serve to support individual actors and subnational governments to take on more ambitious climate action, and report on progress.

California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr, said: “Cities, states and businesses are stepping up and taking action to reduce the threat of catastrophic climate change.”

Taking place between September 18-24 in New York City, Climate Week NYC is one of the key summits in the international calendar and has been driving climate action since it was first launched by The Climate Group in 2009. The summit annually takes place alongside the UN General Assembly and brings together international leaders from business, government and civil society to showcase the unstoppable momentum of global climate action. More about this year’s event can be found here.

Other initiatives, including America’s Pledge, are also planning to compile and quantify efforts from U.S. states, cities, businesses and other actors to address climate change in alignment with the Paris Agreement.

Nazneen Nawaz
Head of Media and Corporate Communications, The Climate Group
 NNawaz at TheClimateGroup.org; 020 7960 2716

Prof. Dr. Niklas Höhne (technical enquiries, in NYC)
Founding Partner, The NewClimate Institute

 n.hoehne at newclimate.org; +49 173 715 2279

The “Current administration policies” scenario does not consider the Clean Power Plan because it anticipates the plan’s suspension.

The results presented here represent a collective intent of selected subnational governments, states and cities which may not necessarily happen.

The current analysis only covers a selected set of actions; the analysis results could change over time as more subnational and non-state actors commit to quantifiable mitigation pledges and more relevant data are collected.

The study covers 342 subnational and non-state actions by individual actors – of which 22 are from states, 58 from cities and 262 from companies headquartered in the US. If every commitment by states, cities and companies is fully implemented, then the US greenhouse gas emissions level will reduce to 12-14% below 2005 levels by 2025. This amounts to 340-540 MtCO?e per year reduction from the current administration policies scenario.

About the NewClimate Institute

The NewClimate Institute supports research and implementation of action against climate change around the globe. We generate and share knowledge on international climate negotiations, tracking climate action, climate and development, climate finance and carbon market mechanisms. We connect up-to-date research with the real world decision making processes, making it possible to increase ambition in acting against climate change and contribute to finding sustainable and equitable solutions.

We are committed to delivering high quality results and workable solutions to the public and decision makers. We apply research-oriented, robust approaches, responding to on-the-ground realities. We seek to enhance and foster knowledge sharing and exchange with other institutions and individuals around the globe.

 newclimate.org | @newclimateinst

About The Climate Group:

The Climate Group works internationally with leading businesses, states and regions to deliver a world of net zero greenhouse gas emissions and greater prosperity for all. We are at the forefront of ambitious climate action. Our focus is on collaborative programs with corporate and government partners that deliver impact on a global scale. The Climate Group stimulates action by businesses, states and regions, bringing them together to develop and implement the policies that make change happen. We also communicate their achievements to secure global public acceptance of, and even greater ambition for, a prosperous, net-zero future for all. The Climate Group is an international non-profit with offices in Beijing, London, New Delhi and New York.

 TheClimateGroup.org | @ClimateGroup

About Climate Week:

Climate Week NYC is one of the key summits in the international calendar and has been driving climate action forward since it was first launched in 2009 by The Climate Group. Taking place between September 18-24 in New York City alongside the UN General Assembly, Climate Week NYC 2017 will bring together international leaders from business, government and civil society to showcase the unstoppable momentum of global climate action.

Climate Week NYC is brought to you by The Climate Group
 Climateweeknyc.org | @ClimateWeekNYC | #CWNYC

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 9th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Bill McKibben on Hurricanes and Wildfires: “We Have Never Had Anything Like Them.”

RSN – Writing for “godot” – 08 September 2017

In the Caribbean, at least 10 people have died as the historic Category 5 Hurricane Irma barrels across the Atlantic Ocean and toward the U.S. coast. Hurricane Irma is the most powerful storm ever recorded over the Atlantic Ocean. On Barbuda, 90 percent of all structures were destroyed. The prime minister, Gaston Browne, has declared Barbuda is “practically uninhabitable.” This comes as Houston, the fourth-largest city in the U.S., is beginning to rebuild from Hurricane Harvey, one of the most powerful hurricanes in U.S. history. Wide swaths of the Pacific Northwest are also on fire, as uncontrollable wildfires burn hundreds of thousands of acres across Oregon, Montana and Washington state. For more on climate change and extreme weather, we’re joined by Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, from his home in Vermont. He’s the author of several books, including “Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.”

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: In the Caribbean, at least 10 people have died as the historic Category 5 Hurricane Irma barrels across the Atlantic Ocean and towards the U.S. coast. Hurricane Irma is the most powerful storm ever recorded over the Atlantic Ocean. On Wednesday, eight people died on the Island of Saint Martin, one person died on Anguilla, and a 2-year-old child died on Barbuda. Barbuda and Saint Martin were devastated by the 185-mile-an-hour winds. On Barbuda, 90 percent of all structures were destroyed. The prime minister, Gaston Browne, has declared Barbuda is “practically uninhabitable,” and warns the entire island may need to be evacuated as another storm approaches.

PRIME MINISTER GASTON BROWNE: You know that we are threatened now potentially by yet another storm, Hurricane Jose.

ABS INTERVIEWER: Jose, right.

PRIME MINISTER GASTON BROWNE: And if that is the case, and it’s coming our way, then, clearly, we will have to evacuate the residents of Barbuda.

AMY GOODMAN: In Puerto Rico, more than a million people have lost power, as authorities warn some areas could be without electricity for up to six months, partly because the island’s electrical infrastructure has gone neglected due to Puerto Rico’s debt crisis.

The death toll from Hurricane Irma is expected to rise in the coming days as the storm moves toward the Dominican Republic and Haiti, then on to the U.S. southern coast in Florida. More than 100,000 people have been told to evacuate their homes in Miami-Dade County, as Irma is predicted to be one of the worst storms to ever hit Miami.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: All this comes as the Trump administration, and the state of Florida, continues to deny the existence of climate change. In 2015, Florida Governor Rick Scott banned agencies from using the term “climate change.” On Wednesday, President Trump traveled to Mandan, North Dakota, and celebrated his decision to pull out of the landmark 2015 climate deal, while speaking outside an oil refinery.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: In order to protect American industry and workers, we withdrew the United States from the job-killing Paris climate accord. Job killer. People have no idea. Many people have no idea how bad that was. And right here in North Dakota, the Dakota Access pipeline is finally open for business. … I also did Keystone. You know about Keystone, another one, big one. Big. First couple of days in office, those two. Forty-eight thousand jobs. Tremendous, tremendous thing. I think environmentally better. I really believe that. Environmentally better.

AMY GOODMAN: President Trump was speaking in Mandan, the North Dakota town where hundreds of Native Americans and their allies have been jailed and strip-searched during the months-long resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline.

All this comes as Houston, the fourth-largest city in the country, is beginning to rebuild from Hurricane Harvey, one of the most powerful hurricanes in U.S. history. The death toll has now risen to 70 people. And while Houston, the Petro Metro, was underwater, wide swaths of the Pacific Northwest continue to be on fire as uncontrollable wildfires burn hundreds of thousands of acres across Oregon, Montana and Washington state. Well over a thousand more people have died in historic flooding in South Asia, as well as parts of Africa, in recent weeks. A third of Bangladesh is underwater.

For more on climate change, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Harvey and the extreme weather sweeping the globe, we’re joined by Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, from his home in Vermont, author of a number of books, including Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.

Bill, welcome back to Democracy Now! As Irma—

BILL McKIBBEN: Hello, Amy. Hello, Nermeen.

AMY GOODMAN: As Irma is barreling through the Caribbean, and at least 10 people have been killed, as Houston is digging out from being underwater, President Trump was in Mandan, North Dakota, celebrating that he pulled out of the Paris climate accord and greenlighted the Dakota Access pipeline and Keystone XL. Your response?

BILL McKIBBEN: Well, I was interested to hear President Trump saying people had no idea how bad it was, the Paris climate accord. I have a feeling that’s a phrase that a lot of Houstonians have been using in the last week, and a lot of people in the Caribbean today, and what people will be saying up and down the southeast coast of the United States and over in Washington and Oregon. People who aren’t in the middle of these disasters have no idea how bad they are. In fact, really, Americans can’t have any idea how bad they are, because we’ve never had anything quite like them. I mean, Harvey, in Houston, which we’re on the edge of forgetting about as Irma pulls into the Southeast, Harvey was the largest rainstorm event in U.S. history—51 inches of rain in some places. That’s the kind of storm that’s only possible now that we’ve remarkably affected the climate.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Bill McKibben, can you also talk about — I mean, last week saw virtually unprecedented floods across South Asia, as Bangladesh is one-third submerged underwater. Talk about how this has affected—these kinds of events have affected South Asia, other parts of the developing world and small island developing states.

BILL McKIBBEN: Look, the way that water moves around the planet is now dramatically different. And the places that are going to feel it most often and worst and hardest are the poorest and most vulnerable places on the planet, a list that begins with Bangladesh and with the low-lying island states.

If you want one physical fact to understand the century we’re now in, it’s that warm air holds more water vapor than cold. And so we have the possibility for storms that are of a different magnitude and scale than we have seen before. The extra warmth in the atmosphere does all kinds of other things, too.

So, right now, in the High Plains of the U.S., in North Dakota and Montana, in the biggest wheat-growing belt of the country, we’ve got what scientists are describing as a flash drought. It’s been so hot and so arid that in the course of a month or two without rain and with that heavy evaporation, farm fields have just dried up. Many farmers have nothing to harvest. That’s what’s helping trigger this ridiculous spate of wildfires across the Western United States, a fire so big yesterday that it managed to jump the Columbia River from Oregon into Washington. People in Oregon and Washington are reporting ash fall from the forest fires on a scale comparable to that what happened when Mount St. Helens erupted. You know, California had the largest—last week, the largest wildfire in Los Angeles history, which really isn’t a big surprise, because it’s been the hottest year in California history. So, from Nepal—

AMY GOODMAN: Bill, we’re going break and come back to this discussion. Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, speaking to us from Vermont, as we talk about extreme weather events, from South Asia, where more than 1,200 people have died, to the fires of the Northwest to the hurricanes Irma and Harvey, Jose not far behind. Stay with us.

AMY GOODMAN: Acoustic guitar cover by Pauk Si, a Burmese musician. We will later be talking about whether a genocide is being committed against the Rohingya by the Burmese military. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh, as we continue our conversation with 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben. Let’s turn back to President Trump speaking in Mandan, North Dakota, on Wednesday.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I want to take a moment to send our thoughts and prayers to the people of Texas and Louisiana, who have truly suffered through a catastrophic hurricane, one of the worst hurricanes in our country’s history. And guess what. We have another one coming. … The one that’s coming now, Irma, they’re saying, is largest one in recorded history in the Atlantic Ocean, coming out of the Atlantic, which gets big ones. … I also want to tell the people of North Dakota and the Western states, who are feeling the pain of the devastating drought, that we are with you 100 percent. One hundred percent. … I just said to the governor, “I didn’t know you had droughts this far north.” Guess what. You have them. But we’re working hard on it, and it’ll disappear. It’ll all go away.

AMY GOODMAN: That was President Trump speaking in Mandan, North Dakota, as he also talked about pulling out of the Paris climate accord and greenlighting the Dakota Access pipeline, as well as the Keystone XL. Bill McKibben, Houston, the Petro Metro, home to so many of U.S. oil refineries, some of the largest in the country, like the ExxonMobil facility in Baytown, the second-largest refinery in the country, the effects of the pollution there now, the EPA providing waivers during the hurricane for these refineries, as they close down, to emit even more toxins than they already do, and the people living on the fenceline of these refineries, so often poor communities of color. Can you talk about the disparate effects? While everyone talks about, you know, these hurricanes affecting everyone, rich and poor, equally, in fact, it is not the case, ultimately, who is most affected. And with the $8 billion now that Congress has just approved to start to help to deal with the recovery in Houston, the question is: Where will that money go? Who will be helped in rebuilding? Will this money be going to refineries? And what does the whole fossil fuel industry have to do with the kind of severe weather we’re experiencing now around the world?

BILL McKIBBEN: Well, so, first of all, you know, as usual, poorest people and most vulnerable people get hit first. Frontline communities in South Texas are a perfect example. Places like Port Arthur, that were just absolutely trashed by Harvey, are difficult places to live in, at best, in the best of times, because of the incredible daily pollution that comes from the fossil fuel industry.

What makes Houston so interesting, as you point out, is that it’s sort of the nerve center of the world hydrocarbon industry. It means that—and I think this is unlikely, but it means that if Houstonians really received a wake-up call from Harvey, more than most places in the world, their rebuilding could help the whole planet. If they seize the moment to say, “We’re going to start getting off oil, and we’re going to start reorienting our industries toward renewable energy,” it would make a huge difference. And it’s not a, you know, impossible ideal. Last week, while all this was going on, Denmark announced that it had sold off its last remaining oil company and was going to use the cash to build more wind turbines. They’re looking where the future is going.

We, of course, are looking backwards. And no better example of that than Trump in North Dakota, the obscene party about the Dakota Access pipeline, as archaic and dangerous a piece of technology as we’ve seen in this nation in a long time, coupled with his absurd promise that he’s going to make the drought disappear in North Dakota. Look, the unreason that stems straight from the fossil fuel industry and its inability to deal with the fact that its business model has to change, that’s what’s at the bottom of an enormous amount of what we see around us right now.

AMY GOODMAN: And finally, where the climate movement is now, speaking out and connecting these issues, like your group, 350.org?

BILL McKIBBEN: So, the two important—I think we’re basically in an endgame now. And the two points that we’re trying to make, and will make over and over and over again all over the world, with increasing success in most places except the United States, are, one, we got to have it all, in terms of renewable energy. We have to go to 100 percent renewable energy, and we have to do it fast. That’s why Senator Sanders has introduced that bill at a national level, along with Senator Merkley. That’s why dozens of cities, from Atlanta to Salt Lake to San Diego, have adopted 100 percent renewable policies.

Along with that all, we also have to say nothing. We have to say there will be no more fossil fuel infrastructure development. And that’s why we’re fighting so hard every single pipeline, every single new coal mine. For the moment, of course, Trump is ascendant with the fossil fuel industry. They’re getting their wishes in this country. But like many things that Trump touches, I think that this is a last gasp. People will come to associate, are coming to associate, the insanity of going full speed ahead into this greenhouse future with the most reckless and crazy president that we’ve ever had.

AMY GOODMAN: Bill McKibben, I want to thank you for being with us, co-founder of 350.org. A number of his books out, including the last one, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 9th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

We decided this pearl of writing must be read by everyone.

From CNN’s FAREED GLOBAL BRIEFING AND THE WASHINGTON POST – SEPTEMBER 9, 2017.


What Baseball and Steroids Can Tell Us About Hurricanes.

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and now Jose have inevitably raised questions about the connection between climate change and extreme weather. And on increasing storm strength, at least, “the science is fairly conclusive,” write Michael E. Mann, Thomas C. Peterson and Susan Joy Hassol for the Scientific American.

“Whether or not we see more tropical storms (a matter of continuing research by the scientific community), we know that the strongest storms are getting stronger, with roughly eight meters per second increase in wind speed per degree Celsius of warming. And so it is not likely to be a coincidence that almost all of the strongest hurricanes on record (as measured by sustained wind speeds) for the globe, the Northern Hemisphere, the Southern Hemisphere, the Pacific, and now, with Irma, in the open Atlantic, have occurred over the past two years,” they write.

“As recently as a decade ago, climate scientists had a motto that ‘you can’t attribute any single extreme event to global warming.’

“By the time politicians and journalists started repeating that line, however, the science had moved on, so that we now can attribute individual events in a probabilistic sense. For example, if a baseball player on steroids is hitting 20 percent more home runs, we can’t attribute a particular home run to steroids. But we can say steroids made it 20 percent more likely to have occurred. For some of the physical processes discussed here, one can view increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as steroids for the storms.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 4th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

2 August 2017
A tiny Greek island to become the first energy independent island in the Mediterranean

? Europe, Finance, Smart Cities, Sustainable Energy, Sustainable Innovation Forum, Sustainable Investment Forum

Tilos, a small island in the Cyclades complex in the Aegean Sea, is on set to become the first energy independent island in the Mediterranean by solely relying in renewables.

The initiative under the name TILOS comes by a collaboration of the University of Anglia (UEA) and the University of Applied Sciences in Piraeus, engaging 15 participating enterprises and institutes from seven European countries.

The project’s main goal is to demonstrate the potential of off-grid hybrid mini grids comprised of solar and wind power.

TILOS was launched in February 2015 receiving funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme and is planned to last four years, with its total budget reaching €15m.

So far, TILOS has received €11m from Horizon 2020, €3m from the industry and €1m from private investment.

Konstantinos Chalvatzis, Senior Lecturer in Business and Climate Change at UEA’s Norwich Business School said: “The island’s population is only around 200 in the winter but rises to more than 1,500 in the summer when the tourists arrive”.

He added: “Energy supply is a major issue, with frequent black-outs and power surges. But while its remote location makes traditional ways of providing power so challenging, it also makes Tilos ideal for our pioneering work”.

The project executives underlie the importance of the project in the context of the non-interconnected islands’ electricity regime, which mostly constitutes of expensive and often unreliable oil-fired isolated diesel generators.

Dr. Chalvatzis said: “Most Greek and other Mediterranean islands also depend on unreliable, oil-based electricity, so our goal is to roll the model out to them, as well as to small islands across Europe and beyond”.

The proposed energy solution will comprise 700kW of wind power, 500kW of solar power combined with high? temperature NaNiCl battery storage, residential hot water storage and demand-side management (DSM), all coordinated under a sophisticated energy management system.

Dr Chalvatzis commented: “The uniqueness is not in the way we generate the electricity but in the way we’ve developed the technology to make it cost-effective, reliable and completely green” adding: “For example, normal batteries will last around five years and are filled with non-recyclable chemicals, but ours have a much lengthier lifespan and are completely recyclable”.

Two years into its four-year schedule, TILOS has already received two EU Sustainable Energy Awards, namely the Energy Island Award and the Citizen’s Award- the latter underlying the importance of the public acceptance of renewable energy projects.

Dr Chalvatzis stated: “Tilos is ahead of its time – the islanders welcome new ideas and were open to our initiative”.

“As a result, we now have a blueprint for generating sustainable energy in a profitable and scalable way, so the benefits can be felt across the world, whether that’s other islands, faraway communities or even by providing clean and efficient energy for refugee camps or remote hospitals. This technology could truly change people’s lives”.

RELATED ARTICLES:
— World’s first island micro-grid created in Australia
— First US offshore wind farm powers island
–Rising sea levels force Pacific islanders to evacuate

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 9th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

This is just an impression from watching how the Energy industry does not come up with investment money for drilling for oil, even though there is an oil-friendly President in the White House.

Following the announcement by Elon Musk that Electric Tesla-3 vehicles will start running,
he also announced the building in Australia of a large solar electricity storage facility
to be duplicated for independent cities transportation. This is a decentralized system.

A different approach took Warren Buffett who is investing $29 Billion in buying a Texas
electricity distributor for his solar energy. This system allows for the incorporation of Nuclear Electricity, if available, as he considers this source also as benefitting reduced
CO2 Emissions. This is then a centralized electricity network.

In both these cases – obviously, well experienced business people show their readiness
to take risk in the future world as driven by the Paris Accord – reinforced by the now
G-19 – in disregard of the US President’s departure from global consensus.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 8th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Elon Musk: Model 3 passed all regulatory requirements for production two weeks ahead of schedule. Expecting to complete SN1 on Friday – 1:48 AM – 3 Jul 2017

Tesla’s Model 3, its mass-market car, expected to roll off factory floor Friday July 7, 2017.

The $35,000 electric car passed regulatory requirements two weeks ahead of schedule, and the first 30 owners will receive their cars at the end of the month, chief executive Elon Musk said.

Everything you need to know about Tesla Model 3, which is starting production today.

We’re gonna rock down to Electric Avenue, and the stakes couldn’t be any higher.

by Andrew J. Hawkins@andyjayhawk Jul 7, 2017,

Today’s the day for Tesla. The automaker says it expects to complete production of “SN1” (or “Serial Number one”) of the Model 3, its first electric car for the masses. But the Model 3 isn’t just any car. Everything for the success of Tesla as a viable car company has been building up to this point. The Model 3 will define the future of the company — and the stakes for Tesla and CEO Elon Musk couldn’t possibly be higher.

Earlier this week, Musk tweeted that Friday was the day the first Model 3 would be rolling off the assembly line. In subsequent tweets, he added that the first 30 Model 3 customers will receive their new Teslas on July 28th at a handover party hosted by the automaker.

“I think I can say, without irony of mawkishness, that this is the most important electric car ever produced,” said Michael Ramsey, research director at Gartner. “That’s because if it meets expectations of hundreds of thousands of sales, it changes the global landscape for electric cars. And if it fails, it relegates the move toward electrification to the trudging march that it has been so far.”

“I THINK I CAN SAY, WITHOUT IRONY OF MAWKISHNESS, THAT THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTRIC CAR EVER PRODUCED.”
Skepticism about Tesla’s ability to meet the enormous demands of mass production is extremely high. Practically no one believes Musk will be able to meet the benchmarks he has set for the Model 3. Tesla’s share price has been savaged over the last week, losing nearly 20 percent of its value, while Wall Street analysts predict that demand for Tesla’s two other current vehicles, the Model S and Model X, has already peaked. Other experts say that Musk will need to reduce costs by as much as 60 percent if it wants the Model 3 to be profitable.

And then there’s the fact that most auto startups throughout the 20th century eventually failed and fell into obscurity. Tesla, a 15-year-old company, could be poised to challenge those odds. The manufacturing and quality challenges of starting a brand-new automotive company are titanic.

“The Model 3 is critical for Tesla’s long-term viability,” said Karl Brauer, executive publisher at Kelley Blue Book. “The company had been around for almost 15 years yet has never turned a profit. The Model 3 will be Tesla’s first attempt at a high-volume car meant for mainstream consumers. If Tesla can satisfy the Model 3’s pent-up demand with a dependable and profitable vehicle it will finally justify a stock value that has it rivaling GM in capital value. If it can’t, Tesla will confirm many critic’s suspicions that it’s never had a truly sustainable business model.”

Tesla’s sky-high valuation — it recently surpassed BMW’s market cap — depends largely on Musk’s ability to sell his vision of sustainable, battery-powered driving to a much broader population. The Model S and Model X are both extremely expensive. Even with tax incentives, both cars easily push $100,000. The Model 3 will start at $35,000, making it the cheapest in Tesla’s range. In order for Tesla to sell 10 times as many cars as it does now, it needs a much cheaper automobile.

But the marketplace for affordable electric vehicles is suddenly much more crowded than it was when the Model 3 was first announced in 2016. GM was able to grab first-mover status when it released the Chevy Bolt, a $36,620, 238-mile-per-charge, electric vehicle, last December. Other midlevel electric vehicles include the Volkswagen e-Golf ($36,415), Ford Focus Electric ($29,995), and Nissan Leaf ($37,675).

These companies have the infrastructure in place to maintain quality and dealer service networks, however. There are signs that Tesla is rethinking its approach to selling and maintaining cars. (Most car dealers now act as the service arm for new buyers.)

Tesla can’t survive on its buzz-worthiness alone, but it’s certainly helped buoy its stock price. The number of people who plunked down the $1,000 deposit to preorder the Model 3 after it was first announced last year blew away pretty much everyone’s expectations. It took less than a week for the company to receive 350,000 preorders, leading Tesla to claim the Model 3 had the “biggest one-week launch of any product ever.” Eat your heart out, Apple.

But Tesla still has a long way to go before it can stick the landing. Musk says production is expected to grow exponentially: 100 cars in August, more than 1,500 by September, and then 20,000 per month by December. If the company fails to hit these marks or runs into manufacturing issues that happen at higher scales, or demand for the Model 3 drops, analysts argue it would be a setback not just for Tesla, but perhaps the entire electrification movement.

BY 2040, ANALYSTS SAY THAT 54 PERCENT OF ALL CARS SOLD ON THE PLANET WILL BE ELECTRIC
In 2016, Bloomberg’s new energy think tank predicted that electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles would make up about 35 percent of the world’s auto market by the year 2040. This year, the group upped that figure considerably: by 2040, analysts now say that 54 percent of all cars sold on the planet will be electric. France’s environmental minister said yesterday his country would ban the sale of all fossil fuel-burning vehicles by 2040. And Volvo said it would stop selling gas-only cars by 2019.

The world is trending toward battery-powered, electric vehicles, thanks in no small part to Musk’s vision and ingenuity. Tesla has helped spur the biggest automakers to accelerate their electrification plans. “The Chevy Bolt might not exist now were it not for Tesla,” said Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst at Navigant. “VW Group is running as fast as it can to move from diesel to electric.”

But the timing of the Model 3’s release could spell doom for Tesla, which still sells a fraction of the automobiles produced by the world’s biggest OEMs. Auto sales are stagnant in the US, while most consumers are trending toward SUVs and crossover vehicles rather than sedans. Tesla faces the problem of introducing a compact sedan when the market is running headlong away from this form factor to sport utilities. “Their timing couldn’t have been worse,” Abuelsamid said.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 30th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From [Columbia University Climate Law Blog]: UN Body Finds That Human Rights Treaty Requires Climate Action

Climate Law Blog <jessica.wentz@law.columbia.edu>

Columbia Law School Climate Law Blog has posted a new item, ‘UN Body Finds That
Human Rights Treaty Requires Climate Action’

By Jessica Wentz

On June 23 the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
issued a statement recognizing that the failure to take adequate action on
climate change may rise to a violation of the International Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The Committee, a body of
independent experts that monitors compliance with the ICESR for the UN Economic
and Social Council, made the following observations and recommendations during
its review of Australia’s implementation of the treaty:

The Committee is concerned about the continued increase of CO2 emissions in the
State party, at risk of worsening in the coming years, despite the State
party’s commitments as a developed country under the UN Framework Convention
on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, as well as its Nationally Determined
Contribution under the Paris Agreement. The Committee is also concerned that
environmental protection has decreased in recent years as shown by the repeal of
the Emissions Trading Scheme in 2013, and the State party’s ongoing support to
new coal mines and coal-fired power stations. The Committee is also concerned
that climate change is disproportionately affecting the enjoyment of Covenant
rights by indigenous peoples.

The Committee recommends that the State party revise its climate change and
energy policies, as indicated during the dialogue. It recommends that the State
party take immediate measures aimed at reversing the current trend of increasing
absolute emissions of greenhouse gases, and pursue alternative and renewable
energy production. The Committee also encourages the State party to review its
position in support of coal mines and coal export. The Committee further
recommends that the State party address the impact of climate change on
indigenous peoples more effectively while fully engaging indigenous peoples in
related policy and programme design and implementation.

You may view the post at
 blogs.law.columbia.edu/climatecha…

Best regards,

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law
Columbia Law School
 www.columbiaclimatelaw.com

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 30th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Dr. Wil Burns
Co-Executive Director, Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment, School of International Service, American University  wil at feronia.org  www.ceassessment.org

What Is Climate Engineering?

Climate engineering is the deliberate, large-scale intervention in one or more Earth
systems for the purpose of counteracting the causes or symptoms of human-caused
climate change. It is also called geoengineering or, less often, climate intervention. CE
encompasses two very different kinds of proposed technologies: Solar geoengineering,
also known as solar radiation management (SRM), would aim to cool the Earth by
reflecting a small fraction of incoming sunlight back into space before it can warm the
Earth. Carbon dioxide removal (CDR), sometimes called negative emissions
technologies (NETs) or greenhouse gas removal technologies, would remove carbon
dioxide (CO2) or other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and sequester them for
long periods of time in biological, geological, or oceanic reservoirs. These two kinds of
technologies generally raise different sets of technical, ethical, social, and legal
concerns, leading to frequent calls to treat them separately. Since many of the reports
being summarized here address both kinds of CE, this report will do so, too.

A Survey of Reports on Climate Engineering, 2009-2015
by Dr. David R. Morrow
Forum for Climate Engineering Assessment
American University
FCEA Working Paper Series: 001
SSRN: 2982392
June, 2017

 ceassessment.org/wp-content/uploa…

The first incarnation of our think tank’s monthly newsletter is now available: mailchi.mp/6030d8133d1c/new-clima….

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