Norway is gaining from Global Warming/Climate Change – they got so far milder winters and more rain, and this led to the need of less energy for heating and they got an increase of hydro-power production. What if there is a change in the flow of the Golf-stream and they start freezing? That is not mentioned in the Planet Ark article.
Global warming to bring more rain to hydro-dependent Norway.
Global warming is likely to bring more rain to hydro-dependent Norway, giving a further boost to power production that reached a record high last year due to ample rainfall, the government said in a report on Friday.
Norway’s power generation reached 146 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2012, as hydro inflows from rain and snow melt were 5 TWh above normal, Norway’s Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) said. Hydro power accounted for 97 percent of production.
During the past century, precipitation in Norway has risen by about 20 percent, and that trend is expected to continue.
“The extent of the flooding and landslides in Norway is expected to increase as a result of more precipitation and more intense rainfall,” the government said in the report on long-term challenges.
“Meanwhile, more precipitation can result in higher production of hydroelectric power, and milder winters will lead to lower fuel costs,” it added.
“Most studies show that climate change will lead to an increase in the average annual inflow to power plants in Norway, and thereby increase the production potential for hydropower,” said Hege Hisdal, head of hydrologic modeling at NVE.
Weekly precipitation levels, measured in terms of hydro energy available for power production, rose by about 13 percent from 1995 to 2013 in Norway, data from Point Carbon, a Thomson Reuters company, showed.
“So there is a clear increasing trend,” said Bjorn Sonju-Moltzau, a hydrologist at Point Carbon. “We expect precipitation levels that can be used for power generation to increase by 10-15 percent during the next 10-20 years.”
About half of all electricity production in the Nordic power market comes from hydro power.
Hydro production in the region could increase by about 10 percent during the period 2021-2050 from 1961-1990, a reference period to measure climate change, a study commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers, showed last year.N
Norway became rich thanks to the oil and gas industries. Will the loss of people in the events in Algeria tell Norway’s Statoil that playing with oil is like playing with fire? When talking about Climate Change and transport of oil Norway was not the enlightened State we thought it was.
Norway Debates Overseas Ventures After Siege in Algeria.
Kyrre Lien for The New York Times
A fifth employee of Statoil, which runs the Mongstad refinery in Austrheim and Lindas, Norway, is feared dead after the siege at an Algerian gas facility.
By NICHOLAS KULISH and HENRIK PRYSER LIBELL
Published in The New York Times on-line: January 27, 2013
AUSTRHEIM, Norway — Oil and gas made Norway one of the world’s most advanced and prosperous countries in just a few decades. Now the deadly siege in Algeria has fired up a debate here over how far its petroleum companies, and their skilled workers, should go in the hunt for resources and profits.
Mayor Per Leroy of Austrheim says Norway’s petroleum industry, particularly the Mongstad refinery in his town, has made the region prosperous.
At the oil refinery in Mongstad, flags are flown at half-staff for the workers lost in the In Amenas seige.
In recent days, the energy giant Statoil has confirmed the deaths of four of the five company employees missing since Islamist militants attacked a gas installation this month at In Amenas, near the Libyan border. Few in Norway held out more than the slimmest hope for the last missing employee.
This sparsely populated region on the North Sea coast, where on winter afternoons children skate on frozen ponds nestled among snow-covered evergreens, might seem to have little in common with the barren Sahara. But the flare of burning gas in the distance at the Mongstad refinery, Norway’s largest, serves as a reminder of why four people from the area found themselves among the 17 Statoil employees at the Algerian facility when it was ambushed.
Since Phillips Petroleum struck oil in 1969 in the Ekofisk field in the North Sea, more and more Norwegians from this coastal region have passed up traditional jobs like fisherman and sailor to become the mechanics and engineers powering the petroleum industry — not just in Norway but also from the Gulf of Mexico to Nigeria.
Austrheim’s mayor, Per Leroy, 55, understands just how much the petroleum industry has meant to the region and the country. “Go back 100 years and the area north of Bergen was one of the poorest in Europe,” Mr. Leroy said. “Now it’s one of the richest.”
Statoil was founded in 1972 through an act of Parliament. It is run as a profit-making company, though the government maintains a roughly two-thirds stake in the business. While many European countries are struggling under growing debt burdens, Norway, thanks to its petroleum reserves, has a sovereign wealth fund with an estimated $700 billion to protect its future.
Norwegians enjoy universal health care, subsidized public universities that are almost free to attend and a generous social security system. Norwegians have a higher-than-average life expectancy, breathe cleaner air and are more satisfied with their lives than the residents of most industrialized countries, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. World Bank figures show that Norway’s economic output of $98,102 per capita in 2011 was more than twice the $48,112 in the United States.
But workers who take their skills from oil platforms on the North Sea to projects in unstable countries are exposing themselves to new risks, a reality thrust into sharp relief by the militants’ assault on In Amenas, an ordeal that drew a powerful counterattack by the Algerian military. In the end, at least 37 foreign hostages were killed.
“You are not just a traveler in the oil business, sometimes you are traveling in an invisible war zone,” said Tom Hella, 35, an oil-drilling operator from the nearby town of Radoy whose career has taken him from Angola to Azerbaijan. But after what happened in Algeria, he said: “The missis just said that that’s it. After this she won’t let me travel anymore.”
That conversation, writ large, is taking place across Norwegian society. Helge Ryggvik, a historian and oil researcher, told the daily Dagsavisen that Norwegian oil companies should withdraw from risky countries.
Even if they are willing to take the chance, the increased security costs of doing business may keep safety-conscious companies away. Henrik Thune, a senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs in Oslo, specializing in energy and the Middle East, said, “Western companies will pull out and other countries’ companies, like Chinese, Indian and Russian companies, will replace them.”
In April 2010, Russian and Norwegian leaders finally resolved a 40-year dispute over how to divide the Barents Sea and part of the Arctic Ocean, opening another frontier in oil and natural gas exploration. Newer technologies have meant that existing reserves will remain productive for years to come, while recent discoveries have increased optimism that local production will remain strong for decades.
“They find the Norwegian continental shelf attractive because the political risk is very small,” said Thina Margrethe Saltvedt, an oil analyst at Nordea Markets in Oslo. “Maybe they won’t pull out, but they don’t have to go abroad as they did before,” Ms. Saltvedt said. “We’re still little people in the big world.”
Statoil had already announced last year that it would sell its stake in a giant oil field in Iraq to the Russian company Lukoil.
The Algerian episode has not been as shocking for Norwegian society as the massacre of 69 people in 2011 at a political youth camp at Utoya Island along with a bombing in Oslo that killed eight. That was a trauma from which the nation is still recovering. But those killings, horrifying as they were, did not raise the kinds of policy questions that the events in Algeria do for a country with an outsize stake in the world of energy.
“If we have enough oil, there shouldn’t be reason to send people over there,” said Kim Vagenes, 22, who works at a hardware store here in Austrheim. The municipality, with a population of 2,850, is the hometown of two of the oil workers confirmed dead. “Of course, the oil companies want as much oil as they can get.”
As a young man Mr. Leroy, the mayor of Austrheim, assumed he would go into the shipping business, but construction on the Mongstad refinery began just after he finished high school. “The optimism came back to the people,” he said. “They moved back, built new houses.”
Thanks to the petroleum industry, the unemployment rate in Austrheim averages less than 2 percent. The development has quite literally connected this part of the region of Hordaland to the world. It used to take three hours by boat to get to the regional hub of Bergen. Now it takes an hour by car, using bridges built with oil money. At the airport in Bergen, advertisements promote jobs that “take the next step in Bergen’s oil and gas success” and promise to help customers “maximize their reservoirs’ performance.”
Politicians and business leaders have thus far taken a strong stance, saying they will not be intimidated by acts of violence. Helge Kristoffersen, a managing director at the recruiting firm Mosaique, said that challenging, well-paying job openings would continue to attract candidates.
“Some may shy away from assignments in countries with high risk for a while to come,” Mr. Kristoffersen said, “but we quickly forget.”
Chris Cottrell contributed reporting from Berlin.
Norway, a country enlightened on many subjects, is considered the Sheiks of Europe when it comes to oil. It is their income from oil that kept it out of the EU – oil making it a Nation that will rather spend on foreign aid then on effects of climate change. At the UN they are an extension of OPEC.
For the US and Russia it is easier to deal on Antarctica then on the Arctic – specially when you avoid talking to Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa – the countries closest to the South Pole.
United States and Russian Federation Conclude Joint Inspection in Antarctica.
Note from the Office of the Spokesperson
The US Department of State.
December 10, 2012
A joint team from the United States and the Russian Federation concluded a 10-day inspection of foreign research stations, installations and equipment in Antarctica on December 8, 2012.
The team inspected the following stations: Bharati (India), Maitri (India), Princess Elisabeth (Belgium), Syowa (Japan), Troll (Norway) and Zhongshan (China). The United States appreciates the assistance provided by the personnel at all of the visited stations.
Officials from the U.S. Department of State and the Russian Federation Ministry of Foreign Affairs led the inspection, which is the second phase of a two-phase process.
A report will be jointly presented by the United States and Russia at the next Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, to be held in Brussels, Belgium, in May 2013.
The United States and Russia were architects of the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 and today conduct some of the most extensive and diverse scientific activities in Antarctica. Working closely with our Russian counterparts provides an excellent opportunity to reinforce our shared objectives for the peaceful use of Antarctica – and further expands our diplomatic cooperation.
The Nobel Prize for Peace awarded by Norway – not an EU member – goes to the EU, and this prompts some Heads of States to stay away. The UK (David Cameron) and Czech (Vaclav Klaus) will be among six European Heads of State that will not participate – Sweden has a scheduling conflict.
Six EU leaders to skip Nobel gala
30.11.12 @ 09:51
BRUSSELS – Six EU leaders, including the UK, are to skip the Nobel gala next month, as criticism of the award multiplies.
Nobel Institute director Geir Lundestad told EUobserver on Friday (30 November) that 18 EU leaders will come to watch the Union’s top three officials – Herman Van Rompuy, Jose Manuel Barroso and Martin Schulz – collect the peace prize in Oslo on 10 December.
He declined to list them. But he indicated that they include the “big” countries – France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain.
He said six others – including the Czech republic, Sweden and the UK – have confirmed they are not going, while the rest are still making up their mind.
The British and Czech decisions come from two eurosceptic VIPs – David Cameron and Vaclav Klaus – and are likely to fuel talk on whether Cameron thinks the UK is on its way out of the bloc.
Sweden’s Frederik Reinfeldt cannot go because he is busy in a parallel Nobel event in Stockholm the same day.
Lundestad declined to speculate on whether Cameron and Klaus’ decision amounts to a boycott. “It’s up to them to explain why they are not coming,” he said.
But he did criticise four cabinet ministers from Norway’s eurosceptic Centre Party for also deciding to stay away.
“They put the emphasis on Norway and whether Norway should be a member of the EU or not. The committee dos not address that question. It recognises the EU’s contribution to a more peaceful Europe through six decades. It has nothing to do with Norway,” he noted.
The Nobel decision back in October prompted debate on whether the EU deserves the prize.
Some of the arguments were repeated this week.
For his part, the Austrian leader of the centre-left S&D group in the EU parliament, Hannes Swoboda, said in a debate in Brussels: “The EU was a vision for peace, after WWII. And the EU brought peace.”
But a joint letter by the World Council of Churches and the Conference of European Churches said: “The economic and humanitarian tragedy today in Greece challenges the EU as a peace builder for the next generation.”
Meanwhile, the recent Gaza crisis – which claimed 168 Palestinian lives and five Israeli ones – prompted a fresh rebuke.
A joint letter by 52 former peace prize laureates, artists, academics and diplomats on Wednesday said the EU should be disqualified for its ties to Israel.
“The role of the European Union must not go unnoticed, in particular its hefty subsidies to Israel’s military complex through its research programmes,” they wrote.
Former Nobel laureates Desmond Tutu, Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Perez Esquivel also wrote a letter attacking the EU as a party in conflicts around the world.
“The EU is clearly not ‘the champion of peace’ that Alfred Nobel had in mind when he wrote his will … The Norwegian Nobel committee has redefined and remodelled the prize in a manner that is not consistent with the law,” they said.
They called for the committee to withhold the prize money of €930,000, even though the EU has promised to give it to charities for child victims of war.
For his part, Lundestad said the Tutu letter was organised by Fredrik Heffermehl, a Norwegian jurist who has “protested for many, many years against every decision of the Nobel committee.”
He added: “The prize money has never been withheld.”
“Snow Dragon” (Xuelong) – an icebreaker – is the first Chinese ship to cross the Arctic Ocean – through the Bering Strait to Iceland. Helped by Climate Change the Chinese want part of this future trade route and the oil & gas resources.
First Chinese ship crosses Arctic Ocean amid record melt.
An icebreaker has become the first ship from China to cross the Arctic Ocean, underscoring Beijing’s growing interest in a remote region where a record thaw caused by climate change may open new trade routes.
The voyage highlights how China, the world’s no.2 economy, is extending its reach to the Arctic which is rich in oil and gas and is a potential commercial shipping route between the north Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
The icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, arrived in Iceland this week after sailing the Northern Route along the coast of Russia.
Expedition leader Huigen Yang, head of the Polar Research Institute of China, said he had expected a lot more ice along the route at this time of year than the vessel encountered.
“To our astonishment … most part of the Northern Sea Route is open,” he told Reuters TV. The icebreaker would return to China by a route closer to the North Pole.
He said that Beijing was interested in the “monumental change” in the polar environment caused by global warming.
Sea ice floating on the Arctic Ocean is on track to beat a record low set in 2007, making the region more accessible but threatening the hunting lifestyles of indigenous peoples and wildlife such as polar bears and seals.
The thaw is slowly opening up the Arctic as a short-cut route – the German-based Beluga Group, for instance, sent a cargo vessel north from Korea to Rotterdam in 2009.
“The (Chinese) journey indicates a growing interest in the melting of the ice in the northern regions and how climate change is affecting the globe and the future of all nations,” the office of Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson said.
Arctic sea ice extent on August 13 fell to 5.09 million square km (1.97 million square miles) – an area smaller than Brazil, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center.
Sea ice reaches its smallest in September before expanding again as winter approaches. China has overtaken the United States as the top greenhouse gas emitter, mainly from burning fossil fuels, ahead of the European Union, India and Russia.
“China’s interest is a mix of business, science and geo-politics,” said Jan Gunnar Winther, director of the Norwegian Polar Institute.
For countries outside the region like China, there may be more opportunities to supply equipment to aid drilling, he said. South Korea’s Hyundai, for instance, is building a floating production unit for the Goliat oilfield in Norway’s Barents Sea.
Winther said that research into climate change in the Arctic was also relevant to China’s understanding of weather patterns that could affect its farmers.
China has applied to become an observer at the Arctic Council, made up of the United States, Russia, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.
“The application will be handled in May next year,” said Nina Buvang Vaaja, head of the Arctic Council Secretariat.
Other applicants seeking to join the Council, which oversees management of the region, are Japan, South Korea, the European Union Commission and Italy. Germany, Britain, France, Poland, Spain and the Netherlands are already observers.
Date: 18-Aug-2012 - Reporting By Alister Doyle – Reuters.
Regardless of many benefits available to Russia from adopting a more practical approach to climate mitigation, the country remains on the outskirts of the international climate policy debate—an important element of foreign policy in this decade. Russian leaders tend to point to the post-Soviet decline of Russia’s greenhouse gas emissions as a major contribution to global climate mitigation efforts. Yet, because the country’s carbon intensity remains very high, that stance undermines Russia’s role as a serious global climate actor.
Recognizing its limited progress with climate mitigation policies and its responsibility to contribute more would create a better foundation for Russia’s strategic role. A number of “no-regrets” policy steps are available:
Russia’s stance on the Kyoto Protocol and allocating the potential burdens in climate mitigation is similar to many other industrialized countries’ approaches. This provides Moscow a good platform to create a cooperative role for itself in global climate diplomacy. Moreover, Russia’s current mitigation policies—regardless of the delays in their implementation—are slowly changing the country’s previous image of being just a potential seller of carbon credits to a more serious player in mitigation.
However, making the most of its opportunity to develop a strategic role requires Moscow to take climate policy much more seriously. The Kremlin’s climate change path boils down to political will—and whether climate change is considered important enough—as well as its ability to engage in serious strategic thinking and policy preparation.
Dr Anna Korppoo
Senior Research Fellow
Editor of FNI Climate Policy Perspectives
Fridtjof Nansen Institute
P.O.Box 326, 1326 Lysaker, Norway
Tel: +47 67111900 / 67111908 (dir) / 90033829 (mob)
please see also our previous posting:
Cut air pollution, buy time to slow climate change: US.
Cutting soot and other air pollutants could help “buy time” in the fight against climate change, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday as seven nations joined a Washington-led plan.
Air pollution, from sources ranging from wood-fired cooking stoves in Africa to cars in Europe, may be responsible for up to six million deaths a year worldwide and is also contributing to global warming, the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) said.
Seven countries — Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy and Jordan — formally joined the U.S.-led Climate and Clean Air Initiative, bringing the total of members to about 20 since the plan was launched in February.
“If we are able to do this we could really buy time in the context of the global problem to combat climate change,” Jonathan Pershing, U.S. deputy special envoy for climate change, told a telephone news briefing from Paris.
Pershing said that time was “desperately” needed to slow global warming. Unlike other developed nations, the United States has not passed laws to cut greenhouse gas emissions despite proposed cuts by President Barack Obama.
Pershing said that Washington was in talks trying to attract more nations to the air pollution plan, including China and India which are the number one and three emitters of greenhouse gases respectively, with the United States in second.
The U.S.-led plan in Paris focuses on limiting soot, heat-trapping methane, ground level ozone and HFC gases. Soot, for instance, can speed the melt of Arctic ice when it lands as a dark dusting that soaks up more heat and thaws ice.
Soot can also cause respiratory diseases.
By contrast, U.N. plans for fighting climate change focus mainly on carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas released by burning fossil fuels that are blamed for causing more droughts, floods, wildfires and rising sea levels.
The U.N. Environment Programme, which is a partner with the U.S. initiative, said that success could reduce the projected rise in global temperatures from a build-up of greenhouse gases by 0.5 degree Celsius (0.9 Fahrenheit) by 2050.
By 2030, fast action could also prevent millions of premature deaths and avoid the annual loss of 30 million tons of crops, it said.
Pershing said that the small amount mobilized so far in pilot projects — $13 million — could catalyze wider change. And many projects paid for themselves in greater efficiency.
Karen Luken, of the C40 Partnership and the Clinton Climate Initiative, said that exploiting methane from trash decomposing in a landfill in Mexico City had reduced greenhouse gases and was providing energy for 35,000 homes.
“We will use that model in other places, such as Lagos.”
Quotes from new partners
The initiatives were agreed at the first ministerial of the Coalition held in Stockholm, Sweden, in April during the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the first UN Conference on the Human Environment.
Methane Emissions from Municipal Waste
The Coalition is working with the Global Methane Initiative and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, which is partnered with the Clinton Climate Initiative, to assist urban areas to cut methane emissions from across the waste chain including from landfills and pollution linked with organic waste like food.
The initiative is also planning to assist cities in reducing open burning of municipal waste, which results in harmful black carbon emissions.
A dedicated web-based platform, through which cities world-wide can share experiences, achievements and best practices, will be launched.
At today’s meeting in Paris, the Coalition discussed progress on this initiative, including plans to work with an initial group of up to 10 cities during the next 12 months through measures such as waste inventories, enhanced composting and recycling, landfill management, and comprehensive waste sector planning.
Emissions from Brick Kilns
The Coalition is assessing how to assist countries to switch to more efficient and mechanized “firing” technologies.
A recent study in India and Vietnam indicates that modernizing 35,000 old brick kilns in the region could cut black carbon emissions by 40,000 tons, equal to 27 million tons of CO2.
Mexico, which has secured close to $1 million from the Global Environment Facility to carry out the first national assessment of SLCPs including those from its estimated 20,000 traditional brick kilns, is planning a Coalition workshop in September to advance action in the region.
The Coalition is also putting in place the awareness raising and knowledge generation needed to fast track demonstration projects.
Reducing Black Carbon Emissions from Heavy Duty Diesel Vehicles and Engines
The use of low-sulphur fuels opens up the possibility of one method — fitting particle or black carbon filters to heavy duty vehicles.
Efforts under the UNEP-hosted Clean Fuels and Vehicles Partnership, originally established to phase lead out of petrol, are now focused on reducing sulphur levels in transport fuels. The Coalition is planning to build off of UNEP’s existing sulphur reduction efforts to also tackle black carbon emissions.
Promoting Alternatives to HFCs
However, studies indicate that some HFCs are powerful greenhouse gases and if these become widespread they could be responsible for emissions equivalent to 3.5 to 8.8 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide (Gt CO2eq) — comparable to current annual emissions from the entire global transport system, estimated at around 6-7 Gt annually.
There are many climate-friendlier replacements available and opportunities to reduce HFC emissions through advanced technologies as well as best service practices.
The Coalition is catalysing awareness of the risks and the alternatives. This week it convened a packed meeting of industry and governments in Bangkok, Thailand, aimed at fast tracking these aims.
Emissions from Oil and Gas Industry
An estimated one-third of these losses can be reduced at zero cost with existing technologies and practices. Meanwhile, flaring also leads to emissions of black carbon.
Action is underway to address the issue through initiatives such as the Global Methane Initiative, the Natural Gas STAR International programme, and the Global Gas Flaring Reduction (GGFR) Partnership.
The Coalition is planning to build upon those efforts by working with industry, countries and investors to catalyse accelerated action.
At Rio – a Swiss – OPEC Tango Moderated by IISD dancing around the economic effects on the oil industry if subsidies are discontinued on fossil fuels. Only on the side-lines at a UN organized meeting! RIO CENTRO Convention Center, June 21, 2012.
BREAKING DOWN THE POLITICAL BARRIERS TO FOSSIL-FUEL SUBSIDY REFORM.
From The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation:
While the UN talks about Sustainable Energy for All, it was left to Oil States – United Arab Emirates and Norway – to advise the most hurting Members of the UN – the SIDS – devise a new Barbados Declaration for RIO+20 dealing with what they can do for the use of Sustainable Energy on their Islands, while setting aside the reality that the effects of climate change are created by others.
Sustainable Energy Policy & Practice is published in cooperation with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and with funding from the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Directorate of Energy and Climate Change)
and as reported by the IISD Conference Recording Organization:
What government can afford to allow an activity without insurance?
What if the activity is outside National frontiers – in the Global Commons. Who has then to license such activities?
Arctic oil rush will ruin ecosystem, warns Lloyd’s of London.
Insurance market joins environmentalists in highlighting risks of drilling in fragile region as $100bn investment is predicted.
The Guardian, Wednesday 11 April 2012
The City institution estimates that $100bn (£63bn) of new investment is heading for the far north over the next decade, but believes cleaning up any oil spill in the Arctic, particularly in ice-covered areas, would present “multiple obstacles, which together constitute a unique and hard-to-manage risk”.
Richard Ward, Lloyd’s chief executive, urged companies not to “rush in [but instead to] step back and think carefully about the consequences of that action” before research was carried out and the right safety measures put in place.
The main concerns, outlined in a report drawn up with the help of the Chatham House thinktank, come as the future of the Arctic is reviewed by a House of Commons select committee and just two years after the devastating BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.
The far north has become a centre of commercial attention as global temperatures rise, causing ice to melt in a region that could hold up to a quarter of the world’s remaining hydrocarbon reserves.
Cairn Energy and Shell are among the oil companies that have either started or are planning new wells off the coasts of places such as Greenland and Canada, while Total – currently at the centre of a North Sea gas leak – wants to develop the Shtokman field off Russia.
Shtokman is the largest single potential offshore Arctic project, 350 miles into the Russian-controlled part of the Barents Sea, where investment could reach $50bn.
A BP joint venture is planning to spend up to $10bn on developing onshore oilfields in the Yamal-Nenets autonomous area of Russia, despite its experiences with the Macondo oil spill in the relatively benign waters of the Gulf. A series of onshore mining schemes are also planned, with Lakshmi Mittal, Britain’s richest man, wanting to develop a new opencast mine 300 miles inside the Arctic circle in a bid to extract up to £14bn of iron ore.
But the new report from Lloyd’s, written by Charles Emmerson and Glada Lahn of Chatham House, says it is “highly likely” that future economic activity in the Arctic will further disturb ecosystems already stressed by the consequences of climate change.
“Migration patterns of caribou and whales in offshore areas may be affected. Other than the direct release of pollutants into the Arctic environment, there are multiple ways in which ecosystems could be disturbed, such as the construction of pipelines and roads, noise pollution from offshore drilling, seismic survey activity or additional maritime traffic as well as through the break-up of sea ice.”
The authors point out that the Arctic is not one but several ecosystems, and is “highly sensitive to damage” that would have a long-term impact. They are calling for “baseline knowledge about the natural environment and consistent environmental monitoring”. Pollution sources include mines, oil and gas installations, industrial sites and, in the Russian Arctic, nuclear waste from civilian and military installations, and from nuclear weapons testing on Novaya Zemlya. The report singles out a potential oil spill as the “greatest risk in terms of environmental damage, potential cost and insurance” – but says there are significant knowledge gaps in this area.
Rates of natural biodegradation of oil in the Arctic could be expected to be lower than in more temperate environments such as the Gulf of Mexico, although there is currently insufficient understanding of how oil will degrade over the long term in the Arctic. Sea ice could assist in some oil-spill response techniques, such as in-situ burning and chemical dispersant application, but this could lead to air pollution and the release of chemicals into the marine environment without knowing where moving ice will eventually carry them.
Unclear legal boundaries posed by a mosaic of regulations and governments in the Arctic are an additional challenge. The Lloyd’s report notes that there is no international liability and compensation regime for oil spills. An EU proposal under discussion would apply to offshore oil projects in the Arctic territories of Norway and Denmark, and possibly to all EU companies anywhere they operate.
Meanwhile, a taskforce is drawing up recommendations for the intergovernmental Arctic Council on an international instrument on marine oil pollution designed to speed up the process for clean-up and compensation payments, due for release next year. This may include an international liability and compensation instrument. Greenland has argued that “different national systems may lead to ambiguities and unnecessary delays in oil pollution responses and compensation payments” and that any regime must adapt as understanding of the worst-case scenario in the Arctic changes.
The Lloyd’s report says the “inadequacies” of both company and government in the event of a disaster were demonstrated after the Macondo blowout. A smaller company than BP, faced with estimated $40bn clean-up and compensation costs, might have gone bankrupt, leaving the state to foot the bill, it notes.
Lloyd’s says it is essential that there is more investment in science and research to “close knowledge gaps, reduce uncertainties and manage risks”. It calls for sizeable investment in infrastructure and surveillance to enable “safe economic activity” and argues that “full-scale exercises based on worst-case scenarios of environmental disaster should be run by companies”.
The Arctic’s vulnerable environment, unpredictable climate and lack of a precedent on which to base cost assessments have led some environmental NGOs to argue that no compensation would be worth the risk of allowing drilling to take place in pristine offshore areas. Others are campaigning for more stringent regulations and the removal of the liability cap for investors.
The Consideration of Sustainabilty as a possible concept mandated by a UN responsibility for Future Generations suggestion moves on to the informal-informals that will start April 23, 2012 at New York headquarters.
As we wrote in our posting www.sustainabilitank.info – the ZERO DRAFT text for the RIO+20 outcome document included a paragraph (#57) in its form that went into the informal-informals March 2012 meeting wording as follows:
“57. We agree to further consider the establishment of an Ombudsperson, or High Commissioner for Future Generations, to promote sustainable development.”
It also had two versions of Paragraph 49 – one titled “Commission on Sustainable Development” – the other titled Sustainable Development Council.
These paragraphs are to be found PART IV of the draft — INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.
The draft left the March Informal-informals with the wording as follows.
- – - – - – - -
57. We agree to further consider the establishment of an Ombudsperson or High Commissioner for Future Generations, to promote sustainable development.
[57. We agree to further consider the establishment of [an Ombudsperson, or / the position of - Liechtenstein] High Commissioner for [Future Generations / Intergenerational Solidarity - Holy See]. to promote sustainable development [at global, regional, and national level - Bangladesh]. – G77, Japan, Russian Federation, New Zealand delete; Canada, Norway reserve; EU delete and propose language in 49 alt quint; Montenegro, Liechtenstein move to para. 49 alt sext]
We like the addition by Liechtenstein – “the position of” because it makes it clear that this should be a small body.
We are neutral about the inclusion in the outcome document the recommendation to have similar positions at lower levels as we think that is going to be the task of those other levels to decide on this.
Obviously we are shocked by the opposition to the paragraph by groups like the G77 minus Bangladesh – ( but most probably many more member States of the G77 that did not go on the record yet ) Japan and New Zealand that have not yet understood that it should be a small office like Liechtenstein is proposing and thus not have major monetary implications, and the Russian Federation.
Now let us see the EU and the Montenegro suggestions for Paragraph #49:
[49 alt quat (former para 57) [We support the establishment of an Ombudsperson, or Higher Commissioner for Future Generations, to promote sustainable development and the integrated approach at the highest level of decision, policy, and program making within the UN. We call upon the member states to establish similar institutions in their own national laws, which would be independent from the executive and have a mandate to consider petitions from the public and advocate for the interests and needs of future generations. -- Montenegro]
[49 alt quint We agree to further consider the establishment or appointment, of a High-level Representative for Sustainable Development and Future Generations, possibly to be held within an existing office as the high-level voice called upon to promote an integrated and coherent approach to sustainable development through continuous dialogue with policy-makers, the UN system and civil society. -- EU, former para 57 as amended]
We find the Montenegro version stronger as it does not have the added wording of the possibility of placing the position within an existing office. Independence must be the ground rule, and if it is not guaranteed this new position can not succeed. On the other hand, if this is what it takes to get on board those that want to make sure that the creation of this position will not carry large financial burdens, we feel, mandating it to be small should answer these fears.
Final Natural Resources workshop starts in Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq.
Twenty journalists from all over Iraq joined international trainer James Gavin in Erbil for the final of three workshops on Natural Resources. The workshop gives detailed information about oil, gas and water issues in Iraq. The five day workshop started on March 10, 2012 with a guest lecture by Ben Lando, who leads the Iraqi Oil Report website in Baghdad.
He informs the participants about oil- and gas-contracts as they are used in Iraq.
Earlier workshops took place in October and December 2011.
The stories produced during the workshop will be published on the special website made for the project:
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One more time – OIL IS FUNGIBLE – if you do not buy it from Iran someone else will, and you will enrich the North Sea, Russia and America Gulf producers who will increase prices of the Brent Crude benchmark as there will be a PERCEIVED global shortage. A skirmish in the Persian Straits means good income to Russian and Western producers.
Ebrahim Norouzi/Jamejamonline, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Iranian naval ships during exercises on Tuesday in the Strait of Hormuz. The country has threatened a blockade of the passage.
More than 85 percent of the oil and most of the natural gas that flows through the strait goes to China, Japan, India, South Korea and other Asian nations. But a blockade would have a ripple effect on global oil prices.
Since Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates all rely on the strait to ship their oil and natural gas exports, a blockade might undermine some of those governments in an already unstable region.
American officials have warned Iran against violating international laws that protect commercial shipping in international waters, adding that the Navy would guarantee free sea traffic.
“If the Iranians chose to use their modest navy and antiship missiles to attack allied forces, they would see a probable swift devastation of their naval capability,” said David L. Goldwyn, former State Department coordinator for international energy affairs. “We would take out their frigates.”
United States officials say the Navy’s Fifth Fleet, based in nearby Bahrain, stands ready to defend the shipping route and, if necessary, retaliate militarily against Iran.
An Iranian blockade by means of mining, airstrikes or sabotage is logistically well within Tehran’s military capabilities. But despite rising tensions with the West, including a tentative ban on European imports of Iranian oil announced Wednesday, Iran is unlikely to take such hostile action, according to most Middle East political experts.
A blockade would also punish China, Iran’s most important oil customer and a major recipient of Persian Gulf oil. China has invested heavily in Iranian oil fields and has opposed Western efforts to sanction Iran over its nuclear program.
Various Iranian officials in recent weeks have said they would blockade the strait, which is only 21 miles wide at its narrowest point, if the United States and Europe imposed a tight oil embargo on their country in an effort to thwart its development of nuclear weapons.
That did not stop President Obama from signing legislation last weekend imposing sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank intended to make it more difficult for the country to sell its oil, nor did it dissuade the European Union from moving toward a ban on Iranian oil imports.
Energy analysts say even a partial blockage of the Strait of Hormuz could raise the world price of oil within days by $50 a barrel or more, and that would quickly push the price of a gallon of regular gasoline to well over $4 a gallon. “You would get an international reaction that would not only be high, but irrationally high,” said Lawrence J. Goldstein, a director of the Energy Policy Research Foundation.
Just the threat of such a development has helped keep oil prices above $100 a barrel in recent weeks despite a return of Libyan oil to world markets, worries of a European economic downturn and weakening American gasoline demand. Oil prices rose slightly on Wednesday as the political tensions intensified.
A final decision by the European Union would not come before the end of the month and would be carried out in stages to avoid major disruptions in global oil supplies. But the move by some of Iran’s most important oil customers appears to underscore the resolve of Western allies to impose on Iran the toughest round of sanctions to date, increasing pressure on Tehran to stop enriching uranium and to negotiate an end to what Western leaders argue is an accelerating program to build a nuclear bomb.
Iran denies military intent and refuses to stop enrichment of uranium for what it describes as civilian purposes. But it has responded to the threat of new U.S. and European sanctions with a series of military and diplomatic threats. It has test-fired new missiles, announced the production of its first nuclear-fuel rod, warned a U.S. aircraft carrier not to return to the Persian Gulf, and threatened to shut the Strait of Hormuz to shipping, which analysts said could drive oil prices up by at least 50 percent.
On Thursday in Tehran, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Iran was “not concerned at all” about an imminent E.U. ban on its oil, vowing that Iran would “weather the storm’’ of what the Economy Minister, Shamseddin Hosseini, likened to “an economic war.’’
Mr. Salehi told a press conference that “Iran, with divine assistance, has always been ready to counter such hostile actions and we are not concerned at all about the sanctions.’’ He added: “Just as we have weathered the storm in the last 32 years with the hold of God and efforts that we make, we will be able to survive this as well.’’
But he also said that would like to reopen talks with the West on the nuclear issue, suggesting a resumption of talks in Turkey. That was interpreted in Paris as an effort by Iran to buy time to continue its program. The European Union foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, has been waiting for Iran to respond formally to an October 2011 letter suggesting a resumption of talks, which broke off a year ago when Iran presented its own set of preconditions, including a lifting of sanctions, that the West considered unacceptable.
In 2010, oil from Iran accounted for some 5.8 percent of total European imports of crude, with Spain, Italy and Greece the most reliant. The new Italian prime minister, Mario Monti, said this week that Italy would support an oil embargo as long as it was applied gradually and deliveries to repay Tehran’s debts to the Italian energy company ENI were exempted.
Turkey, not a member of the European Union, is another important customer, getting about 30 percent of its oil imports from Iran. It has asked the United States for a waiver on dealing with Iran’s Central Bank so it can continue to buy at least some Iranian oil.
The United States and France have been pushing hard for an embargo and sanctions against Iran’s Central Bank. But some European nations depend heavily on Iranian oil and have been reluctant to cut off their imports during a severe economic slump.
At the end of December, lower-ranking diplomats agreed in Brussels to the shape of a European oil embargo on Iran, vowing to meet objections by some states that have significant oil imports from Iran, including Italy, Spain and Greece.
Those countries also expressed concerns about the impact on their already fragile economies of the increase in oil prices that would inevitably follow a sudden embargo. Wednesday’s news caused a spike in the price of oil, with Brent crude reaching nearly $114 a barrel, up nearly $2 from Tuesday.
In addition, European nations must resolve differences over sanctions on the financial sector in Iran, including transactions with the Central Bank, and here there was little agreement, diplomats said.
Alain Juppé, the French foreign minister, said Wednesday evening in Portugal that a decision on an oil embargo could take place at a European Union summit meeting on Jan. 30, although putting one into place would take longer.
“It’s at this occasion I hope that we can adopt this embargo on Iranian oil exports,” Mr. Juppé said at a news conference in Lisbon. “We are working on this. and things are on track.”
Originally Brent Crude was produced from the Brent oilfield. The name “Brent” comes from the naming policy of Shell UK Exploration and Production, operating on behalf of ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell, which originally named all of its fields after birds (in this case the Brent Goose).
Petroleum production from Europe, Africa and the Middle East flowing West tends to be priced relative to this oil, i.e. it forms a benchmark. However, large parts of Europe now receive their oil from Russia.
Brent Crude is a major trading classification of the preferred Sweet Light crude oil comprising Brent Blend, Forties Blend, Oseberg and Ekofisk crudes (also known as the BFOE Quotation). Brent Crude is sourced from the North Sea. The Brent Crude oil marker is also known as Brent Blend, London Brent and Brent petroleum.
The other well-known classifications (also called references or benchmarks) are the OPEC Reference Basket, Dubai Crude and West Texas Intermediate. Brent is the leading global price benchmark for Atlantic basin crude oils. It is used to price two thirds of the world’s internationally traded crude oil supplies.
What the above says that the oil that reaches Europe and the United States is mainly non-Middle East oil. Production costs or transportation costs in Russia and the Western Hemisphere will not change upwards because of the closing of the Hormuz Straits, but you bet – the producers will charge much more because of the perceived global shortage of crude. It will be Russians, Americans and European oil producers that will dance all the way to the bank. Is that clear? So why not lobby for a little skirmish in that hated Persian or Arab Gulf?
The five Scandinavian Countries and Austria had to meet in New York around a Boston University proposal – “Accountability and Implementation: The Keys to Sustainable Development” in the hope to jump-start a move to restart the process that deteriorated to UN pulp since the 1992 Rio UNCED Summit. The lost 20 years to RIO+20.
Twenty Years after the Rio UNCED (the UN Conference on Environment and Development of 1992) that prepared us for AGENDA 21, the five Scandinavian Countries and Austria had to meet in New York around a Boston University proposal “Accountability and Implementation: The Keys to Sustainable Development” that was then taken to Johannesburg on the way back to Rio, in the hope that something can be done before the time has come to talk of an AGENDA 22. This posting is very disappointing as it recognizes that the past 20 years did not advance us on those great Rio outcomes of 1992.
Adil Najam Presents Paper on Rio+20 in Johannesburg.
September 13th, 2011
Prof. Adil Najam, former Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, and co-author of the recent Pardee Center paper “Rio+20: Accountability and Implementation as Key Goals” presented this paper and some of the larger findings emerging from various Pardee Center activities related to Rio+20 at an Africa-wide preparatory consultation for Rio+20. The consultation was organized by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) as part of a larger initiative to seek African perspectives on Rio+20. The consultation was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, and included government, civil society and academic representatives from across the African continent.
In his presentation Prof. Adil Najam focused on the governance aspects of the Rio+20 agenda and highlighted the need to contextualize environmental governance within a sustainable development framework and to focus on accountability and implementation as key pillars of the global governance enterprise.
Over the past two decades, the Global Environmental Governance (GEG) system has grown and evolved, making much progress in incorporating sustainable development as the central goal of environmental governance, and delivering scores of new international institutions, legal instruments, declarations and financial mechanisms. However, the GEG system lacks the crucial components of accountability and implementation as part of its core operating system. The authors argue that the upcoming Rio + 20 meeting provides the perfect opportunity to help bring about these much needed changes to strengthen the GEG and help achieve its ultimate goals. The authors propose a set of four accountability-enabling mechanisms:
1. Improved metrics and reporting mechanisms.
The authors also propose a set of four enabling institutional arrangements:
1. Compendium of best (and worst) practices.
Is based on:
Special Brainstorming Event at United Nations on Accountability and Implementation.
March 8th, 2011
The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University co-hosted a special high-level brainstorming session on “Accountability and Implementation: The Keys to Sustainable Development” at the United Nations in New York on March 8, 2011, as a side-event at the second PrepCom meeting for the forthcoming 2012 Rio+20 conference (the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development). The event was held with support from the Nordic UN Missions of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, to the United Nations in New York.
Amb. Carsten Staur, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Denmark, chaired the session. He welcomed participants and noted that everyone agrees that accountability is very important. However, he stressed, the key question is how to achieve it. He defined the objective of the session as a brainstorming exercise to help provide responses to that question.
The brainstorming session was attended by senior diplomats, nongovernmental experts, and scholars. During the event, a background paper was introduced by Prof. Adil Najam (Director, Pardee Center, Boston University). An invited panel responded to the paper, and together with the public, proposed new and innovative ideas on how to make accountability and implementation a more prominent focus within global environmental governance, particularly in the discussions leading up to the Rio+20 conference.
Amb. Irene Freudenschuss-Reichl, Director General for Development Cooperation, Austria, described her experiences on accountability in the development world, outlining useful examples such as “peer-review” processes in OECD and Africa. She highlighted the importance of mutual accountability based on a joint definition of development goals. Noting that too many reports are written, she stressed the need for better reports, not more reports.
André Aranha Corrêa do Lago, Ministry of External Relations, Brazil, said the conceptual richness of sustainable development makes sense for developing countries. While developed countries got rich first, then addressed social issues and then the environment, he said, developing countries must contend with all three issues at the same time, not by choice but by necessity. He stressed that international accountability must be built upon national accountability and legitimacy, and proposed that in addition to a compendium of “best practices,” a compendium of “bad practices” could also be useful.
Dr. Asad Khan, Vice Chair of Rio+20 Bureau and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan, said implementation and accountability are a recurrent theme at the United Nations. He said pursuing legally-binding agreements is not a solution to accountability, as those agreements go unimplemented as well. He underscored several causes for non-implementation, including lack of capacity, lack of ownership, lack of political will by government or political power by the would-be national implementing body, and cultural impediments. He reminded the public about the Annual Ministerial Review and Development Cooperation Forum.
Dr. Bradnee Chambers, Chief of Policy, Division of Environmental Law and Conventions, UNEP, noted that most MEA’s are being complied with because they only contain marginal commitments. He noted the lack of review mechanisms, and stressed that without review, there is no accountability. He underscored ongoing work at UNEP on reporting methodologies and collaboration with the Supreme Audit organizations, while stressing the political sensitivity of the issue because of the perceived impingement on sovereignty and frictions with other UN agencies.
Sen. Elizabeth Thompson, Executive Coordinator for Rio+20 and former Minister of Energy and Environment, Barbados, stressed that MEAs have created a culture of negotiation not related at all to actual implementation. She underscored the importance of having a legacy objective for Rio+20. She said involving constituencies is key for accountability, as they can provide external feedback. Noting that the UN feels good about talking and having meetings, which actually do not change the lives of people in the streets, she concluded her remarks by noting: “we’ve just had another meeting.”
During the discussion with the public, several ideas were raised, including on self-reporting and why it creates asymmetrical conditions for developed and developing countries, the importance of metrics and data collection, the role of long negotiations as a learning process, and putting negotiators to “better use.”
The event was attended by a packed room (standing room only) of senior diplomats, civil society leaders, policy practitioners and scholars from around the world. It was also covered via ‘Live Tweets’at the Pardee Center Twitter feed.
This event was the launching point of a larger project on accountability and implementation and building upon the discussion at this event, the Pardee Center will be developing a policy paper on the subject. The Nordic Missions of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden have generously supported this independent academic exercise, but this support does not necessarily signify any policy endorsement of the ideas discussed or emerging from the exercise.
The event itself built upon a set of earlier Pardee Center activities related to Accountability (a public seminar and an experts workshop on the subject were held at the Pardee Center in September 2010, based on an earlier Pardee Center policy paper). The Pardee Center has also been very active in the global discussions around Rio+20 and launched its new Task Force Report on ‘Governance for a Green Economy’ at this PrepCom (also here and here). This added to a 2009 Pardee Center policy paper on Rio+20. In addition, Prof. Adil Najam, Pardee Center Director, has spoken frequently at the United Nations at Rio+20 related discussions, especially those pertaining to institutional and governance challenges (here, here and here). This was the third Pardee Center hosted event at the United Nations, and followed on side events organized by the Boston University Pardee Center at the2009 UN CSD and the 2010 UN CSD meetings.
9/11 in Vienna papers produced analysis, and the UN Vienna Center had a Monday event that linked to the attack on the United States all other acts of terrorism that now unite us. US Ambassador to International Institutions in Vienna Glyn Davies painted a picture of Global Resilience – Global Memorials were retold in NYT/IHT.
The Vienna papers this past week, this weekend, and today, Monday, September 12, 2011, are full with reporting of events from the US and studies via analysis interpreting the global situation looking at how these last 10 years have changed the US position in the world.
One such group of studies appeared in Der Standard - www.oiip.ac.at/fileadmin/Unterlag… – authored by Professor Heinz Gärtner, of he OEIIP – The Austrian Institute for International Affairs translate.google.com/translate?hl…
The weekend Der Standard had whole sections about 9/11. The other papers might have had less in quantity but also came up with interesting articles – Die Presse i.e. had an article by Erich Kocina who spoke with Anas Schakfeh, then the head of Islam in Austria, who immediately in 2001 stated – “This is not good for Muslims.”
Anyway, today, the Monday after the memorials, “Heute” had on its front page - “WIR WEINEN MIT NEW YORK” – WE CRY WITH NEW YORK.
At the UN enclave at the Vienna International Center the memorial was held only today – Monday. It was in the Rotunda – the round area from which radiate the corridors to the ‘Alphabet Buildings.” The topic:
“Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the 11 September Attacks United Nations Vienna Office Honours Victims of Terrorism.” – that is terrorism in general not just 9/11.
To be crystal clear – the UN says: “All the victims of terrorism worldwide are being remembered in a special event at the United Nations in Vienna today.”
Fair enough for an international organization where some Member States either do not believe that the acts of terror of 9/11 were committed by Islamic Radicals, or their hatred of the US is open for all to see anyway. Having said this, we add nevertheless that I found the event in good taste and rather with acceptable honesty. I also include the posting of the speech by the US Ambassador who also had no problem with delving into all other acts of terrorism because the reaction to these acts is what binds us together these days. The terrorists are the outcasts!
On one side of the Rotunda there were eleven panels holding each the picture of the front page of a journal dated September 12, 2001 – with screaming photos and titles of the atrocity that was committed against the United States.
In front of that series of panels there was the speakers’ stand, and in front of the stand a map that showed the countries that had citizens among the nearly 3,000 people killed on 9/11. On the lower part of that map there was the list of 90 countries that lost citizens of their own on that day.
I have heard the number 90 before – I was familiar with it – but I never saw this in a map form. I looked at the map and was amazed – trust me that I do not make this up.
FROM AMONG THE 22 MEMBER STATES OF THE ARAB LEAGUE – ONLY EGYPT AND YEMEN LOST PEOPLE THAT DAY AS VICTIMS!
The whole MAGHREB, Sudan, All The GULF STATES, The whole Muslim part of the Horn of Africa – all of these States – not a single victim. Yes – we know that the perpetrators were mainly from Saudi Arabia, with a sprinkle from the UAE (2), Lebanon (1) and Egypt (1) – I just saw their faces again courtesy of Der Standard – let them turn in their ashes.
We know that many of the States mentioned had oil business and financial dealings at the World Trade Center. They had trainees and professionals on banks’ staff – how were they so lucky not to be there at the T-time? I wonder if it will ever be possible to explain this simple coincidence.? Having shown that map – we consider it an act of courage of the UN.
To repeat one more time – the fact that nobody from Antarctica, Greenland, Mongolia, The Small Island States of the Pacific, or the African Sahel was among those killed at the World Trade Center or the Pentagon is clear, but how is it that in the whole expanse of the MENA (Middle East-North Africa) countries – it is only Egypt, Yemen, Ethiopia, and Kenya that had victims of 9/11?
The UN release says that there were “more then 2,800 victims” from “over 70 countries.” The facts are www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-… - there are close to 3,000 names on the new memorial – to be exact 2,996 – and to be sure – these names do NOT include the hijackers. Further, the map/list that I saw had 10 columns of names of States with 9 names in each column – and 9X10 = 90. I hope the UN New York – takes notice.
The event was chaired by Mr. Janos Tisovszky, Director of Information Service at UNOV, and it was mainly in the hands of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which is the largest tenant of the VIC.
Mr. Tisovsxky said that the meeting intends to honor the victims and to express solidarity against terrorism. He noted that the Directors General and the other heads of the UN institutions headquartered in Vienna, sit literally shoulder to shoulder with the US Ambassador.
The Opening speaker was Mr. Yury Fedotov, Director-General of UNOV and Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
He was followed by Mr. Yukiya Amano, Director General IAEA, and Mr. Tibor Toth, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban- Treaty Organization (CTBTO).
The Closing remarks were made by US Ambassador Gkyn Davies who was actually the initiator of the event.
Mr. Fedotov said that the terrorists who carried out the “senseless, criminal” attacks on the United States that day did not succeed in destroying the common bonds of humanity – on the contrary, they made them stronger. “All countries, all peoples were united in their condemnation of this atrocity,” he said. “We are all united by our common rejection of terrorism which finds no sanctuary in any nationality, any religion nor any legitimate political philosophy.” He noted that the UN fights terrorism with projects like the MDGs to give people aspirations for a good life. We want to encourage people living by the rule of law and reject terrorism.
As terrorist acts continue to be a serious threat to peace and security around the world, Mr. Fedotov stressed that more needs to be done to combat this global scourge, especially through enhanced international cooperation and exchange of information. He also drew attention to the links between terrorism and trans-national organized crime with criminal profits increasingly finding their way to support terrorism.
Mr. Fedotov honored specifically the memory of all the 23 people recently killed, and many more injured, in the bombing of the UN office in Abuja, Nigeria. Eleven of those killed were UN colleagues.
Mr. Amano said: As the IAEA works to protect the world against the risk of nuclear terrorism, he renewed his pledge that nuclear security will remain a high priority throughout his tenure as Director General.Mr.Toth went on enlarging the list of past acts of terrorism – Paris, London, Mumbai, Moscow, … Abuja.
Ambassador Davies continued painting this larger picture of terrorism in order to reach the conclusion that we must be united.
Remarks by US Ambassador Glyn Davies:
September 12, 2011
And, to all of you: Excellencies, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends, thank you all for taking the time today to join us for this simple, solemn event. Ten years ago yesterday, nearly three thousand people from more than ninety countries died in New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. We come together today to honor their memory.
We also assemble today to remember and honor the victims of terrorism everywhere in the world. We gather to mark our unity of purpose in confronting and countering any and all who seek to achieve political or religious ends through the senseless slaughter of innocent men, women, and children.
New York, and America, were struck ten years ago, but terrorism affects us all. The list of nations recovering from terrorist attacks is long. I say “recovering”, for indeed we, the nations and people of the world, have proven resilient. What terrorists destroy, we rebuild, we re-consecrate, we rededicate.
After the 2002 Bali bombings, Indonesia demonstrated its resilience by holding a festival to commemorate the victims on the very beach where so many were slaughtered. Madrid re-built its train station after the 2004 atrocities that killed nearly 200 injured more than 1000. By the first anniversary of the London transit attacks that killed 52 in 2005, the transit system had been fully returned to normal. In the United States, the collapse of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center laid waste to a large swath of Lower Manhattan. And yet, by May of 2002, mere months later, the clean-up of the site was completed. Today, a shining new edifice, One World Trade Center, is reaching up into New York’s skyline, and will soon claim its rightful place as the tallest building in North America.
But of course this isn’t about buildings, it’s about the people. The children of those who died on September 1, 2001, are growing up. Families have found the strength to cope with their grief, and indeed have formed networks to assist one another and other victims of terrorism. And just as communities have come together to support those in need following terrorist attacks, the same is happening around the world.
From Bali to Beslan, Athens to Amman, Kigali to Kampala, people of all faiths from the four corners of the globe have united in their resolve to condemn terrorism and to offer support to victims. In 2009 a suicide bomber killed five Pakistani staff members at the United Nations World Food Program in Islamabad. One victim’s husband reached out to friends and survivors of violence to establish the Pakistan Terrorism Survivors Network, which works to help the wounded and family members overcome trauma and rebuild their lives.
And the solidarity, the strength displayed after terrorist attacks is not just local, it is global. We all stood united with India after the cowardly attacks across Mumbai. We all rejoiced when hostages held by the FARC in Colombia were rescued after six long years of captivity. We grieved as one for the many thousands of civilians lost to car bombings in Iraq. And after the deadly havoc wrought by one man recently in Norway, we rallied to stand by our Norwegian colleagues and renewed our common commitment to stand up to any and all who would use such appalling means to achieve political ends.
So how fitting that we mark 9/11’s ten-year anniversary in this place, this great rotunda of the Vienna International Centre, home to so many vital multilateral organizations whose work touches directly or indirectly on the challenge of countering terrorism. For international organizations are indispensable partners in this effort, and international public servants have often borne the brunt of terrorist attacks. We all well remember the terrorist attack on United Nations offices in Iraq in 2003, which killed 22 people, including UN envoy Sergio de Mello. And only a few days ago United Nations offices were attacked in Nigeria. One of the UNODC’s own – Ingrid Midtgaard – lost her life, along with at least 22 others, in this most recent act of violence, and we offer our condolences. The very nature of the UN’s work as a champion of freedom and international cooperation puts all who dedicate their lives to serving humanity at direct odds with terrorists.
But you are not alone. Even before the death of Usama Bin Laden, the overwhelming majority of people saw that the murder of innocents did not bring about a better life for anyone. People across the Middle East and North Africa continue to reject extremism, and are charting a path of peaceful progress based on universal rights and aspirations.
So, from Mumbai to Manila, Lahore to London, New York to Nairobi, we have witnessed resilience and solidarity. Terrorism remains a threat, but our common human spirit has endured and emerged, stronger than ever. We have not succumbed to the grief and fear that terrorists seek to spread.
On the contrary, since September 11, 2001, countries across the globe have responded collectively to reduce the threat of terrorism. We have sharply diminished the capabilities of terrorist groups through the combined, collaborative efforts of the international community. Together, we have answered the terrorists’ attempts to weaken or destroy our societies. Our message of hope, of support for peace, security, and universal human rights is far more compelling than any message of hate, discrimination, and death.
The tenth anniversary of September 11 is an especially moving moment for Americans. We are ten years on, but the pain and grief has hardly abated. And that compels me to thank all of you profoundly for coming here today and joining us in this simple event.
Here, gathered as the missions and the staff of the United Nations and the international organizations headquartered in Vienna, here in this great international city, I can think of no more appropriate charge to all of us than that voiced by UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold: “No peace which is not peace for all, no rest until all has been fulfilled.”
And that is the thought I wish to leave you with. We gather today to share our common commitment to peace for all, and our common determination not to rest until terrorism is defeated. We gather to make known our unified message: Terrorism will not prevail. We are vigilant. We remember and honor those we have lost. And we pursue our lives with confidence, not fear.
Thank you again from the bottom of my heart for joining us here today.
and looking back at news reports from places not called New York or Washington:
9/11 Global Memorials, Tinged With Weariness.
By STEVEN ERLANGER
According to OMB, total U.S. contributions to the U.N. system reached record levels for the third year in a row in FY 2010. U.S. contributions to the U.N. exceeded $7.691 billion in 2010. This is more than $1.3 billion more than the previous record of $6.347 billion in FY 2009 and more than $1.6 billion more than in FY 2008.
U.S. Financial Crisis Requires U.N. Budget Cuts
The staggering increase in U.S. contributions to the U.N. in recent years (contributions in 2010 were more than 21 percent more than in 2009) is indicative of the rising budgetary trends across the U.N. system over the past decade:
The rapid expansion of U.N. budgets has been combined with minimal attempts at prioritization. For example, spurred by complaints in Congress and fiscal belt tightening by member states, the U.N. Secretary-General declared his intent to impose a 3 percent cut in the upcoming U.N. regular budget for 2012–2013. Indeed, the proposed $5.197 billion biennial U.N. regular budget for 2012–2013 is 3.2 percent less than the revised $5.367 billion budget for 2010–2011.
However, the Secretary-General’s claimed budget savings are based on speculative efficiency gains, such as videoconferencing in lieu of travel or reducing printed reports in favor of electronic documents, which have yet to be approved by the General Assembly or implemented. The budget avoids the overdue necessity to analyze and eliminate ineffective or duplicative mandates, some of which date back to the 1940s. It also makes only a cosmetic staff cut of 44 posts (after U.N. employment funded by the regular budget increased more than 20 percent from 2008 to 2009) and largely ignores the need to reduce staff costs, which account for roughly 65 percent of the U.N. budget.
Moreover, the Secretary-General’s claims of budget austerity are based on an apples-to-oranges comparison. The proposed budget for 2010–2011 (the current stage of the 2012–2013 budget) was only $4.887 billion-some $310 million less than the 2012–2013 proposed budget. Doubtless, without strong U.S. pressure demanding budgetary constraint, the proposed budget for 2012–2013 will grow substantially as did the previous budget.
The failure to prioritize budgets is not restricted to Turtle Bay. There are reports that other U.N. organizations are unable to effectively use the resources that the member states have provided. For instance, the Norwegian government recently concluded that four of the U.N.’s biggest development and aid agencies-the U.N. Development Program (UNDP), the World Food Program (WFP), UNICEF, and U.N. Population Program UNFPA)-had consistently increased their budgets despite accruing at least $12.2 billion in unspent cash by the end of 2009. “UNFPA, UNICEF, UNDP and WFP are building up considerable reserves and/or [are] unable to spend a growing share of resources,” according to the report, which adds that “the buildup of reserves implies that substantial donor funding is not being used for development purposes.”
Each of the four U.N. organizations in the Norwegian report increased their budgets by 80 percent to 120 percent between 2000 and 2010. The Norwegian report indicates, however, that they have routinely requested more resources than they require. While these organizations doubtlessly do good work, America’s budget crisis no longer allows for the extravagance of providing them resources that they do not or cannot use effectively or within their budget cycles.
Budgetary Cuts and Permanent Reporting Requirement Needed:
The U.S. has fought a difficult battle for U.N. budgetary restraint and management reform for decades. Making sure U.S. contributions are used appropriately and how to best allocate them to advance U.S. interests starts with knowing how much the U.S. is providing to the U.N. and where that funding originates. Congress is right to demand accurate information. The legislative reporting requirement expires in 2011. Congress should take action to make this reporting requirement permanent.
America’s current budgetary crisis adds fiscal necessity to underscore that oversight responsibility. The record-setting level of U.S. contributions to the U.N. in recent years and the notoriously weak and inadequate oversight, transparency, and accountability standards in the U.N. system should lead Congress to reverse the trend of increasing U.S. contributions to the U.N. and demand budgetary restraint in the U.N. system.
by Brett D. Schaefer, Jay Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs in the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, a division of the Kathryn, and Shelby Cullom, Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation and editor of ConUNdrum: The Limits of the United Nations and the Search for Alternatives (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2009).
UN Energy in its Clean Energy Solutions Newsletter No.2 provides us the list of countries in the CLEAN ENERGY MINISTERIAL that account for 80% of global energy use and concurrent pollution – these are the countries that can bind and move on what was discussed to death at the climate negotiations.
Clean Energy Solutions
this from: UN-Energy firstname.lastname@example.org – http://www.cleanenergyministerial.org .
On Accelerating the transition to clean energy technologies Issue 2 of UN Energy Newsletter tells about the
There Secretary Chu announced that he would host the first Clean Energy Ministerial to bring together ministers with responsibility for clean energy technologies from the world’s major economies and from a select number of smaller countries that are leading in various areas of clean energy.
We are intrigued by the list of participating countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, the European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
That is the EU countries, Australia, Canada, Norway, the US, Korea, and Japan – that is the old OECD countries – plus the UAE and the new big seven growing economies - Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa.
These States account for more than 80 percent of global energy consumption and pollution, and as well a similar percentage of the market for clean energy technologies. Our argument is that if anything happened in Copenhagen in December 2009, it is that the concept of trying to chase an agreement of 192 government has been replaced by a practical approach of communicating with the 80% that includes the major energy users – historic as well as future polluters. It shall be hoped that a cooperation in their own self interest, between the industries and governments of these countries, can move the issues from their present dead point. After all – much has been achieved already in individual cases – the only problem being that when the 192 come together – rhetoric gets the day and agreements are very sparse.
The participation of the UAE – a federation that two of its members are already involved in financing development of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies – though still oil exporting in good standing with OPEC – makes sure that oil countries, not just Norway, are also participating in these efforts. Also, talking about oil production as a major part of their economies – this clearly extends to the post OECD countries – Brazil, Mexico and Russia.
The material states: The Clean Energy Ministerial is a high-level global forum to promote policies and programs that advance clean energy technology, to share lessons learned and best practices, and to encourage the transition to a global clean energy economy. Initiatives are based on areas of common interest among participating governments and other stakeholders.
Also: The world is on the cusp of a clean energy revolution. Some new technologies can help provide clean energy by harnessing the power of the sun, wind and other renewable resources. Other technologies can enable more efficient use of energy in buildings, industry and vehicles. These technologies, when coupled with supportive policies, can significantly reduce carbon pollution from traditional fossil fuels, improve local air quality, create jobs, enhance energy security and provide improved access to energy around the world. Yet barriers to the adoption of clean energy technologies abound, and the cost of some technologies remains high. By working together, governments and other stakeholders can overcome barriers and advance the market adoption of clean energy technologies.
Seemingly – at least US based initiatives are already in place.
These CEM initiatives are focused on three global climate and energy policy goals:
(1) Improve energy efficiency worldwide through the Global Energy Efficiency Challenge,
(2) Enhance clean energy supply,
and (3) Expand clean energy access.