links about us archives search home
SustainabiliTankSustainabilitank menu graphic
SustainabiliTank

 
 
Follow us on Twitter


 
Switzerland:

 

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 16th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From: Adriana Troxler  adriana.troxler at oikos-international.o…

 www.oikos-international.org

oikos Young Scholars Energy Academy 2015

“Managing the Transition to Renewable Energy – Towards a New Energy Paradigm”

June 7-11, 2015 – Tel Aviv University, Israel.

in collaboration with
the Department of Public Policy at the Gordon Faculty of Social Sciences and the Porter School of Environmental Studies.

Introduction

New and promising technologies of renewable and alternative energy production are already here, waiting to be used. Knowledge based barriers stand in the way of this potential for the creation of a very large number of jobs.

The information barrier spans three important domains:

First, there is the misconception that new mechanisms to produce cleaner and more reliable energy are expensive.

Then, there is the significant concern about the challenge of distributing the energy coming from these new sources. The decentralized nature of new methods of energy production and the challenge they entail for the distribution grid and its nature are central concerns.

The third domain is the potential for city renewal, public transportation and public health.

If we accept the idea that avoiding climate and nuclear risk is beneficial in the long run, we start asking questions such as how can societies, firms and consumers change track towards a new energy paradigm? How can “investment-grade” policies be designed to efficiently and effectively govern the transition towards renewables? What should we do in order to accelerate the diffusion of such technologies? What are the implications of mass diffusion? How can policies and investment strategies be adapted as renewables move from niche to mainstream market? How can decision-makers in companies overcome the challenges of path dependence? What distinguishes decision-makers who see opportunities in clean energy from those who perceive it as a threat, and how do their attitudes and values influence their behaviour? Is the accelerating evidence of the climate crisis going to accentuate polarization, and if yes, what are the implications for building successful transition strategies? Which end-of life strategies can be identified to smoothen the late non-renewable era, and which counter-dynamics are likely to occur?

The Workshop

In June 2015, Tel Aviv University, the University of St. Gallen, and oikos will host a special workshop to discuss these issues with young scholars and four leading faculty members from four different disciplinary perspectives. Building on a 14 year tradition of international academies in the field of Sustainability, Strategy and Entrepreneurship, the oikos Young Scholars Energy Academy 2015 provides an intense 4-days academic platform for identifying and advancing relevant and rigorous research. Young scholars are encouraged to share research and conceptual ideas, covering theoretical and empirical contributions on the intersection of Decision Sciences, Policy, Finance, Management, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Sustainability and beyond. We invite advanced PhD students and young PhDs to apply to partake in this workshop to be held at Tel Aviv University, between June 7-11, 2015.

After an update on state-of-the-art research by the faculty, participants will share their papers with other young scholars as well as leading practitioners in industry, financial, public – local and central government – and energy sectors, to advance and spread new research in those crucial segments of the economy. Meetings with the practitioners are designed to enhance dissemination of knowledge and expose industry and other decision makers to practical solutions based on rigorous research with precision and analytical reliability and validity. Young scholars in the workshop will improve their training as a whole and will allow practitioners at all levels to benefit from their research while it is
still in progress. Finally an active program of exchange of ideas and experiences will make sure the group’s strong multiplier impact on the domain of energy production and utilization around the globe.

The emphasis in the program is collaboration for learning, and dissemination of knowledge with students from various universities, research institutes and laboratories. This program creates a network of information, common language and community partnerships for the benefit of the research and the young scholar’s professional life.

Objectives

The oikos Young Scholars Energy Academy aims to:

* Build an entrepreneurially-minded academic network promoting conceptual solutions for the move towards sustainable energy systems;
* Provide a leading global platform to advance relevant energy research;
* Support ambitious young scholars’ research activities by improving existing research designs;
* Support scholars in their skills to publish in leading international journals;
* Strengthen co-operation between academics, the private sector, NGOs and policy makers;
* Generate unique findings on innovating, financing, managing and scaling entrepreneurial initiatives driving the energy transition;
* Create long term collaboration between scholars from multiple disciplines in area of sustainable energy management.

The academy will gather 20 carefully selected international PhD students and young faculty focusing on energy investment, policy and decision-making with four senior faculty members. The academy is also designed to strengthen a global network of young researchers who aim at combining academic rigor with practical relevance.

Programme

The four-day intensive programme will include the following elements:

Opening and Topic Presentations (Day 1)

Presentations by senior faculty on research and research designs, finding an audience, getting published and developing teaching skills. These presentations and interactive discussion sessions provide participants with a strong basis and understanding of how to develop solid research projects that have an impact.

Practitioner Evening Session (Day 1)

In a panel discussion, forward-thinking practitioners from the energy policy and finance community reflect on their view of current challenges, inspiring young researchers to consider how their work can best be framed to increase their societal impact.

Paper Sessions (Day 1, 2, 3, 4)

Paper presentations and feedback sessions allow PhD students and young faculty to present their paper and research proposals and receive feedback from fellow participants and senior faculty. The goal is to raise the academic quality of the research projects and papers and prepare them for publication in leading journals. The papers are distributed to the participants a month prior to the academy.

Faculty

Vered Blass, Head of Innovations in Industrial Ecology Lab, Tel Aviv University, Faculty of Management, Tel Aviv, Israel
Miranda Schreurs, Director of the Environmental Policy Research Centre and Professor of Comparative Politics at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
Itai Sened, Professor of Public Policy, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Rolf Wüstenhagen, Good Energies Chair for Management of Renewable Energies, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Logistics

Participation Fee

Participating young researchers pay a registration fee of US$ 500. This includes tuition, food and accommodation. Participants will have to cover their own travel cost.

Timeline

February 25, 2015: Application deadline

March 15, 2015: Notification of acceptance

April 15, 2015: Submission deadline for full papers (10-15 pages)

June 7-11, 2015: Academy (arrival on June 6)

Application and Contact

To allow in-depth discussions the oikos Young Scholars Energy Academy is limited to 20 PhD students and Post-Docs / young faculty.

Your application should contain:
(1) a proposal abstract of max. 2 pages,
(2) a short curriculum vitae and
(3) a letter of interest in the oikos Young Scholars Energy Academy.

Please send your application by February 25, 2015 to the Chair of the Department of Public Policy, at  chairpubpol at post.tau.ac.il.

_______________

Adriana Troxler, Program Manager

Email:  adriana.troxler at oikos-international.o…
Skype: adriana.oikos

Mobile: +41 (0)78 631 26 01 I Direct: +41 (0)71 224 25 90

oikos

Dufourstrasse 50

9000 St. Gallen, Switzerland

Follow us: Web I Facebook I Twitter

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 8th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2015 – GENEVA HIGHLIGHTS – First day of the new start-up Session:

On Sunday morning, the ADP opening plenary took place. In the morning and afternoon, the ADP contact group on item 3 (implementation of all the elements of Decision 1/CP.17) convened.

ADP OPENING PLENARY

COP 20 President Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Minister of the Environment, Peru, called on parties to maintain the momentum generated in Lima and work responsibly, efficiently and in a spirit of compromise. ADP Co-Chair Ahmed Djoghlaf (Algeria) called on delegates “to keep the promise made to our children in Durban.”

ITEM 3: Co-Chair Daniel Reifsnyder (US) underscored the objective of delivering a negotiating text on Friday and that the main task of the ADP contact group will be to ensure that the text fully reflects parties’ positions. Parties agreed to the proposed organization of work.

South Africa, for G-77/CHINA, noted that: the elements for a draft negotiating text annexed to Decision 1/CP.20 (Lima Call for Climate Action) are not fully negotiated; streamlining of options must be based on consensus; and parties’ views must be reflected in the text in a balanced manner.

The EU urged progress on: ensuring dynamism in the 2015 agreement through regular review of ambition; clarifying how the agreement will deliver transparency and accountability with respect to mitigation; delivering climate resilience through adaptation and climate finance; and enhancing mitigation before 2020. Australia, for the UMBRELLA GROUP, proposed distinguishing content that needs to be included in a legal agreement from content that is more appropriate for a COP decision. Switzerland, for the ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY GROUP, proposed break-out groups to address specific issues and urged focusing on streamlining the text.

ADP CONTACT GROUP

GENERAL/OBJECTIVE: On Section C “General/Objective” Co-Chair Reifsnyder suggested bracketing it and reflecting that some parties feel that the Section is not necessary.

Parties made suggestions to add text and identified opportunities for consolidation.

The US questioned the need for a separate Section on objectives. BRAZIL identified the Section as necessary to explain why a new agreement is needed. SAUDI ARABIA suggested omitting the Section, but if retained, then reflecting the objective in one to two paragraphs. Several parties suggested focusing the Section on the agreement’s overall objective and including details on how to achieve this objective elsewhere. SINGAPORE called for addressing the relationship between the Convention and the new agreement.

Maldives, for AOSIS, called for a reference to science on keeping the average temperature increase below 1.5 °C. JAMAICA proposed text on ensuring significant and rapid global greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions of at least 70-90% by 2050. The EU underscored the need to reach zero net emissions of CO2 and other long-lived GHGs by the end of the century to ensure consistency with the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. SWITZERLAND agreed on the need to reflect the objective of achieving zero net GHG emissions. BRAZIL warned that references to the IPCC could lead to politicization.

Sudan, for the AFRICAN GROUP, highlighted a new proposal on loss and damage. AOSIS underscored the need for high ambition from all parties; interlinkages between mitigation and adaptation; and addressing loss and damage.

BRAZIL lamented that parts of the text are not in line with the Lima outcome, such as references to “evolving CBDR.” He supported undertakings by all Parties. The US proposed categorizing developed and developing countries into two new annexes.

Malaysia, for the LMDCs, called for addressing adaptation with the same urgency as mitigation. He proposed emphasizing, inter alia, the link between developing countries’ mitigation actions and enhanced support by developed countries; and that developed countries must not resort to any unilateral measures on climate change. SAUDI ARABIA suggested combining text on ensuring resilience and adaptive capacity with text on ensuring that all investments are resilient to climate change.

Several parties supported including text on gender equality. Tuvalu, for the LDCs, identified similarities between the proposals. MEXICO, supported by UGANDA, CHILE and BOLIVIA, also suggested text on human rights. Tuvalu, for LDCs, called for language on universal participation, human rights and rights of people with disabilities.

Co-Chair Reifsnyder indicated that informal discussion on the Section can be reconsidered at a later stage. He expressed satisfaction with progress made and said parties’ proposals together with revised Section C will be made available online promptly.

MITIGATION: In the afternoon, the contact group focused on Section D on mitigation.

Argentina, for the LMDCs, underscored, inter alia, that commitments, contributions and actions should comply with the Convention’s principles and obligations, with developed country parties undertaking quantified emission limitation and reduction objectives (QELROs) that are comparable, verifiable and implemented without any conditions. She added that developing country actions may include REDD+ and joint adaptation and mitigation, in accordance with their specific circumstances and needs.

Chile, for AILAC, suggested text on distinguishing between ex ante and ex post review of INDCs, proposing that all parties make successive mitigation commitments. On the use of market mechanisms in the land-use sector, he suggested including references to: environmental integrity; avoiding double counting; and a levy to support climate change resilience in developing countries.

Panama, for CfRN, called for: the REDD+ framework be reflected and anchored in the new agreement; applying safeguards; and strengthening institutional arrangements under the Convention based on Decision 10/CP.19 on support for the implementation of mitigation activities in the forest sector by developing countries.

The EU, inter alia: emphasized accounting rules and suggested bringing these from the Section on transparency of action and support, into the Section on mitigation. He proposed separating text on land use and market mechanisms. He highlighted the need for parties to periodically review and update their commitments. AUSTRALIA proposed text on national schedules and intended mitigation contributions, including that each party individually update their respective national schedules in accordance with modalities to be agreed by the governing body.

Kenya, for the AFRICAN GROUP, emphasized developed countries’ obligation to provide MOI, and that social and economic development and poverty eradication are first and overriding priorities for developing countries. Maldives, for SIDS, proposed, inter alia, that proceeds from the use of market mechanisms will be used for meeting the costs of adaptation in the most vulnerable developing countries.

Underlying the importance of text on peaking of global GHG emissions as soon as possible, TANZANIA proposed text specifying these efforts be quantitative and time-bound for developed countries and aspirational for developing countries.

The US proposed replacing references to developed or developing countries throughout the text be replaced with reference to new annexes y and x. He proposed text to provide clarity on how parties engage in consultations on future cycles of contributions, specifying that parties should submit INDCs no later than six months before the beginning of each cycle. CANADA proposed text suggesting that all parties prepare national inventory reports in accordance with IPCC guidance.

BRAZIL suggested text on an economic mechanism comprising an emissions trading system (ETS) and an enhanced Clean Development Mechanism (CDM+). He explained that parties with quantified mitigation targets could use ETS and CDM+ to supplement domestic action, and developing countries may participate in CDM+ projects on a voluntary basis. He emphasized voluntary cancellations of Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) to enhance environmental integrity, saying cancelled CERs could be used to meet quantified financing targets or pledges but not mitigation targets.

SENEGAL stated that market mechanisms and actions in the land-use sector should contribute to the sustainable development of the host countries. He proposed a centrally governed market mechanism under the Convention, building on existing market mechanisms. ETHIOPIA announced a new submission clarifying the details of market mechanisms in the 2015 agreement.

SOUTH AFRICA stressed review as an integral part of a dynamic contribution cycle. She proposed text on common accounting rules to be developed by the COP. NEW ZEALAND noted that accounting rules must be more explicitly addressed in Section D, and, with NORWAY, stressed the importance of avoiding double-counting.

BOLIVIA stressed the need for inclusion of alternative, non-market, and joint mitigation and adaptation approaches, and for adding text on “the protection and integrity of Mother Earth.” On a global emission budget, ETHIOPIA proposed including a reference to national per capita emissions and taking into account historical emissions.

——————————————-

IN THE CORRIDORS

On a cold but sunny Sunday morning, delegates arrived in the historic Palais des Nations for the first of several negotiating sessions leading to Paris. Many felt the meeting got off to a good start. The opening plenary was described as “surprisingly short” and many expressed appreciation for the gesture by many negotiating groups to submit their opening statements electronically in the interest of time.

The ADP morning contact group made good progress and closed ahead of schedule. In the afternoon contact group, the mitigation section of the text grew in length with a total of 52 new proposals made. Regardless, that meeting closed an hour ahead of schedule. Pleased with the progress, Co-Chair Reifsnyder joked that continuing with such efficiency, “we will definitely have an agreement in Paris – or even before.”

Having consulted with the negotiating group leaders, the Co-Chairs proposed to speed things up and collect all new textual proposals on Monday in order to focus the rest of the session on streamlining the text. On that note, many delegates said they anticipated a late evening to finalize negotiating groups’ internal coordinations on new text.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 8th, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The eighth part of the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Ad-Hoc Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP – Ad-Hoc Durban Platform) will be held from 8-13 February 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland.

From:  unfccc.int/meetings/geneva_feb_20…

Negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – the conference is the first conference of several meetings in preparation for the Paris Climate Change Conference that will be held in France in December. The Paris Conference is mandated to adopt “a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all parties.” The agreement will be implemented from 2020 onwards.

The body tasked with developing the Paris Agreement is the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP). In Geneva, the ADP will hold the eighth part of its second session (ADP 2-8).

Updated as of 7 February
pdf-icon Overview schedule (110 kB)
pdf-icon Schedule of the contact group work (168 kB)
In Focus: Meetings of the ADP

Scenario note by the Co-Chairs on the eighth part of the second session of the ADP
 ADP.2015.1.InformalNote

Decision 1/CP.20
Lima Call for Climate Action
FCCC/CP/2014/10/Add.1

Sunday, 8 February 2015

10.00–11.00
ADP opening plenary (Open to all participants)
Assembly Hall

11.00–13.00
ADP contact group on section C (Open to Parties and observers)
Meeting room XIX

15.00–18.00
ADP contact group on section D (Open to Parties and observers)
Meeting room XIX

Monday, 9 February 2015

10.00–13.00
ADP contact group on section E (Open to Parties and observers)
Meeting room XIX

15.00–18.00
ADP contact group on section G (Open to Parties and observers)
Meeting room XIX

18.00–20.00
Briefing on support for domestic preparations for intended nationally determined contributions
Assembly Hall

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

9.30–13.00 and 15.00–17.30
Dedicated meeting on ways and means to advance the technical examination process in 2015
Meeting room XII

10.00–13.00
ADP contact group on section H followed by section I (Open to Parties and observers)
Meeting room XIX

15.00–18.00
ADP contact group on section J (Open to Parties and observers)
Meeting room XIX

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

11.00–13.00
ADP contact group on section K (Open to Parties and observers)
Meeting room XIX

15.00–18.00
ADP contact group on section L followed by section M (Open to Parties and observers)
Meeting room XIX

18.00–20.00
ADP contact group on Preamble and definitions (Open to Parties and observers)
Meeting room XIX

_________________________________________________________

The Co-Chairs of the ADP visited the UNFCCC secretariat on 22-24 January 2015 to advance the preparations for the upcoming meeting in Geneva. The Co-Chairs have recently attended the:

– Thirteenth Informal Meeting on Further Actions against Climate Change (28-30 January 2015, Tokyo, Japan).

The Co-Chairs consult groups of Parties in the days immediately prior to the session.

__________________________________________________________

The Co-Chairs can be contacted via e-mail at  CADP at unfccc.int

The Cochairs are: Mr. Ahmed Djoghlaf and Mr. Daniel Reifsnyder and Ms. Yang Liu as the Rapporteur of the ADP, to serve until the conclusion of the ADP session to be held in conjunction with COP 21 in 2015.

———————————————————

IISD RS @ UNFCCC ADP 2.8 | 8-13 February 2015 | Geneva …
www.iisd.ca/climate/adp/adp2-8

IISD Reporting Services, through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB), will cover the Geneva Climate Change Conference – February 2015, from 8 to 13 February 2015 …

——————————————————–

ECO is a daily newsletter published by a group of NGOs active at UN Conferences – not as a reporting service like the ENB of the IISD that is backed financially by several Western governments, but rather as an outlet of several opinionated Civil Society groupings.

We post here the e-mail we received from ECO as posted at the opening of ADP 2.8


Managing the bumps on the Road to Paris.

The dust from COP20 has (barely) settled and now with just 10 months left before COP21 in Paris, Parties need to come together on the way forward to the 2015 agreement.

In Geneva, Parties will start from where they left off the draft negotiating text that is annexed to the Lima Call for Climate Action decision of COP 20 of the UNFCCC. The current draft has many options on most issues, some of them highly divergent.

There are several key issues that need to be grappled with if we are to get a robust and ambitious post-2020 agreement in December. One of the most difficult is coming to a shared understanding of CBDR&RC (differentiation). This is at the heart of many of the divergent areas, and the differences were just papered over with the last-minute compromise of language in Lima.
ECO believes that the earlier Parties attempt to move towards a common understanding on this issue, the easier it will become for the negotiations to make progress towards an ambitious outcome.


The need for a clear and transparent review mechanism within the Paris agreement is another issue. Even though there was no agreement in Lima to conduct a review of the first round of INDCs, an institutionalised review mechanism that not only assesses progress, but also enables countries to plug the ambition gap, is key to the environmental integrity of the agreement.

Civil society needs to be an active participant within this review and it should be conducted in earnest, and in 5-year intervals. The UNFCCC has in the past seen many reviews that only point to the problem without enabling solutions. The review mechanism within the 2015 agreement needs to be different: it should enable and equip countries to bridge the gap between what science requires and what is being put on the table by each country.


This week, Parties should work to narrow down the options in the current text and clarify ideas they had presented earlier in order to produce an acceptable legal negotiating text by the end of the session. As parties start discussing Section C of the draft negotiating text today, here are some suggestions.

First, the agreement should state an obvious fact which even ECO’s uncle and aunt would understand: the lower the level of mitigation ambition, the higher will be the adaptation needs, and the loss and damage from climate change impacts and the associated costs thereof, which will require much higher support to vulnerable countries and people who have not caused climate change. A good basis for addressing this continuum of mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage in Paragraph 4 of the current text. In today’s thematic session, Parties should support this language, and make further efforts to operationalise it.

ECO believes the phase out of fossil fuel emissions and phase in of 100% renewable energy as early as 2050 should be the long-tern goal of 2015 agreement. Language reflecting this option should be added to the text coming out of Geneva. The text should also note that achievement of this goal rests on up ramping mitigation ambition within the pre-2020 period, as well as countries putting ambitious INDCs on the table in Paris. Such timely action will not only reduce costs in the longer run, but can ensure that climate impacts are curtailed early on.

While these bumps collectively might appear daunting, they can be overcome through a mix of political will and good faith negotiating. People, businesses, and local authorities across the world are already showing the way; ECO calls on Parties here in Geneva to do the same.

Pathway to zero: Career coaches assert that in order to be successful, you need to have a clear goal for what you want to achieve, then develop a pathway to get you there.

Today’s negotiations on the long term goal of the Paris agreement are, therefore, critical to help define our ultimate objective. That is: to reduce carbon emissions to zero and achieve a 100% renewable-powered world by 2050.


To have a likely chance to remain within the maximum 2°C warming threshold, the IPCC has provided us with a carbon budget of 1000 gigatonnes (CO2eq). That’s it. It’s all we can spend until we achieve the magic zero by 2050. If current trends continue, we’ll have spent a full third of it by 2020.


A growing number of companies, have endorsed staying within this carbon budget, recognising that the benefits of action far outweigh the costs of climate impacts. Unilever’s CEO is just one of many calling for zero emissions by 2050.


The good news is that economics, as well as climate considerations, are already defining the end of the fossil era. China’s 2014 decline in coal use shows that with political determination and strong targets and measures, the world’s highest emitting country can peak their coal use well before 2020.

The Economist recently reported that Saudi Arabia’s profligate energy consumption means that “the country may have no oil to export by 2030” ? a real spur for domestic innovation and diversification.

Clean energy is already the low cost option. In Jamaica, the price of solar power is the same as that of wholesale fossil-fuelled power and in Nicaragua, electricity from wind is half as expensive as power from traditional sources. Renewables are rapidly becoming cheaper all over the world, making the 100% renewable goal ever more attractive, and the decline of fossil fuels an ever-clearer reality.


And back here in Geneva, much of what needs to be in the text for today is already there. A few changes to C3.1 Option b, so that it requires global GHG emissions to fall by 70% (not 50%) and to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050, gets us to where we need to be. Adding a reminder that we need to transform the energy system so that we have “100% sustainable and renewable energy that meets the needs of all” seems like a goal to endorse.


As Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, put it: going for zero emissions by 2050 “will drive innovation, grow jobs, build prosperity and secure a better world. Why would we wait any longer to do that?”

Human rights protections for all:

As you, dear negotiators, tackle Section C of the elements paper today, ECO urges you to think not just about numbers and principles, but about people. There should be unifying language in the general, operational section of the draft agreement text that recognises the human dimensions of climate change. We suggest:

“Parties shall, in all climate change-related actions, respect, protect, promote and fulfill human rights for all”.

240 organisations endorsed this language in a submission to the ADP co-chairs yesterday. It’s also what each of the 76 independent experts of the UN Human Rights Council recommended in a joint statement to the UNFCCC Parties during COP20.

Looks familiar, right? Yes, yes, it’s a lot like what’s in the shared vision of the Cancun Agreements. Since Cancun, however, we have noticed that this reference hasn’t done the job of ensuring that rights are adequately considered in climate policies. This language in Section C will help ensure that these principles apply to all pillars of the Convention.

Today is the day to make sure it lives on in Paris!

Why, you ask? Well, we can’t escape the fact that climate change has human consequences. The lives and livelihoods of literally billions of people are riding on what comes out of this process, and this language is relevant to every element of the negotiating text.

It’s also nothing new. Parties already have human rights obligations. This language, as in the Cancun Agreement’s shared vision, helps spell that out in the context of climate change. And it helps make sure that Parties are looking out for their own people. No matter what delegation or constituency you represent, you care about your people. ECO knows you do. After all, you are a person too.

So as we kick off this week of negotiations, ECO and 240 organisations call on you to make sure Section C ensures that Parties respect, protect, promote and fulfil human rights for all. That shouldn’t be controversial, so just go do it!



When neutrality undermines Integrity:

When ECO thinks of Switzerland we think of skiing, watches, neutrality, delicious chocolate and of course, the Environmental Integrity Group.

ECO appreciates that Switzerland negotiates as part of a group with the stated priority of “environmental integrity”, but we wonder about Switzerland’s own integrity when it comes to its domestic emissions and commitments?

During the Multilateral Assessment in Lima, Switzerland became very evasive when asked why it would not opt for a conditional target of negative 30% emission reductions by 2020. Perhaps it’s because the country, to date, has merely achieved stabilisation of its absolute emissions. Switzerland offers population growth as a cheesy excuse for this lack of ambition. However, there is much more that Switzerland can do—like instituting policies to switch its population off of high-emitting oil heating systems, reducing per capita car ownership, addressing the startling fact that that average Swiss citizen racks up double the annual air miles of people in neighbouring countries.

ECO hopes that Switzerland will admit it has been off piste when it comes to climate ambition, and demonstrate its integrity by delivering on its 2014 United Nations Climate Summit announcement that it will become carbon neutral.

Minister Doris Leuthard, who made that commitment in New York last September, is in a perfect position to deliver on it. How could she not be when she’s responsible for Switzerland’s policies on climate, energy, transportation (including aviation), forestry, environment, spatial planning and (tele)communication. It’s exactly these sectors that need to change for Switzerland to make an ambitious effort in its INDC submission. ECO also seriously hopes the rumor that Switzerland intends to use carbon markets rather than striving for ambitious emission reductions at home is false. How would this fulfill a vision of carbon neutrality?

To top it off, Switzerland’s move in Lima to avoid talking about the next steps for climate finance makes it even harder to see how Switzerland can claim to be a champion of environmental integrity. ECO calls on Switzerland to check its watch and realise how late in the day it is for climate action. On this issue, being neutral isn’t a virtue – rather, it’s time for bold action.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 23rd, 2015
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 www.theguardian.com/sustainable-b…

Head of UN climate talks: ‘the pain in the shoe is not great enough’ for businesses to take action.

Businesses have a fundamental role to play in securing a climate deal, Christiana Figueres says, but don’t yet feel immediately threatened by the situation

World Bank chief makes climate action plea
Al Gore: ‘oil companies use our atmosphere as an open sewer’
World leaders failing on ‘social cohesion’

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, says “we all have a responsibility to the future”.

Thursday 22 January 2015 – By Jo Confino in Davos

Christiana Figueres, who heads up the global climate change talks, was visibly moved as she urged business leaders to take action to avoid runaway climate change at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos on Thursday.

“This is the first generation that is becoming aware of what we have done, because the previous generation had no clue,” said the executive director of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. “We can’t blame them, we can’t blame ourselves because we’ve been put in this situation, but we do have a responsibility to do something about it and not to pass it on to the next generation.”

Looking at her daughter sitting nearby, Figueres’ eyes well up. Her desire to secure a meaningful climate deal later this year in Paris is clearly as much a personal concern as a global one.

While it is incumbent on the world’s politicians to secure a deal, it’s apparent they need help: just yesterday, the US Senate failed to pass resolutions acknowledging that climate change is the result of human activity. The private sector can play a pivotal role in giving politicians the confidence to act, Figueres said.

US tech giants launch fierce fightback against global tax avoidance crackdown.

“I don’t think anybody can question the fact the role of business is fundamental, independently of [on] what side of the spectrum business stands,” she said.

Engagement from the private sector, Figueres says, needs to come in three forms: vision, action and voice.

Vision is about business leaders understanding the consequence of climate change for their companies and ensuring they align their operations with staying within a 2C rise in global temperatures.

Executives then need to think through what they need from governments at both national and international level in order to pursue that path.

“This is about vision, not short-termism,” Figueres said. “It’s not just about energy efficiency measures today, which represents only a tiny, tiny little first step. It’s about starting there but then understanding where we have to be over the next 50 years.”

Once companies have a clear destination, they need to focus on closing the distance between where they are now and where they want to be, she says. The final step is to become much more vocal about the need for transformational action.

“It is no secret that we have a very small number of corporations that are being very vocal, and that there’s a huge number of companies – the silent majority – that are not participating in this discussion and are not engaging with governments with respect to the very clear guidance and regulatory certainty that they need,” she said.

Figueres believes the lack of advocacy by companies is due to the fact that most of them still do not feel immediately threatened by climate change. In a PwC survey this week, global warming didn’t even make the list of CEO’s top priorities or concerns.
‘It is profitable to let the world go to hell’

But Figueres warns that if executives continue to focus only on what’s in front of their noses, they will put their companies’ long-term survival at risk.

They can see that in the long run, having a stable planet and economic system is actually better for them in their operations and their business continuity, and that there is a huge opportunity for growth and for new profit, for new jobs, new industries and new technologies,” she said.

“But that is not compelling enough to actually have the CEO get up there and use his voice and leadership because the pain in the shoe is not enough. There is this abstract sense of yeah, we all want to be better off, but maybe somebody else should be doing something about that. In the meantime, I have my payroll to worry about.

Whereas those companies that are very active and do have a voice perceive that they’re immediately threatened.”

Businesses, regardless of their size, have largely failed to look deeply at the impacts of fossil fuels, she said: “They just use electricity and that’s the sum total of their engagement in this process.”

Despite the need for more action, Figueres said she was heartened by the number of major businesses that attended the climate change summit in New York last year, and in particular by the engagement by whole sectors, such as insurers and more progressive sections of the investment industry.

There has also been a sea change in the attitude from governments about the need to collaborate with the private sector.

“There has been quite an evolution in the understanding of the very positive contribution that the private sector can make,” she says. “I remember when I got to the secretariat five years ago that the private sector was a taboo word that never would have appeared in any text of governments. Yet now you have the text actually inviting quite openly the participation of corporations.

She acknowledged that there’s still a long way to go in what she calls “an evolutionary process”. But with just 10 months to go before the Paris talks open, Figueres also recognised the need for urgent action and referred to having a time bomb on our hands.
How concerned are CEOs about climate change? Not at all
Read more

When one strips everything away, Figueres says that what business leaders need to do most is get in touch with their common humanity.

We speak of business as though there was a head there, a thinking brain, and that’s not so,” she says. “We have a role to play in life, whether that is being the head of a Fortune 500 company, or being a junior professional in an NGO, and we must step up to those roles.

“However, what cuts across all of those differences is the fact that we’re all human beings, all of us, and we all are either parents or aunts and uncles or grandparents and we all have a responsibility to the future.”

This year’s Davos coverage is funded by The B Team. All content is editorially independent except for pieces labelled “brought to you by”.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 14th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

from: IPU Press Office press@ipu.org via a.mpsnd.ch

IPU E-BULLETIN

Visit the website: www.ipu.org

N°3, 14 February 2014

IPU urges rejection of Afghan law protecting abusers of women – IPU has called on Afghanistan to reject a new law that would prevent judicial authorities from questioning the relatives of a criminal defendant in a case involving violence against women and girls, making prosecutions highly difficult.

With most violence against women in Afghanistan occurring within the family, the new law would deny effective protection and reparation to victims by silencing those who witness their abuse. The bill, passed by both houses of the Afghan parliament on 19 January, is awaiting signature by President Hamid Karzai to come into force. IPU is calling on the President to reject it and send it back to parliament until it is revised in line with the Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) of 2009. (Read more)

IPU wishes Tunisia success on road map to democracyIPU President Abdelwahad Radi has wished Tunisia a successful journey on its path to democracy during a ceremony to formally adopt the new Constitution. Invited to speak at the event on 7 February as a result of the support IPU has provided to the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly, President Radi congratulated Tunisians on a Constitution which provides a firm basis for a modern democratic State. “IPU is honoured to join the Tunisian people in celebrating this historic moment and wishes for a successful continuation of their democratic road map,” President Radi said. (Read more)

Translating human rights commitments into national realitiesMPs from Central and Eastern European parliaments will meet in Bucharest on 17-18 February to discuss their role in ensuring international human rights commitments are applied at the national level. At an event jointly organized by IPU and the Chamber of Deputies of the Romanian Parliament, the MPs will examine their parliament’s contribution to the work of the UN Human Rights Council and identify good parliamentary practices in promoting human rights. Although parliaments have a critical part to play in ensuring respect for fundamental freedoms, a survey recently conducted by IPU showed many of them are still unfamiliar with the work of the Human Rights Council or its Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the evaluation mechanism of human rights in all UN member states. Very few of the UPR recommendations are actually implemented without parliamentary action, highlighting the need for MPs to acknowledge the importance of becoming more involved with the work of the Council and of promoting human rights more generally, including by engaging in a more pro-active way with civil society.

Greater protection for MPs needed in CAR following assassination – IPU has called for greater protection of MPs in the Central African Republic (CAR) following the assassination of parliamentarian Jean-Emmanuel Ndjaroua on 9th February in Bangui. Ndjaroua was a member of the National Transition Council (NTC), the body that took over legislative work after the parliament of the Central African Republic (CAR) was dissolved following a coup d’état in March 2013. A representative of the eastern region of Haute Kotto, Ndjaroua had publicly condemned violence against Muslim residents of his district the day before his assassination. (Read more)

Stabbing of Maldivian opposition MP condemned – IPU has condemned the stabbing of Maldivian opposition MP Alhan Fahmy on 1st February and has called for violence to stop in the country ahead of next month´s parliamentary elections. A member of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), Fahmy was stabbed in the back in a restaurant in Malé and is receiving treatment after being flown to Sri Lanka. The attack is the latest act of violence against an MP in a country where many parliamentarians have been victim of arbitrary arrests, attacks and intimidation in recent years.  This includes the murder of MP Afrasheem Ali in October 2012. IPU´s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians is currently working on cases involving human rights violations of nearly 25 Maldivian MPs. (Read more)

IPU welcomes release of former Burundian MP Gérard Nkurunziza – IPU has welcomed the release of former Burundian MP Gérard Nkurunziza after more than five years in custody in a case marked by grave judicial irregularities. A member of the dissident wing of the Burundian ruling party CNDD-FDD, Nkurunziza was arrested in July 2008 accused of slandering the country’s President and supplying arms for a rebellion against the government. According to his lawyers, no evidence was ever found and no weapons seized. Burundian courts did not examine his case until May 2012 when the Supreme Court decided to hold hearings on it for the first time. However, it still did not consider the legality of Nkurunziza’s continued detention. The former Burundian MP was acquitted by the Supreme Court on 30 January on insufficient evidence. (Read more)

Strengthening oversight capacities of Oman’s parliament – IPU has been working with Oman’s Consultative Council to strengthen its capacity to oversee government, a fundamental role of any parliament.  The move follows the change in the Council’s role from an advisory body to an elected institution with legislative and oversight powers in 2011. An IPU delegation, including parliamentary experts from Britain, France and Germany, covered challenges and procedures for effective oversight, including the use of committees and working with other institutions and the public during a two-day training. This was then followed by an assessment of the priority needs to strengthen the capacity of the Consultative Council in its efforts to fully deliver on its mandate as an elected legislative institution. A more comprehensive needs assessment at a later date could then be used as a basis for a broader IPU programme of support for Oman’s parliament.

Advisory Group of the IPU Committee on UN Affairs to visit Haiti The Advisory Group of the IPU Committee on UN Affairs will conduct a field mission in Haiti on 24-27 February to monitor and report on national parliamentary work to facilitate the stabilization and reconstruction of the country after the devastating earthquake of 2010. The Group will meet MPs, government officials and UN representatives on the ground to assess progress made and pressing challenges ahead for Haitian MPs and parliament in better responding to the needs of the Haitian people. Four years after the 7.3 magnitude earthquake that killed more than 220,000 people and left more than 1.5 million people homeless, major issues such as poor living conditions, food insecurity, malnutrition and cholera remain. The role of MPs in addressing these challenges is crucial as they are responsible for the implementation and oversight of national legislation contributing to the reconstruction efforts. The Advisory Group will examine the UN operations in Haiti concerning peace consolidation and national reconciliation and will build on the increasingly solid partnership between the UN, national parliaments and IPU. The conclusions of the mission will be presented at the 130th IPU Assembly in Geneva, on 16-20 March. To date, the Advisory Group has undertaken seven missions: Tanzania (2008), Viet Nam (2009), Sierra Leone and Ghana (2011), Albania and Montenegro (2012) and Côte d’Ivoire (2013).

WTO underlines vital role of MPs in global trade system – WTO Secretary General Roberto Azevêdo has highlighted the vital role MPs play to ensure the good functioning of the global trade system to parliamentarians attending the Steering Committee of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO in Brussels. “As parliamentarians you connect WTO to the people. We rely on you to take into account their concerns. It is an important link and an important way of ensuring that our global trading system works at the local level,” said Azevêdo. The Committee met on 11-12 February to assess the outcome of the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference held in Bali in December 2013. It adopted a declaration urging negotiators to capitalize on the momentum gathered at Bali where governments agreed to the so called “Bali package”, the first global trade agreement since the WTO was created in 1995. MPs at the meeting also emphasized the need to keep working for a strong and effective parliamentary dimension of the WTO in order to maintain public support for open trade and enhance the transparency of the organization.

 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 1st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Launch media viewer
Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations on Wednesday as the peace conference on Syria opened in Montreux, Switzerland. Pool photo by Arnd Wiegmann

After Mr. Ban urged Mr. Walid al-Moallem, the Syrian foreign minister to be concise, Mr. Moallem said he would conclude soon, adding that “Syria always keeps its promises” but  continued with  denunciations of the opposition and Mr. Ban later lamented that his injunction that participants take a constructive approach to the crisis “had been broken.”

Ahmad Assi al-Jarba, the president of the Syrian opposition, opened with the story of Hajar al-Khatib, 11, who he said was shot by government forces as she rode a bus to school in Rastan near the city of Homs in May 2011. That was in the early days of the protest movement that set off the uprising. “Ten thousand children have died because of the Syrian Army,” he added, singling out not only Mr. Assad but the army, which many pro-government Syrians distinguish from the political leaders as an object of patriotism.

Mr. Jarba has said from the start that the Syrian opposition will never accept a role for Mr. Assad in a transitional government and he wondered aloud if the negotiators that the Syrian president had sent to Switzerland were prepared to contemplate that outcome. “We want to be sure we have a Syrian partner in this room,” Mr. Jarba said, adding, “Do we have such a partner?”

Asked whether the United States had any way of putting more leverage on the Assad government, Mr. Kerry suggested that the Obama administration would support “augmented” support for the opposition, among other options. But Mr. Kerry was vague about those options, and the White House has been extremely reluctant to use force in Syria or to even treat the Syria crisis as its principal foreign policy challenge.

On the sidelines, attempts at dialogue turned to scuffles. Outside, pro-government protesters waved the flags of the Syrian government and Hezbollah and chanted “God, Bashar and nothing else!” An opposition activist, Rami Jarrah, approached them with a television camera and interviewed them. But when he asked if Mr. Assad should be tried for war crimes, they began shouting and pushing.

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

We held the above back in a draft format and decided only February 1st to post it.

Now we know that the meetings on Syria in Geneva have produced no results, and we also know that the US expressed its opinion that Syria does not cooperate fast enough according to its commitment to give up its chemical weapons.
What now for the UN? Are we still going to the Sochi Winter Olympics?

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 31st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Davos and the Hatred of Evil

January 28, 2014 12:50 am 5 comments

Author:

avatar Shmuley Boteach

Wednesday, January 29th   2014

Iran’s Rouhani at the World Economic Forum. Photo:  Screenshot.

     At Davos, where I attended and spoke last week, there was endless talk of a deal between Israel and the Palestinians. According to Martin Indyk, the American special envoy whose panel I attended on Friday, the deal would look like this. Israel gives up the West Bank and returns to the ’67 lines, with land swaps. Israel gives up about half of Jerusalem for the capitol of a Palestinian state (Abu Mazen is demanding the entire old city).

Israel offers some sort of unspecified redress on the refugee issue.

In return, the Palestinians will guarantee not to make the West Bank into Gaza and will recognize Israel’s right to exist, albeit not necessarily as a Jewish state.

       Gosh. Why hasn’t Israel said yes before time runs out?

 

But the most painful part of an otherwise illuminating and extraordinary Forum, without question, was Iranian President Rouhani’s speech where he demonstrated an astonishing capacity to lie to one of the world’s most educated and sophisticated audiences, with few in attendance calling him out on his fabrications.

The New York Times ran a story on Sunday which showed that nearly everything Rouhani said at Davos was said 10 years earlier by Iranian president Khatami and that Rouhani’s speech was nothing but a regurgitation. Same promises of peace. Same commitment not to pursue nukes or violence. And just as, within a year of Khatami’s speech, Iran was spinning centrifuges, similarly, Rouhani told Fareed Zakaria just three days after his Davos speech that even amid the nuclear deal with the West, Iran will not shut down a single centrifuge.

None of this stopped Rouhani from being treated as el numero uno one rock star at Davos. I saw him walking through the halls with his entourage a few times. He was trailed by rushing media. Scores of participants went to say hello. He was easily the biggest draw of the entire Forum, even though, over the past three weeks, Iran has brutally hanged about 40 people in public.

Then there was the panel on Syria, which featured key players such as UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, UN Under Secretary General Baroness Valerie Amos, and former UN Under Secretary General Mark Malloch-Brown. I sat in disbelief. Not one of the speakers was prepared to apportion blame for the slaughter. Not one condemned Bashar Assad for gassing children. Not one made mention of the New York Times front page story that same day which showed graphic pictures of some of the thousands of prisoners that Assad had tortured and starved to death in the most ghoulish fashion imaginable. The panelists spoke of the procedural difficulties of passing a UN Security Council Resolution against Syria without once saying that Vladimir Putin and Russia, arch protectors of the butcher in Damascus, were responsible for blocking every resolution introduced by the United States against Assad.

In her last comment of the panel, Baroness Amos actually praised Russia as having been the first to try and pass a resolution that called attention to the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

{ShmuIey writes -} I was live tweeting the panel (WEF published social media statistics that ranked my Twitter feed first that day at the Conference) and I wrote, “Gd Almighty! Did I just hear baroness Amos of the UN defend Russia on Syria at the #WEF in Davos? U got to be kidding.”

All of which leads to a conclusion I came to years ago. There is no way to make the world a better place without first hating evil. You can’t love the victims of oppression without loathing, resisting and sometimes even fighting the bad guys who oppress them. If you’re indifferent on the brutality of Iran – a country that stones women to death and hangs homosexuals from public cranes – then you have a broken moral compass. And if you’re seriously thinking of leaving Assad in power as part of a “peace” deal then you have utter contempt for his victims.

In wanting to be open-minded enough to embrace everybody we have forgotten how to hate anybody.

And make no mistake.

Hatred has its place. There can be no moral neutrality when it comes to things like children being gassed. 

How can you not feel revulsion, detestation and disgust toward Assad when seeing rows of dead children?

I am writing this column on a plane, en route to Auschwitz from Davos, where I will G-d willing participate in the historic visit of the Israeli Knesset to the death camp for the very first time, on Monday. Beyond remembering the victims and paying homage to their sacred memory, are we not meant to be repulsed by the Nazi beast that created this hell on earth? And if we don’t despise them, what will stop this from happening again?

At Davos I spent time discussing the upcoming 20th anniversary, this April, of the Rwandan Genocide, with President Paul Kagame, the hero who stopped the genocide in 1994. I told him that at the panel that I moderated between him and Elie Wiesel this past September, he had moved me deeply with his response to my question of whether he trusted the UN and the world to protect his people.

He shook his head, lowered his eyes, and said, “No, I learned after the genocide that I, and no one else, is responsible for protecting my people.”

Kagame has been criticized by the UN for continuing to fight the genocidaires who fled to Congo. He has resisted great pressure to give up the fight. But as someone who witnessed his people hacked to death in the fastest genocide in human history, he is not out to win popularity contests but to serve as guardian of his nation.

The same is true of Prime Minister Netanyahu who drew perhaps a quarter of Rouhani’s audience at Davos and could not compete with the his popularity. If Bibi would just let up about the genocidal threat of a nuclear Iran and say all the right things about peace, friendship and a new beginning he would increase his European popularity by orders of magnitude.

But he too, as the head of a nation that 70 years ago watched a third of its number gassed, learned that while it’s nice to be popular it’s even nicer to be alive.

Shmuley Boteach, ‘America’s Rabbi,’ whom The Washington Post calls ‘the most famous Rabbi in America,’ is founder of This World:
The Values Network, which promotes universal Jewish values in media, religion, and culture. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 26th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

 

Kumi Naidoo | Don’t Bet on Coal and Oil Growth
Kumi Naidoo, Reader Supported News
Naidoo writes: “A mind-boggling sum of about $800 for each person on the planet is invested into fossil fuel companies through the global capital markets alone. … The amount of money invested into the 200 biggest fossil fuel companies through financial markets is estimated at 5.5 trillion dollars. This should be an impressive amount of money for anyone reading this.”
READ MORE

 

How the Coal Industry Impoverishes West Virginia
Omar Ghabra, The Nation
Ghabra writes: “There’s a joke circulating among Syrians who fled the brutal conflict devastating their country to the quiet mountains of West Virginia: ‘We escaped the lethal chemicals in Syria only for them to follow us here.’ Of course, what’s happening in West Virginia right now is no laughing matter.”
READ MORE

———-

By Kumi Naidoo, Reader Supported News

 

25 January 14

 

mind-boggling sum of about $800 for each person on the planet is invested into fossil fuel companies through the global capital markets alone. That’s roughly 10 percent of the total capital invested in listed companies. The amount of money invested into the 200 biggest fossil fuel companies through financial markets is estimated at 5.5 trillion dollars. This should be an impressive amount of money for anyone reading this.

 

By keeping their money in coal and oil companies, investors are betting a vast amount of wealth, including the pensions and savings of millions of people, on high future demand for dirty fuels. The investment has enabled fossil fuel companies to massively raise their spending on expanding extractable reserves, with oil and gas companies alone (state-owned ones included) spending the combined GDP of Netherlands and Belgium a year, in belief that there will be demand for ever more dirty fuel.

 

This assumption is being challenged by recent developments, which is good news for climate but bad news for anyone who thought investing in fossil fuel industries was a safe bet. Frantic growth in coal consumption seems to be coming to an end much sooner than predicted just a few years ago, with China’s aggressive clean air policies, rapidly dropping coal consumption in the U.S. and upcoming closures of many coal plants in Europe. At the same time the oil industry is also facing slowing demand growth and the financial and share performance of oil majors is disappointing for shareholders.

 

Nevertheless, even faced with weakening demand prospects, outdated investment patterns are driving fossil fuel companies to waste trillions of dollars in developing reserves and infrastructure that will be stranded as the world moves beyond 20th century energy.

 

A good example is coal export developments. The large recent investment in coal export capacity in all key exporter countries was based on the assumption of unlimited growth of Chinese demand. When public outrage over air pollution reached a new level in 2012-2013, the Chinese leadership moved swiftly to mandate absolute reductions in coal consumption, and banned new coal-fired power plants in key economic regions. A growing chorus of financial analysts is now projecting a peak in Chinese coal demand in the near future, which seemed unimaginable just a couple of years ago. This new reality has already reduced market capitalization of export focused coal companies. Even in China itself, investment in coal-fired power plants has now outpaced demand growth, leading to drops in capacity utilization.

 

Another example of potentially stranded assets is found in Europe, where large utilities ignored the writing on the wall about EU moves to price carbon and boost renewable energy. Betting on old business models and the fossil-fuel generation, they built a massive 80 gigawatts of new fossil power generation capacity in the last 10 years, much of which is already generating losses and now risk becoming stranded assets.

 

Arctic oil drilling is possibly the ultimate example of fossil companies’ unfounded confidence in high future demand. Any significant production and revenue is unlikely until 2030, and in the meanwhile Arctic drilling faces high and uncertain costs, extremely demanding and risky operations, as well as the prospect of heavy regulation and liabilities when (not if) the first major blowout happens in the region. No wonder the International Energy Agency is skeptical about Arctic oil, assuming hardly any production in the next 20 years. Regardless, Shell has already burnt $5 billion of shareholders’ money on their Arctic gamble.

 

Those investing in coal and oil have perhaps felt secure seeing the global climate negotiations proceed at a disappointing pace. However, the initial carbon crunch is being delivered by increasingly market-driven renewable energy development, and by national level clean energy and energy efficiency policies — such as renewable energy support schemes and emission regulation in Europe, or clean air policies in the U.S. and in China. Global coal demand, and possibly even oil demand, could peak even before a strong climate treaty is agreed.

 

Investors often underestimate their exposure to fossil fuels, particularly indirect exposure through e.g. passively managed pension funds and sovereign debt of strongly fossil fuel dependent states. Assessing exposure, requiring fossil energy companies to disclose and reduce carbon risks, and reducing investments in sunset energy technologies will lead to profitable investment in a world that moves to cleaner and smarter energy systems.

 

Improving competitiveness of renewable energy, growing opposition to destructive fossil fuel projects, concerns on water shortage and the imperative of cutting global CO2 emissions all point in the same direction: Governments, companies and investors should all be planning for a world with declining fossil fuel consumption — not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it makes economic sense. It is the direction the world will be moving to — faster than many yet anticipate.

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

Following our original posting, we watched today the Fareed Zakaria show at CNN/GPS and reporting from Davos – from the World Economy dialogues, he pointed out that 85 people own as much wealth as the lowest 3.5 billion people of the World.

Then he also mentioned that the 5 members of the family that owns Walmart own a disproportionate part of the wealth of the US – to be exact – just as much as 42% of all Americans.

He also said that there were no problem if everybody would improve their economic standing and the few at the top just grow more – but the reality is that the Middle class is receding and the explanation is that we moved from the human based Manufacturing Age to a machine based Manufacturing Age that does not need humans in the production line. This is endemic and this spiral is bound to drive us further down.
Now a big company like Apple employs only 50,000 Americans – so he has a true argument.

Because he mentioned Walmart this triggered my Sustainable Development thinking as I know that the Walmart company is in partnership with Mr. Jigar Shah in order to decrease their expenditure on electricity by allowing him the use of the roofs covering their stores to produce with photovoltaics the electricity they need. In effect they just did what the US government ought to campaign for. If they are so smart they indeed deserve being so rich – and they put the rest of us to shame because we do not have the initiative to improve our lives by ourselves.

In the context of this posting – why do we not rebel against those in Washington that insist the government sends dollars overseas to buy oil when there is no compelling reason to continue this man-made dependency on unneeded resources? Just think what array of industries could spring up from alliances like that of Jigar and Walmart? The whole Davos exercise ought to be reorganized – the apple of the economy is rotten not because of high-tech apples but because of the intentional subsidization of the old low-tech industries and the move to a globalized market that does not allow for globalized sustainability. You can bet safely that the Koch Brothers will push the US deeper in the hole of retardiness – this because it benefits their old ways of making money.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 25th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

 

  From the line of Matthew Russell Lee

 

UNITED NATIONS, January 25 — With Syria talks in Geneva surprisingly going forward, with the two sides in the same room not speaking to each other but only to Lakhdar Brahimi –  on January 25 “The Elders” made an announcement.

 

  Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, as well as Martti Ahtisaari, Desmond Tutu and Ernesto Zedillo, will go to Iran from January 26 to 29, to discuss among other things “mutual respect” and peace in the region: that is, Syria.

 

  This comes after current UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on January 20 reversed his “decision” of the previous day of inviting Iran to the Syria talks in Montreux. The contrast, some say, couldn’t be clearer.
{BUT REALLY WHAT DOES THAT MEAN IN PRACTICE? – that is our question}

 

   In Geneva Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Bashar al Ja’afari, is speaking for the government.

 On January 20 in the Security Council, Ja’afari complained again of inaction on complaints by Herve Ladsous, the fourth French head of UN Peacekeeping in a row.

 

Ending the Syria speeches in Montreux on January 22, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called them “productive.” Then his spokesperson accused some non-Western media of being “disrespectful of the Secretary General of the UN,” after he gave the last two questions to Bloomberg and NHK (the Japanese  government run television network.)     How was it productive?

   Even before the afternoon session began, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius took to the Montreux stakeout to say Syrian foreign minister Moallem was “aggressive.”

 Fabius in September, at the UN, declared Ahmad al Jarba the leader of the Syrian people, and refused to take critical questions from the media including about his country’s practices.

   Australia was represented not by foreign minister Julie Bishop but rather its Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Peter Woolcott (who also chairs a humanitarian high level group on Syria, it’s been pointed out to Inner City Press.).  Bishop is in Washington, and soon to be in New York.

   Ahmad al Jarba spoke before the last, thanking Saudi Arabia, viewed as his sponsor, as if in an Oscars speech. Ban Ki-moon wrapped up, calling it productive and asking the assembled (hand-picked, without Iran) ministers to “wish [him] luck” as he went to speak to the media.

  There, the questions were chosen much as they are at the UN in New York, as documented and critiqued by the Free UN Coalition for Access — but in Montreux, this was actively protested. (FUNCA also questioned the UN citing Ban’s press conference as a basis to cancel its noon briefing in New York, on South Sudan, Central African Republic, Mali and other countries in which the UN is at least somewhat less marginal, or less US dominated.)

  When John Kerry held his press conference, only four questions were taken: CBS, a Turkish media, BBC and Al Hurra, on whose Broadcasting Board of Governors John Kerry himself serves.

After the UN’s reversal on including Iran in the Syria session in Montreux, it has turned out to be a series of speeches mostly by countries significantly less important to that conflict and the region.

   In the morning session on January 22, Italy and Spain spoke and Japan offered money. Turkey spoke without mentioning the Kurds — but neither did supposed representative of the range of Syrian opposition leaders  – Mr. Ahmad al Jarba.

CAN THE ELDERS OBTAIN THAT MAGIC FROM TEHRAN THAT IS NEEDED TO ALLOW THEM A PLACE AT THE SYRIA NEGOTIATIONS’ TABLE FROM WHICH THEY ARE KEPT AWAY BASICALLY BECAUSE THE NEGOTIATIONS ON THEIR NUCLEAR WEAPONS HAVE NOT MADE THEM CLEAN YET? CAN KOFI ANNAN PROVIDE THEM THE NEEDED “RESPECT” SO THEY CLIMB DOWN THE NUCLEAR LADDER SAYING THAT A REGION OF PEACE IS WHAT THEY WANT?


 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 22nd, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 The following is by now old hat but we decided to post it anyhow – this because it is still the base for understanding the surrealism of the Syria Geneva II meeting that just started with a Montreux, Switzerland,  introductory.

The best reporting we know is that from Matthew Russell Lee reporting from the UN Security Council door:

www.innercitypress.com/syria2montreux012214.html

We believe that Iran belongs to the meeting – so do the Kurds. But Geneva I deemed that the meeting is basically between the Assad government of Syria and a “UNIFIED” opposition delegation that in reality does not exist. The Syrian National Coalition (SNC), that is headed by Mr. Jarba is a Saudi/Qatari pupp.et – they are backed only by half of the Turkey based leadership, and do not include the Kurdish held territory at all. That is the Turks’ contribution to the Syrian/Iraqi mess.
Russia – the other P2 that with the US and the UN is in the driver’s seat of these meetings has its own Islamic problem in the Caucasus and in more central parts of Russia along the Volga river – they like to back the Assad regime for their own reasons but want no part of his other backers like Islamic Mullahs of Iran.

To start making sense Iran will have to come clean on its nuclear dealings with the West – so the US will allow them participation at the Syrian table and this is what we mean by making themselves Salon Clean. Without this there is no progress in their relations with the UN and the West on any issue. They may think that  time is in their favor and might try to play as outsiders against everyone at the Geneva table.

Russia on the other hand does not have the luxury of time – this because of the Sochi winter games and surprise – their internal nemesis are training now in Syria and the US might just decide that if the Russians are not supportive of the West’s goals in the Middle East – why play their ski slopes at all? That would be a terrible set-back to ambitious Mr. Putin.

The drama is thus that nobody gives a damn about Syrian lives when pursuing  their own particular goals and our true cynicism is revealed in the greater interest we saw in the Davos World Economic Forum meeting then in any of the Middle East negotiations.

————————————————————————————-

U.N. Invites Iran to Syria Talks, Raising Objections From the U.S.

The announcement by Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, that he had invited Iran to a peace conference to end the war in Syria drew strong objections on Sunday from American officials, who suggested that Iran had not met all the conditions for attending and that the invitation might need to be withdrawn.

At the heart of the dispute is whether Iran has accepted the terms of the talks, which begin Wednesday in Montreux, Switzerland: to establish “by mutual consent” a transitional body to govern Syria. Mr. Ban said he had been privately assured that Iranian officials “welcome” those rules and that they had pledged to play “a positive and constructive role.”

American officials said they had been in regular communication with the United Nations over the requirements Iran would need to meet to be invited, but they appeared to have been caught off guard by Mr. Ban’s hastily organized news conference. They pointed out that Iran had not publicly accepted the formal mandate for the conference, which was agreed upon in Geneva in 2012 and is known as the Geneva communiqué.

“If Iran does not fully and publicly accept the Geneva communiqué, the invitation must be rescinded,” Jen Psaki, a State Department spokeswoman, said in a statement.

Officials in Washington emphasized that Iran had made no such public statement at the time of Mr. Ban’s news conference. It was expected to release one early Monday.

If Iran has accepted the Geneva terms, it would be a sharp turnaround, since it has long insisted that it will participate in talks only if there are no preconditions. Still, such a shift would not necessarily mean Tehran had accepted that President Bashar al-Assad must leave office.

Some 30 countries have been invited to Montreux for what may be a largely ceremonial opening day of the peace talks. Two days later, Syria’s government and opposition delegations will move to Geneva to continue the deliberations, mediated by a United Nations special envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi.

Diplomats and Middle East analysts say that if there are any breakthroughs, they will take place in Geneva. The negotiations are not expected to yield major results, except perhaps to open up certain parts of Syria to the delivery of humanitarian aid, which has been long denied.

Iran’s participation has been a subject of intense diplomatic wrangling for several weeks. Mr. Ban and Mr. Brahimi have insisted that Iran, given its considerable influence over the Assad government, should be part of the negotiations. So has the Syrian government’s other major ally, Russia.

The United States has long been wary of Iran’s intentions. Tehran has been one of the Assad government’s staunchest political and military supporters, sending arms to Damascus and encouraging Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia, to join the fight on the side of Mr. Assad.

As recently as last Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry complained that Iran was, effectively, a belligerent in the conflict.

“Iran is currently a major actor with respect to adverse consequences in Syria,” Mr. Kerry said. “No other nation has its people on the ground fighting in the way that they are.”

On Sunday, Ms. Psaki added in her statement, “We also remain deeply concerned about Iran’s contributions to the Assad regime’s brutal campaign against its own people, which has contributed to the growth of extremism and instability in the region.”

Iran’s inclusion has the potential to turn the Syria peace talks into a platform for intensifying Middle East conflicts. Also represented will be Saudi Arabia, Iran’s chief rival.

Andrew J. Tabler, an expert on Syria at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said Iran’s presence “seems to widen the circle of regional involvement.” But he also noted that Iran and the United States could be expected to hold diametrically opposed views as to whether Mr. Assad must give up power.

“Given that Iranian forces and their Shia militias are deployed on the ground backing up Assad, it means another Assad backer will be present at this meeting,” Mr. Tabler said.

Syria’s political opposition said in a Twitter message that it would not attend unless Mr. Ban withdrew Iran’s invitation.

“The Syrian coalition announces that they will withdraw their attendance in Geneva 2 unless Ban Ki-moon retracts Iran’s invitation,” the Twitter message said, quoting Louay Safi, a coalition spokesman.

The ultimatum came just a day after the coalition, facing a boycott by a third of its members, had voted to send a delegation to the peace talks. The opposition has been under intense international pressure, including from the United States government, to participate.

Mr. Ban said Sunday that he had spoken extensively with Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif.

“He has assured me that, like all the other countries invited to the opening-day discussions in Montreux, Iran understands that the basis of the talks is the full implementation of the 30 June, 2012, Geneva communiqué,” Mr. Ban said.

“Foreign Minister Zarif and I agreed that the goal of the negotiations is to establish by mutual consent a transitional governing body with full executive powers,” he added. “It was on that basis that Foreign Minister Zarif pledged that Iran would play a positive and constructive role in Montreux.”

Somini Sengupta reported from New York, and Michael R. Gordon from Washington.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 22nd, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

THE WORLD IS FICKLE AND FULL OF THE POTENTIAL FOR SURPRISE.

 

Netanyahu, Rouhani Planes Parked Next to Each Other at Davos – according to Bloomberg.

{MIGHT IT BE MORE THEN INDUCED WISHFUL THINKING?   COULD IT BE THAT AFTER A POTENTIAL REALIGNMENT OF ISRAEL AND SAUDI ARABIA THERE IS  ALSO A POTENTIAL FOR ANTI-AMERICAN REALIGNMENT NETANYAHU – ROUHANI?}

January 22, 2014 12:56 pm 4 comments
A photograph of the Israeli and Iranian airplanes parked next to each other at Zurich's Airport for the World Economic Forum. Photo: Screenshot / John Fraher.

A photograph of the Israeli and Iranian airplanes parked next to each other at Zurich’s International Airport for
the World Economic Forum.
Photo: Screenshot / Gwen Ackerman.

As a true sign of the global connectivity taking place in Davos this week at the World Economic Forum, Bloomberg News published a picture worth a thousand words – the planes of the Israeli and Iranian delegations parked next to each other at Zurich International Airport.

“Netanyahu and Rouhani planes find themselves side-by-side at Zurich airport as both head to Davos,” John Fraher, Bloomberg’s Managing Editor for Europe, Middle East and Africa tweeted on Wednesday, linking to the picture.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was bringing a delegation of some 100 leading Israeli businessmen to the event, where he has meetings scheduled with the corporate leaders of Yahoo and Google. Presumably, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani is attending to interest world business leaders in the Iran economy, recently opening up for business after the Islamic Republic formally inked a nuclear treaty with world powers, led by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, this week.

 

 

 

BUT ALSO  – according to CNN:

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif insisted Wednesday that the Obama administration mischaracterizes Iran’s concessions in the nuclear deal, telling CNN’s Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto in an exclusive interview that “we did not agree to dismantle anything.”

As part of the deal, Iran was required to dilute its stockpile of uranium that had been enriched to 20%, well above the 5% level needed for power generation but still below the level for developing a nuclear weapon.

In addition, the deal mandated that Iran halt all enrichment above 5% and “dismantle the technical connections required to enrich above 5%,” according to a White House fact sheet issued in November after the initial agreement was reached.

Zarif accused the Obama administration of creating a false impression with such language.

 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 22nd, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

nbsp;www.theguardian.com/sustainable-b…

Now this is a Guardian of the UK blog – and as you know they are the journalistic outlet that made WikiLeaks and Snowden famous – we give them a lot of credit for perpetuating good journalism – so when we found the following in an e-mail from UN Wire of the UN Foundation we tended to give it credibility.

We do indeed expect the UN Foundation to be business oriented with a fresh breaze of air – that is SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS when Sustainability is understood as a way for the future and not just an issue of profitability for this moment.

The posting is about the ongoing meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and we understand that the B – TEAM is the Sustainability team for World Economics of a more sustainable World.

 

 

GSB: Guardian Sustainable Business blog

Exclusive: the B Team asks business to drive sustainable inclusive prosperity

As the World Economic forum kicks off, business leaders are calling for companies to respond to the ‘planetary emergency’• Jo Confino reflects: Sustainable development goals could be at risk by political squabbling

 

General view of the city of Davos, the Congress Hall venue of the World Economic Forum

As political and business leaders gear up for the World Economic Forum at Davos, the B Team calls for business to drive the sustainability agenda. Photograph: Pascal Lauener/Reuters

They lack neither influence, nor the ability to use it.

But there is one asset that business leaders at the World Economic Forum this week could usefully exploit further: the power to advance the wider interests of people and planet.

The theme for the World Economic Forum (WEF)  Annual Meeting 2014 isThe Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business. “

With UN climate change negotiations under way and as the UN designs its flagship Sustainable Development Goals
in 2015 – business needs to engage.

Indeed, broadening its agenda could help secure its status in the long term. Faced with the ever-widening gap between rich and poor, widespread degradation of the natural world and runaway climate change, business has played a dual role, as chief instigator and seemingly disinterested observer. But some businesses have already shown that, despite scepticism among some governments, they can be a driving force in development, helping to achieve social and environmental ends that governments and community groups are unable to deliver alone.

When the UN decided on its Millennium Development Goals, aiming to reduce poverty and improve quality of life in developing countries, businesses were not at the table. Today their contribution to some of the initiative’s successes is widely recognized.

As foreign direct investment in developing countries leapt from 25% to 60% of the global total, millions of new jobs were created, lifting many more out of poverty and helping finance new government programmes. With growing interests in these economies, some companies adopted policies specifically designed to support the UN goals and worked with governments and community organisations to deliver them, in particular in energy, healthcare, infrastructure and water.

Business not only offers its technical expertise, but capital and armies of skilled people to such initiatives, as well as capacity to scale through its global financial, logistical and communications networks. The expansion of mobile and internet networks into new territories, for example, could not have taken place so quickly without the private sector.

Today, there are nearly as many mobile phones as there are people, and 39% of the world’s population already uses the internet, dispersing knowledge and economic opportunity, driving collaboration and helping to respond to the needs of the 1.4 billion people still in extreme poverty.

Some of the results of the Millennium Development Goals have been dramatic. Clean drinking water is available to two billion more people than in 1990, for instance, and the mortality rate from tuberculosis and malaria has been substantially reduced. Today we are faced with a planetary emergency, and this means the successor initiative, the Sustainable Development Goals, must be more ambitious yet. Realising these will call into question the very purpose of business in the 21st century.

Traditional business practices have brought new services, jobs and well-being to many communities in recent decades, while sustainable business practices have often helped a company’s image and bottom line. But with increasing inequality, volatility and resource scarcity, there is a real chance the gains in prosperity of the past fifty years will be lost to future generations – with the greatest burden falling on the world’s poor, those least responsible for causing the problems. Business must go further, redefining its responsibilities and terms of success, embracing the need for equitable opportunities, fair returns to work and respect for the environment alongside profit and growth.

Our peers in Davos can start at home. A growing number of companies already pay a living wage, involve poor people as employees and are looking to serve low-income consumers. Others are delivering sustainable farming, aquaculture, forestry or ecotourism, and invest in new biochemical, low-carbon concrete and steel, and clean energy and transport technologies. Many have found new ways to work with governments and NGOs in pursuit of social and environmental ends, partnerships that can be boosted by new financial instruments, such as social impact bonds or investments in social businesses.

Both innovation and concerted action are needed to accelerate business practices that promote true transformation. Many managers may be unaware of the side effects of their decisions, or lack incentives to address them. Education in new management practices can help, as well as the measurement of environmental and social impacts, improved governance and increased transparency. . . . . . Organisations such as the UN Global Compact and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development have also launched important initiatives that businesses can join and learn from.

Our hopes for a new era of peace, shared opportunity and ever-increasing interdependence may be at risk, but realising them is not beyond human capability. The strengths of business – enterprise, innovation, and technological progress – could be instrumental.

This version of the future – not that of a blighted planet – is fundamentally in the interests of business. Executives must rise above narrow sectoral and short-term interests, and work with governments to create a new framework of incentives and sanctions, rewarding investment in people and planet.

It is time that they take the initiative at their own companies, and together with politicians of courage and conviction, drive towards a global goal of sustainable, inclusive prosperity – at the UN general assembly, in Paris next year, and beyond.

The B Team is a not-for-profit initiative formed by a global group of leaders to create a future where the purpose of business is to be a driving force for social, environmental and economic benefit.

Join the community of sustainability professionals and experts. Become a GSB member to get more stories like this direct to your .

——————————–

 

AS AN EXAMPLE WE GIVE HERE TODAY’S MAIN EVENTS AT DAVOS  – THOSE BESIDES SKYING AND PARTYING – January 22, 2014:

 

Event Highlights:

  • =================————————————

     

    • What lies ahead for the economy in 2014?

      The global economy in 2013 remained suspended between the poles of hope and uncertainty. While …

    • What does citizenship mean in the 21st century?

      The past 10 years have seen the greatest expansion of information since the dawn of …

    • World Economic Forum launches Forum Academy

      The World Economic Forum today launched Forum Academy, an online learning platform, in …

    • How can we have an honest conversation on climate change?

      Here’s a stat that should scare you: only one in three Americans say they have occasionally …

    • How can we build more resilient cities?

      When senior leaders at a large, global financial institution were choosing between cities in …

    • What is the role of business?

      Any business is a risky endeavour with an uncertain life expectancy. It has been, and should …

    • My message to the World Economic Forum in Davos

      This is the full text of Pope Francis’ special address to the World Economic Forum’s …

    • The 30 cities reshaping the world

      The theme for this year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is The Reshaping of the World: …

     

 

 

 

 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 8th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Welcome to the Regions 20 website

The R20-Regions of Climate Action is a non-profit organization founded in 2010 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and other global leaders in cooperation with the United Nations.

The R20 is a coalition of partners led by regional governments that work to promote and implement projects that are designed to produce local economic and environmental benefits in the form of reduced energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions; strong local economies; improved public health; and new green jobs. These local actions can help the world achieve our shared global environmental and economic goals.

R20 is not just another NGO or network of regions, it is much more than that. It is a real coalition of forces which believe that climate change and green economic development can be tackled at the subnational level.” — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, in the Global Journal, May-June 2011.       Official Arnold Schwarzenegger website

R20 Members

Note: Bold denotes founding member.

Africa

  • Wilaya of Oran, Algeria
  • Northern Region, Burkina Faso
  • Region des Haut Bassins, Burkina Faso
  • Republic of Mali
  • Region Oriental, Morocco
  • Region of Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate, Morocco
  • Delta State, Nigeria
  • Western Province, Rwanda
  • Region de Dakar, Senegal
  • Region de Matam, Senegal
  • Ville de Thies, Senegal

Asia-Pacific

  • Gujarat State, India
  • State of Cebu, Phillipines
  • Gyeonggi Provincial Government, South Korea

Europe

  • City of Vienna, Austria
  • Region of Lower Austria, Austria
  • City of Gussing, Austria
  • Region of Istria, Croatia
  • Région de l’Ile de France, France
  • Région de la Réunion, France
  • Region de Azores, Portugal
  • Alba County, Romania
  • Region of Donetsk, Ukraine
  • Region of Flevoland, Netherlands

North America

  • Province of British Columbia, Canada
  • State of Baja California, Mexico
  • State of Campeche, Mexico
  • State of Chiapas, Mexico
  •  Municipio de Villa de Alvarez, State of Colima, Mexico
  • State of Sinaloa, Mexico
  • State of Quintana Roo, Mexico
  • State of California, USA
  • State of Connecticut, USA
  • State of Michigan, USA
  • Municipalidad de Novolato, Sinaloa, Mexico

South America

  • State of Acre, Brazil
  • State of Mato Grosso, Brazil
  • State of Pichincha, Ecuador
  • State of Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • State of Rio, Brazil
  • State of Para, Brazil
  • City of Santiago de Surco, Peru
  • Municipalidad Distrital de la Molina, Peru
  • Municipalidad de Miraflores, Peru
  • Municipalidad de Santiago, Peru

National Agencies

  •  Direccion Nacional de Construccion (MVCS), Mexico

——————————————————————————–

Schwarzenegger flexes green muscles in Geneva.


Arnie also visited the 82nd Geneva International Motor Show to put the spotlight on the latest green cars Arnie also visited the 82nd Geneva International Motor Show to put the spotlight on the latest green cars (Reuters)

by Simon Bradley in Geneva, swissinfo.ch
March 9, 2012

The war against climate change must become “hipper” to interest more people, says former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Hollywood action hero was in Geneva this week in his latest role as green activist to inaugurate his R20 non-profit environmental group, which has established a headquarters at Versoix, on the city outskirts.

During his three-day visit Schwarzenegger broke Geneva University audience records at a public conference on his latest “crusade” – climate change and the economy.
 
On Wednesday night 2,000 people packed into the main university auditorium and two separate conference rooms were opened especially to broadcast the Governator’s live performance.
 
“I won’t stop until we’ve spread our green revolution everywhere,” he told the audience.
 
Schwarzenegger served as governor of California from 2003 until 2011, during which time he became steadily more committed to green policies. In 2006, California became the first US state to place a cap on greenhouse gases. 
 
The 64-year-old hammered home his message about better communication on climate change and greenhouse gases.
 
“We have to make the environment movement sexier, more attractive and hipper so everyone takes part,” he said. “And we have to banish the word ‘impossible’ from our vocabulary.”
 
Communication should be like a “four-legged stool” and not the current one-legged version based solely on climate change, said Schwarzenegger.
 
The second leg should be about jobs, as “the green economy is a growing economy”, and the third and fourth must focus on national security and health.
 
“Clean economies can save millions of lives,” he pointed out.
 
Citing Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi in his speech, he said citizens could not hang around waiting for governments to seal an international climate change accord.
 
“There are countries, states, cities and people who think they can’t create a green energy future without an international agreement. I’m on a crusade to change that,” he declared.

 

Regional importance

Schwarzenegger’s R20 brings together a diverse alliance of 30 city and regional governments and partners “to develop, finance, implement, evaluate and replicate low-carbon and climate-resilient projects on a worldwide scale”. The long-term objective is to increase that to 200 regions with green investments worth $100 billion by 2017.
 
Members include regions in Mexico, Nigeria,  India, Brazil, South Korea, California, British Columbia, and the Parisian Ile-de-France area.

Launched in December 2009, the public-private group, which held its first general meetings in Geneva this week, is all about action, said Schwarzenegger.
 
“Our task is a daunting one which is growing exponentially. But there are fantastic things happening all over the world. It’s about moving ahead on the subnational level instead of waiting on the sidelines,” he added.
 
Michel Jarraud, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), agreed that regions had a “key role to play” in climate change efforts.
 
“No country can do it alone. Everyone needs to cooperate with everyone else,“ he said. “This is why I’m happy with the R20 initiative.”

 

Best practices

One of the R20’s aims is to spread knowledge of the benefits of clean energy.
 
“We will make sure the people of Delhi to know about the great things being done here in Switzerland and we want to help provinces in Morocco learn about technologies from California,” said the former governor.

A number of projects are underway, such as more efficient public lighting, and a “cool roofs” initiative – the installation of white roofs, which reflect the sun and keep houses cool.

Martin Beniston, head of the Institute of Environmental Sciences at Geneva University, said the R20 was a “key example of actions in favour of the environment that open up opportunities for local and national economies”.
 
The R20 is also behind  the ‘Sustainia’ collaborative project, a virtual model of the world that could be created if ready and available solutions are implemented to existing cities, homes, energy systems and transport.

‘Sustainia’ will be presented to world leaders in June at the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil, alongside “Sustainia100”, a catalogue of 100 ideal solutions and technologies.
 
“Sustainia is all about showing how easily the future could be different from, and better than, today. It’s based on facts: we have clean technologies right now, and science tells us that using them would bring all kinds of benefits,” Sam Smith, global leader of WWF’s Climate and Energy Initiative, told swissinfo.ch.

 

Green hub

Versoix was chosen as the R20 headquarters due to the concentration of United Nations specialist environmental agencies, as well as NGOs like the WWF, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the World Economic Forum, as well as private banks.
 
Canton Geneva will assume the R20’s rental costs for the first two years under a policy of encouraging NGOs to establish themselves in the region. The group plans to open offices in China and Rio de Janeiro.
 
Franz Perrez, head of international affairs at the Federal Environment Office, said he was delighted Schwarzenegger had chosen Geneva.

“It has the potential to play an important role, particularly in resource efficiency which is crucial to achieving climate change goals,” he told swissinfo.ch. “This is a signal that reflects the fact that Geneva has become a critical hub for environmental issues.”

He agreed that there was a “desperate need” for bottom-up approaches, but added that looking at those alone would not be sufficient.

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Born in Austria on July 30, 1947, he holds dual Austrian-US nationality. He stormed the world of bodybuilding winning the Mr Universe title at the age of 20 and went on to hold the Mr Olympia title seven times.

He gained world fame as an action film icon in movies such as Conan the Barbarian, The Terminator, Last Action Hero, The Running Man, Twins, True Lies, Batman & Robin. He is back working on a series of new films.

He was governor of California from 2003 to 2011 serving two terms. In 2006, California became the first US state to place a cap on greenhouse gases. The law set new regulations on the amount of emissions utilities, refineries and manufacturing plants are allowed to release into the atmosphere.

Schwarzenegger also signed a second global warming bill that prohibits large utilities and corporations in California from making long-term contracts with suppliers who do not meet the state’s greenhouse gas emission standards.

The two bills are part of a plan to reduce California’s emissions by 25 per cent to 1990s levels by 2020. In 2005, Schwarzenegger issued an executive order calling to reduce greenhouse gases to 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.

 

CO2 emission cuts

As a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, Switzerland in 1997 committed itself to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In an initial phase CO2 emissions were to be reduced ten per cent over 1990 levels by 2010.

The government foresees raising the target to at least a 20 per cent cut in emissions by 2020, partly through a CO2 tax, an emissions trading system and compensation measures outside Switzerland.

Parliament approved the 20 per cent target, but wants cuts to be achieved through measures within Switzerland only.

Discussions are continuing on extending the CO2 tax from heating oil, gas and coal to also include petrol.

Environmental groups collected enough signatures for a nationwide vote on separate proposals for a 30 per cent cut in emissions.

The EU, which does not include Switzerland, has also set 20 per cent emission cut targets.

 

Contact Information

 

R20 Headquarters
48 Chemin Du Grand Montfleury
CH 1290 Versoix, Geneva, Switzerland
Phone: +41 22 755 65 45
Fax: +41 22 755 65 49
Email: secretariat@regions20.org

R20 USA
2601 Ocean Park Blvd., Ste. 311
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Phone: 310-664-0300
Fax: 310-664-0305
Email: khaddad@regions20.org

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 19th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

The following I learned, Thursday October 10, 2013, coincidentally at a breakfast meeting of the new series at he Green Tech Investors Forum run by Dr. Gelvin Stevenson and hosted by the New York Offices of the International law Firm Crowell &  Moring.

I said coincidentally because that day I was traveling to Reykjavik, Iceland, for the First International Conference of the Arctic Circle Nations, October 11-14, 2013. This Conference, as it turned out, was mainly concerned in the creation of wealth in the old way, but viewing  now on how it will be possible to using the access to the newly un-covered-of-ice waters and lands of the Arctic.

There could not have been a more contrasting set of visions then those exposed at the Manhattan event and the general spirit that drove the organizers of the Harpa Conference Center at the Reykjavik event. These two events will bring me back to post about pure SUSTAINABILITY after having lately been focused rather on the melt-down of the United States that to me was a much more frightening perspective then the climate change induced melting of the ice-caps at the three poles.

In the present posting I will be dealing with concepts put forward by Mr. Jigar Shah, the Star speaker at the Manhattan event. This will  follow  material from the other presenters before the Green Tech Investors Forum. Then, in following postings, I will be dealing with specifics from the Reykjavik meeting, and I foresee a series of postings about what can create Sustainable Wealth and what can be seen rather as a throw-back to past mistakes.

DSCI0056

——————————————————————————-

we already posted:

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 10th, 2013

– See more at: www.sustainabilitank.info/2013/04…

 

and the full program of the Conference/meeting as provided several days before the event and which we posted October 10th so I could provide the link to the people present at the Manhattan event:

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 10th, 2013

– See more at: www.sustainabilitank.info/2013/10…

——————————————————————————–

The Manhattan meeting was about a new company that has new proprietary technology or billing purpose – “Simply Grid” – it provides a solution for on-demand access to electricity.

The company’s proprietary technology includes a custom engineered controller which is deployed either within industry standard electric charging stations or as an augmentation to standard in-wall electrical outlets, and an Internet based management and billing system which allows for the automated initiation/termination of electric service via mobile app or text message, monitoring of usage, and billing. 

Simply Grid focuses on three markets: the mobile food industry, marinas and RV parks, and personal electronics in cafes and other public spaces.

 There are over 25,000 food carts and food trucks in the US, and they are expanding rapidly. Their legacy source of energy, gas or diesel powered generators, is expensive, polluting and noisy. Simply Grid’s solution – usually a four-foot high pedestal – enables private lot managers and municipalities to provide electricity to these vendors at a significant cost savings while providing a more pleasant environment for their customers.

 

 Simply Grid has a pilot in Union Square, midtown Manhattan, – with a food-cart vendor – Rafiqi’s – on the north side of the Square – in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office, ConEd, and NYC Department of Transportation. Additionally, the company has already deployments at food truck parks in Austin, TX and Atlanta, GA.

 

 Food carts’ portable generators—used by about 60% of all food carts—emit twenty times more particulate matter and other asthma-causing pollutants than NYC’s electric supply.

Simply Grid’s technology allows lot owners and municipalities to provide grid electricity to them, which makes them cleaner, quieter, and more profitable.

Electricity is made available to these vendors via outlets in industry standard electricity pedestals which have been customized with proprietary metering controllers. The controllers connect wireless to Simply Grid’s cloud-based platform which manages customer accounts, metering, and billing.

The system allows vendors  on city streets and RV lots to initiate service with their mobile phones and connect to the electric grid with cables they already use with their generators.The food vendors will be able to sell electricity to electric vehicles – cars, bikes etc. This will help clean up the air in cities by making it more feasible to use electric vehicles. Obviously, the electricity supply is a separate topic – but the decreased dependence on diesel and gasoline is clear. In this respect it is a company that does not only owe its success to efforts to decrease effects that cause global warming i.e. the use of petroleum products, but it also provides new lines of income to vendors of other services, and economically thus creates “CLIMATE WEALTH.”

The speakers at the meeting were SIMPLY GRID officials –Mike Dubrovsky; CEO, Jeffrey Hoffman,  COO;  Samuel Abbay, Co-Founder and Co-CEO. Present, and separate speaker, was partner and initiator of the “CREATING CLIMATE WEALTH” concept Jigar Shah who made already a lot of money when he created “SunEdison” – now a very successful company with billions in sales, and which he sold so he can go on creating new ideas and companies.

Creating Climate Wealth guru, Jigar Shah, is the real focus of this posting, and his just released manual – the book that is part autobiography and part blue-print for the future is:

“CREATING CLIMATE WEALTH: UNLOCKING THE IMPACT ECONOMY” caries ISBN: 978-0-9893531-0-6 – ICOSA publishing – www.icosamedia.com/publishing. It costs $21.95 and is a true manual.

Further information at www.creatingClimateWealth.com

—————————————————————–

Carl Pope, the former Executive Director of Sierra Club, writes among those that recommend this book – “Shah shows that a new massive wealth opportunity is at our fingertips, linking sustainability and economic development.”

We completely subscribe to this and must remark that Jigar Shah was able to show that the innovative management ideas that he promotes are not dependent on new technologies but rather on the imagination that frees us to use beneficially existing technologies in novel ways – this without government subsidies and rather in a pure private enterprise way. Obviously, this can be made possible only if government does not insist in interfering by supporting existing interests opposed to change.

“Creating Climate Wealth” introduces the general idea that natural resources fail us if we do not start a development with the concept that we want to answer a need, rather then pushing the sale of an exhaustible stash of resources – i.e. found fossil fuels or minerals.

Following that, we get the example of the creation of the SunEdison Company that came about to answer the need for cheap locally produced electricity, and eventually leads to the creation of the new company, the subjet of the October 10th meeting – “SimplyGrid” – that will eventually sell Renewable Energy via a smart grid. All this to be done by private investors that all what they need is non-interference from the government.

The important thing is that Jigar Shah is an entrepreneur who grew up in a home where his parents were already steeped in the spirit of entrepreneurship. JIGAR IS OUT TO MAKE MONEY IN A CLEVER WAY – AS SAID BY INNOVATING MANAGEMENT SO HE ANSWERS A TRUE NEED EFFICIENTLY AND AT LOWER COSTS THEN THE COMPETITION. Further, he structures his business plan so that all what he needs is a good client and he does not involve the client in his building the company.

SunEdison takes advantage of the vast roof space of large companies and puts there photovoltaics built with -off-the-shelf parts.
No waiting here for improvements that might take years, and no talk here of experimentation.

The client does not invest a penny – only agrees to buy the electricity at a price well below what it costs him today. Jigar finds the investors outside the product buying company and totally without government help except that he must make sure that existing electricity production companies do not cause the government to grant them a monopoly that would not allow this upstart to sell electricity. This is not a theoretical comment – it is rather a description of the sick US economy.

To get the details of this innovative way of doing business. and to realize the deep thoughts that went into Jigar’s choice of companies which he approached first, and the financial backers which he approached so that this will be a growing company with ever increasing revenues and financing, rather then a one time shot by a wise guy – please go to the sources which I presented here.

I read the book on the plane ride to Reykjavik, so it helped me be a little more critical of what I heard there.

 

 

 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 25th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Rare Victory: U.N. Nominee Jean Ziegler Disowned by Swiss Parliament, Lashes Out at UN Watch

Battle won, but war goes on: UN Watch urging Swiss FM to cancel absurd sponsorship of Qaddafi confidante’s U.N. bid

Great news: the Swiss Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee has just passed a Non-Confidence Motion against Jean Ziegler, rebuking their own government’s “inappropriate” nominee for the U.N. Human Rights Council.

In a country known for diplomacy, it’s an unprecedented public embarrassment for Ziegler, who as a UNHRC official from 2000 to 2012 was the most rabid supporter of tyrants, terrorists and anti-Semites in U.N. history.

UN WATCH BRIEFING Vol. 451 August 25, 2013

Ziegler praised Hezbollah for kidnapping Israeli soldiers — and called Israelis “concentration camp guards.”

Ziegler hailed the Castro regime as “an explosion of light,” Mugabe for having “history and morality with him,” and Qaddafi for his “full process of democratization.”

After a decade using his U.N. post as a propaganda tool for dictators, Ziegler was forced out last year. Now he’s trying to come back, to regain influence — and diplomatic immunity, so he can say nonsense without being sued.

Thanks to UN Watch, the Swiss government’s latest nomination of Ziegler—designed to win U.N. favors from Third World dictators—was exposed to the world, and he was quickly shamed.

Tomorrow’s Le Temps, Geneva’s leading newspaper, has a major editorial (already online) saying “Jean Ziegler’s place is in the dock of the accused.”

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 24th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

We are directly interested in the topic as years ago – to be exact September 2003 – we sponsored Swiss Member of Parliament Roland Wiederkehr for an NGO/DPI Conference on a topic of the Global Environment and Security. His position was prescient and all in favor of what we call today Sustainable Energy and at the time it was just Renewable Energy. Further, recently we wrote about the Swiss involvement in the upcoming debate at the UN on Migration which has to be linked to the effects of Climate Change.

————————————————–


U.S. Relations With Switzerland.

Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
US Official Fact Sheet
July 24, 2013


More information about Switzerland is available on the Switzerland Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.

U.S.-SWITZERLAND RELATIONS.

The United States established diplomatic relations with Switzerland in 1853 following the formation of a unified Swiss state. Switzerland is a democratic country subscribing to the fundamental ideals with which the United States also is identified. The country is politically stable with an essentially strong economy. It has played an increasingly important role in supporting the spread of democratic institutions and values worldwide, as well as providing humanitarian relief and economic development assistance. U.S. policy toward Switzerland takes these factors into account and seeks to cooperate with Switzerland to the extent consistent with Swiss neutrality.

The United States and Switzerland have signed a number of agreements creating mechanisms that deepen cooperation and improve the relationship: the Enhanced Political Cooperation Framework, the Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum, and the revised Operative Working Arrangement on Law Enforcement Cooperation on Counterterrorism. The centerpiece of the Enhanced Political Cooperation Framework is an annual senior-level meeting, the Joint Working Group. Another vehicle for bilateral cooperation is the U.S.-Swiss Joint Economic Commission, which covers anti-money laundering efforts, counterterrorism, regulatory cooperation, and intellectual property rights, among other topics.

U.S. Assistance to Switzerland

The United States provides no development assistance to Switzerland.

Bilateral Economic Relations

Switzerland is a member of the European Free Trade Association, whose countries are significant markets for U.S. exporters and investors. The two countries have a long history of cooperation both bilaterally and within the World Trade Organization. The United States is one of the top destinations for Swiss investment and is one of the largest foreign investors in Switzerland. The United States and Switzerland have signed an agreement creating a trade and investment forum to assess areas where the two governments could facilitate greater trade and investment flows.

U.S. exports to Switzerland include gold, pharmaceutical products, art and antiques, optic and medical instruments, machinery, and agricultural products. U.S. imports from Switzerland include pharmaceutical products, optic and medical instruments, clocks and watches, machinery, jewelry and diamonds, and agricultural products. Per capita, Switzerland is among the countries with the most visitors to the United States every year. Switzerland participates in the Visa Waiver Program, which allows nationals of participating countries to travel to the United States for certain business or tourism purposes for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa.

Switzerland’s Membership in International Organizations

Switzerland and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Switzerland is also a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Partnership for Peace program and is an observer to the Organization of American States.

Bilateral Representation

The position of U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland is currently vacant; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.

Switzerland maintains an embassy in the United States at 2900 Cathedral Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; tel. (202) 745-7900.

More information about Switzerland is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

Department of State Switzerland Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Switzerland Page
U.S. Embassy: Switzerland
History of U.S. Relations With Switzerland
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Travel and Business Information

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 22nd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Bureaucratic influence when secretariats grow: The example of the UNFCCC, by Axel and Katharina Michaelowa, CIS Working Paper 80/2013, Zurich; download at  www.cis.ethz.ch/publications/publications/wp80MichaelowaUNFCC.pdf

The CDM revenues have led to a massive resource inflow for the UNFCCC Secretariat, covering more than half of its budget. Using document analysis, interviews and regression analysis, we show that the UNFCCC Secretariat, at least in areas that require technical expertise and that are politically not overly contentious, can gain substantial influence over concrete CDM-related policy decisions and even change the structure of decision making and consultation processes. We also show that this may reinforce rather than reduce the role of special interests expressed via country delegates in the CDM EB. While one might be worried about the erosion of democratic principles at the international level, from a normative perspective, the overall effect is difficult to assess. If the international UNFCCC staff is well trained, technically competent, and committed to the delivery of the global public good of climate change mitigation, its increasing autonomy and influence may also be socially advantageous.

Best regards,

Axel Michaelowa

Institute of Political Science / University of Zurich
and
Center for Comparative and International Studies (CIS)
Hirschengraben 56
8001 Zurich
Switzerland

Phone: +41 433550073
Mobile: +41 762324004
Fax: +41 448204206
axel.michaelowa@pw.uzh.ch

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 2nd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

 

Cross-Country Solar Plane Expedition Set for Takeoff.

The Solar Impulse is powered by about 12,000 photovoltaic cells that charge its batteries, letting it fly day and night.

 

  • Jim Wilson/The New York Times
  • Jim Wilson/The New York Times
  • Jim Wilson/The New York Times
  • Solar Impulse, via Associated Press

The Solar Impulse is powered by about 12,000 photovoltaic cells that charge its batteries, letting it fly day and night.

 

 

 

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — When Bertrand Piccard was growing up in Switzerland, heady discussions about the boundless potential for human endeavor were standard fare.

 

His grandfather, a physicist and friend of Albert Einstein and Marie Curie, had invented a special capsule so he and a partner could be first to reach the stratosphere in a balloon. His father, an engineer, helped design the submarine that made him and an American naval officer the first to plunge undersea to the earth’s crust.

“All the most incredible things seemed to be completely normal,” Mr. Piccard, a psychiatrist trained in hypnosis, said last week at Moffett Field at the NASA Ames Research Center here, preparing for his next expedition. “I thought this was the normal way to live and I was very disappointed to see that there are a lot of people who are afraid of the unknown, afraid of the doubts, afraid of the question marks.”

He went on to become part of the team that was first to circumnavigate the globe nonstop in a balloon. But when a propane shortage nearly ended his record-setting ride in 1999, he began dreaming of a way to fly day and night without fuel, an idea that has reached fruition in a featherweight solar airplane set for an initial voyage across the United States starting on Friday, weather permitting. His brainchild, the Solar Impulse, will not be the first sun-powered plane to fly; its chief distinction is its ability to go through the night.

Conceived of as a grand demonstration of what can be done with clean technologies — a Jules Verne-style adventure with a dash of P. T. Barnum thrown in — the project has more practical implications. While it could be decades, at least, before ordinary travelers line up to board solar electric planes, the technology is under consideration for drones, which risk damage each time they land to refuel.

Another venture’s solar electric plane, which seats two and could one day find a place in the sport aviation market, made its debut last week in Germany. The Sunseeker Duo from Solar Flight (founded by Eric Raymond, who also worked on the Solar Impulse project) can fly for about 12 hours at a time, said Eric Lentz-Gauthier, a pilot and spokesman for the company. And some of the technologies developed for Solar Impulse — which has a wingspan matching that of a 747 but the weight of a midsize car — are already set for commercial use, including the special batteries used to store the solar energy and the foam that insulates them.

The cockpit will fit only one, so Mr. Piccard will trade legs of the journey with his partner, André Borschberg, an engineer and entrepreneur who was a jet fighter pilot in the Swiss Air Force, flying at about 45 miles per hour for 18 to 20 hours at a time. The aircraft could theoretically fly continuously, but the pilots — despite Mr. Piccard’s apparent skill at self-hypnosis and Mr. Borschberg’s explorations of yoga and meditation — cannot.

“We have a sustainable airplane; now we have to build a sustainable pilot,” said Mr. Borschberg at a presentation at Stanford University later that day. So flight legs are limited, since the plane’s extreme sensitivity to turbulence demands a pilot’s direct attention.

The men plan stops in Phoenix, Dallas, St. Louis and Washington before a final landing at Kennedy Airport in New York around the end of June. The voyage is a precursor to a planned trip around the globe in 2015 for which the team is building a second plane, adding adjustments like an autopilot and reclining seat, to help them fly for as many as five days straight.

The two first met after Mr. Piccard presented his idea for fuel-free flight to the Swiss Institute of Technology, which put Mr. Borschberg in charge of studying the project. He ended up overseeing the aircraft’s design and construction, including its nearly 12,000 solar cells. Mr. Piccard turned to raising the $140 million in financing and sponsorship to support it (“Like in every couple, I was bringing the money in and André was spending it.”).

Solar Impulse borrows technologies from industries like semiconductor and boat manufacturing, Mr. Borschberg said. Constructed of a carbon fiber frame, monocrystalline silicon solar panels and a sheer, silver carbon wrapping, the plane is tough enough to reach almost 30,000 feet but so fragile you could put a finger through it.

“Everything is so efficient that we can fly only with the sun that we collect in the airplane,” he said.

For Mr. Piccard, the project represents another genealogical milestone. Like his grandfather and father before him, he is driven to be a pioneer.

“If you make a record, you know that it’s possible and you just want to beat the guy who did it before,” he said. “If you make a first, you have no benchmark. You don’t know if what you want to do is feasible or not. You just have to try.”

 

As a child, he said, he met Charles Lindbergh and heard the stories of his grandfather, who died when he was 4. He read books about exploration and space travel, building model planes and rockets, and he also learned from talking with his mother, the daughter of a cleric, about spirituality, philosophy, religion and the meaning of life. A temporary move to Florida during the launches of several Apollo space missions proved influential.

“I saw that everything was true: it was not a dream, it was not only books, it was not only nice stories but it was real,” he said. “There was the submarine of my father drifting in the Gulf Stream and the rockets going to the moon.”

But when he returned to Switzerland, he said, the American space program was in a lull so he turned to plumbing the depths of the mind instead, and became a psychiatrist. Still, he kept one foot in the world of physical exploration, he said, always trying new ways of floating through the air, including hang gliding and ballooning. He did not train as a balloon pilot, though, until he was invited in 1992 to join a trans-Atlantic race because the pilot wanted a psychiatrist aboard to help him sleep and manage stress.

Mr. Piccard loved it, he said, and saw a metaphor for life in an endeavor where the only way to steer was to change altitude, sometimes by shedding weight, throwing sand overboard.

“You also have to learn how to change altitude in the winds of life to find your way: different ways of thinking, different ways of reacting, different ways of understanding situations,” he said. “In life you have to drop your certitudes, your common assumptions, your convictions sometimes, to be more flexible to adapt to the unknown.”

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 24th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Press conference: Arms Trade Treaty with Control Arms coalition MONDAY 25 March, 2013.

Media Control Arms <media@controlarms.org>
March 24, 2013, 6:14 PM (8 minutes ago)

to undisclosed recipients
Media alert
Final Diplomatic Conference on the Arms Trade TreatyControl Arms Coalition’s Reaction to the latest text
Monday March 25, 2013:
Press conference on the Arms Trade Treaty. Midway through the diplomatic conference, the Control Arms Coalition gives a critical analysis of the latest draft of the text, which was published on Friday March 22.
 
Where: UN Building – Dag Hammarskjöld Library @ 11:00 am to 12:00 pm 
Who: Sponsored by the Government of Mexico 
 
Chair: Allison Pytlak, Campaign Manager – Control Arms
 
Participants:
Anna MacDonald, Head of Arms Control – Oxfam
Jonathan Frerichs, Programme Executive – World Council of Churches (Geneva)
Roy Isbister, Head of Arms Transfer Controls –  Saferworld
For more info:


——————
Control Arms Media Relations
917 224 0834
media@controlarms.org

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 25th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

This is the first  article that reaches us from PERSPECTIVES GmbH, Zurich, and it seems intended to save UNFCCC in the Post-Rio atmosphere when we see the UN reach out to novel ways of dealing with CO2 emissions. These new attempts do not call for decisions by consensus  that were easily defeated by a feisty Saudi representative.

The simple fact that future generations of Saudis could benefit from a Saudi cooperation with those that tried to decrease the Global use of oil by inserting an oil use decrease for the common good, was anathema to the present robbers of the Saudi National resource – also to the corporations in the US and elsewhere that do business with them.

Will a budding middle class change the Gulf States as it is changing the Financial BRICs? Will there be young Princes that are ready to join global progressive thinking and be patriotic at the same time? If so, Perspectives might become the greatest Madison Avenue PR company, and it is good they put their office in Zurich.

———-

The Changing Role of the Gulf OPEC States in the UNFCCC – new paper in Climate Policy Perspectives series –

in the run-up to COP 18 in Doha, Axel Michaelowa and Mari Luomi put a spotlight on climate policy of the Gulf states: Given surging domestic energy consumption that is increasingly threatening oil and gas export revenues, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are initiating multiple experiments to improve energy efficiency and introduce renewable energy.

Cautious signals of a more constructive engagement of the Gulf Cooperation Council states in the international climate policy regime are emerging.

The resulting opportunities for constructive and innovative dialogues should not be wasted.

Climate diplomacy should try to strengthen the position of those groups that support new domestic energy policies. Technical support for Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) pilot projects by the EU and other progressive countries in the climate regime could serve as a catalyst for creating sustained synergies between new energy and climate policies in the Gulf region.

Download the paper “From Climate Antagonists to Low-Carbon Protagonists? The Changing Role of the Gulf OPEC States in the UNFCCC” at

fni.no/doc&pdf/FNI-Climate-Policy-Perspectives-6.pdf

Best regards,

Axel Michaelowa
Senior Founding Partner
Perspectives GmbH
Zurich Office
Klosbachstrasse 2
8032 Zurich
Switzerland
Phone + 41 448204208
Mobile +41 762324004
Fax +41 448204206
 michaelowa at perspectives.cc
www.perspectives.cc
Amtsgericht Hamburg , HRB 88480
Geschäftsführung / CEOs: S. Butzengeiger, M. Krey

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

Similarly:

Event

World Energy Forum 2012

The World Energy Forum, which is being held for the first time outside UN Headquarters in New York, seeks to bring together world leaders, international organizations, financial institutions and other stakeholders to discuss progress towards cleaner, safer and more sustainable energy as well as how to achieve universal access to modern energy services. As 2012 has been designated as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, one of the main objectives of the Forum is to chart a roadmap for a sustainable energy mix that can fuel global economic and social development.

dates: 22-24 October 2012 location: Dubai (Dubai), United Arab Emirates contact: World Energy Forum Administration

phone: +1 212 759 3185   fax: +1 646 666 4349      e-mail: administration@wef21.org www: www.worldenergyforum2012.org/

###