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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

from the American-Iranian Council in the US.

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


US-Iran Relations

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

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

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


Trump Administration Turns Away Iranian Christians

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

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

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

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

By ANDREW RETTMAN

BRUSSELS, TODAY, 09:27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And from Trump’s Washington:

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

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

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

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

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


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

By Tom Engelhardt in TomDispatch of 01 March 2018


The Ultimate Blowback Universe
A Planet Boiling With Unintended Consequences.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giving Imperial Overstretch New Meaning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Humanity Nailed to a Cross of Coal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From KIMO’s IISD:

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

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

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

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

Key Findings:

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

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

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

For more information, please check out the full analysis.

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

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

Info from UN ENVIRONMENT – the US Independence weekend.

3 July 2017
Record 66 million trees planted in 12 hours in India

links to: Asia, COP 21, COP 23, Policy at UN Environment.

Around 1.5 million volunteers planted more than 66 million trees in just 12 hours as part of a record-breaking environmental campaign.

The volunteers planted an average of 44 saplings each along the Narmada River in the central state of Madhya Pradesh on Sunday 2 July.

The previous record was also set in India, when volunteers in Uttar Pradesh state set a world record by planting over 50 million trees in one day in July 2016.

Elsewhere in the country, volunteers in the state of Kerala planted more than 10 million in 24 hours in June this year and Maharashtra is set to plant 40 million later this year as part of the nationwide reforestation campaign.

Deforestation in India is a growing issue with its increasing population of 1 billion people in need of more agricultural land and housing.

Under the Paris Agreement, India has pledged to increase its forests by 95 million hectares by 2030, costing around $6.2 billion.

The record-breaking environmental campaign – which saw the planting of over 20 different species of trees – was organised by the Madhya Pradesh government.

Observers from Guinness World Records monitored the mass plantation, and are expected to confirm the new record within the coming weeks.

Shirvraj Singh Chouhan, the State’s Chief Minister, described the efforts as a “historic day”.

He went on to say: “The world talks of global warming and climate change, but Madhya Pradesh has taken a concrete step to deal with it.”

Taking to social media, Shirvraj Singh Chouhan praised the volunteers which included children and the elderly.

He stated that between the hours of 7am and 7pm 66.3 million saplings had been planted.

He added: “By planting trees we are not only serving Madhya Pradesh but the world at large.”

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RELATED ARTICLES
Billion tree campaign grows past 3 billion mark, says UN agency
Mass tree-planting in Indonesia
Solar generates over 1 billion kwH in a month in India

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

06 June 2017 THE RELEASE OF A IIASA STUDY titled:

Ambiguous pledges leave large uncertainty under Paris climate agreement

Emission reduction pledges made by individual countries under the Paris Agreement leave a wide range of possible climate outcomes, according to new research. Without stronger pledges, the study shows, the climate goals may not be possible to achieve.

Under the pledges made by countries under the Paris Agreement on climate change, greenhouse gas emissions could range from 47 to 63 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent (GtCO2e) per year in 2030, compared to about 52 GtCO2e in 2015, according to a new analysis. That range has critical consequences for the feasibility of achieving the goal of keeping warming “well below 2°C” over preindustrial levels, according to the study published in the journal Nature Communications.

The pledges, known as National Determined Contributions (NDCs) lay out a roadmap of how individual countries will reduce their emissions, with the intention of adding up to a global emissions reduction sufficient to achieve the Paris targets. Yet the new study shows that these individual maps leave out key details that would enable policymakers to see if they are headed in the right direction.

“Countries have put forward pledges to limit and reduce their emissions. But in many cases the actions described in these pledges are ambiguous or imprecise,” says IIASA researcher Joeri Rogelj, who led the study. For example, some pledges focus on improving “emissions intensity,” meaning reducing the emissions per dollar of economic output, but assumptions about socioeconomic growth are often implicit or unknown. Other countries focus on absolute emissions reductions, which are simpler to understand, or propose renewable energy targets, which can be expressed in different ways. Questions also remain about how much land-use-related climate mitigation will contribute, such as reducing deforestation or preserving forests.

The study finds that the emissions implied by the current NDCs can vary by -10 to +20% around the median estimate of 52 GtCO2e/yr in 2030. A previous study, also led by IIASA, had found that that the emissions reductions set out in the NDCs would not put the world on track to achieve the Paris targets.

The new study confirms this finding. It shows in a quantitative way that in order to keep warming to below 2°C, countries should either increase the stringency of their NDCs by 2030 or consider scaling up their ambition after 2030 by a factor 4 to 25. If the ambition of NDCs is not further increased by 2030, the study finds no pathways for returning warming to 1.5°C by the end of the century.

“The new results allow us to more precisely understand what is driving the uncertainty in emissions estimates implied by the Paris pledges,” says Rogelj. “With this information at hand, policymakers can formulate solutions to remediate this issue.”

“This is the first global study to systematically explore the range of emissions outcomes under the current pledges. Our study allows us to identify the key contributors to the overall uncertainty as well as potential clarifications by countries that would be most promising to reduce the overall uncertainty,” says IIASA Energy Program Director Keywan Riahi, a study coauthor.

The researchers find that uncertainty could be reduced by 10% with simple, technical clarifications, and could be further reduced by clearer guidelines for countries on building their NDCs. The study highlights the importance of a thorough and robust tracking process of progress made by countries towards the achievement of their NDCs and the Paris Agreement goals as a whole.

Reference

Rogelj J, Fricko O, Meinshausen M, Krey V, Zilliacus JJJ, Riahi K (2017). Understanding the origin of Paris Agreement emission uncertainties. Nature Communications.  pure.iiasa.ac.at/14631]

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

From: Alice PAUTHIER  alice.pauthier at i4ce.org June 29, 2017


5 Principles for Climate Mainstreaming: 4 Work Streams for Climate Action in Financial Institutions.

Dear colleagues,

On the sidelines of COP21, public and private financial institutions around the globe adopted 5 Voluntary Principles for “mainstreaming” climate change. The Initiative now renamed Climate Action in Financial Institutions gathers as of June 2017 30 financial institutions.

It represents for them an opportunity to learn from each other, to disseminate good practice and lessons learned and to collaborate on areas of common interest.
Following the adoption of a governance structure and a long-term vision for the initiative, the 30 Supporting Institutions have launched four areas of focus of work to be conducted in 2017-2018:
· Climate risks: approaches, tools and methodologies
· Mapping reporting initiatives and understanding implementation challenges
· City-level climate smart approaches and financial instruments
· Spreading a climate strategy into a whole organization
·

Performing as the Secretariat of the Initiative I4CE will provide in depth inputs to the different work streams and facilitate collaboration among Supporting Institutions.

The result of this collaboration and other reports and news related to the Work Streams will be shared between members and with non-member institutions in the new website of the initiative: www.mainstreamingclimate.org

If you have relevant material to share on climate mainstreaming (reports, events, information on best practices and your own experience, etc.) please do not hesitate to let us know. We will be happy to publish it in the website and share it through the initiative’s internal and external newsletters.
You can also engage with the initiative through Twitter: @mainstreamclim
For more information on the initiative:  contact at mainstreamingclimate.org

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About the Climate Action in Financial Institutions Initiative:

Signing up to the Five Voluntary Principles for Mainstreaming Climate Action within Financial Institutions is a statement of leadership on climate relevant financing. As of June 2017, the Initiative gathers: the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Banco de Desarrollo de América Latina (CAF), the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (Bio Invest), BMCE Bank of Africa, BNP Paribas, the Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion (Morocco), the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), Crédit Agricole, the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), HSBC Holdings plc, the Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI), the Inter-American Development Bank Group (IDB), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), KfW, Malaysia Credit Guarantee Corporation, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V., the New Development Bank (NDB), the Nordic Development Fund, Promotion et Participation pour la Coopération Économique (PROPARCO), Société Générale, Türkiye S?nai Kalk?nma Bankas? A.S.(TSKB), Yes Bank and the World Bank.

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

From the New York Times, June 1, 2017:

Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, suggested Mr. Trump did not understand the mechanics of the treaty. “Not everything written in international agreements is fake news,” he said.
Major players still hope to sway Mr. Trump’s decision. Here’s what other countries might do if the U.S. pulls out.


.* China’s premier, Li Keqiang, met with Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany, before heading to Brussels for a Europe-China summit today. China may see President Trump’s antagonistic behavior in Europe last week as an opportunity.
President Trump’s criticism of German trade policy has set off alarm bells in parts of the American South. He is popular there, but German companies are important employers.
Meanwhile, China’s economic might is increasingly apparent in Europe, its top trade partner. Consider how China’s wealthy are turning to European clinics for medical treatment. Or the German engineer who moved to China, where he received a grant for artificial intelligence research six times larger than what he might have gotten in Europe.

From The Washington Post – Today’s WorldView

BY ISHAAN THAROOR June 1, 2017


If Trump quits the Paris climate accord, he will lead the U.S. into the wilderness

After months of speculation, it might finally be happening: President Trump appears ready to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris climate agreement. If he does, he will place Washington at odds with virtually the entire international community.

Despite the excited tone of Trump’s tweet (and reports suggesting that he had made up his mind), the matter seemed far from settled at the time of writing. The president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are supposedly urging Trump to stick with the Paris agreement. A host of big companies have urged Trump to reconsider withdrawing. On Wednesday, the shareholders of ExxonMobil, Tillerson’s former company, voted by a wide margin for a resolution they say will compel the oil giant to stick to the goal of transitioning to a low-carbon economy. Many analysts also point to how clean energy is fueling job growth: There are already twice as many solar jobs as there are coal jobs in the United States.

Their opponents include White House chief adviser Stephen K. Bannon and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, a climate skeptic who has already set about dismantling Obama-era regulations on the U.S. fossil fuel industry. Trump seems inclined toward the Bannon and Pruitt position, which has some — though not unanimous — support from the Republican Party. (Only in the United States, of course, is the question of climate change subject to partisan debate.)

Championed by the Obama administration, the Paris agreement created, for the first time, a single framework for developed and developing countries to work together and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The New York Times has a helpful primer on what the landmark accord entailed:

“Under the Paris agreement, every country submitted an individual plan to tackle its greenhouse gas emissions and then agreed to meet regularly to review their progress and prod each other to ratchet up their efforts as the years went by,” explained the Times. “Unlike its predecessor treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris deal was intended to be nonbinding, so that countries could tailor their climate plans to their domestic situations and alter them as circumstances changed. There are no penalties for falling short of declared targets. The hope was that, through peer pressure and diplomacy, these policies would be strengthened over time.”

If the United States withdraws from the accord, it would find itself in farcically lonely company. The pact was signed by 195 countries, with only Nicaragua and Syria bowing out.

In coastal, low-lying Nicaragua’s case, leaders refused to sign because the pact didn’t go far enough. “Nicaragua’s lead envoy explained to reporters that the country would not support the agreed-upon plan as it hinged on voluntary pledges and would not punish those who failed to meet them,” wrote my colleague Adam Taylor.

As for Syria, the country “was effectively an international pariah when the Paris accord was first signed, making Damascus’s involvement at the least impractical,” wrote Taylor. Numerous officials in President Bashar al-Assad’s regime are the subject of international sanctions that limit their movement, and the ongoing, devastating war in the country means the Syrian government isn’t paying much attention to limiting its emissions.

The implications of a U.S. withdrawal, though, are profound and far-reaching.

“A U.S. withdrawal would remove the world’s second-largest emitter and nearly 18 percent of the globe’s present day emissions from the agreement, presenting a severe challenge to its structure and raising questions about whether it will weaken the commitments of other nations,” wrote Washington Post environment reporter Chris Mooney.

Some climate experts actually suggest that, given Trump’s steady dismantling of environmental protections, it’s better for the United States to leave the pact altogether than to undermine it from within.

“The success of Paris largely relies on its pledge and review process to create political pressure, and drive low-carbon investments,” wrote Luke Kemp, an environmental policy expert at Australian National University. “A great power that willfully misses its target could provide political cover for other laggards and weaken the soft power of process.”

But given the importance of U.S. investment in clean energy, as well as the huge effect U.S. emissions have on the environment, experts warn that the international community’s efforts to limit global warming to about 2 degrees Celsius may founder without U.S. compliance. The effects would be felt by vulnerable communities all around the world.

If Trump goes ahead and pulls the United States out, it would be “a decision made for domestic political purposes that puts the livelihood and lives of millions of people in developing countries at risk,” said Trevor Houser, a former climate negotiator for the Obama administration, to Vox’s Jim Tankersley. “This is a craven, symbolic political move without any direct benefits for the constituents he’s targeting.”

Although the Paris agreement is nonbinding, it may take three to four years to formally withdraw. Trump could expedite the process by quitting the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed by President George H.W. Bush and ratified by the Senate in the early 1990s, which laid the foundation for the Paris accord. “But that is a more radical move, which would further withdraw the United States from all international climate change negotiations,” wrote Mooney.

And that’s the other effect of a withdrawal: the disappearance of U.S. leadership on a fundamental issue affecting the future of the planet. Already, other countries are taking the mantle once donned by Obama. Ahead of a Friday meeting between European Union leaders and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Beijing and Brussels issued a joint statement saying they were “determined to forge ahead” with measures to “lead the energy transition.” The statement, seen by the Financial Times, also stressed a point seemingly lost on the Trump administration: “Tackling climate change and reforming our energy systems are significant drivers of job creation, investment opportunities and economic growth.”

At a time when the world focuses its efforts to reckon with global warming, Trump may really leave the United States out in the cold.

• Another crucial argument around climate action in the age of Trump: The emergence of a global low-carbon economy may not require the full endorsement of a federal government or nation-state, but actors below that level. I’ve written in the past on how real work around combating emissions is being carried out by cities and regional governments, as well as by corporations themselves. The latter form a crucial constituency that may be unmoved by Trump’s “America First” posturing, writes U.S. climatologist Benjamin Sanderson in The Washington Post:

“Businesses (oil companies included) are well aware that the carbon economy is coming and their shareholders are increasingly demanding long-term investment strategies that allow those companies to profit in a low-carbon future. One can make the argument that the greatest casualty from U.S. withdrawal from the Paris accord will be the United States itself. By sidelining mitigation investment, and leaving companies to act alone, U.S. companies are placed at a disadvantage while China races to establish itself as the world leader in clean technology.”

We, at SustainabiliTank.info believe that it is better for the world to pass the times of the Trump Presidency of the US with the non-participation of the US at Climate Change meetings.
Having them there would onnly impede progress by the wise world. So, rather then chasing after the Trump presence – invite them to leave and continue on President Obama’s path.

For Joe Biden see:  twitter.com/JoeBiden/status/8700…

For Mit Romney see:  twitter.com/MittRomney/status/87…


EU and China strengthen climate ties to counter US retreat
Tighter alliance comes as US prepares to announce decision on Paris accord withdrawal

China and the EU have forged a green alliance to combat climate change and counteract any retreat from international action by Donald Trump

 www.ft.com/content/585f1946-45e2…

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 26th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The UN General Assembly, UN Headquarters, 29 March 2017 – Intervention of the Holy See
During the Preparatory Committee established by General Assembly resolution 69/292
dedicated to the Development of an international legally binding instrument
under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity
of areas beyond national jurisdiction

Presentation by Susan M. Whelan

Madame Facilitator,

Since this is the first time our delegation takes the floor, we would like to congratulate you
and thank you for your able assistance in this session. We thank Ambassador Charles for his
instructive leadership in the prior Preparatory Committee meetings and we congratulate Ambassador Duarte for his election as Chair.

We have listened carefully to the discussion yesterday and today, and our delegation would
agree with others that there seems to be an unbridgeable divide between those seeking to apply two competing principles to this agreement. Therefore, in the interest of moving forward, we will restrict our discussion to the topic of obligations stemming from the use of ocean resources in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ).

As other delegations have noted, Freedom of the High Seas is not an absolute right and is
subject to limitations and corresponding duties. This “right of access” is conditioned as a result of the use of the ocean space and resources. Various uses such as the general obligation for peaceful use, laying of submarine cables, the construction of artificial islands, fishing and scientific research are identified and subsequently qualified, subject to certain limitations and obligations. So regulating use and providing for responsibilities as well as rights are nothing new.

The practical reality is, however, that not all resources in the ocean are equal and not all human activity has the same impact on biodiversity. Some resources, such as minerals, have an immediate inherent value, or the human activity in using the resource creates such a negative impact on the environment that there is a depreciation value. Others, such as marine genetic resources (MGRs), only have potential value and no real value or impact at the time of extraction or use; therefore, there is no benefit to share. Because of these practical realities – and in the spirit of Norway’s intervention, our delegation suggests that our analysis and our resulting agreement must be more nuanced than just identifying specific uses or ocean resources. We cannot have a successful, forward-looking regime without gaps if we focus solely on where resources are located, or what benefits States will enjoy as a result.

Therefore, our delegation suggests a bifurcated structure for considering the “use” of ocean
resources, and payments and obligations for that use. This proposed framework consists first of benefit sharing and, second, of Commercial Entitlement/Use Obligations. We have tried to fashion this analysis so that it can be applied, not only to MGRs, but to the use of all potential resources in ABNJ — for example, wind, tide, current, or geothermal renewable energies.

1. With respect to “Benefit Sharing”

Provisions are obviously already in place in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the
Seas (UNCLOS) with respect to benefit sharing. With the advent of new uses and discoveries of
ocean resources, however, and in connection with conservation and sustainable use, some
thresholds for how benefits might accrue seem helpful. In order to consider whether benefit sharing payments or obligations are appropriate, our delegation suggests that one of the following four criteria should be met:

First, the resource must have an inherent value (such as a mineral) without the intervention of mankind making it something entirely new; or

Second, there is significant harm to the environment in extracting the resource that impacts marine biodiversity for present and future generations; or

Third, the resource is non-living, and specifically not a biological resource used as a commodity in trade such as fish; or

Fourth, the resource cannot be sustainably used.

If one of these four thresholds is met, then the provisions of Part XI and Article 82 of
UNCLOS apply 82 and both monetary and non-monetary benefits must be shared. All existing
resources covered by these provisions would qualify. If one of these thresholds is not met, however, then instead of “benefit sharing” – since there is no benefit – possible “commercial Entitlement/use Obligations” attach based on “utilization” of resources jointly owned by all States.


2. With respect to Commercial Entitlement/Use Obligations.

We note at the outset that these obligations will not apply to any activities that are associated with Marine Scientific Research as provided for in UNCLOS.

As stated above, MGRs fall into a category of resources that have no value at the time of
extraction, and for which it is impossible to agree on the potential value at that time. This issue is not a new one for the business world as often a seller, such as a large pharmaceutical company, has potential products or drugs that are in various stages of development when they sell their company.
As a result, the valuation of the company is difficult and most merger or sales contracts include whatare called “earn-out provisions.”
An earn-out provision is a contractual clause stating that the seller of a business is to obtain additional compensation in the future if the business achieves certain non-financial and financial milestones. In other words, it is a contingent obligation. Non-financial targets often include the study start, study success, regulatory filing, filing of a patent, regulatory approval for use, first sale, launch of a new product, or minimum number of or increase in sales or customers. Financial targets can include the number of products sold (annual or cumulative sales), unit sales, royalty or license revenue, earnings, revenue, net income, net equity, earnings etc. As New Zealand noted yesterday, the various stages of MGR collection, analysis and utilization could form the basis for these milestones. This model could provide for non-monetary benefits to developing countries with respect to triggers that are not financial in nature, for example, regulatory approvals and patent filings. These non-monetary obligations could include access to collection, data sharing, and clearinghouse or repository arrangements. Monetary payments, if agreed, could be tied to financial
benchmarks, but could also be formulated as preventive measures against selling resulting products or drugs into developing countries at exorbitant prices.

As for how this is structured: A party, for example a private company seeking to find and
develop MGRs into a useful product, has the option of entering into an agreement prior to use
(here, collection of samples) in which case the bargaining power is in their court. If they wait until they file for a patent, the regulator can set the terms. One suggestion is that the mechanism could be the same as used for fishing – through bilateral agreements, Regional Fishing Management Organizations or Agreements (RFMOs or RFMAs), however this is agreed.
As for Intellectual property issues, our delegation believes that this agreement should not
impact or try to undermine patent laws. We hope that this can be avoided by including the
presumption that the origin of every MGR patent is presumed to be in ABNJ unless otherwise
stated. Traceability could become associated with one of the milestone events.

In conclusion: beyond the fact that it fulfills the general principle of economic equity, why
should we use this approach? There are several reasons:

First, the Nagoya Protocol anticipates this model and earn-out provisions in particular. The
Annex lists monetary benefits, including access fees, upfront payments and milestone payments.

Second, in life sciences merger deals, specifically bio-pharmaceutical deals, 82 percent of biopharmaceutical deals included earn-out provisions in 2012. These are provisions that the business world is familiar with and are part of existing international law and practice.

Third, it allows all States to move forward when the parties cannot agree on the value of the
resource, especially when it has no value at all at the time of extraction. This is particularly critical where the source of uncertainty may be the undeveloped product, when there is a new market, when the financial information is unreliable, or when there’s an uncertain future but non-State private investors, developers, enterprises and individuals are involved.

Fourth, it permits private companies or actors greater control over whether and when the
milestone events are triggered, reduces the risk of overpaying, defers obligations and therefore decreases the disincentives.

Finally, from the perspective of developing countries, the user ultimately compensates States
for the use of a resource in the Commons. Every use has the potential to give value, whether
monetary or non-monetary, at some point. It also provides the opportunity to benefit from synergies of working with sophisticated parties in business integration as a matter of contract.

I thank you for your patience with this lengthy intervention.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 13th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


The Vienna Energy Forum (VEF) 2017 Conference: “Sustainable energy for the implementation of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement” convened 9-12 May 2017.


The VEF is a biennial, global multi-stakeholder forum, launched in 2008 to explore development challenges from the perspective of sustainable energy – and to debate solutions to those challenges. It is a joint initiative of the Austrian Government, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IASA) based in Laxenburg, Austria, and the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) , as well based in Vienna.


[This year’s meeting overlapped The Bonn Climate Change Conference, organized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, May 8-18, 2017 – a technical meeting dealing with areas like the Green house effects, stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, green urban environments, Clean Energy … Nature’s Role. Obviously, this time conflict might have taken away some of the coverage of the Vienna event.]

VEF 2017 is intended to contribute to the practicalities in successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Paris Agreement. Among other things, it discussed the importance of the linkages between climate and development, and examined the role of innovation in achieving SDG 7 – “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” and related SDGs.

The Forum featured side events held on the UN Grounds in Vienna, from 9-10 May – followed by plenary sessions from 11-12 May.

The side events covered such topics as achieving SDG 7, sustainable energy solutions in landlocked developing countries, innovative business models to attract sustainable energy investment for least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS), capacity building, clean energy for migrants and vulnerable groups, improving energy access, technology transfer, modern cooking energy, achieving a low-carbon society, regional incubation networks, micro-grids, smart city development, energy scenarios for sub-Saharan African cities, catalyzing action on energy efficiency, global research initiatives in support of the 2030 Development Agenda and the Paris Agreement, and promoting women to advance the global energy transition.

The follow up plenary sessions promoted then dialogue on the nexus between energy, climate, transport, food, water and health, linkages among the key SDGs and their contribution to the 2030 Development Agenda, and the role of innovation as a global driver for sustainable growth.

In this reporting by Irith Jawetz, she goes over a few highlights of the Conference she attended at the Austrian Hofburg – the Austria Presidential quarters in Vienna.

Also here there were many plenary panels and side events which will hopefully be posted on the website at a later date.  www.viennaenergyforum.org/


The Opening ceremony of the Vienna Energy Forum 2017 took place on May 11, 2017 at the magnificent Festsaal in the Hofburg.

Here is a short summary of the presentations:

Master of Ceremonies was Ms. Ralitsa Vassileva, the news Director Bulgarian International Television, who was previously anchorwoman on CNN.

She thanked the 1,500 delegates from 100 countries and the 50 speakers who have assembled to attend this important Conference, whose main goal is to fight poverty through Sustainable Development.

The first speaker was Mr. Michael Linhart, Secretary General of the Austrian Ministry for Integration & Foreign Affairs. He mentioned that this Conference has started in Vienna in 2009 and was the first Forum leading the need for access to Sustainable Development. The latest important events were the International Conference on Sustainable Development in New York, September 2016 and the COP 21 – UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, December 2016 where the important Paris Agreement was signed. Both events, together with the current conference in Vienna will decide whether we are on the right track.

The next speaker was Ms. Maria Vassilaku, Vice Mayor of Vienna, member of the Austrian Green Party, who welcomed everybody to Vienna, the most beautiful, sustainable and liberal city. She especially mentioned that we have to tackle the question of Climate Change for our children.

Sustainable Development is defined by sustainable mobility, more public transport (Vienna has reduced the price of annual transportation ticket in order to entice people to leave their cars at home and use Public transportation).

Achieving the goals of Sustainability will only be done by involving people, industry, Governments, and private sectors.

She was followed by Mr. Li Yong, Director General of UNIDO who insisted that we must make sure the Paris Agreement is implemented in full.

Then came up Ms. Rachel Kyte, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, and CEO of Sustainable Energy for All, formerly with the World Bank in Washington DC. She was the most passionate of the speakers. She mentioned that 1 in 7 people on our planet do not have access to energy. This is unacceptable.

We have to give everybody a chance for access to energy. We need it for schools, clinics, food, shelter, and everybody must have the right to it. She pleaded that we have to move, and to move fast, promises made should be promises kept.

{Ms Kyte served until December 2015 as World Bank Group Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change, leading the Bank Group’s efforts to campaign for an ambitious agreement at the 21st Convention of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP 21). She was previously World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development, and was the International Finance Corporation Vice President for Business Advisory Services.]

Next came Prof. Pavel Kabat, Director General and Chief Executive Office at IIASA, International Institute for Applied Systems Analyses located in Laxenburg, Austria. He put the emphasis on research and vision. He said that one should not view Climate Change as a threat but as a new start, energy is a necessity and not a goal and sustainability will only be achieved when there is a partnership of private and public sector.

The Austrian Ambassador to the United Nations in Vienna, Ms. Chtistine Stix-Hackl read an official statement from the Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, who welcomed all participants to the Conference in Vienna, which has become a hub for Energy. The President stressed the importance of implementing the Paris Agreement and making sure that the goals set in that agreement will be met .

Andrä Ruprechter, Austrian Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment & Water Management also mentioned the two conferences in 2016 in New York and Paris and said that we can and will clear the pathway to a clean energy future for all. He was looking forward to the next Climate Change Conference in November 6-17, 2017, in Bonn, Germany. Climate Change is a Global problem and needs Global solutions. He vowed that Austria will stick with the Paris agreement.

Mr. Piyush Goyal, Minister of State with independent Charge for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines in the Government of India was also very passionate in his speech. The world is changing since Thomas Edison discovered the light bulb and it is for us now, and not later, to do something in order to save the world. India is committed to the Paris Agreement even if other World leaders are not (this was the first time the audience clapped during a speech). Prime Minster Modi is a conservationist of Energy and under his leadership India has promoted energy efficiency for the last years and has reduced the use of electricity by a lot by using only energy saving light bulbs. He hopes that by 2019 every lights bulb will be replaced.


Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the United nations and former Minister of Environment of Nigeria, also stressed that we must address Climate Change since it is a scientific fact, in spite of recent talks to the contrary
(this remark caused more clapping from the audience). The Paris Agreement has to be implemented in full in order to fight Climate Change and more important poverty. It is unacceptable that 1 in 7 people on the planet have no access to electricity.

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The second day started with the Ministerial segment moderated by Ms. Tania Rödiger-Vorwerk, Deputy Director General, Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation & Development (BMZ), Germany. Let us remember that upcoming COP 23 of the UNFCCC will be held in Bonn, Germany, this November 6-17.

The keynote speaker was the very passionate and eloquent Prime Minister of Tuvalu, H.E. Enele Sopoaga. Being the Head of one of the endangered islands, he stressed the importance of regarding Climate Change as a real danger. He expressed solidarity with the Paris Agreement and stressed the importance of action to combat Climate Change. Survival is at stake, Governments & Private sectors of all countries have to work together to make sure the use of Renewable sources is increased. Tuvalu has numerous programs in that direction and hopes to achieve 100% use of Renewable sources of energy by the year 2020. Tuvalu is fully committed to explore Renewable energy from oceans but needs help in technology. 10,000 people in very small islands which are part of Tuvalu have already 100% electricity, but a lot still has to be done. He called upon all countries not to listen to diversion from the problems of Climate Change but “keep everybody on the boat & canoe”. Every country has to be on board and support the goals of developing Sustainable energy for all at all costs.

His speech caused a round of applause from all participants.

The other Ministers on the Podium were H.E. Ms. Jabulile Mashwama, Minister of Natural Resources & Energy of Swaziland who also stressed that Renewable agenda comes at a high cost, it’s coming slowly, but it has to happen.

H.E. Mr. Khaled Fahmy, Minister, Egypt Environmental affairs Agency, also supported in full the Paris Agreement, this is a Global agreement and all countries have to respect and adapt it. Egypt hopes to achieve 20% of renewable energy by 2020 which comes mainly from solar and wind. In order to implement this goal, the private sector must be involved, especially in order to bear the costs. This is a critical issue and the pace is too slow.

H.E. Mr. Aziz Rebbah, Minister of Energy, Mines & Sustainable Development from Morocco, home of the COP 22 of the UNFCCC in 2016, strives to achieve 52% of renewable energy by 2030 which will come mainly from solar power.

A very moving side event which Ms. Jawetz attended, and would like to share, was the “Networking Event: Women for Sustainable Energy”. This networking event connects people and provides a platform for knowledge sharing and exchange. It raises awareness on the potential of sustainable energy for women’s empowerment, and featured short presentations by women leaders in the energy sector. It provided insights into a broad range of career paths and initiatives that target women’s empowerment in the clean energy sector. This event was meant to promote sustainable energy approaches that have strong impact on gender equality and highlighted the major role of women in making the energy sector more sustainable. The event was hosted by UNIDO and supported by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Center for Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), the Global Women’s Network for Energy Transition (GWNET) and the International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy (ENERGIA).


Before the closing session started we heard a short speech by Mr. Kandeh Yumkella, who is now a Sierra Leonean Agricultural economist and politician, and was, for many years, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, first as head of UN Energy and then for Sustainable Energy for All during the years 2009-2016. He was instrumental in organizing all the past Vienna Energy Forum events. He thanked everybody for inviting him this time as a guest and participant, and stressed time and again that “Energy for All” is the key for everything, and one has to take the fight from Vienna to New York and spread the word.

The closing remarks were carried out by Mr. Philippe Scholtes, Managing Director, Programme Development and Technical Cooperation Division (PTC), UNIDO.

He thanked all the organizers for the successful event and counted 10 key massages:

1) Role of Energy in 2030 – urgency agenda for sustainable development;

2) Urgency in developing energy for food, security, land, water & health nexus;

3) Developing sustainable cities and urban communities, the need for use of sustainable energy for infrastructure;

4) Need to adapt to Climate Change by using clean energy;

5) Pioneering role of innovative technologies are a central piece of sustainable energy;

6) Financing innovative business models. Sustainable solutions depend on innovative businesses;

7) Catalysts for innovation – Governments needs to stimulate innovation and develop energy system support research & development;

8)Innovation for Appropriate & Sustainable solutions, planning frugal, flexible & inclusive energy systems;

9) Energy is ca crucial component for implementing of the 2029 agenda;

10) Businesses & Private sector must be included in implementing the Paris agreement.


All in All a very successful Conference, but the work is not done yet. To quote Ms. Rachel Kyte: “Promises made should be promises kept!”

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

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

On Saturday April 22, 2017, Earth Day, Scientists and their related fields, marched in New York – on Central Park West Avenue and Broadway – down to Times Square.

A week later – Saturday, April 29, 2017, there is no major march in Manhattan, New York, but all efforts are directed to Washington DC for what becomes a People’s March on Washington –
a march for Jobs, the Earth, Climate, and Decency. It happens on the 100th day since the Trump inaugural – and stretches out before our eyes and minds the dangers of a full four years term of this science-devoid President.

SCIENCE is REAL – The FACTS are with SCIENCE.
A scientific theory isn’t just a hunch or guess –
It’s more like a question that’s been put through a lot of tests.

And when a theory emerges consistent with the facts,
The Proof is witH Science – The truth is with Science.

In Science we Trust – Science is not just an Alternate Fact.

NO SCIENCE IS NON-SENSE. Science, Reason, Knowledge, Trump Stupidity or Opinion.
SCIENCE NOT SILENCE – Resist Stupidity

PRO FACTS – WE ARE NOT SLAVES TO FOSSIL FUEL – SCIENCE TRUMPS POLITICS.

“WHEN ICEBERGS ARE CRACKING IT IS NOT FUNNY.” This was the wording on a poster carried
down New York’s Broadway by an active 8-years young boy who MARCHED with his mom – a university person. She said he picked those words.

THERE IS NO PLANET B – EDUCATE WASHINGTON. GOP – DON’T FLUSH OUR EARTH AWAY.
REMEMBER – PLANET NOT PROFIT. MAKE AMERICA SUSTAINABLE FOR EVERYONE.

Above all – Remember – “SCIENCE MAKES AMERICA GREAT” – DEFEND OUR PLANET – WE LIVE HERE.

THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON CAN BASICALLY BE SUMMED UP AS: “CLIMATE SCIENCE IS REAL – TRUMP IS FAKE.

For the April 29, 2017 People’s March on Washington – please see also:
 www.cnn.com/2017/04/29/us/climate…

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 20th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

LATEST PRESS RELEASE
April 19, 2017


PEOPLES CLIMATE MARCH in Washington DC WILL ‘LITERALLY’ SURROUND THE WHITE HOUSE on
SATURDAY, APRIL 29, 2017 With off-shoot events in other cities as well.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 2017
Contact: Harrison Beck,  harrison.beck at peoplesclimate.org

Mass Mobilization to Show Broad Resistance to Trump Agenda on April 29th

Washington, DC — The Peoples Climate March announced they will ‘literally’ surround the White House as part of its mass mobilization in Washington, DC on Saturday, April 29th.

Tens of thousands are expected to converge on Washington, DC from virtually every state in the country. In addition, more than 250 sister marches are also planned across the country and around the world.


“At 2 PM on April 29th, tens of thousands of people will encircle the White House in Washington D.C. to directly confront Donald Trump and challenge those who are pursuing a right-wing agenda that destroys our environment while favoring corporations and the 1 percent over workers and communities,” said Paul Getsos, National Coordinator for the Peoples Climate Movement. “This administration continues waging attacks on immigrants, Muslims, people of color and LGBTQI people everyday. This moment will be the highlight of a day that will begin with a march leading from the Capital to Washington Monument.”

The Peoples Climate March will begin near the Capitol, travel up Pennsylvania Avenue, and then surround the entire White House Grounds from 15th Street in the East to 17th Street in the West, and Pennsylvania Avenue in the North to Constitution Avenue in the South. The march will close with a post march rally, concert and gathering at the Washington Monument.

“After 100 days of this administration, it’s our time to show our resilience, to show that we’re still here, that we’re only getting stronger, that we’re multiplying and that we’re never giving up on justice, or on the people,” said Angela Adrar, executive director of the Climate Justice Alliance. “The Peoples Climate March is about building and deepening connections and linking the intersectionality we need in this moment. On April 30th, our movement will be stronger and more prepared to rise than on April 29th but we will need everyone to rise together.”

“Around this country, working people understand that we don’t have to choose between good jobs and a clean environment; we can and must have both,” said Kim Glas, executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “Together we can tackle climate change in a way that will ensure all Americans have the opportunity to prosper and live in neighborhoods where they can breathe their air and drink their water. We will build a clean economy that leaves no one behind.”
The Peoples Climate Movement is a groundbreaking coalition of indigenous, youth, Latino, environmental, racial justice, economic justice, faith-based and immigrant groups and labor unions demanding an economy and a government that works for working people and the planet.

###

For more information on the April 29 Peoples Climate Mobilization, visit peoplesclimate.org
Follow us on Twitter @Peoples_Climate and Facebook www.facebook.com/peoplesclimate

Sign Up for Press Credentials here: bit.ly/2oJCObe

OLDER PRESS RELEASES:
March 28, 2017
Trump’s Executive Order Repeals Environmental Protections; Hurts People He Claims He Wants to Help

March 24, 2017
Members of The Peoples Climate Mobilization Condemn Trump Administration Decision to Greenlight KXL

March 15, 2017
People’s Climate Movement Supports Today’s AFGE Rally to Protect EPA

March 13, 2017
Unraveling Clean Power Plan Will Create Havoc on Our Environment, Economy and Families

March 9, 2017
Pruitt’s Latest Environment Claim Illustrates Trump Administration’s Continued War on Our Health, Livelihood and Families

March 3, 2017
To fight back Trump’s EPA assaults, join the People’s Climate Mobilization

January 25, 2017
As Trump Dismantles Obama’s Climate Legacy, People’s Climate Movement Organizes for Mass Mobilization in DC on April 29

PEOPLES CLIMATE MOVEMENT
 peoplesclimate.org/media/

Press Inquiries
Contact Us

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

In New York City – the SISTER MARCH is at:

People’s Climate March: NYCHA Takes Action!
April 29, 2017 • 10:00 AM
NYCHA Woodside, HANAC Astoria, NYCHA Ravenswood and Jacob Riis Settlement Center in Queensbridge
50-19 Broadway, Woodside, NY 11377

Queens, NY

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

China. Serve the People.

25.4.2017, 19 – 21 Uhr, Oesterreichische Kontrollbank (Reitersaal), Strauchgasse 3, 1010 Wien, Anmeldung bei:  neuwirth at vidc.org oder  bertrams at vidc.org


China. Serve the People.

Background:

The economic rise of China was impressive. Within three decades, approximately 350 million people escaped from extreme poverty. Some commentators predicted China’s rise to an economic and world power and hoped that this will bring less hierarchical global economic relationships, amongst other things due to China’s importance as an emerging donor in international development cooperation. In 2013, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China decided to stimulate domestic demand and be less dependent on exports. On several occasions, the Central Committee announced its intention to promote a socially balanced economic development.

It appears that these expectations have not been met, at least for now. Economic growth has come down and domestic demand is still slow. Environmental problems and the inequality between regions and social groups have increased enormously. Poor working conditions for factory workers in the export processing zones and violations of basic rights dominate media reports on China.

What are the reasons for the stagnant growth and will China implement the announced structural reforms? What is the role of foreign investment, what are the effects of the country’s economic relations with the US? What is the social, economic and political impact of labor migration and the ongoing struggles for higher wages, safety measures and social benefits?


Ho-fung Hung and Chun-Yi Lee will analyze the current developments in China against the backdrop of closely interlinked capital and labor relations. They will also look at China’s political and economic actors and their interests.

Ho-fung Hung

is Associate Professor in Political Economy at the Sociology Department at Johns Hopkins University. His research interests lie in economic history and global political economic analyses, focusing on China’s economic development. His analyses are published regularly in academic journals and are featured in the media. Selected publications: The China Boom: Why China Will Not Rule the World (2015) and Protest with Chinese Characteristics: Demonstrations, Riots, and Petitions in the Mid-Qing Dynasty (2011), both published by Columbia University Press.

Chun-Yi Lee

lectures at the School of Politics and International Relations (SPIR) at the University of Nottingham. Her research focuses on multinational investment strategies in China and Chinese investments abroad, labor rights and industrial relations. In her recent research project she investigated Chinese labor in the global economy and the influence of foreign direct investment on workers’ rights. Her book, Taiwanese Businessmen or Chinese Security Asset was published by Routledge in 2011.

Karin Fischer

is the head of the Politics and Development Research Department at the Institute of Sociology at Linz University as well as a consultant to the VIDC. She is the chairwoman of the Mattersburg Circle for Development Studies at Austrian Universities.

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

Sehr geehrte Solarstammtischbesucherinnen und Solarstammtischbesucher!

“Batterien für die Energiewende” lautet das Thema unseres Solarstammtisches von EUROSOLAR AUSTRIA am 20.04.2017 ab 18:30 Uhr.

Uhrzeit: ab 18:30 Uhr

Tagesthema: Batteriespeicher für die Energiewende

Referent: Simon Noringbauer, Technischer Berater im Außendienst für OÖ/NÖ/W und Bgl., Fronius International GmbH

Moderation: Solarstammtisch-Koordinator

Ort: A-1060 Wien, Wallgasse 32, Restaurant “Zum Hagenthaler”; www.hagenthaler.at

Erreichbarkeit: www.wienerlinien.at, Westbahnhof U-Bahn U3, U6, Straßenbahn 6, 18 (Station “Mariahilfer Gürtel” vis a vis Westbahnhof 5 Minuten zu Fuß vom Westbahnhof)

TITEL UND REFERENTENVORSCHLÄGE FÜR ZUKÜNFTIGE SOLARSTAMMTISCHE BITTE SENDEN AN:  info at eurosolar.at

BITTE NICHT VERGESSEN, BITTE POTENZIELLE KANDIDATEN INFORMIEREN:

Verleihung der EUROPÄISCHEN SOLARPREISE findet in Wien statt. Einreichungen möglich unter: www.eurosolar.de/de/index.php/sol…
Verleihung der ÖSTERREICHISCHEN SOLARPREISE am 30.09.2017 in Krumpendorf am Wörthersee. Einreichung unter: www.eurosolar.at/index.php/de/akt…

TERMINE UNTER bzw. EINGEBEN:

 www.oekonews.at/?mdoc_id=1112124

EUROSOLAR AUSTRIA auf Facebook: www.facebook.com/eurosolaraustri…

FALTER: Artikel über die OMV, sehr zu empfehlen

Sonnige Grüße und frohe Ostern wünscht

René Bolz

Solarstammtisch-Koordinator EUROSOLAR AUSTRIA

www.eurosolar.at

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Einfach NEIN senden, wenn Sie keine Einladungen mehr wünschen.

Click here to Reply, Reply to all, or Forward

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 31st, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

On May 3, 2016 we received the following announcement:

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has started the process of consultation with the Conference of Parties through its Bureau, and has informed of his intention to appoint Patricia Espinosa Cantellano of Mexico as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Ms. Espinosa Cantellano has more than 30 years of experience at highest levels in international relations, specializing in climate change, global governance, sustainable development and protection of human rights.

Since 2012, she has been serving as Ambassador of Mexico to Germany, a position she also held from 2001 to 2002. She previously served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico from 2006 to 2012.

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

NOW

UNFCCC Media alert: Developments in the United States,
From UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa

March 31, 2017

DEVELOPMENTS IN THE UNITED STATES.

to uninfogroup, climatecom
Developments in the United States

By UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa

Bonn, 31 March 2017

The new US administration announced this week that it will be reviewing America’s Clean Power Plan, domestic legislation brought in by the previous administration in 2015 aimed at reducing US power sector emissions and increasing renewable energy production.

The review comes shortly after the new US administration also submitted its first budget to Congress covering a wide range of areas from defense to education and including changes in funding for the US Environmental Protection Agency.


These two announcements form part of well publicized election pledges made by the new President during last year’s campaign.

As Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC I, like many people and organizations around the globe, are watching these developments with interest.

Budget proposals in the United States often involve long and complex negotiations before they are finally approved in part or in full by Congress.

The review of the Clean Power Plan may also take some time before an outcome emerges. I have made it clear from the outset, following the change in the US administration, that the secretariat works with all Parties to advance climate action and take forward the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

Meanwhile many of the budgetary and legislative measures that have been proposed by the US administration relate to domestic policies rather than international obligations.

The new US administration is and remains a Party to the landmark Paris Climate Change Agreement and we look forward to welcoming and working with its delegations to the sessions planned for 2017.

It is important to note that it is not for the secretariat to comment on the domestic policies of a Party or member state to the United Nations.

It is also important to note that the precise impact on the secretariat and on global climate action linked with these various announcements also remains unclear at this juncture and perhaps will only become clear over time.


The Paris Agreement remains a remarkable achievement, universally supported by all countries when it was adopted and, as of today, ratified by 141 out of 197 Parties to the Agreement—with more coming forward weekly and monthly.

Daily, the UNFCCC Newsroom and our social media channels are spotlighting new policies, initiatives and actions by governments—over the past few weeks for example India has announced bans on highly polluting vehicles and new research showed that solar power capacity globally grew 50 per cent in 2016 led by the United States and China.

At our next May sessions, I also look forward to launching new findings from research groups including the London School of Economics highlighting how, since 2015, climate related laws have significantly increased—again underlining the world-wide momentum post-Paris.

This governmental momentum continues to be underpinned by companies, investors, cities, regions and territories including now many oil majors whose CEOs have in recent weeks publicly spoken out in support of the Paris Agreement and the need to act at various conferences I have attended.

The UNFCCC will continue to move forward to support Parties to implement and achieve their aims and ambitions under the Paris Agreement—this is our honour and our responsibility and will require all our creativity and commitment now and for decades to come.

I would ask staff to focus on this opportunity as we continue to raise our game in support of the transformation of the global economy; in line with the best available science; backed by nations in every corner of the globe and the hopes of billions of people.

Note to media: The text above is a reflection by Patricia Espinosa for staff working at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). See: newsroom.unfccc.int/unfccc-newsro…


About the UNFCCC

With 197 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. The main aim of the Paris Agreement is to keep a global average temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The UNFCCC is also the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The ultimate objective of all agreements under the UNFCCC is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system, in a time frame which allows ecosystems to adapt naturally and enables sustainable development.

————————————————
See also: unfccc.int

Follow UNFCCC on Twitter: @UNFCCC | español: @CMNUCC | francais: @CCNUCC
UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa on Twitter: @PEspinosaC
UNFCCC on Facebook: facebook.com
UNFCCC on LinkedIn: UNFCCC
UNFCCC on Instagram: @UNFCCC

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 23rd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

‹Europa im Diskurs – Debating Europe›
Europa, USA: Was ändert sich mit Trump? What Changes With A Trump US Presidency?

Der neue US-Präsident Donald Trump wird eine andere Außenpolitik vertreten als Barack Obama. Es ist zu erwarten, dass die USA ihre bisherige Rolle als „Weltpolizei“ nicht mehr in dem Maße wie bisher ausüben wollen. Das hat Auswirkungen auf die Bündnispartner, nicht nur in der Nato. Was haben die Europäer von Trump zu erwarten?

 www.burgtheater.at/Content.Node2/…

THAT WAS THE GIVEN – THE US WILL STOP BEING LESS THE WORLD COP AS IT WAS BEFIRE TRUMP.

That was the Monthly Meeting at the Venerable Vienna Burgtheater for the Month of March 2017 (March 5th).

It will have a sequel on April 2nd, 2017 WHEN POPULISM IN GENERAL WILL BE DISCUSSED..

IRITH JAWETZ REPORTS FROM VIENNA.

It was interesting, although no major surprises. They all agreed that Trump will represent a different foreign policy that Barack Obama or any US President who preceded him. Is it to be expected that the US will no longer want to exercise their role as world police to the extent they have done in the past? This has an impact on the alliance partners, not only in NATO. Trump’s turn to Russia presents the EU with challenges to which they must respond.

Under the leadership and Moderation of Alexandra Foederl-Schmid, the Speakers were:

Judy Dempsey, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Europe; Alison Smale, head of the Berlin New York Times office; Robert Dornhelm, Film Director and Movie Script-Writer; Former US Republican Congressman; and Ivan Krastev, Political Science Professor, Bulgaria and Permanent Fellow of the Institute for Human Sciences (Instituts fuer Wissenschaften vom Menschen – IWM) Vienna.

THAT WAS THE BURGTHEATER PROGRAM FOR SUNDAY, MARCH 5, 2017. EUROPE BEING DISCUSSED (Europa Im Diskurs) -EUROPE-USA: WHAT WILL CHANGE UNDER TRUMP?

ON SUNDAY, APRIL 2, 2017 11:00, there will be a sequel –

Burgtheater | Europa im Diskurs – Debating Europe
Leben wir im Zeitalter des Populismus?

“DO WE LIVE IN A TIME OF POPULISM?” – this is like seeing if what happened in te USA will
happen in Europe as well.

————————————-

On March 5, 2017 – Most speakers were not Trump supporters (except Irish lady Dempsey who did not really support him but said one must give him a chance). Nevertheless – all of them view him with caution, to say the least.

The two surprising participants for me were Jim Kolbe, Former Republican Congressman from Arizona (1985 till 2007) who is now Board member of IRI (International Republican Institute).

He started by stating that he will definitely not get a phone call from the Trump Administration to join their cabinet. He did not support Trump from the start, and still does not support him. In his closing remarks, Congressman Kolb said that some Republicans are starting to doubt Trump’s ability to be President. He mentioned his fellow Arizonian John McCain and Lindsey Graham in particular. He criticized Trump’s Administration by saying that very often he says one thing and his Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense say something different – and who is to believe? Is Steve Bannon running the show?

As for Trump’s relationship with Russia, Europe should worry – said Congressman Kolb.

The second surprise was Robert Dornheim, a Film Director and Screenwriter, who was born in Romania but has dual citizenship Austrian and US and lives now mainly in Los Angeles.

As a staunch Bernie Sanders supporter he is is completely against Trump. Dornheim was also angry at the media, that fell for Trump’s ability at showmanship during the whole campaign and gave him about 10 hours of coverage to 10 minutes of coverage to Sanders. As a result many Sanders supporters voted for Trump and he personally has lost many friends that way. He urged Jim Kolbe to use his influence on his fellow Republicans to do something! He even went as far as to suggest that all debates about a Trump Presidency should not be taken so seriously – since he is not worth it. One should not even discuss him. This brought a mixed reaction from the panel and audience and was not taken too seriously.

The other panel members were Judy Dempsey, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation, an Irish journalist, who was the most lenient towards Trump and said, among other things that we cannot forget that he was elected with the support of millions of people, and he is now the President and must be given a chance.

Ivan Krastev, Political Scientist analyzed Trump at length, mentioned his obsession with Radical Islam which dates back to many years before, obsessed with the Trade deficit and the idea that deficit is always bad (although it has existed in the US for many years already), and his idea of “Make American great again” is his main goal.
As for Russia, none of the people around Trump are specialists on Russia, and Trump is somewhat obsessed with Putin. Both Trump and Putin have something in common as both dislike the state of the world right now. FYI for you, nobody mentioned Yalta or Malta and the dividing of Europe.Maybe they do not believe it will go that far.

As for Trump’s latest accusation of President Obama wiretapping his phones at Trump Tower, all agreed that this is absurd, there is no evidence to it. Jim Kolbe explained that in the US you need a court order to do that, and it was definitely not asked for or given to President Obama.

Ivan Krastev said that this is Trump’s tactic. He rules by distraction. When an important issues come up (right now Sessions reclusing himself from the Russia investigation) Trump comes up with some sensational Tweet to distract. This is his governing tactics.

All panel members agreed that Europe has to stay united and become stronger together.
Europe cannot rely on the US anymore and must become a powerful counterpart.


They did not touch on the Immigration issue or Climate Change.

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

THE APRIL 2017 EVENT:

Burgtheater | April 2, 2017 – 11.00 o’clock |
Europa im Diskurs – Debating Europe
Leben wir im Zeitalter des Populismus?

DO WE LIVE IN TIMES OF POPULISM?

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 17th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


UNITED NATIONS, UNICEF AND SMURFS TEAM UP TO CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF HAPPINESS.

Small Smurfs Big Goals campaign inspires support for Sustainable Development Goals.

The UNF, New York, March 18 – Voice actors from the upcoming animated movie Smurfs: The Lost Village today joined officials from the United Nations, UNICEF and United Nations Foundation at the world body’s headquarters in New York to celebrate International Day of Happiness with a campaign promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The “Small Smurfs Big Goals” campaign is designed to encourage young people everywhere to learn about and support the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by world leaders in 2015 to help make the world more peaceful, equitable and healthy.
As part of the celebrations, Team Smurfs recognized three young advocates — Karan Jerath (20), Sarina Divan (17), and Noor Samee (17) — for their actions to promote the Goals.

Jerath, a UN Young Leader for the Sustainable Development Goals, invented a containment device that could prevent offshore oil spills and ensure the protection of marine life. Divan expanded a UN Foundation girl empowerment initiative at her high school and beyond, and Samee is a UNICEF blogger and advocate on social justice issues and raising awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The movie’s U.S. stars — Demi Lovato, Joe Manganiello and Mandy Patinkin — presented the three young students with a symbolic key to the Smurfs Village in recognition of their work.

“This inspirational campaign highlights the fact that each and every one of us, no matter how young or old, small or big, can make our world a better and happier place,” said Cristina Gallach, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information. “We are grateful to creative partners like Sony Pictures Animation and Team Smurfs for their spirit of collaboration in helping the UN reach diverse audiences.”

The Small Smurfs Big Goals campaign culminates on the International Day of Happiness on 20 March, which emphasizes the importance of personal happiness and well-being. The idea is closely linked to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which include decent work for all, access to nutritious food, quality education and health services, and freedom from discrimination.

“Today we have seen how the Small Smurfs Big Goals campaign is giving children and young people a platform to speak out about issues they are passionate about. As we celebrate International Day of Happiness, we hope many more young people are empowered to take action on the Sustainable Development Goals and help achieve a world free from poverty, inequality and injustice,” said Caryl M. Stern, UNICEF US Fund President and CEO.

The actors and UN officials addressed some 1,500 students attending an international Model UN conference in the iconic General Assembly Hall of the United Nations, where they encouraged all participants and the public to join “Team Smurfs”.

The campaign invites the general public to visit SmallSmurfsBigGoals.com to find out how to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and share information, ideas and images on social media.

The actors also premiered a new public service announcement video starring cast members of the film that inspires viewers to join the campaign and champion the Sustainable Development Goals.

“We hope the campaign will help us all think about how our actions impact the planet,” said Demi Lovato, who voices Smurfette in the movie. “Every one of us, even a Small Smurf, can accomplish Big Goals!”

The United Nations Postal Administration closed out the blue carpet event by unveiling a special edition stamp sheet featuring the Small Smurfs Big Goals campaign. The film cast along with the Belgian Ambassador to the United Nations, Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, and United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Management, Stephen Cutts, presented the Small Smurfs Big Goals UN stamps to the press.

Along with the event at the United Nations, other celebrations took place in 18 countries around the world including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Russia and the UK, to name a few, to help raise awareness for the “Small Smurfs Big Goals” campaign and the Goals.

“Since 1958, the Smurfs have embodied around the world the universal values of camaraderie, helping one another, tolerance, optimism, and respecting Mother Nature,” said Véronique Culliford, the daughter of Peyo, who created the Smurfs. “It’s been an honor and privilege for The Smurfs to support the United Nations and to continue our longstanding relationship with UNICEF with this campaign focused on raising awareness for the Sustainable Development Goals.”

On March 20, festivities for the International Day of Happiness will culminate in a special ceremony with the film cast along with United Nations, UNICEF and United Nations Foundation officials where they will help turn the Empire State Building blue to commemorate the occasion.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 28th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Yesterday, February 27, 2017 there was a podium discussion at the House of the European Union, Vienna, Wipplingerstrasse 35, 1010 Wien. The topic was the question: “MORE OR LESS EU?”

The main speaker was Professor Karl Aiginger, currently Professor at WU, Vienna and Director
of the Policy Crossover Center, Vienna – Europe, that is a Discussion Platform for European Policy.

Karl Aiginger specializes in industrial organization. He also focuses on the analysis of industrial policy, innovation, the competitiveness of companies, international competition, and the European economic and social model.

He is the founder and publisher of the Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade and was the project leader for the analytical principles underpinning the competition reports of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. He evaluated the Finnish system for innovation on behalf of the Government of Finland and was in charge of the evaluating the system of Austrian research subsidies and funding on behalf of the Federal Government of Austria. He was on the supervisory board of the holding company of nationalized Austrian companies.

It is a main message of Aiginger’s work not to equate competitiveness with low costs or to measure it using the external balance, but to measure it by outcomes, specifically defining competitiveness as the “ability to deliver Beyond GDP goals”. Industrialized countries must follow a strategy based on quality. To us it seems that Professor Aiginger is a clear opponent of the approach used by people like Trump – the line that says make a profit always without looking back at the trail you leave behind.

Yesterday’s panel moderated by Hans Buerger from the Austrian Radio Station ORF, and included also Paul Schmidt from the Austrian Society for European Politics, Katharina Gnath from the Bertelsmann Foundation and Jacques Delors Institute of Berlin, and a young lady, Erza Aruqaj, representing the “millennials” and working with the National Bank, whose head, his Excellency Ewald Nowotny, was in the room.

We report on this meeting because to us it included a true first.

This First came from Professor Aiginger in his introduction, though later on it never was picked up again in the conversations.

Professor Aiginger nailed it down – the present three real European problems are –
TWO OUTSIDE PROBLEMS AND ONE HOME MADE PROBLEM.

The outside problems are:

(1) Trump. Trump likes Brexit and will help possibly other exits.

(2) Putin. Putin makes efforts at destabilizing the Ukraine, the Balkans, the Baltics,
Greece, France, and others.

The home made problem is:

(3) Right Populism. That is the internal EU mechanism that will lead to further exits.

What above says to us is that Professor Aiginger sees the danger of a Trump-Putin scissors that are bound to shape Europe, like the Roosevelt-Stalin scissors did in 1995 at Yalta.

But Professor Aiginger does not despair. He thinks of ways the EU can reorganize – as in effect it has to because of the Brexit that by now ought to be recognized as an accomplished fact. Further more, besides my notes I took last night, I found in today’s Wiener Zeitung a full page article by him – “Europe Without Populism.” that presents 4 principles of his thinking. Yes, Europe does not have to go down the Trump drain – it even can prosper if it learns by looking at the US and the UK – their evolution as pushed by their populists.

Last night, I felt lucky to have had the chance to congratulate Prof. Aiginger for his three “DANGERS” and added that all the rest – the positive part of his work – ought to include also a severe warning to Europe – States, individuals, regions, scientists, economists, educators, media, etc. that they do not just continue to plan for what they think is right – but seriously start to warn the public that there is a very real danger in falling back to Yalta.

Europe does not want just the post-WWII Peace of Yalta, but it must strive to a higher level of what was post-Malta Peace (the Marsaxlokk meeting on board of the Maxim Gorky).

For some more about Prof. Aiginger – his 4 points in print of today are:

(1) The Cornerstones for National Tax-Systems.

(2) The Principles for an innovative Climate Policy.

(3) The coordination of a European Business Policy.

(4) The Globalization of European Values.

The answer in short-hand is thus to do the right things as a union while recognizing the differences between States or Regions.

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ALSO – as we wrote here about events at the EU Haus, Vienna – let us publish the list of presentations in their EUROPA: DIALOG series with Journalits and writers.

We already had the first two meetings

— Jan. 31 — Corinna Milborn from PULS 4

— Feb. 14 — Wolfgang Boehm Die Presse -covering Europe – reported on Brussels

the future meetings:

— March 7 — Margaretha Kopeining “Kurrier” correspondent in Brussels

— Msrch 14 — Ben Segenreich ORF and Der Standard from Israel

— March 28 — Carola Schneider ORF from Moscow

— April 4 — Michael Laczinski “Die Presse” from Brussels

— April 18 — Joerg Winter ORF from Turkey

— May 2 — Tim Cupal ORF from Brussel

— May 16 — Christophe Kohl ORF from Paris

— Nay 23 — Tessa Szyszkowitz “Profil” from London

— June 6 — Thomas Seifert “Wiener Zeitung” covers Europe

— June 20 — Doron Rabinovici Writer

As we see much of this is about Brussels

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 20th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Pence seeks to reassure European allies unnerved by Trump

He tried to reinforce the U.S. commitment to the security of Europe and the historic transatlantic partnership. But though Pence stressed that he was speaking on behalf of the president, it was clear to al that Trump offered very different views an ocean away – the real Trump speaking to his burly followers at Melbourne, Florida.

The Washington Post asks about Pence: “Shadow president or mere shadow?”

The Swedes asked what did Trump smoke? He plainly invented a set of “Pseudo-facts” about Sweden, well beyond his proven fall by “Alternate-Facts” – does Trump hallucinate or is he making up lies. Fox News never said what he contends to have picked up there. This is clearly psychopathic behavior – unsustainable and the talk all over is that while celebrating his first month in power, he has collected enough bad points to see his presidency end before his first year in office at the seat of power.

Trump called NATO “obsolete” and rose to electoral victory on the promise of a more isolationist “America First” set of populist policies. Pence stressed repeatedly that the USA continues to be committed to NATO even though it would like to see higher military expenditures by the Europeans.

In Vienna it is not accepted that Trump represents populism, they rather think he dreams up a new form of dictatorship – very different from Italian fascism and somewhat different from Nazism. He just does not accept any form of Socialism.

Pence’s inner-circle credibility took a dive last week when news emerged that former national security Michael Flynn had misled the vice president about conversations he had had with the Russian ambassador to the United States — claims the vice president repeated on the Sunday shows. Although Trump ultimately demanded Flynn’s resignation, Pence was in the dark for two full weeks and only learned he had been lied to from news reports.

An Israeli Former Mossad head said that Flynn was the fall guy to save Trump. The obvious question is if Trump will yet throw up Pence as well?

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