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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 14th, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

This month, the Trump administration gave oil companies the chance to identify spots they’d like to drill in the Beaufort Sea – a region predominantly off-limits to development. This request is another massive step towards new oil and gas drilling in Arctic waters full of beluga and bowhead whales, Arctic seals and walrus.

The good news is, you can speak up too! Please oppose new lease sales in the Arctic Ocean today.

Risky Arctic Ocean drilling isn’t about needing new oil. It is about sacrificing our Arctic Ocean and damaging our climate to bolster a struggling administration shackled to its oil allies. We should not rush forward with new leasing when a single spill would devastate wildlife and local communities, and take us further down a path of climate disaster.

Please speak out against new drilling leases in the wildlife-rich Beaufort Sea.

No lease sales should take place in the Arctic Ocean. Time and time again, millions of people across the country have determined that it’s too risky and dirty to take any chances with these fragile waters.

Thank you,
Kelsie
Arctic Campaign Manager

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

from the American-Iranian Council in the US.

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


US-Iran Relations

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

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

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


Trump Administration Turns Away Iranian Christians

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

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

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

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

By ANDREW RETTMAN

BRUSSELS, TODAY, 09:27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And from Trump’s Washington:

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

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

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

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

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


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

By Tom Engelhardt in TomDispatch of 01 March 2018


The Ultimate Blowback Universe
A Planet Boiling With Unintended Consequences.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giving Imperial Overstretch New Meaning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Humanity Nailed to a Cross of Coal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nunes: House panel looking at State Dept. involvement in Russia probe
BY MAX GREENWOOD – THE HILL – 02/02/18.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) revealed Friday that Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee would examine other agencies, including the State Department, after releasing a controversial memo alleging surveillance abuses.

Speaking on Fox News just hours after Republicans on the committee released a memo alleging surveillance abuses by the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ), Nunes said the panel was moving to “phase two” of its investigation.

“We are in the middle of what I call phase two of our investigation, which involves other departments, specifically the State Department and some of the involvement that they had in this,” Nunes said.

“That investigation is ongoing and we continue work towards finding answers and asking the right questions to try to get to the bottom of what exactly the State Department was up to in terms of this Russia investigation.”

Nunes was asked whether his panel would be releasing additional memos as part of their probe after the White House declassified information to allow the release of a memo alleging that senior FBI and DOJ officials abused their powers to spy on members of President Trump’s campaign.

It’s unclear what role, if any, the State Department played in the law enforcement investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign collaborated with Russia amid Moscow’s efforts to sway the 2016 presidential election.

The decision to release the Nunes memo regarding the FBI and DOJ was highly controversial. Republicans on the Intelligence panel argued that it was necessary, because it shed light on the origins of the Russia investigation, as well as potential abuses of power by federal law enforcement officials.

Democrats and the FBI, however, voiced concerns about the memo’s accuracy, contending that Republicans omitted key facts that would have placed the information in the proper context.

The push to release the memo was largely driven by Nunes, who has been accused by Democrats of trying to undermine and discredit special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling in order to protect Trump.

SustainabiliTank thinks that the above story is what caused the fall of
Stock markets in the US this week and overseas as well. Investors are
shaken by this infighting in Washington where Congress pits Government Departments one against another. THIS IS NOT SUSTAINABLE AND SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE AND CRASH.

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

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

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

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

Looking forward to welcoming you at TIPS.

Best regards,

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

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

The Independent Barents Observer,
January 14, 2018.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14.01.2018 – Høyres kommunikasjonsavdeling TwitterFacebook
Les den nye regjeringsplattformen her

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plattformen i korte trekk:
Skape flere jobber:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—————-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 21st, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Senate Votes to Raise Revenue by Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

By Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post

20 October 17

The Senate rejected an amendment Thursday that sought to block a key panel from raising revenue through drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a move that could make it easier for future oil and gas drilling to take place there.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (Wash.), the top Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, offered a budget amendment that would have removed instructions to the panel to raise an additional $1 billion through federal leasing. It failed 48 to 52 on a largely party-line vote, with only Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) breaking ranks. Collins voted in favor of Cantwell’s amendment, while Manchin opposed it.

The vote, which came before the Senate approved Republicans’ proposed budget, represented a victory for the GOP and a defeat for environmentalists. The Trump administration is quietly moving to spur energy exploration in the refuge for the first time in more than 30 years by considering whether to allow seismic testing there, but only Congress can determine whether oil and gas drilling can take place within its 19.6 million acres.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told her colleagues that they should view the budget instructions “as an opportunity to do something constructive for the country.”

“It’s about jobs, and job creation. It’s about wealth and wealth creation,” she said, adding that drilling in the refuge is “not the only option” for how her panel could find $1 billion in new revenue. “But I will tell you it is the best option, and it’s on the table.”

Opponents of the plan say that such operations could imperil the refuge’s wildlife, which include polar bears as well as caribou and migrating waterfowl. David Yarnold, CEO of the National Audubon Society, said in a recent interview that based on recent lease sales, the federal government would likely get only $9 million in revenue if it auctioned off the right to drill on the refuge’s coastal plain.

“It’s just bad math,” Yarnold said, adding that when lawmakers predict this activity could raise $1 billion, “there’s no reason to believe that that’s going to happen.”

But Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) hailed the move as a sign that his state was inching closer to developing an area that’s been shut off from development for years.

“This resolution is another key step that we’ve recently accomplished in a decades-long fight to allow Alaskans to produce energy in our state – something that Alaskans, Democrats, Republicans, independents, overwhelmingly support,” Sullivan said in a statement. “More American energy production means more good-paying jobs, increased economic growth, and a stronger national security.”

Environmentalists said they would continue to fight any move to drill in the refuge, which has been subject to fights in Congress for years.

“Today’s vote is a wakeup call for all Americans. Americans have fought for decades to protect this last remaining truly wild landscape, and are rallying today because they believe in taking action on climate change and want to defend the rights of the Native Gwich’in people,” said Adam Kolton, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League, in a statement. “Every member of Congress who supported this scheme, to hijack the budget process to do the bidding of oil companies, needs to hear loud and clear that we are determined to defend ‘America’s Serengeti.’”

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


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

Yasmin Perez <yperez@maitland.co.uk>
Attachments1:18 PM (1 hour ago)

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

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

Thanks,
Yasmin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the NewClimate Institute

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

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

 newclimate.org | @newclimateinst

About The Climate Group:

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

 TheClimateGroup.org | @ClimateGroup

About Climate Week:

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

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

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 12th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

6 Trump US Administration Climate Claims Exposed As Total Nonsense By Federal Report.

There’s actually no “tremendous disagreement” among federal climate scientists that humans are to blame for accelerated global warming.

By Hayley Miller of Huffington Post – August 12, 2017. (GREEN – 08/11/2017)

There’s little doubt: The climate is changing, human activity is accelerating the process, and the U.S. is already feeling its effects, according to an expansive climate report that dozens of government scientists drafted.

The nonprofit Internet Archive first uploaded the 543-page report, which is awaiting the Trump administration’s approval, in January. But the third-order draft of the Global Change Research Program Climate Science Special Report only garnered mainstream attention after The New York Times published it inside an article Monday.

The National Academy of Sciences has already endorsed the draft report, but many scientists ? including some of the paper’s authors ? have expressed concern that Trump officials might rewrite or suppress the findings.

Trump once famously called climate change a Chinese “hoax,” and he’s filled his administration with several other skeptics, including Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Despite this report (and piles of evidence from previously published studies), Trump administration officials have continued to push a narrative that claims scientists are unsure whether human activity has significantly increased the rate of global warming in recent years.

Here are six statements the Trump team has made about climate change that have no basis in reality, as evidenced by the federal climate science report:

President Donald Trump:

“I’m not a believer in man-made global warming. It could be warming, and it’s going to start to cool at some point.” (September 2015)

What the science actually shows: The science is clear that man-made global warming is not only real, but also one of the greatest threats that humanity faces.

People have released so much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere that the planet will continue to warm for at least the next 100 years ? even if carbon emissions caused by human activity immediately cease.

From the federal report:

The last few years have also seen record-breaking, climate-related, weather extremes, as well as the warmest years on record for the globe. …

Global climate is projected to continue to change over this century and beyond. Even if humans immediately ceased emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, existing levels would commit the world to at least an additional 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit over this century relative to today. …

The magnitude of climate change beyond the next few decades depends primarily on the amount of greenhouse (heat trapping) gases emitted globally and the sensitivity of Earth’s climate to those emissions. …

Longer-term climate records indicate that average temperatures in recent decades over much of the world have been much higher than at any time in the past 1700 years or more.
Trump again:

“Record low temperatures and massive amounts of snow. Where the hell is GLOBAL WARMING?” (February 2015)

What the science actually shows: There may be some outlier days, but overall, climate change has caused extremely cold days to become warmer and it’s increased the frequency of “extreme heat events,” according to the latest report.

Also, research has consistently debunked the claim that “massive amounts of snow” suggest global warming isn’t occurring. In fact, heavier precipitation is the result of evaporating ocean water caused by global warming, the research shows. This phenomena could explain “snowmageddon”-type extreme snow events.

From the report:

Extremely cold days have become warmer since the early 1900s, and extremely warm days have become warmer since the early 1960s. In recent decades, extreme cold waves have become less common while extreme heat waves have become more common. …

The frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation and extreme heat events are increasing in most regions of the world. These trends are consistent with expected physical responses to a warming climate and with climate model studies, although models tend to underestimate the observed trends. The frequency and intensity of such extreme events will very likely continue to rise in the future. …

The increase in extreme weather that accompany global climate change are having significant, direct effects on the United States and the global economy and society.

Scott Pruitt, Head of the Environmental Protection Agency

“Measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do. And there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact. So no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the climate change.” (March 2017)

What the science actually shows: There’s virtually zero disagreement among federal climate scientists that human activity is not only a factor, but also the “dominant cause” driving the relatively recent and dramatic acceleration of global warming. This finding is repeated throughout the report.

From the report:

Human activities are now the dominant cause of the observed changes in climate. …

The global climate continues to change rapidly compared to the pace of the natural changes in climate that have occurred throughout Earth’s history. …

Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are primarily responsible for the observed climate changes in the industrial era. There are no alternative explanations, and no natural cycles are found in the observational record that can explain the observed changes in climate.


Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior:

Glaciers in Montana started melting “right after the end of the Ice Age” and it’s been “a consistent melt.” (June 2017)

What the science actually shows: Scientists have already debunked Zinke’s claim that Glacier National Park’s namesake feature has been melting consistently since “right after the end of the Ice Age.” Glaciers have generally retreated since about 1850, the end of the Little Ice Age, but global warming has caused the rate of retreat to increase in recent decades.

The draft report further suggests that man-made global warming is accelerating the melting of mountain glaciers, snow cover and sea ice worldwide.

From the report:

Observations continue to show that Arctic sea ice extent and thickness, Northern Hemisphere snow cover, and the volume of mountain glaciers and continental ice sheets are all decreasing. In many cases, evidence suggests that the net loss of mass from the global cryosphere is accelerating. …

The annually averaged ice mass from global reference glaciers has decreased every year since 1984, and the rate of global glacier melt is accelerating. This mountain glacier melt is contributing to sea level rise and will continue to contribute through the 21st Century.
Zinke again:

“The evidence strongly suggests that humans have had an influence on higher CO2. However, the evidence is equally as strong that there are other factors, such as rising ocean temperatures, that have a greater influence.” (August 2014)

What the science actually suggests: As we should all know by now, carbon emissions released by human activity are the “dominant cause” of accelerated global warming. Ocean temperatures are rising, but that’s because humans are emitting more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

From the report:

The world’s oceans have absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat caused by greenhouse warming since the mid 20th Century, making them warmer and altering global and regional circulation patterns and climate feedbacks. Surface oceans have warmed by about 0.45°F (0.25°C) globally since the 1970s. …

The world’s oceans are currently absorbing more than a quarter of the carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere annually from human activities, making them more acidic with potential detrimental impacts to marine ecosystems. The rate of acidification is unparalleled in at least the past 66 million years.

Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy

“Most likely the primary control knob [for the temperature of the Earth and for climate] is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in.” (June 2017)

What the science actually shows: Like Zinke, Perry downplayed humans’ role in global warming and blamed “ocean waters” instead. Perry also appeared to suggest that the environment is responsible for changes in the environment, which is somewhat challenging to make sense of.

It’s possible he was referring to previously natural variability, such as El Niño and La Niña, though the draft report found such phenomena have “limited influences” on long-term climate change. Some studies have suggested man-made global warming may “greatly increase the frequency of very strong” El Niño or La Niña events.

From the report:

Since the industrial era, human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and other greenhouse gases now overwhelm the influence of natural drivers on the external forcing of the Earth’s climate… For this reason, projections of changes in Earth’s climate over this century and beyond focus primarily on its response to emissions of greenhouse gases, particulates, and other radiatively-active species from human activities. …

Natural variability, including El Niño events and other recurring patterns of ocean?atmosphere interactions, have important, but limited influences on global and regional climate over timescales ranging from months to decades.
Read the full draft of the climate report here.

For further information included in this article:

 www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/dona…

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 10th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

CLIMATE – THE NEW YORK TIMES


• “The cost of electric cars is falling much faster than expected, based in part on a plunge in battery prices and aggressive policies in China and Europe.”


When Will Electric Cars Go Mainstream? It May Be Sooner Than You Think.

By BRAD PLUMER, JULY 8, 2017

The Photo: A Volkswagen e-Golf electric car being charged in Dresden, Germany, in March.

Volkswagen and Tesla each have plans to produce more than 1 million electric vehicles per year by 2025. Credit Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters


As the world’s automakers place larger bets on electric vehicle technology, many industry analysts are debating a key question: How quickly can plug-in cars become mainstream?

The conventional view holds that electric cars will remain a niche product for many years, plagued by high sticker prices and heavily dependent on government subsidies.

But a growing number of analysts now argue that this pessimism is becoming outdated. A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research group, suggests that the price of plug-in cars is falling much faster than expected, spurred by cheaper batteries and aggressive policies promoting zero-emission vehicles in China and Europe.

Between 2025 and 2030, the group predicts, plug-in vehicles will become cost competitive with traditional petroleum-powered cars, even without subsidies and even before taking fuel savings into account. Once that happens, mass adoption should quickly follow.

“Our forecast doesn’t hinge on countries adopting stringent new fuel standards or climate policies,” said Colin McKerracher, the head of advanced transport analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “It’s an economic analysis, looking at what happens when the upfront cost of electric vehicles reaches parity. That’s when the real shift occurs.”

If that prediction pans out, it will have enormous consequences for the auto industry, oil markets and the world’s efforts to slow global warming.

A Boost From Batteries

Last year, plug-in vehicles made up less than 1 percent of new passenger vehicle sales worldwide, held back by high upfront costs. The Chevrolet Bolt, produced by General Motors, sells for about $37,500 before federal tax breaks. With gasoline prices hovering around $2 per gallon, relatively few consumers seem interested.

But there are signs of a shift. Tesla and Volkswagen each have plans to produce more than a million electric vehicles per year by 2025. On Wednesday, Volvo announced that it would phase out the traditional combustion engine and that all of its new models starting in 2019 would be either hybrids or entirely battery-powered.

Skeptics argue that these moves are mostly marginal. Exxon Mobil, which is studying the threat that electric cars could pose to its business model, still expects that plug-in vehicle sales will grow slowly, to just 10 percent of new sales in the United States by 2040, with little impact on global oil use. The federal Energy Information Administration projects a similarly sluggish uptick.

The Bloomberg forecast is far more aggressive, projecting that plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles will make up 54 percent of new light-duty sales globally by 2040, outselling their combustion engine counterparts.

The reason? Batteries. Since 2010, the average cost of lithium-ion battery packs has plunged by two-thirds, to around $300 per kilowatt-hour. The Bloomberg report sees that falling to $73 by 2030, without any significant technological breakthroughs, as companies like Tesla increase battery production in massive factories, optimize the design of battery packs and improve chemistries.

For the next decade, the report notes, electric cars will remain reliant on government incentives and sales mandates in places like Europe, China and California. But as automakers introduce a greater variety of models and lower costs, electric cars will reach a point where they can stand on their own.

Still, this outcome is hardly guaranteed. Governments could scale back their incentives before plug-in vehicles become fully competitive — many states are already beginning to tax electric cars. Battery manufacturers could face material shortages or production problems that hinder their ability to slash costs. And an unforeseen technology failure, such as widespread battery fires, could halt progress.

“But we tried to be fairly conservative in our estimate of where battery prices are going,” Mr. McKerracher said, “and we don’t see barriers to electric vehicles’ becoming cost competitive very soon.”

Other experts caution that falling battery costs are not the only factor in determining whether electric cars become widespread. Sam Ori, the executive director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, noted, “People don’t buy cars based solely on the price tag.”

Consumers may remain wary of vehicles with limited range that can take hours to charge. Even though researchers have shown that battery-electric vehicles have sufficient range for many people’s daily commuting habits, consumer psychology is still difficult to predict. The report does not, for instance, expect electric vehicles to catch on widely in the pickup-truck market.

Charging infrastructure is another potential barrier. Although cities are starting to build thousands of public charging stations — and Tesla is working on reducing the time it takes to power a depleted battery — it still takes longer to charge an electric vehicle than it does to refuel a conventional car at the pump.

Many owners charge their cars overnight in their garages, but that is much harder for people living in cities who park their cars on the street.

As a result, the Bloomberg report warns that plug-in vehicles may have a difficult time making inroads in dense urban areas and that infrastructure bottlenecks may slow the growth of electric vehicles after 2040.

Another potential hurdle may be the automakers themselves. While most manufacturers are introducing plug-in models in the United States to comply with stricter fuel-economy standards, they do not always market them aggressively, said Chelsea Sexton, an auto industry consultant who worked on General Motors’ electric vehicle program in the 1990s.

Car dealerships also remain reluctant to display and sell electric models, which often require less maintenance and are less profitable for their service departments. Surveys have found that salespeople are often unprepared to pitch the cars.

“We’ve seen a lot of announcements about electric vehicles, but that doesn’t matter much if automakers are just building these cars for compliance and are unenthusiastic about actually marketing them,” Ms. Sexton said.

Raw economics may help overcome such barriers, Mr. McKerracher said. He pointed to Norway, where heavy taxes on petroleum-powered vehicles and generous subsidies for electric vehicles have created price parity between the two. As a result, plug-in hybrids and fully electric cars in Norway now make up 37 percent of all new sales, up from 6 percent in 2013.

Fighting Climate Change

If Bloomberg’s forecast proves correct, it could have sweeping implications for oil markets. The report projects that a sharp rise in electric vehicles would displace eight million barrels of transportation fuel each day. (The world currently consumes around 98 million barrels per day.)

A number of oil companies are now grappling with the prospect of an eventual peak in global demand, with billions of dollars in investments at stake in getting the timing right.

Mass adoption of electric cars could also prove a key strategy in fighting climate change — provided the vehicles are increasingly powered by low-carbon electricity rather than coal. The International Energy Agency has estimated that electric vehicles would have to account for at least 40 percent of passenger vehicle sales by 2040 for the world to have a chance of meeting the climate goals outlined in the Paris agreement, keeping total global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

Yet the Bloomberg report also shows how much further countries would need to go to cut transportation emissions.

Even with a sharp rise in electric vehicles, the world would still have more traditional petroleum-powered passenger vehicles on the road in 2040 than it does today, and it will take many years to retire existing fleets. And other modes of transportation, like heavy-duty trucking and aviation, will remain stubbornly difficult to electrify without drastic advances in battery technology.

Which means it is still too soon to write an obituary for the internal combustion engine.

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

German Chancellor Angela Merkel once again singled out the United States for criticism Saturday for walking away from the Paris climate agreement, saying that she “deplores” the decision and that she does not believe the Trump administration is open to returning to the deal to reduce international carbon emissions, as President Trump has said.

The United States was alone at the G-20 summit in dissenting from the group’s climate resolution. Leaders from the 19 other countries around the table in Hamburg agreed that the Paris climate agreement is “irreversible” and will take steps to implement the accords “as soon as possible,” said Merkel.

The issue highlighted the cold reception that President Trump’s vision of American self-interest, denial of climate science and threats to throw up trade barriers received at the conference of 20 of the world’s wealthiest countries.

As she has before, Merkel called on European countries to step into the vacuum that Trump is leaving on the world stage. “We as Europeans have to take our fate into our own hands,” she said.

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

Sunday July 7, 2017 – in Washington they expect the Republican legislators back from home will declare that the Health Care Plans they forged to favor the rich are unacceptable to the folks back home. The World at large will be forgotten, so will be Hamburg and the G-20 minus one.
On TV only Fareed Zakaria will still remember that there is the real world out there.

As an epitaph to Hamburg we present the following:

Trump’s mistake in his meeting with Putin
CNN on-line, Sunday, July 9, 2017.

Ed Lucas says the American president engaged in a dialogue that put Russia on the same moral plane as America — that’s a mistake.

Read the full story

Edward Lucas is a senior editor at The Economist, at which he was the Moscow bureau chief from 1998 to 2002. He also is senior vice president at the Center for European Policy Analysis, a Washington think tank. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.

(CNN) The first day of the G20 summit in Hamburg was notable for the attention given to Donald Trump’s first face-to-face meeting with Vladimir Putin and the ferocity of the day’s protests.

It would be nice to think that the protesters were particularly irked by the sight of two autocratic, media-hating leaders with dodgy business connections getting together. Sadly, the Trump-Putin meeting is a sideshow as far as the anti-globalization movement is concerned. They object to the whole idea of the G20, seeing the summit as the epitome of a global system based on a rapacious economic model and run by unaccountable elites.
Edward Lucas
Edward Lucas
While they are catching their breath from attacking the police and burning things down, the protesters might like to think how much worse they would fare if the summit were in Moscow or Beijing. Western democracies have many faults, but they do allow peaceful protest. Russia — and China — treat dissent much more harshly.
The protesters are greatly fired up by imperialism. Yet the biggest imperialists at the G20 are not the Western countries but the Russian and Chinese leaders. Xi Jinping’s Communist Party occupies Tibet (and East Turkestan and Inner Mongolia). Mr. Putin’s Kremlin has savagely crushed the Chechens, and pursues a chauvinist Russians-first policy in republics of the Russian Federation such as Tatarstan, Bashkiria, Mari-El and Komi. I doubt the protesters have ever heard of these places.
It is also odd that protesters hate President Trump, as he shares their disdain for the global trading system. Admittedly, they disagree about the nature of that unfairness — Trump dislikes the rules-based international order because he thinks it is unfair to America, the biggest and richest country in the world, while the protesters object to the way the system is tilted against poor countries. But that is a secondary point.
The Trump-Putin meeting went on longer than expected — for two and a half hours rather than the planned 30 minutes. That is apparently good news. I disagree. Half an hour was more than adequate for the necessary messages, which should have been on the lines of “Mr. Putin, we know what you are up to. Stop it.” If further elaboration were needed, it could have included the line, “We know where you and your cronies keep your money. If you want to see it again, back off.”
Instead, Trump seems to have decided to treat Putin as an equal. This is a big mistake. Russia’s population is less than half of the United States. Its GDP is less than a single good-sized American state. It has a lot of nuclear weapons, true, but most of them are obsolete. Russia’s defense modernization is ambitious, but running out of money. Russia’s only real asset is that Putin can act quickly — recklessly some might say — in foreign policy, exemplified by invading Ukraine and propping up the regime in Syria.
A great day for Putin, a good one for Trump
A great day for Putin, a good one for Trump
Yet in the bilateral meeting, the leaders met as equals. Each was accompanied only by a foreign minister — Sergei Lavrov for Russia, Rex Tillerson for America. That looked odd. America has colossal expertise on Russia, but Trump disdains it. And Tillerson is an able oilman but a newcomer to diplomacy. The Russian duo, by my count, had 62 years of experience between them; the Americans had just under a year.
Trump, under fire at home for many shortcomings and missteps, craves adulation. He reveled in his reception in Warsaw, where he delivered an incoherent and bombastic speech about Western civilization (main point: don’t let people push you around).
Now he has pulled off a meeting with Putin, which he can portray as a diplomatic breakthrough. The Kremlin leader promised him that Russia had not meddled in American politics. Trump, himself dubious about those claims, has accepted the assurance. The two countries are going to cooperate in some vague project on cyber-security, and keep talking on Ukraine and Syria.
The Russian duo, by my count, had 62 years of experience between them; the Americans had just under a year.

This is not the “grand bargain” of European nightmares six months ago, in which Trump would abandon NATO in return for Russian help in other trouble spots. I doubt very much that Trump’s administration will find it any easier to make practical progress with Russia than previous efforts: remember the “reset”? Or before that the Gore-Chernomyrdin commission?
But it is still troubling. One especially concerning part of the apparent agreement was that their countries should not meddle in each other’s affairs. That puts America and Russia on the same moral plane. Big mistake: Western efforts to promote democracy in Russia — for example by helping civil-society groups monitor elections to stop them being rigged — are hardly the same as Russia’s use of cyber-attacks to steal and leak private e-mails in order to smear politicians and sow mistrust and discord.
Follow CNN Opinion
Join us on Twitter and Facebook

Amid all the sound and fury in Hamburg, the real point is that the Western democracies are facing a severe challenge from varying blends of authoritarian populist crony-capitalism. Russia and China are the most egregious examples, Turkey is becoming one, with Hungary, Poland and the Philippines all in the same orbit.
On the other side are Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, along with Justin Trudeau and some other Western leaders, championing and reviving the Western liberal order. The Hamburg protesters are setting fire to the city while the world that protects them is on the brink of conflagration.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Austrian daily Salzburger Nachrichten has today a cartoon showing the G20 roundtable
with one chair not in correct position. This leads to a second Round Table on which sits
a farting big yellow cat.

Governor Jerry Brown of California is ready to lead where an alternate leader is needed.


California’s Governor Just Followed Trump To Hamburg And Stole His Spotlight.

BY BENJAMIN LOCKE
POLITICS | Washington Journal, JULY 8, 2017

In a call to action, California Governor Jerry Brown told an international audience at a climate conference going on in Hamburg, Germany at the same time as the G-20 conference that “President Trump doesn’t speak for the rest of us,” as he announced plans for a global environmental summit next September in San Francisco.

Speaking via video to attendees at the Global Citizens Festival, Brown sent a strong signal that there are Americans ready to take a leadership role in combatting climate change despite the president.

“It’s up to you and it’s up to me and tens of millions of other people to get it together to roll back the forces of carbonization and join together to combat the existential threat of climate change,” Brown said.

His next statement drew loud applause from the crowd: “Yes, I know President Trump is trying to get out of the Paris agreement, but he doesn’t speak for the rest of America.”

“We in California and in all states across America,” continued Brown, “believe it’s time to act, its time to join together and that’s why at this climate action summit we’re going to get it done.”
When California becomes the first state to host a global climate summit, it will precede the 14th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which will be an even larger effort to bring together state, city and municipal governments to promise to fight climate change and then follow through by making good on their pledges, Brown’s staff told the Mercury News.

Trump thumbed his nose at the climate change advocates by scheduling his first sit-down with Russian President VBladimir Putin at the same time the G20 countries were scheduled to discuss issues around climate change.

Trump was not invited to speak at the Global Citizens Festival, but attendees did hear from other world leaders including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Argentina’s President Mauricio Marci.

There were also musical performances during the event by Coldplay, Shakira, Pharrell Williams and others.

Brown was introduced to the conference by Christiana Figueres, the former UN climate chief, who called the California Governor “a stubborn optimist from a surprising country.”

Figueres said the message that the conference will send to the world is that Trump does not speak for all Americans, most of whom do believe that climate change is real and that it is a real danger to the entire planet.

Brown has been a leader on the need to address climate change for a long time, helping shape policies in California that emphasize renewal energy sources and a respect for the planet nad its people.

Last December, Brown said if Trump took away the satellites that monitor world climate change, California would put “it’s own damn satellites” into the sky to do the job.
Brown has amped up his campaign since June when Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Shortly after that Brown took a trip to China where he met with President Xi Jinping to deliver his message that “disaster still looms,” unless governments take action, says the Mercury News, while predicting Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement would only be a temporary setback. He said Europe, China, individual U.S. states, and cities, among others, would take over the leadership role that has been abandoned by Trump.

Brown told the Mercury News just before his China trip that if Trump stays on his current course, “California will just redouble its efforts and the people of the world will have to rise up and take action. And I think in a paradoxical way, that’s exactly what Trump is stimulating – the very opposite of climate denial is climate activism.”
Brown met earlier this week with other municipal and state leaders from Germany, Argentina, Australia and other countries as part of the Under2 Coalition, to urge G20 leaders to stand by the Paris agreement and welcome the role of states, cities and regional governments in working to address climate change.

“All over the world,” Brown said in a statement, “momentum is building to deal seriously with climate change. Despite rejection in Washington, California is all in. We are fully committed to the Under2 Coalition and the Paris agreement.”

Brown said the steps he is taking are designed to build a consensus and encourage negotiations at every level. He told the Los Angeles Times that given the scope of the challenges, finding solutions will not be “a walk in the park.”

“Decarbonizing the world,” added Brown, “it’s like going from the Roman Empire to Christianity. It’s a total paradigm shift.”
Brown is showing real leadership even in the face of constant criticism from his Republican opponents and their surrogates, and he is making the entire world aware that the U.S. is not going to give up on addressing climate change just because the current president is a science denier.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, current New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio, Governor Kate Brown of Oregon, and progressive leaders from more than 30 cities, three other governors, university presidents, business leaders and others across the country are joining with Brown.

They are determined to not let commercial interests with huge lobbying budgets who are in the pocket of corrupt Republicans pollute freely and destroy the world while they stand by.

Take that, Koch brothers.

In the twilight of his political career, Brown is taking action and inviting the whole world to join with him.

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BENJAMIN LOCKE
BENJAMIN LOCKE IS A RETIRED COLLEGE PROFESSOR WITH AN UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE IN INDUSTRIAL LABOR AND RELATIONS FROM CORNELL UNIVERSITY AND AN MBA FROM THE EUROPEAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT.

California’s Governor Just Followed Trump To Hamburg And Stole His Spotlight


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please see also:

 www.alternet.org/news-amp-politic…

Is Jerry Brown the ‘President’ of Anti-Trump America? He Shows Up in Germany for the G20
Trump “doesn’t speak for the rest of America,” says the California governor.
By Tom Boggioni / Raw Story July 7, 2017,

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 5th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From the GREEN PROPHET – Sustainable News For the Middle East.

Build your next home with dirt (and a robot!)

Posted on July 4, 2017 by Faisal O’Keefe in Design

Build your next home with dirt (and a robot!)

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created a mobile robotic system that can build a dome-like habitat in half a day. It’s a new spin on 3D printing that could revolutionize homebuilding, allowing for faster, cheaper and more adaptable construction compared to traditional building methods.
The four ton Digital Construction Platform (DCP) is solar-powered and features a large robotic arm for reach and a smaller arm for dexterity. The design is based upon an Altec aerial-lift system, much like the bucket lifts commonly used by workers on electrical power lines. In this case, the bucket has been replaced by a robotic arm.

Different tools can be attached to the smaller arm, such as a grinder or welding system or a nozzle that can mix and spray viscous building materials such as mud, foam, or concrete. The DCP is fitted out with special sensors to gauge site metrics ranging from radiation to topography. It sits atop tank treads for easy mobility on all types of building sites.

Steven Keating, of MIT’s Mediated Matter Group, took inspiration from trees, which grow on their own volition using readily available local resources such as sunlight energy and soil. A tree structure is efficient, its trunk tapers towards the sky, supported by strong outer rings which allow for a less dense core. It adapts to local conditions.

“With this process, we can replace one of the key parts of making a building, right now. It could be integrated into a building site tomorrow,” said Steven Keating, co-author of a paper published in the journal “Science Robotics.”

The system can be deployed anywhere and takes minutes to set up. It can operate for eight hours on one charge, longer if connected to diesel backup motors. DCP can fold up small enough to drive through a set of standard double doors.

The project, which began in 2011, has evolved to a point where it can create objects ia all sizes. DCP recently completed a dome-like structure (see lead image) that measures 50 feet in diameter and 12 feet tall. It was built in 13.5 hours using a stock insultating foam spray. While this is not exactly a “house”, the dome can serve as a mold for poured-in concrete or mud that would provide structural heft.

“This one technique allows us to get our foot in the door on a construction site,” Keating told FastCoDesign. But his long-term vision is to deploy the system in the developing world or in disaster areas, for example after a major earthquake, to provide quick shelter. The team sees this happening within the next 10 years. Their ultimate aim is to work in remote places such as Antarctica, the moon and Mars to make buildings out of local materials such as ice or moon dust. Keating said technology like this could be ready in 50 years or sooner.

The lab isn’t writing off corporate opportunities, but it did put all of its hardware specs and digital software online for anyone to freely take and use, or expand upon. “We’ve shown how we could do [it],” Keating told CNNTech, “and NASA is very excited to use ice for printing on Mars because ice absorbs a lot of cosmic radiation.”

There is also potential to feed the DCP organic building materials, such as animal proteins and photosynthetic E. coli, to print living buildings. Mediated Matter Group has already synthesized living plastics from squid and cuttlefish. Combining robotic construction with evolving materials that can change color in the presence of carbon dioxide, or self-diagnose and repair cracks points to a future where buildings adapt to their environments and grow to nurture themselves and their cohabitants, just like trees do.

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


The world looks past Donald Trump

By Stephen Collinson, CNN, Tuesday July 4, 2017

(CNN) Foreign policy, increasingly, is what is happening around the world while the United States is making other plans.

More than five months into Donald Trump’s presidency, American adversaries and allies alike are adjusting to a new era in which Washington seeks its own idiosyncratic and unpredictable “America First” path.

In Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, governments are assessing shifting US priorities and in some cases seeking alternative sources of leadership and partnership in the belief that America has stepped back.

Trump’s unpopularity abroad is forcing leaders to consider their own political positions, before getting too close to the American President — even if they seek to preserve Washington’s still vital global role as the guarantor of liberal market economics and democracy.

That dynamic will be on display during Trump’s second visit to Europe this week, just weeks after his first transcontinental trip opened new gaps between Washington and some longtime allies.

Trump starts in Poland, which is hoping for his strongest affirmation yet of NATO security guarantees. Then he will head to the G20 summit in Germany, where he may confront hostility deepened by his decision to exit the Paris climate accord.

The Trump administration refutes the notion that it has downgraded American leadership, arguing that Trump’s foreign trips, flurry of meetings and frequent calls with foreign presidents and prime ministers shows intense engagement.

But increasingly, top foreign policymakers from Germany to Iraq and Canada to Asia are contemplating a period when US leadership that many took for granted may be less evident in global affairs, after Trump turned his back on multilateral trade deals and downplayed multinational institutions and agreements.

“Whoever believes the problems of this world can be solved by isolationism and protectionism is making a tremendous error,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told parliament last week, in a clear shot across Trump’s bow.

It was not the first time the German leader, running for a fourth term in September’s election, had rebuked the President.

After Trump visited Europe in May, and declined to reaffirm NATO’s Article 5 principle of mutual self defense during a visit to the Western alliance headquarters, Merkel said US allies needed to rethink their place in the world.

“We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands,” she said.

Canada, America’s closest geographical ally, is also watching.

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland profoundly thanked the United States for being “truly the indispensable nation” that had ensured 70 years of peace and prosperity in a speech to parliament last month.

But she acknowledged that halcyon period was ending.
“The fact that our friend and ally has come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership, puts into sharper focus the need for the rest of us to set our own clear and sovereign course,” Freeland said.

“For Canada that course must be the renewal, indeed the strengthening, of the postwar multilateral order.”

It is not just America’s most traditional allies that sense that America is pulling back from the world, amid a perception that diplomacy has been de-emphasized and the State Department downgraded in a Trump administration more respectful of military leadership.

Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour last week that the United States was “absent” in maintaining global security and that there was a “vacuum in the overall leadership in the world.”

“The Americans need to … get back to their role as an international power, an important international power.” Allawi said.

Despite an impending victory over ISIS by Iraqi forces in western Mosul, with US support, Allawi argued that Washington lacked “clear cut policies” for tackling extremism and a future strategy for the Middle East.

Some American competitors see an opening.

At the Global Economic Forum in Davos, a few days before Trump was inaugurated, China’s President Xi Jinping, offered a vision of a world turned on its head when he offered his own nation as a guardian of free trade, globalization and efforts to combat climate change — areas where the United States had formerly taken the leadership role.

“Whether you like it or not, the global economy is the big ocean you cannot escape from,” Xi told delegates at the Swiss mountain resort.


‘America First’ or ‘America alone?’

Over the last few days, Trump has spoken to leaders of US allies in the Gulf, amid a showdown over terrorist financing that has led to the isolation of Qatar, and has also had conversations with counterparts in Germany and Italy.

In contrast to the way Trump’s first trip to Europe was seen across the Atlantic, national security adviser H.R. McMaster argued that the President had reinvigorated US alliances which Republicans believed eroded under the Obama administration.

“America First … does not mean America alone. President Trump has demonstrated a commitment to American alliances because strong alliances further American security and American interests,” McMaster told reporters last week.

While much of America’s future foreign policy course remains uncertain to foreign states, Washington has made some clear moves.

It significantly stiffened resistance to Iran in the Middle East, a reorientation that was the underlying theme of Trump’s first stops in Saudi Arabia and Israel.

But at the same time, there is no real clarity on the Trump administration’s strategy on Syria following the apparently imminent eradication of ISIS strongholds. Iran envisages a future Shiite crescent of influence, that would stretch from Tehran through Iraq, Syria and into Lebanon, backed by Russia, and would change the balance of power in the region.
It is unclear how actively the Trump administration plans to resist such a scenario, in concert with allies like Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Egypt and Jordan.

In Afghanistan, the Pentagon dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb on ISIS targets and plans to use its new autonomy under Trump to send more troops to train and assist Afghan soldiers.
But the administration has yet to lay out a detailed vision of how it sees Afghanistan’s future or long-term US war aims.

In Asia, Trump dropped his hostility toward China in an effort to convince Beijing to do more to rein in its volatile ally North Korea amid a nuclear and missile crisis. But he now seems to have concluded the effort failed, and imposed sanctions against a Chinese bank with links to the pariah state, and approved a $1.4 billion arms package to Taiwan, heightening tensions with Beijing.
But Trump, despite saber rattling, has yet to explain to Americans any new approaches on how he will thwart Pyongyang’s bid to put a nuclear warhead onto a weapon that could reach the US mainland.

It’s not just uncertainty about American global strategy that is convincing some allied leaders to look past the United States.
Trump’s unpopularity makes it much more difficult for them politically to support him. The recent Pew Global Attitudes poll showed Trump with rock bottom approval ratings across the world. Only in Russia and Israel did more people trust him to do the right thing than former President Barack Obama.

The former President, meanwhile, has stayed mostly out of the limelight. But Monday, Obama couldn’t resist during a Seoul conference organized by South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo media group, saying the Paris climate accord won’t vanish despite the “temporary absence” of American leadership.
“The Paris agreement,” Obama said, “even with the temporary absence of US leadership, will still be a critical factor in helping our children solve the enormous challenge in civilization.”

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

PostPartisan Opinion — Why Trump wants a war on the media?

By Colbert I. King July 3 at 12:12 PM THE WASHINGTON POST

President Trump’s latest salvo in his anti-media campaign is a doctored video clip posted to his personal Twitter account showing him beating up a man with a CNN logo on his face. The tweet has drawn predictable outcries: “It’s not just anti-CNN. It’s anti-freedom of the press,” said CNN political analyst and Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Bernstein on Sunday. Ana Navarro, an ABC and CNN commentator, also criticized Trump’s tweet as “an incitement to violence. He is going to get someone killed in the media.”

What do we have on our hands? A budding authoritarian who is resorting to demagogic assaults to manipulate news coverage of his administration? Or are we talking about a 71-year-old president who, in terms of emotional growth process, is stuck in his adolescent years — hence his juvenile Twitter behavior.

It’s none of that.

There is a strategic calculation to Trump’s war on the press. I covered this ground in a post blog nearly six months ago [“Trump’s war on the press is a strategic calculation,” Feb 21]. It’s territory worth trodding again in light of his relentless attacks.

Trump regards the mainstream media as rivals — dangerous adversaries that stand between him and what he wants to achieve.

In the world of Trump, only his version ought to be told. White House stand-ins, such as Kellyanne Conway, believe administration-spun stories and press releases should be treated as gospel. Hence the media earns their wrath because, except for one cable network, the Fourth Estate doesn’t do Trump’s bidding.

We are, after all watchdogs, not lap dogs.

But, to Trump, we are the enemy. It follows, therefore, that we must be brought down, especially in the public’s eye.

That means denigrating and defaming the media so that, regardless of the evidence, the public summarily dismisses our reporting and analyses.

Denouncing us as the “most dishonest human beings on earth” and “scum” while repeatedly declaring “the news is fake,” aren’t off-the-cuff invectives.

These are essential weapons in his war arsenal. It’s called branding. And it worked like a charm for Trump during the election cycle.

A New York Times riveting account of Trump’s lesson on branding is worth repeating.

“You know, you have to brand people a certain way when they’re your opponents,” Trump told an outdoor rally in Boca Raton, Fla., in March 2016.

“Lyin’ Ted,” Trump said to the audience about Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), spelling it out letter by letter: “L-Y-I-N-apostrophe.” “We can’t say it the right way,” he explained. “We’ve got to go — Lyin’! Lyin’ Ted.”

He held up Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) as another example. “Little Marco,” he called him. Then Trump spelled out his preferred nickname for his opponent: “L-I-D-D-L-E. Liddle, Liddle, Liddle Marco.”

He branded Jeb Bush as “low energy.”

“We started off with 17 people who were up on this stage,” Trump reminded the crowd. They were all favored, he said. “’Now,’ he finished with a flourish, as the crowd roared, ‘Trump is favored.’”

“But you’ve got to brand people,” he told the crowd.

Remember the “crooked Hillary” branding iron that Trump kept applying to Hillary Clinton? It stuck.

Think about Trump’s belittling of the intelligence community’s work, and his questioning of their motives? Notice how it coincided with intelligence community reports concerning Russian interference and influence in our presidential election. That was Trump at work, branding and degrading.

That is what Trump’s disparagement of the media is all about — to take us out before the in-depth reporting on him and his administration really sinks in. Make no mistake: Whether launched by tweet or in rallies or on talk shows, Trump’s media assaults, personal attacks and harassment aren’t unplanned.

Our response should be no less deliberate.

Just do our jobs. That means providing nothing less than blanket coverage of Donald Trump. Count on the public to ferret out the facts about what is positive and responsible, and what is reckless, foul and untrustworthy, about the current White House.

Persistent, nonstop reporting may drive Trump out of his mind, but, tweets be damned: The public trust deserves no less.

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Colbert I. “Colby” King writes a column — sometimes about D.C., sometimes about politics — that runs on Saturdays. In 2003, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. King joined the Post’s editorial board in 1990 and served as deputy editorial page editor from 2000 to 2007.

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


the Republican party’s de-democratization strategy is the one of calling for a strategy of
“one Anglo-Saxon, financially successful person, one vote”.

Trump’s Next Attack on Democracy: Mass Voter Suppression

By Russ Feingold, Guardian UK
01 July 17

The Trump administration’s ‘election integrity’ commission is declaring war on voters – our democratic legitimacy be damned

he most important aspect of any democratic election is participation. A democracy gains its legitimacy through elections only so far as those elections represent the will of the people. Limit voter participation, and there is a direct correlation between the legitimacy of an election and the democratic system. President Trump and Vice-President Pence’s “election integrity” commission is unequivocally declaring war on voters – our democratic legitimacy be damned.

The commission recently sent a letter to all 50 states asking that they provide all the names and associated birthdays, last four digits of social security numbers, addresses, political parties, and voting histories since 2006 of people on their voter rolls. This letter is helping to lay the groundwork for nationalized voter suppression.

The commission is requesting the same information that Republican state governments have used to create hyper-partisan gerrymandering and enact restrictive voter ID laws. Such measures have been disturbingly successful at suppressing voting of minority and low-income citizens, groups that tend to vote with Democrats. This assault on voters might seem farfetched, except that we’ve seen this strategy too many times before to claim ignorance now.

After slavery ended, white elites invented felony disenfranchisement as a means to delegitimize black citizens and prevent them from gaining influence. We saw Jim Crow gut-punch our democracy in yet another attempt to disenfranchise minorities. We are witnessing history repeating itself.

Nationally, the Democratic party is gaining support as the country’s demographics become increasingly diverse. The majority of black, Native American, Hispanic and Asian voters vote as Democrats. The Republican party has known for several years now that its best tactic to cling to power is not to build a party worth supporting, but to deny participation in the political process to Democratic party voters.

Making matters worse, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Office, long heralded as the ultimate guarantor of civil rights, including voting rights, might unknowingly be supporting the commission’s efforts. The Civil Rights Office sent out a letter on Wednesday, the same day as the commission sent its letter, seeking information from states on how they maintain their voter rolls. The office charged with upholding the 1965 Voting Rights Act must resist playing a leading role in further dismantling this most fundamental democratic right.

I would expect these actions from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or any of the other authoritarian regimes we have sanctioned around the world – regimes that stay in power by suppressing their people and manipulating election results. We must not lie to ourselves when we see the warning signs here at home. This commission is a harbinger of a top-down, White House-endorsed assault on voters, specifically Democratic voters: the same voters who denied Trump the popular vote.

State leaders have a moral and constitutional obligation to our democracy and to their citizens to refuse to cooperate with this commission.

States should refuse to hand over any of the requested voter information, as California, Virginia, Rhode Island and Kentucky have refused to do at this writing. The Connecticut, Oklahoma and North Carolina secretaries of state, on the other hand, have agreed to send “publicly available” information to the commission. This is a mistake.

Our democracy cannot afford to turn over any information now and ask questions later. States turning over any information, including publicly available information, legitimize the commission and betray the trust and privacy of voters. Having publicly available information for in-state use is different from providing information for a national voter database that will be placed at the hands of nefarious actors. States must take a stand to protect their voters’ most fundamental democratic right.

Additionally, Democrats must refuse to participate in the commission. The secretaries of state for New Hampshire and Maine should step down from the commission immediately. Participation risks granting legitimacy where there can be none. Two lone Democrats on this commission will stand no chance of preventing the pre-cooked outcomes. Instead, they and their states are being used to cloak the commission in the guise of bipartisanship. If Democrats refuse to participate, the commission will be left with no clothes on.

The litany of research on voting in recent years has failed to come up with but a handful of voter fraud cases. On the other hand, voter suppression techniques, such as those employed by the Republican party, effectively disenfranchise scores of voters across the country. If the real goal of the administration is election integrity, the stated objective from day one should have been to maximize voter participation.

Rather than target minority voters with a modern gloss on McCarthyism, we should be prioritizing a 21st-century Voting Rights Act to protect voting rights and increase access to the ballot box.

Rather than voter ID laws that disenfranchise certain demographics, a new Voting Rights Act could set a national ID standard, granting maximum flexibility to voters. It could also ban felony disenfranchisement in national elections and require publication of new electoral changes to help educate voters.

The options are there to strengthen our democracy and truly protect “one person, one vote”. Instead, this commission appears intent on nationalizing the Republican party’s strategy of “one Anglo-Saxon, financially successful person, one vote”.

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