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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 22nd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Science in America
By Neil deGrasse Tyson,
Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Facebook Page
22 April 2017
The Day We Marched for Science

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist, author, and science communicator.
Since 1996, he has been the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at
the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York City.

A century ago Albert Einstein laid the theoretical foundation for the laser. Many will argue that all science should be practical, with tangible stated benefits to society. But history shows this posture to be frankly, naïve. When Einstein derived his equations, I’d bet neither he nor anyone else was thinking “Barcodes!” or “Lasik Surgery!” or “Rock Concerts!”

Consider the 1920s, when quantum physics was discovered. It was obscure and esoteric in its day, but now, there’s no creation, storage, or retrieval of digital information without an understanding of the quantum. By some measures, IT drives more than one third of the world’s GDP. Delay that research two decades, you might only now be getting your first email account. Cancel it altogether for being frivolous, and the AM radio continues as a major item of furniture in your living room.

Science has only one goal: to determine the world’s objective truths. Meanwhile, like anybody else, scientists are susceptible to bias that can distort one’s own observations and judgments. Self-aware, scientists specifically constructed methods and tools to minimize, if not remove entirely, the chance that a researcher thinks something is true that is not, or that something is not true that is. Furthermore, you’re famous overnight if you can show conclusively that someone else’s idea is wrong. Yes, the entire enterprise thrives on built-in, error-checking mechanisms.

This means scientific truths emerge by consensus — not of opinion, but of observations and measurements — rendering the research that falls outside of consensus the shakiest possible grounds on which to base policy. Politics is not a foundation on which you base your science. Science is a foundation on which you base your politics, lest you undermine a functioning, informed democracy.

In 1862 Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, understood this. A time when he clearly had other concerns, Lincoln creates the Land-grant university system, transforming education and agriculture in America. And in 1863 he creates the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), an independent, multidisciplinary group of researchers tasked with advising our government in all ways science matters to its needs.

With the help of Congress, the run of US presidents with enlightened scientific foresight through the 20th century crosses the left-right political aisle like an Alpine slalom skier:

In 1916 Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, creates the National Park Service, an idea championed by Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican.

In 1930 Herbert Hoover, a Republican, creates the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Harry S Truman, a Democrat, creates the the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1950.

In 1958 Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Republican, creates the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

In 1962 John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, announces we’re going to explore the Moon. We do that, and discover Earth for the first time.

In 1970, with Mother Earth now on our radar, President Nixon, a Republican, creates the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and later that year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

In the mid 1990s, Bill Clinton, a Democrat, boosts R&D funding that enables an exponential growth of the internet, as tens of millions of Americans come on line.

The creation of the NSF deserves some exposition. It was inspired by the 1945 report Science: The Endless Frontier. Written by Truman’s science advisor Vannevar Bush, the report compellingly argues for government-funded science as a driver of our wealth, our health, and our security. He further notes, “A nation which depends on others for its new basic scientific knowledge will be slow in its industrial progress and weak in its competitive position in world trade, regardless of its mechanical skill.” Bush also observed, “In 1939 millions of people were employed in industries which did not even exist at the close of the last war.” America in the 20th century would become the world’s largest economy, leading in every important category of innovation and production.

Meanwhile, did you ever wonder who conducts science in America? From 1900 onwards, on average about 10% of Americans have been first-generation immigrants. Yet first-generation immigrants have won 33% of all American Nobel prizes in the sciences since the award began in 1900, representing thirty-five countries from six continents. So immigrants to America are three times more productive at winning Nobel prizes than population statistics would predict.

Do you prefer one branch of science over another because you think its discoveries will be more useful in coming years? Consider that in hospitals, every machine with an on/off switch that diagnoses your health without first cutting you open, is based on one or more principles of physics, discovered by physicists and chemists who had no specific interest in medicine. This includes the MRI, PET scans, CT Scans, EKGs, EEGs, ultrasound, and of course, good old fashioned X-rays. So if you defund one line of research in favor of another, you thwart the entire moving frontier of discovery. In the end, nature cross-pollinates all sciences, so perhaps we should too.

To reclaim America’s greatness, anyone with business acumen could think of science investments within our various government agencies as the R&D of a corporation called the USA. Science is not a Liberal Conspiracy. It’s not even bi-partisan. Science is a fundamentally non-partisan enterprise that serves us all. Without it, watch America fade from relevance on the world stage, as we gasp for an era of scientifically enlightened governance to rise once again.

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

A letter from Bill McKibben

April 20, 2017

Dear Friend of The Nation,

We’re coming up on 50 years since the first Earth Day—and the Trump administration is trying to overturn most of what’s been accomplished over those decades. And it’s trying to do much of it in silence, behind the scenes.

That’s why The Nation, a longtime source of great green coverage, has never been more important. Reporters like Mark Hertsgaard, Zoë Carpenter, and Wen Stephenson have dug deep to discover what’s going on, and their reporting continues to make a real difference. I know that when I write for The Nation, people respond (that’s why I’ve just finished a piece on the big upcoming climate march in Washington, DC, on April 29).

I’m asking you today to support this journalism with a gift. Your contribution will help fund the first-rate environmental reporting you expect from The Nation.

We are facing an ecological disaster. Last year broke every record for global temperatures; Arctic and Antarctic sea ice are melting at record rates; the fossil-fuel industry is using climate know-nothings like EPA head Scott Pruitt to roll back the clock. We can’t afford to be distracted.

If we care about future generations and the most vulnerable communities, we cannot let Trump and his cronies put their interests ahead of the welfare of the earth. We must remain vigilant and informed.

We’re at a tipping point—factual and fearless reporting on the future of our planet could not be more critical than it is right now. I hope I can count on your support today.

Thank you,

Bill McKibben

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

LATEST PRESS RELEASE
April 19, 2017


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

###

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PEOPLES CLIMATE MOVEMENT
 peoplesclimate.org/media/

Press Inquiries
Contact Us

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

In New York City – the SISTER MARCH is at:

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

Queens, NY

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

APRIL 19, 2017
BASED ON THE UNPARALLELED FAREED ZAKARIA’S COLLECTION OF NEWS.


Admit it, Turkey Isn’t Getting in the EU: Becker


Turkey’s referendum should be the final nail in the coffin of the accession process for EU membership, writes Markus Becker for Spiegel Online.

“One popular counter argument is that the EU will lose any of the influence it has in Ankara by breaking off negotiations,” Becker writes. “But where was that influence in 2013 when Erdogan beat down the protests in Gezi Park? Where was it when Erdogan deliberately escalated the conflict with the Kurds as part of a domestic power play? And where was that EU influence when, right after last summer’s military coup attempt, Erdogan had tens of thousands of people rounded up and thrown into jail, including numerous journalists?”

Trump’s troubling call. Fareed says President Trump’s decision to call Erdogan to congratulate him on his referendum victory is a troubling sign at a time when Turkey is facing a “serious descent into authoritarianism.”

“Since the 1930s, Turkey was the one Muslim Middle Eastern country that had established a kind of secular liberal democracy. Now that seems to be unraveling, and yet President Trump’s response was to congratulate the strongman,” Fareed says.

“Contrast that with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who with her foreign minister issued a joint statement basically suggesting to Erdogan that ‘You won very narrowly. You really need to pay attention to the opposition. You need to pay heed to minority rights.’

“So what we have now is a situation where Germany’s chancellor has become the leading proponent of human rights and democracy and liberal constitutionalism, while the President of the United States is just saying ‘way to go.’ This is true for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. It’s true for Erdogan. For Rodrigo Duterte and his drug war in the Philippines.

“It’s disturbing because the great victory of the United States in foreign policy, in a broad sense, over the last six or seven decades has been to spread stability, along with a certain set of values. But here you have those unraveling and the President of the United States is cheering him on.”

AND:

Trump’s “Militarization of U.S. Foreign Policy”

President Trump’s recent foreign policy reversals “don’t address one of his administration’s most misguided impulses: The militarization of U.S. foreign policy,” writes James Gibney for Bloomberg View.

“It’s well and good to send a carrier task force…But without U.S. ambassadors in South Korea and Japan, not to mention an assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, the U.S. can’t do the kind of daily consultations and hand-holding needed to reassure allies whose civilian populations would bear the brunt of any North Korean retaliation,” Gibney says.

“…The influence of senior advisers steeped in the region might also have prevented diplomatic gaffes, such as Trump’s parroting of Xi’s line that Korea was once part of China.”


Don’t Panic About North Korean Nukes: Boot


The United States shouldn’t panic about North Korea acquiring nuclear weapons any more than it did China and Russia doing so, suggests Max Boot in Commentary. After all, unlike some other regimes, Kim Jong Un “does not aim to dominate his neighbors. All he wants to do is to survive.”

“By all means, the U.S. should step up sanctions, including secondary sanctions on Chinese companies doing business with the criminal regime in Pyongyang. But there is no overwhelming imperative to go beyond that and risk war, even if North Korea finally fields an ICBM with a nuclear warhead capable of reaching Washington,” Boot says.

AND:

Emirates Airline Cuts Flights To U.S., Citing Trump’s Security Rules

l
April 19, 2017


Emirates Airline says it is reducing its number of U.S.-bound flights because security restrictions imposed by the Trump administration have weakened demand in Middle East countries.

The Dubai-based carrier will pare back flights to five of the 12 U.S. cities it serves. Flights to Boston, Seattle and Los Angeles will be reduced from twice to once daily, and in Florida, daily service to Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale will shrink to five flights a week.

Overall, it’s a reduction of 25 flights per week for the airline, according to The Associated Press.

After Travel Ban, Airlines Scramble To Reroute Crew Members.

BUSINESS
After Travel Ban, Airlines Scramble To Reroute Crew Members

“The recent actions taken by the U.S. government relating to the issuance of entry visas, heightened security vetting, and restrictions on electronic devices in aircraft cabins, have had a direct impact on consumer interest and demand for air travel into the U.S,” Emirates said in a statement announcing the decision.


Last month, the Trump administration announced that passengers on direct flights to the U.S. from eight majority-Muslim countries — Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates — must now place electronic devices such as laptops, tablets and cameras in checked baggage.


Those restrictions came on the heels of President Trump’s controversial executive orders in January and early March seeking to temporarily halt travel from several other mostly Muslim nations. Both orders were halted by the courts.

The Dubai International Airport in the UAE, which is Emirates’ hub, is a major transit point for nationals of countries listed in Trump’s travel bans, The Associated Press reports.


THESE ARE CLEARLY UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES FOR TRUMP WHO AS PRESIDENT HAS NOW THE CHANCE AT A NOBEL PRIZE FOR SETTLING THE MIDDLE EAST CANYON. THIS ROAD TO SCANDINAVIA ALSO GOES VIA THE EMIRATES – DUBAI AND ABU-DHABI AND IS BASED ON FULL COOPERATION OF THE SAUDIS.

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

nbsp;mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?shva=1…

among the articles OF THIS ISSUE are:


Scientists and Activists Look Beyond the March
By NICHOLAS ST. FLEUR
On Saturday scientists and their advocates are expected to fill streets in more than 500 cities. But what they do next is just as important.

The March for Science: Why Some Are Going, and Some Will Sit Out
By MICHAEL ROSTON
In remarks submitted The Times, some said the president’s posture toward science demanded a response, but others worried about the politicization of science.

Plumes From Saturn’s Moon Enceladus Hint That It Could Support Life
By KENNETH CHANG
Data from the Cassini spacecraft suggest that hydrothermal vents could provide ingredients for microbes or other forms of alien life to exist.

Do Your Shoelaces Keep Coming Undone? Engineers Explain Why
By CHRISTOPHER MELE
Blame physics and “weak” knots for unraveled laces, a phenomenon researchers called “sudden and catastrophic.”

Climate Change Reroutes a Yukon River in a Geological Instant
By JOHN SCHWARTZ
Melting water from one of Canada’s largest glaciers used to flow north, to the Bering Sea. Last spring, it reversed course, a case of what scientists call “river piracy.”

It’s Like It Never Left: Another El Niño May Be on the Way
By HENRY FOUNTAIN
Just a year after weather patterns were altered worldwide, scientists see signs that more disruption may be brewing.

Scott Pruitt Faces Anger From Right Over E.P.A. Finding He Won’t Fight
By CORAL DAVENPORT
Critics charge the agency’s administrator should have challenged a legal finding that underpinned the Obama climate policies, but he refuses to budge.

More Permafrost Than Thought May Be Lost as Planet Warms
By HENRY FOUNTAIN
A study suggests that as the planet warms toward 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, each degree Celsius of warming will lead to the thawing of 1.5 million square miles of permafrost.

YES – QUITE AN AMAZING LIST OF ARTICLES IN ONE ISSUE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES.

###

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

In New York City – the meeting place will be at the SW Corner of W.64 Street & Broadway.
The march will be along Central Park West.

Think of the 2015 400,000 people strong march and its global impact. Please just show up
in order to tell the ruling skeptics that SCIENCE MATTERS.

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

The Intercept

New York Times Promises Truth and Diversity, Then Hires Climate-Denying Anti-Arab White Guy

April 14, 2017

FOLLOWING DONALD TRUMP’S election, The New York Times promised its readers that it would aggressively pursue truth and challenge power in the days and months ahead. Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and executive editor Dean Baquet wrote an open letter to readers on November 13, vowing to “hold power to account, impartially and unflinchingly.”

And readers responded in droves. During the last three months of 2016, the Times added 276,000 digital subscribers — readers who were presumably drawn to the promise of aggressive and adversarial writing that was firmly based in reality.

“The truth is more important now than ever,” the Times proclaimed in an ad during the Oscars in February.

The Times has also strongly committed itself to diversity in its hiring. Times CEO Mark Thompson told hiring managers last year that supervisors who failed to recruit minority candidates would be encouraged to leave or fired.

“Only by having a staff as wide as it is deep, broad in perspective, backgrounds and experiences are we able to capture the multitude of voices of America and the world, with true fidelity,” the company proclaims in its mission statement.

But the Times’s editorial page — which is distinct from the newsroom — apparently has other priorities.


In the paper’s biggest marquee hire since the election, the Times has poached the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens as a regular columnist.

In a statement announcing the hire, Editorial Page Editor James Bennet explained the move in glowing terms.

“He’s a beautiful writer who ranges across politics, international affairs, culture and business, and, for The Times, he will bring a new perspective to bear on the news,” Bennet wrote. He summarized Stephens as a “generous and thoughtful colleague with a deep sense of moral purpose and adventure about our work.”

But Stephens’s voice is hardly new to the media landscape — it echoes the powerful and attacks the powerless, specifically marginalized groups like Arabs and Muslims who have little representation in U.S. media.

And although Stephens has been hailed as an anti-Trump conservative, he and Trump share a very significant belief that defies reality: They both deny the existence of climate change. Stephens used his Wall Street Journal columns to compare climate science to a religion, saying that environmental groups “have been on the receiving end of climate change-related funding, so all of them must believe in the reality (and catastrophic imminence) of global warming just as a priest must believe in the existence of God.”


In April of 2010, he proclaimed that “global warming is dead, nailed into its coffin one devastating disclosure, defection and re-evaluation at a time. Which means that pretty soon we’re going to need another apocalyptic scare to take its place.”

He then mockingly proposed “a readers’ contest to invent the next panic. It must involve something ubiquitous, invisible to the naked eye, and preferably mass-produced. And the solution must require taxes, regulation, and other changes to civilization as we know it.”

And as a white male member of the media elite, he hardly brings diversity to the stable of editorial page columnists. Indeed, several regulars already hold right-wing or center-right views. And although the editorial board consistently espouses liberal positions in the editorial column, the op-ed page by and large has to outsource to publish genuinely left perspectives on most major issues.

The Times editorial page currently does not have a female minority columnist and, despite frequently writing about conflicts in the Middle East, employs no regular Arab American or Muslim American writers.

On the contrary, at a time when Arab American and Muslim American civic society faces unprecedented demonization from a presidential administration, the Times has chosen to hire someone who takes part in it regularly.

For instance, Stephens used Egyptian judo player Islam El Shehaby’s politically-based refusal to shake hands with his Israeli opponent at the Rio Olympics last year as an excuse to launch into a long racist tirade against the state of the Arab world.

“If you want the short answer for why the Arab world is sliding into the abyss, look no further than this little incident,” Stephens wrote. “It did itself in chiefly through its long-abiding and all-consuming hatred of Israel, and of Jews.”

He claimed that “the Arab world’s problems are a problem of the Arab mind, and the name for that problem is anti-Semitism.”

This “Arab mind,” in Stephens’s telling, has few achievements. “Today there is no great university in the Arab world, no serious indigenous scientific base, a stunted literary culture,” he explained — all of which would continue until the Shehabys of the world would embrace their Israeli judo counterparts.

Responding to a wave of violence between Palestinians and Israelis in 2014, Stephens shrugged off the international consensus that occupation and statelessness is the root of the conflict, instead blaming it on “Palestinian blood fetish.” To him, they had “been seized by their present blood lust — a communal psychosis in which plunging knives into the necks of Jewish women, children, soldiers and civilians is seen as a religious and patriotic duty, a moral fulfillment. Despair at the state of the peace process, or the economy? Please. It’s time to stop furnishing Palestinians with the excuses they barely bother making for themselves.”

In January 2017, Stephens wrote that “maybe” Palestinians are entitled to a state, but then ticked off a long list of other peoples, including “Native Hawaiians,” who also lack a state, so “what gives Palestinians the preferential claim?” At least they aren’t being ruled by the Chinese, he argued: “Have they experienced greater violations to their culture than Tibetans? No: Beijing has conducted a systematic policy of repression for 67 years, whereas Palestinians are nothing if not vocal in mosques, universities and the media.”

Stephens also frequently appears in the media arguing for military attacks and regime change in the Middle East.

He has directly helped activists lobby to scuttle diplomacy. In 2015, as Congress was debating the nuclear deal with Iran, he held an off-the-record call with the Christian Zionist group Christians United For Israel, where he advised them on how to lobby members of Congress.

He is, however, an outspoken supporter of one prominent Muslim: Egypt’s autocratic leader Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, who he interviewed in 2015 in an article titled “Islam’s improbable reformer.”

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

From Fareed’s website of Thursday April 13, 2017:

The Deep Danger of AI

The growing embrace of artificial intelligence and “deep learning” raises an important – and potentially troubling – issue, writes Will Knight in MIT Technology Review. What if we can no longer understand the decisions machines make?

“There’s already an argument that being able to interrogate an AI system about how it reached its conclusions is a fundamental legal right. Starting in the summer of 2018, the European Union may require that companies be able to give users an explanation for decisions that automated systems reach,” Knight says.

“This might be impossible, even for systems that seem relatively simple on the surface, such as the apps and websites that use deep learning to serve ads or recommend songs. The computers that run those services have programmed themselves, and they have done it in ways we cannot understand. Even the engineers who build these apps cannot fully explain their behavior.”

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

from Gelvin Stevenson
6:24 PM (2 minutes ago)

Perryman Thermal Battery—with a Molten Nickle/Iron Core.
Is this the Future of Thermal Storage?


Date: Friday, April 14, 2017
Time: 8:00am – 10:00am
Organizer: Gelvin Stevenson, PhD
Host: Sidley Austin LLP
Location: 787 Seventh Ave. (AXA Equitable Building, between 51st and 52nd Streets), 23rd Floor

Thermal Energy Storage gets not the respect it deserves. But thermal storage has been used for over a century and works extremely well. It has the lowest cost per kilowatt, the smallest volume per kilowatt—or, conversely, the highest energy density—of any energy storage technology.


Perryman Thermal Battery is poised to earn that respect.

Chemical Engineer Virgil Perryman has spent over six years developing and testing his technology. He has been granted two patents and applied for another one. The British Ministry of Defense tried considered his technology in its early years to be used by the British forces in Afghanistan, including a half scaled 13-ton unit that can powered command control for a forward base, a front line surgical unit and radar. They tested it for several years using heat generated by both solar thermal arrays as well as charging from AC or DC sources. The storage unit was then used to generate both heat and electricity as needed.

Mr. Perryman originally build an 30 ton initial prototype in 2010 which stored up to 10 MW of thermal energy and subsequently improved the technology so the same containment could store 29.9 MW of thermal energy and could produce 10 MW hours of electricity and 18 MW hours of thermal energy, idea for situations where heat and power are needed. Currently, a European group (which cannot be named) is testing Perryman Thermal Batteries as back-up generators for wind and other intermittent energy generation sources. After 16 months of testing one system where energy must be stored for over 180 days, the units are preforming flawlessly.

The company plans to start installing its thermal batteries later this year. Mr. Perryman has developed one model about the size of a large home hot water unit; another is about half that size and is targeted for homes in the United Kingdom. The first commercial installation is set for a new green residential development England where construction is about to start.

It’s no surprise that the technology works; it is, after all, based on a technology that’s been around way longer than humans. The battery stores energy the same way the Earth stores energy—making it rather like your ultimate bio-mimicry technology. The earth has a molten metal core that’s over 10,800 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s about as hot as the sun! But the surface of the earth is about 60 degrees F. Why? Because of the multiple layers of refractory material between the core and the surface.

The company uses off-the-shelf magnetic induction to melt the nickel-iron core, which is surrounded by a special shield, which is surrounded by an alumina layer and layer of material very similar to the tiles used on the Space Shuttle tiles, a very efficient ceramic refractory which literally holds the heat in. Then there are more layers of ceramics of different density, all designed to trap the thermal energy, and finally a layer similar to the insulation you would find on your kitchen oven. The outside enclosure can be customized to various applications and for inside or outdoor use. Finally, the unit’s outside layer is warm to the touch (about 90 degrees F) but not hot; rather like the cooling fins on the back of a refrigerator. It is controlled by a touch pad with a remote-control option.

This is a proven technology, going back at least for 100 years. It has been used in the UK and throughout Europe. The Storage units can be safely transported by road, rail or sea, either un-charged or fully charged with 100 tons of molten steel and 29 MW of thermal energy.

It is a global battery, with the core from Austria, thermal transfer system from Germany, the controls from several suppliers including the USA, UK and Japan, and, finally, the closed loop steam generator from suppliers worldwide to allow local servicing and maintenance since it’s the only component with moving parts. While the supply chain may be complicated, the technology is simple.

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Register at the GIF Eventbrite page: Greentech Investors Forum
Or contact Gelvin at  gelvin.stevenson at gmail.com.
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Perryman Energy Storage Batteries compare very favorably with other battery technologies. They store roughly 10 times as much energy as Elon Musk’s Powerwall lithium-ion batteries (that have roughly a 10kWh storage capacity) and will cost half as much. Moreover, Perryman will offer a 10 year warranty. The company believes, however, that the battery will run 100 years and the steam turbines will last 30 years or more with proper maintenance. The company claims that the core, which is “solid state”, won’t run out; only the control system may need updating with the will the thermostat may have to be replaced periodically. The steam turbine—depending on the brand selected from country to country—can last a half of century without replacement.

In addition, the Perryman Battery bests Lithium Ion batteries because they last longer, are not poisonous, do not start fires and do not pollute.

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GIF thanks Investors Circle for its generous support, Geoff Miles, Chino Maduagwu, and Gary Kier for developing and operating GIF’s video, social media and design capabilities, Tonia Popke for her financial expertise, and Jesse Goldstein, PhD, for his continued support.
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The original cost will be about $13,500 each. They expect that to fall to about $6,000 each when they get to an annual production level of 10,000 units per year. This cost is way lower than competitors. Perryman Batteries cost $80/kW compared to $600/kW for molten salt, $250/kW for lithium ion, $320/kW for lead acid batteries and $500/kW for flow batteries.

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Disclaimer: The Greentech Investors Forum (GIF) is not soliciting funds for the presenting companies, nor is it encouraging parties to invest in them. We try to find good companies — not necessarily good investments. They have been advised on what is acceptable in terms of predicted results, but GIF takes no responsibility for what they actually do, say, or how they perform in the future. Gelvin Stevenson works with AgriPower, Inc.
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The company is currently working on a plan to offer the DC Metro (the Capitol’s subway system which consumer a huge amount of electricity) a solution that may reduce operating cost to a sustainable level. They are proposing to store cheap electricity during the off-peak periods and resupply during peak periods as well as provide thermal energy for Winter’s heating and drive absorption chiller for air conditioning in the Summers, all while cutting costs by 60%.
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Agenda: 8:00 to 8:30 – Networking & light breakfast
8:30 to 9:10 – Virgil Perryman, CEO, on the phone
9:10 to 9:30 – Larry Austin, Esq.
9:30 to 10:00 – Discussion

Security: Security is tight, so please register early. If there is a problem at the Security Desk, please contact Gelvin Stevenson at 917-599-6089.

Fees: $50, payable ahead of time or at the door. Cash or checks and credit cards accepted.

$25 for call-in. Registered call-ins will be emailed the call-in numbers and, if available, the slides to be presented.
$20 for students and faculty

To register, visit Greentech Investors Forum, the Eventbrite site above, or send your contact information to Gelvin Stevenson at  gelvin.stevenson at gmail.com or 917-599-6089. Please contact Gelvin If you have questions or need more information.

Bios

Virgil Perryman is the founder and inventor of Perryman Technologies. Virgil has had an extensive career that has culminated in the development of key patents in the areas of collection, storage, and application of thermal energy. These patents protect the technology used in the Perryman Troughs, Dishes, Perryman Micro Panels, Perryman Battery™, Non-Combustion Gas Turbines and the many globally important applications of these technologies.

Virgil’s technical specialty is the science of how elements behave and interact at very high temperatures. This has led to the ultimate energy storage system; the Perryman Battery™, which uses metal with high heat capacity in its molten state and can store in the larger batteries billions of joules of energy. Further, it can store this energy for months if not years until required. Virgil has also developed a reflective film that captures energy from both visible light and thermal from the infrared spectrum that can heat the metal in the battery to around 1650oC. Virgil’s full spectrum collectors can operate economically in nearly all locations globally, and certainly in many areas of the planet where conventional solar thermal and PV just does not work. This technology can be used to provide clean, renewable, low-cost energy for electricity, heating, cooling, water management, transportation, food and material production and many other applications which will have a positive impact on nearly every aspect of human life.

Sector Expert Larry Austin has an extensive history of corporate financings as well as merger and acquisition activity, both in the US and abroad. He has worked extensively in China, and has conducted due diligence on dozens of portfolios of distressed bank loans and other assets in China, Hong Kong, Korea, and Indonesia.

He has been instrumental in the development of several new financing structures, from credit enhancement work in the New York capital markets, to zero-coupon loan facilities in London and New York. He has worked extensively as a corporate lawyer, consultant and lecturer in the fields of technology start-ups (robotics, telecommunications, materials applications and AI) and commercialization of low-earth orbit activities, and served on the Commercial Advisory Subcommittees for NASA.

One of the most experienced lawyers in the field of Section 17 Corporate charters issued by the US Government to Native American Tribal Governments which enable such bodies to engage in commercial activities worldwide in a non-taxable vehicle, Mr. Austin also has experience in trademarks and copyright protection disputes. In this regard, he represented US based group of International Association of Motion Pictures Exporters, Porsche and other companies.

Larry Austin received his Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School.

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


NRG, a Power Company Leaning Green, Faces Activist Challenge.

By DIANE CARDWELL and ALEXANDRA STEVENSON – The New York Times – April 7, 2017.

Barry Smitherman in 2013, when he was chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission, which largely regulates the oil and gas industry. Now on the board of the energy giant NRG, he has called global warming a hoax.


Over the years, NRG, a leading independent power producer whose fleet once depended heavily on coal, has made big bets on low-carbon energy technologies and publicized its embrace of sustainability as essential to its future.


It pursued developing renewable energy for customers large and small and set aggressive goals to reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide — 50 percent by 2030, and 90 percent by 2050.

But now, the company finds its strategy challenged from within.

Activist hedge-fund investors, intent on extracting value from NRG assets, have installed two directors on the board who, in one potential approach, would push to sell off some of the company’s renewable-power projects, raising questions about how it would meet its clean-energy goals.

It is but the latest skirmish in NRG’s long struggle to make several kinds of energy products — conventional and renewable, large-scale and decentralized — profitable under one corporate umbrella.

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RELATED STORIES OF THE PAST:

How Producing Clean Power Turned Out to Be a Messy Business AUG. 13, 2016

NRG Shifts Focus Away From Empowering Consumers JUNE 3, 2016

Elliott Management Appoints Jonathan Pollock as Co-Chief Executive NOV. 23, 2015
THE TEXAS TRIBUNE
Seeking Favor Among Those You Regulate APRIL 10, 2014
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Raising further questions, one of the directors installed by the activists, Barry T. Smitherman, a lawyer and former energy industry regulator from Texas, has publicly questioned accepted climate science and called global warming a hoax. “Don’t be fooled — not everyone believes in global warming,” he said on Twitter from a presentation called “The Myth of Carbon Pollution” at a conference of regulators in 2013.

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And that has drawn the attention of New York City’s comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, who oversees the city’s pension funds that are shareholders in NRG. On Friday, he filed a letter with the Securities and Exchange Commission urging shareholders to oust Mr. Smitherman at their annual meeting on April 27, 2016:

“In light of Mr. Smitherman’s stated views on climate change, which are incompatible with NRG’s disclosed business strategy and risks, we question his ability to act in the best interests of NRG and its shareholders,” Mr. Stringer wrote in the letter. “Additionally, we believe his role on the board sends a demoralizing message to the many NRG employees responsible for implementing the company’s existing business strategy and managing its risks.”

Mr. Smitherman did not return an email or phone call seeking comment about his views and how the board shake-up might affect NRG’s long-term strategies and goals.

The conflict has its roots in efforts led by Elliott Management, a multibillion-dollar hedge fund run by Paul E. Singer, and Bluescape Energy Partners, run by C. John Wilder, a former executive at the Texas utility TXU who has been credited with its turnaround.

Under Mr. Singer, an early titan of the hedge-fund industry who has also made a name for himself as a top Republican donor, Elliott has been known for its no-holds-barred approach to taking on companies and governments over its investments around the world.

As an activist investor, Elliott quietly builds up equity stakes in companies until it has a big enough position to start rattling the cages of a company’s management. In South Korea, Elliott became the first investor to publicly spar with Samsung, a conglomerate run by one of the country’s most powerful corporate dynasties. In Argentina, Elliott was pilloried in the local press as a “vulture” investor for waging a decade-long battle with the government over its defaulted debt.

In its investment in NRG, Elliott has so far remained largely behind the scenes. But in an emailed statement on Thursday, Elliott said that if a buyer in the market were willing to pay a premium for some of NRG’s renewables businesses, “it may be a good decision for NRG and its shareholders to crystallize that value.”

Most of the company’s power plants run on fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, but it has extensive wind and solar farms, including several unfinished projects it bought last year from SunEdison, which had gone bankrupt. Earlier this year, the company reported a loss of $891 million for 2016, largely because of low natural gas prices, down from a $6.4 billion loss the year before.

As for investor concerns about the appointment of Mr. Smitherman, Elliott pointed to the fact that Mr. Smitherman had extensive knowledge of the Texas regulatory landscape. NRG is one of the largest energy suppliers in Texas, and some of its assets in the state could be considered for sale, requiring extensive knowledge of the regulatory hurdles.

Photo: Mauricio Guiterrez, chief executive of NRG, at its headquarters in Princeton, N.J. The building, opened last year, is described by the company as an “ultra-green” building emphasizing renewable energy technology. Credit Bryan Anselm for The New York Times
“Having someone with Mr. Smitherman’s strong Texas-centric utility regulatory background is crucial to helping NRG navigate this process,” said Michael O’Looney, an Elliott spokesman.

“At NRG, the debate is not over clean versus conventional generation,” Mr. O’Looney said. “The debate is simply over who is the best long-term owner of individual assets and fleets of assets that currently reside inside the broader NRG portfolio.”

Mr. Smitherman and Mr. Wilder are two of three independent board members on a five-member committee formed as part of the agreement with Elliott and Bluescape to make recommendations about cost savings, asset sales and other potential actions, according to Mr. Stringer’s letter. The company’s full board has 13 directors, according to its website.

Mr. Smitherman, an ally of Rick Perry, the energy secretary and former Texas governor, was chairman of the Texas Public Utility Commission, where he helped usher in the high-voltage transmission lines that spurred the development of a robust wind industry. He then ran the state Railroad Commission, which largely regulates the oil and gas industries.

It was not until around 2013, when he announced his candidacy for state attorney general, that Mr. Smitherman began publicly questioning climate science and global warming, according to energy experts in Texas. He appears to still support the development of renewable energy, writing in The Dallas Morning News in December about how beneficial Texas wind power development had been to the state.

NRG has reeled in recent years as it has sought to transform itself from a conventional-energy giant into a leader in the clean-energy economy.

“NRG is caught between what we consider the next generation of power supply and the status quo,” said Travis Miller, an energy and utilities analyst at Morningstar. “The move toward renewable energy and gas generation is a trend that won’t stop anytime soon so every power generator is trying to develop a strategy where they can benefit from the transition period.”

David Crane, a former chief executive, had tried to do that by transforming the company into the Google of green energy, investing in big renewable-energy projects and buying small start-ups to help capture emerging markets like rooftop solar, electric-vehicle charging and home automation. But the company pulled back from those ambitions as a combination of low oil and gas prices and the threat of rising interest rates led to turbulence in the energy markets and skittishness among renewable-energy investors and the company’s stock tumbled. Despite an elaborate reorganization aimed at cutting costs, reducing debt and better aligning the businesses with investors, Mr. Crane was pushed out in 2015, and replaced by Mauricio Gutierrez, the executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Mr. Gutierrez has continued to pursue the company’s sustainability and carbon reduction efforts, but in a more restrained way, focusing more on large-scale renewable projects and less on the emerging markets.


Marijke Shugrue, an NRG spokeswoman, said: “These are not altruistic, sustainability-only goals. We are firm believers in climate change and that CO2 emissions are a leading factor.”

The company, for instance, recently re-signed the Business Backs Low Carbon pledge organized by Ceres, an advocacy group.

But corporate aims may end up in the hands of directors with a different agenda.

In January, Elliott and Bluescape announced that they had each bought a large stake in NRG and were teaming up to put pressure on the company to make changes to its business. NRG was “deeply undervalued” and could be worth more if its management undertook “operational and financial improvements” as well as “strategic initiatives,” Elliott said at the time in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Elliott said that Mr. Wilder and his team had “directly relevant experience in effectuating such improvements,” adding that they were in a dialogue with the board.

By February, NRG announced that it had struck an agreement with Elliott, which owned 6.9 percent of the company’s stock, and Bluescape, which had 2.5 percent, to replace two outgoing directors and appoint Mr. Wilder and Mr. Smitherman.

NRG also agreed to undertake a business review of the different parts of the company, including examining “potential portfolio and/or asset de-consolidations.”

The company’s renewables business is likely to be among the assets spun off. Some analysts have argued that those businesses are undervalued because they are housed within NRG’s legacy business, which involves burning natural gas, coal and oil.

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A version of this article appears in print on April 8, 2017, on Page B1 of the New York edition with the headline: On Climate, NRG Faces a Challenge From Within.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 2nd, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

HAARETZ – Israel News

Trump Asked Alan Dershowitz to Tell Netanyahu Peace With Palestinians Possible Today.

At a chance meeting in Mar-a-Lago, the U.S. president told the jurist, a friend of the Israeli premier, that he ‘loves Israel and likes Netanyahu’ and ‘the time is ripe for a deal.’

read more: www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.prem…

U.S. President Donald Trump has conveyed to Benjamin Netanyahu his determination to reach an Israeli-Palestinian deal through the prominent Jewish-American jurist Alan Dershowitz.

An Israeli source who asked not to be named said that in a phone call to the prime minister last week, Dershowitz delivered Trump’s message that he is eager for a peace agreement and believes such a deal is possible today.
Dershowitz met the president by chance on March 18 while dining at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in southern Florida. The lawyer was there with Christopher Ruddy, the CEO of the conservative website Newsmax and a personal friend of Trump’s. While they were eating, Trump came to their table and chatted with them briefly. Later that evening, Trump spoke with Dershowitz for over 20 minutes.

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

FORT GREENE AND DUMBOArts & EntertainmentParks and Recreation


Ai Weiwei Bringing 100+ Fences to NYC for Immigration-Themed Exhibit

By Alexandra Leon | March 27, 2017 2:43pm
@alexandraaleon

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is bringing a series of fences to New York City as part of the Public Art Fund’s 40th Anniversary.

NEW YORK — Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is bringing dozens of fences to rooftops and parks across the city for his latest public exhibition aimed at commenting on immigration worldwide.

The artist and activist will be building more than 100 fences and other installations throughout the city as part of the project, “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,” officials said.

He is partnering with the Public Art Fund as part of its 40th anniversary celebration to bring the metal wire security fences to locations like the Essex Street Market on the Lower East Side, the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art on Astor Place, Doris C. Freedman Plaza at Central Park, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens and bus shelters in Brooklyn.

Alexandra Leon · DNAinfo Reporter
What do the fences symbolize for you?

VOICE YOUR OPINION ON NHSQ

Aside from public parks and plaza, the fences will also appear wedged in between buildings and perched atop city rooftops in the form of sculptures and more, a spokeswoman for the Public Art Fund said.

The project was inspired by the current immigration crisis in the United States and around the world, according to the Fund.

“I was an immigrant in New York in the 1980s for ten years and the issue with the migration crisis has been a longtime focus of my practice,” Weiwei said in a statement.

“What’s important to remember is that while barriers have been used to divide us, as humans we are all the same. Some are more privileged than others, but with that privilege comes a responsibility to do more.”

The fences will symbolize New York City’s role as a “gateway to the United States” for millions of immigrants, the statement noted.

“Ai Weiwei’s Good Fences Make Good Neighbors serves as a reminder to all New Yorkers that although barriers may attempt to divide us, we must unite to make a meaningful impact in the larger community,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.

The installation is named after a line from the poem “Mending Wall” by Robert Frost..

It will be on display from Oct. 12 to Feb. 11.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 27th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Trade Denialism Continues: Trade Really Did Kill Manufacturing Jobs.

Monday, March 27, 2017
By Dean Baker, Truthout | Op-Ed


There have been a flood of opinion pieces and news stories in recent weeks wrongly telling people that it was not trade that led to the loss of manufacturing jobs in recent years, but rather automation. This means that all of those people who are worried about trade deficits costing jobs are simply being silly. The promulgators of the automation story want everyone to stop talking about trade and instead focus on education, technology or whatever other item they can throw out as a distraction.

This “automation rather than trade story” is the equivalent of global warming denialism for the well-educated. And its proponents deserve at least as much contempt as global warming deniers.

The basic story on automation, trade and jobs is fairly straightforward. “Automation” is also known as “productivity growth,” and it is not new. We have been seeing gains in productivity in manufacturing ever since we started manufacturing things.

Productivity gains mean that we can produce more output with the same amount of work. Before the trade deficit exploded in the last decade, increases in productivity were largely offset by increases in output, making it so the total jobs in manufacturing did not change much.

Imagine that productivity increased by 20 percent over the course of a decade, roughly its average rate of growth. If manufacturing output also increases by 20 percent, then we have the same number of jobs at the end of the decade as at the beginning. This is pretty much what happened before the trade deficit exploded.

This is easy to see in the data. In December of 1970 the US had 17.3 million manufacturing jobs. Thirty years later, in December of 2000, it had 17.2 million manufacturing jobs. We had enormous growth in manufacturing productivity over this period, yet we had very little change in total employment.

To be clear, manufacturing did decline as a share of total employment. Total employment nearly doubled from 1970 to 2000, which means that the share of manufacturing employment in total employment fell by almost half. People were increasingly spending their money on services rather than manufactured foods.

However what we saw in the years after 2000 was qualitatively different. The number of manufacturing jobs fell by 3.4 million, more than 20 percent, between December 2000 and December of 2007. Note that this is before the collapse of the housing bubbled caused the recession. Manufacturing employment dropped by an additional 2.3 million in the recession, although it has since regained roughly half of these jobs.

The extraordinary plunge in manufacturing jobs in the years 2000 to 2007 was due to the explosion of the trade deficit, which peaked at just under 6 percent of GDP ($1.2 trillion in today’s economy) in 2005 and 2006. This was first and foremost due to the growth of imports from China during these years, although we ran large trade deficits with other countries as well.

There really is very little ambiguity in this story. Does anyone believe that if we had balanced trade it wouldn’t mean more manufacturing jobs? Do they think we could produce another $1.2 trillion in manufacturing output without employing any workers?

It is incredible how acceptable it is for our elites to lie about trade rather than deal with the issue candidly. The most blatant example of this dishonesty is a December, 2007 Washington Post editorial that praised NAFTA and, incidentally, criticized the Democratic presidential candidate for calling for renegotiating the trade deal.

The editorial absurdly asserted:

“Mexico’s gross domestic product, now more than $875 billion, has more than quadrupled since 1987.”

For GDP to quadruple over the course of two decades, it would have to sustain a 7 percent average annual rate of growth. China has managed to do this and almost no one else, certainly not Mexico. According to the IMF, Mexico’s GDP grew by 83 percent over this period.

While it is striking that the Washington Post’s editorial board would have been so ill-informed as to make such a huge mistake in their original editorial, the really incredible part of the story is that they still have not corrected the online version almost a decade later. After all, a reader could stumble on the GDP quadrupling claim and think that it is actually true.

This level of dishonesty separates trade out from most other areas of public debate. There can be grounds for honest people to differ on many issues, but there is less of a basis for asserting Mexico’s GDP quadrupled during this period than there is for denying global warming. It is unfortunate that the proponents of recent trade deals feel they have to be this dishonest to push their agenda.

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Dean Baker is a macroeconomist and codirector of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. He previously worked as a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute and an assistant professor at Bucknell University. He is a regular Truthout columnist and a member of Truthout’s Board of Advisers.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 25th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From AlterNet:

We are very concerned that authoritarianism is taking root in the U.S. Aggressive people with destructive agendas are in charge, defunding government and eroding our rights, while trying to stamp out truth itself.

In the coming year, we at AlterNet will work harder, be more creative, and take more risks in the face of the authoritarianism that is on our doorstep.

AlterNet is a 501(c)(3) non-profit media organization.

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Trump Is a Conservative Only by Accident?
Trump’s conservative beliefs are determined by his character disorder.

By Alfie Kohn / AlterNet March 24, 2017

Perhaps you’ve heard it said that Donald Trump is all about ego, not ideology. The reason many conservatives were so slow to warm up to him, on this view, is that they realized he’s not really one of them. He is driven not by any political or philosophical principle but by his desperate need for attention and approval. Thus, as one columnist suggested hopefully after the election, he may “tilt in whatever direction, and toward whichever constituency, is the surest source of applause.”

If that were literally true, if Trump were a demagnetized compass needle, then it it is just by chance that he is in fact governing from the extreme right, that the American Conservative Union pronounced his cabinet “the most conservative of any Republican president.” And instead of slashing funding for social needs and the environment in order to funnel an additional $54 billion to the military, he might just as well have done the reverse.

Merely to propose this scenario, though, is to expose its implausibility. And while the man’s wealth may help to explain his animosity toward redistribution and regulation, it appears something else is going on. That something else is his psychological profile. It does indeed affect the direction in which his needle points, but it is not politically neutral. Put differently, Trump’s conservative beliefs don’t simply exist alongside what many have described as his character disorder. Rather, those beliefs are determined by it—and therefore far from accidental.


It is true that before he ran for his very first public office—the presidency of the United States—Donald Trump showed no particular interest in various issues that matter to social conservatives. Indeed, he supported abortion rights and at one point identified as a Democrat. But the basic tilt to the right was already there in many other respects: his outspoken support for capital punishment, his attitudes about race and his worshipful regard for power. More than a quarter-century ago, he was characteristically emphatic in declaring that he believes “very strongly in extreme military strength” and that he “wouldn’t trust anyone… [including] our allies.”

Trump has an indiscriminate need to triumph over people and to construe all relationships (between individuals or between groups) as adversarial. Life for him is not about succeeding but about doing so at someone else’s expense. As a rule, such competitiveness simultaneously reflects and reinforces a fundamental distrust of others. People who need to come out on top are desperately trying to prove their own worth, but victories fail to slake that thirst. Competition exacerbates the insecurity that gave rise to it, so the more they win, the more they need to win.

For most people who fit this profile, struggles for dominance take place in corporate boardrooms or on playing fields. But when such an individual finds himself in politics, the psychological need may express itself in militarism and a preoccupation with law and order. Thus, it makes perfect sense that Trump has chosen to surround himself with generals (whom he has appointed even to nonmilitary posts) and incidentally, billionaires. When you fish in these pools, you don’t catch many progressives.

“We have to start winning wars again,” Trump said recently, to justify swelling the military budget. He gives the appearance, as one journalist put it, of being “fascinated with raw military might”—a fascination best viewed through a psychological lens. This is someone who needs to feel powerful, to humiliate those around him, to puff up his masculinity—which in turn helps to explain his view of women as prizes to be won, objects to be admired (primarily for their physical features) and even groped at will.

Trump’s psychology also meshes perfectly with his commitment to nationalism, which is “different from isolationism” in that it “demands engagement but on ruthlessly competitive terms.” This springs not only from his need to beat those he encounters but also from a deep-seated fear of the Other. Hence his need to demonize immigrants, to paint all Muslims as evil. The (racist) policies reflect the (pathological) psychology. The same man who is a self-described germophobe—who says he feels “much better after I thoroughly wash my hands, which I do as much as possible”—talks endlessly of building a beautiful wall to keep out foreigners. This is a textbook case study.

One of the defining characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder, from which many observers believe Trump suffers, is an inability to empathize. This is consistent with his competitiveness, his need to defeat others, his taunting and bullying. He doesn’t try to understand why someone might be criticizing his decisions or questioning his actions; he simply flies into a rage. This absence of empathy—as well as sympathy and the capacity for what psychologists call “perspective taking” (the capacity to imagine others’ points of view)—might help us to make sense of his enthusiasm for cutting social welfare programs.

The general premise that certain personality features may underlie political positions is not new. A 2003 review of multiple studies, featuring 88 groups of subjects from a dozen countries, found that specific psychological characteristics were associated with political conservatism. Among them: an intolerance of uncertainty and ambiguity, anxiety about death and loss, and low scores on a well-studied attribute known as “openness to experience.”

Another fascinating study even suggested that certain personality features observed in very young children predicted their political beliefs 20 years later. Preschool children who were described as “feeling easily victimized, easily offended, indecisive, fearful, rigid, inhibited, and relatively over-controlled and vulnerable” were more likely to be politically conservative at age 23.

If certain personality features are correlated with political views, then a more extreme psychological profile may be correlated with more extreme politics. Consider that the clearest examples of truly narcissistic heads of state tend to be dictators. Democracy, after all, involves checks and balances; it requires collaboration, compromise, consensus. The capacity to engage in such processes isn’t merely outside of Trump’s skill set, it’s beyond what his psychological makeup allows.

A dangerous, self-reinforcing loop is created as other autocrats in the world recognize in him a kindred spirit and give him the approval he desperately needs. (Recent headline: “Authoritarian Leaders Greet Trump as One of Their Own.”) By contrast, democratic heads of state are put off by his petulance and peremptory demands, and since anything less than adulation makes him livid, he reacts the only way he can, with insults, taunts and vindictiveness.


It’s not quite accurate to say that Trump is all about ego rather than political convictions. He has political convictions all right, but they’re defined by his ego. That’s why it’s so important to understand how this man is damaged in order to understand the damage he can do.

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Alfie Kohn  www.alfiekohn.org) is the author of 14 books about human behavior and education, including No Contest: The Case Against Competition and Punished by Rewards.

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Ezekiel J. Emanuel – The Washingon Post
Cutting essential benefits doesn’t save costs — it just shifts them to families
It would be shortsighted, anti-family and illogical.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 25th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Where We Drill, We Spill: Commemorating Exxon Valdez

By Franz Matzner, Natural Resources Defense Council
24 March 17

Twenty eight years ago today the world experienced a massive wake-up call on the hazards and harms of oil spills when the Exxon Valdez oil tanker split open and poured oil into Alaskan waters.

At the time, images of oil coated wildlife and a devastated ecosystem in one of the world’s most delicate, iconic and majestic environments drew global attention. Today, oil still lurks under the surface of Prince William Sound, impairing wildlife and human lives.

Eleven years later, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing 11 workers and spreading millions of gallons of crude throughout the Gulf of Mexico.

Gulf communities are still trying to recover from this devastating blow to local economies and human health. Years of legal challenge and delay by the oil industry meant those least able to absorb the blow to their way of life abandoned and foundering.

In the aftermath of the BP disaster, a non-partisan, blue ribbon commission was established to provide recommendations to mitigate the risk of future events, providing hope to communities already exposed to oil drilling that finally their voices would be heard.

Despite these consensus proposals, adequate safety reforms have never been formulated, let alone implemented and even the progress that has been made is at risk.

As I write, crude oil is flowing into the Mississippi and a gas leak in Alaska’s Cook Inlet is ongoing—and has been for more than three months. Sea ice is making repairs impossible, underscoring again the unique challenges of oil and gas exploration in Alaska’s frozen and tumultuous waters.

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Follow
EcoWatch @EcoWatch
3 Months and Counting: Pipeline Leaks Natural Gas Into Alaska’s Cook Inlet ow.ly/AJCX30a1p3F @kxlblockade @TarSandsAction
3:50 AM – 18 Mar 2017
Photo published for “This dangerous leak could stop immediately if regulators did their job and shut down this rickety..

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“This dangerous leak could stop immediately if regulators did their job and shut down this rickety… Pipeline Leaks 210,000 Cubic Feet of Natural Gas Per Day Into Alaska’s Cook Inlet
 ecowatch.com

100 100 Retweets 59 59 likes
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But it’s not just the major, headline dominating spills that are degrading our environment and impacting human health. Wired reported in December that there are about 30,000 oil spills per year in U.S. waters, most of which are in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s being killed, literally, by a thousand cuts. Nor are spills the only concern. Ongoing operations produce other pollutants, including toxic metals and carcinogens, that are dumped into the ocean. A toxic mix of metals, fluids and other drilling bi-products harm marine ecosystems and are suspected in increasing mercury levels in some fish populations. To say nothing of the infrastructure development that can rip apart habitats and the industries that rely on them.

Adding insult to injury, the agencies responsible for managing our publicly owned ocean resources have been identified by the Government Accountability Office as “high risk.” The Government Accountability Office is a nonpartisan “congressional watchdog” that seeks to identify performance issues and inefficiencies in the federal government. Its high risk designation, granted to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement in 2016, indicates that the agency charged with limiting offshore oil spills is not doing its job effectively. Just this week, in fact, the Government Accountability Office released a report expanding on its findings about the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. And the House Oversight committee held a hearing on oil well safety, which focused on that report and further exposed the lack of meaningful safety measures as well as the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s significant lack of staffing and resources.

Fortunately, at the close of the previous administration, bold actions were taken to preserve and protect large swaths of our Arctic and Atlantic oceans from future oil disasters. These decisions came in direct response to the broad and unwavering call from all corners of the country to stop the expansion of oil drilling into these public waters and recognized that the rapid growth of clean energy means there is simply no need to expose our still oil-free beaches, local economies and climate to the inherent harms of offshore drilling.

This victory is something that should be built on. Yet the Trump administration’s oil cabinet and its allies in Congress have instead launched a systematic attack to do precisely the opposite, opening the door for these vital oceans owned by all American’s to be sold and exploited at the behest of select private oil companies.

The very first piece of legislation signed by President Trump was a gift to Exxon and global despots, designed to make it easier for oil, gas and coal companies to bribe foreign governments without accountability.

The Trump “starvation” budget would axe funding to the already beleaguered and under resourced agencies tasked with managing oil drilling safety risks, effectively taking what few cops are left off the beat.

And to complete the package, legislation is being proposed in the House and Senate that would open the door to a radical expansion of offshore drilling. One proposal would overturn recently finalized drilling safety standards specifically designed to meet recommendations made by the Oil Spill Commission.

Draft legislation being circulated by Rep. Bratt (R-VA) and another bill introduced by Sen. Cassidy (R-LA) would remove current permanent protections in the Arctic Ocean, along the Atlantic coast and in Alaska’s Bristol Bay, bar any future President from providing such protections and gut the underlying law that ensures public input into how public resources are utilized.

Extreme by any measure, these legislative proposals should be rejected, even by those who do not oppose offshore drilling. It is simply unconscionable to discount the documented safety, environmental and health risks that come with offshore drilling and to put in place a system designed to exclude the coastal residents most in harm’s way, flout the science of climate change and flatly reject the basic principles of responsible management of our public lands and oceans.

Fortunately, across the country millions of concerned citizens, communities, businesses and local residents are ready to stand strong against this attempt to rob future generations of our pristine beaches, healthy oceans and a stable climate.

Urge your Members of Congress to oppose Big Oil’s plan to bring Big Spills back to our beaches. Ask them to instead cosponsor legislation to protect our oceans, communities and climate. You can reach your Representative and Senators through the Capitol switchboard, at (202) 224-3121.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 24th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Success: Defeat for Trump and Paul Ryan – Obamacare stays the law of the land.

Ryan: We came close but we didn’t have enough votes so for now Obamacare stays the law of the land. Republicans will move on to other items on the agenda.

Trump: typical Trump. Obamacare will explode and the democrats will be blamed and they will still come to us and beg to replace Obamacare. Bad things will happen to Obamacare and to the American people, but that’s because we had no support from the democrats. He was also mostly disappointed by the conservative Republicans who did not support his bill.


The pundits say Trump is delusional: They also say those are the worst first 100 days of any President in modern times.

——————-


California’s vow to reduce auto pollution may be setting up a full-out war with Trump
From smog to greenhouse gases, state regulators refuse to yield as legal battles loom.

By CHRIS MEGERIAN

MAR 24, 2017 | REPORTING FROM RIVERSIDE

Wielding the same authority created decades ago to fight smog, California regulators on Friday moved forward with tough new pollution-reduction requirements for automakers selling cars in the state.

The rules set escalating targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 2022 through 2025, and officials are planning tougher steps after that. There’s also a requirement for automakers to sell more zero-emission vehicles in the state, with a goal of 1 million on the road by 2025.

The decision to push ahead with cuts to greenhouse gas emissions came even as President Trump has begun rolling back federal rules intended to battle global warming over the next several years.

California has a long history of pushing the envelope to reduce tailpipe pollution, and the latest move signals the state is prepared to do battle with Trump’s White House.

“We’re going to press on,” Mary Nichols, California’s top emissions regulator, said during a meeting of the Air Resources Board in Riverside.

The state’s rules on greenhouse gases were written in partnership with former President Obama’s administration, creating a single national standard for new vehicles.

But with Trump in the White House and conservatives in charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, state and federal regulators have started drifting in separate directions. The divergence could reignite historic conflicts that once raged in Sacramento, Washington and Detroit.

Mary Nichols chairs the Air Resources Board meeting held in Riverside.

Automakers have chafed at the rules imposed by the Obama administration. However, they fear returning to an era where they needed to build two versions of their vehicles — a cleaner, more expensive one for sale in California and a standard model available everywhere else.

“We should all be getting back to work on this,” John Bozzella, who advocates for international car companies at the Assn. of Global Automakers, said at Friday’s hearing.

Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency has until next year to decide whether to loosen federal regulations, which would require passenger cars to average about 54 miles per gallon by 2025, up from 36 miles per gallon today.


But California has the unique ability to set tougher rules than federal standards under a waiver program that recognizes the state’s long struggle with pollution. In addition, a dozen other states have adopted California rules as their own, giving regulators here an outsize influence on the national marketplace.

ALSO SEE IN THE ORIGINAL: Historical photos of pollution in California

Over the years they’ve shown little hesitance about setting higher benchmarks for emissions, steps that often eventually become federal requirements. The rules approved Friday could force automakers to build more efficient engines, use increasingly lightweight materials and develop more electric vehicles.

Ann Carlson, an environmental law professor at UCLA, said negotiations still could resolve disagreements and preserve a single national standard.

And if they don’t?

“The other possibility is it’s full-out war,” Carlson said.

War over vehicle rules would not be new for California, where thick smog decades ago made tougher regulations a necessity. In Los Angeles, motorcycle riders wore gas masks and children were kept inside during school recess.

Highlights from California’s emissions regulations

1959
California launches the first statewide standards on vehicle emissions

1967
Gov. Ronald Reagan signs legislation creating the Air Resources Board; federal government grants California unique ability to pursue tougher regulations than federal standards

1971
California creates the country’s first standards for NOx emissions from tailpipes

1975
Catalytic converters are required to reduce vehicle pollution, six years before they become a national standard

2004
Air Resources Board creates first rules for greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes

2012
The Obama Administration creates one national standard for vehicle emissions until 2025

2017
President Trump begins to roll back federal rules, while California pushes forward with higher standards

Source: Los Angeles Times reporting

“My eyes would sting. Sometimes you couldn’t see a block,” said Tom Quinn, who was appointed to lead the Air Resources Board when Gov. Jerry Brown took office for his first term in 1975. One of his fellow board members was Nichols, who returned to the agency in 2007 and remains in charge today.

The board quickly ran into opposition from automakers, who said higher standards would be impossible to meet. Quinn remembers turning to Bob Sawyer, another board member and a mechanical engineering professor, during a break in a meeting.

“I said, ‘Bob, what’s going to happen? They insist they can’t sell cars,’ ” Quinn recalled. “Bob said, ‘They’re lying.’ ”

The board passed the rules, Quinn said, and “of course they sold cars.”

Sometimes regulators clamped down on individual manufacturers, barring sales of certain cars or instituting financial penalties. Regulators issued a $328,400 fine, the largest at the time, against Chrysler for violating smog rules. A company representative dropped off a check at Quinn’s house on a weekend.

The state’s clout has only grown since then. An update to federal law in 1990 allowed other states to adopt California’s higher standards; New York and Massachusetts are among the dozen that have taken that step.

“California has set itself as an example, and other states are following behind,” said Michael Harley, an Irvine-based automotive analyst at Kelley Blue Book. “We don’t have a ‘rogue state’ syndrome.”

The latest round of battles began in 2002, when California enacted the country’s first rules for greenhouse gases from tailpipes to fight global warming.

Fran Pavley, the former lawmaker who wrote the legislation, recalled bitter opposition.

“One person threatened to come over with a baseball bat,” she said of a threat to her office. “This got really, really heated.”

Automakers sued the state, and President George W. Bush’s administration rejected California’s request for a waiver to move forward with the regulations, the only time such a request has been turned down.

A potential legal battle dissipated, however, once Obama took office. His administration granted California’s waiver and worked toward a single national policy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

High gas prices and political pressure to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign oil — not to mention Obama’s desire to address climate change — led to additional fuel efficiency regulations finalized in 2012.

It was a period of relative harmony, but the circumstances that fostered cooperation and ambitious national regulations no longer exist. With gas prices lower, consumers have proved more interested in pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles than hybrids and electric cars.

Automakers argue that Obama improperly rushed to finalize the rules before he left office, and Trump does not share California’s commitment to fighting climate change.

The unraveling consensus on vehicle regulations has concerned advocates.

“There’s no reason for environmentalists, automakers and conservatives to risk a nuclear war over these rules, which will result in zero progress for all sides,” said Robbie Diamond, who leads Securing America’s Future Energy, a group of business and former military leaders that wants less dependence on foreign oil.

Now that California has recommitted itself to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the next steps are up to Trump. If the administration’s review leads to only slight changes, automakers might be able to balance California and federal regulations without much trouble.

“They could just shuffle cars around,” Harley said, ensuring the mix of vehicles available for sale meet California’s benchmarks. Consumers here already buy more electric cars and fewer pickup trucks than national averages.

But there’s still the potential for a dramatic change, or even an unprecedented legal assault on California’s cherished ability to set higher standards. Although automakers insisted they weren’t calling that into question, Nichols expressed skepticism about their commitment because they asked Trump to review federal rules.

“What were you thinking when you threw yourself upon the mercy of the Trump administration?” she said.

At this point, state leaders seem unwilling to yield to any pressure on regulating emissions.

“I don’t like to say anything is nonnegotiable,” said Brown on Monday during a visit to Washington.

But to fight climate change, he said, “we have to intensify, not fall back.”

Downtown Los Angeles’ tallest buildings rise above a blanket of smog in October 1973. (Fitzgerald Whitney / Los Angeles Times)
Times staff writer Evan Halper contributed to this report.

 chris.megerian at latimes.com

ALSO

Trump wants to shelve fuel mileage rules, inviting a fight with California

Trump’s EPA pick poised to survive Senate fight, but his brewing battle with California will be harder to win

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

‘Hello, Bob’: President Trump called my cellphone a Washington Post correspondent, to say that the health-care bill was dead.

Trump on health care bill: ‘We couldn’t quite get there’

President Trump addressed his plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, saying he will let Obamacare “explode,” before taking questions from the media on March 24 at the White House. (The Washington Post)

By Robert (Bob) Costa March 24 at 5:59 PM
President Trump called me on my cellphone Friday afternoon at 3:31 p.m. At first I thought it was a reader with a complaint since it was a blocked number.

Instead, it was the president calling from the Oval Office. His voice was even, his tone muted. He did not bury the lead.

“Hello, Bob,” Trump began. “So, we just pulled it.”

Trump was speaking, of course, of the Republican plan to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, a plan that had been languishing for days amid unrest throughout the party as the president and his allies courted members and pushed for a vote.

Before I could ask a question, Trump plunged into his explanation of the politics of deciding to call off a vote on a bill he had been touting.

The many ups and downs of the GOP health-care battle Play Video3:56
Republicans withdrew the American Health Care Act moments before a scheduled vote on March 24, after failing to woo enough lawmakers to support it. Here are the key turning points in their fight to pass the bill. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)
The Democrats, he said, were to blame.

“We couldn’t get one Democratic vote, and we were a little bit shy, very little, but it was still a little bit shy, so we pulled it,” Trump said.

Trump said he would not put the bill on the floor in the coming weeks. He is willing to wait and watch the current law continue and, in his view, encounter problems. And he believes that Democrats will eventually want to work with him on some kind of legislative fix to Obamacare, although he did not say when that would be.

[House Republican leaders abruptly pull their rewrite of the nation’s health-care law]

“As you know, I’ve been saying for years that the best thing is to let Obamacare explode and then go make a deal with the Democrats and have one unified deal. And they will come to us; we won’t have to come to them,” he said. “After Obamacare explodes.”

“The beauty,” Trump continued, “is that they own Obamacare. So when it explodes, they come to us, and we make one beautiful deal for the people.”

My question for the president: Are you really willing to wait to reengage on health care until the Democrats come and ask for your help?

“Sure,” Trump said. “I never said I was going to repeal and replace in the first 61 days” — contradicting his own statements and that of his own adviser, Kellyanne Conway, who told CNN in November that the then-president-elect was contemplating convening a special session on Inauguration Day to begin the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Turning to an aide, Trump asked, “How many days is it now? Whatever.” He laughed.

Trump returned to the theme of blaming the Democrats.

“Hey, we could have done this,” he said. “But we couldn’t get one Democrat vote, not one. So that means they own Obamacare and when that explodes, they will come to us wanting to save whatever is left, and we’ll make a real deal.”

There was little evidence that either Trump or House Republicans made a serious effort to reach out to Democrats.

Still, I wondered, why not whip some more votes this weekend and come back next week to the House with a revised piece of legislation?

“Well,” Trump said, “we could do that, too. But we didn’t do that. It’s always possible, but we pulled it.”

Trump brought up the vote count. “We were close,” he said.

How close?

“I would say within anywhere from five to 12 votes,” Trump said — although widespread reports indicated that at least three dozen Republicans opposed the measure.

[There were at least three dozen Republicans opposed to the health-care bill

That must have hurt after all of his attempts to rally Republicans, I said. He made calls, had people over to the White House, invited House members on Air Force One. He may not have loved the bill, but he embraced the negotiations.

“You’re right,” Trump said. “I’m a team player, but I’ve also said the best thing politically is to let Obamacare explode.”

Trump said he made the decision to pull the bill after meeting Friday at the White House with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.).

Was that a tense, tough conversation with Ryan, I asked?

“No, not tough,” Trump said. “It’s just life. We had great support among most Republicans but no Democratic votes. Zero. Not one.”

I mentioned to Trump that some of his allies were frustrated with Ryan. Did he share those frustrations, and would he be able to work with Ryan moving forward on plans to cut taxes and build an infrastructure package?

“I don’t blame Paul,” Trump said.

He then repeated the phrase: “I don’t blame Paul. He worked very hard on this.”

And again.

“I don’t blame Paul at all.”

As he waits for Democrats, I asked, what’s next on health care, if anything, policy-wise?

“Time will tell. Obamacare is in for some rough days. You understand that. It’s in for some rough, rough days,” Trump said.

“I’ll fix it as it explodes,” he said. “They’re going to come to ask for help. They’re going to have to. Here’s the good news: Health care is now totally the property of the Democrats.”

Speaking of premium increases, Trump said: “When people get a 200 percent increase next year or a 100 percent or 70 percent, that’s their fault.”

He returned again to a partisan line on the turn of events.

“To be honest, the biggest losers today are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer,” Trump said of the House minority leader and the Senate minority leader. “Because now they own the disaster known as Obamacare.”

Okay, I asked, they may own it, in his view, but he will at some point be tasked with shaping whatever comes forward as a partial replacement. What will that be? What kind of policy could he support?

“Oh, lots of things can happen,” Trump said. “But the best would be if we could all get together and do a real health-care bill that would be good for the people, and that could very well happen.”

Does Trump regret starting his agenda this year with health care?

“No, I don’t,” he said. “But in a way I’m glad I got it out of the way.”

“Look, I’m a team player,” Trump said of the Republican Party. “I’ve played this team. I’ve played with the team. And they just fell a little bit short, and it’s very hard when you need almost 100 percent of the votes and we have no votes, zero, from the Democrats. It’s unheard of.”

What happened with the House Freedom Caucus, the hard-line conservatives he had wooed over and over again?

“Ah, that’s the big question,” Trump said with a slight chuckle. “Don’t know. I have a good relationship with them, but I couldn’t get them. They just wouldn’t do it.”

Trump alluded to long-running, simmering dramas on Capitol Hill, which he said had little to do with him, as a reason the Freedom Caucus could not back the bill.

“Years of hatred and distrust,” he said. “Long before me.”

Was Trump saying, perhaps, that the inability of Ryan and his team to work well with that caucus was part of why talks stalled?

“Well, look, you can say what you want,” Trump said. “But there are years of problems, great hatred and distrust, and, you know, I came into the middle of it.”

“I think they made a mistake, but that’s okay,” Trump said of the Freedom Caucus.

As we wrapped up, I tried to get some clarity. The president was blaming the Democrats and was willing to let the law “explode.” Yet he also seemed to be teasing the possibility of doing something bipartisan down the road, a fresh start at some point.

I asked: Would working on a bipartisan health-care deal a year from now be something he would find more agreeable than whipping the hard right?

“A lot of people might say that,” Trump said, laughing. “We’ll end up with a better health-care plan. A great plan. And you wouldn’t need the Freedom Caucus.”

What about the moderates, the Tuesday Group?

“They were great,” Trump said. “They were really great.”

He turned once more to the Democrats.

“They own it,” he said.

“You’ve said that,” I told him.

“This is a process,” Trump concluded, “and it’s going to work out very well. I was a team player, and I had an obligation to go along with this.”

As Trump tried to hang up the phone and get back to work, I asked him to reflect, if at all possible, on lessons learned. He’s a few months into his presidency, and he had to pull a bill that he had invested time and energy into passing.

What was on his mind?

“Just another day,” Trump said, flatly. “Just another day in paradise, okay?”

He paused.

“Take care.”

Read more at PowerPost

###

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

ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT – The Center for American Progress

Battling Climate Change in the Time of Trump

By John Podesta Posted on March 21, 2017, 12:22 pm

There is no way to sugarcoat the outcome of the 2016 election for anyone who cares about the health of our planet. President Donald Trump has made clear that he intends to pursue a special interest-driven agenda that would make climate change worse. Since the start of his administration, he has taken steps to increase America’s dependence on oil, including foreign oil; eliminate limits on carbon pollution; and weaken vehicle efficiency standards at the expense of American families. His budget decimates scientific research and he selected an administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, who denies that carbon pollution is a main cause of climate change.

The Trump administration’s anti-environmental agenda is, without question, a grave danger to the health of our children and grandchildren—and the health of our planet. But this threat alone is no reason to give up hope that we can still avert the most severe impacts of climate change. The energy and effectiveness of citizen activism suggests that the most damaging policies of the Trump administration can be stopped. And, as importantly, a review of the votes cast in the November election and the steps being taken by state and local leaders indicate an alternate path for climate action in the next four years.


The economy is voting for climate action.

Winning the popular vote by more than 3 million ballots was not enough for Democrats to win the White House, but those votes nonetheless represent the voices of a majority of Americans. Public opinion research now consistently finds that most Americans believe climate change is a major problem and support steps to cut carbon pollution.1 What’s more, a recent Brookings Institution analysis found that the counties that Hillary Clinton won account for 64 percent of the United States’ economic output.2

For those of us counting greenhouse gas emissions, the fact that nearly two-thirds of the U.S. economy voted for progressive leadership in November is more than significant. Governors of states that voted for Clinton, for example, are already stepping up to the challenge of battling climate change. In January of this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) of New York called on the states that make up the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, to lower their collective carbon pollution reduction target an additional 30 percent below 2020 levels by 2030. In California, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has established the state as a global leader on climate action, adopting a cap and trade program, taking big steps to build a clean energy economy, and setting the aggressive reduction goal of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.3 Gov. Brown also recently denounced the Trump administration’s attacks on climate science and research and staked out California’s leading role going forward in that aspect of progress.4
Even in states that President Trump won, elected officials are continuing to move aggressively to deliver climate change policies. Since the election, 71 mayors from across the country penned an open letter to President Trump, stating that they will continue to take “bold” climate action. Of that collection of mayors, 29 of them come from states that voted for President Trump.5 Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (D), for example, called on fellow U.S. mayors to stand together to deliver on global climate goals and reaffirm commitments to local action.6 In addition to taking on a leadership role in the global coalition of more than 7,100 cities committed to the fight against climate change, Mayor Reed is working at the local level in Atlanta, including by launching the city’s first solar initiative to reduce municipal energy consumption by up to 40 percent.7


Rampage against environmental laws.

Make no mistake, though, the Trump administration presents an existential threat to the entire planet. Leadership on the state and local level may be able to bridge the gap at the federal level, but only for a period of time. The administration appears to be on a rampage against environmental laws that protect clean air, water, and our way of life. Since taking office, President Trump has signed more than seven executive orders, presidential memorandums, and bills that roll back environmental protections and prioritize giveaways to the fossil fuel industry. That number is expected to jump even higher in the coming days with an anticipated executive action aimed at undoing the Clean Power Plan, lifting a coal moratorium on public lands, throwing out consideration of climate change in federal decision-making, and making it easier to release the potent global warming pollutant, methane. The list of polluting actions, however, also includes eliminating a prohibition on bribery by oil companies, cutting limits on dumping of toxic mine waste in streams, and trying to make the United States more dependent on Canadian tar sands.

To say that the Trump administration is beholden to the corporate interests that benefit from eliminating environmental protections understates reality. This team stepped out of the boardroom into Washington, D.C. Recently, the White House released a statement8 that promoted Exxon and had significant portions that were identical to the statement Exxon itself released.9 Administrator Scott Pruitt’s own emails show a close relationship with top polluters, such as Devon Energy and Koch Industries, and illustrate deep coordination as the energy companies pushed through his office the policy outcomes they wanted.10 Pruitt brings these relationships with him to the EPA, the agency he sued 14 times as attorney general of Oklahoma. Joining him at the agency are staffers who have worked to propagate climate denial under infamous climate denier Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) and the Koch-backed Freedom Partners.11


The irreversible global shift to clean energy
.

Although the Trump administration’s early actions serve as handouts to the fossil fuel industries, America’s clean energy economy is now strong enough to withstand a short-term change in policy. President Barack Obama’s dogged focus on emissions reductions will not be easily reversed either. Between 2008 and 2015, the United States’ emissions dropped 9 percent even as the economy grew more than 10 percent.12 Solar, wind, geothermal, and other renewable energy industries have grown substantially in terms of generation and jobs, becoming a fundamental part of the U.S. economy overall. Between 2008 and 2015, U.S. wind generating capacity nearly tripled and solar capacity—both concentrating and photovoltaic systems—grew by 23 times.13 For individuals, the cost of residential solar photovoltaic system has fallen to approximately one-third its cost in 1998, or from $12.34 per watt to $4.05 per watt.14 Wind power recently surpassed conventional hydropower as the nation’s most significant renewable generation source.15 According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s annual energy jobs report, renewable electricity generation employs nearly 547,000 people, with the solar industry employing nearly 374,000 of that total.16 The energy efficiency economy, which includes building professionals, efficient appliance manufacturers, energy service providers, and others, has reached more than 2.2 million workers across the country.17 None of the CEO’s or leaders of these growing industries are represented in the fossil fuel-focused White House.
This shift toward clean energy is a global one. Countries around the world—including both developed and emerging economies—see that their future prosperity hinges on nonpolluting energy. Thanks to the leadership of President Obama, more than 130 countries have now officially joined the Paris Agreement—a historic pact to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and build resilience to the destructive effects of climate change.18 These countries are not liable to reverse course in the wake of the U.S. election. In fact, all countries have reaffirmed their dedication to implement the Paris Agreement and more than 30 countries have officially joined the pact after the election of President Trump.19
It would be economic folly for the United States to turn its back on this global shift toward nonpolluting energy. Recognizing this, approximately 900 U.S. businesses and investors have now encouraged U.S. and global leaders to support the Paris Agreement and climate action.20 If the United States cedes its leadership in the global movement to curb greenhouse gas pollution, other major powers, most notably China, are primed to dominate the coming clean energy economy.

In the meantime, global leaders who are serious about stopping climate change are more likely to visit governors’ mansions in Sacramento, CA, or Albany, NY, than the White House. Elected officials there and in other states and localities understand that American leadership on clean energy means that U.S. workers will be creating, making, and selling technologies and products in developing and emerging markets.21 These sub-national level elected officials can themselves become leaders and have political clout in the international movement to combat climate change. Governors, mayors, and other elected officials can pick up the climate change mantel abandoned by the Trump administration and help the United States lead by example around the world. The challenge will be to organize the leadership that represents those jurisdictions that voted for strong action on climate change into a force that can counterbalance the lack of ambition from the United States at the federal level.


The growing resistance.

As governors, mayors, clean energy leaders, and citizens continue to advance climate action domestically and internationally, it is equally important that, as Americans, we do all we can to stop the Trump administration and Republican leaders in Congress from implementing the most anti-environmental agenda in decades. The engagement and direct action being taken by individuals in every community in every state is nothing short of inspiring. Resistance works. From the Women’s March in January to February’s Day Without Immigrants, millions of Americans—especially young Americans—are making their voices heard.

Notably, a significant percentage of the Millennial generation failed to show up to vote last November, yet their understanding of the dangers of climate change presents some cause for hope: They believe that the climate is changing. An October, 2016 poll from the University of Texas at Austin found that “[m]ore than 9 out of 10 survey respondents (91 percent) under age 35 say climate change is occurring compared to 74 percent of those age 65 older.”22 The Harvard Institute of Politics released a poll in April of 2015 that had similar results, showing that, “3 in 4 millennials believe global warming is a fact.”23 If this generation now understands that their votes or their decisions not to vote have consequences and turns out in the coming years to express their determination to combat climate change, the Trump administration and its climate denying allies will soon be a brief chapter in the history books.

Two upcoming governor’s races will provide a glimpse into how the resistance we are witnessing translates to results at the ballot box. Both New Jersey and Virginia have off-year gubernatorial elections in 2017. Virginia can be a bellwether for greater sentiment across the country. The year after President Obama’s historic election when Democrats swept into power across all chambers of government, Virginians elected Republican Bob McDonnell to be governor by a 17-point margin.24 Hillary Clinton won the state 49.8 percent to Trump’s 44.4 percent, showing there is a strong Democratic base. However, the state retains deep ties to fossil fuels, with coal mines making up close to 2 percent of U.S. production, its ports shipping over one-third of all U.S. coal exports, and some oil and gas production in its southwestern counties.25

Hillary Clinton also won New Jersey but by a greater margin, 55 percent to 41 percent. New Jersey’s economy is not strongly tied to fossil fuels, but it has suffered the slowest economic growth in the nation for the past few years.26 Although the races for these governors’ mansions are still taking shape, they will likely become referenda on what is happening in Washington, D.C., and in some measure, the anti-environmental policies being pursued by the Trump administration. The results of these races could be a preview for the congressional midterms in 2018 and send a powerful signal to climate deniers, at all levels of government, that they will be held accountable for their out-of-the-mainstream views.

What’s on the line.
One cannot overstate the stakes in this fight to defend climate policies and to continue progress at the city, state, and international level. President Trump’s own Secretary of Defense James Mattis has acknowledged climate change as a “threat multiplier,” and has called on the military to “unleash us from the tether of fuel,” according to past reports.27 Other national intelligence experts are also concerned that conflict regions around the world increasingly share similar problems because of political, economic, and social instability exacerbated by climate change.28 The most recent and high-profile example of climate’s destabilizing force on the world is the Syrian refugee crisis. The historic drought affecting Syria between 2006 and 2009 left entire regions without food and water, making worse the perilous circumstances there and contributing to violence that forced people from their homes.29

Here at home, the Office of Management and Budget, or OMB, released a report last November that identified climate change as a serious fiscal risk to the federal government. The report calculated that sea-level rise and extreme weather will drive up annual federal disaster recovery costs in coastal areas by $19 billion by 2050 and by $50 billion by 2075.30
The truth is that President Trump has taken climate change into account for his own properties. Trump’s Ireland golf resort filed a permit application to build a sea wall, citing “global warming and its effects.”31 In Palm Beach, where Trump’s home Mar-a-Lago sits on the water’s edge, elected officials expect that sea levels in the region may increase by seven inches by 2030 and two feet by 2060.32


Conclusion.

Though President Trump can choose to ignore climate change and line the pockets of oil, gas, and coal executives, most Americans know that, as a nation, we do not have the luxury of arguing the politics or putting our heads in the sand. It is therefore on all of us—local leaders, state leaders, campus leaders, and citizens—to find optimism in the reality that we can find paths to progress, even as we fight, every day, to stop the Trump administration from selling out our planet and our future.

John Podesta is the Founder and a Board Member of the Center for American Progress and most recently was the chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. He previously served as chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and counselor to President Barack Obama. He is also a visiting professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center.
Endnotes.

Lydia Saad and Jeffrey M. Jones, “U.S. Concern about Global Warming is at an Eight Year High,” Gallup, March 16, 2016, available at www.gallup.com/poll/190010/concer…. ?

Mark Muro and Sifan Liu, “Another Clinton-Trump divide: High-output America vs low-output America,” The Brookings Institution, posted November 29, 2016, available at www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenu…. ?

California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board, “The Governor’s Climate Change Pillars: 2030 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals,” available at www.arb.ca.gov/cc/pillars/pillar… (last accessed March 2017). ?

John Myers, “’We’re ready to fight,’ Gov. Jerry Brown unloads on Trump and Climate Issues,” Los Angeles Times, December 14, 2016, www.latimes.com/politics/essentia…. ?
Climate Mayors, “Open letter to President Elect Donald Trump,” November 22, 2016, available at medium.com/@ClimateMayors/open-l…. ?

Kasim Reed and Greg Stanton, “Open Letter from Mayors of Atlanta and Phoenix: It’s Time for U.S. Mayors to Reaffirm Our Commitment to Strong Climate Action,” The Compact of Mayors, January 13, 2017, available at medium.com/@CompactofMayors/open…. ?

Metro Atlanta CEO, “Mayor Kasim Reed Accepts Climate Leadership Role with the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy,” December 5, 2016, available at metroatlantaceo.com/news/2016/12/…; City of Atlanta, “Mayor Kasim Reed Launches the City of Atlanta’s First Solar Energy Program,” November 23, 2015, available at www.atlantaga.gov/index.aspx?page…. ?

The White House, “President Trump Congratulates Exxon Mobile for Job-Creating Investment Program,“ available at www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-off… (last accessed March 2017). ?

Chris Mooney and Steven Mufson, “The White House was on the same page as ExxonMobil on Monday. Literally.,” The Washington Post, March 6, 2017, available at www.washingtonpost.com/news/ener…. ?

Brady Dennis and Steven Mufson, “Thousands of Emails Detail EPA Head’s Close Ties to Fossil Fuel Industry,” The Washington Post, February 22, 2017, available at www.washingtonpost.com/news/ener…. ?

Kevin Bogardus, “Another top Inhofe staffer joins agency,” Greenwire, March 3, 2017, available at www.eenews.net/greenwire/2017/03/…. ?
The White House, “A Historic Commitment to Protecting the Environment and Addressing the Impacts of Climate Change,” available at obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the… (last accessed March 2017). ?

U.S. Department of Energy, 2015 Wind Technologies Market Report (2015), available at energy.gov/eere/wind/downloads/20…; U.S. Department of Energy, Utility-Scale Solar 2015: An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance, and Pricing Trends in the United States (2016), available at emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/lbnl…. ?

Galen L. Barbose and Naïm R. Darghouth, Tracking the Sun IX: The Installed Price of Residential and Non-residential Photovalic Systems in the United States (Washington: U.S. Department of Energy, 2016), available at emp.lbl.gov/publications/trackin…; Mark Bolinger and Joachim Seel, Utility-Scale Solar 2015: An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance, and Pricing Trends in the United States (Washington: U.S. Department of Energy, 2016), available at emp.lbl.gov/publications/utility…; U.S. Department of Energy, On the Path to Sunshot: Executive Summary (2016), available at energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2016/…. ?

Diane Cardwell, “Wind Power Surpasses Hydroelectric in a Crucial Measure,” The New York Times, February 9, 2017, available at www.nytimes.com/2017/02/09/busin…. ?

U.S. Department of Energy, 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (2017), available at energy.gov/downloads/2017-us-ene…. ?
Ibid. ?

United Nations, “Paris Agreement—Status of Ratification,” available at unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/… (last accessed March 2017). ?
United Nations, “Marrakech Action Proclamation for Our Climate and Sustainable Development” (2016) available at unfccc.int/files/meetings/marrake…; United Nations, “Paris Agreement—Status of Ratification.” ?

Low Carbon USA, “Home,” available at lowcarbonusa.org/ (last accessed March 2017). ?
International Finance Corporation, “Climate Investment Opportunities in Emerging Markets” (2016), available at www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/51183…. ?
UT News, “ Millennials’ Strong Views on Climate Change and Other Energy Issues Could Drive Presidential Election Results,” October 27, 2016, available at news.utexas.edu/2016/10/27/mille…. ?

Harvard University, Institute of Politics, “Millennials on Global Warming” (2015), available at iop.harvard.edu/iop-now/millennia…. ?

Real Clear Politics, “Virginia Governor – McDonnell vs. Deeds,” available at www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/… (last accessed March 2017); Ian Urbina, “In Virginia, McDonnell Ends Democrats’ Streak,” The New York Times, November 2, 2009, available at
 www.nytimes.com/2009/11/04/us/04v…. ?

U.S. Energy Information Administration, “Virginia: State Profile and Energy Estimates” (2016), available at www.eia.gov/state/analysis.php?s…. ?

Carla Astudillo, “Dead Last: N.J. Worst in the Nation in Economic Growth,” NJ.com, September 15, 2016, available at www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2016/09…. ?

Mazin Sidahmed, “Climate Change Denial in the Trump Cabinet: Where do his Nominees Stand?”, The Guardian, December 15, 2016, available at www.theguardian.com/environment/…. ?
Cathleen Kelly, “Rex Tillerson’s Big Oil Ties Endanger the Climate and National Security,” Center for American Progress, January 6, 2017, available at www.americanprogress.org/issues/…. ?
Henry Fountain, “Researchers Link Syrian Conflict to a Drought Made Worse by Climate Change,” The New York Times, March 2, 2015, available at www.nytimes.com/2015/03/03/scien…. ?
Office of Management and Budget, Climate change: Fiscal Risks Facing The Federal Government (The White House, 2016), available at obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sit…. ?

Ben Schreckinger, “Trump acknowledges climate change—at his golf course,” Politico, May 23, 2016, available at www.politico.com/story/2016/05/do… ?

Michael Smith and Jonathan Levin, “Trump Rejects Climate Change, but Mar-a-Lago Could Be Lost to the Sea,” Bloomberg Businessweek, December 16, 2016, available at www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/…. ?

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CLIMATE – The New York Times.

Trump Lays Plans to Reverse Obama’s Climate Change Legacy

Also titled TRUMP SET TO TEAR UP OBAMA’S CLIMATE CHANGE LEGACY – in some International Print Editions of March 23, 2017.

By CORAL DAVENPORTMARCH 21, 2017 – US Electronic Edition.

Shortened for the March 23, 2017 International Edition, and missing in some newsletters.

WASHINGTON DC — President Trump is poised in the coming days to announce his plans to dismantle the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s climate change legacy, while also gutting several smaller but significant policies aimed at curbing global warming.

The moves are intended to send an unmistakable signal to the nation and the world that Mr. Trump intends to follow through on his campaign vows to rip apart every element of what the president has called Mr. Obama’s “stupid” policies to address climate change. The timing and exact form of the announcement remain unsettled, however.

The executive actions will follow the White House’s release last week of a proposed budget that would eliminate climate change research and prevention programs across the federal government and slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by 31 percent, more than any other agency. Mr. Trump also announced last week that he had ordered Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator, to revise the agency’s stringent standards on planet-warming tailpipe pollution from vehicles, another of Mr. Obama’s key climate change policies.

While the White House is not expected to explicitly say the United States is withdrawing from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, and people familiar with the White House deliberations say Mr. Trump has not decided whether to do so, the policy reversals would make it virtually impossible to meet the emissions reduction goals set by the Obama administration under the international agreement.

—————————————
Trump to Undo Vehicle Rules That Curb Global Warming MARCH 3, 2017

A Sea Change for Climate Coverage MARCH 16, 2017

Top Trump Advisers Are Split on Paris Agreement on Climate Change MARCH 2, 2017

As U.S. Cedes Leadership on Climate, Others Step Up at Davos JAN. 21, 2017

Americans Ate 19% Less Beef From ’05 to ’14, Report Says MARCH 21, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT
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In an announcement that could come as soon as Thursday or as late as next month, according to people familiar with the White House’s planning, Mr. Trump will order Mr. Pruitt to withdraw and rewrite a set of Obama-era regulations known as the Clean Power Plan, according to a draft document obtained by The New York Times. The Obama rule was devised to shut down hundreds of heavily polluting coal-fired power plants and freeze construction of new coal plants, while replacing them with vast wind and solar farms.

The draft also lays out options for legally blocking or weakening about a half-dozen additional Obama-era executive orders and policies on climate change.

At a campaign-style rally on Monday in the coal-mining state of Kentucky, Mr. Trump told a cheering audience that he is preparing an executive action that would “save our wonderful coal miners from continuing to be put out of work.”

GRAPHIC — How Americans Think About Climate Change, in Six Maps
Americans overwhelmingly believe that global warming is happening, and that carbon emissions should be scaled back. But fewer are sure that it will harm them personally.

Experts in environmental law say it will not be possible for Mr. Trump to quickly or simply roll back the most substantive elements of Mr. Obama’s climate change regulations, noting that the process presents a steep legal challenge that could take many years and is likely to end up before the Supreme Court. Economists are skeptical that a rollback of the rules would restore lost coal jobs because the demand for coal has been steadily shrinking for years.

Scientists and climate policy advocates around the world say they are watching the administration’s global warming actions and statements with deep worry. Many reacted with deep concern to Mr. Pruitt’s remarks this month that he did not believe carbon dioxide was a primary driver of climate change, a statement at odds with the global scientific consensus. They also noted the remarks last week by Mick Mulvaney, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, in justifying Mr. Trump’s proposed cuts to climate change research programs.

“As to climate change, I think the president was fairly straightforward: We’re not spending money on that anymore,” Mr. Mulvaney said at a White House briefing.

“The message they are sending to the rest of the world is that they don’t believe climate change is serious. It’s shocking to see such a degree of ignorance from the United States,” said Mario J. Molina, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist from Mexico who advises nations on climate change policy.

The policy reversals also signal that Mr. Trump has no intention of following through on Mr. Obama’s formal pledges under the Paris accord, under which nearly every country in the world submitted plans detailing actions to limit global warming over the coming decade.

Under the accord as it stands, the United States has pledged to reduce its greenhouse pollution about 26 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. That can be achieved only if the United States not only implements the Clean Power Plan and tailpipe-pollution rules, but also tightens them or adds more policies in future years.

“The message clearly is, ‘We won’t do what the United States has promised to do,’” Mr. Molina said.

In addition to directing Mr. Pruitt to withdraw the Clean Power Plan, the draft order instructs Attorney General Jeff Sessions to request that a federal court halt consideration of a 28-state lawsuit against the regulation. The case was argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in September, and the court is expected to release a decision in the coming months on whether to uphold or strike down the rule.

Interactive Feature: Trump Has Choices to Make on Climate Policy. What Would You Do?
According to the draft, Mr. Trump is also expected to announce that he will lift a moratorium on new coal mining leases on public lands that had been announced last year by the Obama administration.

He is also expected to order White House economists to revisit an Obama-era budgeting metric known as the social cost of carbon. Economists and policy makers used the metric to place a dollar cost on the economic impact of planet-warming carbon dioxide pollution: about $36 per ton. That measure formed the Obama administration’s economic justification for issuing climate change regulations that would harm some industries, such as coal mining, noting that those costs would be outweighed by the economic benefits of preventing billions of tons of planet-warming pollution.

Eliminating or lowering the social cost of carbon could provide the Trump administration the economic justification for putting forth less-stringent regulations.

The draft order would also rescind an executive order by Mr. Obama that all federal agencies take climate change into account when considering any form of environmental permitting.

Unlike the rollback of the power plant and vehicle regulations, which could take years and will be subject to legal challenges, Mr. Trump can make the changes to the coal mining ban and undo Mr. Obama’s executive orders with the stroke of a pen.

White House staff members and energy lobbyists who work closely with them say they have been expecting Mr. Trump to make the climate change announcements for weeks, ever since Mr. Pruitt was confirmed to head the E.P.A. on Feb. 17, but the announcement has been repeatedly rescheduled. The delays of the one-page announcement have largely been a result of disorganization and a chaotic policy and planning process, said people familiar with that process who asked to speak anonymously to avoid angering Mr. Trump.

One reason for the confusion, these people said, is internal disputes about the challenging legal process required to dismantle the Clean Power Plan. While Mr. Trump may announce with great fanfare his intent to roll back the regulations, the legal steps required to fulfill that announcement are lengthy and the outcome uncertain.

“Trump’s announcements have zero impact,” said Richard J. Lazarus, a professor of environmental law at Harvard. “They don’t change existing law at all.”

Much of that task will now fall to Mr. Pruitt.

“To undo the rule, the E.P.A. will now have to follow the same procedure that was followed to put the regulations in place,” said Mr. Lazarus, pointing to a multiyear process of proposing draft rules, gathering public comment and forming a legal defense against an expected barrage of lawsuits almost certain to end up before the Supreme Court.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


10th – 11th August 2017: North American Symposium on Climate Change and Coastal Zone Management, Montreal, Canada


Climate change is known to impact coastal areas in a variety of ways. According to the 5th Assessment Report produced by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), coastal zones are highly vulnerable to climate change and climate-driven impacts may be further exacerbated by other human-induced pressures.

In North America, multiple pressures – including urbanization and coastal development, habitat loss and degradation, pollution, overexploitation of fish stocks and natural hazards- affect the coastal ecosystems, hence exacerbating the impacts of climate change in coastal zones. In particular, sea level rise changes the shape of coastlines, contributes to coastal erosion and leads to flooding and salt-water intrusion in aquifers.

Climate change is also associated with other negative impacts to the natural environment and biodiversity, which include damages to important wetlands, and to the habitats that safeguard the overall ecological balance, and consequently the provision of ecosystem services and goods on which the livelihoods of millions of people depend. These impacts are particularly acute in North America, which endeavors to become more resilient to damages caused by hurricanes, floods and other extreme events.

The above state of affairs illustrates the need for a better understanding of how climate change affects coastal areas and communities in North America, and for the identification of processes, methods and tools which may help the communities in coastal zones to adapt and become more resilient. There is also a perceived need to showcase successful examples of how to cope with the social, economic and political problems posed by climate change in coastal regions in North America.

It is against this background that the North American Symposium on Climate Change and Coastal Zone Management is being organized by the Research and Transfer Centre “Applications of Life Sciences” of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (Germany), the International Climate Change Information Programme (ICCIP) and the Université du Québec à Montréal. The Symposium will be a truly interdisciplinary event, mobilizing scholars, social movements, practitioners and members of governmental agencies, undertaking research and/or executing climate change projects in coastal areas and working with coastal communities in North America.

The North American Symposium on Climate Change and Coastal Zone Management will focus on “ensuring the resilience of coastal zones” meaning that it will serve the purpose of showcasing experiences from research, field projects and best practice to foster climate change adaptation in coastal zones and communities, which may be useful or implemented elsewhere.

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


BARD COLLEGE – MBA in Sustainability program


Visiting Lecturer Positions – Fall 2017

Bard College’s low-residency MBA in Sustainability program, based in New York City, has openings for visiting lecturers to teach the following courses in the fall semester of 2017:

· Operations and Supply Chains
· Leading Change in Organizations

Please follow the link www.bard.edu/mba/program/courses/ to learn more about their content. Professors modify the existing syllabi for these courses to reflect their area of expertise.

Bard’s MBA program is one of a select group of programs globally that fully integrates sustainability into a business curriculum. Courses address core MBA material through a mission-driven lens, supporting students to master the business case for sustainability.
Faculty members teach during intensive weekend residencies held once a month in Manhattan. In addition, they teach an online evening session each week between the monthly residencies. The low-residency format allows flexibility in residential location.

MBA faculty members are expected to have earned a Ph.D., J.D., M.B.A., M.P.A., or equivalent degree. Successful candidates will have an established record of excellence in teaching.

For more information about Bard’s MBA program, visit the MBA website www.bard.edu/mba

To apply, send a cover letter, CV, and names and contact information for three references through Interfolio.com at: apply.interfolio.com/40456. Applications will be reviewed as received.

Bard College is an equal opportunity employer, and we welcome applications from those who contribute to our diversity.

Eban Goodstein
Director, Bard Center for Environmental Policy &
Director, Bard MBA in Sustainability
 www.bard.edu — www.bard.edu
845-758-7067
 ebangood at bard.edu

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