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

from:  Charles Ebinger, Brookings Institution FPEnergySecurity@brookings.edu

New Report: Oil and Gas in the Changing Arctic Region

Dear Colleagues:

The Arctic is changing. A shrinking polar icecap—now 40 percent smaller than it was in 1979—has opened not only new shipping routes, but access to 13 percent and 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas, respectively.

Today, the region’s vast energy, mineral and marine resources draw substantial international and commercial interest.

What can the U.S. do to strengthen the Arctic offshore oil and gas governance regime as it takes over the chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2015?

In a new report, Offshore Oil and Gas Governance in the Arctic: A Leadership Role for the U.S., authors Charles K. Ebinger, John P. Banks, and Alisa Schackmann review the current framework regarding offshore Arctic energy exploration, and recommend efforts the U.S. should take to assert leadership in the region, such as:

  • Establish oil spill prevention and response as a guiding theme for its Arctic Council chairmanship;
  • Appoint a U.S. Arctic ambassador;
  • Accelerate development of Alaska-specific oil and gas standards; and
  • Strengthen bilateral arrangements with Russia and Canada.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Establish oil spill prevention, control, and response as the overarching theme for U.S. chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2015-2017.
  • Create the diplomatic post of “Arctic Ambassador.”
  • Establish a Regional Bureau for Polar Affairs in the U.S. Department of State.
  • Accelerate the ongoing development of Alaska-specific offshore oil and gas standards and discuss their applicability in bilateral and multilateral forums for the broader Arctic region.
  • Strengthen bilateral regulatory arrangements for the Chukchi Sea with Russia, and the Beaufort Sea with Canada.
  • Support the industry-led establishment of an Arctic-specific resource sharing organization for oil spill response and safety.
  • Support and prioritize the strengthening of the Arctic Council through enhanced thematic coordination of offshore oil and gas issues.
  • Support the establishment of a circumpolar Arctic Regulators Association for Oil and Gas.

 

To learn more, watch this video and read the new policy brief from the Brookings Energy Security Initiative:

www.brookings.edu/ArcticEnergy

 

“I congratulate you and your collaborators on the report and
on the Energy Security Initiative. The active interest and involvement of Brookings in Arctic affairs is, and will be,
of enormous importance for the future development of the region.”

—H.E. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland (written to Dr. Charles Ebinger)


We hope you will find this new report an informative primer on Arctic governance and a dependable reference in discussing Arctic affairs. We encourage your feedback by emailing ESI Project Coordinator Colleen Lowry at clowry@brookings.edu.

Warm regards,

Charles K. Ebinger
Director, Energy Security Initiative at Brookings

###

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

from the goals of the assembly -

 

“The Arctic Circle is nonprofit and nonpartisan. Organizations,  forums, think tanks, corporations and public associations around the world are invited to hold meetings within the Arctic Circle platform to advance their own missions and the broader goal of increasing collaborative decision-making without surrendering their institutional independence.

The Arctic Circle is designed to increase participation in Arctic dialogue and strengthen the international focus on the future of the Arctic. Participating organizations will maintain their full institutional independence, identity and decision-making abilities. To this end, the Arctic Circle aims to create opportunities for everyone to attend different meetings, conduct their own networking and engage in one-on-one informal discussions. Organizations will be able to decide their own agendas and convene their own meetings.”

The Reykjavik 20013 meeting was the Assembly’s Inaugural – to be followed by a 20014 Assembly in a location that was to be decided at a closed meeting following immediately the open 2013 meeting. We post this now because the 2014 meeting was set already – it wil be held at the same place in Reykjavik September 5-7, 2014. Then in 2015 it will move to Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

“Following the meeting, participating organizations will be invited to a brainstorming session to contribute ideas for the 2014 Arctic Circle assembly.”

it said – Eventually – date and location – will be posted on - www.arcus.org/events/arctic-calen…
and   www.state.gov/documents/organizat…

 

NOW THE NEW MATERIAL CAN BE FOUND WITH THE HELP OF INFORMATION WE JUST RECEIVED:

As someone who attended the inaugural Arctic Circle Assembly, held October 12-14, 2013, in Reykjavík, Iceland, you might like to see our latest brief, which summarizes the event and describes the mission and structure of the Arctic Circle.

 

The Assembly attracted more than 1,200 attendees from more than 40 countries and proved to be the most diverse international gathering of its kind.

 

You can download the brief at ArcticCircle.org. We encourage you to share it with interested colleagues and with other individuals and organizations in your network to promote participation at the second annual Assembly.

 

Thank you for participating in the Arctic Circle
and helping advance the dialogue on  these crucial issues.
We look forward to reconvening with you September 5-7, 2014, in Reykjavík.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 1st, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

The Old Story – With Oil Comes Crime. Development of Oil Resources in Montana and North Dakota Destroys Communities and Environment. Just try to Foresee what the Development of Oil Resources Could do to The Arctic – a region that is even more out of site then above mentioned US States.

QUOTATION OF THE DAY

“It just feels like the modern-day Wild West.”

SGT. KYLAN KLAUZER, an investigator in Dickinson, N.D., on an increase in crime during an oil boom.

 

As Oil Floods Plains Towns, Crime Pours In

By JACK HEALY

 

With the new prosperity, soaring crime rates have come to places in Montana and North Dakota, straining law enforcement resources and shattering the sense of safety.

SIDNEY, Mont. — One cold morning last year, a math teacher jogging through her hometown in eastern Montana was abducted, strangled and buried in a shallow grave. Charged in her death were two drifters from Colorado, drawn to the region by the allure of easy money in the oil fields.

One hundred fifty miles away, in a bustling oil town in North Dakota, a 30-year-old man disappeared one afternoon from the street where he had been putting in water and sewer pipes, leaving behind a lunchbox with his paycheck inside and a family grasping for answers. After months of searching, his mother said she now believes her son is gone, buried somewhere on the high plain.

Stories like these, once rare, have become as common as drilling rigs in rural towns at the heart of one of the nation’s richest oil booms. Crime has soared as thousands of workers and rivers of cash have flowed into towns, straining police departments and shattering residents’ sense of safety.

etc. … etc.

Last year, a study by officials in Montana and North Dakota found that crime had risen by 32 percent since 2005 in communities at the center of the boom. In Watford City, N.D., where mile-long chains of tractor-trailers stack up at the town’s main traffic light, arrests increased 565 percent during that time. In Roosevelt County in Montana, arrests were up 855 percent, and the sheriff, Freedom Crawford, said his jail was so full that he was ticketing and releasing offenders for minor crimes like disorderly conduct.

“I don’t have nowhere to put them,” Sheriff Crawford said.

Officials say that most of the new arrivals are hard workers who are simply looking for better lives, and that much of the increase in crime has resulted from population growth: Waves of new residents inevitably mean more traffic crashes and calls to 911.

Police and sheriff’s departments are responding by hiring more officers, in part with new tax revenue but often not fast enough to keep pace with their booming populations. In Dickinson, for example, the population has surged to an estimated 25,000 from 16,000 in 2000, with new hotels, condominiums and extended-stay inns being built every week. The city’s police department has 38 officers, but Sergeant Klauzer said it would need to add 12 more to keep up with the growth. Each detective’s caseload has doubled. Federal prosecutors say the boom’s riches have attracted opportunists and criminals. Mexican cartels and regional methamphetamine and heroin traffickers have proliferated, hoping to tap the same sources of wealth that have turned farmers into millionaires and shaved unemployment rates to as low as 0.7 percent.

 

“It’s following the money,” said Michael W. Cotter, the United States attorney for Montana. “I hate to call the cartels entrepreneurs, but they’re in the business to make money. There’s a lot of money flying around that part of Montana and North Dakota.”

Federal prosecutors say the boom’s riches have attracted opportunists and criminals. Mexican cartels and regional methamphetamine and heroin traffickers have proliferated, hoping to tap the same sources of wealth that have turned farmers into millionaires and shaved unemployment rates to as low as 0.7 percent.

“It’s following the money,” said Michael W. Cotter, the United States attorney for Montana. “I hate to call the cartels entrepreneurs, but they’re in the business to make money. There’s a lot of money flying around that part of Montana and North Dakota.”

###

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

 

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

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

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

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

DSCI0056

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we already posted:

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 10th, 2013

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

 

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

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 10th, 2013

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

——————————————————————————–

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further information at www.creatingClimateWealth.com

—————————————————————–

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 3rd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


From the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund

Polar Bears Going Hungry as Arctic Ice Diminishes.

Don’t Let the Koch Brothers Win.

Dear Pincas,

High summer temperatures are melting away Arctic ice at alarming levels. And in response, Alaska’s polar bears are going without food for longer and longer.

Meanwhile, a recent report by American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop has uncovered that billionaire fossil fuel tycoons, Charles and David Koch, have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to block climate change legislation. {David Koch also eliminated the New York City Opera from the Lincoln Center and bought the right to rename the building for himself. Lots of things you can do with Oil-Money. Just look at the Washington Post that allowed itself – for everybody to see – to be bought by the American Petroleum Institute. That is our own comment.}

The two brothers are creating a network of climate change-denier groups of unprecedented size and scope, and are even persuading many members of Congress to sign a pledge to vote against any meaningful bill to combat climate change.

We’re running out of time to make a critical difference for polar bears’ future. Please speak up for starving polar bears today!

Despite obstacles created by the “Koch Brothers,” who have made billions off of polluting our planet, this summer marked a turning point in the fight for polar bears’ future.

In response to pressure from people like you, President Obama recently released a bold new plan to address climate change. The President’s plan includes supporting Environmental Protection Agency limits to carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants—and it is not a minute too soon for polar bears.

But, the Koch Brothers’ are using their influence in Congress to try to block limits on carbon pollution. That’s why we must act quickly to tell our members of Congress to let the Environmental Protection Agency do its job.

Arctic ice hit a record low last summer—and it is looking bad again this year. Scientists expect polar bears will once again be forced to wait long into the fall before ice returns near Alaska, where the bears so desperately need ice platforms to hunt for food.

The lengthening wait for sea ice to freeze is dire for polar bear cubs and the polar bear moms who need more time on the ice to hunt for enough seals to sustain themselves and their young.

Unless Big Polluters and their allies in Congress stop attacking the Environmental Protection Agency, the President may not be able to put his new plan into action—and it could be too late for our polar bears.

From:
Andy Buchsbaum
Interim Executive Director, NWF Action Fund
 info at nwa.org

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 18th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

A lot has happened in the last week. The Earth hit the 400 parts per million CO2 threshold for the first time in human history. Scientists tell us this is bad news if we want to prevent runaway climate change. “If we continue to burn fossil fuels at accelerating rates, if we continue with business as usual, we will cross the 450 parts per million limit in a matter of maybe a couple decades,” scientist Michael Mann told Democracy Now! “We believe that with that amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, we commit to what can truly be described as dangerous and irreversible changes in our climate.”

 

 

 

May 17, 2013  | from Tara Lohan on AlterNet

If you didn’t know this already, we should be listening to Mann and to other scientists. I thought this was settled a long time ago, but someone keeps giving print space to climate deniers, so a new survey of 12,000 peer-reviewed studies on the climate was just completed and the not-so-shocking conclusion was this, as Mother Nature Network reports:

 

Published this week in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the analysis shows an overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that humans are a key contributor to climate change, while a “vanishingly small proportion” defy this consensus. Most of the climate papers didn’t specifically address humanity’s involvement — likely because it’s considered a given in scientific circles, the survey’s authors point out — but of the 4,014 that did, 3,896 shared the mainstream outlook that people are largely to blame.

 

In light of this news, it makes it even more infuriating to see that the Obama administration has spent the week prostrating to the fossil fuel lobby. Here are four disturbing things the administration’s been up to.

 

1. Moniz Hearts Fracking

 

Obama tapped nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz to head the Energy Department and the Senate gave a big thumbs-up to Moniz on Thursday. Many environmental groups had concerns that Moniz was too pro-fracking, and those concerns are clearly warranted. Moniz’s first order of business Friday was to clear the way for 20 years of liquified natural gas exports via Freeport LNG Terminal on Quintana Island, Texas.

 

Of course, we’ve already been sold the story that we’re suposed to frack the crap out of the country in the name of energy security, but we knew all along it was for industry profit, right? Brad Jacobson recently detailed for AlterNet about how Congress members are clamoring for export plans to be fast-tracked — although what Americans will get out of the deal
will be higher gas prices and less energy security.

 

2. Thanks for Nothing, Sally

 

While the nomination of Moniz disappointed many environmentalists, some were cheered by REI exec Sally Jewell taking over the Interior Department. Those same folks might not be cheering after Jewell announced the Bureau of Land Management’s newest regulations (or lack thereof) for fracking on our public lands.

 

As Sierra Club’s Michael Brune reported Friday:

The new rules are disappointing for many reasons: Drillers won’t be required to disclose what chemicals they’re using, there is no requirement for baseline water testing, and there are no setback requirements to govern how close to homes and schools drilling can happen. Once again, though, the policy documents an even bigger failure to grasp a fundamental principle: If we’re serious about the climate crisis, then the last thing we should be doing is opening up still more federal land to drilling and fracking for fossil fuels.

 

3. No Time for Farmers

The group Bold Nebraska reported this week that Obama turned down an invitation to hear from Nebraska farmers and ranchers about their concerns that the Keystone XL pipeline could destroy their livelihoods. Of course, the President is a busy guy, right? And besides, the White House said he was not “taking any meetings on the pipeline.”

Or is he? The group writes:

Bold Nebraska was therefore surprised the President is meeting with staff at Ellicott Dredges, a company that just testified in Congress in support of Keystone XL and makes equipment that creates the tailing ponds, which are massive bodies of polluted water and a byproduct of the tar sands mining process.

“I simply do not understand why President Obama can find the time to visit a company that helps hold 12 million liters of toxic tar sands water but cannot find the time to visit ranchers who put over $12 billion of Nebraska-grown food on Americans’ dinner tables every year,” said Meghan Hammond, a young farmer whose family land is at risk with the current route in Nebraska.

 

4. Who Needs the Arctic? (Hint: We Do)

Subhankar Banerjee, a photographer and longtime Arctic activist, was recently appalled by a new report from the Obama administration on the future of the Arctic. And the rest of us should be, too. Banerjee writes about the report:

“Our pioneering spirit is naturally drawn to this region, for the economic opportunities it presents…” President Obama hides his excitement for oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean by carefully choosing the euphemism—“economic opportunities.”

In page 7 the true intent of the report is finally revealed: “The region holds sizable proved and potential oil and natural gas resources that will likely continue to provide valuable supplies to meet U.S. energy needs.”

Of course the report mentions protecting the environment, but gives no specific details.

 

We know that Obama talks a good talk about climate protection, but his second term has proven thus far that he’s completely out of touch with reality. You can’t hit 400 ppm CO2 and still think “all of the above” is a rationale energy strategy.

 ————————————-

Tara Lohan, a senior editor at AlterNet, has just launched the new project Hitting Home, chronicling extreme energy extraction. She is the editor of two books on the global water crisis, including most recently, Water Matters: Why We Need to Act Now to Save Our Most Critical Resource.                            Follow her on Twitter @TaraLohan.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 10th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 
The Arctic Circle, New Assembly for 
International Cooperation on Arctic Issues 
To Be Inaugurated in Reykjavík, Iceland, October 12-14, 2013
_______
 
Learn More About Arctic Challenges and Opportunities
at the National Press Club Newsmakers Luncheon
with Iceland’s President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson,
U.S. and Arctic Partners 
 

Iceland’s President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson will address 

Arctic world challenges on April 15 at 12:30 p.m. 

at the Holeman Lounge of the National Press Club, 

529 14th St. NW, Washington, DC 20045.

 

Grímsson will be joined by other distinguished initiators to announce a new assembly to promote collaboration among Arctic and international partners. The mission of the Arctic Circle is to convene a diverse group of stakeholders in an annual gathering to facilitate dialogue and build relationships to confront the Arctic’s greatest challenges.

 

As the fastest-warming place on Earth, the Arctic is moving to the center of the geopolitical stage. It is playing an increasingly important role in globalization, economic development, energy exploration, environ­mental protection and international security. Various plans for resource utilization and new sea routes linking Asia to Europe and America in a new way have led to an increased focus on the region.

 

In the past, the region did not matter to the world’s decision-makers and was largely forgotten. Now, with sea ice levels at their lowest point in recorded history, the world is waking up to the challenges and opportunities the Arctic presents for its citizens as well

as for people in other parts of the world.

 

Rapid changes in the Arctic have led to a critical need for a new and inclusive international dialogue. To that end, the Arctic Circle will convene for the first time in Iceland at Harpa Reykjavík Concert and Conference Centre on October 12-14, 2013, to discuss issues that impact the global commons, including:

 

* Sea ice melt and extreme weather

* Security implications

* Fisheries and ecosystem management

* Shipping and transportation

* Natural resources

 

The Arctic Circle will be an open venue for institutions, organizations, forums, think tanks, corporations and public associations to hold their meetings or events without surrendering their independence or decision-making abilities. The assembly will meet in a different Arctic location each year.

 

The purpose of the Arctic Circle will be to assist and further such meetings by maximizing attendance and strengthening the opportunities open to everyone to attend different meetings and conduct their own networking events. The unique arts and cultural attributes of the Arctic will also be presented through a variety of performances, exhibitions and programs.

 

To attend the public luncheon, please visit the NPC online.
______


To learn about how you can participate in the Arctic Circle, 
visit us online and join our mailing list for updates.
______
 
Visit the Arctic Wire for News from the North, sponsored 
by Alice Rogoff, co-founder of The Arctic Circle

and publisher of the Alaska Dispatch.

 

Contact the Office of the President for information about Iceland.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 30th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Protecting “America’s Fish Basket.”

Officially known as Bristol Bay, this area in Alaska–the epicenter of half of the U.S. production of seafood–is a target for oil and gas development.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is working to stop the industrial development so that the bay’s wildlife, including 15 species of whale and one of the world’s largest concentrations of seabirds, can thrive. For many Native Americans living in Alaska, the bay’s fish, wildlife and plants are a significant part of their culture and a primary source of sustenance.

It is estimated that the bay’s fishery could generate almost $215 billion over 40 years–far more than the federal government’s estimate of $7.7 billion in oil and gas revenue from the region that could be generated during the same time period.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 22nd, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

World superpowers are about to get a brand new coast

The broad, open ocean of the brand new North Coast has lots of governments and companies already planning for the economic and strategic possibilities.

Read more. ————————–

‘Chasing Ice’ lets you watch the Arctic glaciers disappear before your eyes. Feel better?

A new documentary film follows an intrepid team of photographers as they set out to capture, and communicate, the awesome violence of climate change.

Read more. ———————————–

Hawaii is overflowing with solar power because it’s obnoxiously perfect

This is why everyone hates Hawaii. Things like this.

Read more.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 10th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Justices to Revisit Voting Act in View of a Changing South

By
The New York Times – Published: November 9, 2012

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it would take a fresh look at the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the signature legacies of the civil rights movement.

——————–

Related in Opinion  - Editorial: A Supreme Test on the Right to Vote (November 10, 2012)

——————–

Three years ago, the court signaled that part of the law may no longer be needed, and the law’s challengers said the re-election of the nation’s first black president is proof that the nation has moved beyond the racial divisions that gave rise to efforts to protect the integrity of elections in the South.

The law “is stuck in a Jim Crow-era time warp,” said Edward P. Blum, director of the Project on Fair Representation, a small legal foundation that helped organize the suit.

Civil rights leaders, on the other hand, pointed to the role the law played in the recent election, with courts relying on it to block voter identification requirements and cutbacks on early voting.

“In the midst of the recent assault on voter access, the Voting Rights Act is playing a pivotal role beating back discriminatory voting measures,” said Debo P. Adegbile, the acting president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

The Supreme Court’s ruling on the law, expected by June, could reshape how elections are conducted.

The case concerns Section 5 of the law, which requires many state and local governments, mostly in the South, to obtain permission, or “preclearance,” from the Justice Department or a federal court before making changes that affect voting. Critics of the law call the preclearance requirement a unique federal intrusion on state sovereignty and a badge of shame for the affected jurisdictions that is no longer justified.

The preclearance requirement, originally set to expire in five years, was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1966 as a rational response to the often flagrantly lawless conduct of some Southern officials then.

Congress has repeatedly extended the requirement: for 5 years in 1970, 7 years in 1975, and 25 years in 1982. Congress renewed the act in 2006 after holding extensive hearings on the persistence of racial discrimination at the polls, again extending the preclearance requirement for 25 years.

But it made no changes to the list of jurisdictions covered by Section 5, relying instead on a formula based on historical practices and voting data from elections held decades ago. It applies to nine states — Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia — and to scores of counties and municipalities in other states.

Should the court rule that Congress was not entitled to rely on outdated data to decide which jurisdictions should be covered, lawmakers could in theory go back to the drawing board and re-enact the law using fresher information. In practice, given the political realities, a decision striking down the coverage formula would probably amount to the end of Section 5.

In May, a divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected a challenge to the law filed by Shelby County, Ala. Judge David S. Tatel, writing for the majority, acknowledged that “the extraordinary federalism costs imposed by Section 5 raise substantial constitutional concerns,” and he added that the record compiled by Congress to justify the law’s renewal was “by no means unambiguous.”

“But Congress drew reasonable conclusions from the extensive evidence it gathered,” he went on. The constitutional amendments ratified after the Civil War, he said, “entrust Congress with ensuring that the right to vote — surely among the most important guarantees of political liberty in the Constitution — is not abridged on account of race. In this context, we owe much deference to the considered judgment of the people’s elected representatives.”

The dissenting member of the panel, Judge Stephen F. Williams, surveyed recent evidence concerning registration and turnout, the election of black officials, the use of federal election observers and suits under another part of the law.

Some of that evidence, he said, “suggests that the coverage formula completely lacks any rational connection to current levels of voter discrimination,” while other evidence indicates that the formula, “though not completely perverse, is a remarkably bad fit with Congress’s concerns.”

“Given the drastic remedy imposed on covered jurisdictions by Section 5,” he wrote, “I do not believe that such equivocal evidence can sustain the scheme.”

The Supreme Court has already once considered the constitutionality of the 2006 extension of the law in a 2009 decision, Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder. But it avoided answering the central question, and it seemed to give Congress an opportunity to make adjustments. Congress did not respond.

At the argument of the 2009 case, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy questioned whether the distinctions drawn in the 2006 law reflect contemporary realities.

“Congress has made a finding that the sovereignty of Georgia is less than the sovereign dignity of Ohio,” Justice Kennedy said. “The sovereignty of Alabama is less than the sovereign dignity of Michigan. And the governments in one are to be trusted less than the governments in the other.”

“No one questions the validity, the urgency, the essentiality of the Voting Rights Act,” he added. “The question is whether or not it should be continued with this differentiation between the states. And that is for Congress to show.”

In the end, the court, in an 8-to-1 decision, ducked the central question and ruled instead on a narrow statutory ground, saying the utility district in Austin, Tex., that had challenged the constitutionality of the law might be eligible to “bail out” from being covered by it. Still, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, was skeptical about the continued need for Section 5.

“The historic accomplishments of the Voting Rights Act are undeniable,” he wrote. But “things have changed in the South.

“Voter turnout and registration rates now approach parity,” he wrote. “Blatantly discriminatory evasions of federal decrees are rare. And minority candidates hold office at unprecedented levels.

“The statute’s coverage formula is based on data that is now more than 35 years old,” he added,“and there is considerable evidence that it fails to account for current political conditions.”

Having said all of that, and acknowledging that the court’s alternative ruling had stretched the text of the statute, Chief Justice Roberts said the court should avoid deciding hard constitutional questions when it could. “Whether conditions continue to justify such legislation is a difficult constitutional question we do not answer today,” he wrote.

On Friday, in agreeing to hear the case, Shelby County v. Holder, No. 12-96, the court indicated that it is prepared to provide an answer to the question it left open three years ago.

—————————–

The New York Times Editorial

A Supreme Test on the Right to Vote

Published: November 9, 2012

The Supreme Court decided on Friday to review Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which has been crucial in combating efforts to disenfranchise minority voters. The justices should uphold the validity of the section, which requires nine states and parts of several others with deep histories of racial discrimination to get permission from the Justice Department or a federal court before making any changes to their voting rules.


The case, Shelby County v. Holder, was brought by an Alabama county, which contends that Section 5 intrudes unconstitutionally on the sovereign authority of states and that federal review of proposed voting changes, once needed to end legal segregation, is no longer required.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Just this year, Republican efforts to block the votes of minorities and the poor — which were rejected again and again by federal judges relying on the Voting Rights Act, including Section 5 — have made that utterly clear.

Judge John Bates of Federal District Court in the District of Columbia, rejected Shelby County’s challenge last year, noting that Congress, in renewing the section in 2006, found that “40 years has not been a sufficient amount of time to eliminate the vestiges of discrimination.”

In May, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld his ruling, saying that discrimination in voting is “one of the gravest evils that Congress can seek to redress” and that Congress’s painstaking research in its renewal of Section 5 (22 hearings and 15,000 pages of evidence) “deserves judicial deference.”

In another voting rights case in 2009, the Supreme Court said there were “serious constitutional questions” about whether Section 5 meets a current need. That comment left some legal experts with the impression that the court came close to striking down the provision. But the justices did not do so in that case, and they have even less reason to in this case. Overt discrimination clearly persists and remains pernicious in places like Shelby County.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 20th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Ending Its Summer Melt, Arctic Sea Ice Sets a New Low That Leads to Warnings.

By
Published by The New York Times on September 19, 2012

The drastic melting of Arctic sea ice has finally ended for the year, scientists announced Wednesday, but not before demolishing the previous record — and setting off new warnings about the rapid pace of change in the region.

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Green

A blog about energy and the environment.

NASA, via Reuters

A NASA image shows how the record-low Arctic sea ice extent compares with the average minimum extent over the past 30 years, in yellow.

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The apparent low point for 2012 was reached Sunday, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, which said that sea ice that day covered about 1.32 million square miles, or 24 percent, of the surface of the Arctic Ocean. The previous low, set in 2007, was 29 percent.

When satellite tracking began in the late 1970s, sea ice at its lowest point in the summer typically covered about half the Arctic Ocean, but it has been declining in fits and starts over the decades.

“The Arctic is the earth’s air-conditioner,” said Walt Meier, a research scientist at the snow and ice center, an agency sponsored by the government. “We’re losing that. It’s not just that polar bears might go extinct, or that native communities might have to adapt, which we’re already seeing — there are larger climate effects.”

His agency waited a few days before announcing the low to be sure sea ice had started to refreeze, as it usually does at this time of year, when winter closes in rapidly in the high Arctic. A shell of ice will cover much of the Arctic Ocean in coming months, but it is likely to be thin and prone to melting when summer returns.

Scientists consider the rapid warming of the region to be a consequence of the human release of greenhouse gases, and they see the melting as an early warning of big changes to come in the rest of the world.

Some of them also think the collapse of Arctic sea ice has already started to alter atmospheric patterns in the Northern Hemisphere, contributing to greater extremes of weather in the United States and other countries, but that case is not considered proven.

The sea ice is declining much faster than had been predicted in the last big United Nations report on the state of the climate, published in 2007. The most sophisticated computer analyses for that report suggested that the ice would not disappear before the middle of this century, if then.

Now, some scientists think the Arctic Ocean could be largely free of summer ice as soon as 2020. But governments have not responded to the change with any greater urgency about limiting greenhouse emissions. To the contrary, their main response has been to plan for exploitation of newly accessible minerals in the Arctic, including drilling for more oil.

Scientists said Wednesday that the Arctic has become a prime example of the built-in conservatism of their climate forecasts. As dire as their warnings about the long-term consequences of heat-trapping emissions have been, many of them fear they may still be underestimating the speed and severity of the impending changes.

In a panel discussion on Wednesday in New York sponsored by Greenpeace, the environmental group, James E. Hansen, a prominent NASA climate scientist, said the Arctic melting should serve as a warning to the public of the risks that society is running by failing to limit emissions.

“The scientific community realizes that we have a planetary emergency,” Dr. Hansen said. “It’s hard for the public to recognize this because they stick their head out the window and don’t see that much going on.”

A prime concern is the potential for a large rise in the level of the world’s oceans. The decline of Arctic sea ice does not contribute directly to that problem, since the ice is already floating and therefore displacing its weight in water.

But the disappearance of summer ice cover replaces a white, reflective surface with a much darker ocean surface, allowing the region to trap more of the sun’s heat, which in turn melts more ice. The extra heat in the ocean appears to be contributing to an accelerating melt of the nearby Greenland ice sheet, which does contribute to the rise in sea level.

At one point this summer, surface melt was occurring across 97 percent of the Greenland ice sheet, a development not seen before in the era of satellite measurements, although geological research suggests that it has happened in the past.

The sea is now rising at a rate of about a foot per century, but scientists like Dr. Hansen expect this rate to increase as the planet warms, putting coastal settlements at risk.

A scientist at the snow and ice center, Julienne C. Stroeve, took a ride on a Greenpeace ship recently to inspect the Arctic Ocean for herself. Interviewed this week after pulling into port at the island of Spitsbergen, she said one of her goals had been to debark on ice floes and measure them, but that it had been difficult to find any large enough to support her weight.

Ice floes were numerous in spots, she said, but “when we got further into the ice pack, there were just large expanses of open water.”

A version of this article appeared in print on September 20, 2012, on page A8 of the New York edition with the headline: Ending Its Summer Melt, Arctic Sea Ice Sets a New Low That Leads to Warnings.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 17th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Dear Pincas,

It’s been an amazing fight. And, thanks to your efforts, oil companies have abandoned drilling for oil in America’s Arctic Ocean – at least until next year.

Shell Oil announced today that it is drastically scaling back its oil drilling operation this year in the Arctic, focusing instead on preparations for next year’s drilling season. This move happened after its oil spill containment dome suffered damage during sea trials which occurred off the comparatively mild coast of Washington and not in the extreme, sea ice conditions of the Arctic.

As predicted, Shell’s untested, unproven cleanup and safety equipment failed – even outside of the Arctic’s extreme conditions.

Our partners in the Arctic are ready to fight another day, and truly appreciate all that your letters, calls, commitment and dedication have accomplished.  So please, take a moment to picture that beautiful, endless, pristine Arctic, and the wildlife and people that depend on it, and let out your own whoop of joy for a job well done.

We will continue to fight corporate giants like Shell Oil who remain intent to despoil the few natural treasures we have left. Soon, I will ask you once again to raise your voice in solidarity with our Inupiat allies on America’s Arctic coast, as we continue our multifaceted, far-reaching effort to keep the Arctic healthy and whole for future generations. And I will ask you to continue to fight until Arctic conservation eclipses any and all Arctic development.

But right now, I’m writing to ask you to join me in celebrating – we could only have accomplished this together. Thank you for making this moment possible and for reminding the corporate goliaths like Shell that the Arctic belongs to all of us.

Together for our Arctic future,

Cindy Shogan

Alaska Wilderness League

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 20th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

First Chinese ship crosses Arctic Ocean amid record melt.

First Chinese ship crosses Arctic Ocean amid record melt Photo: China Daily
A general view shows Chinese ice breaker ship ”Xuelong”, also called ”Snow Dragon”, docking at Tianjin November 3, 2011.
Photo: China Daily

An icebreaker has become the first ship from China to cross the Arctic Ocean, underscoring Beijing’s growing interest in a remote region where a record thaw caused by climate change may open new trade routes.

The voyage highlights how China, the world’s no.2 economy, is extending its reach to the Arctic which is rich in oil and gas and is a potential commercial shipping route between the north Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

The icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, arrived in Iceland this week after sailing the Northern Route along the coast of Russia.

Expedition leader Huigen Yang, head of the Polar Research Institute of China, said he had expected a lot more ice along the route at this time of year than the vessel encountered.

“To our astonishment … most part of the Northern Sea Route is open,” he told Reuters TV. The icebreaker would return to China by a route closer to the North Pole.

He said that Beijing was interested in the “monumental change” in the polar environment caused by global warming.

Sea ice floating on the Arctic Ocean is on track to beat a record low set in 2007, making the region more accessible but threatening the hunting lifestyles of indigenous peoples and wildlife such as polar bears and seals.

The thaw is slowly opening up the Arctic as a short-cut route – the German-based Beluga Group, for instance, sent a cargo vessel north from Korea to Rotterdam in 2009.

RECORD THAW

“The (Chinese) journey indicates a growing interest in the melting of the ice in the northern regions and how climate change is affecting the globe and the future of all nations,” the office of Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson said.

Arctic sea ice extent on August 13 fell to 5.09 million square km (1.97 million square miles) – an area smaller than Brazil, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Sea ice reaches its smallest in September before expanding again as winter approaches. China has overtaken the United States as the top greenhouse gas emitter, mainly from burning fossil fuels, ahead of the European Union, India and Russia.

“China’s interest is a mix of business, science and geo-politics,” said Jan Gunnar Winther, director of the Norwegian Polar Institute.

For countries outside the region like China, there may be more opportunities to supply equipment to aid drilling, he said. South Korea’s Hyundai, for instance, is building a floating production unit for the Goliat oilfield in Norway’s Barents Sea.

Winther said that research into climate change in the Arctic was also relevant to China’s understanding of weather patterns that could affect its farmers.

China has applied to become an observer at the Arctic Council, made up of the United States, Russia, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.

“The application will be handled in May next year,” said Nina Buvang Vaaja, head of the Arctic Council Secretariat.

Other applicants seeking to join the Council, which oversees management of the region, are Japan, South Korea, the European Union Commission and Italy. Germany, Britain, France, Poland, Spain and the Netherlands are already observers.

Date: 18-Aug-2012 - Reporting By Alister Doyle – Reuters.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 8th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Circumpolar Leaders Gather For Arctic Imperative Summit

Summit Convenes Decision-Makers on Infrastructure Investment, Natural Resources, Policy and Security During Time of Rapid Arctic Change.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Aug. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire

— Rapid change in the Arctic due to melting sea ice brings new opportunities and challenges.

To address the complex Arctic agenda, an influential mix of international, U.S. and local leaders will convene at the second Arctic Imperative Summit, August 24–27, 2012, in Anchorage and Girdwood, Alaska.

MISSION:

Sharpening the world’s focus on the short-term opportunities and long-term challenges of Arctic development, the Summit features a multidisciplinary group of experts. By engaging with decision-makers from all sectors, Arctic leaders will be in a stronger position to influence responsible development decisions on their shores.

PROGRAM EXCERPT:

- Plenary sessions on infrastructure needs and investment opportunities in the U.S. Arctic, including a proposed Bering Sea port authority to manage traffic growth;

- Panel discussions on shipping and transportation developments, moderated by industry experts;

- Keynote speeches from military leaders on Arctic sovereignty and security;

- Perspectives and observations from indigenous residents, including “The Eskimo and the Oil Man,” a conversation with author Bob Reiss andEdward Itta, former mayor, North Slope Borough, Alaska;

- Panel discussions on sustainable development, governance and the race for resources;

- Instructive case studies, such as the recent Renda fuel delivery to Nome;

- A screening of “Project Chariot,” a documentary on the U.S. government’s ill-fated plan to use a nuclear bomb to create a deep-water Arctic port inAlaska; and much more.

The Summit schedule can be found here: bit.ly/NAhY5u. A detailed agenda will be released prior to the event.

FEATURED SPEAKERS:

The Honorable James A. Baker III, Former U.S. Secretary of State

The Honorable Mark Begich, U.S. Senator, State of Alaska

Charles K. Ebinger, Director, Energy Security Initiative, Brookings

The Honorable Olafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland

The Honorable David J. Hayes, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior

General Charles H. Jacoby Jr., Commander, U.S. Northern Command

Marilyn Heiman, Director, U.S. Arctic Program, Pew Environment Group

The Honorable Edward Itta, Former Mayor, North Slope Borough, Alaska

Chris Matthews, Host, “Hardball with Chris Matthews” and “The Chris Matthews Show”

Scott Minerd, Chief Investment Officer, Guggenheim Partners

The Honorable Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Senator, State of Alaska

General Walter Natynczyk, Chief of the Defense Staff, Canadian Forces

Thomas R. Nides, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, U.S. Department of State

General Joseph W. Ralston, Vice Chairman, The Cohen Group

David M. Rubenstein, Co-founder, The Carlyle Group

The Honorable Mead Treadwell, Lieutenant Governor, State of Alaska

Felix H. Tschudi, Chairman and Owner, Tschudi Group

The Honorable Fran Ulmer, Chair, U.S. Arctic Research Commission

A comprehensive list of speakers can be found here: bit.ly/LXTc2g.

“The rapid changing of the Arctic environment demands responsible and sustainable development,” says Alice Rogoff, founder of the Arctic Imperative Summit. “Solutions to the complex needs of this region will only be reached if all stakeholders, including its residents, are at the table.”

REGISTRATION:

Summit registration is available online at bit.ly/Lt6ihQ. Please contact Nolan Frame at arcticimperative@shworldwide.comwith questions.

MEDIA:

Media with relevant assignments will be granted access to the Summit at no charge and may register online at bit.ly/Lt6ihQ. Gallery seating will be provided in the back of the meeting facilities to watch the Summit live. A media room will also be provided on-site. Boxed meals will be provided, along with access to receptions and dinners. Please contact Tim Fitzpatrick at fitzpidgeon@gmail.com for assistance in coordinating on-site interviews or with general media queries.

ONLINE ACCESS:

Following the summit, presentations can be accessed on the event’s Vimeo page at bit.ly/LXY0oj.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Please follow us on Twitter at @ArcticSummit, hashtag #AIS2012, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/arcticimperativesummit for Arctic news and Summit highlights.

SPONSORSHIP:

The Summit offers an excellent opportunity for your organization to enhance its profile among Arctic decision-makers. For further details on remaining promotional packages, contact Jenny Gilman at jenny@alaskadispatch.com.

THE ARCTIC WIRE:

Read in-depth coverage on news and politics across the circumpolar North on The Arctic Wire.

ABOUT THE ARCTIC IMPERATIVE:

The Arctic Imperative is an independent nonpartisan organization founded by Alice Rogoff, publisher of AlaskaDispatch.com. The mission of the Summit is to sharpen the world’s focus on the policy and investment needs of the Arctic and provide a platform for local, state, national and international leaders to make measured Arctic development decisions.

CONTACTS:

Toll-Free Information:
800-718-6528
info@arcticimperative.com

Registration:
Nolan Frame
800-718-6528

arcticimperative@shworldwide.com


PR Newswire (s.tt/1kkvx)

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 2nd, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

U.S. LNG Exports – The Wave of the Future?


The pace of using the hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) technology in the United States has led to surges in natural gas supplies and lower natural gas prices (although prices have climbed slightly during these summer months due to the extreme heat wave washing over the Midwest and Eastern regions of the United States). As a result, a number of current U.S. LNG import terminals are seeking to convert to LNG export terminals. The Federal Energy RegulatoryCommission

(FERC) in its role as the siting agency approved the construction of the first LNG export facility in April, Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass in Louisiana, at an estimated price tag of $5 billion. To date, there are eight additional applications pending before the Department of Energy (DOE) which has authority over exports of natural gas. DOE permits are required for U.S. companies to sell to non-FTA (Free Trade Agreement) countries, which include Japan and Spain.

However, there is a snag in the progress of DOE’s approval process of the eight applications. DOE has suspended its review of them, pending a second-part study assessing the broader economic effects of increased natural gas exports on domestic energy consumption, production and prices.

The assessments were initiated after complaints from several U.S. lawmakers, including U.S. Representative Edward Markey (D-MA), the ranking Minority Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, and U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), the second ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. They are concerned that exporting LNG to foreign markets may result in negative economic and environmental consequences. Markey has introduced two measures to prohibit LNG exports. Conversely, proponents such as House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), argue that this evolution will beneficially result in the United States becoming a global energy supplier. Issa has initiated a series of hearings on the topic.

Because U.S. natural gas is plentiful today and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future, it is estimated that the eight pending U.S. LNG export projects, if approved, could provide a total of 120 million metric tons of gas per year, compared to the world LNG leader Qatar’s production capacity of 77 million metric tons / year.

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New Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline And LNG Project






Of great interest to Mogel & Sweet is the announced joint venture project by ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and BP to commercialize the 35 trillion cubic feet of discovered natural gas in the North Slope of Alaska. The project would differ from the ExxonMobil/TransCanada proposal (pending at FERC) to build a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope southward and then east to

Calgary. In contrast, the joint venture project would employ a pipeline to bring natural gas southwest to central Alaska for instate consumption, with additional volumes to be transported to a tidewater location to be liquefied, and exported as LNG to Asia.

In a press release, the Companies stated:

As a result of the rapidly evolving global market, large-scale … LNG exports… will be assessed as an alternative to gas line exports through Alberta [Canada]. In addition to broadening market access, a south-central Alaska LNG approach could more closely align with in-state energy demands and needs.

As the three sponsors recognized, “commercializing Alaska natural gas resources will not be easy.” This is especially so given today’s low natural gas prices. Finally, it is not clear how the proposal will fit within the AGIA statutory framework (on which Bill Mogel testified before the Alaska Legislature as its counsel) that selected the TransCanada pipeline as the preferred project to transport North Slope volumes.

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David Sweet of MOGEL & SWEET, Washington DC Energy Consultants – Energy Regulation,  Government Relations,  Trade Associations*, Communications, Presents at Global Gas Field Development Summit 2012 at Doha, Qatar.


Doha – Qatar: The recently concluded Global Gas Field Development Summit 2012 in Doha, Qatar was successful with delegates and speakers participating from across the globe. The conference opened with remarks from David Sweet, who discussed various topics including the legal and regulatory perspectives in developing a shale gas field.

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

MOGEL & SWEET

1513 16th Street NW,
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: +1 202 667 5600
Fax: +1 202 315 3719
Email: info@mogelsweet.com
www.mogelsweet.com

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 10th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

A Russian tanker is slogging through sea ice behind a Coast Guard icebreaker, trying to bring 1.3 million gallons of emergency gasoline and diesel to remote Alaska.

The New York Times
January 10, 2012
The New York Times

The Renda and the Healy are about 140 miles south of Nome.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Lally/U.S. Coast Guard, via Associated Press

The Healy, left, a Coast Guard icebreaker, carves a path in the frozen Bering Sea for the Renda, a Russian tanker carrying 1.3 million gallons of emergency gasoline and diesel for Alaska. Shipping delays and a major storm prevented Nome’s winter supply of fuel from arriving in early fall.

A New Race of Mercy to Nome, This Time Without Sled Dogs.

By Published via New York Times on-line January 9, 2012.

www.nytimes.com/2012/01/10/us/icebreaker-slowly-carves-path-for-tanker-to-bring-emergency-fuel-to-alaska.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha23

NOME, Alaska — In the winter of 1925, long after this Gold Rush boomtown on the Bering Sea had gone bust, diphtheria swept through its population of 1,400. Medicine ran dangerously low, and there was no easy way to get more. No roads led here, flight was ruled out and Norton Sound was frozen solid.

Parents still read books to their children about what happened next: Balto, Togo, Fritz and dozens more sled dogs sprinted through subzero temperatures across 674 miles of sea ice and tundra in what became known as the Great Race of Mercy. The medicine made it, Nome was saved and the Siberian huskies became American heroes.

Eighty-seven years later, Nome is again locked in a dark and frigid winter — a record cold spell has pushed temperatures to minus 40 degrees, cracked hotel pipes and even reduced turnout at the Mighty Musk Oxen’s pickup hockey games. And now another historic rescue effort is under way across the frozen sea.

Yet while the dogs needed only five and a half days, Renda the Russian tanker has been en route for nearly a month — and it is unclear whether she will ever arrive. The tanker is slogging through sea ice behind a Coast Guard icebreaker, trying to bring not medicine but another commodity increasingly precious in remote parts of Alaska: fuel, 1.3 million gallons of emergency gasoline and diesel to heat snow-cloaked homes and power the growing number of trucks, sport utility vehicles and snow machines that have long since replaced dogsleds.

For the moment, this latest tale appears less likely to produce a warm children’s book than an embarrassing memo, and maybe a few lawsuits, about how it all could have been avoided.

“People need to get fired over this,” said David Tunley, one of the few Musk Oxen at the outdoor rink on an evening when the temperature was minus 23. “The litigation of whose fault it is will probably go on forever.”

How Nome ended up short on fuel this winter is a complicated issue unto itself, but trying to get the Renda here to help has become a sub-Arctic odyssey — and perhaps a clunky practice run for a future in which climate change and commercial interests make shipping through Arctic routes more common.

“There is a lot of good knowledge that is coming out of this,” said Rear Adm. Thomas P. Ostebo, the officer in charge of the Coast Guard in Alaska.

The learning curve has been steep. Since leaving Vladivostok, Russia, on Dec. 17, the 370-foot Renda has encountered a fuel mix-up in South Korea and storms that prevented it from going to Japan; it has received a waiver of the Jones Act in the United States (to allow the foreign vessel to finally pick up gasoline in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, before transporting it to Nome) and broad support for its mission from Alaska’s Congressional delegation; it has been joined by the Coast Guard’s only operative icebreaker built for the Arctic, the Healy. It has had to alter its route to avoid the world’s most substantial population of a federally protected sea duck called the spectacled eider.

As of Monday, the Renda and the Healy were about 140 miles south of Nome, having made little progress from the night before. Wind, current and the brutal cold are causing complications with breaking what is known as first-year ice — the kind that forms each winter and melts in the summer as opposed to lasting year-round. As soon as the Healy breaks open a channel, ice closes in behind it, squeezing the Renda.

The Coast Guard has been among the most vocal government agencies in asking for more money and better equipment to deal with increased commercial activity in the Arctic and sub-Arctic. Admiral Ostebo said the Healy, a medium-duty icebreaker, was fully capable of making the trip to Nome but that using a heavy-duty polar icebreaker — the Coast Guard owns two: one is retired, the other under repair until at least 2014 — might have made a difference.

He said the Coast Guard had thought that having the Healy lead the Renda would have been easier, “but it turns out that the pressure that ice is under quite frankly makes it hard to move through for the Renda.” He said these were “conditions I think we’re going to see a lot in the future.”

If the Renda reaches Nome, it would be making the first maritime fuel delivery through sea ice in Alaska history. The effort comes as many interested parties are anticipating business that could develop as Shell plans to conduct new exploratory offshore oil drilling just north of here as early as this summer.

“These are not cowboys out here trying to do crazy things,” said Mark Smith, the chief executive of Vitus Marine, the Alaska company that proposed using the Renda to representatives for Nome. “All of the stakeholders involved in this mission look at it as a learning experience as they consider further development.”

Nome usually receives its winter supply of fuel in early fall, before ice hardens over the Bering. But last fall, multiple shipping delays and then a major storm prevented the fall shipment from arriving. Many people here blame Bonanza Fuel, one of two local companies that barge in fuel and the one that failed to ensure its fall delivery made it. But the fuel company’s owner blamed the barge company for delaying shipments.

“Certainly we’ll evaluate how this situation came together,” said Jason Evans, the chairman of the Sitnasuak Native Corporation, which owns Bonanza, “so that we’re not put in this situation and the community of Nome’s not put in this situation again.”

Officials say Nome could run out of heating oil by March. A normal fuel barge cannot make the trip until ice melts in June or July.

Dogs still pull sleds to Nome, in the annual Iditarod race each March, but there are still no roads here from outside. There are, however, more modern means of transportation. Mr. Evans said Nome could resort to flying in fuel through hundreds of small shipments but that shipping costs alone would be more than $3 per gallon. Fuel here already approaches $6. Conservation can only go so far.

“You have to heat your home when it’s 36 below,” he said.

The effort has prompted observers far and wide to comment on what it all means as the United States tries to figure out how to navigate the increasingly important Arctic. One question not to ask here: Regardless of how it came to this, is tiny Nome worth all the effort?

“Why should we be treated any differently than the Lower 48?” said Mayor Denise L. Michels, noting that the Coast Guard also escorts commercial shipments through ice and difficult conditions in the Great Lakes and off the East Coast. “We keep saying that we are an Arctic nation.”

A version of this article appeared in print on January 10, 2012, on page A10 of the New York edition with the headline: Race of Mercy To Icy Nome, But This Time No Sled Dogs.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 6th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From:

Steve Emmett-Mattox

Restore America’s Estuaries
6th National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration
October 20-24, 2012, Tampa, Florida,, Tampa, Florida, USA

Call for Proposals – Dedicated Sessions, Presentations, and Posters
Proposal Deadline: February 1, 2012

View the call for proposals at program.estuaries.org/RAE%202012%20Conf%20Call%20for%20Proposals.pdf

In Spanish at estuaries.org/images/Spanish_CFP_12-8-11.pdf

Submit your proposal for the 6th National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration at program.estuaries.org.

The Conference will be a dynamic and exciting opportunity for you to share your successes and lessons learned in all realms of coastal habitat restoration, and learn from others. A major focus of the Conference is the intersection between healthy coastal ecosystems and climate change – impacts, adaptation, and mitigation.

The overarching theme of “Restoring Ecosystems, Strengthening Communities” highlights the interwoven nature of coastal ecosystems and the communities that rely on them. Within this theme, we are seeking proposals for sessions, presentations, and posters that relate to one or more of the following topics:
•Climate change and its impacts on coasts and estuaries
•Climate change adaptation strategies and implementation in coasts and estuaries
•Integrating climate change considerations into restoration planning and practice
•Advances in science and policy in coastal and estuarine “Blue Carbon” sequestration
•The intersection of habitat restoration and community; how one strengthens the other
•The “how-to” of restoration–the basic tenets, techniques, and efforts associated with implementing on-the-ground habitat restoration
•Integrating restoration science, technology, and planning
•Large-scale coastal and estuarine habitat restoration
•The roles of policy and funding in coastal and estuarine habitat restoration

Additional topics for consideration include:
•”Green” job growth and career development through habitat restoration
•Recovery and restoration in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
•Effective advocacy for restoration at federal, state, and local levels
•Recent regulatory and legal changes and their impact on coastal restoration
•Use of mitigation and “penalty projects” to support restoration
•Low-impact development: implementation to benefit coastal habitats

STUDENTS:
Students are particularly encouraged to participate. All students taking part in the program will be entered into the student poster or student presentation contests, for which cash prizes will be awarded. Please note that students qualify for special discount rates. Limited numbers of scholarships will also be available for students with financial needs.

MORE INFORMATION:
www.estuaries.org/conference

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 7th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

-

October 7, 2011, Atonement Day Eve – The 99% SILENT Public – Albeit still on the OP-ED or “ROOM for DEBATE” Pages.

New York Times OPINION PAGE - 

ROOM FOR DEBATE

Is It Effective to Occupy Wall Street?

The protesters are getting more attention and expanding outside New York. What are they doing right, and what are they missing?

———————————–

New York Times OP-ED COLUMNIST

Confronting the Malefactors

By PAUL KRUGMAN

Occupy Wall Street is starting to look like an important event that might even eventually be seen as a turning point.

——————————–

Watching Washington the HOME NEWS are:

“To allay the concerns of Senate Democrats, Mr. Obama said that he could support their proposal to pay for the jobs plan by imposing a 5.6 percent surtax on individual taxpayers’ income above $1 million. A number of Senate Democrats had objected to Mr. Obama’s proposals to offset the cost of his plan by limiting tax deductions, including for charitable contributions, that could be taken by individuals making more than $200,000 and couples making more than $250,000. And oil-state Democrats opposed his plans to increase oil companies’ taxes.

Even as Mr. Obama took reporters’ questions, Speaker John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, rebuked him for his more confrontational tack. “Nothing has disappointed me more than what’s happened over the last five weeks, to watch the president of the United States give up on governing, give up on leading and spend full-time campaigning,” Mr. Boehner said during a public forum in Washington.

Mr. Obama, when asked by a reporter whether he should be talking to Congressional Republicans rather than traveling the country like a presidential candidate, responded that he had tried repeatedly to compromise with Republicans. His efforts, he said, were “sometimes to my own political peril and to the frustration of Democrats,” and Republicans rebuffed him even when he offered ideas, like business tax cuts, that Republicans had proposed in the past.”

“What I’ve done over the last several weeks is to take the case to the American people so that they understand what’s at stake,” he said. “It is now up to all the senators, and hopefully all the members of the House, to explain to their constituencies why they would be opposed to common-sense ideas that historically have been supported by Democrats and Republicans in the past,” Mr. Obama said.


THAT IS STILL THE NORM OF HOME PAGES NEWS REPORTING  — AS GOOD AS IT GETS  -

Making Case for Jobs Bill, Obama Cites Europe’s Woes.

 Why look at the woes of Europe when there is plenty to see in the US itself?
PLEASE CHECK OUT THOSE OIL INDUSTRY ELECTED RESIDENTS OF US CONGRESS!

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

NOW THIS! From - www.alternet.org  New York spread Liberty to Washington DC:

Protesters began their occupation of Freedom Plaza, WASHINGTON D.C.,  on October 6 — and they plan on staying as long as it takes.

The Occupy Freedom Plaza protest in Washington DC kicked off on Thursday, October 6. The protesters were a diverse crowd; young and old, men and women, the jobless and the employed, all in solidarity with one another and those occupying cities across the country in protest of the corporate greed that has destroyed the lives of so many Americans.

Cancer survivor Carrie Stone said that over the course of nine days, she traveled from Wallace, West Virginia to Washington, DC by foot. The 56-year-old grandmother plans to stay in DC indefinitely, saying, “If I can do it, anyone can.”


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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 29th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Nominations open for the 2011 Martha T. Muse Prize – Last date 1st May 2011.

The “Martha T. Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica” is a US$ 100,000 unrestricted award presented to an individual in the fields of Antarctic science or policy that has demonstrated potential for sustained and significant contributions that will enhance the understanding and/or preservation of Antarctica. The Tinker Foundation’s goal is to establish a prestigious award that recognizes excellence in Antarctic research by honoring someone in the early to mid-stages of their career. The Prize is inspired by Martha T. Muse’s passion for Antarctica and is intended to be a legacy of the International Polar Year 2007-2008.

The prize-winner can be from any country and work in ANY field of Antarctic science or policy, including Climate change, Life Sciences, Geo Sciences, Physical Sciences, Antarctic Politics. The goal is to provide recognition of the important work being done by the individual and to call attention to the significance of understanding Antarctica in a time of change. The Prize is awarded by the Tinker Foundation  and administered by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR).

Please visit www.museprize.org for further details. Online nominations will close on the May 1st, 2011.

—————————————–
Dr Renuka Badhe
Administrator, Martha Muse Prize
and Executive Officer, SCAR Secretariat
Scott Polar Research Institute
Lensfield Road
Cambridge CB2 1ER
United Kingdom

E-mail: rb302@cam.ac.uk
Skype:  renukabadhe
Web:    www.scar.org
—————————————–

The original posting said:

The Tinker Foundation’s goal is to establish a prestigious award that recognizes excellence in Antarctic research by honoring someone in the early to mid-stages of their career.

The Prize is inspired by Martha T. Muse’s passion for Antarctica and is intended to be a legacy of the activities following the International Polar Year 2007-2008. Martha T. Muse is active with the New York Explorers Club and besides the normal interest of the Club in feats of heroism by exploration of nature, Martha tried to lead the Club also in a direction of review of the human impact on nature, and we wrote about her in our past articles - this including the effects of human induced climate change.
We hope that the Tinker Foundation has also picked up on this angle of Martha´s musing and we strogly recommend to our readers to apply for these grants. (this is a comment from the editor of SustainabiliTank.info)

The prize-winner can be from any country and work in ANY field of Antarctic science or policy, including Climate change, Life Sciences including biodiversity and its management, Geo Sciences, Physical Sciences, Antarctic Politics. The goal is to provide recognition of the important work being done by the individual and to call attention to the significance of understanding Antarctica in a time of change. The Prize is awarded by the Tinker Foundation  and administered by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR).

Please visit www.museprize.org for further details. Online nominations will close on the May 1st, 2011.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 28th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

WASHINGTON—Saying the nation must face the “grave realities” of its mounting debt, President Barack Obama unveiled a deficit-reduction plan Wednesday that included far-reaching spending cuts, pulling off a daring robbery of the heavily fortified Fort Knox bullion deposi-tory, and repealing Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy.

In a televised address, Obama outlined his proposal to eliminate $4 trillion from the federal deficit over the next 12 years, and expressed his vision for a future in which the government was leaner, more efficient, and had billions and billions of dollars worth of stolen gold stashed in D.C.-area safe-deposit boxes.

“We cannot continue to live beyond our means,” the president said. “Unless we want to cripple our grandchildren with this debt burden, we must act now by eliminating tax loopholes and pulling off what all Americans—Republicans and Democrats alike—can agree is the greatest heist of all time.”

“It’s time to stop kicking the can down the road to future generations,” Obama added. “We must empty that vault and ensure our country’s full economic recovery.”

According to a fact sheet issued by the White House, the proposed measures include slashing farm subsidies, cutting federal pension insurance, tricking Fort Knox security personnel into thinking that the president and five others are ordinary elevator repairmen, capping Medicaid’s outlays on equipment, shaping C4 charges to blast 21-inch-thick vault doors off their hinges, and curbing discretionary spending.

In spite of the admittedly “formidable” challenges that his plan faced, Obama insisted that “the time for action is now,” noting that last week the price of gold rose above $1,500 an ounce for the first time ever.

“Reining in the runaway growth of entitlement programs and the defense budget will not be easy,” Obama said. “And neither will silently ferrying 5,000 tons of bullion through a network of ventilation ducts. But just trust me on this; I’ve got the blueprints and I think I found a way out through a drainage pipe.”

According to Obama’s senior adviser David Plouffe, the president’s plan will assure the nation’s long-term solvency while also producing immediate tangible benefits, including, but not limited to, a gigantic pile of gold.

“The president looked at every conceivable option,” said Plouffe, who is expected to externally coordinate the six-man Fort Knox team from a van outfitted with multiple video screens. “He considered trimming the federal workforce, scaling back welfare payments, taking out a $4 trillion fire insurance policy on the Pentagon and burning it to the ground, even raising the retirement age—everything was on the table.”

“Ultimately, the president selected measures that will have a minimal impact on the middle class,” Plouffe continued. “Indeed, his plan places an added burden only on those who either earn more than $250,000 annually or house 368,000 bars of pure gold. Most Americans won’t be affected at all.”

Republican leaders were quick to unleash a barrage of criticism, blasting the administration’s proposal for its “unacceptable” reliance on tax increases and grand larceny, and accusing Obama of offering few concrete details in his speech.

“The president conveniently avoided any specifics on his Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board and his getaway plan,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said. “And his speech contained not one mention of those laser-beam motion detectors that you can’t even see unless you have an aerosol spray that makes them visible. What about those, Mr. President?”

In a party-line vote earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed Rep. Ryan’s rival plan, which includes across-the-board tax cuts, tunneling under the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, sending an electrical surge through its security system, and stealing the engraving plates so that “we can print off as much money as we want.”

——————————————–

NEWS IN PHOTO:

The Onion – April 27, 2011

Trump Unable To Produce Certificate Proving He’s Not A Festering Pile Of Shit.  He sent investigators to Hawaii to search if President Obama was born there – and this was not an Onion invention!

———————–

The SustainabiliTank comment:

THE REAL EMBARRASSMENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS IN THE FACT THAT THE TEA PARTY REPUBLICANS PUSH AWAY THE PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS FROM DEALING WITH THE REAL PROBLEMS BY FABRICATING ISSUES LIKE THE BIRTHING OF THE PRESIDENT!
 

April 27, 2011, THE NEW YORK TIMES Opinion Pages

EDITORIAL

A Certificate of Embarrassment

With sardonic resignation, President Obama, an eminently rational man, stared directly into political irrationality on Wednesday and released his birth certificate to history. More than halfway through his term, the president felt obliged to prove that he was a legitimate occupant of the Oval Office. It was a profoundly low and debasing moment in American political life.

The disbelief fairly dripped from Mr. Obama as he stood at the West Wing lectern. People are out of work, American soldiers are dying overseas and here were cameras to record him stating that he was born in a Hawaii hospital. It was particularly galling to us that it was in answer to a baseless attack with heavy racial undertones.

Mr. Obama practically begged the public to set aside these distractions, expressing hope that his gesture would end the “silliness” and allow a national debate about budget priorities. It won’t, of course.

If there was ever any doubt about Mr. Obama’s citizenship, which there was not, the issue was settled years ago when Hawaii released his birth certificate. The fuller document that Mr. Obama had to request contains some extra information, including his parents’ signatures and the name of the hospital where he was born, but it was unnecessary to show his legitimacy.

So it will not quiet the most avid attackers. Several quickly questioned its authenticity. That’s because the birther question was never really about citizenship; it was simply a proxy for those who never accepted the president’s legitimacy, for a toxic mix of reasons involving ideology, deep political anger and, most insidious of all, race. It was originally promulgated by fringe figures of the radical right, but mainstream Republican leaders allowed it to simmer to satisfy those who are inflamed by Mr. Obama’s presence in the White House.

Sarah Palin said the birth certificate issue was “fair game,” and the public was “rightfully” making it an issue. The House speaker, John Boehner, grudgingly said in February that he would take Mr. Obama “at his word” that he was a citizen, a suggestion that the proof was insufficient. He said, however, that it was not his job to end the nonsensical attacks. “The American people have the right to think what they want to think,” he said at the time. That signal was clearly received. Lawmakers in nearly a dozen states introduced bills requiring presidential candidates to release their full birth certificates.

It is inconceivable that this campaign to portray Mr. Obama as the insidious “other” would have been conducted against a white president.

There was a price to the party for keeping the issue alive; inevitably, it was picked up by a cartoon candidate, Donald Trump, who rode birtherism directly to the prime-time promontories of cable TV. The Republican establishment began to wince as it became increasingly tied to Mr. Trump’s flirtations with racial provocation, and Karl Rove told him to knock it off. Naturally, he did not.

Finally, his taunting and the questions of television correspondents obliging Mr. Trump got on the president’s nerves. Mr. Obama was tactically smart to release the certificate and marginalize those who continue to keep the matter alive. It is tragic that American politics is fueled by such poisonous fire. Mr. Trump quickly moved on to a new fixation, questioning Mr. Obama’s academic credentials. Mr. Boehner, and other party leaders, have a new reason to call a halt to the politics of paranoia and intolerance.

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