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

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

By Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post

20 October 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Yasmin Perez
Attachments1:18 PM (1 hour ago)

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

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

Thanks,
Yasmin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the NewClimate Institute

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

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

 newclimate.org | @newclimateinst

About The Climate Group:

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

 TheClimateGroup.org | @ClimateGroup

About Climate Week:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take that, Koch brothers.

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

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

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


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please see also:

 www.alternet.org/news-amp-politic…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 16th, 2017
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

30 May 2017
UN Secretary-General on Climate Action as delivered before NYU, the Stern School of Business.

I would like to thank everyone at New York University, and especially the Stern School of Business, for your warm welcome and your role in making today’s gathering possible.

Let me also thank all of you for being here to discuss the crucial challenge of climate change and how we must address it.

I can think of no better audience – this wonderful mix of scholars and scientists, students and activists, investors and entrepreneurs – the people who, together, are making climate action real.

And I can think of no better place to have this conversation than here at NYU and the Stern School, where you are dedicated to cultivating solutions and a new generation of leaders.

This notion of inter-generational responsibility is very much on my mind.

My grandfather was born in 1875. He could not have imagined the world we live in today.

Now I have three grand-daughters of my own – the oldest is eight. I cannot imagine the world they will inhabit decades from now, when they will be my age.

But not knowing is no excuse for not acting to ensure that we do not undermine their future.

I want my grandchildren to inherit a healthy world, free of conflict and suffering — and a healthy planet, rooted in low-carbon sustainable solutions.

That is my wish for everyone, everywhere. To get there, we have our work cut out for us.

Allow me to be blunt. The world is in a mess.

Countries and communities everywhere are facing pressures that are being exacerbated by megatrends – like population growth, rapid and many times chaotic urbanization, food insecurity, water scarcity, massive movements of population and migration… the list can go on and on.

But one overriding megatrend is far and away at the top of that list – climate change.

Climate change is a direct threat in itself and a multiplier of many other threats — from poverty to displacement to conflict.

The effects of climate change are already being felt around the world.

They are dangerous and they are accelerating.

And so my argument today is that it is absolutely essential that the world implements the Paris Agreement – and that we fulfil that duty with increased ambition.

The reason is three-fold:

Climate change is undeniable. Climate action is unstoppable. And climate solutions provide opportunities that are unmatchable.

Let’s start with the reality of climate change today.

The science is beyond doubt.

The world’s top scientists have been shouting it from the rooftops.

As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has put it and I quote: “Human influence on the climate system is clear. The more we disrupt our climate, the more we risk severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts.”

Dear friends,

If anything, that disruption is happening even faster than expected.

Last year was once again the hottest on record. The past decade has also been the hottest on record.

Every geo-physical system on which we depend is being affected, from mountains to oceans, from icecaps to forests, and across all the arable lands that provide our food.

Sea ice is at a historic low; sea levels are at a historic high, threatening the existence of low-lying island nations and cities.

The seas are also being affected by warmer temperatures, rapid acidification and coral bleaching, endangering the marine food chain on which so many livelihoods and economies depend.

On land, glaciers are retreating almost everywhere – a risk to the breadbaskets of the world as rivers fed by glaciers run dry.

Soon the famous snows of Kilimanjaro will exist only in stories.

Here in the United States, only 26 of Glacier National Park’s glaciers remain. When it was made a Park in 1910, there were around 150. I hope you will never have to rename it “no-Glacier National Park”!

Further north, we see an unfolding crisis of epic proportions.

The ice caps in the Arctic Ocean are shrinking dramatically. Some even predict that the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free by the summer of 2020.

That would be catastrophic for Arctic wildlife. It would be a death-blow to the ways of life of indigenous peoples. And it would be a disaster for the world.

Why?

Because ice reflects sunlight. Dark water much less. That means warming will accelerate.

Frozen tundra will thaw earlier and freeze later, releasing vast amounts of methane into the atmosphere.

Methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

This will mean more ice melting from the Greenland ice cap.

It could alter the Gulf Stream and affect food production, water security and weather patterns from Canada to India.

We are already seeing massive floods, more extreme tornadoes, failed monsoons and fiercer hurricanes and typhoons.

But slow-motion disasters are also speeding up.

Areas where drought once struck every decade are now seeing cycles of five or even two years between droughts. Moreover, dry spells are lasting longer, from California to the Sahel.

Dear friends,

The moral imperative for action is clear.

The people hit first and worst by climate change are the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalized.

Women and girls will suffer as they are always the most disproportionately affected by disasters.

The nations that will face the most profound consequences are the least responsible for climate change and the least equipped to deal with it.

Droughts and floods around the world mean poverty will worsen, famines will spread and people will die.

As regions become unliveable, more and more people will be forced to move from degraded lands to cities and to other nations.

We see this already across North Africa and the Middle East.

That is why there is also a compelling security case for climate action.

Around the world, military strategists view climate change as a threat to global peace and security.

We are all aware of the political turmoil and societal tensions that have been generated by the mass movement of refugees.

Imagine how many people are poised to become climate-displaced when their lands become unliveable.

Last year, more than 24 million people in 118 countries and territories were displaced by natural disasters.

That is three times as many as were displaced by conflict.

Climate change is also a menace to jobs, to property and to business.

With wildfires, floods and other extreme weather events becoming more common, the economic costs are soaring.

The insurance industry raised the alarm long ago. They have been joined by many others across the business community.

They know that the time has come for transformation.

Dear friends,

Climate action is gathering momentum not just because it is a necessity but also because it presents an opportunity – to forge a peaceful and sustainable future on a healthy planet.

This is why governments adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015, with a pledge to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees.

I applaud the immense efforts of my predecessor, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who brought the essential stakeholders to the table and helped forge this landmark Agreement.

It is worth taking a moment to step back and reflect on the unity that was forged in Paris.

It was a remarkable moment in the history of humankind.

The world came together for the first time to address this global challenge collectively. And it did so at a time of division in so many other areas.

There has been nothing like it in terms of enabling the global community to work on an issue together that none of us can solve on our own.

Today, it is increasingly understood that implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development goes hand-in-hand with limiting global temperature rise and increasing climate resilience.

As of today, 147 Parties representing more than 82 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions have ratified the Paris Agreement.

Every month, more countries are translating their Paris pledges into national climate action plans.

Yes, not everyone will move at the same pace or with equal vigour.

But if any government doubts the global will and need for this accord, that is reason for all others to unite even stronger and stay the course.

It is reason to build ever broader coalitions – with civil society and business, with cities and states, with academia and community leaders.

Indeed, all around the world, cities, regions, states and territories are setting their own ambitious targets.

Thousands of private corporations, including major oil and gas companies, are taking their own action.

They know that green business is good business.

It is not just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.

Some may seek to portray the response to climate change as a fundamental threat to the economy. Yet what we are witnessing in these early years of a systemic response is the opposite.

We are seeing new industries. New markets. Healthier environments. More jobs. Less dependency on global supply chains of fossil fuels.

The real danger is not the threat to one’s economy that comes from acting. It is, instead, the risk to one’s economy by failing to act.

The message is simple: The sustainability train has left the station. Get on board or get left behind.

Those who fail to bet on the green economy will be living in a grey future.

On the other hand, those who embrace green technologies will set the gold standard for economic leadership in the 21st century.

Last year, solar power grew 50 per cent, with China and the United States in the lead.

Around the world, over half of the new power generation capacity now comes from renewables. In Europe, the figure is more than 90 per cent.

The falling cost of renewables is one of the most encouraging stories on the planet today.

In the United States and China, new renewable energy jobs now outstrip those created in the oil and gas industries.

China aims to increase its renewable energy by about 40 per cent by 2020.

Major oil producers are also seeing the future and diversifying their economies. Even Saudi Arabia announced plans to install 700 megawatts of solar and wind power.

And industry experts predict India’s solar capacity will double this year to 18 gigawatts.

Boosting energy efficiency is also crucial – for reducing climate risk and for increasing profits.

The International Energy Agency has indicated that investing in energy efficiency could increase global economic output by $18 trillion dollars — more than the outputs of the United States, Canada and Mexico combined.

Future spending on energy infrastructure alone could total some $37 trillion dollars.

Now if that is the case, it is crucial for such massive investments to be sustainable and climate-friendly; otherwise, we will lock ourselves into bad practices for decades to come.

Given the facts about youth unemployment, air pollution and climate change, surely it is common sense to put our investments where they will generate the most savings, create the most jobs, deliver the biggest health dividends and have the most impact against global warming.

Surely that is why nearly two dozen of the world’s most successful business leaders, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists plan to invest in a fund called Breakthrough Energy Ventures, led by Bill Gates, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with clean energy technology.

It is why green bonds are starting to come in many different shades as the size of the market for securities designed to benefit the environment is on track to double again – from $93 billion dollars in 2016, to $206 [billion dollars] this year.

It is why 60 per cent of the world’s 500 largest asset owners are taking steps to recognize the financial risks associated with climate change.

And it is why more than 7,000 cities in the newly launched Global Covenant of Mayors have agreed to report their emissions and climate progress according to a standard set of tools that are more rigorous than those currently used by many countries.

Here I want to salute my Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He is showing great leadership in mobilizing mayors and cities to build the resilient and dynamic cities of the future.

Dear friends,

Science is speaking to us very clearly about what is happening. Innovation is showing us very clearly what can be done.

If we want to protect forests and life on land, safeguard our oceans, create massive economic opportunities, prevent even more massive losses and improve the health and well-being of people and the planet, we have one simple option staring us in the face: Climate action.

Today, I call on all leaders of government, business and civil society to back the most ambitious action on climate change for the benefit of this generation and generations to come.

As Secretary-General, I am committed to mobilize the world to meet this challenge.

I will do so in at least five concrete ways.

First, I will intensify high-level political engagement to raise the bar on climate action.

The Paris pledges are historic but still do not go nearly far enough to limit temperature rise to well below 2 degrees and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees.

Commitments so far could still see temperatures rise by 3 degrees or more.

So we must do our utmost to increase ambition and action until we can bend the emissions curve and slow down global warming.

Most immediately, I will also press for ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

Next week’s Ocean Conference at United Nations Headquarters is yet another opportunity to build momentum.

Second, I will rally the full capacity of the United Nations development system behind climate action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially at the country-level. Because that is where true change will be achieved.

As we support Member States, I will continue to emphasize the urgency of empowering the world’s women and girls. There can be no successful response to a changing climate without also changing mind-sets about the key role of women in tackling climate change and building the future we want.

Third, I will use the convening power of the United Nations to work with Governments and all major actors, such as the coal, oil and gas industries, to accelerate the necessary energy transition.

Eighty per cent of the world’s energy still comes from fossil fuels – oil, gas and coal. We cannot phase out fossil fuels overnight. We have to engage the energy industry and governments to use fossil fuels as cleanly, sparingly and responsibly as possible, while transforming our energy systems.

I will work with all actors to promote a global energy transition, the greening of investments in infrastructure and transport, and progress on carbon pricing.

More and more politicians, policy makers and business actors are calling for a carbon price as the green economy’s missing link.

Putting a price on carbon at a global scale could unleash innovation and provide the incentives that industries and consumers need to make sustainable choices.

Fourth, I will work with countries to mobilize national and international resources to support mitigation, adaptation, resilience and the implementation of their national climate action plans.

And I will focus on strengthening resilience of the small island states against the existential threat that climate change poses to them.

I will encourage developed countries to fulfil the pledges they have made to support developing countries – including for the Green Climate Fund.

As a matter of global solidarity, the international community must also help developing countries increase their capacity to generate their own resources and to gain access to capital markets. The international financial institutions have a key role to play to help deliver innovative financing that matches the enormous needs.

And fifth, I will encourage new and strengthened partnerships for implementing the Paris Agreement through North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation. We need to harness the enormous potential of these partnerships.

In all these areas, I will use every possible opportunity to persuade, prod and push for progress. I will count on the vital forces of civil society to do the same.

Looking further ahead, I also intend to convene a dedicated climate summit in 2019 to make sure we reach the critical first review of Paris implementation with the strong wind of a green economy at our backs.

Let me also stress that my door is open to all who wish to discuss the way forward, even those who might hold divergent perspectives.

The climate conversation should cease to be a shouting match.

Yet, there will continue to be strong differences about how to achieve our climate goals.

Yet it is also clear that the journey from Paris is well under way. The support across all sectors of society is profound. The transition in the real economy is a fact.

There will be bumps along the path; that is understandable in a family of over 190 nations.

But with everyone’s participation, the world can bring the Paris Agreement fully to life.

I look forward to continuing to engage all countries in forging a truly shared vision of the way ahead that leaves no one behind.

Dear friends,

Let me conclude where I began — with all of you and with the power of people to make a difference.

Climate change is an unprecedented and growing threat.

The arguments for action are clear.

So are the immense opportunities for peace and prosperity if we act quickly and decisively.

All of us – governments, businesses, consumers – will have to make changes. More than that, we will have to “be” the change.

This may not be easy at times. But for the sake of today’s and future generations, it is the path we must pursue.

This is my message to all the world’s leaders.

Students, scientists and others such as you across the world helped to put the climate challenge on the table.

If we work together as a global community, we can emerge stronger, safer and more prosperous for our shared future and the future of all of our grandchildren like my three granddaughters.

Thank you very much.

###

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

From the New York Times, June 1, 2017:

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


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

From The Washington Post – Today’s WorldView

BY ISHAAN THAROOR June 1, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

 www.ft.com/content/585f1946-45e2…

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

###

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

 www.cnn.com/2017/04/29/politics/s…

April 29.
The kids suing Donald Trump are marching to the White House
By John D. Sutter, CNN
Updated 4:04 PM ET, Sat April 29, 2017

John D. Sutter is a columnist for CNN Opinion who focuses on climate change and social justice. Follow him on Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook or subscribe to his email newsletter.

Washington (CNN)A 16-year-old walked up to the microphone.

“The state of the planet is unraveling all around us because of our addiction to fossil fuels,” Xiuhtezcatl Martinez said at the steps of the US Supreme Court this week. “For the last several decades, we have been neglecting the fact that this is the only planet that we have and that the main stakeholders in this issue (of climate change) are the younger generation. Not only are the youth going to be inheriting every problem that we see in the world today — after our politicians have been long gone — but our voices have been neglected from the conversation.

“Our politicians are no longer representing our voices.”
So, what’s a voiceless kid to do?

How about sue President Donald Trump and his administration — and then march to the White House?

Martinez is one of 21 young people taking Trump and members of his administration to federal court over inaction on global warming. On Saturday, several of these “climate kid’ plaintiffs — the youngest is 9 — will walk alongside the chanting and sign-pumping adults at the March for Climate, Jobs and Justice in Washington. That demonstration is a call for a clean energy revolution, and it’s expected to draw thousands. Perhaps fittingly, local forecasts call for potentially record-setting temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Demonstrators plan to converge on the White House.

Yes, it’s easy to tire of protests in the Trump era, with this rally coming right on the heels of last week’s March for Science and not so long after the Women’s March. Talk is cheap. But these climate kids deserve your attention.

Jamie Lynn Butler, 15, from Cameron, Arizona, said her family had to move off of a Navajo reservation because of searing droughts. One of the family’s horses died from dehydration, she said. “Because of drought on the reservation and climate change there’s less and less water. I don’t want the next generation, and this generation, to keep losing things because of how we treat the planet.”

Jacob Lebel, 19, lives and works on his familys farm in Roseburg, Oregon. As farmers, the drought and heat waves (associated with climate change) make it harder to work. The fire season has just been crazy he said. We could lose everything.

Jayden Foytlin, 13, saw her home in Rayne, Louisiana, flood this year in a deadly storm directly linked to climate change. “I’m being affected, my generation is being affected, Louisiana is being affected by climate change,” she said.
Hide Caption

"We are in a climate emergency," Journey Zephier, who lives in Hawaii, said at a press conference in March. "The federal government and fossil fuel industry have known for over 50 years that their actions and the burning of fossil fuels would result in destabilizing the Earth's climate system."
Photos: Meet the kids suing the President
“We are in a climate emergency,” Journey Zephier, who lives in Hawaii, said at a press conference in March. “The federal government and fossil fuel industry have known for over 50 years that their actions and the burning of fossil fuels would result in destabilizing the Earth’s climate system.”
Hide Caption
12 of 17

Isaac Vergun, photographed at age 14, of Beaverton, Oregon, said it bothers him when he sees people driving cars that are bigger than they need. “It hurts me,” he said. “Even if they did a little something — like not buy that car — that would make a difference.”

Hazel Van Ummersen is from Eugene, Oregon. She and her family “reduce their carbon footprint by gardening, recycling, buying local products, biking, and walking,” according to court records.

“The Arctic is being affected more than twice as fast as the Lower 48” states, said Nathan Baring, 16, from Fairbanks, Alaska. “We have the technology to make the change. It’s the politics that’s keeping us from it.”

“I’ve always been interested in my birth country,” said Miko Vergun, 15, who was adopted from the Marshall Islands, in the Pacific. She now lives in Beaverton, Oregon. “I want to be able to go back — but that would be really difficult right now because of climate change. It’s possible the island will disappear” because of rising sea levels.

“Even though I try to protect my natural resources and the climate system by biking, gardening, recycling, educating others about climate change, and practicing vegetarianism, I cannot protect the climate system for myself, and my family,” Sahara Valentine of Eugene, Oregon, said in a court filing.

“I chose to join the case because it sounded like something I could actually do,” said Nick Venner, photographed in 2016 at age 15, from Lakewood, Colorado. “I think we have a really good chance of winning. It’s hard for legal experts to deny the rights of young people. We are the future. They will be long gone before the long-term effects (of climate change) ever hit them. It’s about my kids. It’s about their grandkids.”

Kelsey Juliana, 20, from Eugene, Oregon, has been involved in legal action over climate change for years. “It’s a systems change we’re asking for. And who are we asking it for? Everyone on the planet, especially the youth, the most unheard, the most disenfranchised,” she said. “Almost all the kids in this case haven’t voted ever — and cannot vote. That’s something I certainly think about, as one of the few who can vote.”
Hide Caption

“We live on a barrier island,” said Levi Draheim, 9, from Florida’s Space Coast. “If the sea rises, our (home) could just be underwater. And a couple of our reefs … they’re just almost gone. I can’t even go to the beach. It gives me nightmares.”

Tia Hatton, 19, from Bend, Oregon, said she had to convince her family it was a good idea for her to take on the federal government. “I was late knowing about climate change. I lived in a conservative community. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I started thinking about it when the snow levels dropped in Bend. I’m a Nordic skier. All of a sudden, the puzzle started fitting together.”

“You feel like there’s no point in fighting,” said Aji Piper, 16, from Seattle. “But you have this knowledge. So you still fight against this because it’s the only thing you can do.” He said it’s frustrating when people think he’s only repeating information adults have fed to him. “I’m not regurgitating any of this information,” he said. “I’m not stupid. These facts are overwhelmingly in one direction.”

Climate change is “something I worry about,” said Avery McRae, 11, of Eugene, Oregon. “If we don’t do something now, we have a very bad future ahead of us.”

“I do a lot of outdoor activities that will be affected by climate change,” said Zealand Bell, photographed at age 12, from Eugene, Oregon. “I ski, raft, hike — all sorts of stuff. We go up to Willamette Pass (to ski), and the last few years it’s barely been open because of the lack of snow. It does sort of make me mad, but mostly I’m sad. We’ve affected our climate so much. We’ve done all of this.”
Hide Caption

Victoria Barrett, 17, from New York, said she’s involved in the climate change lawsuit because “it’s pertinent to literally the existence of humankind.” “We’re some of the people to be like, ‘Yo, cut it out with that.’ And if you don’t do it, we’re going to sue you to do it. … It’s really important to posterity what we’re doing.”

Jamie Lynn Butler, 15, from Cameron, Arizona, said her family had to move off of a Navajo reservation because of searing droughts. One of the family’s horses died from dehydration, she said. “Because of drought on the reservation and climate change there’s less and less water. I don’t want the next generation, and this generation, to keep losing things because of how we treat the planet.”

Jacob Lebel, 19, lives and works on his family’s farm in Roseburg, Oregon. “As farmers, the drought and heat waves (associated with climate change) make it harder to work. The fire season has just been crazy,” he said. “We could lose everything.”

Jayden Foytlin, 13, saw her home in Rayne, Louisiana, flood this year in a deadly storm directly linked to climate change. “I’m being affected, my generation is being affected, Louisiana is being affected by climate change,” she said.

“We are in a climate emergency,” Journey Zephier, who lives in Hawaii, said at a press conference in March. “The federal government and fossil fuel industry have known for over 50 years that their actions and the burning of fossil fuels would result in destabilizing the Earth’s climate system.”

Isaac Vergun, photographed at age 14, of Beaverton, Oregon, said it bothers him when he sees people driving cars that are bigger than they need. “It hurts me,” he said. “Even if they did a little something — like not buy that car — that would make a difference.”

Hazel Van Ummersen is from Eugene, Oregon. She and her family “reduce their carbon footprint by gardening, recycling, buying local products, biking, and walking,” according to court records.

“The Arctic is being affected more than twice as fast as the Lower 48” states, said Nathan Baring, 16, from Fairbanks, Alaska. “We have the technology to make the change. It’s the politics that’s keeping us from it.”

“I’ve always been interested in my birth country,” said Miko Vergun, 15, who was adopted from the Marshall Islands, in the Pacific. She now lives in Beaverton, Oregon. “I want to be able to go back — but that would be really difficult right now because of climate change. It’s possible the island will disappear” because of rising sea levels.

“Even though I try to protect my natural resources and the climate system by biking, gardening, recycling, educating others about climate change, and practicing vegetarianism, I cannot protect the climate system for myself, and my family,” Sahara Valentine of Eugene, Oregon, said in a court filing.

“I chose to join the case because it sounded like something I could actually do,” said Nick Venner, photographed in 2016 at age 15, from Lakewood, Colorado. “I think we have a really good chance of winning. It’s hard for legal experts to deny the rights of young people. We are the future. They will be long gone before the long-term effects (of climate change) ever hit them. It’s about my kids. It’s about their grandkids.”

Kelsey Juliana, 20, from Eugene, Oregon, has been involved in legal action over climate change for years. “It’s a systems change we’re asking for. And who are we asking it for? Everyone on the planet, especially the youth, the most unheard, the most disenfranchised,” she said. “Almost all the kids in this case haven’t voted ever — and cannot vote. That’s something I certainly think about, as one of the few who can vote.”

“We live on a barrier island,” said Levi Draheim, 9, from Florida’s Space Coast. “If the sea rises, our (home) could just be underwater. And a couple of our reefs … they’re just almost gone. I can’t even go to the beach. It gives me nightmares.”

Tia Hatton, 19, from Bend, Oregon, said she had to convince her family it was a good idea for her to take on the federal government. “I was late knowing about climate change. I lived in a conservative community. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I started thinking about it when the snow levels dropped in Bend. I’m a Nordic skier. All of a sudden, the puzzle started fitting together.”

“You feel like there’s no point in fighting,” said Aji Piper, 16, from Seattle. “But you have this knowledge. So you still fight against this because it’s the only thing you can do.” He said it’s frustrating when people think he’s only repeating information adults have fed to him. “I’m not regurgitating any of this information,” he said. “I’m not stupid. These facts are overwhelmingly in one direction.”

Climate change is “something I worry about,” said Avery McRae, 11, of Eugene, Oregon. “If we don’t do something now, we have a very bad future ahead of us.”

“I do a lot of outdoor activities that will be affected by climate change,” said Zealand Bell, photographed at age 12, from Eugene, Oregon. “I ski, raft, hike — all sorts of stuff. We go up to Willamette Pass (to ski), and the last few years it’s barely been open because of the lack of snow. It does sort of make me mad, but mostly I’m sad. We’ve affected our climate so much. We’ve done all of this.”

Victoria Barrett, 17, from New York, said she’s involved in the climate change lawsuit because “it’s pertinent to literally the existence of humankind.” “We’re some of the people to be like, ‘Yo, cut it out with that.’ And if you don’t do it, we’re going to sue you to do it. … It’s really important to posterity what we’re doing.”

Jamie Lynn Butler, 15, from Cameron, Arizona, said her family had to move off of a Navajo reservation because of searing droughts. One of the family’s horses died from dehydration, she said. “Because of drought on the reservation and climate change there’s less and less water. I don’t want the next generation, and this generation, to keep losing things because of how we treat the planet.”

01 climate kids Nick_Venner_1802 climate kids Kelsey_Juliana_6403 climate kids Levi_Draheim_404 climate kids Tia_Hatton_2205 climate kids Aji_Piper_3606 climate kids Avery_McRae_3107 climate kids Zealand_Bell_3208 climate kids Victoria_Barrett_709 climate kids Jamie_Lynn_Butler910 climate kids Jacob_Lebel_1811 climate kids Jayden_Foytlin_3912 climate kids Journey_Zephier_2413 climate kids Isaac_Vergun_614 climate kids Hazel_Van_Ummersen_1515 climate kids Nathan_Baring_2216 climate kids Miko_Vergun_2417 climate kids Sahara_Valentine_26
Instead of bemoaning the Orwellian satire that has become the American news cycle, these kids are doing something. They’re suing on behalf of the future.
Their lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Oregon, initially targeted then-President Barack Obama and his administration. Last year, it survived motions by industry and government to dismiss the case. It has taken on new significance in the first 100 days of Trump’s tenure. The President has famously called climate change a hoax, and members of his Cabinet have equivocated on the science, injecting doubt into a long-held scientific consensus that humans are causing the planet to warm by burning fossil fuels and pumping heat-trapping pollution into the atmosphere.
The administration’s efforts go well beyond rhetoric. Trump ordered a review of the Clean Power Plan, Obama’s signature climate legislation. He aims to open federal lands and ocean for fossil fuel extraction. Coal jobs are coming back, he crows. Nevermind that millions of people around the world die each year from diseases linked to air pollution — much of which comes from coal.

A sign is prepared before the march.

The administration is reportedly mulling pulling out from the Paris Agreement, an international accord designed to push the planet out of the fossil fuel era. Federal monuments and parks are under review; funding for regulators is on the chopping block.

All of this is likely to lead to more pollution and therefore more warming — more wildfires, longer droughts, rising seas, mass extinction. This is the polluted and dangerous world we are creating, and it’s what’s chasing activists into the streets.

The climate kids could help change the tide.

They’re arguing on constitutional grounds that their rights to life, liberty and property are being violated by runaway climate change. Their attorneys also say these kids and others are being discriminated against as a class of people.

Since they’re young, they will live longer into the climate-changed future.

They’re people like Levi Draheim, who at 9 years old is the youngest child plaintiff. He’s a bubbly kid with wild curly hair who lives on the coast of Florida, a place threatened by rising seas. As the Earth warms, the oceans expand and ice melts. Draheim told me he dreams frequently that his home is underwater. Those dreams have only become more frequent since Trump’s election, he said.

The kids suing Trump and his administration are among thousands expected to gather this weekend in Washington.

“It was really highly disturbing to me that (adults) would choose somebody who doesn’t believe in climate change — and is not going to,” he said. “It’s scary having someone who doesn’t believe in climate change being our president and shutting down the (Environmental Protection Agency), or trying to. It is so anti-preventing climate change.”

Draheim isn’t old enough to vote, of course. But Saturday’s march — and the court case — give him and other kids a voice. Julia Olson, an attorney and founder of Our Children’s Trust, the nonprofit helping to bring the lawsuit, told me she expects the case to go to trial later this year. In court, she told a Washington crowd, “alternative facts are perjury.”
Experts in climate law say the suit may be a long shot but remains significant.
“The case is important, in my mind, from a symbolic and ethics perspective,” said Deborah Sivas, director of the Environmental Law Clinic at Stanford Law School. “It often takes the law a long time to catch up to changing moral sensibilities. It only does so when people are willing to press innovative, outside-the-box arguments. My hope is that we will be able to look back on this case as an early, first mover of a changing jurisprudence.”

Stickers supporting the kids’ cause.

“After several years with little success, environmental plaintiffs have now won climate change cases in several countries ?based on constitutional, human rights and international law grounds, as opposed to the more traditional statutory grounds — the Netherlands, Pakistan, Austria and South Africa,” Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, said in an email. “The Oregon case now joins that list, and its symbolic importance has added weight now that Washington is run by climate deniers.”
Olson, the attorney for the kids, said the case is not symbolic and can win. Those who say otherwise “are denying the capacity of humans to take care of democracy and take care of the planet,” she said.

I spent a couple days this week with the climate kids. I heard about their visits to Washington museums and to see the Constitution. I watched as they sang and danced at DC Metro stops, playing Kendrick Lamar simultaneously on two phones to get twice the experience. I talked to them about their hopes and fears about this case, about why so many American adults — 47% according to a Yale survey — don’t understand humans are causing global warming. They explained why they’re marching and speaking here even at a moment when they worry adults might not listen.

An audience in Washington listens Friday to a presentation by kids suing the Trump administration over climate change.

“Most people know climate change is happening, but they push it aside so they can continue living their lives,” said Isaac Vergun, 15.
“It’s not their fault,” chimed in Zealand Bell, 13. “They don’t know better.”
Their hope and generosity are infectious. Their parents and attorneys didn’t put them up to this. (I’ve talked with kids who had to convince their parents to let them do this.) The kids are genuinely concerned their generation will inherit an irreparably messed-up world.
The truth is that we adults need these climate kids.

We need them more than thousands of adults marching on Saturday.

We need them as a moral compass.

And we need them to remind us that our actions will echo for generations to come.
“They’ll be adults by the time they get to court,” Cherri Foytlin, one of their parents, joked as we watched several of the kids speak alongside US senators Thursday at the Supreme Court.
I hope not. But if so, they’ll be better adults than most.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WRI Digest – THE WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE – WASHINGTON DC
Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Climate Science, Explained in 10 Graphics

Thousands of people are expected to attend this weekend’s People’s Climate Movement march.

Kelly Levin lays out the facts — what we know about climate change today, and what impacts we can expect in the future. Learn more at www.wri.org/blog/2017/04/climate-…

White House

Timeline: Trump’s 100 Days of Rollbacks to Climate Action
In the 100 days since President Donald Trump took office, his administration has embarked on an all-out assault on the environment. A new timeline documents rollbacks, budget cuts and more. Learn more at – www.wri.org/blog/2017/04/timeline…

The Man Who Stopped the Mine. Q&A with a 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize Winner
He endured kidnappings, assaults and attacks. But after more than a decade of protests and court battles, Prafulla Samantara stopped an open-pit mine from displacing India’s Dongria Kondh tribe from their sacred lands. Learn more at – www.wri.org/blog/2017/04/man-who-…

The Restoration Revolution = JOBS

There are 2 billion hectares of degraded land around the globe, explains WRI Board member Felipe Calderón, former president Of Mexico. Restoring it could not only put food on the table, it could create hundreds of thousands of jobs. Learn more at –
 www.wri.org/blog/2017/04/restorat…

UPCOMING EVENTS

Gearing Up for the People’s Climate March
Washington, DC
April 28, 2017

Greening Governance Seminar Series: Tipping Points in Global Environmental Policy
Washington, DC
May 2, 2017

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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.

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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.

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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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