Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 26th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
The following article is written as if nothing was learned from the outcome of the June 2012 meeting in Rio de Janeiro and continues the old line of calls of transfer of funds without calling for joint projects that address increased efficiency in use of energy in order to decrease CO2 emissions.
The Huffington Post on-line today has also articles about New York City and New Jersey State following Hurricane Sandy’s visit, that should have brought home the issue of Climate Change. Those articles, and information about climate events in China, India, Brazil, Mexico, besides common information rolling out for years from Bangladesh and the Island-States, ought to be a joint inter-National starting point to the Doha deliberations.
If the subject does not start from a common basis for all of mankind – the old-rich and the new-rich as well – simply said – New York and New Jersey will just waste their resources in building separation walls from the rest of the world, and nobody will be better off by the end of this century. It is just a pipe-dream that an impoverished EU can carry the world on the shoulders of their fiscal managers.
2012 UN Climate Talks In Doha, Qatar, Face Multiple Challenges.
In this Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2012 file photo, conference flags are displayed ahead of the Doha Climate Change Conference, in Doha, Qatar that starts 11/26/2012.
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — As nearly 200 countries meet in oil-and-gas-rich Qatar for annual talks starting Monday, November 26, 2016, on slowing global warming, one of the main challenges will be raising climate aid for poor countries at a time when budgets are strained by financial turmoil.
Rich countries have delivered nearly $30 billion in grants and loans promised in 2009, but those commitments expire this year. And a Green Climate Fund designed to channel up to $100 billion annually to poor countries has yet to begin operating.
Borrowing a buzzword from the U.S. budget debate, Tim Gore of the British charity Oxfam said developing countries, including island nations for whom rising sea levels pose a threat to their existence, stand before a “climate fiscal cliff.”
“So what we need for those countries in the next two weeks are firm commitments from rich countries to keep giving money to help them to adapt to climate change,” he told The Associated Press on Sunday.
Creating a structure for climate financing has so far been one of the few tangible outcomes of the two-decade-old U.N. climate talks, which have failed in their main purpose: reducing emissions of heat-trapping gases that scientists say are warming the planet, melting ice caps, glaciers and permafrost, shifting weather patterns and raising sea levels.
The only binding treaty to limit such emissions, the Kyoto Protocol, expires this year, so agreeing on an extension is seen as the most urgent task by environment ministers and climate officials meeting in the Qatari capital.
However, only the European Union and a few other countries are willing to join a second commitment period with new emissions targets. And the EU’s chief negotiator, Artur Runge-Metzger, admitted that such a small group is not going to make a big difference in the fight against climate change.
“I think we cover at most 14 percent of global emissions,” he said.
The U.S. rejected Kyoto because it didn’t cover rapidly growing economies such as China and India. Some hope for stronger commitments from U.S. delegates in Doha as work begins on drafting a new global treaty that would also apply to developing countries including China, the world’s top carbon emitter. That treaty is supposed to be adopted in 2015 and take effect five years later.
Climate financing is a side issue but a controversial one that often deepens the rich-poor divide that has hampered the U.N. climate talks since their launch in 1992. Critics of the U.N. process see the climate negotiations as a cover for attempts to redistribute wealth.
Runge-Metzger said the EU is prepared to continue supporting poorer nations in converting to cleaner energy sources and in adapting to a shifting climate, despite the debt crisis roiling Europe. But he couldn’t promise that the EU would present any new pledges in Doha and said developing countries must present detailed “bankable programs” before they can expect any money.
Sometimes, developing countries seem to be saying, “OK give us a blank check,” he told AP.
Climate aid activists bristled at that statement, saying many developing countries have already indicated what type of programs and projects need funding.
“They need the financial and technical support from the EU and others. Yet they continue to promise ‘jam tomorrow’ whilst millions suffer today,” said Meena Raman of the Third World Network, a nonprofit group.
Countries agreed in Copenhagen in 2009 to set up the Green Climate Fund with the aim of raising $100 billion annually by 2020. They also pledged to raise $30 billion in “fast-start” climate financing by 2012.
While that short-term goal has nearly been met by countries including the EU, Japan, Australia and the U.S., Oxfam estimates that only one-third of it was new money; the rest was previously pledged aid money repackaged as climate financing.
Oxfam also found that more than half of the financing was in the form of loans rather than grants, and that financing levels are set to fall in 2013 as rich countries rein in aid budgets amid debt problems and financial instability.
Meanwhile, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere keeps going up. It has jumped 20 percent since 2000, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, according to a U.N. report released last week.
A recent projection by the World Bank showed temperatures are on track to increase by up to 4 degrees C (7.2 F) this century, compared with pre-industrial times, overshooting the 2-degree target on which the U.N. talks are based.
UN Climate Change Conference Opens In Doha, Qatar.
DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Anticipating an onslaught of criticism from poor nations, the United States claimed “enormous” strides in reducing greenhouse emissions at the opening of U.N. climate talks Monday, despite failing to join other industrialized nations in committing to binding cuts.
The pre-emptive U.S. approach underscores one of the major showdowns expected at the two-week conference as China pushes developed countries to take an even greater role in tackling global warming.
Speaking for a coalition of developing nations known as the G77, China’s delegate, Su Wei, said rich nations should become party to an extended Kyoto Protocol — an emissions deal for some industrialized countries that the Americans long ago rejected — or at least make “comparable mitigation commitments.”
The United States rejected Kyoto because it didn’t impose any binding commitments on major developing countries such as India and China, which is now the world’s No. 1 carbon emitter.
American delegate Jonathan Pershing offered no new sweeteners to the poor countries, only reiterating what the United States has done to tackle global warming: investing heavily in clean energy, doubling fuel efficiency standards and reducing emissions from coal-fired power plants. Pershing also said the United States would not increase its earlier commitment of cutting emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. It is half way to that target.
“I would suggest those who don’t follow what the U.S. is doing may not be informed of the scale and extent of the effort, but it’s enormous,” Pershing said.
“It doesn’t mean enough is being done. It’s clear the global community, and that includes us, has to do more if we are going to succeed at avoiding the damages projected in a warming world,” Pershing added. “It is not to say we haven’t acted. We have and we have acted with enormous urgency and singular purpose.”
The battles between rich and poor nations have often undermined talks in the past decade and stymied efforts to reach a deal to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees C (3.6 F), compared to pre-industrial times. Efforts taken in the absence of a deal to rein in emissions, reduce deforestation and promote clean technology are not getting the job done. A recent projection by the World Bank showed temperatures are expected to increase by up to 4 degrees C (7.2 F) by 2100.
Countries are hoping to build on the momentum of last year’s talks in Durban, South Africa, where nearly 200 nations agreed to restart stalled negotiations with a deadline of 2015 to adopt a new treaty and extend Kyoto between five and eight years. The problem is that only the European Union and a handful of other nations — which together account for less than 15 percent of global emissions — are willing to commit to that.
Delegates in the Qatari capital of Doha are also hoping to raise billions of dollars to help developing countries adapt to a shifting climate.
“We owe it to our people, the global citizenry. We owe it to our children to give them a safer future than what they are currently facing,” said South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who led last year’s talks in Durban.
Environmentalists fear holding the talks in Qatar — the world’s biggest per capita emitter — could slow progress. They argue that the Persian Gulf emirate has shown little interest in climate talks and has failed to reign in its lavish lifestyle and big-spending ways.
There was hope among activists that Qatar might use Monday’s opening speech to set the tone of the conference. But Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, the president of the conference and a former Qatari oil minister, didn’t offer any voluntary emission targets or climate funding for poor nations.
“Some countries, especially the one where we are sitting, have the potential to decrease their carbon emissions. They have the highest per capita emissions, so they can do a lot,” said Wael Hmaidan, a Lebanese activist and director of the Climate Action Network.
“If nations that are poorer than Qatar, like India and Mexico, can make pledges to reduce their carbon emissions, then countries in the region, especially Qatar, should easily be able to do it. … They still haven’t proven they are serious about climate change.”
Al-Attiyah defended Qatar’s environmental record at a later news conference, insisting it was working to reduce emissions from gas flaring and its oil fields. Qatar is already doing plenty to help poor countries with financing, he said, adding that it was unfair to focus on per capita emissions.
“We should not concentrate on per capita. We should concentrate on the amount and quantity that each country produces individually,” al-Attiyah said. “The quantity is the biggest challenge, not per capita.”
The concentration of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide has jumped 20 percent since 2000, according to a U.N. report released last week. The report also showed that there is a growing gap between what governments are doing to curb emissions and what needs to be done to protect the world from potentially dangerous levels of warming.
At the same time, many scientists say extreme weather events, such as Hurricane Sandy’s onslaught on the U.S. East Coast, will become more frequent as the Earth warms, although it is impossible to attribute any individual event to climate change. The rash of violent weather in the U.S., including widespread droughts and a record number of wildfires this summer, has again put climate change on the radar.
“While none of these individual events are necessarily because of climate change, they are certainly consistent with what we anticipate will happen in a warming world,” Pershing said. “The combination of these events is certainly changing minds of Americans and making clear to people at home the consequences of increased growth in emissions.”
In Washington, Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., urged the U.S. delegation at the talks to “heed the warnings from Sandy and other extreme weather supercharged by climate change.”
“If the United States does not aggressively pursue sharp reductions in carbon pollution following the droughts, storms and other extreme weather events we have endured, the rest of the world will doubt our sincerity to address climate change,” Markey said. “It’s time to attack the carbon problem head on, and adapt to a climate already changed for the worse.”
Many countries referenced Hurricane Sandy as a rallying cry for tough action to cap emissions, including a group of small island nations that said the monster storm may have jolted the world to recognize “that we are all in this together.”
“When the tragedies occur far away from the media spotlight, they are too often ignored or forgotten,” the island nations said in a statement.
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 15th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
The New York Times Op-Ed Contributor
We Need to Retreat From the Beach.
By ORRIN H. PILKEY – From Durham, N.C. – Published in the New York Times : November 14, 2012
AS ocean waters warm, the Northeast is likely to face more Sandy-like storms. And as sea levels continue to rise, the surges of these future storms will be higher and even more deadly. We can’t stop these powerful storms. But we can reduce the deaths and damage they cause.
Hurricane Sandy’s immense power, which destroyed or damaged thousands of homes, actually pushed the footprints of the barrier islands along the South Shore of Long Island and the Jersey Shore landward as the storm carried precious beach sand out to deep waters or swept it across the islands. This process of barrier-island migration toward the mainland has gone on for 10,000 years.
Yet there is already a push to rebuild homes close to the beach and bring back the shorelines to where they were. The federal government encourages this: there will be billions available to replace roads, pipelines and other infrastructure and to clean up storm debris, provide security and emergency housing. Claims to the National Flood Insurance Program could reach $7 billion. And the Army Corps of Engineers will be ready to mobilize its sand-pumping dredges, dump trucks and bulldozers to rebuild beaches washed away time and again.
But this “let’s come back stronger and better” attitude, though empowering, is the wrong approach to the increasing hazard of living close to the rising sea. Disaster will strike again. We should not simply replace all lost property and infrastructure. Instead, we need to take account of rising sea levels, intensifying storms and continuing shoreline erosion.
I understand the temptation to rebuild. My parents’ retirement home, built at 13 feet above sea level, five blocks from the shoreline in Waveland, Miss., was flooded to the ceiling during Hurricane Camille in 1969. They rebuilt it, but the house was completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. (They had died by then.) Even so, rebuilding continued in Waveland.
A year after Katrina, one empty Waveland beachfront lot, on which successive houses had been wiped away by Hurricanes Camille and Katrina, was for sale for $800,000.
That is madness.
We should strongly discourage the reconstruction of destroyed or badly damaged beachfront homes in New Jersey and New York.
Some very valuable property will have to be abandoned to make the community less vulnerable to storm surges. This is tough medicine, to be sure, and taxpayers may be forced to compensate homeowners. But it should save taxpayers money in the long run by ending this cycle of repairing or rebuilding properties in the path of future storms. Surviving buildings and new construction should be elevated on pilings at least two feet above the 100-year flood level to allow future storm overwash to flow underneath. Some buildings should be moved back from the beach.
Respecting the power of these storms is not new. American Indians who occupied barrier islands during the warm months moved to the mainland during the winter storm season. In the early days of European settlement in North America, some communities restricted building to the bay sides of barrier islands to minimize damage.
In Colombia and Nigeria, where some people choose to live next to beaches to reduce exposure to malarial mosquitoes, houses are routinely built to be easily moved.
We should also understand that armoring the shoreline with sea walls will not be successful in holding back major storm surges. As experience in New Jersey and elsewhere has shown, sea walls eventually cause the loss of protective beaches. These beaches can be replaced, but only at enormous cost to taxpayers. The 21-mile stretch of beach between Sandy Hook and Barnegat Inlet in New Jersey was replenished between 1999 and 2001 at a cost of $273 million (in 2011 dollars). Future replenishment will depend on finding suitable sand on the continental shelf, where it is hard to find.
And as sea levels rise, replenishment will be required more often. In Wrightsville Beach, N.C., the beach already has been replenished more than 20 times since 1965, at a cost of nearly $543 million (in 2011 dollars). Taxpayers in at least three North Carolina communities — Carteret and Dare Counties and North Topsail Beach — have voted down tax increases to pay for these projects in the last dozen years. The attitude was: we shouldn’t have to pay for the beach. We weren’t the ones irresponsible enough to build next to an eroding shoreline.
This is not the time for a solution based purely on engineering. The Army Corps undoubtedly will be heavily involved. But as New Jersey and New York move forward, officials should seek advice from oceanographers, coastal geologists, coastal and construction engineers and others who understand the future of rising seas and their impact on barrier islands. We need more resilient development, to be sure. But we also need to begin to retreat from the ocean’s edge.
Orrin H. Pilkey is an emeritus professor of earth sciences at Duke University and a co-author of “The Rising Sea.”
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 20th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
Ending Its Summer Melt, Arctic Sea Ice Sets a New Low That Leads to Warnings.
Published by The New York Times on September 19, 2012
The drastic melting of Arctic sea ice has finally ended for the year, scientists announced Wednesday, but not before demolishing the previous record — and setting off new warnings about the rapid pace of change in the region.
A blog about energy and the environment.
NASA, via Reuters
A NASA image shows how the record-low Arctic sea ice extent compares with the average minimum extent over the past 30 years, in yellow.
The apparent low point for 2012 was reached Sunday, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, which said that sea ice that day covered about 1.32 million square miles, or 24 percent, of the surface of the Arctic Ocean. The previous low, set in 2007, was 29 percent.
When satellite tracking began in the late 1970s, sea ice at its lowest point in the summer typically covered about half the Arctic Ocean, but it has been declining in fits and starts over the decades.
“The Arctic is the earth’s air-conditioner,” said Walt Meier, a research scientist at the snow and ice center, an agency sponsored by the government. “We’re losing that. It’s not just that polar bears might go extinct, or that native communities might have to adapt, which we’re already seeing — there are larger climate effects.”
His agency waited a few days before announcing the low to be sure sea ice had started to refreeze, as it usually does at this time of year, when winter closes in rapidly in the high Arctic. A shell of ice will cover much of the Arctic Ocean in coming months, but it is likely to be thin and prone to melting when summer returns.
Scientists consider the rapid warming of the region to be a consequence of the human release of greenhouse gases, and they see the melting as an early warning of big changes to come in the rest of the world.
Some of them also think the collapse of Arctic sea ice has already started to alter atmospheric patterns in the Northern Hemisphere, contributing to greater extremes of weather in the United States and other countries, but that case is not considered proven.
The sea ice is declining much faster than had been predicted in the last big United Nations report on the state of the climate, published in 2007. The most sophisticated computer analyses for that report suggested that the ice would not disappear before the middle of this century, if then.
Now, some scientists think the Arctic Ocean could be largely free of summer ice as soon as 2020. But governments have not responded to the change with any greater urgency about limiting greenhouse emissions. To the contrary, their main response has been to plan for exploitation of newly accessible minerals in the Arctic, including drilling for more oil.
Scientists said Wednesday that the Arctic has become a prime example of the built-in conservatism of their climate forecasts. As dire as their warnings about the long-term consequences of heat-trapping emissions have been, many of them fear they may still be underestimating the speed and severity of the impending changes.
In a panel discussion on Wednesday in New York sponsored by Greenpeace, the environmental group, James E. Hansen, a prominent NASA climate scientist, said the Arctic melting should serve as a warning to the public of the risks that society is running by failing to limit emissions.
“The scientific community realizes that we have a planetary emergency,” Dr. Hansen said. “It’s hard for the public to recognize this because they stick their head out the window and don’t see that much going on.”
A prime concern is the potential for a large rise in the level of the world’s oceans. The decline of Arctic sea ice does not contribute directly to that problem, since the ice is already floating and therefore displacing its weight in water.
But the disappearance of summer ice cover replaces a white, reflective surface with a much darker ocean surface, allowing the region to trap more of the sun’s heat, which in turn melts more ice. The extra heat in the ocean appears to be contributing to an accelerating melt of the nearby Greenland ice sheet, which does contribute to the rise in sea level.
At one point this summer, surface melt was occurring across 97 percent of the Greenland ice sheet, a development not seen before in the era of satellite measurements, although geological research suggests that it has happened in the past.
The sea is now rising at a rate of about a foot per century, but scientists like Dr. Hansen expect this rate to increase as the planet warms, putting coastal settlements at risk.
A scientist at the snow and ice center, Julienne C. Stroeve, took a ride on a Greenpeace ship recently to inspect the Arctic Ocean for herself. Interviewed this week after pulling into port at the island of Spitsbergen, she said one of her goals had been to debark on ice floes and measure them, but that it had been difficult to find any large enough to support her weight.
Ice floes were numerous in spots, she said, but “when we got further into the ice pack, there were just large expanses of open water.”
A version of this article appeared in print on September 20, 2012, on page A8 of the New York edition with the headline: Ending Its Summer Melt, Arctic Sea Ice Sets a New Low That Leads to Warnings.
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 8th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
Circumpolar Leaders Gather For Arctic Imperative Summit
Summit Convenes Decision-Makers on Infrastructure Investment, Natural Resources, Policy and Security During Time of Rapid Arctic Change.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Aug. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire
— Rapid change in the Arctic due to melting sea ice brings new opportunities and challenges.
To address the complex Arctic agenda, an influential mix of international, U.S. and local leaders will convene at the second Arctic Imperative Summit, August 24–27, 2012, in Anchorage and Girdwood, Alaska.
Sharpening the world’s focus on the short-term opportunities and long-term challenges of Arctic development, the Summit features a multidisciplinary group of experts. By engaging with decision-makers from all sectors, Arctic leaders will be in a stronger position to influence responsible development decisions on their shores.
- Plenary sessions on infrastructure needs and investment opportunities in the U.S. Arctic, including a proposed Bering Sea port authority to manage traffic growth;
- Panel discussions on shipping and transportation developments, moderated by industry experts;
- Keynote speeches from military leaders on Arctic sovereignty and security;
- Perspectives and observations from indigenous residents, including “The Eskimo and the Oil Man,” a conversation with author Bob Reiss andEdward Itta, former mayor, North Slope Borough, Alaska;
- Panel discussions on sustainable development, governance and the race for resources;
- Instructive case studies, such as the recent Renda fuel delivery to Nome;
- A screening of “Project Chariot,” a documentary on the U.S. government’s ill-fated plan to use a nuclear bomb to create a deep-water Arctic port inAlaska; and much more.
The Summit schedule can be found here: bit.ly/NAhY5u. A detailed agenda will be released prior to the event.
The Honorable James A. Baker III, Former U.S. Secretary of State
The Honorable Mark Begich, U.S. Senator, State of Alaska
Charles K. Ebinger, Director, Energy Security Initiative, Brookings
The Honorable Olafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland
The Honorable David J. Hayes, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior
General Charles H. Jacoby Jr., Commander, U.S. Northern Command
Marilyn Heiman, Director, U.S. Arctic Program, Pew Environment Group
The Honorable Edward Itta, Former Mayor, North Slope Borough, Alaska
Chris Matthews, Host, “Hardball with Chris Matthews” and “The Chris Matthews Show”
Scott Minerd, Chief Investment Officer, Guggenheim Partners
The Honorable Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Senator, State of Alaska
General Walter Natynczyk, Chief of the Defense Staff, Canadian Forces
Thomas R. Nides, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, U.S. Department of State
General Joseph W. Ralston, Vice Chairman, The Cohen Group
David M. Rubenstein, Co-founder, The Carlyle Group
The Honorable Mead Treadwell, Lieutenant Governor, State of Alaska
Felix H. Tschudi, Chairman and Owner, Tschudi Group
The Honorable Fran Ulmer, Chair, U.S. Arctic Research Commission
A comprehensive list of speakers can be found here: bit.ly/LXTc2g.
“The rapid changing of the Arctic environment demands responsible and sustainable development,” says Alice Rogoff, founder of the Arctic Imperative Summit. “Solutions to the complex needs of this region will only be reached if all stakeholders, including its residents, are at the table.”
Summit registration is available online at bit.ly/Lt6ihQ. Please contact Nolan Frame at email@example.com questions.
Media with relevant assignments will be granted access to the Summit at no charge and may register online at bit.ly/Lt6ihQ. Gallery seating will be provided in the back of the meeting facilities to watch the Summit live. A media room will also be provided on-site. Boxed meals will be provided, along with access to receptions and dinners. Please contact Tim Fitzpatrick at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance in coordinating on-site interviews or with general media queries.
Following the summit, presentations can be accessed on the event’s Vimeo page at bit.ly/LXY0oj.
Please follow us on Twitter at @ArcticSummit, hashtag #AIS2012, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/arcticimperativesummit for Arctic news and Summit highlights.
The Summit offers an excellent opportunity for your organization to enhance its profile among Arctic decision-makers. For further details on remaining promotional packages, contact Jenny Gilman at email@example.com.
THE ARCTIC WIRE:
Read in-depth coverage on news and politics across the circumpolar North on The Arctic Wire.
ABOUT THE ARCTIC IMPERATIVE:
The Arctic Imperative is an independent nonpartisan organization founded by Alice Rogoff, publisher of AlaskaDispatch.com. The mission of the Summit is to sharpen the world’s focus on the policy and investment needs of the Arctic and provide a platform for local, state, national and international leaders to make measured Arctic development decisions.
PR Newswire (s.tt/1kkvx)
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 1st, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
FINALLY, ATTENTION IS FOCUSED ALSO ON LOS CABOS – THE PLACE WHERE ALL HEADS OF STATES WITH POWER, AND SUFFERING SMALL ISLAND STATES – mainly from the CARICOM - WILL BE ON THE EVE OF THE OPENING OF THE RIO CONFERENCE. COULD THEY TAKE A DECISION IN MEXICO AND BRING THAT DECISION TO RIO?
From: Will Bates - 350.org
firstname.lastname@example.org Dear Friends,
This is huge. - Two weeks ago we joined a diverse coalition to launch an all-out offensive to end fossil fuel subsidies, and we weren’t quite sure how it would turn out. Well, we’ve currently got 958,422 signatures on our combined global petition — almost a million people strong!
Will you help us get to a million by the end of the week? Sign on here: www.350.org
Once we get a million signatures, we’ll move on to phase two: a surround-sound campaign to put the pressure on world leaders at the G20 Summit in Mexico and at the “Rio+20 Earth Summit” coming up in Brazil.
We’ll be honest: we won’t win the campaign to end fossil fuel subsidies with a petition alone — and we won’t be able to wrap this up by the end of the Rio Earth Summit. But being a million strong is a powerful starting point, and our massive numbers will send an unignorable message to world leaders.
The truth is that ending these subsidies will take an ongoing and escalating campaign — which is why we’re digging deep on multiple fronts. As I type this, 350.org staff and volunteers are putting together a cutting-edge social media plan, planning a series of hard-hitting actions in countries around the world, and working on game-changing research that will expose just how massive the issue of subsidies is.
Our work on subsidies will continue in the weeks and months ahead — but with the global summits in Mexico and Rio happening in just a few weeks, we have a unique moment to shine a light on a topic that all too often gets hidden and ignored. And we can’t ignore it any longer — the issue of subsidies is just too important. New research shows that getting rid of fossil fuel subsidies would lead to massive reductions in the emissions that are super-heating our planet — and could help level the economic playing field and trigger a clean energy revolution around the world.
One more thing: we’re saving June 18 for something special. It’ll be the day when we’ll deliver our collective petition to world leaders, but also a day where we’ll try something a bit different — and a day to take our message to the halls of power in a brand new way.
We’ll keep you posted on the next steps, but for now please help us reach the 1 million mark before the week is up: www.350.org
Will Bates for the 350.org Team
Articles and Info
Phasing out fossil fuel subsidies ‘could provide half of global carbon target’ |The Guardian go.350.org
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 27th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
His Holiness Meets the Austrian Chancellor, attends a Science Symposium and the European Rally for Tibet.
May 27th 2012 – from www.dalailama.com
The 14th Dalai Lama mid-May 2012 Europe-trip took him to the UK (where he received The Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities – in front of 2000 people at the St. Paul Cathedral in London and met in private with the Prime Minister and his Deputy), Slovenia, Belgium, and Austria (where he was received by two States – Koernten and Salzberg, and in private by the Federal Chancellor and the Vice Chancellor).
* * * * This was added by Pincas Jawetz
Vienna, Austria, 26 May 2012 – The sun shone and a small crowd of well-wishers smiled warmly as His Holiness arrived opposite St Stephen’s Cathedral to be met by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna. They were almost immediately joined by the Austrian Chancellor, Werner Faymann and the three went into a meeting together.
|Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn in Vienna, Austria, on May 26, 2012. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHD
Standing at a balcony window nearby, Cardinal Schönborn took the opportunity to explain some of the restoration work that has been taking place at St Stephen’s, the most important religious building in Vienna, before the bells rang out calling him back to the cathedral. His Holiness and the Chancellor continued to discuss matters of mutual concern.
Next, His Holiness drove to the University of Vienna to attend a symposium on Buddhism and Science: Mind & Matter – New Models of Reality, where he was welcomed by the Rector of the University, Heinz Engl.
Describing it as a great honour for him to participate in the discussions, His Holiness noted that towards the end of the last century, scientists had begun to take a serious interest in the workings of our minds and emotions. He said he had been fascinated by how things work since he was a child and learned a great deal about how electricity functions from investigating the movie projector and generator that had belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama.
About 40 years ago he began to learn about cosmology, neuropsychology and quantum physics and for nearly 30 years has been conducting regular dialogues with scientists. The purpose of these dialogues is, firstly, to extend human knowledge, not only in the material field, but also the inner space of our minds, and, secondly, through exploring such phenomena as a calm mind, to promote human happiness.
|His Holiness the Dalai Lama and fellow panelists during the symposium on Buddhism and science “Mind and Matter – New Models of Reality” at the University of Vienna, in Vienna, Austria, on May 26, 2012. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
With Mr Gert Scobel moderating, Prof Dr Anton Zeilinger, Prof Dr Klaus-Dieter Mathes, Dr Patrizia Giampieri-Deutsch made their presentations, which explored aspects of quantum physics, Madhyamaka philosophy and psychoanalysis.
His Holiness hosted a lunch at his hotel for all the speakers that was also attended by Kalon Tripa, Dr Lobsang Sangay, social and human rights activist Bianca Jagger, former French Foreign Minister and co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières, Bernard Kouchner and other friends who were in Vienna to attend the European Rally for Tibet. In the afternoon session of the Science symposium, Prof Dr Michael von Brück and Prof Dr Wolf Singer gave informative presentations on how the mind understands the structure of reality and the search for neuronal correlates of consciousness.
As the symposium came to an end, His Holiness expressed his appreciation, “Over the 30 or 40 years that I have been acquainted with scientists, I have noticed how many of them are acutely aware of the limitations of their knowledge. It is a good quality to recognise that our scope for learning is vast. They display an open-mindedness that is really admirable.”
A memorandum of co-operation was signed between Prof Geshe Ngawang Samten, Director and Vice Chancellor of the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Sarnath, Varanasi, India and the Rector of Vienna University, Heinz Engl, providing for an exchange of students and scholars of the two institutions. Geshe Tenzin Dhargye, Director of the Tibet Center that has organized the various functions His Holiness has attended in Austria on this visit, offered his thanks to His Holiness and everyone who has participated.
|His Holiness the Dalai Lama greeting the crowd of over 10,000 at the European Solidarity Rally for Tibet at the Vienna Heldenplatz in Vienna, Austria, on May 26, 2012. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
|In the warm, late afternoon, His Holiness drove to Vienna’s Heldenplatz where 10,000 people had assembled for the European Solidarity Rally for Tibet. Addressing his dear brothers and sisters in the crowd, he told them how happy he was to be there and that he would like to first say a few words in Tibetan to the Tibetans present.
“Our culture is under threat of destruction, therefore I want to take this opportunity to speak my own language. Archaeological findings indicate that Tibetan history dates back 3-4000 years. We Tibetans must not forget our identity, for our blood, flesh and bones come from Tibet. Since the 7th century we have employed the Tibetan written language in which the most complete and thorough translations have been made of Buddhist knowledge from the original Sanskrit. This is a treasure for the world, not only for Tibetans. And when we talk about preserving Tibetan Buddhist culture, I don’t mean just paying respects before a Buddhist image, but putting the teachings into practice and trying to live as good human beings.”
He talked about the urgent need to protect the Tibetan environment, which because it is the source of many of the rivers that run through Asia is of value not only to Tibetans but millions of others too. He expressed the fear that once environmental damage has taken place it will take a great deal of time to recover. Distinguishing Buddhist religion, which is the business of Buddhist practitioners, from Buddhist culture, which, as a culture of peace, honesty and compassion, is worth preserving for the good of the world.
Meanwhile, millions of Chinese are already showing interest in Tibetan Buddhist culture. His Holiness stressed that the damage and destruction of Tibetan Buddhist culture that has taken place was not because Tibetans were not interested, but because of the difficult political circumstances in which they find themselves.
|His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the European Solidarity Rally for Tibet at the Vienna Heldenplatz in Vienna, Austria, on May 26, 2012. Photo/Tenzin Choejor/OHHDL
“Because of our Buddhist culture we are committed to the principle of non-violence. We are an example of a small community who have remained dedicated to pursuing our struggle through non-violent means, which is why your support is so extremely valuable and I want to tell you how much I appreciate it.
“Finally, I see how many of you are waving the Tibetan flag. Chinese hard-liners often refer to our flag as a symbol of splittist tendencies, but I want to tell you that when I was in China 1954-55, I met Chairman Mao Zedong and other leaders on several occasions. Once, Chairman Mao asked me, ‘Do you have a flag?’ I hesitantly answered, ‘Yes,’ and his reply was to say, ‘Good, it is important that you keep this flag and fly it next to the red flag of China. So I feel I received permission then to fly this flag from Chairman Mao himself.”
Tomorrow afternoon, following a meeting with the press to highlight inter-religious harmony and several private meetings during the morning, His Holiness will board a flight from Vienna to return to India.
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 26th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
For almost half a century the Dalai Lama has been a headache for China’s communist leaders. Beijing regularly denounces the Tibetan spiritual leader as a traitor and a “splittist.”
Since fleeing to India in 1959, the Dalai Lama has brought world attention to the struggle to free Tibet from China’s grasp, winning the Nobel Peace Prize and international recognition in the process.
The Dalai Lama recognizes the Sovereignty of China and wants a peaceful resolution.
Tibetans Fear for Their Future after the Dalai Lama.
While Tibetans revere him, some worry that they have come to rely too heavily on the 66-year-old leader and that his death would deeply harm their cause. ”The institution of the Dalai Lama, it’s one of Tibet’s great strengths – At the same time, it’s one of our weaknesses, because all of us are dependent on him,” said Thubten Samphel, information secretary for the exiled Tibetan government.
The Dalai Lama (Ocean of Wisdom) is in Europe for a campaign of TIBET NEEDS YOU NOW. He speaks to the Tibetan diaspora but also to many local friends. Former High government officials have no problem being seen on stage with him and current Heads of State meet him in private so they do not infuriate the China government. The topic is – “Occupation is Unacceptable and Oppression is Unbearable.” The events got enhanced by the fact that 35 people did self-immolate in Tibet recently – this as all form of protest of the occupation by China is forbidden and facing jail people rather would die and sacrifice themselves to the cause. The Dalai Lama believes in peaceful resolution but as religious person will pray for the dead. Nevertheless he mentions the start of the Arab Spring with the self immolation of a man in Tunisia – and he also said that hundreds of thousands of Muslims in China have accepted the Buddhist culture and are on the side of the Tibetans.
I saw his large indoor appearance in Klagenfurt together with former Chancellor Gussenbauer, and was present at his big outdoor event at the Heldenplatz with very recent French Foreign Minister Kouchner. I read in the papers that Chancellor Faymann, Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Spindellegger, and the Head Of the Catholic Church in Austria, Kardinal Schoenborn, will meet him in private. President Heinz Fischer on the other hand seems to have decided that the ONE-CHINA policy and the fact that he is here as the Head of a Religion, does not allow him to receive the Dalai Lama. In effect, Mr. Spindelegger, the Foreign Minister, came to the indoor meeting the Dalai Lama had with 8,000 believers at the City Hall, where the topic was “Ethics in the Modern Society.” The Dalai Lama is no more the Head of Tibet – that position was passed on to the DHARAMSALA, India, seated Prime Minister in Exile Lobsang Sangay who moved there from his Harvard Law School position. The Dalai Lama sees himself now only as Religious leader and warden of Tibetan culture. He recognizes the Chinese Sovereignty and hopes for a peaceful resolution. On the flag the Tibetans are displaying he said that in 1954-1955 he stayed in Peking and Chairman Mao told him that preserving the flag next to the China red flag is important. He feels thus that displaying the flag is not an anti-China move and he denies the term “splittist.” The Dalai Lama even said that who loves Tibet has to love also China – that is the right way – he said – but it still did not insure him and austria from China Government wrath.
At the Heldenplatz the signs read The People Demand the safe return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet and the event is titled – EUROPEAN RALLY FOR TIBET – to be followed on www.EuropeforTibet.com and present on the lawn were people from all over Europe – Buddhists and non-Buddhists.
Tibet is not a theocracy – it rather is a democracy that has now a parliament and a secular Prime Minister, and Mr. Bernard Kouchner suggested a EU Special Coordinator be established and an EU delegation sent to Tibet. It is ridiculous that China with 1.3 billion people is afraid of 6 million Tibetans, he said.
Barbara Stoeckl, a TV Personality did the introductions, Bianca Jagger and Francesca von Habsburg, and a young Tibetan woman from Switzerland were on stage at the outdoor event. The young Buddhist said that starting in her baby carriage, she is part of this Buddhist of Tibet rallying for Tibet culture.
Actor Maximillian Schell read at the Heldenplatz the Hermann Hesse writing appropriate to the history of these grounds in the days of Nazism, outside the Austrian Presidential Palace – “Rather be killed by the fascists then be one myself – rather be killed by the communists then be one myself.”
Professor Nusbaumer, for nearly 20 years he had been Editor-in-Chief of the influential Austrian newspaper Kurier. In 1990-1999, he held the post of Press Secretary of the President of Austria. Since 2003, Heinz Nussbaumer has been issuing the religion Die Furche magazine, a backer of Tibet and a friend of Heinrich Harrer (Seven Years in Tibet – 1952, Lost Lhasa – 1953, ” Wherever I live, I shall feel homesick for Tibet.”) is the contact of the Tibetan soft advances and the Press.
The Dalai Lama made some further points with high relevance to our media:
Many rivers in Asia start in the Tibet snow mountains of the Himalaya – life in Asia depends on these waters. So, it is not only 6 million people’s interest, but of humanity in general. Tibetan’s involvement is important to China and India and many others. Damage to the ecology will take a long period to recover, he said.
He went out of his way to distinguish between religion and culture. The Tibetan Culture of Peace and compassion – this is also not only a Buddhist interest – but of the whole world.
The world experiences hypocrisy and division into rich and poverty – the culture of Buddhism is one of honesty and peace and compassion – worthwhile to preserve.
Now we have it – it is about: Positioned between two giants – India and China - PRESERVATION OF CULTURE, ENVIRONMENT AND POLITICAL RIGHTS – THIS IS THE ESSENCE OF THE PUSH OF TIBETAN BUDDHIST CULTURE. A SMALL COMMUNITY OF 6 MILLION PEOPLE SHOWING AN EXAMPLE OF PEACE TO THE WORLD.
I found out that the 14th Dalai Lama arrived to Vienna on Friday evening after trips to Klagenfurt and Salzeberg.
Saturday morning he had breakfast with Chancellor Faymann and Kardinal Schoenborn at the Do&Co Restaurant across from the Cathedral, then he met with 8,000 Tibetan Buddhists and European Friends where he spoke about Ethics and Mr. Spindelegger was there also – these two events, with the Kardinal present in the first event, and the address to his people of faith on ethics, turn his visit as a representation of him being a religious and cultural leader – not a Head of State, so it does not give the Chinese government clear reason to complain. Nevertheless, complain they did!
The reaction of Austria was just as swift – all Sunday newspapers lauded the Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor for not having given in to the China-threat and the way it was done taking all levels of diplomacy in account.
The Oesterreich writes about the Joy that Surrounded the Dalai Lama.
Die Presse starts with half of its front page saying that Austria is proud for standing up to China. The paper applauds the Chancellor and the Vice Chancellor and points a finger at the hesitancy of the President. I rather feel that these were not individual decisions – but a collective decision so built that the China protest will look ridiculous – and the Chinese obliged. By now protesting the Dalai lama has become a Chinese ritual and they seem to be stuck in their policy. The paper points at the China Tibet policy as a Nationalistic tool with which they stoke up the Han Nationalism fire – but then there is a danger that this same fire will also someday sweep out the Chinese leadership like in similar conditions it worked against Arab established governments.
The Kronen Zeitung points out the playfulness of the Dalai Lama that is contagious. The fact that at 4 years of age it was decided that he is a reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama his name changed to Tendzin Gyatsho, and he was physically moved to the Palace in Lhasa, and at age 15 declared Head of Tibet. At age 24 he had to escape to India and since then – to his present age of 66, he is fighting against the oppression of his people.
And this is a Symbol as well, today is Pentcostal Sunday Pfingsten in German and Shawuot in Hebrew. This is Pentecost means “fiftieth day” since the Jewish Passover – or the Holiday of Freedom – the day Judaism celebrates the receiving of the laws and the covenant with God. Christianity changed this to 50 days from Easter and the arrival of the Holly Ghost. The Holly Spirit is also understood by buddhists and this law based spiritual behavior is what can link all three into a joint effort – to which the Dalai Lama insists at bringing in also the Koran obeying Muslims in which he sees allies in his homeland of Tibet as well as in the rest of the Muslim World.
The Kurrier did cover in several lines the fact that the Austrian President contended that it is his right to not be pushed into a China policy set by others. He rather wants the right to take his own correct decisions.
Tomorrow is Pentecostal Monday and we are not sure that there will be newspapers, so by Tuesday the comments about China objections may be forgotten. So might be what was said at the Sunday meeting at the Hilton hotel where The Dalai Lama and Kardinal Scoenborn discussed basically bridging-matters arising of religion. The third person at the table was moderator Professor Nusbaumer and as well an interpreter who mainly changed the English into German.
The discussion between the two star participants was mainly on personal experiences of both being monastic monks dedicated to improving themselves and radiating these changes to the world, and help their coreligionists as well as others. The four or five questions from the audience were also about matters of faith, even if dealing with unemployed youth, the expectation of keeping a body in limbo before leaving it soul-less, the possibility of having the Buddhist Lama believe in Christ (on this he answered that though this being a question of faith – he fully accepts the validity of the teachings of Christ) – in fairness – not my kind of questions.
Nevertheless, I had my chance, after the official meeting to ask His Highness the Dalai Lama about material relating to his statement of yesterday when he spoke about ecology, the importance of Tibet Water to the region and the whole of humanity, and the divide between a few rich and much poverty? I said I am asking this in context of the upcoming Rio+20 Conference and I was promised that Mr. Tenzin Taklha, from the Office of his Holiness the Dalai Lama, will provide me the requested information. I hope to be able to present this in my next Update.
Following the Press Conference, The Dalai Lama was taken to the Vienna St.Stephen’s Cathedral – The Stephansdom. Then he was going to be returned to the Hilton hotel for two additional meetings – first for a reception with “Save the Children of Tibet” and after that to a closed meeting with the families of Mongolian Buddhists.
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 26th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
Center of gravity in oil world shifts to Americas.
By Juan Forero, Published The Washington Post: May 25, 2012.
LOMA LA LATA, Argentina — In a desertlike stretch of scrub grass and red buttes, oil companies are punching holes in the ground in search of what might be one of the biggest recent discoveries in the Americas: enough gas and oil to make a country known for beef and the tango an important energy player.
The environment is challenging, with resources trapped deep in shale rock. But technological breakthroughs coupled with a feverish quest for the next major find are unlocking the door to oil and natural gas riches here and in several other countries in the Americas not traditionally known as energy producers
A tectonic shift in oil supply
That is quickly changing the dynamics of energy geopolitics in a way that had been unforeseen just a few years ago.
From Canada to Colombia to Brazil, oil and gas production in the Western Hemisphere is booming, with the United States emerging less dependent on supplies from an unstable Middle East. Central to the new energy equation is the United States itself, which has ramped up production and is now churning out 1.7 million more barrels of oil and liquid fuel per day than in 2005.
“There are new players and drivers in the world,” said Ruben Etcheverry, chief executive of Gas and Oil of Neuquen, a state-owned energy firm that is positioning itself to develop oil and gas fields here in Patagonia. “There is a new geopolitical shift, and those countries that never provided oil and gas can now do so. For the United States, there is a glimmer of the possibility of self-sufficiency.”
Oil produced in Persian Gulf countries — notably Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq — will remain vital to the world’s energy picture. But what was once a seemingly unalterable truth — that American oil production would steadily fall while the United States remained heavily reliant on Middle Eastern supplies — is being turned on its head.
Since 2006, exports to the United States have fallen from all but one major member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, the net decline adding up to nearly 1.8 million barrels a day. Canada, Brazil and Colombia have increased exports to the United States by 700,000 barrels daily in that time and now provide nearly 3.4 million barrels a day.
Six Persian Gulf suppliers provide just 22 percent of all U.S. imports, the nonpartisan U.S. Energy Information Administration said this month. The United States’ neighbors in the Western Hemisphere, meanwhile, provide more than half — a figure that has held steady for years because, as production has fallen in the oil powers of Venezuela and Mexico, it has gone up elsewhere.
Production has risen strikingly fast in places such as the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, and the “tight” rock formations of North Dakota and Texas — basins with resources so hard to refine or reach that they were not considered economically viable until recently. Oil is gushing in once-dangerous regions of Colombia and far off the coast of Brazil, under thick salt beds thousands of feet below the surface.
A host of new discoveries or rosy prospects for large deposits also has energy companies drilling in the Chukchi Sea inside the Arctic Circle, deep in the Amazon, along a potentially huge field off South America’s northeast shoulder, and in the roiling waters around the Falkland Islands.
“A range of big possibilities for oil are opening up,” said Juan Carlos Montiel, as he directed a team from the state-controlled company YPF to drill while a whipping wind brought an autumn chill to the potentially lucrative fields here outside Añelo. “With the exploration that is being carried out, I think we will really increase the production of gas and oil.”
Because oil is a widely traded commodity, analysts say the upsurge in production in the Americas does not mean the United States will be immune to price shocks. If Iran were to close off the Strait of Hormuz, stopping tanker traffic from Middle East suppliers, a price shock wave would be felt worldwide.
But the new dynamics for the United States — an increasingly intertwined energy relationship with Canada and more reliance on Brazil — mean U.S. energy supplies are more assured than before, even if oil from an important Persian Gulf supplier is temporarily halted.
The fracking ‘revolution’
Perhaps the biggest development in the worldwide realignment is how the United States went from importing 60 percent of its liquid fuels in 2005 to 45 percent last year. The economic downturn in the United States, improvements in automobile efficiency and an increasing reliance on biofuels all played a role.
But a major driver has been the use of hydraulic fracturing. By blasting water, chemicals and tiny artificial beads at high pressure into tight rock formations to make them porous, workers have increased oil production in North Dakota from a few thousand barrels a day a decade ago to nearly half a million barrels today.
Conservative estimates are that oil and natural gas produced through “fracking,” as the process is better known, could amount to 3 million barrels a day by 2020.
“We have a revolution here,” said Larry Goldstein, director of the Energy Policy Research Foundation in New York. “In 47 years in this business, I’ve never seen anything like this. This is the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane.”
All of this has happened as exports from Mexico and Venezuela have fallen in recent years, a trend analysts attribute to mismanagement and lack of investment at the state-owned oil industries in those countries. Even so, there is a possibility that new governments in Mexico and Venezuela — Mexico elects a new president July 1, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has cancer — could open the energy industry to the private investment and expertise needed to boost production, analysts say.
“There’s a lot of upside potential in Latin America that will boost the oil supply over the medium term,” said RoseAnne Franco, who analyzes exploration and production prospects in the region for the energy consultant Wood Mackenzie. “So it’s very positive.”
Much of the exploration, though, will not be easy, cheap or, as in Argentina’s case, free of political pitfalls. Price controls on natural gas and import restrictions have made doing business in Argentina hard for energy companies. And last month, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s populist government stunned oil markets by expropriating YPF, the biggest energy company here, from Spain’s Repsol.
But the prize for energy companies is potentially huge. Repsol estimated this year that a cross section of the vast Dead Cow formation here in Neuquen province could hold nearly 23 billion barrels of gas and oil. That followed a U.S. Energy Information Administration report that said Argentina possibly has the third-largest shale gas resources after China and the United States.
“All the top-of-the-line companies are here,” said Guillermo Coco, energy minister of Neuquen province, including ExxonMobil, Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell. Although only about 200 wells have been drilled, Coco said companies here talk of drilling 10,000 or more in the next 15 years.
Wells on the horizon
On a recent day here in a dusty spot called Loma La Lata, German Perez oversaw a team of 30 technicians from the Houston-based oil- services giant Schlumberger as they prepared to frack a well.
The operation was huge: Trucks lined up with revving generators. Giant containers brimmed with water. Hoses used for firing chemicals into wells littered the ground. Cranes hoisted huge bags of artificial sand into mixers. Then, 1,200-horsepower pumps blasted water, chemicals and sand nearly 9,000 feet into the earth. “This is a hard rock, so we create countless cracks and fissures, for the gas and oil to flow,” Perez said.
Staring at the stark landscape, broken up here and there by oil rigs, Perez said he thought many companies would one day arrive in search of oil and gas. “The projections are pretty good,” he said. “In our case, we have been here a year and a half and we have tripled the equipment we have. And we think we will double that in another year.”
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 17th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
An Avaaz.org campaign:
In three days, world leaders could agree to a plan that could stop climate change! The plan would transfer the $1 trillion our governments give to polluters every year and invest it in renewable energy. Key leaders including President Obama support ending these crazy payments, and he is hosting the G8 summit this weekend. Let’s build a massive public campaign for Obama to lead this plan that could literally save our planet! Sign the urgent petition:
This weekend, the eight most powerful leaders in the world will meet at the G8 summit and could agree to a plan that could literally stop climate change!
It’s crazy, but right now, our governments give nearly $1 trillion a year of our taxpayer money to Big Oil and Coal to destroy our planet. Key leaders, including President Obama who is hosting the G8, have already agreed to stop these polluter payments. Now, if we demand they act on their word and divert this huge sum into renewable energy, experts say we could actually save our planet!
It’s a simple no-brainer that our leaders have already agreed to. Let’s hold their feet to the fire, and push President Obama to lead the world’s largest economies to turn these polluting subsidies green. Sign the urgent petition below and forward this to everyone — a massive campaign now can force them from talk to action:
The only reason we shovel cash into the coffers of Big Oil is their lobbyists have a stranglehold on our governments. But if we demand that our leaders green our tax-money, we’ll increase total global green investment by 400% making solar and wind energy cheaper than oil and coal — in the process saving the planet by putting Big Oil out of business!
We’re rapidly reaching a point of no return on climate change and a treaty to prevent catastrophe is years off. Fortunately, momentum behind this new planet saving plan is building. New Zealand, Mexico and Switzerland are calling for an agreement now, and policy makers from 20 countries including the US, Brazil, and China have just voiced their support. All G8 leaders have publicly committed to ending these dirty subsidies, and right now President Obama is pushing for US legislation to stop them.
Our planet is being destroyed at a terrifying rate and this is our best chance to stop it. Now is the time for action, but without massive public support, the powerful polluters could stall the proposal. It’s up to us to counter the lobbyists with extraordinary people power. We have three days left to get Obama to lead. Sign the petition:
For too long, progress on a global solution to climate change has been held back by self-interest and the profits of Big Oil, Coal and Gas. But, finally governments are realising that cutting subsidies will benefit the climate and help balance out the global economy. If we speak up now, together, our movement can force our leaders to action and free the world from the tyranny of fossil fuels.
Iain, Joseph, Alice, Ricken, Diego, Kya and the rest of the Avaaz team
Hansen: Game Over for the Climate (New York Times):
A Congressional Push to End All Fossil Fuel Subsidies (The Nation):
Obama says tax breaks for Big Oil need to end (Financial Post):
Fossil-fuel subsidies: Helping the richest get richer (Los Angeles Times):
Phasing out fossil fuel subsidies could provide half of global carbon target (The Guardian):
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 22nd, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
||Bill McKibben - 350.org email@example.com
||The most important alarm ever heard.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Across the planet now we see ever more flooding, ever more drought, ever more storms. People are dying, communities are being wrecked — the impacts we’re already witnessing from climate change are unlike anything we have seen before.
But because the globe is so big, it’s hard for most people to see that it’s all connected. That’s why, on May 5, 2012 all over the earth, we will Connect the Dots.
In places from drought-stricken Mongolia to flood-stricken Thailand, from fire-ravaged Australia to Himalayan communities threatened by glacial melt, we will hold rallies reminding everyone what has happened in our neighborhoods. And at each of those rallies, from Kenya to Canada, from Vietnam to Vermont, someone will be holding a…dot. A huge black dot on a white banner, a “dot” of people holding hands, encircling a field where crops have dried up, a dot made of fabric and the picture taken from above — you get the idea. We’ll share the images from around the world and give climate change a human face — we’ll hold up a mirror to the planet and force people to come face to face with the ravages of climate change.
Anyone and everyone can participate in this day. Many of us do not live in Texas, the Philippines, or Ethiopia — places deeply affected by climate impacts. For those of us not in directly-impacted communities, there are countless ways to stand in solidarity with those on the front-lines of the climate crisis: some people will be giving presentations in their communities about how to connect the dots. Others will do projects to demonstrate what sorts of climate impacts we can expect if the crisis is left unchecked. And still others of us will express our indignation to local media and politicians for failing to connect the dots in their coverage of “natural disasters.”
However you choose to participate, your voice is needed in this fight — and you can sign up to host a local event here: www.climatedots.org/start
(For more general info about the day, check out our new website here: www.climatedots.org)
350.org has done giant global days of action before (over the last three years we’ve helped coordinate over 15,000 events in 188 countries) and they’re always beautiful moments when our movement stands together. This year we’ll use that same captivating tactic to draw attention to the struggles of our friends around the world — the communities already feeling the harsh impacts of climate change.
These will be beautiful events, we’re sure. But they will also have an edge. It’s right that we get a little angry at those forces causing this problem. The fossil fuel industry is at fault, and we have to make that clear. Our crew at 350.org will work hard to connect all these dots — literally — and weave them together to create a potent call to action, and we will channel that call directly to the people who need to hear it most.
May 5 is coming soon; we need to work rapidly. Because climate change is bearing down on us, and we simply can’t wait. The world needs to understand what’s happening, and you’re the people who can tell them.
Please join us — on May 5th, we need you to send the most important alarm humanity has ever heard.
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 9th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
These are only excerpts from Franny’s mail:
I have no doubt that, like me, you are closely following every moment of the current UN climate negotiations in Durban and are fully on top of exactly which politician is currently screwing up future generations’ chances of living on a habitable planet.
But just on the off-chance that the whole thing has passed you by, my Dad’s gang, OneClimate, are out there in South Africa producing a daily webstream of interviews and analysis live from the talks
- or follow the ever-inspiring 350.org
, who always know what’s happening where.
Linking from climate catastrophe to conspicuous consumption… Not got started on your Christmas presents yet? You could do worse than buy your friends&family a Spanner Films boxset (Age of Stupid, McLibel and Drowned Out DVDs) – order before 12th December to definitely receive for Xmas -
or a chunk of a school’s solar panel via 10:10′s Solar Schools
(complete with cute gift wrapping and a message on the website for your presentee). If you’re too skint to buy pressies, 10:10 have got a big pile of copies of a great new book, ”The Rough Guide To Community Energy”, which they’re giving away for free (because the distribution has been sponsored, not cos its rubbish) – to get a copy or two, just send in a stamped addressed envelope, details here
Speaking of Solar Schools, one of the nine schools taking part in our pilot – E. P. Collier Primary in Reading – is only 645 pounds off reaching their £10,000 total. If they can somehow raise the last 645 today and tomorrow
they will be able to hit the Government’s Feed-In-Tariff deadline, and so get loads more cash to spend on books and equipment for their pupils as their panels generate clean electricity over the next 25 years. Please pitch in (ha) with some cash if you can.
Speaking of getting solar panels up in time for the FIT deadline, my boyfriend and I very proudly sent off our certificate yesterday – see pic of our panels going up on Tuesday – and heard back this morning that everything is in order and we have been accepted onto the FIT scheme. Hurray. I think we must have set some kind of record, as we only moved into our new house two weeks ago. (“Hello, yes we’re looking for someone to install solar panels for a reasonable price in the next few weeks during the most frenetic time the solar industry has ever had – and in terrible weather – on a house we haven’t even exchanged on. Hello, hello?”)
We ran our SWOTS film course a couple of weeks ago – see pics and feedback below – and were genuinely shocked at the outcome: we re-inspired ourselves to make another film! After spending two days teaching 34 charming SWOTS everything we know about filmmaking and distribution – going through all the highs and lows of the 15 years we spent making McLibel, Drowned Out and Age of Stupid – we realised what a brilliantly exciting, charmed, fulfilling and, most importantly, effective old time we had.
(I do have a bit of an idea for a new project actually, which I’d love some help with if you have a minute.
Here’s a question: what one change in society would you most like to see happen? eg banning advertising, introducing a minimum wage, closing all factory farms or outlawing tax havens. Please email me.
Anyway, the SWOTS course was such a triumph that we’ve decided to go against what we said before about not doing it again for another two years and instead do it next month. So your luck is in if you wanted to come last time but couldn’t make it. We’ve set the date for the 14th and 15th January 2012, most likely in the 10:10 office in Camden again. I’m sure we could rustle up a lovely Christmas card thingy if anyone felt like buying a place on the course for somebody’s Xmas present (email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
) and we’ll have the website up and running in the next few days, so you’ll be able to book a place direct from: www.spannerfilms.net/swots
Good people doing good things:
- Stupid’s Lizzie and other London-based green Kiwis are celebrating after the New Zealand Green party
had their best ever showing in their general election last weekend. They won almost 11% of the vote which means there will be thirteen Green MPS in their new parliament. After running the London campaign over the last few months, Lizzie’s crew are eagerly awaiting the final counting of more than 20,000 overseas votes which might mean one more Green MP in the house.
- Remember our pre-Stupid climate film Baked Alaska
? Even back in 2001, the sea ice around the Alaskan villagers we visited had melted by 40%, which had completed upended the villagers’ traditional way of life. Some of those Alaskan villages have now launched a legal bid
to hold fossil fuel companies liable for the damage caused to their homes and livelihoods. Bloody good luck to them.
Bye Fred, see you soon!
And finally, the wonderful Fred Mulder, who introduced us to many of you, is stepping down as Chair of The Funding Network: “Our final event of 2011 is taking place on 8th December and is set to be an important and special occasion. Fred still intends to remain an active member of TFN but this event is the perfect time to reflect on his successful 10 years at the helm. We will also be officially welcoming Michael Maynard who is taking over the reins and Jon Snow, our inaugural Patron. All the details about the event, and information about the five great projects pitching, are on our website.”
Without Fred, neither The Age of Stupid nor 10:10 would exist. As one of the original 13 “crowd-funders” he kicked off the film’s funding drive in December 2004 – and he personally corralled many of the 350 people who went on to become his fellow funders over the next five years. He connected us to the Hollywood screenwriter (“I’m his art dealer”) who wrote Pete’s dialogue in the film, he donated Arsenal tickets and a Picasso print for us to raise additional cash, he stored hundreds of our back-up tapes in his attic and he and his partner Fenella dressed Lizzie and me in their best finery so we could look like proper media types when we interviewed a top exec from Shell. They also allowed 20 journalists to take over every room of their house to film TV interviews with Pete Postlethwaite for our “press junket” (think of the scene in Notting Hill where Hugh Grant gets to meet Julia Roberts by pretending to be a journo from Horse and Hound). When Lizzie was between homes, they put her up in their guest bedroom for six months. …. And when the film’s Global Premiere in New York was on the brink of collapse, Fred saved the day with a major cash loan – meaning a million people in 63 countries were able to watch the film and listen to the speakers that night. Most of all, Fred continued to believe in us – or said he did, which was just as good – through the dark and lonely years when it looked as though we were making a turkey. Fred, we salute you, we adore you, we thank you and we look forward to many more joint adventures in the heady world of social change filmmaking.
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 27th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
Shanna Tova U Metukah . V`G’mar Chatimah Tovah!…Wishing you a Healthy and Happy New Year! Greetings from Chassida Shmella Ethiopian Jewish Community.
And inspired by Rabbi Michael Lerner of the Beyt-Tikkun synagogue-without-walls in Berkeley – blessings for the New Year –
may it be filled with love, well-being, psychological and spiritual well-being, and joy, for you and all your family and friends, plus
real steps globally toward peace, social justice, environmental sanity, and a new spirit of generosity and caring for each other.
And please forgive me on the fronts this website handles, and on any other, in which I have hurt or offended you.
editor-in-chief of www.SustainabiliTank.info
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 25th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
I’ve just come from the Moving Planet celebration here in San Francisco, California — it was great fun watching people converge on skateboard and bike and kayak from around this beautiful city. It’s even more fun back here at the crowded, noisy 350 office, hunched over my laptop and watching pictures stream in from absolutely everywhere.
The crowds around the world are enormous, and the energy is infectious. To give you a sense of what’s been happening around the world, here are a few images that have already arrived:
You can see lots more images on the Moving Planet website — the slideshow on the front page is not to be missed. People got moving for bold climate action in every corner of the earth today: from the massive crowds at major cities throughout the USA to the human flood in Cairo, Egypt to bike parades and rallies and protests and teach-ins all over the world.
Our 350.org team is pulling together a global mosaic of images and videos to deliver to world leaders and share with our network, and we want to make sure everyone can see what you’ve been up.
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 10th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
Climate Change Threatens Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness.
THIMPU, Bhutan, September 9, 2011 (ENS) – Hydropower, the biggest economic driver in the Himalayan country of Bhutan, is threatened by serious water shortages as the country’s glaciers melt due to climate warming, finds Bhutan’s latest National Human Development Report.
Many of Bhutan’s glaciers are melting at a higher rate than those in other mountain ranges, according to the new report, “Sustaining Progress: Rising to the Climate Challenge.”
“Alternative development pathways, such as Gross National Happiness that we are promulgating, will influence the capacity of communities … to adapt to climate change,” said Pema Gyamtsho, minister of agriculture and forests, at the report’s launch last week.
Gross National Happiness is the official development philosophy of Bhutan, a kingdom led by King Jigme Singye Wangchuk. It has been approved by parliament, making Bhutan the world’s only country to measure its wellbeing by Gross National Happiness instead of Gross National Product.
To realize its Gross National Happiness philosophy of life, Bhutan has prioritized conservation of the environment, and made a commitment to remain carbon neutral by keeping absorption of the greenhouse gases higher than emissions.
More than 70 percent of Bhutan is covered with forests. With an export ban on unprocessed timber, Bhutan has been able to keep its carbon absorption from the agriculture, energy and industry sectors at levels that maintain its status as a net sink for greenhouse gases.
Yet as the climate continues to warm, melting Himalayan glaciers are theatening not only the happiness but also the lives of Bhutan residents. Depleted glaciers will leave little water for Bhutanese hydropower, but as they melt, catastrophic amounts of water will be released.
As glaciers move across the landscape, they pile up rocky debris, forming moraines that act as natural dams for lakes filled with melt water. When they fail, they can create devastating glacial outburst floods.
On October 7, 1994, in the Bhutan Himalaya, the partial collapse of a moraine along the edge of the Luggye Lake released a glacial outburst flood that killed 21 people and swept away livestock, crops, and homes.
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 12th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
9 August 2011
Japan tsunami battered ice shelf in Antarctic.
By Paul Rincon
Science editor, BBC News Website
Images captured by Envisat on 12 (l) and the 16 (r) of March show ice breaking off into the sea.
The tsunami caused by the 11 March Tohoku earthquake in Japan crossed the Pacific and broke off large chunks of ice from Antarctica, a study has shown. Satellite photos show huge icebergs were created when the tsunami hit West Antarctica’s Sulzberger Ice Shelf.
This caused 125 sq km of ice to break off – or calve – from a shelf front that has remained stable for the past 46 years.
The work, by a US team, is published in the Journal of Glaciology.
The waves generated by the 9.0 Magnitude earthquake in Japan travelled about 13,000km across the Pacific Ocean before reaching the Sulzenberger Ice Shelf, causing ice to break off and float into the sea.
The largest of the icebergs measured 6.5km by 9.5km, (almost the size of Manhattan) and 80m in thickness.
The swell was estimated to have been just 30cm high when it reached the Sulzberger shelf.
But the researchers say that over a period of hours to days, the dispersed waves caused repeated flexing of the ice, “fatiguing” the shelf and causing it to fracture.
Kelly Brunt from Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, US, and colleagues studied a series of synthetic aperture radar images from the European Space Agency’s Envisat satellite taken between 11 and the 13 March. This allowed the team to constrain the calving event to a period consistent with the arrival of the tsunami.
“The impact of the tsunami and its train of following dispersed waves… in combination with the ice-shelf and sea-ice conditions provided the fracture mechanism needed to trigger the first calving event from the ice shelf in 46 years,” they write in the Journal of Glaciology.
Above information is of further interest to www.SustainabiliTank.info because we also found ideas that said the tsunami itself resulted from an earthquake that was caused by shifting plates activated by the melting of Ice on the solid ground of the Antarctica. We wonder how these two ideas can find a common link.
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 16th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
CCMP Fellowships to UNFCCC’s COP17 climate change conference in South Africa.
Submitted by Mike Shanahan from IIED on Friday, 10/06/2011.
The Climate Change Media Partnership (CCMP) is proud to announce the launch of a Fellowship program that will send journalists to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban (COP17) in late 2011.
The Fellowships are open predominantly to journalists from developing countries, but journalists from the US and Russia are also welcome to apply.
Formed in 2007 by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network (EJN), Panos London and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the CCMP has brought developing country journalists to the annual UN climate summits over the past four years.
This has enabled them to cover the summit for their home media organizations, work with experienced and knowledgeable journalists from around the world, and gain a multifaceted understanding of climate change’s global impact. Numerous regional organizations also play a supporting role in the partnership.
As part of the fellowships, the CCMP will cover travel, lodging and daily subsistence expenses, arrange press accreditation at COP17, and provide other support services. The Fellows will benefit from a series of specially designed activities, including an orientation session, breakfast briefings, a field trip and a media clinic.
The CCMP fully respects the editorial independence of all journalists. Throughout the conference, Fellows are free to report as they see fit. We do require that Fellows attend the entire summit, provide copies or summaries of all the stories they file during COP17 for posting on our websites and that they show collegial attitude towards other Fellows. One of the main benefits of this program will be the opportunity for Fellows to exchange views and information with their journalistic peers from around the world.
Fellowship applications open June 6, 2011 and close June 30, 2011 at midnight EDT. All journalists working for media in a developing country, the US or Russia are eligible to apply.
Traditionally, we have only welcomed journalists from developing countries, but due to the challenges of reporting on climate change in the US and Russia, and the availability of funding for Fellows from these countries, we are opening this year’s Fellowships to US and Russian journalists, as well.
Criteria for evaluating applicants will include the prospective Fellow’s demonstrated interest in climate change issues; their audience; and the ability of the Fellowship to provide an opportunity for those journalists who might not otherwise have a chance to cover such events.
At the moment, we only have sufficient funding to bring a small number of Fellows, but are actively working to increase our support in order to increase those numbers. In addition to selecting Fellows whom we hope to announce in September, therefore, we’ll also create a waitlist from which we can select additional journalists as more funding becomes available.
Although we expect there will be a diverse range of experience and regions represented among the Fellows, one goal of this program is to reach audiences – particularly marginalized communities – who are currently underserved when it comes to climate information.
Any queries may be submitted to email@example.com. Initial funding for this program is provided by private US foundations, including the Kendeda Fund and the Smart Family Foundation.
Applicants will be required to:
• Complete and submit an online application form before the 30 June 2011 deadline.
• Provide a support letter from their editor, producer, or supervisor
[Note: Freelance journalists are welcome to apply, but must provide a letter of support indicating that their stories will be published or broadcast]
• Provide two samples of their work, published within the last 12 months
• Have a valid passport that will not expire before June, 2012
Internews Network and Internews Europe developed the Earth Journalism Network to empower and enable journalists from developing countries to cover the environment more effectively. EJN establishes networks of environmental journalists in countries where they don’t exist, and builds their capacity where they do, through training workshops and fellowship programs, the development of briefing materials and online tools, support for production and distribution, and the provision of small grants.
The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is an independent, non-profit research institute and registered charity. Set up in 1971 and based in London, IIED provides expertise and leadership in researching and achieving sustainable development.
Panos London promotes the participation of poor and marginalised people in national and international development debates through media and communication projects. It has been supporting journalists, editors and media organisations in the developing world for 25 years.
International Institute for Environment and Development
3 Endsleigh Street
London WC1H 0DD
Tel: 44 (0) 207 388 2117
Fax: 44 (0) 207 388 2826
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 5th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
This is something we do very seldom – take a comment that was originally intended to be added to a previous article and actually post it as well as an individual posting – this because of its actual informative value.
Comment from Robert del Rosso on June 5, 2011
|RE our posting #18081 of August 20, 2010 - on the PAKISTANI FLOODS OF 2008 -
“August 19, 2010, before the UN started its meetings, the Asia Society in New York opened the discussion on the Pakistan Flood response by diving right to the bottom truth – the latest mega-disasters have one common cause – human induced climate change. It was Financier George Soros who injected the topic and the media was allowed by Ambassador Holbrooke to follow up. See what you can do when you go outside the UN!”
that says the tragedy IS THAT THE IPCC WAS RAKED OVER THE COALS FOR SAYING THAT THE HIMALAYA GLACIERS WOULD MELT BY 2030.
THE MISTAKE THE IPCC MADE WAS IN QUOTING AN INDIAN NEWSPAPER, WHEN THEY SHOULD HAVE QUOTED FROM THE WORK OF OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY’S LONNIE THOMPSON (see below) – HIMALAYAS MISSING RADIOACTIVE LAYERS NEW TIBETAN ICE CORES MISSING A-BOMB BLAST MARKERS; SUGGEST HIMALAYAN ICE FIELDS HAVEN’T GROWN IN LAST 50 YEARS.
COLUMBUS , Ohio – Ice cores drilled last year from the summit of a Himalayan ice field lack the distinctive radioactive signals that mark virtually every other ice core retrieved worldwide.
That missing radioactivity, originating as fallout from atmospheric nuclear tests during the 1950s and 1960s, routinely provides researchers with a benchmark against which they can gauge how much new ice has accumulated on a glacier or ice field.
Lonnie Thompson made public that – a joint U.S.-Chinese team drilled four cores from the summit of Naimona’nyi, a large glacier 6,050 meters (19,849 feet) high on theTibetan Plateau. The researchers routinely analyze ice cores for a host of indicators – particulates, dust, oxygen isotopes, etc. — that can paint a picture of past climate in that region.
Scientists believe that the missing signal means that this Tibetan ice field has been shrinking at least since the A-bomb test half a century ago. If true, this could foreshadow a future when the stockpiles of freshwater will dwindle and vanish, seriously affecting the lives of more than 500 million people on the Indian subcontinent.
“There’s about 12,000 cubic kilometers (2,879 cubic miles) of fresh water stored in the glaciers throughout the Himalayas – more freshwater than in Lake Superior,” explained Lonnie Thompson, distinguished university professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University and a researcher with the Byrd Polar Research Center on campus. “Those glaciers release meltwater each year and feed the rivers that support nearly a half-billion people in that region. The loss of these ice fields might eventually create critical water shortages for people who depend on glacier-fed streams.”
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 2nd, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
Mountain Stories – Stories from the Himalayan Heights
Saturday February 12th 9 AM – 7PM
Mountain Stories will bring to life the high Himalayan experience at this one-day-only Explorers Club event, on Saturday 12 February 2011. Featuring a host of internationally renowned, award-winning authors, film-makers and 8,000-meter climbers, it will be a rare chance to talk with, listen to, and live the stories from those who have made–and are making–Himalayan history.
Our speakers for the day are:
Graham Bowley / Chris Klinke
Jim Clash / Larry Huntington
Click Here for Information on each speaker.
For reservations please call (212) 628-8383
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Click Here for More Information
Explorers Club President
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 29th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
Subject: Kids say the darndest things.
We just received the following from a friend in the US — and rushed to post it — saying to ourselves all the way – HOW TRUE!
A Congressman was seated next to a little girl on an airplane. He turned to her and said, “Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger.”
The little girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the total
stranger, “What would you want to talk about?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” said the congressman.
“How about global warming, universal health care, or stimulus packages?” as he smiled smugly.
“OK,” she said. “Those could be interesting topics but let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff – grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow
turns out a flat patty, but a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?”
The legislator, visibly surprised by the little girl’s intelligence, thinks about it and says, “Hmmm,
I have no idea.”
To which the little girl replies, “Do you really feel qualified to discuss global warming, universal health care, or the economy, when you don’t know shit?”
She then went back to reading her book.
Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 20th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)
August 19, 2010, before the UN started its meetings, the Asia Society in New York opened the discussion on the Pakistan Flood response by diving right to the bottom truth – the latest mega-disasters have one common cause – human induced climate change. It was Financier George Soros who injected the topic and the media was allowed by Ambassador Holbrooke to follow up. See what you can do when you go outside the UN!
Ambassador Dr. Richard C. Holbrooke, former Chairman of the Board of the Asia Society, and now US Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, chaired the 8:30 am event at his New York home – the Asia Society – on the day when for 3:00 pm the UN General Assembly scheduled a pledging event for funding Pakistan relief. At the UN, for the US, spoke Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton, and I saw on TV the complete Asia Society American team sitting in the hall. The team included also Judith A. McHale, US Department of State Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Dr. George Erik Rupp, a theologian, President of the International Rescue Committee and former President of Rice University and Columbia University, and Raymond Offenheiser, President of Oxfam America.
The opening speaker after Ambassador Holbrooke was Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and the panel included also USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah. Then there was a list of guests that made their comments, followed by questions from the floor and answers from Administrator Dr. Shah and Ambassador Qureshi.
L to R: USAID’s Dr. Rajiv Shah, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke. (Else Ruiz/Asia Society)
Judith A. McHale
, a former media head herself ( President and Chief Executive Officer of Discovery Communications – 1987 to 2006), and now with the US Government, said that information is critical. “We work with the government of Pakistan to provide the critical information on the ground. It is posted on www.State.gov
Among the guests were Financier George Soros, whose Open Society Institute and Soros Foundations work on the ground in Pakistan – he announced that he adds another $5 million to the funds that his foundation will work with in helping directly civil society in Pakistan, Christopher MacCormac of the Asian Development Bank, which is leading the effort to assess the flood damage, said much of the economic infrastructure of the area has been destroyed. 2 million ha. of crops were lost and livestock have been devastated, which has taken a large toll on Pakistan farmers. ADB has said that after the immediate contribution of $3 million from the ASia-Pacific Disaster Fund, it would loan Pakistan $2 billion to help the country rebuild, and Pakistan’s rock star turned political activist Salman Ahmad, known as Pakistan’s Bono, or as Holbrooke pointed out, “Bono is the Irish Salman Ahmad,” pointed out a very important topic:
“This is a defining moment in Pakistan,” Ahmad said. “This flood has set back Pakistan in a huge way. Out of 175 million people, 100 million are under 25. Those young people are skeptical, and they feel abandoned by the world. The international community has to win hearts and minds of those 100 million youth in Pakistan.” “If there is a sluggish response the terrorists/extremists win.” He also said that last year he had a concert at the UN to show to the young people in Pakistan that there was hope – he said that he is sure the international community will react positively.
Ambassador Holbrooke said that in the catastrophe there is also an opportunity, that we should not miss - the people in Pakistan should see that the world is ready to help. He found that these elements of hope in opportunity were missing in the day’s article in The New York Times.
For the US the strategic implications are clear. The US pulled out helicopters from the military effort in order to help in the rescue effort. Will the Taliban take advantage of this? A US transport ship with materials arrived to Karachi, and Japan will now also send helicopters to help in the rescue effort.
The meeting was summarized by The Asia Society and there is also the full tape at -
Further, Ms. Nafis Sadik from the UN, now a Trustee Emeritus of the Asia Society and Chair of the Pakistan Foundation at the Asia Society called for Ramadan giving to the Foundation. Other Pakistan-Americans spoke and told of their own efforts to raise funds for the Pakistan relief program as the State’s capacity to meet the challenge has been overstretched. Today Pakistan , one fifth of its territory submerged, 68 million of its people affected, and 1,600 people dead, crops, animal stock, and infrastructure devastated – Pakistan is calling – humanity is calling they said. We saw a video proving every point. The Pakistan-American Foundation was inspired by Hilary Clinton’s “Pakistani Peacebuilders.”
Oxfam America was joined by “Save the Chidren” NGO representative Gorel Bogarde said the obvious – what children most need is food, clean drinking water and shelter. She is most concerned for the moment about the outbreak of water-bourne diseases, such as cholera.
We will not repeat here further figures of loss and the size of the calamity. We assume that these are known by our readers by now – we want rather to point out the blunt comments that resulted from the statement by Mr. Soros who linked what happens to our lack of readiness to do something about the human-made climate change. Pakistan is the biggest of the recent disasters he said and we must deal with the root causes he continued. CLIMATE CHANGE IS THE ROOT CAUSE FOR ALL THESE RECENT DISASTERS. Mr. Soros spoke of the coincidence of the Himalaya glaciers melting and the monsoons getting stronger at the same time.
He also said “there is a certain amount of fatigue in responding to these disasters… [but] we have to come to terms with the fact that they are in fact connected, that there is climate change.”
At the Q & A part of the program, I asked the last question that was intended to bring the attention back to what Mr. Soros said.
My question was something like – I am with Sustainable Development Media and I wonder what Pakistan thinks about Mr. Soros’ statement about climate change – the reason being that the present calamity will repeat itself, so how does one do reconstruction work that makes sense?
Ambassador Holbrooke said Thank You and addressed the question first to Mr. Rajiv Shah.
When asked if there was a connection between the floods and climate change, USAID’s Shah said “while it’s very hard to attribute any single event to what we’re doing to our global environment it is very clear that that trend is leading to a greater number of large hurricanes, a greater number of floods, hotter and dryer conditions in places that are dependent on weather and rainfall for agriculture, and it’s making it very difficult for the least resilient, the most lower income communities of the world to survive.”
We heard from Mr. Christopher MacCormac that after the Earth Quake of 2005 the rebuilding of houses was done according to higher standards – so what we need here in the response to the present calamity is also to build better – but he did not specify, neither did Mr. Holbrooke. This, with the understanding that the increased monsoon floods, joined with the melting of the Himalaya Glaciers, is indeed not a one time shot – but the beginning of a trend – leaves us with very bad premonitions about the future of Pakistan and other low lying lands of the region. This has clearly left me thinking about what means building better? Are we going to take into account these new phenomena resulting from global use of fossil fuels when going from the immediate reaction to the suffering from the floods to the longer range rebuilding stage? This is clearly an area that will be written up much more in the foreseeable future.
Ambassador Qurashi was asked by Mr. Holbrooke to react to the climate change implications. Are there additional run-off from the Himalayas?
The answer included: The Glaciers melt and what we have in Pakistan are Monsoon water plus glacier melts combined. We have above normal moisture.
He also said that “There are local NGOs in Pakistan that help push back the extremists and you have shown the world that you are a helping Nation.”