Daily Archives: March 15, 2014

Sanddornbalance by Miyoko Shida Rigolo

Sanddornbalance was created by Mädir Eugster (Artist, Inventor, Directer of Rigolo Swiss Nouveau Cirque) in 1996 and was played only by himself until 2011. I am a Dancer and Choreographer Japanese living in France but I have also worked in some projects with Mädir Eugster and Rigolo Swiss Nouveau Cirque since 1999. You can find many similar videos in Youtube.

But the original artist is Mädir Eugster and the other artists were all who has the relation with him and Rigolo Swiss Nouveau Cirque.

I was called Miyoko Shida Rigolo when I play Sanddornbalance.

Thank you.

Miyoko Shida Rigolo
Miyoko SHIDA

E120,

Can There Be a Positive Prognosis for Climate Negotiations? | An Economic View of the Environment

Bob-Stavins

I’m writing this brief essay on board my flight to the USA from Europe (where I participated in a workshop at the Center for European Economic Research (ZEW)in Mannheim, Germany). It was an interesting event, the substance of which (the “energy-efficiency paradox”) I will write about in the future, but today’s post is stimulated by a news article I read on board my flight, titled, “U.S. and China May Find Agreements Outside Stymied Climate Talks.”

Bad News from Bonn

In Bonn this past week, international negotiations continued under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The two most important countries in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – China and the United States – apparently engaged in a war of words on the fundamental question of who should do what. In particular, these two giants – and their respective allies in the developed and developing worlds – bickered over their very different interpretations of the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action’s call for an agreement to be reached in Paris in 2015 that is “applicable to all Parties” (countries).

The United States and other industrialized countries have insisted that this calls for an agreement withemissions reduction pledges by all countries (in particular, by the industrialized countries plus the large emerging economies of China, India, Brazil, Korea, Mexico, and South Africa). But China, India, and most countries in the developing world have maintained that because the Durban Platform was adopted under the auspices of the UNFCCC, it calls only for emission reduction commitments by the industrialized countries. In previous essays at this blog, I’ve written about the potential promise that the Durban Platform can offer for a departure from the paralysis that has characterized the past 15 years under the Kyoto Protocol with its dichotomous distinction between emissions-reductions commitments for industrialized (Annex I) countries and no such commitments for other nations. But it is difficult to claim that the rhetoric in Bonn has been encouraging in that regard.

Better News from Beijing and Washington

At the same time, U.S. government officials back in Washington were quoted in the news article I read on board my flight as saying that bilateral negotiations with China – possibly outside of the UNFCCC – are where real progress is most likely to be made. This caught my eye, because it may be the major – and perhaps only — cause for (cautious) optimism regarding the path ahead. I wrote about this reality shortly after the UNFCCC negotiations concluded in Warsaw, Poland, in November, 2013, and recent developments merit returning to it today. My premise is what I perceive to be the potential emerging convergence of interests between these two most important countries in the world when it comes to climate change and international policy to address it – China and the United States. Five factors stand out: emissions, historical responsibility, fuel sources, policy approaches, and geopolitics.

Emissions

First, the annual carbon dioxide (CO2) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of these two countries have already converged. Whereas U.S. CO2 emissions in 1990 were almost twice the level of Chinese emissions, by 2006 China had overtaken the United States. We are the world’s two largest emitters.

Historical Responsibility

Second, cumulative emissions are particularly important, because it is the accumulated stock of GHGs in the atmosphere that cause climate change. Any discussion of distributional equity in the climate realm therefore inevitably turns to considerations of historic responsibility. Looking at the period 1850-2010, the United States led the pack, accounting for nearly 19% of cumulative global emissions of GHGs, with the European Union in second place with 17%, and China third, accounting for about 12% of global cumulative emissions. But that picture is rapidly changing, because emissions are flat to declining throughout the industrialized world, but increasingly rapidly in the large emerging economies, in particular, China. Depending upon the relative rates of economic growth of China and the United States, as well as other factors, China may top all countries in cumulative emissions within 10 to 20 years.

Fuel Sources

Third, China and the United States both have historically high reliance on coal for generating electricity. At a time at which U.S. dependence on coal is decreasing (due to increased supplies of unconventional natural gas and hence lower gas prices ), China continues to rely on coal, but is very concerned about this, partly because of localized health impacts of particulates and other pollutants. Importantly, both countries have very large shale gas reserves. U.S. output (and use for electricity generation) has been increasing rapidly, bringing down CO2 emissions, whereas Chinese exploitation and output have been constrained by available infrastructure (that is, lack of pipelines, but that will change).

Policy Approaches

Fourth, in both countries, sub-national market-based climate policies – in particular, cap-and-trade systems – are moving forward. In the case of the China, seven pilot CO2 cap-and-trade regimes at the local level are under development, while in the United States, California’s ambitious AB-32 cap-and-trade systemcontinues to make progress, and in the northeast, theRegional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is witnessing higher allowance auction prices due to the more severe targets the RGGI states recently adopted.

Geopolitics

Fifth and finally, there is the reality of global geopolitics. If the twentieth century was the American Century, then many observers, including leaders in China, anticipate (or at least hope) that the twenty-first century will be the Chinese Century. In this regard, I’m reminded that I was quoted by David Jolly in the New York Times, as saying, “If it’s your century, you don’t obstruct, you lead.”

Bookmark and Share

E120, e130,

Keystone XL Decision Highlights Coziness Between Oil and Gas Industry, Obama Administration | DeSmogBlog

This past week was good to the oil and gas industry. First, President Obama talked up jobs gains from drilling and labeled natural gas a “bridge fuel” in his State of the Union address, using terminology favored by natural gas advocates.

Then, on Friday, the Obama administration released a much-awaited assessment of the Keystone XL pipeline’s environmental impacts which concluded that pipeline construction “remains unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands,” effectively turning a blind eye to the staggering carbon emissions from tar sands extraction and expansion plans.

While Mr. Obama’s warm embrace of fossil fuels surprised some environmentalists, it should come as little surprise in light of prior comments made by the CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API).

“It’s our expectation it will be released next week,” Jack Gerard confidently told Reuters, referring to the Keystone XL assessment, while many were still speculating that the report might not be issued until after the November mid-term election. “We’re expecting to hear the same conclusion that we’ve heard four times before: no significant impact on the environment.”

Mr. Gerard added that these predictions were based on sources within the administration.

In fact, as the Keystone decision-making process has unfolded, the oil and gas industry has had — as they’ve enjoyed for decades — intensive access to decision-making in the White House. This access has helped form the Obama administration’s schizophrenic energy policy, in which the President backs both renewable energy and fossil fuels without acknowledging that the two are competitors. When fossil fuels gain market share, renewables lose.

While even the World Bank has called for immediate action on climate change, the API, which has worked hard to shape Obama’s views on fossil fuels, has also worked to create doubt around the very concept of fossil-fuel-driven climate change and to downplay the impact their industry has had.

….(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics

Full Planet, Empty Plates: The Geopolitics of Food Scarcity

Lester Brown | March 13, 2014 9:32 am

As food supplies have tightened, a new geopolitics of food has emerged—a world in which the global competition for land and water is intensifying and each country is fending for itself. We cannot claim that we are unaware of the trends that are undermining our food supply and thus our civilization. We know what we need to do.

On the demand side of the food equation, there are four pressing needs—to stabilize world population, eradicate poverty, reduce excessive meat consumption and reverse biofuels policies that encourage the use of food land, or water that could otherwise be used to feed people. Photo credit: Earth Policy Institute

There was a time when if we got into trouble on the food front, ministries of agriculture would offer farmers more financial incentives, like higher price supports, and things would soon return to normal. But responding to the tightening of food supplies today is a far more complex undertaking. It involves the ministries of energy, water resources, transportation, and health and family planning, among others. Because of the looming specter of climate change that is threatening to disrupt agriculture, we may find that energy policies will have an even greater effect on future food security than agricultural policies do. In short, avoiding a breakdown in the food system requires the mobilization of our entire society.

On the demand side of the food equation, there are four pressing needs—to stabilize world population, eradicate poverty, reduce excessive meat consumption and reverse biofuels policies that encourage the use of food land, or water that could otherwise be used to feed people. We need to press forward on all four fronts at the same time.

The world needs to focus on filling the gap in reproductive health care and family planning while working to eradicate poverty. Progress on one will reinforce progress on the other. Two cornerstones of eradicating poverty are making sure that all children—both boys and girls—get at least an elementary school education and rudimentary health care. And the poorest countries need a school lunch program, one that will encourage families to send children to school and that will enable them to learn once they get there.

….(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics
Food-Matters

Duke Energy Announces Coal Ash Spill Cleanup Will Take 2+ Years; Emails Show Collusion Between Regulators and NC Utility

John Deike | March 14, 2014 5:51 pm

Duke Energy, North Carolina’s largest electric and gas supplier, announced Friday it would take the company more than two years to clean up February’s massive coal ash spill that coated 70 miles of the Dan River with 60,000 tons of toxic sludge.

 

Environmental regulators in North Carolina consulted Duke Energy last year before seeking to exclude citizen activists from talks to settle charges that the utility’s coal ash ponds had polluted the state’s groundwater, newly released email exchanges among the regulators indicated on Thursday. Photo credit: Waterkeeper Alliance

The cleanup is part of an effort that includes moving three leaky coal ash dumps away from waterways near Asheville, Charlotte and Danville, VA—a town located along the North Carolina border that uses the Dan River as a drinking water source, reports The Huffington Post.

Part of the plan calls for moving millions of tons of the toxic sludge to Charlotte Douglas International Airport, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Duke asked Charlotte officials on Thursday to examine plans for storing the ash in fully lined, covered areas versus the open, unlined pits that currently house the coal ash. Duke estimated the coal ash transfer would take about five years.

Duke President Lynn Good sent Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary John Skvarla a letter with details, but Skvarla and other state regulators said Duke’s plans fall short and don’t address cleaning up the company’s nearly three dozen coal ash dumps that are scattered across the state.

“There are far too many questions left unanswered, and Duke Energy should provide the information we originally requested, including the estimated costs of cleanup, plans for the future and a detailed timeline,” said Skvarla.

However, despite the state’s criticisms, both sides have now become embroiled in another scandal involving a lawsuit over the coal ash pits.

….(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics

Keystone XL Activists Labeled Possible Eco-Terrorists in Internal TransCanada Documents

Documents recently obtained by Bold Nebraska show that TransCanada – owner of the hotly-contested Keystone XL (KXL) tar sands pipeline – has colluded with an FBI/DHS Fusion Center in Nebraska, labeling non-violent activists as possible candidates for “terrorism” charges and other serious criminal charges.

Further, the language in some of the documents is so vague that it could also ensnare journalists, researchers and academics, as well.

TransCanada also built a roster of names and photos of specific individuals involved in organizing against the pipeline, including 350.org‘s Rae Breaux, Rainforest Action Network‘s Scott Parkin and Tar Sands Blockade‘s Ron Seifert. Further, every activist ever arrested protesting the pipeline’s southern half is listed by name with their respective photo shown, along with the date of arrest.

It’s PSYOPs-gate and “fracktivists” as “an insurgency” all over again, but this time it’s another central battleground that’s in play: the northern half of KXL, a proposed border-crossing pipeline whose final fate lies in the hands of President Barack Obama.

The southern half of the pipeline was approved by the Obama Admin. via a March 2013 Executive Order. Together, the two pipeline halves would pump diluted bitumen (“dilbit”) south from the Alberta tar sands toward Port Arthur, TX, where it will be refined and shipped to the global export market.

Activists across North America have put up a formidable fight against both halves of the pipeline, ranging from the summer 2011 Tar Sands Action to the ongoing Tar Sands Blockade. Apparently, TransCanada has followed the action closely, given the level of detail in the documents.

Another Piece of the Puzzle

Unhappy with the protest efforts that would ultimately hurt their bottom-line profits, TransCanada has already filed a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) against Tar Sands Blockade, which was eventually settled out of court in Jan. 2013. That was just one small piece of the repressive puzzle, though it sent a reverberating message to eco-activists: they’re being watched.

In May 2013, Hot Springs School District in South Dakota held a mock bomb drill, with the mock “domestic terrorists” none other than anti-Keystone XL activists.

“The Hot Springs School District practiced a lockdown procedure after pretending to receive a letter from a group that wrote ‘things dear to everyone will be destroyed unless continuation of the Keystone pipeline and uranium mining is stopped immediately,” explained the Rapid City Journal. “As part of the drill, the district’s 800 students locked classroom doors, pulled down window shades and remained quiet.”

….(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics

BBC News – US nuclear site fire ‘was preventable’

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-26587349
14 March 2014 Last updated at 19:49 ET

The BBC’s Jane O’Brien takes an underground tour of the nuclear waste site before the radiation leak

Related Stories

Maintenance and safety lapses were at the root of a lorry fire that shut down the only US underground nuclear waste repository in February, a report says.

The report also cited problems with emergency response and oversight at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), outside Carlsbad, New Mexico.

The state’s two senators called the findings “deeply concerning”.

WIPP, which holds specific kinds of defence nuclear waste, remains closed after a radiation leak last month.

It is still unclear if the fire and the leak, which contaminated 17 workers, are related. A separate report on the leak is expected in the upcoming weeks.

The accidents are the first major incidents at the salt repository, which began taking radioactive waste from US defence sites 15 years ago.

‘Nuclear versus mine’

In a report released on Friday, the US energy department’s Accident Investigation Board (AIB) found the 5 February fire was preventable.

The root cause, the board wrote, was the failure of the current and previous contractors running the site to “adequately recognise and mitigate the hazard regarding a fire in the underground”.

Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics
Nuclear