Monday, December 4, 2017

A new Bill to decriminalise small quantities of cannabis was tabled in the House of Assembly on Friday.


Hamilton, Bermuda, Dec 04 2017: The Misuse of Drugs (Decriminalisation of Cannabis) Amendment Act was formally proposed by Zane DeSilva, the Minister of Social Development and Sport.

The Bill would decriminalise quantities of cannabis less than 7 grams.

However, the Bill states police will still have the authority to seize any amount of cannabis, and the minister shall make regulations to provide for substance abuse education or treatment for those found with the drug.

A similar Bill was debated and approved by the House of Assembly in May, but the legislation never reached the Senate due to the timing of the General Election.

While both pieces of legislation were aimed at decriminalising quantities of cannabis less than 7 grams, the latest Bill specifies that the Director of Public Prosecutions can still proceed with charges if there is evidence the drugs were intended for supply.

The new legislation also lacks a commencement date. More

Top Credit Agency to Cities and States: Prepare for Climate Change or Face Lower Credit Rating

Yale E360

Moody’s Investors Service, one of the top credit rating agencies in the world, warned cities and states in the U.S. that unless they prepare for climate change, the agency could lower their credit ratings, making it harder for them to obtain low-interest bonds.

The agency told clients this week that Moody’s analysts examine the climate risks that municipalities and states face and their efforts to plan and prepare for these impacts. These include both long-term threats, such as sea level rise, as well as what Moody’s calls “climate shocks” — extreme weather like floods, droughts, and coastal storms. These impacts, the company said, increase a city or state’s risk of defaulting on a loan. https://goo.gl/xiLj6T

Friday, November 24, 2017

You can't negotiate with a hurricane


It's impossible to negotiate with a hurricane. Or a dying coral reef. Maybe it is unsurprising that 23 years of climate negotiations have not abated the dangerous industrial activity we know causes climate ecocide as well as ecological ecocide. After all, the system used to address the problem is based on trade and commerce, not justice.

The Paris agreement was useful in that it proves we all know and agree that industrial activity is linked to climate change. No government minister or CEO can claim lack of knowledge. What it lacks is legal teeth. Without a crime of ecocide, we cannot hope to seriously address the causes of climate loss and damage.

RE-ARRANGING DECKCHAIRS ON THE TITANIC
The COP23 climate negotiations in Bonn take us no closer to a just outcome. It's like watching an intricate rearranging of deckchairs on the Titanic, complete with special mechanisms, processes and interim reports. The Pacific islands were well represented thanks to Germany, and yet the touching address from young Fijian Timoci Naulusala "it’s not about what, or how, or who, but it’s about what you can do as an individual" sums up the quantum failure of political will as a whole.

For the Monsantos and Rio Tintos of this world, it signals the go-ahead to continue to recklessly disregard their climate and ecological responsibilities. Timoci Naulusala's statement - whilst well meant - implictly accepts the transfer of responsibility away from where it truly lies, from the industrial polluters
https://goo.gl/R6xj76

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Climate change is luring Kodiak bears away from their iconic salmon streams


The researchers found that due to warm spring temperatures on Kodiak, the berries were developing fruit weeks earlier, at the same time as the peak of the salmon migration; 2014 was one of the warmest years on the island since record-keeping began 60 years ago. Although there will continue to be considerable variation in Kodiak's climate, the warming trend is likely to continue.

The research team analyzed the bears' scat to find direct evidence that the bears were consuming the berries and not the salmon.

"An earlier berry crop shut down one of the most iconic predator-prey scenes in nature," said Jonny Armstrong, an ecologist at OSU and member of the research team. "As climate change reschedules ecosystems, species that were once separated in time are now getting a chance to interact--in this case the berries, bears and salmon. This is going to have large impacts that are hard to predict."

For example, birds that depend on bears pulling salmon out of the stream, could be seriously affected, he said. Other far-reaching effects may include changes in bear demographics due to the change in their diet, evolving salmon populations and impacts on plant pollinators.

"It is a strange, indirect effect of climate change," Deacy said. "These bears eat dozens of different foods throughout the year but now two of them are overlapping. This is causing a disruption in the food web that could have profound implications for the ecology of the island."

The abundance of salmon and berries on Kodiak Island are why there are so many bears there, and why they are so large, said Jack Stanford, director emeritus at the University of Montana's Flathead Lake Biological Station and one of the study's co-authors.

"This overlap in their resources forces the bears to make a choice that could in the long run result in fewer bears and/or unexpected changes in ecosystem structure," Stanford said. More

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

It is time for the Cayman Islands to implement bike lanes?

Why Olympian Adam van Koeverden supports bike lanes - People can't be divided neatly into cyclists and motorists, says Adam van Koeverden.

The 2004 winner of the Lou Marsh Trophy, given to Canada's top athlete, is himself a driver on some days, a bike-rider on others. He's not alone. "Most cyclists also spend time in a car, taxi or Uber," he explains. The goal isn't taking sides but finding a way for all road-users to move safely through the city. Toward that end, he supports separated bicycle lanes.

"If there's no lane, it's a scramble," says van Koeverden, who was once sent to hospital after being doored by a truck driver. "But when a lane's been installed there's an order to the road -- there's a place for cars and a place for bikes."

The issue is successful cohabitation: protected lanes allow two- and four-wheeled vehicles to live securely side-by-side.

The two-time world champion and Olympic gold-medallist in sprint kayak likes what he sees in Europe. In Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands, for example, the relationship between automobiles and bikes is much less adversarial. There's "less 'us versus them'," he argues. There's an understanding that protected lanes also benefit drivers because "when I'm driving I don't want to hit a cyclist."

As well, European motorists realize that the more people use bikes, the less congestion there is for those taking the car.

Van Koeverden, 35, has been a Toronto cyclist since 2008. His motivation is largely pragmatic. "I use my bike a lot. It makes total sense to save money on parking and gas. It's just practical." In addition to using the bike for commuting, he enjoys riding dirt trails in the city's rugged Don Valley. "It's a little known fact that we have really, really good mountain biking in the heart of the city," he told the Metro newspaper in June.

As a kayaker, van Koeverden spends much time in lakes. Not surprisingly, he has a passion for water, sports and the environment -- issues he generously supports as an ambassador for WaterAid, Right to Play and the David Suzuki Foundation. His charitable work takes him across the country and around the world: Right to Play is supporting Indigenous youth in Canada; WaterAid is building wells in African nations.

Back home in Toronto, he's endorsing the Bloor bike lanes, which come to a council vote this fall. He hopes city hall will make the lanes -- currently a pilot -- into permanent features.

Asked what single message he'd send the mayor regarding the Bloor lanes, he answers succinctly, "Keep them." Their great value, he suggests, is building civic harmony. "I listen to experts and I haven't heard anyone dispute the value of peaceful co-existence between bicycles and autos." More

Saturday, August 19, 2017

IMF admits disastrous love affair with the euro and apologises for the immolation of Greece


The International Monetary Fund’s top staff misled their own board, made a series of calamitous misjudgments in Greece, became euphoric cheerleaders for the euro project, ignored warning signs of impending crisis, and collectively failed to grasp an elemental concept of currency theory.

This is the lacerating verdict of the IMF’s top watchdog on the fund’s tangled political role in the eurozone debt crisis, the most damaging episode in the history of the Bretton Woods institutions.

While the fund’s actions were understandable in the white heat of the crisis, the harsh truth is that the bailout sacrificed Greece in a “holding action” to save the euro and north European banks. Greece endured the traditional IMF shock of austerity, without the offsetting IMF cure of debt relief and devaluation to restore viability.

It describes a “culture of complacency”, prone to “superficial and mechanistic” analysis, and traces a shocking breakdown in the governance of the IMF, leaving it unclear who is ultimately in charge of this extremely powerful organisation. More

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Vehicle Centric-Towns and Communities

If one wants to walk from AL Thompson's Home Center to Parker's you have to cross the Butterfield round-about.

There is no safe way for me to do so. I and all pedestrians have to risk crossing four lanes of traffic to get to the East side of the round-about, and then after walking North on North Sound Road one have to cross another two lanes to get to Parker's.

Did I mention that there are no Pedestrian Crossings anywhere on the route? Trying to bicycle this route would e even more dangerous.

We need Cycle Lanes and Pedestrian Crossings, or perhaps pedestrian over passes. The few cycle lanes that we do have are not properly maintained and end up being covered with gravel and debris. The outcome of this is that bicyclists ride on the left of the vehicle lane which can be dangerous. Although the Cayman Islands Government has a street sweeping machine it is rarely used. Furthermore, to protect cyclists there would ideally be a curb separating the cycle lane from the vehicle lane.

A few days ago a visitor, trying to cross the street at Owen Roberts International Airport was struck, allegedly by a taxi and is, according to the press, was in intensive care at the George Town Hospital. https://goo.gl/szAqQV The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, reported that 62-year-old Vary Jones Leslie had succumbed to her injuries. She was using the cross walk when she was struck.

Livable Streets https://goo.gl/qto9Ku
People have always lived on streets. Our houses in the Cayman Islands traditionally faced the streets. They have been the places where children first learned about the world, where neighbors met and the social centers of towns and cities.
Paris is fighting pollution and vehicular mayhem, perhaps having realized the their mistake. The city will ban diesel cars and double the number of bike lanes.
When Paris banned cars with even-numbered plates for a day in 2014, pollution dropped by 30%. Now, the city wants to discourage cars from driving in the city center at all.

Chicago-based architects Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill designed a new residential area for the Chinese city of Chendu.The layout makes it easier to walk than drive, with streets designed so that people can walk anywhere in 15 minutes.
While Chengdu won't completely ban cars, only half the roads in the 80,000-person city will allow vehicles. The firm originally planned to make this happen by 2020, but zoning issues are delaying the deadline. https://goo.gl/fFavMf

Given that the Cayman Islands is one of the highest emitters per capita of carbon dioxide globally, at 9.2 tonnes per capita https://goo.gl/Bf3Ox, it would behoove us, from an environmental point-of-view, as well from a health perspective, to encourage our residents to utilize human powered transport, walking, bicycles as well as low-carbon devices like the Segway transporter.

However, for this to happen we will need designated lanes to separate walkers, cyclists and Segway operators from cars and trucks. To ensure that bicyclists use these lanes the lanes will have to be maintained and swept of debris on a regular basis. I have, unfortunately noticed, on those of our roads that do have bike lanes, riders are forced to ride on the extreme edge of the lane, almost in the vehicle lane, due to there being a build up of gravel and debris from not being maintained.

Bermuda, our colonial neighbor to the north has long striven to curb traffic by limiting the size and quantity of motor vehicles allowed onto the island. Bermuda is smaller than Grand Cayman, having only 23 square miles of land.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Morgan Stanley picks Frankfurt as post-Brexit hub

How will financial institutions deserting London affect the Cayman Islands?

The latest financial institution making plans to relocate jobs away from the UK is Morgan Stanley, which has announced that Frankfurt will become its post-Brexit EU hub, a move that could shift an initial 200 jobs to Germany.

Morgan Stanley joins Standard Chartered and Nomura, both of which also picked Frankfurt as a new EU base, and JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, which are moving jobs out of London to various other centres. Morgan Stanley’s asset management arm is to relocate to Dublin, as several European cities woo jittery banks that will not hang around to see what final deal is hammered out between the UK and Europe before they start looking elsewhere. A competition to host the UK’s bankers post-Brexit would have as its slogan: “Better in than out.”

The key for banks is regulation. The moment it was announced that the UK would leave the single market, the die was cast. Even if Brexit goes smoothly from a regulatory standpoint, which is wishful thinking, certain financial institutions that cater to Europe would need to move onshore, since conducting business would be more expensive otherwise. In some cases, it is mandatory from a compliance perspective that transactions are onshore. The beginning of a flight to Europe is not necessarily a hedge against uncertainty. In many instances, there is no choice.
https://goo.gl/iH1QGy

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Basic income possible solution to human rights problem of poverty


The basic values of the international human rights system are under attack in a new diverse ways in 2017, and one important part of the explanation is the rapidly growing sense of economic insecurity afflicting large segments of societies, said Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.

“People feel exposed, vulnerable, overwhelmed and helpless and some are being systematically marginalized both economically and socially,” he said. “But the human rights community has barely engaged with this resulting phenomenon of deep economic insecurity.”

Alston made his statement during the presentation of his report to the Human Rights Council, taking place in Geneva throughout June. The focus of the report is “universal basic income” as a means to protect and promote human rights.

“In many respects, basic income offers a bold and imaginative solution to pressing problems that are about to become far more intractable as a result of the directions in which the global economy appears inexorably to be heading,” Alston said. More

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

NBSAP Forum Free Webinar Series are Back

The NBSAP Forum Free Webinar Series are Back. The Forum this time focusses on "Strengthening Indigenous Peoples Capacity Building". Click here to learn more about the speakers and to register for the free webinar series https://goo.gl/eY7bmB.

WEBINAR SERIES ABSTRACT: Since time immemorial, indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) have served as custodians of the environment by protecting and sustainably using a variety of ecosystems. They often live in areas with a high concentration of biodiversity, and their knowledge and practices can be a source of traditional as well as innovative conservation and sustainable development solutions to safeguard the planet. Nevertheless, indigenous peoples’ territories (lands and waters) are increasingly under threat from economic development models that prioritise wealth creation.

As voiced in various workshops supported by UNDP's Equator Initiative, IPLCs are requesting capacity building opportunities that support them to better understand autonomous governance structures; apply international legal frameworks at the national level; learn effective conflict resolution and negotiation skills; and more effectively communicate messages to protect their lands, waters, cultures and well-being.

To help meet these goals, the NBSAP Forum Host Partners and the Equator Initiative are co-hosting a five-part IPLC focused webinar series in July 2017.

Webinar #1: International Law and Indigenous Rights: National Implementation and Access to Justice. 11th July 2017, 9:00 EDT. IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE

Webinar #2: Derechos de Pueblos Indígenas a la Tierra, el Territorio y a los Recursos Naturales: Estándares Internacionales y Mecanismos de Protección. 13 de Julio 2017, 9:00 EDT. IN SPANISH LANGUAGE

Webinar #3: Indigenous Communities Respond to Threats: Conflict Resolution and Negotiation Strategies. 18th July 2017, 8:00 EDT. IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE

Webinar #4: Claves para una comunicación intercultural e inclusiva. 25 de Julio de 2017, 10:00 EDT. IN SPANISH LANGUAGE

Webinar #5: Indigenous Ubuntu Resurgence. 27th July 2017, 10:30 EDT. IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE

REGISTER HERE https://goo.gl/z6fkuA and LEARN MORE ABOUT THE SPEAKERS: https://goo.gl/eY7bmB.

Click here to join the NBSAP Forum httpt://nbsapforum.net/#create-account. Don’t forget to subscribe for our NBSAP Forum YouTube channel!

We look forward to your participation. Thank you

Monday, July 3, 2017

Student’s Post, on NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Summer School on Sea Dumped Chemical Weapons

Student’s Post, on NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Summer School on Sea Dumped Chemical Weapons, Canada | International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions

Reflections from the Field: A Historian Attends a Science Workshop on Underwater Munitions, 27 June to 1 July 2016.

Pasta http:// Link above in your browser to see pictures related to article.

By Dr. Alex Souchen, SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic, and Disarmament Studies

The view was simply magnificent. Looking across Halifax Harbour from Dartmouth, I could see a bustling waterfront full of people and tourist shops. Sea gulls flew overhead while several boats traversed the upper harbour heading out toward the Atlantic Ocean. The breeze was salty, the air was warm, and the skies were clear and sunny. But the beautiful scenery obscured the dangers hidden far below the surface. Along coastlines around the world, a threatening legacy of war and disarmament lays buried in the seabed: dumped conventional and chemical munitions. Primarily thrown in the oceans between the 1920s and 1970s, these tools of death and destruction are now corroding away and polluting their surrounding marine environments with toxic chemicals and carcinogens.

The total amount dumped at sea in the twentieth century remains unknown, but experts estimate that roughly 1 billion tons of conventional and chemical munitions were disposed of in the oceans. Depending on whom you ask, opinions on the dangers will vary. Some scientists believe that underwater munitions should be left where they are and monitored closely for any serious changes, while others consider them an unfolding environmental disaster and advocate for their immediate removal. More

Do We Want George Town Looking Like This?


Cruise Ships in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Our Oceans, Our Islands, Our Future


With the leadership of H.E. Tommy E. Remengesau Jr., President of Palau, H.E. Vincent Meriton, Vice-President of Seychelles, The Hon. Kedrick Pickering, Deputy Premier of the British Virgin Islands, Ambassador Spencer Thomas of Grenada, alongside Global Island Partnership members and friends, the Partnership coordinated a series of events that demonstrated the leadership of islands united in strong partnerships to implement Sustainable Development Goal 14 and support strong outcomes for the UN Oceans Conference held in New York at the United Nations.

Download the GLISPA Event Spotlight: Our Oceans, Our Islands, Our Future here.

Since its launch in 2006, the Global Island Partnership has engaged high-level leaders to catalyze US$150 million for island action and assisted 35+ countries to launch or strengthen major sustainable island commitments. The Partnership now has more than 25 members and 30 friends working together to build resilient and sustainable island communities. We welcome entities interested in supporting its mission to apply for membership. Learn more: http://www.glispa.org/participate

Our postal address: IUCN (GLISPA), 1630 Connecticut Ave NW #300, Washington, DC 20009, USA

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Chomsky: ‘US is racing toward the precipice, while the world is trying to save itself

Neoliberalism has been putting the working people of the world in competition with each other, but allowing freedom of capital, and in fact a high degree of protection for capital. So, for example, intellectual property rights are a huge tax on the population,” said Chomsky, who noted Microsoft’s stranglehold on tech patents, and Apple’s tax avoidance schemes as means of depriving ordinary people.

Chomsky, who co-authored the prominent 1992 media study Manufacturing Consent, said that these changes have been pinned by “indoctrination” with opponents marginalized and even dismissed as “anti-American.”

“Aside from the US, I don’t know any other non-totalitarian, non-authoritarian country where the concept even exists. That’s a very striking concept. If you’re critical of policy – you’re anti-American,” said Chomsky. More

Friday, June 9, 2017

Finland's new, weird school 'courses' say a lot about how we teach our kids.

There are mathematicians, sure, or engineers, but even math-heavy jobs still need strong foundations in grammar, technology, and history if they want to be successful. So it's a little weird that American schools divide these subjects so heavily, like they are ingredients in a soup.

In Finland, they're trying a different approach. Rather than teach subjects as dry, separate ingredients, from now on, it's all cooking together.

Finland's concept is called "phenomenon-based learning." Here's how it works:

Rather than focus on one subject like math, students and teachers sit down and pick a real-world topic that interests them — climate change, for example — which is then dissected from different angles. What's the science behind it? How are nations planning on dealing with it? What literature is there about it?

This isn't a replacement for traditional subjects — those are still taught too. Instead, these topic-based studies are their own course and an opportunity to tie a bunch of skills together. The kids learn holistically and use real-world skills (like using technology) to tackle a subject the same way they would as an adult.

Why does this matter for us? Because while American schools struggle, Finland is literally at the top of the education game.


Inside a Finnish classroom in 2005. Photo from Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images.
Finland's schools are extraordinary. Their primary school system was ranked #1 in the world in 2016, according to the World Economic Forum. The United States, for comparison, ranked 39th. In short, we have some things to learn from the Finns.

Finland has been experimenting with phenomenon-based learning since the 1980s. Other schools around the world have too, but thanks to a curriculum change in August 2016, every school in Finland will start adding these special topic-based courses. Each school will be able to tailor the specifics of the idea to fit them best.

Getting kids ready for the real world is tough. There isn't a single magical solution. But this looks like a pretty neat idea.

The program’s not without trade-offs or critics. Some teachers are worried that less able students might struggle to keep up, for instance. But Finnish heads of education, like Anneli Rautiainen, are hoping the benefits will shine through, as the BBC reported.

Education is complicated, but if there's anyone we should be paying attention to, it's Finland.
http://flip.it/nxdhqF

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Caribbean Transitional Energy Conference (CTEC)


Caribbean economies suffer from some of the highest electricity prices in the world.

Despite their abundance of renewable energy sources, Cayman has a relatively low level of renewable energy penetration; the economy continues to spend a large proportion of its GDP on imported fossil fuels and residents and businesses continue to pay some of the highest electricity bills in the region. This is a common situation among island nations.

There is a clear opportunity for Cayman to emerge as a regional leader in developing solutions to address climate change through the adoption of renewable energy which will reduce the dependency on fossil fuels and provide key environmental, social and economic benefits.

With the Cayman Islands National Energy Policy now in place, a framework for transition is complete and seizing upon that vision will be critical to affecting positive change for the Cayman Islands and all those who follow.

The recent achievements for islands at COP21 provide a strong driver for action focused on carbon reduction goals. Given that Cayman ranks highly among islands as carbon emitters, it is critical that we position ourselves as leaders in carbon reduction and meet the goals set out in the National Energy Policy and the Paris agreement.

Cayman seeks to stand with other islands in the region and across the world to embrace a low carbon future and to stand on the front line of demonstrating solutions to climate change while delivering cheaper, secure, reliable and economically feasible energy solutions.
Who should attend?

Be part of Cayman’s low carbon future by joining an event which seeks to set out our vision, renewable road-map and opportunities.

The event will bring together delegates from public, private and non-profit sectors, underlining our collaborative approach to a sustainable future- government officials, project developers, manufacturers, investors and key players across the non-profit landscape.

Join government official and industry leads and participate in interactive panel discussions that seek to establish what the journey ahead looks like and how we address the challenges and maximise the opportunities.

Make the most of key networking opportunities, bringing together local, regional and global participation.
For More Information and Register

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Carribean Transitionary Energy Conference 2017 - Cayman Islands

WHY CAYMAN? WHY NOW?

Caribbean economies suffer from some of the highest electricity prices in the world. Despite their abundance of renewable energy sources, Cayman has a relatively low level of renewable energy penetration; the economy continues to spend a large proportion of its GDP on imported fossil fuels.

The Caribbean Transitional Energy Conference (CTEC) is about building our resilience as a small nation, about diversifying our energy sector and the way that we do business.

It is about ensuring sustainable social and economic growth through strong leadership, recognising the threat of climate change and the vulnerability of islands across the world and voicing our commitment to take the measures that we can take now. For more Information and Rehistration

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Cayman to host transitional energy conference | Cayman Compass

Cayman to host transitional energy conference | Cayman Compass

Ocean conservationist Fabien Cousteau and entrepreneur Richard Branson will be the keynote speakers at the Caribbean Transitional Energy Conference at the Kimpton Seafire Resort in May.

Mr. Cousteau will appear in person at the event, while Mr. Branson will deliver his speech by video link.

The event will feature speeches and discussions on low carbon pathways, commercial opportunities in the sector, and the potential for island nations to increase renewable energy use through new storage technologies. There will also be presentations from the Caribbean Utilities Company and Dart Real Estate and on Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion, a renewable energy method being piloted in Cayman.

Sponsored by government and the Dart Group and organized by the Cayman Renewable Energy Association, the event is scheduled for May 11 and 12.

James Whittaker, president of CREA, said the Cayman Islands has the opportunity to emerge as a regional leader in the renewable energy sector.

“Cayman seeks to stand with other islands in the region and across the world to embrace a low carbon future and to stand on the front line of delivering secure, reliable and economically feasible clean energy solutions.”

(https://www.caymancompass.com/2017/04/24/cayman-to-host-transitional-energy-conference/

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

New self-paced courses! #Law4Dev


International law online courses
New and self-paced!
Investment: $200 USD
UNITAR is pleased to inform that registrations are open for our upcoming and new self-paced online courses on International Law, Environmental Law, Law of International Organizations and Law of Treaties. UNITAR contributes to the implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), sustainable development and peace by delivering capacity development and knowledge sharing initiatives in international law.


International Law

This self-paced course aims to provide you with a comprehensive knowledge of the fundamentals of International Law that is necessary to understand the importance, role and purpose of international law in the contemporary legal order and international community.
Read more and apply!


International Environmental Law

This self-paced course will provide you with the basics of International Environmental Law (IEL) by identifying its sources and fundamental principles, the law-making process, its main actors, the implementation and compliance procedures needed to understand and implement Multilateral Environmental Agreements.
Read more and apply!

Law of International Organizations

This self-paced course aims to provide you with a comprehensive knowledge of the key issues of the
Law of International Organizations that is necessary
to understand the role and position of international organizations in the contemporary legal order.
Read more and apply!

Law of Treaties

This self-paced course aims to provide you with the fundamental theoretical and practical knowledge of
the key issues surrounding the Law of Treaties. You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the provisions of the universal conventions as the sources of the International Law of Treaties and developed critical skills of analysis and interpretation of cases regarding contemporary practice.
Read more and apply!

United Nations Institute for Training and Research
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
http://www.unitar.org/

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Global Green honors Standing Rock Chairman on Feb. 22 at Pre-Oscar Gala

I hope you will​ help Global Green and the Hollywood community stand with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe as we honor Chairman David Archambault, II on February 22 at our 14th Annual Pre-Oscar Gala that will be held at the brand new TAO restaurant in Hollywood.

The gala will be the first opportunity for the Hollywood community to respond to the broad environmental attacks from the new Administration and will raise money and awareness for our efforts locally and nationally to fight for climate initiatives that help communities like the Sioux that are under direct threat. Please find our invitation attached below. I do​ hope you will be able to join us for what promises to be a wonderful and critically important evening. To purchase tickets or tables click here.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

What if we gave universal income to people in biodiversity hotpots?

What if we gave universal income to people in biodiversity hotpots?

Writer and professor, Ashley Dawson, argues in his new book that capitalism is behind our current mass extinction crisis. But installing universal guaranteed income in biodiversity hotspots may be one remedy.

Around five hundred years ago, Europeans brought about the invention of modern day capitalism, a system that was rooted in colonialism, slavery and environmental destruction, according to Dawson.

“Capitalism is an economic system founded on ceaseless expansion,” Dawson, who specializes in Postcolonial studies, said. “It must grow at a compound rate or it will experience convulsive economic and social crises. The contradictions of this system are patently self-evident: an economic system based on infinite expansion must inevitably crash into the natural limits of finite ecosystems.”

Although capitalism has spread over the world in the last half millennium, Dawson argues it didn’t have to be this way.

“The global expansion of capitalism was not a deepening of some inherent human drive to environmental destruction, but a complete transformation in the foundation of human societies, the substitution of an ecocidal and genocidal system for the relatively sustainable social forms that preceded it.” More

Thursday, January 26, 2017

CREA (Cayman Renewable Energy Association) / UCCI Solar Course

CREA (Cayman Renewable Energy Association) in conjunction with UCCI will be holding a renewable energy installation course as listed below.

Week 1 January 30 -February 3 Intermediate Solar Design and Installation course level 1 - 8 to 12 noon and 1pm to 4pm for 5 days
Week 2 No classes
Week 3 February 13-17 Intermediate Solar Design and Installation course level 2 - 8 to 12noon and 1pm to 4pm for 5 days

There will be no weekend or night classes.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Monday, June 27, 2016

IOM, Governments Launch Guidelines to Protect Migrants in Countries in Crisis

IOM, Governments Launch Guidelines to Protect Migrants in Countries in Crisis
15 June 2016: The International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched a set of guidelines for improving responses to ensure the wellbeing of migrants in countries experiencing conflict and natural disasters, following the outcome of a government-led, multi-stakeholder initiative launched in May 2014.   The Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC) guidelines, released on 10 June 2016, highlight the great diversity of migrants' situations, including: those who may be in an irregular situation; those who are fleeing natural disasters or violence; those who are victims of trafficking or in bonded labor; and those who are traditionally nomadic, such as some indigenous pastoralists. The guidelines were launched at an event in New York on 15 June, to be followed by an event in Geneva on 28 June.   The voluntary, non-binding guidelines include recommended actions for crisis preparedness, emergency responses, and post-crisis actions. The document notes that conflict and disasters often disproportionately affect migrants, who may become stranded or experience greater vulnerability. The IOM report also explains the basic principles underpinning the recommendations, and suggests ways to put the guidelines into practice. These include researching migration trends and demographics, requiring employers to maintain data on migrant workers, carrying out "positive communications" to counter prejudice against migrants, and providing language training to enable migrants to communicate in the language of their host country.   At the UN High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development (HLD) in 2013, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for addressing the plight of stranded migrants, and Peter Sutherland, UN Special Representative for International Migration, called for developing better ways to protect and assist migrants in crisis. Subsequently, the MICIC initiative was launched at the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) in Stockholm, Sweden, in May 2014. The US and Philippines co-chaired the MICIC process, supported by a working group with representatives from the Governments of Australia, Bangladesh, Costa Rica and Ethiopia, the European Commission, IOM, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the International Centre for Migration Policy and Development (ICMPD) and other partners. IOM served as the secretariat for this initiative, and the US and Australia funded several stakeholder consultations on the issue.   Separately, the EU has supported a four-year project launched in January 2015, known as ‘Migrants in Countries in Crisis; Supporting an Evidence-based Approach for Effective and Cooperative State Action.' This project aims to support and complement the MICIC Initiative through research, regional consultations, and capacity building activities with governments, with particular attention being paid to socio-economic impacts of crises with migration implications. [MICIC Website] [Publication: Guidelines to Protect Migrants in Countries Experiencing Conflict or Natural Disaster] [ICMPD Webpage on EU Project]       Read More

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Competency Based Training In Barbados - A Silent Revolution?

 

Young Barbadians sign their contracts for participation in training

“We needed to reduce the rates of accidents during the transfer of cargo resulting from improper rigging of containers at the Bridgetown Port, the major port of entry in Barbados. By training dockers, operators, and cargo supervisors in appropriate lashing and unlashing, as well as securing cargo according to international standards, we will reduce the damage to cargo (…) and increase productivity”

 

The story above is one of the many that emerge from the silent revolution going on in Barbados, one that is transforming how technical and vocational trainingcontributes to the development of the human capital and the competitiveness of this small island of 300,000 people. Behind this revolution is the Competency Based Training Fund (CBTF), an innovative scheme to finance employer-driven, competency-based training initiatives that respond to industry standards and lead to national and international certification of trainees.

The upgrading of the competencies and skills of the island’s workforce has been at the center of Barbados’ Human Resource Development Strategy (HRD) for the last five years. As a result, the central government and the IDB developed the “Skills for the Future Program”, an initiative to improve the quality and relevance of secondary education by strengthening academic core skills and “life skills”; as well as to align the supply and demand for skills by supporting an employer-driven training system. It is in the context of this program that the Competency Based Training Fund (CBTF) emerged as a way to creative productive partnerships between key stakeholders.

The CBTF’s guidelines require employers to partner with training institutions to jointly identify skills gaps and develop competency-based training modules that respond to the needs of their industries. Trainees are then assessed and certified by the national agency, the TVET Council, according to national or international standards. This is a critical change in the way training programs were designed, developed and implemented, because it promotes a closer and more continuous interaction between employers, training providers, and the external assessing/certifying public agency.

This new approach is a shift from traditional training in Barbados where providers defined the content of the training; the development of industry recognized standards and certifications was slow; and the engagement of training institutions with employers was limited.  Moreover, in-house company training by employers was scarce and short-termed, lacking a strategic perspective and the resources needed to develop competency-based standards and certifications.

Evidence of the revolutionary changes initiated by the CBTF two years ago can be seen in the size and nature of training initiatives and, more importantly, in the way in which the program has truly redefined the dynamics of interaction between actors. As of this year, more than 100 proposals in key sectors such as hospitality and tourism, energy, and manufacturing have been submitted as a result of strategic partnerships between employers and training providers.  Out of these 100, the best 25 proposals have been financed and led to the training of almost 4,000 men and women in relevant competency-based programs.

The success of competency-based training is driven by the demand from employers in the key sectors of the Barbadian economy. There is a pipeline of training initiatives underway and new cohorts of graduates need to be assessed and certified.  This has prompted the TVET Council to strengthen its capacity to not only develop new standards in record time but also to modernize the assessment process to make it more efficient.

Initial results based on data collected from both winner proposals as well as non-winning eligible proposals are promising. Results indicate that the introduction of the CBTF has produced a clear increase in the number of firms undergoing competency-based training, in the amount of resources invested in that type of training and in the number of trainees certified. In addition, feedback obtained from the various firms shows that the majority of them have a positive perception about the impact of the training on the productivity of their employees (60%) and their prospects for employability beyond the firm (60 to 80%).

 

A fourth call for proposals is planned for 2016, and as the program enters its next stage, the hope is that success will continue, providing evidence of the potential that better synergy between public and private sector actors can have on the effectiveness of vocational training programs and, ultimately, in the life of thousands of young men and women ready to contribute to their society. The Caribbean and the rest of the region might have lots to learn from small Barbados. More

Friday, June 3, 2016

European Union Overseas Countries and Territories Association Innovation Strategy

The Innovation Strategy

Introduction

The European Union has 22 Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) as members of its Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA).  One aim of OCTA is to contribute to the sustainable development of all of the EU’s OCTs, with priority given to innovation, competitiveness and green growth.  Based on this aim, OCTA has developed a dedicated project to spur innovation in OCTs, called ‘Territorial Strategies for Innovation’, which was officially launched on the 6th June 2014 in Brussels.  This project provides technical and demand-driven services to OCT governments.

The European Commission (EC) has allocated a budget of €5m for the ‘Territorial Strategies for Innovation’ project, specifically for technical assistance and the implementation of pilot projects in OCTs.  The technical assistance contract was awarded to Eurecna (Italy) and Egis (France) for a four-year period (April 2014-March 2018) and a core team of experts will be based in Brussels.  The experts will help OCTs to;

  • Establish an innovation strategy;
  • Establish actions plans for implementing the innovation strategy;
  • Create training tools to raise awareness of innovation;
  • Facilitate an innovation network through digital platform and training sessions;
  • Develop regional cooperation.

Accordng to OCTA, the definition for innovation is as follows;

“Innovation is really about responding to change in a creative way; it’s about generating new ideas, conducting R&D, improving processes or revamping products and services. At another level, it’s also a mindset in your business; your employees are always focused on continuous improvement and constantly thinking outside of the box.

 

 In the context of TSI this means changing or creating more effective processes, products and ideas that will increase the likelihood in the OCTs of increasing in competitiveness and achieving sustainable economic growth.”

Territorial Strategies for Innovation in the Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands Development Board approved the establishment of the 'Innovation Strategy for the Falklands Islands' in April 2014.  Subsequently, Michael Betts, FIDC Business Relations Manager, was appointed as the Innovation Manager for the Falkland Islands.

 

The first task for the Innovation Manager was to set up an Advisory Board, which was completed in June 2015. The overall purpose of the Advisory Board is to provide advice, experience and knowledge to the Innovation Manager and facilitate the formulation and implementation of an Innovation Strategy for the Falkland Islands.

The Strategy

The Advisory Board agreed a phase of stakeholder consultation to take place in October 2015.  The consultation centred around an Innovation Workshop, which was held on the 16th October 2015 at the FIDF Club.  An Innovation Questionnaire was also produced to capture the views of those who were unable to attend the workshop.  The workshop was structured in a way to gather information regarding the current environment for innovation in the Falklands, barriers that prevent innovation, how innovation can be encouraged, identifying innovation opportunities and the key factors needed to deliver a national innovation strategy.  A total of 31 individuals, from both the public and private sectors, attended the workshop.  The workshop was led by the Innovation Manager, assisted by six facilitators.

The draft Innovation Strategy has been broken down into three parts.  Part A details the stakeholder consultation structure and results, providing the context and outlining the process that has been followed.  Part B is the strategy itself and Part C is the strategy’s Action Plan.  Part C provides the detail of how and when the recommendations, expressed in Part B, will be delivered.  Parts B and C can be found in Appendix A.

Part B is influenced by three elements; (1) the Advisory Board agreed vision for innovation in the Falkland Islands, (2) the results of the Stakeholder Consultation and (3) the OCTA definition for innovation.  Using these three elements as a guide, as well as research regarding innovation strategies adopted by other countries, the Innovation Strategy for the Falklands was drafted.

The Innovation Strategy aims to instil a mentality of innovation throughout the Falkland Islands’ public and private sectors.  This is to be achieved by making innovation a national priority, by specifically encouraging more local and overseas collaboration between the public sector, the private sector and institutions, increased investment in research and development, long-term planning in the development of people, encouraging innovation through the sharing of risk, and the continuous review and improvements to the Innovation Strategy itself.

You can download the Falkland Islands Innovation Strategy by clicking the link below

icon Falkland Islands Innovation Strategy (448.17 kB)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Young Scientist Summer School on Sea Dumped Chemical Weapons

 Science for Peace and Security (SPS), MODUM Partners are pleased to announce “Young Scientist Summer School on Sea Dumped Chemical Weapons" Apr 27, 2016
    Our project “Towards the Monitoring of Dumped Munitions Threat” (MODUM) was approved by the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS). This international project cooperates closely with CHEMSEA (Search and Assessment of Chemical Weapons) Project for and sharing and knowledge transfer.   International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM), with our NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) MODUM Partners, will host a “Young Scientist Summer School Summer School on Sea Dumped Weapons”, at Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), Dartmouth Waterfront Campus, Nova Scotia, Canada from 27 June till 1 July 2016. The course will include an overview on global dumping of weapons in national and international waters from the 1920’s up-until the 1970’s, when dumping of weapons ceased after governments begin to understand the environmental impact.     Students who wish to attend the course should be interested, in marine science and oceans protection. The course will include concepts of employing underwater vehicles for survey techniques for the detection and mapping of underwater weapons and remote operated underwater vehicles for intrusive and non-intrusive investigations and monitoring of chemical releases from underwater munitions sites.   Students, who are interest to attend the course must request a registration form from diana.pyrikova@gmail.com to fill-out and return the registration form with a brief background on yourself. The cost for students to attend the course is 500USD. Travel, accommodations and meals are the responsibility of the students. Personnel, who are already employed in the environmental services industry and wish to attend, will be considered on a case-by case bases and availability. We encourage both students and personnel working in the environmental services industry to apply for this opportunity to lean more about Policy, Science, Technology and Responses to Underwater Munitions.     NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) MODUM Partners are the Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences; International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM), Canada; Shirshow Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Kaliningrad, Russia; Aarhus University, Roskide, Denmark; Thunen Institute of Fisheries Ecology, Cuxhaven, Germany; VERFIN, University of Helsinki, Finland; Environment Protection Agency Vilnius, Lithuania; Tailinn University of Technology, Tailinn, Estonia. Our associated partners are Royal Military College of Canada (RMC); and University of Georgia. Further Information More

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

This is how far seas could rise thanks to climate change

Picture yourself on a beautiful beach, anywhere in the world. Your favourite beach, maybe. The waves are lapping on the shore, the Sun is sparkling over the water and there is a refreshing ocean breeze.

Now imagine this beach has gone forever. Sea level has risen and the shoreline has moved inland by hundreds of metres, drowning stretch after stretch of former coastline in the process.

It might be a struggle to envision dramatic transformations to such familiar places, but climate change scientists say there is overwhelming evidence that sea levels are indeed rising, and at a rapid rate. So how high will sea levels go? And at what cost to coastal communities?

It was in the early 20th Century that scientists first realised that sea levels were on the move.

In 1941 Beno Gutenberg, a geophysicist, analysed the data from tide gauges – instruments along coastlines that measure sea level – and noticed something odd. Over the period that reliable tide gauge data existed at the time – about 100 years – sea level was rising.

The melting of the world’s glaciers and ice sheets could release vast quantities of water into the oceans 

Tide gauge data is now considered quite unreliable, but in 1993 NASA and the French space agency sent satellite-borne radar altimeters into space. Consequently we now have a much more accurate picture of sea level over the entire globe. These instruments confirmed that sea level is rising.

We now know that our warmer climate is driving the change. For instance, simple physics tells us that as water warms up, it expands.

“Thermal expansion through warmer ocean waters was the largest contributor to global sea level rise over the past century,” says John Krasting, a physical scientist at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory.

This thermal expansion will continue, but there is another, more notorious problem that could lead to really dramatic changes in sea level in the future: the melting of the world’s glaciers and ice sheets could release vast quantities of water into the oceans. How bad could it get? More

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Panama Papers leak exposes how Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping's friends hide money

Washington: A massive leak of documents has blown open a window on the vast, murky world of shell companies, providing an extraordinary look at how the wealthy and powerful conceal their money. Twelve current and former world leaders maintain offshore shell companies. Close friends of Russian leader Vladimir Putin have funneled as much as $US2 billion through banks and offshore companies. Those exposed in the leak include the prime ministers of Iceland and Pakistan, an alleged bagman for Syrian President Bashar Assad, a close friend of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and companies linked to the family of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Add to those the monarchs of Saudi Arabia and Morocco; Middle Eastern royalty; leaders of FIFA, the international body that controls international soccer; and 29 billionaires included in Forbes Magazine's list of the world's 500 richest people. Also mentioned are 61 relatives and associates of current country leaders, and 128 current or former politicians and public officials. The leak exposes a trail of dark money flowing through the global financial system, stripping national treasuries of tax revenue. The data breach occurred at a little-known but powerful Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca & Co., which has an office in Las Vegas, a representative in Miami and presence in more than 35 other places around the world. The firm is one of the world's top five creators of shell companies, which can have legitimate business uses but can also be used to dodge taxes and launder money.  More than 11.5 million emails, financial spreadsheets, client records, passports and corporate registries were obtained in the leak, which was delivered to the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper in Munich, Germany. In turn, the newspaper shared the data with the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. More

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Climate Change Impacts Human Rights, Says UN Special Rapporteur

4 March 2016: A global temperature increase of one or two degrees Celsius would adversely affect human rights, including the rights to life, development, food, water, health and housing, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, John Knox, told the Human Rights Council (HRC).

Knox stressed that human rights obligations with respect to climate change include decisions about how much climate protection to pursue, as well as the mitigation and adaptation measures through which protection is achieved.

In its resolution 29/15, the HRC requested the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a detailed 'Analytical study of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the relationship between climate change and the human right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health (A/HRC/31/36).' The High Commissioner has asked for additional time and research, and will submit its report to the HRC at its 32nd session.


The Special Rapporteur shared an informal summary of inputs received on the 'Relationship between climate change and the human right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health (A/HRC/31/CRP.4),' which is expected to inform OHCHR's final report. The informal summary notes, inter alia, that climate change: threatens to undermine the last half century of gains in development and global health; impacts physical and mental health in several ways; and disproportionately impacts the poor and other disadvantaged, marginalized and vulnerable groups.


According to the informal summary, respondents called for further integration of human rights in climate action at all levels of governance, as well as further analysis and study of the impacts of climate change on the right to health, among other recommendations.


During discussion, several delegations expressed support for protecting human rights in relation to climate adaptation and mitigation, including the European Union (EU) and Costa Rica. South Africa, on behalf of the African Group, supported enhanced, quick action to adapt to climate change to ensure the full realization of human rights, stressing that climate change threatens sustainable development. The Philippines called for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to keep temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and scaling up additional and predictable means of implementation. Brazil recognized the impacts of climate change on human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights. The EU asked how to better plan and manage urban areas to address synergies among climate change, sustainable development and urbanization.


The world does not need to wait until 2018 to start strengthening its efforts to address climate change and begin implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Special Rapporteur reminded participants in his response, pointing to the use of renewable energy by Iceland, Morocco and Uruguay.


Knox presented on two aspects of his mandate, clarifying the human rights obligations relating to climate change, and on methods of implementing those obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, in Geneva, Switzerland, on 3 March 2016. [UNOG Press Release] [OHCHR Press Release] [A/HRC/31/36] [Special Rapporteur Website]



read more: http://larc.iisd.org/news/climate-change-impacts-human-rights-says-un-special-rapporteur/


 

Yes, Scientists Can Link Extreme Weather Events To Climate Change

When asked about a particular weather event’s link to climate change, scientists are typically cautious to make definitive statements — especially in the immediate aftermath, before they’ve had the chance to study the event.

But according to a new study, it’s getting easier for scientists to make the link between climate change and some forms of extreme weather. The study, published Friday by the National Academies Press, found that scientific advances over the past several years have helped scientists link increases in frequency and intensity of temperature and precipitation-related events like droughts and heat waves to climate change.

“In the past, a typical climate scientist’s response to questions about climate change’s role in any given extreme weather event was ‘we cannot attribute any single event to climate change,'” the report, completed by a committee of scientists, reads. “The science has advanced to the point that this is no longer true as an unqualified blanket statement. In many cases, it is now often possible to make and defend quantitative statements about the extent to which human-induced climate change (or another causal factor, such as a specific mode of natural variability) has influenced either the magnitude or the probability of occurrence of specific types of events or event classes.”

The report calls this branch of science, wherein researchers work to determine whether climate change contributed to a certain event, “event attribution.” To determine how and if climate change is linked to a certain event, scientists typically either reference the observational record of similar events — i.e. the recorded history of droughts leading back several decades — or use models to determine how likely a similar event would be in different warming scenarios. Most studies, the report states, use both of these tactics. More


© Climate War Room

Monday, March 14, 2016

Warming ocean water undercuts Antarctic ice shelves

“Upside-down rivers” of warm ocean water threaten the stability of floating ice shelves in Antarctica, according to a new study led by researchers at the National Snow and Ice Data Center published today in Nature Geoscience. The study highlights how parts of Antarctica’s ice sheet may be weakening due to contact with warm ocean water.

“We found that warm ocean water is carving these ‘upside-down rivers,’ or basal channels, into the undersides of ice shelves all around the Antarctic continent. In at least some cases these channels weaken the ice shelves, making them more vulnerable to disintegration,” said Karen Alley, a graduate research assistant at NSIDC and lead author of the study. Alley is also a Ph.D. student in the University of Colorado Boulder’s Department of Geological Sciences.

Ice shelves are thick floating plates of ice that have flowed off the Antarctic continent and spread out onto the ocean. As ice shelves flow out to sea, they push against islands, peninsulas, and bedrock bumps known as “pinning points.” Contact with these features slows the flow of grounded ice off the continent. While ice shelves take thousands of years to grow, previous work has shown that they can disintegrate in a matter of weeks. If more ice shelves disintegrate in the future, loss of contact with pinning points will allow ice to flow more rapidly into the ocean, increasing the rate of sea level rise.

“Ice shelves are really vulnerable parts of the ice sheet, because climate change hits them from above and below,” said Ted Scambos, NSIDC lead scientist and study co-author. “They are really important in braking the ice flow to the ocean.”

The features form as buoyant plumes of warm and fresh water rise and flow along the underside of an ice shelf, carving channels much like upside-down rivers. The channels can be tens of miles long, and up to 800 feet “deep.”

When a channel is carved into the base of an ice shelf, the top of the ice shelf sags, leaving a visible depression in the relatively smooth ice surface. Alley and her colleagues mapped the locations of these depressions all around the Antarctic continent using satellite imagery, as well as radar data that images the channels through the ice, mapping the shape of the ice-ocean boundary.

The team also used satellite laser altimetry, which measures the height of an ice shelf surface with high accuracy, to document how quickly some of the channels were growing. The data show that growing channels on the rapidly melting Getz Ice Shelf in West Antarctica can bore into the ice shelf base at rates of approximately 10 meters (33 feet) each year.

The mapping shows that basal channels have a tendency to form along the edges of islands and peninsulas, which are already weak areas on ice shelves. The team observed two locations where ice shelves are fracturing along basal channels, clear evidence that basal channel presence can weaken ice shelves to the point of breaking in vulnerable areas.

While no ice shelves have completely disintegrated due to carving by basal channels, the study points to the need for more observation and study of these features, said co-author Helen Amanda Fricker of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. “It's feasible that as ocean temperatures around Antarctica continue to rise, melting in basal channels could contribute to increased erosion of ice shelves from below."

The study, “Impacts of warm water on Antarctic ice shelf stability through basal channel formation,” was led by University of Colorado Boulder Ph.D. student Karen Alley, who worked with coauthors Ted Scambos of NSIDC and Matthew Siegfried and Helen Amanda Fricker of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. Their work was funded in part by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. More

Contacts

Jane Beitler,Communications, National Snow and Ice Data Center, press@nsidc.org, +1-303-492-1497
Brittany Hook, Communications Coordinator, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, scrippsnews@ucsd.edu, 858-534-3624

 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Take-No-Prisoners World of Oil

It’s evident that we’re still on a planet where oil rules. The question increasingly is: What exactly does it rule over? After all, every barrel of oil that’s burned contributes to a fast-approaching future in which the weather grows hotter and more extreme, droughts and wildfires spread, sea levels rise precipitously, ice continues to melt away in the globe's coldest reaches, and... well, you know that story well enough by now. In the meantime, Planet Earth has a glut of oil on hand and that, it turns out, doesn’t mean -- not for the major oil companies nor even for the major oil states -- that the good times are getting ready to roll.

Of all the powers struggling with that oil glut and the plunging energy prices that have gone with it, none may be more worth watching than Saudi Arabia. While exporting its own extremists and its extreme brand of Islam from Afghanistan to Syria, and lending a decades-long hand to the destabilization of the Greater Middle East, that kingdom has itself been a paragon of stability. Nothing, however, lasts forever, and so keeping an eye on the Saudis is a must. That’s especially so since the latest version of the royal family has also made what might be called the American mistake (with the backing of the Obama administration, no less) and for the first time plunged the Saudi military directly into a typically unwinnable if brutal war in neighboring Yemen.

Combine the destabilizing and blowback effects of wars that won’t end, including the Syrian one, and of oil prices that refuse to rise significantly and, despite the kingdom’s copious money reserves, you have a formula for potential domestic unrest. Already the royals are cutting their domestic subsidies to their own population, pulling billions of dollars in aid out of Lebanon, and exploring a possible $10 billion bank loan.

As TomDispatch’s invaluable energy expert Michael Klare suggests today, when oil prices began plummeting in 2015, the Saudis launched an “oil war of attrition,” imagining that others would be devastated by it (as OPEC partners Nigeria and Venezuela already have been) but that the royals themselves would emerge triumphant.

Should the unimaginable happen, however, and should the kingdom itself begin to come unglued in a Greater Middle East that is increasingly the definition of chaos -- watch out. Tom


Energy Wars of Attrition
The Irony of Oil Abundance
By Michael T. Klare

Three and a half years ago, the International Energy Agency (IEA) triggered headlines around the world by predicting that the United States would overtake Saudi Arabia to become the world’s leading oil producer by 2020 and, together with Canada, would become a net exporter of oil around 2030. Overnight, a new strain of American energy triumphalism appeared and experts began speaking of “Saudi America,” a reinvigorated U.S.A. animated by copious streams of oil and natural gas, much of it obtained through the then-pioneering technique of hydro-fracking. “This is a real energy revolution,” the Wall Street Journal crowed in an editorial heralding the IEA pronouncement.

The most immediate effect of this “revolution,” its boosters proclaimed, would be to banish any likelihood of a “peak” in world oil production and subsequent petroleum scarcity. The peak oil theorists, who flourished in the early years of the twenty-first century, warned that global output was likely to reach its maximum attainable level in the near future, possibly as early as 2012, and then commence an irreversible decline as the major reserves of energy were tapped dry. The proponents of this outlook did not, however, foresee the coming of hydro-fracking and the exploitation of previously inaccessible reserves of oil and natural gas in underground shale formations. More