Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a new commitment on Friday to adopt a cap-and-trade plan to cut carbon emissions. The move by the world’s second-largest economy is one the United States has so far resisted.The agreement, effective in 2017, came as Xi sat down with President Obama in Washington for policy discussions two months before a scheduled Paris conference designed to hammer out a new international agreement against climate change.Michael McElroy, the Gilbert Butler Professor of Environmental Studies and chair of the Harvard China Project, has studied the country’s energy and environmental issues and has met with its leaders to discuss clean-air measures. The nation of 1.3 billion has had problems reducing its large quantities of climate-warming carbon dioxide. In addition, the particulates released from coal-burning power plants and auto tailpipes have intensified pollution. The Gazette asked McElroy about Chinese’s new climate commitment, about how it might affect the Paris talks, and about whether that agreement might make U.S. officials more open to a national plan to curb carbon emissions.GAZETTE: How important is the cap-and-trade plan that China announced Friday?McELROY: It’s certainly a headline issue. Making this announcement on a visit to Washington is a big deal. The Chinese had a number of trial cap-and-trade systems; seven of them in fact. This is a national cap-and-trade system. It’s my understanding that it doesn’t apply to the transportation sector, it applies mostly to stationary sources: the power sector, iron and steel, cement, and so on. They’re the easiest ones to deal with, and are also what the Europeans have focused on.The ideal cap-and-trade system would be one in which the government defines the total emissions of carbon that are permitted and auctions off rights to those emissions. That would then set a market price on what the emissions are going to cost and allows individual sources to trade — either sell permits when they have made investments that cut their emissions more than they expected, or buy from another organization. That’s the ideal system, but we’re a long way from having that.The way this is really going, in Europe, in the U.S., and in China, is that individual sectors are allocated an emission quota. Let’s take the power sector. You have lots and lots of CO2 producing plants, so you have to allocate the permits to individual plants and then allow trading to take place. How do you do that? There certainly is great opportunity for preference to be given to particular plants or particular regions. Politics can play a big role. But in principle, if you’ve allocated the permits fairly, the trading can provide economic incentives for plants to reduce their emissions.GAZETTE: Is this a fulfillment of the agreement that was previously made between the U.S. and China? Is it an add-on to that agreement? How does this fit into it?McELROY: I think this is new. In the November statement between the two presidents, both expressed their commitment to reducing emissions according to different schedules. And that was hailed as a very big deal, and it was a very big deal. It meant that for the first time, the Chinese government was making a specific statement about what they were going to do in the future, including getting to the point where their emissions were going to peak in — what, 2025 or sooner? — and more than 20 percent of their primary energy would come from non-carbon sources.And President Obama made a commitment to reduce U.S. emissions by a significant amount by 2025, relative to 2005. He talked also about a more aggressive commitment by 2050. That was a big deal because it addressed a lot of the opposition to dealing with the issue in the United States. People on the right have frequently made comments along the line of, “Why should we do anything because the Chinese are the big polluter and they’re not going to do anything?” This agreement made the statement that the Chinese, in fact, were going to do something, and that was pretty impressive.So I think that the announcement today is significant.GAZETTE: What impact do you see it having on the coming Paris talks?McELROY: The idea that the world’s largest emitter and second-largest economy is prepared, by 2017, to move toward putting a price on carbon, that is a big deal.GAZETTE: And might that influence other nations at these talks to do something similar?McELROY: I haven’t had a chance to study the press release in detail, but there’s another issue: the plan for developed countries to essentially invest in carbon-saving activities in developing countries.I think, aspirationally, the idea was that up to $100 billion would be made available by 2020. In association with this meeting today, I think that Xi actually made a Chinese commitment of close to $3 billion for this same function. China is not putting its commitment into that same commitment by developed countries. It plans to do it on its own, through bilateral agreements with individual countries.GAZETTE: Might this increase the likelihood of broad U.S. action on cap and trade, and have the Chinese taken the moral and practical high ground on this issue?McELROY: To some extent, both are true. The situation here is, obviously, that the ability of the administration to act is limited by politics — the right’s opposition to climate change and actions to deal with it. We’ve always known the Obama administration is committed to trying to do this. They’re trying to do it under the Clean Air Act, with the Supreme Court ratifying that CO2 is a pollutant. But this is very difficult [in the U.S.], and I think it is probably easier for China to live up to its commitment. In the United States, we still have this argument about whether it’s a serious issue or not, not based on facts but based on rhetoric and based on prejudice. They say it’s not an issue or … talk about whether this is just a natural fluctuation. They talk about whether the sun is responsible for the recent warming. It goes on and on and on. But the scientific evidence is compelling.The positive thing, in my opinion, is that individual states and individual cities are making commitments. They had this very interesting meeting last week in Los Angeles with mayors and state organizations, including the Chinese side. A number of U.S. cities made very specific commitments. A typical commitment was to reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2050. Los Angeles — even Houston — was involved in making such a commitment. California, aggressively so, and Massachusetts.GAZETTE: So states are maybe bypassing the intransigence?McELROY: You know the positive spin here would be to say that, despite the lack of consensus in Washington, there’s a broad-based support that exists across the country about the importance of the issue and the need to do something about it. Look at California. It’s not a political issue in California. It’s not a Republican and Democrat issue in California. There’s a general consensus that something has to be done about it.GAZETTE: I know the China Project has made a variety of policy recommendations for China. Did you have any influence on Friday’s announcement?McELROY: I would hope that the work that we’re doing with Chinese partners is consequential. We had the opportunity to spend an hour briefing the former premier, Wen Jiabao, on the work that we’re doing. What we’re trying to do is come up with creative ways in which energy can be used more effectively in China while reducing the emissions of CO2. We’ve done a lot of work to define what are the real opportunities of wind power, solar power, hydropower, nuclear power, and what are the problems in implementing it.We have published papers that show, for example, that China’s wind potential would be enough to meet its entire energy commitment if it could be usefully deployed. But we’ve also highlighted the fact that there are difficulties in doing that, one of which is that the wind doesn’t blow all the time.Another difficulty that we addressed is in northern China in winter. China has a very significant investment in wind farms, but when the wind is really blowing on cold winter days, often those wind farms are idle. They’re idle because the requirement to heat homes is being met largely by hot water. And the hot water is produced by coal-fired power plants that are also producing electricity. So if you need hot water, you can’t turn off the electricity that would be generated in the process. So the demand for electricity is being met to a large extent by these coal-fired heat and power plants, and you can’t use the electricity from the wind farms. We have been doing serious work to see how you can resolve that issue, and we have some good ideas of how to do that.In that sense, we’re working to try to provide the kind of expertise that will allow smart decisions on the Chinese side that will reduce the emissions.GAZETTE: People have said in the past that the climate change issue really can’t be resolved without China. Is this the kind of step that may have significant impact in the skies over the coming decades?McELROY: I have a book on climate and energy in press at the moment. What I tried to do in that book is, while talking about the whole global energy issue and the whole global climate issue, to point out that if the U.S. and China were able to seriously cut back on emissions, that would take us more than halfway toward solving the problem.The U.S. and China are responsible for more than 50 percent of the emissions. The theme of a lot of the work we’ve been doing in the China Project is to try to understand what options really exist. Our current target is to develop a strategy by which China effectively de-carbonizes its energy economy by 2050. That’s our prime scientific goal, doing that with our own people and in combination with colleagues on the Chinese side.GAZETTE: Do you feel more hopeful today than you might have yesterday that climate change is a solvable problem?McELROY: Yes, I do. I think that the issues raised by the pope for example, on his visit cast this in a very interesting moral framework. Then, having President Xi immediately come along and have this joint announcement from the White House is very significant. And what happened last week in Los Angeles with localities and mayors coming together from both the Chinese side and the U.S. side, that’s a really big deal.
One of the advantages of having a top university museum on Notre Dame’s campus is the exposure to a wide range of artwork. Each semester, the Snite Museum of Art features new exhibitions for community members and visitors to explore.Snite Museum public affairs representative Gina Costa said two of the three new exhibitions scheduled for the spring semester will focus on sculptures.“We’re going to have … one that’s a ceramics show,” Costa said. “It’ll feature work by the ceramics department here at Notre Dame that were fired in an anagama kiln. … That deals with sort of contemporary issues in the discourse on ceramics. And then we’re also doing a continuum show of sculpture.”The exhibition Costa is most excited for the Notre Dame community to see, though, is a photography exhibition from Jan. 15 to March 5.“For the spring semester we’ve got … a photography show on pictorialism,” she said. “It’s going to be a beautiful show of images drawn from the Snite’s permanent collection. … These are just beautiful photographs that I think everyone will really enjoy [and] be moved by. I can see the campus just adoring this.”Although the Snite Museum has a sizable collection of photographs, Costa said it is not able to display many for long periods of time, making this exhibition a fleeting opportunity for visitors to the museum.“The Snite has an amazing photography collection,” she said. “We have over 10,000 photographs. Unfortunately … we can’t put them out all the time. Photographs are ephemeral so we can only put them out for a maximum six weeks at a time. Then they have to rest for three years. So we have all these beautiful photographs, and if we had more space we could just get more of them out.”The Snite is able to open varying kinds of photograph exhibits regularly because of the sheer size of its photograph collection, Costa said.“It’s a very different kind of exhibition in terms of content,” she said. “We just closed the Paulette Tavormina show that featured contemporary photographs, but based on Dutch 17th century still lives that all had layered meanings. The pictorialism show talks about a different time and place, but the images are as reflective and as indicative of time and what a photographs communicates or what seeing — what looking — means.”In addition to this exhibition featuring pictorialism, Costa said, the subject will be the focus of one of the Third Thursday lecture events held at the Snite Museum.“We do a lot of events to draw people to the Museum,” she said. “Our January Third Thursday [at the Snite] will feature photography curator David Acton, who will give a talk about pictorialism and all that.”Costa said these events, as well as the artwork itself, contribute to the overall environment of one’s experience at the museum.“A museum experience is so integral to everybody’s growth and to their educational and just emotional growth,” she said. “A museum is a place where you can go to reflect, to have quiet time, to grow yourself. Looking at art helps you think about larger issues, about yourself, about your society, about the time you live in.”Depending on the subject, Costa said, an exhibition can also prompt discussion about and reflection on current events.“We just closed an exhibition that dealt with social injustice,” she said. “So the larger issues and themes of the world are really addressed in a museum. … A museum is just a really special kind of institution or place in a community. And communities that don’t have public museums that are free, like ours, really are at a loss. So South Bend is really lucky; Notre Dame is really lucky.”Costa said the Snite Museum tries to feature some of these types of exhibitions when possible.“We do try to address current themes,” she said. “ … Artists and cultural institutions don’t live in vacuums. They’re responding to the artistic, philosophical, social, political ambiance of the time and all the issues. So we do try to be sensitive to those in our exhibition schedule.”In the end, Costa said, the Museum’s main goal is responding to student needs on campus, prompting a study event for finals week.“We’re doing study days … this Friday,” she said. “We’re just setting up tables with lots of coffee and cookies and food and outlets so you can find a quiet place to study amidst works of art that inspire. We really want to let the students know we think about them and really try to do outreach to them.”Costa urged students to visit the Snite Museum for study days, in addition to coming to see the new exhibitions this spring.“It’s your museum, so take advantage of it,” she said. “Everything we do is with the students and the Notre Dame community in mind.”Tags: Art, photography, Snite, Snite Museum of Art, Third Thursday
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the suspension of in-person classes for the rest of the semester, Saint Mary’s has suspended most on-campus student work positions. “A small number of students who can perform their jobs from home, jobs that have been deemed as critical or essential by each division VP, continue to work for the college remotely,” Mona Bowe, vice president of enrollment management, said in an email. Bowe acknowledged the difficulties this may pose to College students who rely on their campus jobs as a source of income. “We understand and lament the financial impact this discontinuation has on some of our students,” Bowe said. The suspension of student work positions has caused a lot of concerns for students, particularly those who participate in federal work study positions. “The coronavirus has taken my only source of income,” junior Carina Garza said in email. “I relied heavily on my federal work study to pay for gas bills and food.” Garza is disappointed by the decision and said she hopes the administration can work something out to compensate work study students in some way. “The school should be giving hours to students who partake in the work study program,” Garza said. “Even if students are given 12 hours a week during the pay period, the money would definitely help especially for the students who need federal work study. I believe administration should get together and talk about what’s happening to the students who work on campus.” Senior Emily Beam said in an email that she was able to transition her on-campus jobs to comply with the new online format. “My supervisor contacted me last week saying she received approval that I could work remotely during this time,” she said. “She gave me the option to decide if I would want to work for her, but it was an obvious decision to keep working. I know I have to make a lot of adjustments to my life, and if I could help my supervisor through her adjustments and lighten her workload, I definitely wanted to do it.” Despite efforts, senior Alexa Zapata Fernandez said in an email that she has not received much contact from departments since the College suspended campus jobs. “I have been contacted by Career Crossings a few times and once by the [Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership] office,” Zapata Fernandez said. “Initially it was to let me know I could work during the extra week of spring break. But after everything changed, I was contacted that I was not able to work. I have not heard if I can do any work online.”Zapata Fernandez is in a different situation than many other students, she said, because she needs her income from her campus jobs to provide for her son.“I am very appreciative of everything both offices have done for me since I have worked for them,” Zapata Fernandez said. “However, I am a mom to a one, almost two-year-old son. I know my situation isn’t like most students, but my job(s) at Saint Mary’s and the income I got from that is what I used to pay bills and made sure I had money for supplies for my son.” Senior Kirstin Sherman said in an email that she wishes the College communicated better with students because these decisions have significant impacts on their lives.“These people are making huge decisions that impact our lives and we have heard nothing from them,” Sherman said. “Even if the communication says, ‘We don’t know yet,’ we should be kept in the loop.”While the College has not made any formal decisions, they are working on a plan to provide a room and board stipend to students. “The College is working hard to determine how room and board adjustments might be handled; clarification will be provided as soon as we know more,” Bowe said. In the meantime, Bowe encourages students to use the career resources the College offers.“I encourage students to check with the Career Crossings office for advice and tips for employment,” she said. “Stacie Jeffirs and her staff have some terrific resources for students, including daily virtual meetings.” While the changes in the Saint Mary’s community have had dramatic impacts on students, Beam said being able to work remotely has brought a sense of normalcy and meaning. “I am excited and grateful to be able to maintain some of my daily life, like working for the Office of Admission, during these trying times,” Beam said. “I was already extremely upset that my senior year was being cut short, but when my supervisor reached out to me about working remotely, it gave me another sense of purpose.” Tags: Career crossings, coronavirus, COVID-19, work-study
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension will host two free workshops in March to show Georgia and Florida cotton and peanut growers how to increase yield and profitability through technology-driven irrigation tools.Attendees will learn about how to use irrigation scheduling techniques such as UGA’s checkbook method and the SmartIrrigation Cotton app and IrrigatorPro app.“Farmers will have an opportunity, independent of the county meetings this winter, to get together and learn about what advanced irrigation scheduling tools and techniques there are out there and how they can apply them on their farms,” said Wes Porter, UGA Extension irrigation specialist.Adam Rabinowitz, UGA Extension agricultural economist, will discuss the capital costs associated with adopting these irrigation tools, the projected return on investment, the annual operating costs of equipment and any associated management expenses.“There’s certainly a need for workshops like these. There’s a need to get farmers familiar with these methods, including the different technologies and apps and soil moisture sensors that are available to them,” Rabinowitz said. “We’re trying to keep the farmers profitable but also help them increase their crop per drop and be good stewards of the water here in Georgia.”The workshops will be held March 18 at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center in Tifton, Georgia, and March 25 at the Nessmith-Lane Center at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. The conferences will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.There will also be a discussion about Georgia’s climate, including a look back at 2018 which was highlighted by a wet three-week period in May and Hurricane Michael in October. A representative from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division will also be in attendance to discuss regulations and planning regarding the use of water for agricultural purposes. Additionally, there will be a talk focused on irrigating in Florida, including regulatory impacts for agriculture.The workshops were intentionally scheduled before Georgia cotton and peanut farmers plant this year’s crops. Peanuts are mostly planted in April and May once the threat of late spring freezes has passed. The majority of the state’s cotton crop is planted in May, although some acreage is planted in April, weather permitting.“We tried to set the timing just before the farmers start getting their crops in the ground. The information they will learn at these workshops will be fresh on their minds. They’ll understand what they need to do when they get ready to start irrigating,” Porter said.The workshops are being offered as part of a broader UGA Extension multidisciplinary project focused on increasing agricultural water-use efficiency in Georgia. Support for the workshops is provided by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture through the Southern Extension Risk Management Education Center.The workshops are free and a networking lunch will be provided, but those who are interested should pre-register at http://bit.ly/ugairrigation. For more information or to register by phone, please call (229) 386-3512.
By Dialogo July 13, 2009 The Colombian government’s peace commissioner, Frank Pearl, set out contacts with members of the Catholic Church and the International Red Cross in order to determine their interest in participating in the humanitarian mission that is supposed to receive the hostages in the FARC’s power. “Yesterday I talked to the Red Cross, today I talked to the Catholic Church, and they are totally willing to cooperate in this process, and we expect it to move forward,” the official told the press. The peace commissioner also confirmed that the authorization given by President Álvaro Uribe to opposition legislator Piedad Córdoba applies only to her presence at the handover of the hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). “The president has authorized Sen. Piedad Córdoba to participate in the event at which those kidnapped are handed over,” he clarified. Likewise, he emphasized that the FARC must hand over the twenty-four police and military personnel who have been kidnapped, in addition to three hostages who died in captivity. Uribe authorized Córdoba on Wednesday to participate in the release of the FARC’s hostages, but on condition that the twenty-four kidnapped police and military personnel and three corpses in the power of the guerrillas would be “simultaneously” handed over. The president indicated that Córdoba will be able to participate in the humanitarian mission charged in charge of with receiving the captives, together with the International Red Cross and the Catholic Church, after he had withdrawn her authorization to participate back in April. In response, Córdoba thanked Uribe for his gesture, which she characterized as “positive,” and asked him for a meeting to “tackle the fundamental parameters for the release” of those kidnapped by the FARC. A report published today by the daily El Tiempo indicates that the government is prepared to accept a phased handover of the twenty-four police and military personnel by the FARC, rather than the “simultaneous” handover called for by President Uribe. According to official sources cited by the newspaper, Uribe wants the rebels to commit to liberating these twenty-four police and military personnel, independent of whether or not this implies authorizing more than one handover operation. The FARC announced in the middle of April that they would release Army Cpl. Pablo Emilio Moncayo, kidnapped at the end of 1998, and in June they indicated that along with Moncayo, they would hand over another member of the military who was wounded in combat. The condition demanded by the guerrillas was that Córdoba should be present for the handover of the hostages, something that Uribe opposed until Wednesday.
The pursuit of a go-fast boat on the high seas, carried out by units of the Pacific Naval Force, enabled the seizure of 1,033 kilos of highly pure cocaine and one kilogram of coca paste on the waters of the Central Pacific, off the department of El Chocó, Colombia, on 30 January. The alkaloid was being transported on the vessel La Soberana II, which had put out to sea from the coasts of El Chocó. The vessel, the alkaloid, and the individual crewing the boat were taken to Buenaventura, where the judicial authorities weighed the substance transported and determined that it was highly pure cocaine. The naval units are continuing the search for two individuals who, according to the individual crewing the boat, were on board the vessel and jumped overboard upon observing the presence of the authorities. With this heavy blow, the units of the Pacific Naval Force prevented the entry of more than thirty million dollars into the logistical and financial structures of the narco-terrorist organizations that are criminally active in the Pacific region. So far in 2011, seizures already amount to nearly two tons, thanks to the rapid reaction of the units of the Pacific Naval Force. The units of the Pacific Naval Force will continue carrying out operations that make it possible to close spaces to those who make illegal use of Pacific waters, at the same time that the Force invites the community to report suspicious activity of any kind that threatens life and security in the region. By Dialogo February 01, 2011
ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: David MorrisonHome buyers who borrow money to purchase homes rather than refinance their existing debt helped push existing home sales in May to their highest rate in six years, according to the National Association of Realtors.Total existing-home sales – which refer to completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – rose by 5.1% to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million in May from an upwardly revised 5.09 million in April, the association reported. Sales have now increased year-over-year for eight consecutive months and are 9.2% above where they stood a year ago, NAR added. continue reading »
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COVID-19 national task force chief Doni Monardo has asked the public to prepare for a “new normal” for the next several months, saying physical distancing and mask-wearing were likely here to stay.The task force had discussed changing public behavior to accommodate the post-pandemic reality with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, Doni said.“As we comply with large-scale social restrictions [PSBB], we need to keep wearing masks, practicing physical distancing and washing our hands,” he told the press after a private meeting with Jokowi on Monday. He said a number of red zones across the country had recorded lower transmission rates following the implementation of PSBB but that the country was not out of danger yet.“It will take a very long time for us to fully recover. Perhaps we will adjust to a new normal by wearing masks and maintaining physical distance,” Doni said.Read also: Jakarta’s curve flattened? Experts question government’s claimSeveral provinces across the archipelago had stepped up their efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, he said. The Jakarta administration had closed 168 factories and manufacturing plants, while the Riau administration had started enforcing penalties for violations of quarantine rules.Last month, Doni claimed Jakarta – the country’s COVID-19 epicenter – had flattened the transmission curve thanks to the implementation of PSBB.However, experts have warned against taking the government’s assertion at face value, mainly because the country’s lack of PCR testing capacity could cause cases to be underreported or reported late. As of Monday, Indonesia had confirmed more than 11,192 COVID-19 cases and 845 deaths linked to the disease.Topics :
Hours worked fell almost 10 percent while cash payments of social benefits rose more than 40 percent, both records, while imports and exports were also down.The country was already reeling from a prolonged drought and massive bushfires that rattled the economy before the disease struck.The government has stumped up tens of billions of dollars to fight the economic fallout from the pandemic and Frydenberg said the contraction would have been far worse without such support, which included payments to employers to avoid laying off staff.”Today’s devastating numbers confirm what every Australian knows: that COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our economy and our lives like nothing we have ever experienced before. But there is hope and there is a road out,” Frydenberg said.Australia has confirmed almost 26,000 cases of the disease and 663 deaths, in a population of 25 million, and had successfully contained it in most of the country by July.But an outbreak in Melbourne and its surrounds since then forced a new lockdown of five million people in the country’s second largest city, dragging on the recovery.Borders between Australia’s states and territories also remain closed to most travel to avoid further outbreaks, hampering tourism and other key sectors.Authorities expect national unemployment to peak at 9.3 percent in December and the budget deficit to blow out to almost a tenth of GDP by mid-2021.Still, Frydenberg insisted Australia has been more successful than most in handling the crisis.”This gives us confidence that as a nation we are better placed than most other nations, and that by containing the virus we can chart a pathway to economic recovery and we can leave the worst of the economic crisis in the June quarter behind us,” he said.”But the road ahead will be long. The road ahead will be hard. The road ahead will be bumpy.” Australia tumbled into its first recession for almost three decades with its pandemic-crippled economy shrinking a record seven percent in the second quarter, official data shows.With vast swathes of the domestic and global economy shut down to contain the deadly disease, business activity suffered a catastrophic drop — despite authorities providing billions of dollars in support — not even witnessed during the global financial crisis.”Today’s national accounts confirm the devastating impact on the Australian economy from COVID-19,” said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. “Our record run of 28 consecutive years of economic growth has now officially come to an end. The cause: a once-in-a-century pandemic,” he said.The economy contracted seven percent in April-June from the previous three months, in line with government forecasts, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said. That followed a 0.3 percent dip. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction. Gross domestic product dropped 6.3 percent year-on-year.”The June quarter saw a significant contraction in household spending on services as households altered their behavior and restrictions were put in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus,” said ABS head of national accounts Michael Smedes. Topics :