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Brooks D.B.,International Institute for Sustainable Development | Trottier J.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Doliner L.,PrecisionProse Editing Services
Water International | Year: 2013

This abridged version of the proposal developed for Friends of the Earth Middle East presents the design for an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians to share water in a physically realistic, ecologically sustainable and socially equitable manner. Existing arrangements are, at best, inadequate and, in some cases, counterproductive. The proposal relies upon ongoing monitoring and mediation to achieve equitable and sustainable use. It presents why and how an agreement on water can be reached now, before resolving the full range of issues required in a Final Status Agreement between Israel and Palestine. © 2013 International Water Resources Association.

Brooks D.B.,International Institute for Sustainable Development | Trottier J.,French National Center for Scientific Research
International Journal of Water Resources Development | Year: 2014

Many people think of transboundary water in terms of national security. However, water is not, nor is it likely to become, a cause of war. Rather, the need is for water security, which implies that water management must balance the goals of efficiency, equity, sustainability and implementability. This article suggests how a joint management structure for fresh water can be designed to promote ongoing resolution of issues, and do so in a way that de-nationalizes and de-securitizes transboundary water. Though designed with the Israeli-Palestinian case in mind, the approach is applicable wherever water divides rather than unites states or peoples. © 2014 Taylor & Francis.

Shi J.,Beijing Forestry University | Shi J.,Central European University | Liu J.,Beijing Forestry University | Pinter L.,Central European University | Pinter L.,International Institute for Sustainable Development
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences | Year: 2014

China has dramatically increased its virtual water import over recent years. Many studies have focused on the quantity of traded virtual water, but very few go into analysing geographic distribution and the properties of China's virtual water trade network. This paper provides a calculation and analysis of the crop-related virtual water trade network of China based on 27 major primary crops between 1986 and 2009. The results show that China is a net importer of virtual water from water-abundant areas of North America and South America, and a net virtual water exporter to water-stressed areas of Asia, Africa, and Europe. Virtual water import is far larger than virtual water export, and in both import and export a small number of trade partners control the supply chain. Grain crops are the major contributors to virtual water trade, and among grain crops, soybeans, mostly imported from the US, Brazil and Argentina, are the most significant. In order to mitigate water scarcity and secure the food supply, virtual water should actively be incorporated into national water management strategies. And the sources of virtual water import need to be further diversified to reduce supply chain risks and increase resilience. © 2014 Author(s).

News Article | September 1, 2016
Site: www.theenergycollective.com

Some of the largest, most profitable companies in Canada are collectively receiving an estimated $3.3 billion in subsidies every year from Canadian taxpayers, according to a new analysis. The report, released today by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, a Canadian-based think tank, outlines how billions in federal and provincial tax breaks and corporate incentives benefit companies in the oil and gas sector like Imperial Oil, whose earnings in 2015 were CDN$1.1 billion. The new analysis comes as Trudeau is in China for the G20 Summit. In 2009 G20 leaders committed to a complete phase out of all fossil fuel subsidies over the medium term and Justin Trudeau, while on the campaign trail, made an election promise to fulfill that commitment. “Fossil fuel subsidies work against Canada’s commendable progress in putting a price on carbon — they give money and tax breaks to the sources of carbon pollution that we’re trying to scale back,” Amin Asadollahi, North American Lead on Climate Change Mitigation at the International Institute for Sustainable Development, said. Between 2013 and 2015 the federal government handed out an average of CAD $1 billion every year through the Canadian Development Expense program. During that same period an average of CAD $148 million was provided to oil and gas companies through the Canadian Exploration Expense program. B.C. and Alberta also provide the lion’s share of oil and gas subsidies through royalty reductions and drilling credits. Some of the largest oil and gas subsidies in Canada. Image: IISD The new analysis details how those taxpayer funds could be better spent in Canada. For instance, the institute calculates that $3.3 billion could pay for the education of 260,000 students, or job training for 330,000 Canadians, each year. Or each Canadian could just pay $94 less per year in taxes. Despite the global downturn in oil prices, some of the largest oil and gas companies in Canada have turned an impressive profit. In 2014 oilsands giant Suncor Energy posted a record profit, with operating earnings of CDN$1.37 billion. Last year Suncor Energy and Imperial Oil ranked 11th and 12th respectively for most profitable companies in Canada. While oil and gas companies are getting windfall tax breaks, the Canadian government is proposing to put a tax on the greenhouse gas emissions that result from the production of oil and gas. As IISD analyst Amin Asadollahi describes it, “[i]magine the Canadian government taxed cigarettes with one hand, while handing out tax breaks to tobacco companies with the other.” Fossil fuel subsidies also undercut taxs breaks and financial incentives for renewable energies like wind, solar and geothermal. In a 2015 report the International Institute for Sustainable Development along with Oil Change International found global subsidies for the fossil fuel industry are four times greater than subsidies for clean energy alternatives. Clean energy analysts say the overwhelming emphasis on support for fossil fuel development has prevented the renewable energy industry from reaching its full potential. The renewable energy industry, despite the lack of help, is still booming and outpacing even the most optimistic predictions for its growth. In its election platform the Liberal party promised to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies in order to support the growth of alternatives. “The saving will be redirected to investments in new and clean technologies,” the party platform says.

The first week of negotiations working towards an international agreement to counter climate change is coming to a close. The event opened with many speeches from heads of state from around the world. The week has also brought a series of big announcements from side events, like the opening of Europe’s largest solar park and a multibillion dollar public-private incubator to develop new clean technologies. But the real work of the negotiations happens between delegations at Le Bourget, just outside of Paris, in airport that’s been converted for the conference. There, negotiators are tasked with finalizing the language and terms of the agreement. Here, we take a look at what’s been done so far, but it’s good to keep in mind that the text is still a working document, and the details will likely be debated until the very last moments. A draft text of the agreement was about 90 pages last month, but that was deemed too lengthy by top officials. This week, negotiators worked the text down to about 50 pages, which was released on Thursday, and may further shorten the document. Currently, the text is full of brackets, which indicate possible language choices that must been agreed upon. You can read the draft here. The Paris agreement technically wouldn’t begin until 2020, and whatever the parties agree to now needs to be reviewed and added to if we want to limit the average global temperature rise to 2 degrees C. A review and “ratcheting” mechanism would be a helpful way to follow up on the promises governments are making at the talks. The European Union, China and the U.S. supported a five-year review period. Some nations had concerns about that timeline, but on Wednesday UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said that “it seems now there is a growing consensus that (reviews) will be every five years.” According to conference organizers, negotiators are expected to submit a new draft text by Saturday afternoon, Paris time. Further negotiations formally continue Monday, but much work is also done during informal socializing and during meals. By the end of next week, all of the parties must reach a consensus in order for the agreement to be adopted by the UN. Financing climate adaptation and a transition to a lower-carbon economy appears to continue to be a major point of contention. Countries with developed economies, which historically benefitted from burning fossil fuels, are being asked to pay less developed countries to help deal with the effects of climate disasters as well as helping them to build green economies. According to the International Institute for Sustainable Development, which offers daily recaps of the negotiations (in highly technical terms), some members of the group negotiating the terms of climate finance expressed concerns about a lack of progress. Are the Paris talks going well? That depends a lot on who you talk to. Outside the talks, some indigenous leaders began calling the talks a failure before they even started, saying that the talks wouldn’t go far enough to stop the use and development of fossil fuels. Other observers seem cautiously optimistic. That has a lot to do with how much countries have already promised to do before going into negotiations. The engagement of some major sub-national governments, like city mayors, also seems promising.

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