Editorial: An ‘Irresponsible’ Governor Thwarts Renewables

first_imgEditorial: An ‘Irresponsible’ Governor Thwarts Renewables FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享From the Indianapolis Business Journal:Gov. Mike Pence says Indiana has “never picked a pencil up” to work on a state energy plan to comply with new federal clean air rules.And Pence told The Indianapolis Star that his administration has no plans to ever do so, especially now that the U.S. Supreme Court has put the rules on hold as it reviews several legal challenges, including one in which Indiana is a plaintiff.That is irresponsible.If the Pence administration does not create a plan to try to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and the high court upholds the Environmental Protection Agency rules, the state could become a slave to federal regulations that were not created with Indiana in mind.Business leaders and utility officials know this. Mark Maassel, president of the Indiana Energy Association, which represents the state’s investor-owned utilities, told IBJ late last year that the state needs a plan in place in case the federal Clean Power Plan is upheld.Make no mistake. Maassel and many other business leaders support Pence’s decision to sue President Obama’s administration to stop the implementation of the rules, which are meant to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 32 percent by 2030. That could be especially difficult for Indiana, where 80 percent of the state’s net energy generation comes from coal—compared with about 35 percent nationally.That’s why Indiana should tackle the problem on its own, rather than letting federal regulators tell it what to do. Crafting a state plan to reduce emissions gives the Pence administration the chance to bring together stakeholders, including utilities and the coal industry as well as environmental groups and health care leaders. It lets the state be creative in its approach and ensures that some one-size-fits-all federal mandate isn’t dropped on Hoosier businesses and utilities.A state plan also acknowledges that diversifying our energy sources and cleaning up our air is a worthy goal—and it clearly is. Regardless of whether the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the federal rules, the state would benefit from having discussed and debated its options.That doesn’t have to mean completely abandoning coal. In truth, that can’t and won’t happen in Indiana anytime soon. But a plan for Indiana’s energy future can include how to help the 3,600 people who work in Indiana’s coal mining industry. The move away from coal nationally is real, and pretending that it’s not happening won’t make it go away.Pence owes it to Hoosiers to put his regulators to work on a clean energy plan now—whether the Supreme Court throws out the EPA rules or not. Doing anything else is irresponsible.Pence’s stubborn energy stance ill-serves statelast_img read more

Read More →

Despite $90 billion annual cost, fossil fuel producers push carbon capture/storage plans

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Some of the world’s biggest fossil-fuel producers are calling on taxpayers to help them kick their pollution habit.The world’s biggest oil, natural gas and mining companies are stepping up their campaign to deploy carbon capture and storage, or CCS, as way to slow global warming. But with a potential $90-billion-a-year price tag, it’s too rich for them to do it on their own.The technology siphons pollution away from the chimneys of industrial plants and injects it permanently underground. It holds the promise of reducing greenhouse gases without overhauling the world’s energy system. For all its potential, CCS raises unpalatable questions for policymakers about how to fund it, and nobody in the industry has worked out a solution beyond either direct subsidies or much higher carbon taxes. Either of those measures would make burning fossil fuels much less economical.Cost is the biggest impediment to CCS. The International Energy Agency estimates the price for sequestering carbon starts at about $40 a ton, double the cost of emissions in Europe. Industry needs to capture 2.3 billion tons a year by 2040. That suggests CCS would need $92 billion a year in support to work at scale—more than the entire coal industry took in investment last year.Those figures leave CCS vulnerable both to challenges from environmentalists, who dislike the principle of helping fossil fuels, and from developers of renewables, who increasingly are building wind and solar farms at a cost rivaling traditional forms of energy.“CCS is a get-out-of-jail card and a great business opportunity,” said Michael Liebreich, founder of the Bloomberg NEF research group in London now owned by Bloomberg LP. “Not only would it allow them to keep on doing what they do, but also it offers the prospect of being paid to clean up their own pollution. I just can’t see it ever happening at scale.”More: Big coal wants you to pay to fix its problem Despite $90 billion annual cost, fossil fuel producers push carbon capture/storage planslast_img read more

Read More →

Record-setting 2.2GW solar park in India now fully operational

first_imgRecord-setting 2.2GW solar park in India now fully operational FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Clean Technica:One of India’s leading private renewable energy companies, Hero Future Energies, recently commissioned a 300 megawatt solar power project at Bhadla solar power park in Rajasthan. With this project, the solar park is now complete with installed capacity of 2,245 megawatts.Bhadla solar park is significant in many aspects. The solar park saw multiple record-low tariffs during some highly competitive auctions. Projects at the solar park were developed by multiple companies through public-private partnership.State government itself developed 745 megawatts of capacity, a joint venture company of IL&FS and Rajasthan government developed 1 gigawatt of capacity, while another joint venture between Adani Enterprises and Rajasthan government developed 500 megawatts.The park hosts 260 megawatts owned by India’s largest power generation company — the state-owned NTPC Limited.In May 2017, two separate auctions of 250 megawatts and 500 megawatts paved way for the lowest-ever tariff bid for a solar power project in India. The first auction saw a bid of Rs 2.62/kWh (US¢4.1/kWh), the lowest at that time. This bid was 9.2% lower than the previous lowest bid in India. Within two days the record of Rs 2.62/kWh was shattered by Acme Cleantech Solutions. The company secured 200 megawatts of capacity in the 500 megawatt auction at Rs 2.44/kWh (US¢3.8/kWh). This remains the lowest-ever solar power bid in India to date. In December 2019, another 750 megawatts of capacity was auctioned. Tariff bids increased marginally to Rs 2.47/kWh (US¢3.8/kWh).SB Energy, a joint venture of SoftBank, Foxconn and Bharti Enterprises, possibly owns the largest capacity in the park at 600 megawatts, secured across three auctions. Other major developers with projects at this solar park include ReNew Power, Acme Solar Holdings, Hero Future Energies, and Azure Power.[Saurabh]More: 2.2 gigawatt solar park in India’s Rajasthan state now fully operationallast_img read more

Read More →

Indiana utility looking for 1,300MW of renewables and battery storage to replace coal generation

first_imgIndiana utility looking for 1,300MW of renewables and battery storage to replace coal generation FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Southern Indiana Gas and Electric Co. has issued a request for proposals for up to 1,300 MW of wind, solar and solar-plus-storage resources, as part of its plan to identify replacement capacity beginning in 2023.The CenterPoint Energy Inc. subsidiary is seeking 700 MW to 1,000 MW of solar and solar-plus-storage, as well as 300 MW of wind resources, according to an Aug. 12 news release.“While we continue negotiating for active projects identified in our first ever All-Source RFP, conducted as part of our most recent Integrated Resource Plan, additional projects are required to fill the remaining need,” said Steve Greenley, senior vice president of generation development.In June, the utility announced plans to retire 730 MW of coal-fired generation by 2024 and largely fill its ongoing energy need with renewable generation.[Maryam Adeeb]More ($): CenterPoint’s Ind. utility seeks up to 1,300 MW of wind, solar, storagelast_img read more

Read More →

Soggy Bottom SUP Tour: Day 6

first_imgClick here to read the report from Day 5“Heading to Pirate’s Cove” Jordon LakeLocated about 15 minutes off of I- 40 you will find Lake Jordon, this lake is fairly large about 14,000 acres, the lake has many different launch and access area, the Jordon Lake State Park is the best place to access the water. There are many different coves to explore even on busy lake traffic day, you can still find some relief from the traffic on this lake, the water is fairly clear and with the various coves you can avoid the wind on most days. The water stays fairly warm even into late October which allow for some late season paddling. The lake is only about 40 minutes from Raleigh.  The lake also is a good lake to spot a bald eagle. The lake is a US Army Corps of Engineers Lake, with a North Carolina State Park on the lake.Jordon Lake Area information:Launch sites: Nine different site located within the state park, daily entrance fee for park $6Paddleboard rental nearby or Bring Your Own Board: Bring your own boardNearby lodging: Nearby in Apex, hotels/motels, various camping options at state park campgrounds, vacation rental homesDining options: nearby in ApexOther nearby area activities: Hiking, fishing, mountain bikingLake WheelerLocated just minutes off of I – 40 in Raleigh, NC is Lake Wheeler, the city of Raleigh operates the waterfront park, and this is the best place to access Lake Wheeler. The lake is a great getaway for the city for an afternoon paddle; this is also a great place to learn to paddleboard with intro class from a local tour company. The water is clear and like Lake Jordon, remains rather warm well in late October. This lakefront park is an oasis in the urban area of Raleigh.  The lake does get busy with boat traffic on weekends.Lake Wheeler Area Information:Launch site: City Park, $6 feePaddleboard rental nearby or Bring Your Own Board: Triangle Glides  Nearby lodging: many lodging options nearby in RaleighDining options: fast food to fine dining in Raleigh, concession stand at lake, the park has some nice picnic areasOther nearby area activities: Mountain biking, hiking, fishingPirate’s  Cove – East Carolina StadiumAs we arrived at the cove, we were greeted with a sea of purple and yellow, lots of those pirates everywhere, no we were not here for paddleboarding we were here to watch the 11th rated Hokies play some college football on this beautiful fall day in eastern  North Carolina. The bone yard as they call it has been know to take down a mighty ship or two a couple times a season, it almost happened to the Hokies this day, they finally got it together and sailed out of the cove and back to the safe harbor of Blacksburg with a win. As my dad and I were heading back to Claytor Lake, our thoughts were that we could have enjoyed this beautiful day more visiting some of the other paddleboard sites around the Tar Heel state.last_img read more

Read More →

Telemark Workshop at Timberline

first_imgAs we wrap up January and move into the first weekend in February, now is the time for a little reflection. New Year’s Resolutions are long gone and probably forgotten, but don’t let the same be said for winter. True, the Southeast and mid-Atlantic did see an unseasonably warm week with temperatures in the 50s and pushing 60 in some parts, but this is not atypical for the first month of the year. This is a time for reflection because we are at the turning point. You can either pack up the ski equipment and start getting the spring wardrobe out of the attic, or you can double down on winter and hit the slopes this weekend. I vote for the latter, as Punxsutawney Phil will be making his annual climate prediction on Saturday, Groundhog Day, and anything could happen: he could see his shadow, not see his shadow, bite the mayor’s nose off, hold out for a better contract, relive the same day over and over, relive the same day over and over, etc. Better get your turns in now, while you still have your sanity.Timberline Ski Mountain outside Davis, West Virginia is preparing for a return of winter proper as a low pressure system swinging in from the West will collide with the warm air pumping in from the South to hopefully drop the temperatures and some snow this weekend. Look for fresh tracks, but also to try something new as on Saturday, they will be hosting a telemark ski workshop. There will be clinics, lectures, discounted lift tickets for those participating and a limited amount of rental Nordic gear available so show up early and try your hand at something new, and definitely different.View Larger Maplast_img read more

Read More →

Mountain Mama: Month One of Marathon Training Under the Belt

first_img“Our greatest glory is not in never failing but in rising up every time we fail.” ~ Ralph Waldo EmersonBeing videotaped while I ran was only slightly better than someone watching me try on bikinis under those terrible fluorescent lights that accentuate every flaw. Knowing that someone was watching me run made me cringe. Was my arm flab jiggling? Was I standing up straight? Was my head dragging behind my body? Were my ankles relaxed? Was my cadence fast enough? Did my butt look massive?When Thomas Minton, running guru extraordinaire, agreed to help me with my technique, I jumped at the chance. I was fine with the prospect of all-over soreness, early morning alarms, and alcohol-free Friday nights. But when I read the “filming” dates listed on the training schedule I broke into a cold sweat.But a promise is a promise. I’d committed to the Charleston marathon. And to prepare for it, I’d do whatever Thomas suggested, even the videotaping. But first, I spent most of the month preparing by skipping, shuffling sideways, falling into trees, and hopping. After each technique session I dutifully checked off the run from the training schedule I’d hung on my fridge. Curiously missing was actually running, except for the weekly “long” run that still hovered in the single digits.Friends saw me running in the park and sent texts. I drove by and wondered why that woman was running backwards. Then I realized it was you. When I skipped and shuffled my way through San Francisco during breaks from a writing conference, a city where nothing should be shocking, people did double takes.I didn’t care about the curious looks I got – turns out I love to skip. Swinging my arms and bounding high into the air makes me feel about ten years old. And shuffling sideways, a move my running guru refers to as the “karaoke drill” and aerobic instructors dub the “grapevine” makes me want to toss my head back and giggle. I still struggle to pick up my feet while running backwards, a drill Thomas promises will improve the pull phase of my running.After skipping, falling, shuffling, and running backwards I was starting to feel like the boy in Karate Kid, wondering if all the drills would translate into 26.2 miles of running. I began to doubt that I was accomplishing anything besides entertaining onlookers. Thomas sent me a message about meeting for our advanced technique session, which would end with videotaping.The session started with some barefoot running. My feet felt so light. I could feel when my ankles were tight and I landed hard. The contrast between how my fell naturally when I relaxed my foot surprised me. So I let go.Then Thomas helped me with pacing.“Pull now. Pull, pull, pull.”I followed his lead, feeling a little bit quicker. The next lap my feet were lighter still. The wind flirted with my skin and blew my hair into tangles. A rush of heady freedom filled me. It was the first time that I’d considered this running thing might be something I wanted to do instead of something I was making myself do.“You’re form is looking better. Ready for me to film you?” Thomas asked.I gulped. “No,” I said, before I considered how ungracious I sounded. How bad could it be? He just said you’re form is getting better. Just do it.“Just kidding, I’m ready.”Thomas told me to start skipping and then run past the camera. My heart fluttered and I felt my body tense, feeling incredibly self-conscious. I forced myself to lift my knees, skipping and then transitioning to a run. Was I over-striding? Was my pull too slow? Was my ankle too tight? Was my body springy? The more I wondered, the tighter I felt. This running business was turning out to be way more complicated than I thought.A few minutes later Thomas critiqued as he pushed play. “So the landing is looking better. The foot is much more relaxed. There’s your running pose.” He paused the frame. “We’ll need to work on your posture, the shoulders collapsing, the head going back.”Whew, we were done. It wasn’t so bad after all. So there was the matter of my posture and finding how to pull my shoulders down. All those years hunched up over a computer weren’t helping. But Thomas had more drills. There was help. I wasn’t destined to be a slouched over runner forever.As I walked back to my truck, I wondered why I had been so scared and reluctant to see my running up close on a screen. The thing is I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I like to get things right, I live for praise. The discomfort of witnessing my own failure overwhelmed me. That filming session and the first month of marathon training has taught me that the only way to improve is to work through all my imperfections, with my eyes wide open.last_img read more

Read More →

Chasing Mitchell

first_imgWho was Elisha Mitchell—the man who first summited the highest mountain in the East—beyond the short, terrible span of his final moments?In April, I walked up the ramp from the parking lot at North Carolina’s Mount Mitchell State Park to the mountain’s summit, as have countless visitors before me. I wanted to find out more about the mountain’s namesake—Elisha Mitchell, the 19th-century professor who died attempting to prove this mountain was the highest in the East.At the summit of Mount Mitchell is a tower with a plaque that reads:Elisha Mitchell (1793 – 1857)Scientist and professor. Died in attempt to prove this mountain highest in eastern U.S. Grave is at summit. 285 yds. S.When you arrive at the observation deck at the mountain’s top, there’s another marker for Mitchell, this one set into the side of the stone tomb where his body now rests:Here lies in the hope of a blessed resurrection the body of the Rev. Elisha Mitchell D.D. who after being for thirty-nine years a professor in the University of North Carolina lost his life in the scientific exploration of this mountain, in the sixty-fourth year of his age.June 27, 1857As I looked at the tomb, I thought about the professor, two months shy of his 64th birthday, wandering these mountains over 150 years ago.Mitchell was trying to prove that he’d found, measured, and climbed the highest peak in the East—despite rancorous counterclaims by Congressman Thomas Clingman, a former student of Mitchell’s, who maintained that he hadn’t.The debate between the two public figures played out for more than two years, and Mitchell set forth to lay to rest any questions about the legitimacy of his assertion. He died in the effort.When he fell to his death on June 27—and that day is an estimate—he was heading to the cabin of Big Tom Wilson, a famed mountaineer, hunter, and expert guide who lived near what prominent 19th-century geologist and geographer Arnold Guyot called “Black Dome” when referring to the mountain.The name Guyot chose is telling of the debate. He labeled it such in an effort to avoid referring to the peak with Clingman or Mitchell’s name attached to it—a mid-19th-century form of political correctness. It’s likely that locals rarely referred to the mountain by name at all—the seven tallest peaks in the Black Mountain Range, of which Mount Mitchell is one, vary in height by only 140 feet.The professor was seeking Wilson’s assistance in exploring the area and securing his claim, having grown weary of a long debate with political overtures. Ultimately, Wilson assisted in locating the professor’s lifeless body, found floating in a pool of water at the base of what is now known as Mitchell Falls.Wilson deduced that the professor was crossing a creek above the 25-foot-high falls, and that night had fallen. The conclusion drawn by Wilson was that the professor struck his head as he tumbled down the falls and that he then drowned in the pool below. There is also a mention by an eyewitness to the recovery of Mitchell’s body of “a slight wound on the head, caused, I think, by falling against the log…that leans against the torrent’s channel.”Wilson discovered Mitchell eleven days after he died, and did so with his own small group after larger, formal searches had been called off.The pocket watch that Mitchell bore is stopped at 8:19, with an assumption by Wilson that this marked the time of the professor’s death. Saturday, June 27, was the assumed to be the date of Mitchell’s death based on a diary found on his body that includes an entry from earlier that evening. Both the time and day strike me as estimates made concise to imbue a dark, unseen tragedy with some measurement, and in turn, the small comfort that comes with knowledge and understanding.Who was Mitchell beyond the short, terrible span of his final moments? The park museum largely conveys the story above, but despite its recounting, Mitchell remained to me thoroughly two-dimensional, and his life only defined by it abrupt ending. The drawings that exist of him are variations on a theme: a balding man, with wisps of hair curled around his temples, a formal collar and tie, and a look away from the portraitist that obscures insight into his eyes and in turn the person.On this visit, a thick bank of fog cloaked the mountain and rolled up its sides as if blown skyward by an unseen fan from below. As I descended the ramp, I headed off onto a trail tucked beneath the summit. It was clear treading on the path, but quickly thickened into a riot of fallen dead trees, rock outcroppings, and underbrush once I veered from it. If nothing else, the detour afforded me a glimpse into how limited Mitchell’s views must have been, even at these heights, and how slow his progress.Coming out of the woods, I walked the length of the parking lot to my small pickup. A young couple pulled up into the lot—the only other car there that day—and sprang out with a cellphone held aloft, pointed down at them. They ran in circles waving and sharing to their audience the splendor of this lofty, mist-shrouded, asphalt parking lot. They then hopped in their car and speed back down the mountain. I smiled and thought that—ironically—his eponymous mountain may not be the best place to better come to know Mitchell the man. It began to hail.I later do some reading to fill out the dimensions of the professor. He was born in Connecticut in 1793, and graduated Yale in 1813. He began teaching at Chapel Hill in late January, 1818, and was joined on his journey southward by fellow classmate Denison Olmsted. Both took up professorships at UNC, then called North Carolina University, with Mitchell teaching mathematics and “natural philosophy,” a precursor to today’s physics.Mitchell’s wife, Maria North, arrived in Chapel Hill a year later in 1819. At the time, the town was an outpost in an endless wilderness of oaks and loblolly pines, a cluster of some half-dozen university buildings and 40 houses comprising the village. It was a small, steadfast clearing in a sea of trees with its purpose the schooling of roughly 100 young men. The hope for their education, and one held by Mitchell, was to strike back the dark uncivility that in mid-19th century academic minds often accompanied untamed wilderness.With that backstory in place, in May I drove east 220 miles from Asheville to Chapel Hill to help picture Mitchell’s time there. At the Wilson Library at UNC, I quickly find the pocket watch that has only grown in its fascination for me since I first heard of it. It’s under a glass case, and now festooned with a faded black ribbon marking its dark place in Mitchell’s history.From there, I head to the reading room and pore over handwritten accounts of the professor and his peers, some dating back to the 18th century. It is as thrilling as it is often indecipherable, the ink and quill of the age forcing a slanted cursive that readily lends itself to misinterpretation.I learned that Mitchell was no religious firebrand, though he would bend the ear of a student on theological matters when the opportunity arose. But his tranquil demeanor and infinite patience were celebrated by many students and colleagues.In 1835, Mitchell had used barometric observations to measure the heights of the Black Mountains, and he determined that one peak was the highest mountain in the East. Nine years later, in 1844, Mitchell decided to confirm his findings on foot as part of his general ongoing work of surveying the western part of the state. It was on this trip that Mitchell summited what is today’s Mount Mitchell.But then in the early 1850s, one of Mitchell’s former students, Thomas Clingman, claimed that another peak was highest, and that he had summited it first. Clingman was a prominent attorney and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. His counterclaims were wide and varied, and delivered with the oratory and written skills of a congressman and attorney. The debates between Mitchell and Clingman were often vitriolic, which ultimately prompted Mitchell to return to the mountain to prove the accuracy of his measurements in his last fateful journey.In the year following Mitchell’s death, a host of supporters corroborated his 1844 trip to the summit and confirmed his mountain was the highest. Part of this was proven when Big Tom Wilson—by the late 1850s a national celebrity for his mountain acumen—re-created the 1844 journey of Mitchell and brought experts to the point that is now the summit of Mount Mitchell, and known to be 6,684 feet.I’m most struck by the letters that poured into David Lowry Swain notifying him of Mitchell’s death. Swain was the former North Carolina governor who was by then president of UNC. The notes uniformly convey a despondency about the professor’s death that does help me better understand him, if only through the depth of their conveyed grief. One, dated July 6, 1857, is addressed to “Governor Swain,” although Swain was by then more than twenty years removed from the office.Gov. Swain,My Dear Sir,I have a most melancholy and unfortunate piece of information to communicate, and think it best to do it at once before rumor renders it more unpleasant, if that were possible, than the sad reality.Our dear old friend Dr. Mitchell is no more. He is lost among the mountains and the utmost search we have been able to make has yet proved unavailing. After navigating folders of papers conveying to me the life of Mitchell, I’m contented that I’ve come to know the outdoor adventurer as well as I can in the quiet spaces of a library. I spend the rest of the afternoon walking the campus, in the knowledge that at times I’m walking where the professor once trod.Within a week of the trip to Chapel Hill, I’m back at Mount Mitchell, and I’m informed for the fourth time after inquiries to four different parties that Mitchell Falls is strictly off limits. I do ascertain from a park ranger the region of the falls, and an agreement that several thousand yards taken in its general direction does not constitute trespassing, especially if the ranger is not looking.I walked out from the from the visitor center and down a gravel road, until I was quickly warned off the task by signage and the reluctance to land my helpful accomplice in serious trouble.I then walked back to my car and after looking at maps, decided to head to Roan Mountain on the North Carolina—Tennessee border, where Mitchell visited in the 1830s, and a place of which he was especially fond for its ability to be reached by horseback.En route I drove past a roadside marker to Andre Michaux, the French botanist who surveyed western North Carolina and its flora in the late 1790s. Through Michaux’s account of his findings, which Mitchell later read, he influenced the professor perhaps more than any other single factor to one day explore the region.Finally, I arrived at Carver’s Gap, parked my truck, and meandered to the top of Round Bald, elevation 5,826 feet. Its stunning beauty caught me off guard, a 360-degree vista of blue mountains, calf-high wind-blown grasses, and blossoming patches of rhododendron. A light breeze and a fading sun perfected the setting with the life and color so absent from the black and white renderings of the stoic Mitchell I first encountered.Perhaps now, and only now, I have gained some glimpse into Mitchell: a brilliant, flawed, persistent man who—at his core—fell in love with the mountains.last_img read more

Read More →

President Obama Accepts Nobel Peace Prize

first_img He echoed the words of former U.S. President John Kennedy, who five decades ago spoke of a realistic, more attainable peace. President Obama went on to speak about nations that abuse their own people. He said peace must be more than the absence of military conflict. In announcing its choice for the 2009 Peace Prize, the Nobel Committee cited the president’s efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation. It said he has captured the imagination of the world with his message of hope. U.S. President Barack Obama formally accepted the Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway. The president spoke at length about the circumstances that push nations to war, and prompt them to seek peace. President Obama said he accepted the peace prize with humility, well aware of the controversy that surrounded the choice of the Nobel Committee. “A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaida’s leaders to lay down their arms,” he said. “To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism – it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.” ” I do not believe that we will have the will, or the staying power, to complete this work without something more – and that is the continued expansion of our moral imagination; an insistence that there is something irreducible that we all share,” he said. By Dialogo December 10, 2009 His speech to a crowd of dignitaries in Oslo’s city hall came just nine days after he ordered another 30,000 American troops to Afghanistan. Well aware of the juxtaposition of events, the president focused on the notion of “just war”, and the concept of sustainable peace. “We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth that we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes,” said Mr. Obama. “There will be times when nations – acting individually or in concert – will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.” center_img “We are at war, and I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land. Some will kill. Some will be killed,” he said. “And so I come here with an acute sense of the cost of armed conflict – filled with difficult questions about the relationship between war and peace, and our effort to replace one with the other.” He says there is nothing weak in the path of non-violence championed by the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Martin Luther King, Jr. Yet Mr. Obama says it cannot be the only path. He says he cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. “Those who claim to respect international law cannot avert their eyes when those laws are flouted. Those who care for their own security cannot ignore the danger of an arms race in the Middle East or East Asia,” he said. “Those who seek peace cannot stand idly by as nations arm themselves for nuclear war.” President Obama said rules and institutions are needed to keep military action in check. He made specific mention of the need to adhere to strict codes of conduct, and to see that countries live up to their international obligations. “So even as we respect the unique culture and traditions of different countries, America will always be a voice for those aspirations that are universal,” added Mr. Obama. “We will bear witness to the quiet dignity of reformers like Aung Sang Suu Kyi; to the bravery of Zimbabweans who cast their ballots in the face of beatings; to the hundreds of thousands who have marched silently through the streets of Iran.” He said the search for peace must entail support for strong institutions, human rights and freedom from want. But he said there is one other key ingredient for a more peaceful world. “In part, this is because I am at the beginning, and not the end, of my labors on the world stage. Compared to some of the giants of history who have received this prize – Schweitzer and King; Marshall and Mandela – my accomplishments are slight,” he said. But he says the most profound issue surrounding the award is the fact that he is the leader of a nation in the midst of two wars. last_img read more

Read More →

Air Forces From the Region Participate in Exercise Cooperacion 1

first_img The air forces of 12 countries of the Americas participated in an exercise aimed at using multinational air assets from SICOFAA member nations (Sistema de cooperacion de las Fuerzas Aereas de las Americas) in support of Humanitarian Civic Assistance Missions, Oct. 4 to 14 in Chile. The “Cooperation 1” exercise scenario was premised on the devastating effects of the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Chile in February, triggering a tsunami, widespread blackouts and the loss of both property and hundreds of lives. “The events in Haiti and Chile this year and other disasters in years past have shown us that none of our countries are immune to natural disaster. In the aftermath of one of these events, when lives are at stake and time is critical, the efficient use of air assets is crucial to providing timely humanitarian support and saving lives,” said Col. Kris Skinner, secretary general, SICOFAA. During 2011, SICOFAA will use lessons learned from Cooperation 1 and recent actual disaster responses to create and publish a manual outlining procedures for the use of member nation air forces. The manual will outline the necessary procedures to stand up a multinational command and control center capable of managing air assets for humanitarian relief, said Col. Skinner. Although the U.S. and other nations are very capable of utilizing a command and control center for fighting a war, the concept has not yet been used in Latin America for humanitarian missions. SICOFAA has proposed a 10-year plan for using the manual in future exercises. Col. Skinner will present the plan to SICOFAA air force commanders at the next annual conference in Brazil. The next SICOFAA exercise, Cooperacion 2 will be held as soon as possible. The host nation and location has not yet been determined. “This type of exercise is important for all of our nations because the next natural disaster will give us another opportunity to come together to help one another, and that is what we want to be able to do,” said Lt. Gen. Glenn F. Spears, commander of 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern). Planning for this SICOFAA exercise began in June of 2007. This is the first SICOFAA exercise, utilizing real cargo and passengers versus paper scenarios. The Chilean Air Force has been planning this exercise since 2008, said Aviation General (two-star general) Luis Ili Delgado, director of Exercise Cooperacion 1. “The exercise has been an absolute success,” said General Ili. “We have been able to learn a great amount about each other’s air forces, cultures, capabilities and procedures. We are learning about the coordinated movement of cargo and passengers for disaster response through an exercise, instead of when lives are on the line.” The United States Air Force contributed two C-130 Hercules from the 136th Airlift Wing (Texas Air National Guard) and 27 personnel from various units to both fly cargo and participate in the command and control aspects of coordinating aerial missions. Six of the 12 participating countries brought cargo aircraft and flew over 232 missions, transported 2,607 kilograms of cargo and 306 passengers to 14 locations. The U.S. flew near daily missions with approximately 100 flight hours and transported approximately 24,000 pounds of cargo between the cities of Santiago, Puerto Montt and Balmaceda – one of Chile’s southernmost cities. During the exercise, the Chilean Air Force also hosted a media day, open house and VIP day with military and civilian leadership from the SICOFAA member nations. By Dialogo October 26, 2010last_img read more

Read More →