About Magdalena A. K. Muir

Magdalena AK Muir, B.A., J.D., LL.M. is Adjunct Professor at John Hopkins University, where she teaches on offshore wind, ocean energy and offshore grid infrastructure marine in the Masters of Science- Energy Policy and Climate program. Magdalena is Associate Professor, Aarhus School of Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University, and participates in the Nordic Centre of Excellence for Strategic Adaptation Research (NCoE NORD-STAR) on adaptation to climate changes in Scandinavia and the Arctic. She is a Research Associate with Arctic Institute of North America, a bi-national research institution based at the University of Calgary, and teaches on international energy issues at this university. She is a member of the Law Society of Alberta and is a practicing barrister and solicitor with International Energy, Environment and Legal Services Ltd.. For the Arctic, Magdalena collaborates with the University of the Arctic and the Centre for the North Roundtable of the Conference Board of Canada, and is a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. . Since 2004, Magdalena is Advisory Board Member, Climate with the Coastal and Marine Union (EUCC), leading their engagement on sustainable energy development in Europe, including offshore wind and ocean energy and grid infrastucture. She is active on European climate adaptation and mitigation policy, and in the QualityCoast global programme for sustainable tourism destination criteria. Further information on these EUCC activities are found on the EUCC webpage entitled: Articles and Presentations on Adaptation and Mitigation of Climate Change for Biodiversity, Ecosystems, Energy and Water (http://www.eucc.net/en/climate_change/index.htm). Dr. Muir has the following research projects, which are implemented in cooperation with the AINA, John Hopkins University, Duke University, Aarhus University and the NCoE NORD-STAR. - Adaptation Governance for Global and Climate Change in the Circumpolar Arctic - Arctic Resource Development and Climate Impacts, Adaptation, and Mitigation - Beaufort Sea Project for Climate Change: Impact and Adaptation to Climate Change for Fish and Marine Mammals in the Canadian Beaufort Sea - Changing Oceans in a Changing World - The Circum-Arctic Health Project : Northern & Remote Community Health & Resilience Considering Economic & Environmental Changes - Parallels for Arctic and Antarctica Governance and Resource Management - Sustainable Energy Development - Sustainable Tourism See http://www.arctic.ucalgary.ca/research for further information on these projects

Call for candidate cities for Sustainable Cities International for the SCI Energy Lab 2013-2016 program

Sustainable Cities International (SCI) and the SCI Energy Lab is a participant in the Sustainable Energy Development project.

The Sustainable Energy Development project is supported by John Hopkins University Masters of Science: Energy Policy and Climate Program.

EPC students are welcome to support the SCI Energy Lab through their Capstone projects.

A call for candidate cities for Sustainable Cities International for the SCI Energy Lab 2013-2016 program is currently underway.

In order to participate, please complete and send the attached statement of interest to Jane McRae, [email protected], by February 20th, 2013
Energy is the defining issue of the 21st century. Our cities, the powerhouses of our economies and home to more than half of humanity, require large, reliable sources of energy to meet the needs of individuals, companies and institutions. Our current reliance on fossil fuels, for the generation of electricity and to power our industries and transportation systems, is at the heart of the climate change challenge. How we develop our energy sources, distribute and use energy will impact our future on the planet.

Organizations and cities around the globe report that the technical challenges of sustainable energy systems are not the greatest barriers to implementation, rather it is in the lack of capacity in the organizations and individuals that can move these ideas into action.

The Sustainable Cities International (SCI) Energy Lab is a program designed to improve this capacity through a series of learning exchanges between cities as well as providing a framework for analysis, action and evaluation to assist cities to move forward with their work on sustainable energy. Working with an initial cohort of 10-12 cities, the SCI Energy Lab aims to go well beyond being a simple exchange of pre-existing “best practices.” Structured as an Innovations Lab, the goal is to provide a multi-disciplinary forum for collaborative problem solving and idea generation around all aspects of the design, implementation and regulation of urban renewable and local energy systems.

The purpose of the SCI Call for Cities invitation_Jan30_2013Energy Lab is to accelerate the transformation towards sustainable energy development by supporting the “next wave” of cities that have an interest in learning from leading cities and sufficient capacity to act on what they learn.

The call for candidate cities is directed at intermediate cities with 200,000 to 5 million inhabitants.

In order to qualify, a candidate city:
1. Has the capacity to undertake sustainability energy planning within the city (capacity includes expertise you can provide in the fields of: planning, sustainability, energy, engineering and/or finances);
2. Has undertaken or planned 1-2 sustainability/energy initiatives and can provide evidence for local level government support of these programs;
3. Designates 2 representatives to attend the annual SCI Energy Lab workshop event;
4. Commits to host a peer exchange event (at least once over the 3 year program), should they be selected as a host city;
5. Will be expected to actively participate in city exchanges and web-based events in addition to the annual workshop event;
6. Have the capacity to communicate in English, as well as organize events and read/write documents in English.
The decision on which cities are selected will be announced in March 2013. Selected cities will be invited to attend the SCI Energy Lab launch on May 28-30th 2013 (location to be announced).

Participating cities will benefit from:
Improved effectiveness of practitioners and accelerated action implementation;
In-depth learning from other cities that are leaders in sustainable energy solutions and their implementation;
Cross-sector exposure, access to expertise, and the opportunity to develop valuable professional relationships to support their sustainable energy initiatives;
Increased support from local stakeholders and decision makers as SCI Energy Lab participation is profiled globally;
Travel costs provided for two city representatives to attend the annual SCI Energy Lab workshop.

Stakeholder Forum article for WFES 2013: Integrated Approaches to Sustainable Energy Development for Small Developing States and Remote Nordic Communities

Integrated Approaches to Sustainable Energy Development for Small Island Developing States and Remote Nordic Communities for Stakeholder Forum publication for the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, UAE in January 2013.

Sustainable energy development can assist Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and remote communities and regions in mitigating and adapting to climate change, especially with pursuing an integrated approach to the development of renewable energy in synergy with heat and water and waste treatment. There are common linkages between renewable energy, water, carbon reduction and sustainable economic development, including tourism and sustainable economies, for SIDS and remote communities and regions. Communities and islands that embrace the integration of energy, water and carbon reduction will be more desirable destinations and economies for both travel and business.

The integration of renewable energy, heat and water is quite advanced across the Caribbean and Pacific, and for remote communities and capital cities in the Nordic region. There are common trends through all these regions. Integrated approaches to renewable energy can occur in synergy with heat, water and waste for SIDS and communities in these Nordic regions, and could inspire parallel development of these fields globally. This article builds on research under the Sustainable Energy Development project and the Nordic Centre of Excellence for Strategic Adaptation Research. It is consistent with the international collaboration on energy and water research at the World Future Energy Summit and International Water Summitin Abu Dhabi, and regional efforts for Latin America and the Caribbean under by the Department of Sustainable Energy Development of the Organization of American States.

One key aspect that ties together SIDS and remote northern communities are the high costs of electricity from imported fuel, and diesel generation, which in turn increase the cost of heating, cooling, and water and waste treatment. However, these locations also have significant renewable energy resources, or could, at a minimum, benefit from higher energy efficiency or burning natural gas liquids in substitution for diesel fuel.

The Renewable Energy to Desalination and Tourism Project for Caribbean Islands combines renewable energy based power generation and desalination, with cooling and heating as additional by-products. It works with Caribbean islands and businesses which are tourism dependent to integrate clean energy, carbon reduction, tourism and travel, and the project is a participant in the Climate Technology Initiative Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN) Clean Energy Financing Forum in Central America and the Caribbean Business Plan Competition.

The island of Aruba in the Caribbean is working with Richard Branson and the Carbon War Room to transition the island to 100% renewable energy, thus creating the world’s first sustainable energy economy. In the Pacific, the three atoll islands of Tokelau, a non-self governing territory of New Zealand, have recently completed projects allowing them to meet all energy needs from renewable energy, with one of the world largest off-grid solar systems, along with batteries and electricity generators powered by coconut biofuel produced on the islands. All these islands have existing tourist economies.

Innovative energy approaches are being used throughout the Nordic region to integrate energy and heat, and increase energy efficiency, supporting local economies and the attractiveness of those communities for visitors and investment. In Nuuk, Greenland, a hydrogen plant uses hydroelectricity to electrolyse water into hydrogen and oxygen. This hydrogen is stored for conversion into electricity, and on-demand heat in a fuel cell. Excess heat from hydrogen production and fuel cells heats Nuuk, while the electricity goes to the grid or buildings.  In Qaanaaq in north-western Greenland, above-ground pipes combine multiple energy and water services, while diesel engines and district heating provide highly efficient fuel use exceeding 85%. If this system was supplemented by a thermal storage mechanism, wind could also be integrated, and biogas from wastes could be used to generate electricity and heat.

This article is also located at: http://www.stakeholderforum.org/sf/outreach/index.php/component/content/article/169-irena-day2/1365-integrated-approaches-to-sustainable-energy-development-for-small-island-developing-states-and-remote-nordic-communities

European Energy Centre’s free scholarship for renewable energy courses

Each year a proportion of donations made to the European Energy Centre (EEC) are allocated to sponsoring individuals to attend our training courses – helping them develop their education and experience in the renewable energy sector.

The EEC Scholarship Fund exists to help advance our primary aim of promoting best practice in renewable energy through training and conferences.

To apply for a free scholarship for renewable energy courses, please email [email protected] with subject ‘Scholarship Application’, providing the following information:

· The course(s) you wish to attend (View the list of training courses by clicking here )
· The reason for your scholarship request
· The name of the organisation where you are currently employed (if applicable)
· Who would finance your attendance on the course
· Your employment status

Your application will be processed by the Funding Department.

Full scholarships may be available
Merit-based scholarships
For individuals who have graduated with a relevant degree in the past 12 months and have achieved a first-class degree; through private funding, the EEC will cover up to 70% of the cost of attending a course.
Career-progression in Renewable Energy scholarship

For individuals who wish to develop a career in renewable energy by attending 3 EEC courses, the EEC has funding to cover 50% of the most expensive course you select, if you register for the 3 courses at the same time.
Student-specific scholarships

If you are currently a student and have achieved a merit the EEC has funding to sponsor 30% of the cost for you to attend the course.

Low-income scholarships
If you are currently unemployed, the EEC would like to support your training and education. By providing proof that you are not in work you may be eligible to receive a 50% discount on our courses.

Please inquire for other scholarship opportunities


Using renewable energy and desalination for climate mitigation and adaptation in Small Island Developing States and coasts of arid regions

JHU Adjunct Professor Magdalena Muir recently published an article concerning renewable energy and desalination for an Energy publication issued by the Stakeholder Forum during the UNFCCC COP 18 process.

Renewable energy can help address water security and scarcity by integrating energy and water systems, and combining renewable energy with desalination. The Small Island Developing States (SIDS) – as well as coastal arid regions such as northern Africa and the Middle East – need to incorporate energy with water for sustainable energy development, economic development and poverty alleviation in order to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Although SIDS have geothermal, ocean, solar, and wind resources, they mainly rely on hydrocarbons to generate electricity. Both SIDS and arid regions share similar issues relating to energy and water security, which renewable
energy, desalination, and aquifer management can address. SIDS and coasts of arid regions are highly exposed to the impacts of climate change and adaptation, including responding to higher temperatures, changing
seasonal and annual precipitation, depletion of aquifers and groundwater, saline intrusion of coastal and island aquifers, increased water quality issues and incidences of waterborne illnesses. Both regions have rich customary,
local and traditional knowledge and technologies to manage energy and water needs (e.g. water harvesting, traditional architecture), which can augment and complement the generation of renewable energy and desalination rates.

Sustainable energy development and water linkages were recognised at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20. International policy developments are also underway, such as the Global Dry Land Alliance, initially proposed by Qatar at the 66th Session of UN General Assembly in 2011, and scheduled for launch at COP18 in Doha. The Global Dry Land Alliance could boost food security in arid regions through joint research and the adoption of energy and water systems and technologies by Member States

Likewise, the Renewable Energy-Desalination-Water Treatment Pilot Project for Small Islands and Coasts in the Americas is currently being implemented by academic institutions (including John Hopkins University), with the support of the Coastal and Marine Union (EUCC), and the Department of Sustainable Development of the Organization of American States.

The Munipality of Los Cabos, Baha State, Mexico, is a potential location, which is part of the feasibility assessment for the project. The municipality is located on the arid coast of the Baha peninsula and shares numerous characteristics with islands, being beset by high seasonal temperatures, limited precipitation and declining aquifers. Though solar and wind resources are available,
the municipality mostly uses diesel generators to provide electricity. If water scarcity and high energy costs are not addressed, they could limit the tourism sector, which supports the local economy. Additionally, renewable energy
and desalination could improve sustainability and thereby attract more tourists to the Los Cabos Municipality.

The energy, environmental and economic feasibility of renewable energy and desalination approaches and projects is being explored by the Municipality of Los Cabos in collaboration with the Sustainable Cities International (SCI) Energy Lab (2013-2016). Working initially with ten cities, the SCI Energy Lab supports innovation in the development of local energy solutions and furthers the understanding of how cities can address the barriers that prevent larger scale uptake of sustainable energy technologies by providing a multidisciplinary forum for collaborative problem-solving and idea generation around all aspects of the design, implementation and regulation
of urban renewable and local energy systems.

Further information on Stakeholder Forum and Outreach publications for COP 18 available at: http://www.stakeholderforum.org/sf/outreach/

What are the strengths and shortcomings of existing and proposed offshore safety regulations? Ways to strengthen and support existing and proposed offshore safety regulations

Professor Muir contributed to an October discussion of CommentVisions on What are the strengths and shortcomings of existing and proposed offshore safety regulations? Her comments in that forum are provided below:

What are the strengths and shortcomings of existing and proposed offshore safety regulations? Ways to strengthen and support existing and proposed offshore safety regulations

·         Value of comparisons between Europe and other offshore jurisdictions such as Canada, Brazil, China, Russia, US etc.. Though existing European regulations are based on Norway and UK, there can be mutual learnings between all offshore jurisdictions for both regulatory and non-regulatory approaches. For example, Canada is a federation of provinces and territories, where the federal and regional governments have shared responsibilities for offshore energy development and work cooperatively within joint institutions to regulate hydrocarbon safety. Comparitive and shared approaches will be particularly relevant for the development of Arctic hydrocarbons between Scandinavian countries and other Arctic Council member states such as Canada, United States and Russia.
·         Culture of safety within hydrocarbon corporations and offshore operators, and encouraging that safety culture through regulations, industry agreements, and voluntary measures such as environmental management systemsThe real key will be the way in which the regulations are viewed and internally implemented by the hydrocarbon industry and offshore operators. Regulations can be implemented to support the development of this safety culture, and have been done in other jurisdictions and by regulators, such as Canada’s National Energy Board.
·         Enforcement and compliance:  Regardless of the strengths and shortcomings of any regulations, a very important aspect is the willingness and ability of European and national authorities to operationalise these regulations consistently across all jurisdictions, and to use the full range of enforcement and compliance tools and mechanisms.
·         Public acceptance is crucial for offshore hydrocarbon development and other offshore activities. Tthe Renewable Grid Initiative and European Grid Declaration for Electricity Network Development and Nature Conservation in Europe provide lessons for engaging stakeholders, reconciling conflicting interests, and developing public acceptance for offshore developments and infrastructure. See www.renewables-grid.eu for further information.
·         Special safety regimes for special circumstances: Certain offshore hydrocarbon activities may require unique safety regulations and regulatory approaches. This includes hydrocarbon development in the Arctic where remote and difficult conditions combined with vulnerable ecosystems could turn an oil spill into an environmental disaster; hydrocarbon activities occurring in proximity to other oceans uses (such as renewable energy) or in areas of great biodiversity; or  the development of marine methane hydrates in coastal and marine waters.
·         Data, research and technological development to support environment and safety and realize future economic benefits for Europe. There is a distinct role for the European Union and in particular the Director General Maritime Affair in supporting data, research and technological development for offshore hydrocarbons and related sectors like offshore wind and ocean energy. This development is consistent with Europe’s Blue Growth initiative to support growth in the maritime sector by focusing on existing, emerging and potential activities.   Community level research and supervision can occur from the EU bodies and agencies best placed to sponsor, coordinate and supervise this research and development, particularly for activities in European waters or to assist in the transfer of knowledge and practices from international jurisdiction.
·         Maximize benefits of offshore hydrocarbon activities through regulations: Maximizing benefits through regulations, such as multiple use and design parameters of offshore platforms, no-take zones in proximity to facilities, seasonal restrictions on hydrocarbon activities, underground pipelines implemented through horizontal and directional drilling beneath seabed through areas of great biodiversity value or multiple uses. Research is already underway for multiple use ocean platforms under the European collaborative TROPOS project which develops floating modular multi-use platforms for use in deep water with18 partners and 9 countries (including the United Kingdom, Germany, Norway and Denmark) under the coordination of the Public Consortium Canary Islands Oceanic Platform .
·         Connections between offshore hydrocarbons, offshore carbon capture and storage (CCS), and offshore renewable energy: Proposals forCCS under the North Sea would use depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs and existing pipeline infrastructure for the long term storage of greenhouse gases under the seabed. As such, it will be important to have flexible regulatory regimes that will facilitate the safe re-use of this infrastructure. For both offshore hydrocarbon activities and renewable energy, common regulatory approaches could be useful for marine spatial planning for shared or overlapping areas of operation; ship-based support and space monitoring,; the multiple use or re-use of offshore hydrocarbon platforms for wind and ocean energy; and knowledge sharing and transfer betweee industries.
·         Lessons learned and applicability to other emerging marine sectors. Regulations for offshore hydrocarbon sector will provide important safety lessons and models for other emerging offshore sectors that such as offshore carbon capture and storage, offshore wind and marine renewable energy, power transmission infrastructure, ocean mining, marine biofuels and biomass, fishing and aquaculture.
Complete text of the CommentVisions discussion “What are the strengths and shortcomings of existing and proposed offshore safety regulations?” is available at:

Role and engagement of civil society in the sustainable and responsible development of the Arctic’s renewable and non-renewable resources

Professor Muir participated in CommentVisions web-based discussion on “What is the key to sustainable and responsible development of the Arctic region’s resources? And can the industry operate responsibly with minimum risk?” The article below was her contribution to that discussion

Role and engagement of civil society in the sustainable and responsible development of the Arctic’s renewable and non-renewable resources

The circum-Arctic region is an area of great interest and concern to the global pubic, which has greatly benefited the region for issues like climate change and transboundary contamination. The circum-Arctic region has many important renewable and non-renewable resources that need to be developed and used appropriately for the support of local peoples and communities, and for the benefit of Arctic countries. In discussing the development of Arctic energy and mineral resources, the very significant value of the Arctic’s renewable resources for subsistence uses by local communities, national and regional fisheries, renewable energy, and land and ship-based sustainable tourism is often overlooked. From a global perspective, these renewable resources may be the most important resources of the Arctic, and are also its most sustainable resources.

Resource development in one Arctic country can positively and adversely affect the resources and interests of adjacent countries and shared Arctic seas and oceans. Air and ship-based support and transport of these resources provide opportunities for regional economic development, but also give rise to significant risks of accidents and spills. For example, the gas tanker. Ob River, left Norway in November carrying a load of liquified natural gas (LNG), and is sailing north of Russian through the Arctic, arriving in Japan in early December. Changing climate conditions and a volatile gas market make this particularly Arctic journey profitable, but what are the risks associated with more marine journeys and how can they be best addressed?

The Arctic Council and national governments have important roles in ensuring international cooperation and for developing regional and national best practices and policy and regulatory frameworks for sustainable development of Arctic resources. There is also a very important role for civil society – including academic and research institutions and non-governmental organizations – in supporting cooperation and in the development, implementation and independent monitoring and review of these best practices, policies and regulations. Civil society organizations have valid knowledge, research and information to contribute, may provide a more objective perspective, and also may be more trusted and viewed as more trustworthy than governments and industry.

Academic and research institutions and non-governmental organizations can also facilitate public discussion and input, and build public understanding and social acceptance for the sustainable development of the Arctic resources. In the modern interconnected world, it is impossible to overestimate the value of public understanding and social acceptance. As recent events in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere illustrate, public understanding and social acceptance for energy and mining projects and their related infrastructure and support is both very important and very fragile. Academic institutions and environmental non-governmental organizations – in cooperation with the Arctic Council, European and national governments and industry associations like the World Ocean Council – can facilitate broad societal dialogue on sustainable and responsible development of Arctic resources that engages all peoples within and external to the Arctic.

Civil society can support this societal dialogue using the innovative media and technologies that it is currently developing, such as big data analytics, scenarios development approaches, games theory, interactive web-based information platforms, and geographical information systems (GIS) applications. As the amount of Arctic data and information increases, how Arctic data is analyzed and informs and supports decision making becomes increasingly important. Scenarios are stories that describe a possible future, and building and using scenarios allows an exploration what the future may look like, and preparation for change. Games theory is the study of strategic decision making, and games provide alternative means of sharing information and knowledge and participating in decision making. Interactive web-based platforms and GIS applications build upon social media, and can support citizen participation, science and inputs in Arctic decision making.

Overall CommentVisions discussion on “What is the key to sustainable and responsible development of the Arctic region’s resources? And can the industry operate responsibly with minimum risk”


Global Status of CCS 2012 report released

The report concluded that actively supporting carbon capture and storage (CCS) as part of the suite of low-carbon technologies used to tackle climate change would save electricity customers around the world more than US$3 trillion. The Global CCS Institute has estimated that carbon abatement from eight CCS projects already operating is greater than that achieved by all other energy-related climate efforts combined to date in Australia or the UK.
From the report, four key issues needing to be addressed to accelerate CCS deployment:
- the need for a stronger commitment to CCS by governments, in the form of timely and stable policy support to deal with barriers to implementation, drive industry confidence, encourage innovation and, ultimately, reduce capital and operating costs
that it is critical the technology is not disadvantaged; CCS is often not treated equivalently to other low-carbon technologies in government policy settings and support even though it is a cost-competitive technology
- a need to accelerate government and industry investment into demonstration projects to develop technology and bring down costs
- the importance of capturing and sharing lessons learnt from all CCS projects, particularly with non-OECD countries, where 70 per cent of CCS deployment will need to occur by 2050.

In the past year, the net number of large-scale integrated projects increased by one, to 75; eight previously identified projects were cancelled; and nine new projects were identified, most of which will investigate enhanced oil or gas recovery options. CCS projects are on track to achieve 70 per cent of the International Energy Agency’s [IEA] target mitigation activities for CCS by 2015increase in new projects will be required to meet the 2050 target.

The Institute’s analysis was informed by a quantitative and qualitative survey of global CCS projects. Significant progress in CCS during the past 12 months included:
- inclusion of CCS in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Clean Development Mechanism
- introduction of a comprehensive policy to drive deployment beyond demonstration projects and reform of electricity market arrangements in the UK
- inclusion of CCS in China’s 12th Five-Year Plan for building on clean energy.
“Progress of CCS in China is particularly strong,” Mr Page said. “Five of the nine newly-identified large-scale integrated projects are there, making a total of 11 CCS projects in development in China.

Support for capacity building activities in developing countries is also progressing well, with 19 non-OECD countries engaged in CCS, mostly at the early stage. Sharing expertise with these countries to overcome complex and difficult challenges is particularly important.Other notable developments during the past year included:
- the opening of the US$1 billion Technology Centre Mongstad in Norway, an industrial-scale test centre for carbon capture
- in Canada, the announcement that Shell’s Quest project would be built to capture and store more than one million tonnes a year of CO2 produced at the Athabasca Oil Sands Project
- Southern Company’s post-combustion Plant Barry in the US became the world’s largest integrated CCS project at a coal-fired power plant
- advances in oxyfuel combustion were realised through two pilot-scale projects, CIUDEN in Spain and Callide in Australia
- construction continued on two large-scale demonstration power generation projects scheduled to become operational in 2014: Kemper County in the US and Boundary Dam in Canada.

Table of Contents
Executive summary
1 Introduction
2 Projects
3 Business case
4 Policy, legal, and regulatory developments
5 CCS In Developing Countries
6 Capture
7 Transport
8 Storage
9 CO2 enhanced oil recovery as CCS
10 Public engagement
Appendix A: 2012 projects survey
Appendix B: Asset lifecycle model
Appendix C: 2012 LSIPs
Appendix D: Costs
Appendix E: Policy developments
Appendix F: Legal and regulation issues
Appendix G: CCS activities in developing countries
Appendix H: US CO2 pipelines


European Parliament -requested report: “Human Rights and Climate Change: EU Policy Options

A report that was requested by the European Parliament has just been published entitled: “Human Rights and Climate Change: EU Policy Options”.

The report provides a survey of the relationships between human rights and climate change. It examines the external diplomacy of the EU in the fields of human rights and climate change. It analyzes the effectiveness and the efficiency of the integration of climate concerns within the EU’s external development policy. Special emphasis is put on climate and human migration. The study then considers internal EU climate policies, from the perspective of human rights. Finally, this report clarifies the existing environmental human right to public information and participation in decision-making,s and how it may evolve in EU internal and external climate policy. The report is found at the link below:


Although science has provided many early warnings about the consequences of climate change on human well-being and is becoming increasingly precise regarding its impacts particularly on the most vulnerable populations, policies have not yet actually addressed the question of links between climate
change and human rights. The role played by the European Union within and external to Europe puts it in an unique position, and the report makes specific policy recommendations concerning climate mitigation and adaptation and human rights:

The distributional consequences of mitigation policies: Mitigation policies imply distributional consequences and may generate negative human rights impacts, which can disproportionately affect certain social groups within and outside the European Union. More care should be taken in matters of environmental justice to address discrimination in the sharing of mitigation benefits, risks and costs. The European Union could achieve this through the
integration of human rights criteria into the impact assessment of mitigation policies and by using the revenue from auctions, by selecting Joint Implementation /Clean Development Mechanism credits admitted within the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme, by taking due account of the right to property when amending mitigation legislation, and by favouring better access to courts for private individuals

The integration of human rights into adaptation policies: The mainstreaming of human rights into European Union adaptation policies follows from the application of binding human rights instruments, such as the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Treaty on European Union , and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, according to which the European Union shall ensure consistency between all of its policies and activities, and take all of its objectives into account. At present, some structural and substantial barriers are, however, hampering the effective integration of human rights into the definition and implementation of European Union policies. The report discusses and makes specific recommendation in this regard.

Role of Canadian government in iron dumping off Pacific coast, and need for open public disclosure to allay public concerns, ensure scientific scrutiny and mitigate adverse effects

The full facts around the controversial iron dumping off the Pacific coast of Canada are slow unfolding, with more information coming to light about the role of the Canadian government. Extracts from and links to updated news reports are found below. Importantly, there is still no open public disclosure of the circumstances of the iron dumping and subsequent events.

By their own admission, the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation was knowledgeable about international conventions prohibiting the iron fertilization, and had extensive legal advice on the iron dumping in international waters.

Environment Canada and other federal government departments also knew of the iron dumping prior to it occurring, and may have facilitated the iron dumping and subsequent monitoring. They have not provided public disclosure of their activities or their knowledge of the project itself.

There is no evidence of the Canadian government trying to stop this dumping, despite this iron dumping being contrary to Canada’s international commitments under two UN conventions, and where iron dumping could have impact on waters and species within exclusive economic zone and regulation of Canada and the United States.

Despite the importance of how iron is placed in the sea, and of any subsequent monitoring, the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation has not fully disclosed information about this iron dumping and subsequent events to independent scientists and academic institutes, to the Canadian public or this global public. Similar to an oil or chemical spill in the ocean, adequate and open disclosure should be of priority to satisfy public concern, to understand the consequences and implications of this iron dumping, and to mitigate any adverse effects.

The Haida Nation may be taking internal measures for greater scrutiny of these types of decisions by Haida villages in the future, but the Haida Nation has not ensured adequate disclosure of this iron dumping. The Haida Nation is a sophisticated intervenor in energy and forestry projects, arguing for full disclosure, consultation and environmental assessment in advance of controversial projects being developed. In this instance, it is not holding itself or its corporations to that same standard of disclosure, consultation and environmental assessment. The conduct of the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation and the Haida Nation does not appear inconsistent with principles of  ocean stewardship.

References to key news updates and links:

Haida Nation: www.haidanation.ca

Haida Salmon Restoration Project: http://www.hsrc1.com/




Quirks and Quarks, Canadian Broadcasting Radio Show scheduled for October 20, 2012. http://www.cbc.ca/quirks/2012/10/17/october-20-ironing-the-ocean/

“In an interview with Canadian radio, John Disney said: “I’ve been in touch with many departments within the federal ministry. All I’m saying is that everyone from the Canadian Revenue Agency down to the National Research Council and Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Environment Canada – these people, they’ve all known about this.” The Guardian has seen government correspondence which indicates that Environment Canada officers met with Disney’s company in June and expressed their misgiving about any ocean fertilisation going forward, but appear to not have taken further action.After the huge experiment happened in July, Canadian government officials were anxious to find out if the company’s boat flew under a Canadian flag and whether the iron was loaded in Canada. A large number of Canadian personnel have been involved on the boat, the largest fishing vessel under Canadian registration in the province of British Columbia. Disney, who is also a non-native economic manager for the indigenous council in the Old Masset village in Haida Gwaii, told media that the iron was brought from Alberta.
Russ George, a colleague of Disney’s, told the Guardian: “Canadian government people have been helping us. We’ve had workshops run where we’ve been taught how to use satellites resources by the Canadian space agency. [The government] is trying to ‘cost-share’ with us on certain aspects of the project. And we are expecting lots more support as we go forward.” Environment Canada officials refused to comment, saying “the matter is currently under investigation.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/oct/17/canada-geoengineering-pacific

Interim WTO Ruling Finds Canadian Renewable Energy Scheme Discriminatory

According to a confidential interim WTO dispute settlement report, a three-member panel has sided with the EU and Japan in their challenge of renewable energy support provided by the Canadian province of Ontario, sources told BioRes this week. The two countries had argued that the feed-in-tariff (FIT) system – put in place in 2009 – violates WTO rules because it requires participating electricity generators to source up to 60 percent of their equipment in Ontario (see Bridges Trade BioRes, 28 March 2012).

The interim report, circulated to the parties by the panel on 20 September, now confirms the view that the scheme’s “local content requirement” violates the WTO’s non-discrimination principle enshrined in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMS). However, based on what is currently known about the confidential document, assertions by Brussels and Tokyo that the programme also amounted to illegal subsidies – dependent on use of locally produced equipment – have been rejected. At the time BioRes went to press, the ruling was not available.

The case has been widely portrayed as an environmental dispute, concerning the extent to which authorities can favour domestic producers and suppliers in promoting green energy. At the earlier hearing, however, the arguments from the parties principally focused on the investment aspects of the FIT provisions.

Claimed by Ontarian officials to encourage clean energy production, the local initiative offers incentives to energy producers to use electricity from renewable sources. Provisions of the programme, however, also require that to be eligible for such incentives, renewable energy projects include a minimum quota of goods and services deriving from Ontario – in the case of wind, 25 percent, and for solar projects, 60 percent.

Such a, “discriminatory measure,” said Japan in its statement before the panel in March this year, “is designed to promote the production of renewable energy generation equipment in Ontario rather than to promote the generation of renewable energy.”

Canada, on behalf of Ontario, instead portrayed the measure as government procurement necessary to facilitate a move toward green energy production. If the argument was accepted, the measure would not have been subject to WTO provisions on non-discrimination.

In addition to their arguments that the measures were discriminatory, the EU and Japan also argued that the provisions constituted a prohibited subsidy inconsistent with the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM Agreement).

It is understood that both arguments have now failed, with the Panel ultimately condemning the Ontario rules on the grounds they are discriminatory against foreign suppliers of equipment and components for renewable energy generation facilities.

Both parties have now had an opportunity to submit comments on the interim report. Following the example of most WTO panels to date, however, the panel is not expected to substantially depart from its preliminary findings when it issues its final ruling in November. In a communication from June this year, the panel informed the parties that it expects to finalise its work by late November 2012.

From Bridges Trade BioRes • Volume 12 • Number 17 • 15th October 2012