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Distributed at IFAT 2018, the World's Leading Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Waste and Raw Materials Management

Gura Portitei - Jurilovca- Romania

May 2018


12. Electric bus Transitioning from niche to reality: revised EU legislation can foster mass replication of electric bus success stories

19. How Oman's Rocks could help save the planet

22. New climate 'feedback loop' discovered in freshwater lakes

General manager: Emanuela Cretu, ema.cretu@infomediu.eu

Deputy Editor in Chief: Stere Cretu, redactie@infomediu.eu

Editors: Ella Dobre, Ana Mihalcea, Relu Stefan, Alina Ionescu redactie@infomediu.eu

Grafică Č™i DTP:

26. Romanian city on a list of cheapest ones in Europe to visit this summer

Laura Ionescu

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28. Hands-on pursuits: Where to try traditional crafts in Romania

Magazine edited by: InfoMediu Europa & Partners

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Countryside tourism has taken off in the country in recent years, with the help of various initiatives, and those interested can now explore the villages across the country with easier access to accommodation and meal options. Some suggestions of villages

Ten villages in Romania to add to the travel list Emma Crețu

Jurilovca, in eastern Romania's Tulcea county, is a fishermen village south of the Danube Delta. It was established by Lipovans at the beginning of the 19th century and the traditional houses remind the visitor of the settlement's origins. The seaside beach at Gura PortiĹŁei is located nearby as is the ancient fortress

Argamum. Jurilovca can serve as a base for exploring the Danube Delta, a biosphere reserve and an UNESCO World Natural Heritage site, and tourists can try boat routes in the Razim-Sinoe lake complex. In 2013, Jurilovca was included in the 2013 list of European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN), which focused on Accessible Tourism.

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The commune of Ciocănești, in the historical region of Bucovina, impresses the visitor with its houses, which bear traditional motifs on the facades. The commune, made up of the villages of Ciocănești and Botoș, hosts various events, besides an ethnographic museum. These include an egg painting festival, held before Easter, the Tillage Week, and a Trout Festival. Last year, Lonely Planet included Ciocănești on a list of the most colorful destinations in Europe. More about the commune and the accommodation options here.

This village in central Romania shot to fame after rapper Snoop Dog checked in there online by mistake. Bogata, which was first documented in the 13th century, is close to Cluj-Napoca, Mediaș, Sighișoara and Târgu Mureș. A self-described “best place for chillin' in Romania”, it can be a departure point for visits to the Ciucaș waterfall or simply a place to stay and take in the beautiful landscape. More on what Bogata has to offer here.

Gărâna is located in the Semenic Nature Park. The village of Gărâna, in western Romania, is the place where the jazz festival of the same name has been taking place for more than twenty years. Some 50,000 people flock each summer there to listen to a line-up of prominent international musicians and the accommodation options in the area have developed as a result. As it is set in the Semenic Nature Park, the surrounding landscape offers plenty of options for exploring, either on foot or by bike, for which trails have been set up. More about this year's edition of the Gărâna Jazz Festival here.


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Tuberoses in the village of

Hoghilag Close to the medieval town of SighiČ™oara, Hoghilag is known for being the only place in the country where tuberoses have been grown since the 1960s. A festival dedicated to these flowers was organized last year, attracting visitors to the village and wider commune of the same name towards the end of July. A fortified evangelical church, first documented in the 15th century, can also be found on site. The Saxon village of Biertan The village of Biertan, located in the commune of the same name, is one of the most important Saxon villages with fortified churches in Transylvania. It has been on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1993. The village, established in the 13th century, was an important agricultural and crafts center. Its traditional houses, built in the style of the Transylvanian baroque, and the fortified church are just some of the sites to see in Biertan, a village also known for its original remedy for divorce. In the same commune, visitors can also stop in the village of RichiĹ&#x;, probably the most international in the country.

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Sibiel in Mărginimiea Sibiului region. The entire region of Mărginimea Sibiului is filled with villages that have preserved the habit of continuous shepherding, taking advantage of the alpine pastures found there. The cheese and meat delicacies produced here, including 'telemea', 'urdă', and 'caș', are famous in the country. In Sibiel, visitors can see a museum featuring a large collection of icons painted on glass and the 18th century Holy Trinity Church, also hosting an important collection of wood and glass icons.

The village of Viscri, in Brașov county In Brașov county, the village of Viscri has seen an increasing number of tourists after Prince Charles brought a property there. The beautiful landscapes and the old Saxon church, originally built around 1100 AD and included on the UNESCO World Heritage list, are top attractions. Last year, Viscri also made it on a Businessinsider.com list of 25 secret European villages everyone should visit in their lifetime.


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The wooden church in Breb. The region of Maramureș is a must-see when looking to discover the local traditions. The village of Săpânța, with its Merry Cemetery, is one of the best known in this northern part of Romania, but the village of Breb can also be a good destination. The old wooden church and the traditional households with their wooden gates are part of the village's charm. Various options for hiking, biking and fishing are available in the area, where Prince Charles also owns a property.

Gârnic, in the historical region of Banat. Gârnic, one of the few remaining Czech villages in Banat, is surrounded by green hills and good for exploring the area's amazing landscapes. It is located close to Cheile Nerei National Park, near the Danube Gorges in the western Romania. A music festival, called Rocker's Challenge Gârnic, also takes place yearly in the village.

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ECOMONDO & KEY ENERGY TWO TOP EVENTS HELD SIMULTANEOUSLY NEW APPROACHES FOR THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY AND RENEWABLE ENERGIES Rimini Expo Centre (Italy), 6-9 November 2018

On one hand, a big boost in the packaging, textile-fashion, building and automotive chains. On the other, a focus on renewable energies with a great accent on wind, photovoltaic and storage systems.


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Circular economy on one hand and development of renewable energies on the other: the great changes in the green economy universe with an increasingly international business approach will receive the spotlight at the Ecomondo and Key Energy shows organized by Italian Exhibition Group at the Rimini Expo Centre from the 6th to the 9th of November. Circular Economy will be the core of the 22nd edition of Ecomondo. The 12th edition of Key Energy confirms its role as a business catalyser and driving force for all the increasingly strategic sectors of renewable energies and energy efficiency. Two top events held simultaneously which will occupy 129,000 square metres of exhibition space ready to host over 1,300 companies, with a participation that last year rose to 116,000 attendees and over 90,000 qualified buyers. As well as the expo proposal, there will also be more than 200 events, meetings and seminars with a focus on the latest topics.

ECOMONDO

KEY ENERGY

At Ecomondo, the platform par excellence of the complete waste cycle, the focus will be on Bioeconomy, with industrial excellences, the latest in new material, biorefineries and bio methane. An innovative expo project will highlight the manufacturing and service enterprises that have made Ecodesign their new “mantra.� There will be in-depth coverage of new approaches for putting the circular economy model into effect in the packaging, textile-fashion, building and automotive chains. The recent European strategy on plastic will be a reference point in once more highlighting an issue that was also discussed at the 2017 edition. Global Water Expo will reunite the most important enterprises operating at European level in the management and exploitation of water resources, and more space will be dedicated to soil remediation and sediments, upgrading of sites and port areas. Other issues on the agenda: prevention and management of hydrogeological risks, treatment and purification of indoor and outdoor air, monitoring emissions and gaseous effluents.

The leading fair for renewable energies in the Mediterranean area will feature Solar energy and energy storage following the 2017 launch of the Key Solar e Key Storage sections. With Key Efficiency space will once more be dedicated to technology, systems and solution for intelligent use of resources. Last but not least Key Wind section, whose key players are major industry member and manufacturers of technology for large, medium and small onshore and offshore wind energy plants, and all the companies of the wind energy chain.

SUSTAINABLE CITIES: CIRCULAR SMART CITIES Urban innovation, Mobility innovation and Digital innovation will be the key points around which the Sustainable City process will be constructed, a special project addressing public administrations, technicians and service enterprises involved in the planning and realization of Smart Cities, the cities of the near future and with already solid virtuous experiences, which the fair halls will feature.

For further information: www.ecomondo.com www.keyenergy.it For requests of free VIP cards please contact: mrkgestero.rn@iegexpo.it

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Adapting to climate change: European countries assess vulnerability and risks Ana Mihalcea

Almost all European countries have conducted national climate change vulnerability and risk assessments as part of their adaptation plans to better deal with the impacts of climaterelated hazards, according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) report.

The EEA report 'National climate change vulnerability and risk assessments in Europe 2018,' is the first review of how the 33 EEA member countries (including the 28 European Union Member States) have assessed the risks from climate change, and how they used this information in developing adaptation policies to address these risks. Adaptation is key to ensure that the EU as a whole is better prepared to handle the impacts of heat waves, floods, droughts and storm surges. The report is based on a survey which was completed by 24 of the 33 EEA member countries. Information for additional countries was gathered from Climate-ADAPT – the European climate adaptation platform – and other public sources of information.


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The report aims to promote a better understanding among experts and policymakers involved in adaptation planning. The findings will contribute to better informed decision making and adaptation in key vulnerable sectors, such as agriculture, fisheries, biodiversity protection, spatial planning and infrastructure development. They will also help inform the European Commission's on-going evaluation of the EU Adaptation Strategy. Almost all European countries have conducted national climate change vulnerability and risk assessments as part of their adaptation plans to better deal with the impacts of climaterelated hazards, according to a European Environment Agency (EEA) report published today. National assessments that evaluate

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vulnerabilities and risks from climate change to various sectors form the most important source of information for the development of national climate adaptation policies. Many assessments do not stop at identifying risks, but they also identify suitable adaptation measures to reduce these risks. The EEA report recommends that such assessments should consider climate change jointly with other relevant developments, such as population changes and economic development. The report also identified knowledge gaps in current assessments, for example, how climate impacts outside Europe can affect Europe through trade relationships or climate-induced migration. The report suggests that continued

engagement with key stakeholders in sectors vulnerable to climate change is essential for improving assessment results and their uptake in adaptation policies. Adaptation to climate change shares common features with disaster prevention and risk reduction. Therefore, learning between these two policy areas and consideration of national risk assessments in climate change assessments can improve adaptation planning. Based on the experiences reported, the report recommends regular updating of national climate change vulnerability and risk assessments, about every five years, to ensure that adaptation plans and policies are kept abreast of the latest developments in science and society.

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Electric Bus TRANSITIONING FROM NICHE TO REALITY: REVISED EU LEGISLATION CAN FOSTER MASS REPLICATION OF ELECTRIC BUS SUCCESS STORIES Alina Ionescu

Buses carry around half of all public transport passengers, accounting for around 8% of the EU's transport emissions. As part of the effort to minimise the use of personal transport and transition towards cleaner cities, it is essential that the decarbonisation of buses begins rapidly.

With this in mind, the EU-funded ZeEUS project (Zero Emission Urban Bus System) ran demonstrations of zero-emission buses in several European cities. The results were encouraging in both confirming the technological maturity and the public acceptance for the wider deployment of zero emission, electric buses. This gives us all the more reason to push for stronger policies in the ongoing revision of the Clean Vehicles Directive (CVD). Buses carry around half of all public transport passengers, accounting for around 8% of the EU's transport emissions. As part of the effort to minimise the use of personal transport and transition towards cleaner cities, it is essential that the decarbonisation of buses begins rapidly. With this in mind, the EU-funded ZeEUS project (Zero Emission Urban Bus System) ran demonstrations of zero-emission buses in several European cities. The results were encouraging in both

confirming the technological maturity and the public acceptance for the wider deployment of zero emission, electric buses. This gives us all the more reason to push for stronger policies in the ongoing revision of the Clean Vehicles Directive (CVD). At the final ZeEUS conference, held earlier this week in Brussels as the project comes to a close, the cities which had volunteered to host zeroemission buses in their public transport system presented their results and future plans. A multitude of technologies were used, purposely, to determine the practicalities of the different methods of charging, heating, and operating the buses. The overwhelming sentiment was that the buses performed better than was expected and that both drivers and users reported satisfaction with the smoothness and silence of the ride. Particularly thankful were the residents living near the 24-hour bus services which used electric buses at night

time. Nevertheless, some critical issues were pointed out, especially in relation to the energy-demanding heating and cooling of the interior of buses. While some demonstrations resolved this by using conventional fuel to power the heating mechanism, others chose to pre-heat the buses at end-stations using grid-powered electricity. This was particularly tricky in Barcelona, which reported up to 40% higher consumption of energy during peak summer temperatures. In fact, the city reported so many technical challenges that it has decided to switch its efforts to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). How the Clean Vehicles Directive can help turn isolated success stories into mainstream The EU clearly needs to step up its decarbonisation efforts to avoid the use of unclean technology, such as CNG. It is currently in the process of revising the CVD, which aims to


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encourage public procurement processes to consider the amount of pollutants to tackle urban air pollution. The planned revision seeks to address the limitations of the existing CVD, and suggests the introduction of procurement targets for new vehicles which will have to meet the EU's definition of a 'clean' vehicle. While Bellona welcomes the introduction of concrete procurement targets, an extension of the directive's scope to cover more vehicle categories and the intention to define what qualifies as a 'clean vehicle', there is still ample of room for improvement. For instance, in regards to heavy duty vehicles and buses, the definition of a 'clean vehicle' as it stands would be aligned with the range of technologies covered in the so-called EU Directive on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure, which include natural gas and synthetic fuels. These fuels are anything but clean, and thus risk undermining the very objective of the CVD, which is to stimulate the market for clean, energy-efficient vehicles. In response to the prospect of an electric future, the European Commission was quizzed by some stakeholders as to the possibility of including 'clean diesel' from buses, which have not been marred by the dieselgate scandal. The stakeholder in question was of course a manufacturer of diesel vehicles. A previous Bellona report debunked the 'cleanliness' of synthetic fuels by outlining their high lifecycle emissions and intensive energy requirements. Meanwhile, natural gas still produces emissions of unwanted pollutants, such as NOx, CO2 and particulate matter. Electric buses produce no exhaust emissions; they are as clean as a vehicle can possibly be. The EU's justification for this oversight is the lack of emission standards for Heavy Duty Vehicles, which are also in the works. Nonetheless, for the CVD to live up to its name and to the EU's climate targets, it should discourage the use of non-electric forms of public transport. The demonstrations of electric buses in various EU cities have shown that zero-emission buses are not only feasible but also desirable. The

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presentation from Warsaw made a point of mentioning that electric buses were clearly the preferred method of powering the city's public transport, with a strong reminder that an electric bus backed by a grid fuelled by coal would still be cleaner than a bus which meets the most stringent emission standards. The European Commission will do well to resist thinly veiled attempts surrounding clean diesel and synthetic fuels to derail the overall intention of the Clean Vehicles Directive which is of course to reduce urban pollution and its health implications, while pushing public authorities to lead the market into a new industry of clean, zero-emission transport systems. Strong regulation, standardisation and financial support will be key Arguments against stringent targets made on the basis of competitiveness and exceeding technical barriers should not be taken lightly, the

concerns of manufacturers and operators are real. The EU must establish a framework in which cities will want to procure clean, emission and pollution-free buses. There must be efforts to standardise charging points, heating facilities and safety regulations among others. Adequate levels of finance must also be provided. To prevent cities from seeking alternative technologies like synthetic fuels and natural gas, the definition of 'clean' must be changed to include only those without tailpipe emissions. On the other hand, manufacturers must also realise that they risk being left behind if they fail to adapt to a public transport system which will inevitably shift towards electrification, whether they like it or not. Public health concerns, climate change targets and the proven feasibility of electric buses means the future of public mobility is indeed electric.

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Making Water-Smart Energy Choices Stere Crețu

Just as the accumulation of carbon in the atmosphere contributes to climate change, so does the degradation and depletion of water resources. If the world does not adopt a more holistic approach that recognizes this reality, it will be impossible to save the planet. Climate change undoubtedly poses a potent – even existential – threat to the planet. But the current approach to mitigating it, which reflects a singleminded focus on cutting carbon dioxide emissions, may end up doing serious harm, as it fails to account for the energy sector's depletion of water resources – another major contributor to climate change. “Water is at the heart of both the causes and effects of climate change,” a National Research Council report declares. And, indeed, the water cycle – the processes of precipitation, evaporation, freezing, melting, and condensation that circulate water from clouds to land to the ocean and back – is inextricably linked to the energy exchanges among the land, ocean, and atmosphere that determine Earth's climate. Just as the accumulation of carbon in the atmosphere contributes to climate change, so does the degradation and depletion of water resources. And these processes are mutually reinforcing, with each propelling and intensifying the other. Energy extraction, processing (including refining), and production is highly water-intensive. The energy sector is the largest consumer of water in every developed country except Australia, where, like in most developing countries, agriculture comes out on top. In the European Union, electricity-generating plants alone account for 44% of all freshwater consumed each year; in the United States, that figure is 41%.

The more stressed water resources become, the more energy the water sector demands, as groundwater must be pumped from greater depths, and surface water must be transported across longer distances. In India, for example, energy now comprises about 90% of the cost of groundwater. As these processes fuel climate variability, they reduce water availability and boost energy demand even further, producing a vicious cycle that will be hard to break. In fact, meeting higher electricity demand and achieving national targets for

production of biofuels and other alternative fuels would require a more than twofold increase in global water use for energy production over the next quarter-century. The only way to break this cycle – and thus to mitigate climate change effectively – is to manage the nexus between water and energy (as well as food, production of which depends on water and energy). In other words, countries must make energy choices that are not only less carbon-intensive, but also less water-intensive. With global water supplies already


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strained, the shift to a water-smart approach to energy could not be more urgent. Two-thirds of the world's people – especially in Central and South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa – confront serious water shortages. Asia – the biggest driver of increased global energy demand – is also the world's driest continent, measured by water availability per capita. In these water-stressed regions, shortages have already begun to constrain the expansion of energy infrastructure. One important reason why China has failed to develop its shale hydrocarbon industry is inadequate water in the areas where its deposits are located. (To extract energy from shale, millions of gallons of water must be shot into it.) Increasing water stress has also driven up costs for existing power-generation projects, possibly jeopardizing their viability. Australia's Millennium drought, which lasted from the late 1990s until 2012, undermined energy production, causing prices to rise. With energy shortages usually most severe in water-stressed areas, what are affected countries to do? For starters, they must recognize that energy that is “clean” in terms of carbon can be “dirty” from a water-

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resource perspective. For example, “clean” coal involving carbon capture and sequestration ranks, along with nuclear power, at the top of the waterintensity chart. Some renewables, such as solar thermal power and geothermal energy, are also notoriously waterintensive. By contrast, solar photovoltaic and wind power – two renewable technologies gaining traction globally – require no water for their normal operations. Encouraging the development of such sources should thus be a high priority. But the type of energy that is used is not the only issue. It is also important to select the right types of plants at the planning stage. Alternative cooling technologies for power generation, including dry or hybrid cooling, can reduce water consumption (though the use of such technologies currently is constrained by efficiency losses and higher costs). Power plants should also be located in places where they will rely not on freshwater resources, but instead on saline, brackish, degraded, or reclaimed water. In Asia, which now leads the world in terms of adding nuclear power capacity, most new plants are located along coastlines, so that these thirsty facilities can draw

more on seawater. Yet here, too, there are serious risks. Rising sea levels, as a result of climate change, could pose a much more potent threat than natural disasters, such as the tsunami that caused the 2011 Fukushima catastrophe in Japan. Moreover, with coastal areas often densely populated and economically valuable, finding suitable seaside sites for new nuclear plants is no longer easy. Despite having more than 4,500 miles (7,200 kilometers) of coastline, India has struggled to implement its planned expansion of nuclear power through seaside plants, owing to strong grassroots opposition. True energy security is possible only in the context of resource, climate, and environmental sustainability. The global focus solely on carbon reduction not only obscures these critical linkages, but also encourages measures that adversely impact resource stability. It is time to adopt a more comprehensive, integrated, and long-term approach to the management and planning of energy, water, and other resources, with a view toward broader environmental protection. Otherwise, we will fail to meet the sustainable-development challenges we face, with devastating consequences, beginning with the world's most water-stressed regions.

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Emma Crețu

How Oman's Rocks Could Help Save the Planet occasional camel roam, rocks form the backdrop practically every way you look. But the stark outcrops and craggy ridges are more than just scenery. Some of these rocks are hard at work, naturally reacting with carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turning it into stone. Veins of white carbonate minerals run through slabs of dark rock like fat marbling a steak. Carbonate surrounds pebbles and cobbles, turning ordinary gravel into natural mosaics. Carbonate veins form when water containing dissolved carbon dioxide flows through these rocks. Even pooled spring water that has bubbled up through the rocks reacts with CO2 to produce an ice-like crust of carbonate that, if broken, re-forms within days. When the water comes back into contact with air, a thin layer of carbonate hardens across its surface. Scientists say that if this natural process, called carbon mineralization, could be harnessed, accelerated and applied inexpensively on a huge scale

— admittedly some very big “ifs” — it could help fight climate change. Rocks could remove some of the billions of tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide that humans have pumped into the air since the beginning of the Industrial Age. And by turning that CO2 into stone, the rocks in Oman — or in a number of other places around the world that have similar geological formations — would ensure that the gas stayed out of the atmosphere forever. “Solid carbonate minerals aren't going anyplace,” said Peter B. Kelemen, a geologist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory who has been studying the rocks here for more than two decades. Capturing and storing carbon dioxide is drawing increased interest. The

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that deploying such technology is essential to efforts to rein in global warming. But the idea has barely caught on: There are fewer than 20 large-scale projects in operation around the world, and they remove CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels at power plants or from other industrial processes and store it as gas underground. What Dr. Kelemen and others have in mind is removing carbon dioxide that is already in the air, to halt or reverse the gradual increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Direct-air capture, as it is known, is sometimes described as a form of geoengineering — deliberate manipulation of the climate — although that term is more often reserved for the idea of reducing


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after several years of experimentation, an energy company is currently injecting modest amounts of carbon dioxide into volcanic rock, where it becomes mineralized. Dutch researchers have suggested spreading a kind of crushed rock along coastlines to capture CO2. And scientists in Canada and South Africa are studying ways to use mine wastes, called tailings, to do the same thing. “It's clear that we're going to have to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,” said Roger Aines, who leads the development of carbon management technologies at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and has worked with Dr. Kelemen and others.

warming by reflecting more sunlight away from the earth. Although many researchers dismiss direct-air capture as logistically or economically impractical, especially given the billions of tons of gas that would have to be removed to have an impact, some say it may have to be considered if other efforts to counter global warming are ineffective. A few researchers and companies have built machines that can pull CO2 out of the air, in relatively small quantities, but adapting and enhancing natural capture processes using rocks is less developed. “This one still feels like the most nascent piece of the conversation,” said Noah Deich, executive director of the Center for Carbon Removal, a research organization in Berkeley, Calif. “You see these sparks, but I don't see anything catching fire yet.” Dr. Kelemen is one of a relative handful of researchers around the world who are studying the idea. At a geothermal power plant in Iceland,

“And we're going to have to do it on a gigaton scale.” If billions of tons of CO2 are to be turned to stone, there are few places in the world more suitable than Oman, a sultanate with a population of 4 million and an economy based on oil and, increasingly, tourism. The carbon-capturing formations here, consisting largely of a rock called peridotite, are in a slice of oceanic crust and the mantle layer below it that was thrust up on land by tectonic forces nearly 100 million years ago. Erosion has resulted in a patchy zone about 200 miles long, up to 25 miles wide and several miles thick in the

northern part of the country, including here in the outskirts of Ibra, a dusty inland city of 50,000. Even the bustling capital, Muscat, on the Gulf of Oman, has a pocket of peridotite practically overlooking Sultan Qaboos bin Said's palace. Peridotite normally is miles below the earth's surface. When the rocks are exposed to air or water as they are here, Dr. Kelemen said, they are like a giant battery with a lot of chemical potential. “They're really, really far from equilibrium with the atmosphere and surface water,” he said. The rocks are so extensive, Dr. Kelemen said, that if it was somehow possible to fully use them they could store hundreds of years of CO2 emissions. More realistically, he said, Oman could store at least a billion tons of CO2 annually. (Current yearly worldwide emissions are close to 40 billion tons.) While the formations here are special, they are not unique. Similar though smaller ones are found in Northern California, Papua New Guinea and Albania, among other places. Dr. Kelemen first came to Oman in the 1990s, as the thrust-up rocks were one of the best sites in the world to study what was then his area of research, the formation and structure of the earth's crust. He'd noticed the carbonate veins but thought they must be millions of years old.

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during their current research, Dr. Kelemen and his colleagues have agreed not to do field experiments in Oman on capture of CO2. They may need to go elsewhere, like California, where the rocks are less accessible but the state government has set ambitious targets for reducing emissions and is open to new ways to meet them. Dr. Kelemen and Dr. Aines have had preliminary discussions with California officials about the possibility of experimenting there. “We would certainly be a willing and eager partner to help them with it,” said David Bunn, director of the State Department of Conservation. Perhaps the simplest way to use rocks to capture carbon dioxide would be to quarry large amounts of them, grind

“There was a feeling that carbon mineralization was really slow and not worth thinking about,” he said. But in 2007, he had some of the carbonate dated. Almost all of it was less than 50,000 years old, suggesting that the mineralization process was actually much faster. Carbonate veins show how CO2 can be stored as rock. “So then I said, O.K., this is pretty cool,” Dr. Kelemen said. Since then, in addition to continuing his crust research, he has spent much time studying the prospects for harnessing the mineralization process — among other things, learning about the water chemistry, which changes as it flows through the rocks, and measuring the actual uptake of CO2 from the air in certain spots. Solid white carbonate, settled at the bottom of a pool. For much of this decade he has also led a multinational effort to drill boreholes in the rock, a $4 million project that is only partly related to carbon capture. In March the drilling was nearing completion, with scientists and technicians sending instruments down the holes, which are up to 1,300 feet deep, to better characterize the rock layers. The rocks here may be capable of capturing a lot of carbon dioxide, but the challenge is doing it much faster than nature, in huge amounts and at

low enough cost to make it more than a pipe dream. Dr. Kelemen and his colleagues, including Juerg Matter, a researcher from the University of Southampton in England who was involved in the Icelandic project, have some ideas. A crew drilling a borehole outside Ibra, part of a project to better understand the geology of Oman. One possibility, Dr. Kelemen said, would be to drill pairs of wells and pump water with dissolved CO2 into one of them. As the water traveled through the rock formation carbonate would form; when it reached the other well the water, now depleted of CO2, would be pumped out. The process could be repeated over and over. There is a lot that is unknown about such an approach, however. For one thing, while pumping water deep into the earth, where temperatures and pressures are higher, could make the process of mineralization go tens of thousands of times faster, so much carbonate might form that the water flow would stop. “You might clog everything up, and it would all come to a screeching halt,” Dr. Kelemen said. Drillers sample the cuttings from the borehole every meter of depth so geologists can analyze the rock. Experiments and eventually pilot projects are needed to better understand and optimize this process, Dr. Kelemen said, but some Omanis have expressed reluctance. As a result,


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them into fine particles and spread them out to expose them to the air. The material could be turned over from time to time to expose fresh surfaces, or perhaps air with a higher CO2 concentration could be pumped into it to speed up the process. But a quarrying and grinding operation of the scale required would be hugely expensive, scar the landscape and produce enormous CO2 emissions of its own. So a few researchers are asking, Why not use rocks that have already been quarried and ground up for other purposes? A small mountain of carbonate-rich rocks outside Lizugh, a town southwest of Muscat. Iron in the rocks has oxidized, turning them red. Such rocks are found in large amounts at mines around the world, as waste

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tailings. Platinum, nickel and diamonds, in particular, are mined from rock that has a lot of carbonmineralization potential. Gregory Dipple, a researcher at the University of British Columbia who has been studying mine tailings for more than a decade, said early on he found evidence that waste rock was forming carbonate without any human intervention. “It was clear it was taking CO2 from the air,” he said. Dr. Dipple is now working with several mining companies and studying ways to improve upon the natural process. The goal would be to capture at least enough CO2 to fully offset a mine's carbon emissions, which typically come from trucks and on-site power generation.

Evelyn Mervine, who has worked with Dr. Dipple and Dr. Kelemen and now works for De Beers, the world's largest diamond company, is studying a similar approach and hopes by next year to conduct trials at one or more of the company's mines. “We don't think from a scientific perspective it would be that difficult or expensive — we can be carbonneutral,” she said. “And in the mining industry that is extraordinary.” “Relative to the global problem, it's really just a drop in the bucket,” Dr. Mervine said. “But it sets a really good precedent.”

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New climate 'feedback loop' discovered in freshwater lakes Ana Mihalcea

Methane emissions from lakes in the northern hemisphere could almost double over the next 50 years because of a novel "feedback loop" say scientists. Climate change is boosting the proportion of cattail plants growing in and around freshwater lakes.

But when debris from these reed beds falls in the water it triggers a major increase in the amount of methane produced. The gas is at least 25 times more warming than COâ‚‚ in the atmosphere. Freshwater lakes play an important but relatively unrecognised role in the global carbon cycle, contributing around 16% of the Earth's natural emissions of methane - compared to just 1% from all the world's oceans. The gas is produced by microbes in the sediment at the bottom of lakes who consume organic matter that falls into the water from plants and trees that live close to the shore. The amount of methane generated according to this study, varies considerably depending on what enters the lake. The research team carried out tests in the laboratory that compared the impact of coniferous and deciduous trees with debris from cattails (often known in the UK as bulrushes). Cattail plants that fall into lake sediments of lakes are key to increased methane Incubated in the lab for 150 days the scientists found that cattails produced over 400 times the level of methane compared to conifers. The researchers believe that chemicals in both coniferous and deciduous trees restrict the ability of the microbes to produce the gas. "The cattails don't have the same chemicals and so they are no longer inhibiting the microbes from producing methane," senior author Dr Andrew


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Tanentzap, from the University of Cambridge, told BBC News, "By now comparing what's happening in the reed beds to what's might happening beneath a forest - wow, it's a massive difference!" The researchers believe they have discovered a new mechanism that has the potential to cause substantially more greenhouse gases to be produced by freshwater lakes. They say the warming climate that promotes the growth of aquatic plants has the potential to trigger a damaging feedback loop in natural ecosystems. To assess this impact the team looked at species distribution models that predict how plants are going to change their ranges under different climate scenarios.

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Researchers say that methane from lakes already makes up 16% of natural emissions "This forecasts a whole range of these different aquatic plants moving northwards with warmer temperatures into a part of the world that's dominated with lakes so there is going to be more habitat available to them," said Dr Tanentzap. Their calculations show that the number of northern lakes colonised by cattails could double between 2041 and 2070 and that this could elevate methane production by at least 73% during the growing season. "It would offset what plants and soils do in terms of buffering the greenhouse effect," Dr Tanentzap added.

Other researchers in the field acknowledged that the new study was a step forward. "Methane production is currently underestimated in global climate models," said Dr Sapna Sharma, an expert in climate change impacts on lakes from York University, Toronto. "This study was able to elucidate a mechanism by which lakes may produce even more methane that previously thought. Uncovering another potential source of methane production from boreal lakes is useful to further understanding global carbon cycles and ultimately improve climate projections.�

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Achieving a sustainable, low-carbon future will be a huge challenge for European society Ana Mihalcea

Shifting to an environmentally sustainable society will bring huge challenges for Europe, involving fundamental changes in how it meets its demand for necessities such as food, energy, transport and housing. Diverse academic and policy communities are confronting these challenges, according to a European Environment Agency report, which brings together insights from different perspectives as to how such a complex transition could be achieved. The EEA report, 'Perspectives on transitions to sustainability,' presents a variety of analytical perspectives on systemic change, exploring what insights they collectively offer for policy, governance and knowledge creation. The report includes five academic papers drafted by internationally recognised experts in the field of sustainability transitions. For each of the five perspectives, the papers explore the conceptual

background and understanding of how systemic changes occur, presenting their strengths and weaknesses and their implications for governance.

Responding to environmental challenges In its most recent five-yearly report on the European environment (SOER 2015) the EEA concluded that achieving Europe's long-term sustainability goals

will require fundamental transitions of the consumption-production systems that drive environmental degradation. As highlighted in the five papers in the report, these systems are tied in complex ways to jobs and investments, policies and institutions, social norms and traditions. Collectively, these interlinkages can mean that it is often very hard to achieve the needed changes and reforms through business as usual actions. From their contrasting analytical approaches, the five papers offer shared insights into how transitions could be achieved. While emphasising that governments alone cannot start and steer transitions, they highlight the essential role of policy and public institutions in supporting local experimentation and learning, upscaling and reconfiguration. Governments also have a key role to play in supporting networking of local initiatives and in creating the shared goals and frameworks that can help coordinate and steer society-wide processes towards long-term sustainability goals.


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Why Markets Can't Cool the Planet Ella Dobre

Among the most discussed climate-change remedies are those that would use market forces to make fossil fuels more expensive. But while free markets may have steered much of the world toward a wealthier, healthier future, placing our faith in Smith's “invisible hand” to win the fight against climate change would be a tragic mistake. With global temperatures rising at an alarming rate, the race is on to lower the world's consumption of fossil fuels and accelerate the adoption of greener forms of energy. Among the most discussed remedies are those that would use market forces to make traditional fuels more expensive; ideas include putting a price on carbon and protecting natural resources that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. At first glance, market-based strategies might seem appealing. After all, as Adam Smith noted in The Wealth of Nations, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.” In other words, the best way to convince emitters like Chevron or General Motors to help save the planet must be to appeal to their profit motive, right? Not necessarily. While free markets may have steered much of the world toward a wealthier, healthier future, placing our faith in Smith's “invisible hand” to win the fight against climate change would be a tragic mistake. In a capitalist economy, our relationship with the future is guided by economic forces that are notoriously fickle. Commodities like sugar, soybeans, oil, and gas are relatively standardized products, meaning that they can be traded instantly and globally through the use of derivative contracts. But because these contracts price in assumptions about the future, commodity prices can fluctuate wildly. And that variability complicates environmental planning in three important ways. For starters, price unpredictability makes it virtually impossible to detect the depletion of natural resources merely by looking at short-term

changes in value. On the contrary, the more uncertainty there is about the scarcity of a resource, the greater the price swing, which only compounds the planning difficulty. As the French mathematician Nicolas Bouleau observed in a 2013 paper, “markets cannot spell out trends; it is absolutely impossible on an ontological level.” If resource-related trends were discernible from outcomes in financial markets, those who could see them would trade accordingly and the trends would disappear. Second, uncertainty about the future price of any commodity makes it exceedingly risky for producers to invest in whatever new technologies might help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. For most producers and consumers, it usually makes more economic sense to maintain the status quo than to change their habits, even if they know that the status quo will be disastrous for the environment. Finally, although it's possible to put a price tag on precious but nonmarketable natural resources – like the capacity of a boreal forest to absorb atmospheric CO2 – the price fluctuations for resources that can be traded make most conservation strategies untenable in the long run. That's because at some point, the

volatile price of the tradable resource will exceed the fixed cost of destroying it. The pressure to plunder can be especially strong when a combustible resource is found. As Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau conceded at a March 2017 energy conference in Houston, Texas, “no country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there.” Financial volatility is like a superstorm on an already-warming planet. Not only does it make it impossible to see what lies ahead; it is itself also a force of environmental devastation, leaving irreparable damage in its wake. “Market volatility is ill suited to environmental cycles,” as MIT's Janelle Knox-Hayes puts it. “Economic systems recover from market turmoil in time. Environmental systems do not have the same luxury; their cycles of reproduction are inflexible.” Ecological devastation should be expensive, and the world no doubt needs workable strategies to move people away from dirty sources of energy toward greener, more sustainable alternatives. But to defer to markets to overcome the environmental woes of capitalism is a blueprint for disappointment - and a recipe for planetary suicide.

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NUME

The Western Romania city of Timisoara has been included in a top of cheapest cities in Europe to visit this summer. The list was compiled by Budgetyourtrip.com based “on the travel budgets of real travelers.” According to this ranking, the average daily price for traveling to Timisoara is EUR 48 per person, which places the city seventh in the top. The average price of food for one day in EUR 17, alcoholic drinks cost EUR 6.63 per day, and the average price of a hotel or hostel is EUR 19. The top three cheapest cities are Wroclaw in Poland, where the average daily cost is EUR 21, Istanbul in Turkey – EUR 38, and Santiago de Compostela in Spain – some EUR 40. Two other Romanian cities were included in the ranking, namely Sibiu, which is ranked 18th with an average daily travel price of EUR 57, and the capital Bucharest – ranked 112th (some EUR 110). The list includes a total of 143 cities and can be found here. British publication tells readers why Romania's Sighisoara is perfect for a budget break

Romanian city


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on a list of cheapest ones in Europe to visit this summer

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Hands-on pursuits:

Where to try traditional crafts in Romania Casa Olarului - Daniel Les

NUME

A wealth of traditional crafts are still practiced in Romania, and the various fairs organized regularly in Bucharest and other cities are usually a good opportunity to see craftsmen at work. Here's a handy list of places where one can try a traditional Romania craft. Wood carving and leather crafting, basket weaving, icon painting, or pottery making are some of the bestknown crafts. But besides admiring the skill of the craftsmen, there is always the option to engage more directly with these traditional techniques by practicing them. Most folk and ethnography museums across the country not only organize fairs where craftsmen gather but also offer classes for both adults and children interested in trying their hand at a traditional skill.

In Bucharest, the Dimitrie Gusti Village Museum in Bucharest organizes a series of workshops where visitors can learn how to paint eggs or saw on embroidery sheets. The upcoming workshops are scheduled for end-April and beginning of May. The Oltenia Museum in Craiova also holds various workshops, targeted mainly at a young audience, such as wood sculpture, glass painting or wood painting. The region of Oltenia is particularly known for its Horezu ceramics, a unique type of Romanian pottery, which is part of UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage List. The Astra Museum in Sibiu, in central Romania, has organized in the past


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For the region of Transylvania, a Guild of Transylvanian Craftsmen was set up. The guild has a database of traditional artists and craftsmen working in areas such as metal works, glass works (including stained glass), wood works, hand-crafted toys, pottery and stove building, bone carving, textile, leather goods and more. You can check here the catalog of craftsmen in the area who have their workshops open for visitors. Several Saxon villages, such as Viscri or Biertan, are holiday destinations where one can see craftsmen at work. Bucovina is another part of the country where one can explore a variety of crafts, from the traditional dress and furniture making to carpet weaving or the making of traditional masks, used in various religious celebrations. This is one of the country's region's where wall carpets are woven, a tradition recently included on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Black closer to Bucharest, in Comana, a Village of Crafts (Satul Meșteșugurilor) has been set up. The visitors of the village can take part in workshops dedicated to woodworking, reedmace processing, pottery, weaving, traditional milling, or the natural processing of fruit, vegetables and medicinal plants.

Targul mestesugarilor

To further combine traveling and the discovery of traditional crafts, one can head to Maramureș in Northern Romania. A route of traditional crafts is available here, according to visitmaramures.ro. It starts in the commune of Bârsana, where wood craftsman Toader Bârsan lives and has his workshop. The route then goes through Poienile Izei, where Ioana Opris is known for the shirts and dresses she weaves. Also in Maramureș, in Baia Sprie, is the workshop of Daniel Leș, a promoter of traditional pottery techniques. His work site is open for visitors, as is a rural pension called Casa Olarului (The Potter's House).

Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum, Bucharest, Romania

workshops for children on crafts such as the making of traditional masks, the making of thread puppets, painting icons on glass or the painting of wooden spoons. The Ethnographic Museum of Transylvania, in Cluj-Napoca, organizes workshops on glass icon painting, egg painting, pottery or beaded jewelry making.


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Tourism's carbon impact three times larger than estimated Relu Č˜tefan

Travellers from affluent countries are a key part of emissions growth in tourism A new study says global tourism accounts for 8% of carbon emissions, around three times greater than previous estimates.

The new assessment is bigger because it includes emissions from travel, plus the full life-cycle of carbon in tourists' food, hotels and shopping. Driving the increase are visitors from affluent countries who travel to other wealthy destinations. The US tops the rankings followed by China, Germany and India. Tourism is a huge and booming global industry worth over $7 trillion, and employs one in ten workers around the world. It's growing at around 4% per annum. Previous estimates of the impact of all this travel on carbon suggested that tourism accounted for 2.5-3% of emissions. However in what is claimed to be the most comprehensive assessment to date, this new study examines the global carbon flows between 160 countries between 2009 and 2013. It shows that the total is closer to 8% of the global figure. As well as air travel, the authors say they have included an analysis of the


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emerge as the leading lights. In these countries tourism is responsible for up to 80% of their annual emissions.

energy needed to support the tourism system, including all the food, beverage, infrastructure construction and maintenance as well as the retail services that tourists enjoy. "It definitely is eye opening," Dr Arunima Malik from the University of Sydney, who's the lead author of the study, told BBC News. "We looked at really detailed information about tourism expenditure, including consumables such as food from eating out and souvenirs. We looked at the trade between different countries and also at greenhouse gas emissions data to come up with a comprehensive figure for the global carbon footprint for tourism." The researchers also looked at the impacts in both the countries where tourists came from and where they travelled. They found that the most important element was relatively well off people from affluent countries travelling to other well to do destinations.

In the leading countries, US, China, Germany and India, much of the travel was domestic. Travellers from Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Denmark exert a much higher carbon footprint elsewhere than in their own countries. Small island states like the Maldives are hugely dependent on long distance tourism When richer people travel they tend to spend more on higher carbon transportation, food and pursuits says Dr Malik. "If you have visitors from high income countries then they typically spend heavily on air travel, on shopping and hospitality where they go to. But if the travellers are from low income countries then they spend more on public transport and unprocessed food, the spending patterns are different for the different economies they come from." When measuring per capita emissions, small island destinations such as the Maldives, Cyprus and the Seychelles

"The small island states are in a difficult position because we like travelling to these locations and those small island states very much rely on tourist income but they are also at the same time vulnerable to the effects of rising seas and climate change," said Dr Malik. Demand for international tourism is also being seen in emerging countries like Brazil, India, China and Mexico, highlighting a fundamental problem wealth. The report underlines the fact that when people earn more than $40,000 per annum, their carbon footprint from tourism increase 13% for every 10% rise in income. The consumption of tourism does "not appear to satiate as incomes grow," the report says. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has welcomed the research but doesn't accept that the industry's efforts to cut carbon have been a flop. As countries get wealthier their citizens' appetite for global travel rapidly increases "It would be unfair to say that the industry is not doing anything," said Rochelle Turner, director of research at WTTC. "We've seen a growing number of hotels, airports and tour operators that have all become carbon neutral so there is a momentum." Experts say that offsetting, where tourists spend money on planting trees to mitigate their carbon footprint will have to increase, despite reservations about its effectiveness. Awareness is also the key. The WTTC say that the recent water crisis in Cape Town has also helped people recognise that changes in climate can impact resources like water. "There is a real need for people to recognise what their impact is in a destination," said Rochelle Turner, "and how much water, waste and energy you should be using compared to the local population." "All of this will empower tourists to make better decisions and only through those better decisions that we'll be able to tackle the issue of climate change.�

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Rosatom's Northern Sea

Route legislation ignites arguments Relu Č˜tefan

Disagreements are erupting about which agency will control what after Rosatom, Russia's nuclear corporation, began seeking nearly exclusive control over the development of the Northern Sea Route, the storied passage from Europe to Asia that runs through the Russian Arctic. Speaking after a meeting of the Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transport, or Rosmorrechflot, Viktor Olersky, Russia's deputy Transport minister, said his agency should be the one responsible for issuing permits to vessels to travel through the route, the business daily Kommersant reported. Rosatom has argued that it should be the one issuing permits, as it oversees Atomflot, Russia's nuclear icebreaker port, whose vessels are responsible for blazing trails for commercial freight vessels through the Arctic's icy waters. In November, it was revealed that Rosatom had drafted sweeping legislation granting itself control over nearly every aspect of navigation and port oversight along the Northern Sea Route. The bill has yet to go to a vote in Russia's Parliament, but Kommersant has reported the legislation is favored by President Vladimir Putin. But the bill also leaves several things unresolved, including which part of the

government would be responsible for issuing permits to commercial freighters wishing to traverse the 6,000 kilometer East-West passage. Rosmorrechflot has been arguing that power should remain in its hands ever since the legislation was revealed. Russia has long viewed the Northern Sea Route as the hinge on which the country's economic future hangs. Northern Siberian oil and gas ventures line its shores, and Moscow is investing billions of dollars in new nuclear icebreakers to accompany what it insists will be a bonanza of sea traffic between European and Asian ports. But there is little evidence to suggest such long cargo hauls will be drawn away from the cheaper and more established Suez Canal. Nevertheless, as liquefied natural gas projects on the Yamal Peninsula have spurred a traffic uptick between Central Siberia and ports in South Korea and China. But climate change has made even those journeys easier. Last summer,

the Christophe de Margerie gas tanker made the entire journey through the route from Hammerfest, Norway to Boryeong in South Korea in 19 days without the aid of Atomflot's nuclear icebreakers. Still, Rosatom legislation would doubtless see more icebreakers, as well as the fulfillment of some of the nuclear sector's more extravagant dreams. But the transfer of power to Rosatom is not coming off without a hitch. Olerksy told Kommersant that, while he has no quibble with Rosatom owning the Northern Sea Route's port infrastructure, it should leave the regulatory and permitting work to his agency. In his view, that decision should be left up to shipping companies doing business along the shipping route, Kommersant reported.


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