ECOMED Eastern Europe is a Romanian company owned by an Italian company - Riccoboni Holding S.p.A., market leader in the field of environmental services and waste management. The activities of ECOMED started in Romania during the first half of 2006, with the goal of providing several types of environmental services. All the ECOMED's available technologies have been developed and improved during the past 30 years working in Italy, in compliance with all the applicable Italian environmental regulations and European directives.
ECOMED Eastern Europe is providing the best environmental services, with high quality technologies and know-how:
ü Waste sampling and analysis ü Hazardous and non-hazardous waste packaging, collecting and transport ü Hazardous and non-hazardous waste treatment ü Water supply ü Landfill construction ü Contaminated site management (Soil remediation and water treatment solutions) ü Mobile waste treatment units ü Mobile storage units ü Mud plant rental ü Industrial cleaning ü Underground tanks and pipes - cleaning, inspection, rehabilitation solution ü Ground reservoir - cleaning, sludge removal, oil recovery, maintenance
BEST ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES WITH HIGH QUALITY TECHNOLOGIES Services performed for Oil and Gas Industry, consisting in hazardous
and non-hazardous waste sampling and analysis, hazardous and non-hazardous waste collecting, hazardous waste packaging, hazardous and non-hazardous waste transport, hazardous and non-hazardous waste treatment and final disposal, industrial cleaning of rigs, equipment and mud tanks, water supply, mud tanks renting, waste pit rental, mobile waste treatment equipment. From the beginning of Company's activity until present, the waste management services mentioned have been provided as follows: ü Waste Management from onshore drilling rigs: more than 500 onshore drilling rigs (with drilling depth from 800m to 5500m) ü Waste Management from offshore drilling rigs: 4 offshore drilling rigs ü Waste Management from workover rigs: more than 750 rigs ü Waste management from completion rigs: more than 100 completion rigs ü Water supply for more than 100 rigs ü Oil sludge Waste Management from cleaning tanks ü Industrial cleaning of mud plants (mud tanks and mud silos), rig cellars, drilling rigs , waste tanks - after finalizing drilling / completion / workover activities ü Industrial cleaning of Oil tanks, Pipe lines, Chemical Tanks ü Industrial cleaning of Offshore supply vessels (Ben Nevis, Makalu) The quantities of hazardous and non-hazardous waste managed for the services mentioned above: more than 500.000 tons
How polluted we are? According to modern chemistry, our armpits remain fresh all day and the automobiles reach 100 km/h in just six seconds. But all of these comes with a cost: the chemical substances , which are present in modern life, start to accumulate in our organism and sometimes they remain here for years. Fireproof substances are the chemicals added for safety in almost every product that can burn, for i.e. , matresses, carpets, the plastic helmet around the tv, boards with electrical circuits and automobiles, as well.These substances saves hundreds of lives per year. However, in our modern society, these substances take place in our body. By making a chemical blood test, which shows the level of fireproof compounds called polybrominated diphenyl ethers(PBDE), it is observed that in our body there are 320 chimical substances that we get from food, drinks, the air we breath and the products for skin care. Among those substances, there are DDT and PCB, for i.e. plumb, mercury and dioxine, pesticides and ingredients from plastic. Therefore, everybody should perform this chemical blood test, but , of course, the state should finance the tests in order to prevent diseases. However, the government chooses to invest in any other department than in the health sector. In the morning when we get up we only think about who is going to take the child to the preschool or at things like i have a deadline for a presentation or is my boss going to be mad again? But surely nobody asks : how many chemical substances will my kid inhale today on his way to preschool , how many chemical substances will i be inhaling untill i reach work? But still, many toxicologists insist that this tiny marks of chemical substances from our body does not represent a risk. Does it? It is well known from studies that at mice for i.e., the level of PBDE is high and affects the thyroid function , it affects the reproductive system and the neurological system. But when it comes to what effects it has on people, there is no study yet.
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10 The Dangerous Delusion of Optimal Global Warming To pretend that we can model with any precision the optimal level of global warming is a delusion. Any estimate of the net economic impact is subject to wide margins of error...
14 15 Top Tourist Attractions in Romania An overview of the top tourist attractions. Romania does have its share of medieval castles, quaint villages, painted churches and really magnificent scenery, from delta to mountains.
26 A Geoengineering Trojan Horse For fossil-fuel companies, the promise of geoengineering is the ideal excuse to continue with business as usual.
30 Improving Nutrition Can Save Lives - and the Planet Nutrition, agriculture, and climate experts must collaborate to seize that opportunity and build a future in which people consume the food they need while preserving the planet.
Changing the energy-financing models of banks, or developing sustainability-linked loans and green bonds, will simply not be enough to facilitate the transition to a more sustainable economy. A new approach that is effective and scalable must take investors' expectations fully into account.
Financing the Green Transition Ella Dobre
Four years after world leaders signed the Paris climate agreement and adopted the United Nations' 2030 Agenda with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the global environmental crisis shows every sign of worsening. Polar ice and glaciers are melting at an accelerating rate. Greenhouse-gas emissions are increasing. The Amazon and Indonesian rainforests are burning, and climate catastrophes such as typhoons, tornadoes, and floods are intensifying, with dire consequences for entire populations. Why has the world strayed so far from its collective roadmap toward sustainable growth? Over the past decade, climate action has mainly involved praising businesses and governments that adopt “green” practices while naming and shaming
those that maintain “brown” policies. But this is not enough. We must fundamentally rethink how to create a more sustainable world. The financial sector will need to play a leading role in scaling up green initiatives, de-risking projects for investors, and optimizing funding costs. And, given the integrated nature of sustainable growth, financial institutions must work more closely with national and local governments, regulators, businesses, NGOs, and citizens. To that end, the banking sector, including central banks, recently established the Principles for Responsible Banking and the Network for Greening the Financial System. These platforms, along with the Principles for Responsible Investment that were adopted in 2006, can be the
basis for financial initiatives that make all economic actors more sustainable. Many financial institutions have already committed to the energy transition by shifting capital allocation away from fossil fuels and investing more in low-carbon and more resource-efficient businesses and infrastructure projects. The volume of sustainability-linked loans, which offer better financing terms to companies that reduce their carbon footprint, increased from zero to €40 billion ($43.8 billion) in Europe between 2016 and 2018. And worldwide issuance of green bonds – which also originated in Europe – is likely to reach $200 billion this year, with China alone accounting for 20% of this amount. In order to meet the SDGs and the aims of the Paris accord, we need to encourage everyone to become greener – whether they are large polluting businesses, smallholder farmers, or consumers. That means providing concrete financial support for green transitions, rather than shunning and alienating less environmentally friendly actors. But changing banks' energy-financing models, or developing sustainabilitylinked loans and green bonds, will simply not be enough to facilitate such “transition journeys.” It is therefore time for a new approach that is effective and scalable, and takes investors' expectations fully into account.
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Two possibilities in particular look promising. First, new “transition bonds” can finance projects aimed at helping industries become more sustainable, produce less carbon and waste, and/or improve social wellbeing through fair labor and workplace practices. The cement, mining, steel, gas, and agriculture sectors, for example, are prime candidates for such financing. Although discussions regarding transition bonds really started only earlier this year, there is already clear interest and demand among investors. They want more data and disclosure, and more diversification in order to include a wider range of sectors. Investors are also strongly committed to engaging with these industries rather than simply divesting from them.
Potential issuers, too, are increasingly interested in such bonds: they need to prove to investors that they have embarked on their own transition journeys. In this regard, the two transition bonds issued so far in 2019 have raised the question of how to define and apply universally accepted standards of “transition.” Currently, there are no “transition principles” through which issuers can factor the Green and Social Bond Principles into their financing needs. As a result, bond proceeds are not necessarily being used in ways that respect these principles. True, issuing companies are expected to be transparent regarding their transition toward a greener footprint and their use of bond proceeds. But for now,
what constitutes a transition for issuers is determined on a caseby-case basis with investors. In the future, therefore, transition bonds must be anchored in the same kind of norms, standards, and disclosure mechanisms that exist in the green-bond market. The second big transitionfinancing opportunity is in blended finance, or collaborative schemes that raise private capital for public goods. These initiatives bring together a wide range of public and private stakeholders, including multilateral organizations, to finance projects with deep environmental and social impacts. Moreover, the blended approach helps to scale up and de-risk projects and optimize their funding.
The Tropical Landscapes Financing Facility, developed in Indonesia in cooperation with the UN Environment Programme, is a good example. The initiative combines private, public, and philanthropic funds to maximize environmental and social benefits. Furthermore, it provides full transparency and measurable outcomes without compromising the project's risk/return-adjusted profitability. Such projects aim to make an entire ecosystem virtuous, whether at the level of a single forest or an entire region or country. From the outset, these initiatives must bring together the stakeholders that set the standards (in particular governments, NGOs, and regulators) and those that deliver ecological and social projects locally (including businesses, farming communities, investors, and banks).
Transition financing will require discipline, transparency, and accurate measurement of environmental outcomes related to greenhouse-gas emissions, levels of pollution and deforestation, soil and water degradation, and carbon sequestration. In order for such initiatives to withstand scrutiny and overcome skepticism, their proof of impact will need to be more detailed, evident, and convincing than for green-bond issuances. Big data and digital technologies will play an essential role in ensuring transparency, measuring progress, and making green
transitions successful and scalable. Robust, reliable data and methodologies will build credibility, confidence, and trust among all parties and facilitate transition journeys. In that respect, the relationship between digital innovation and â€œgreen fintechâ€? has a promising future. The world is facing a deepening climate crisis, and financial institutions must help to lead and guide the global response. By adopting innovative new approaches, the financial sector can undergo a positive green transition of its own â€“ and help others with theirs.
The EcoAtitudine Campaign aims to change some mentalities that determine responsible attitudes towards the environment, with the support of children, young people and eco-volunteers.
We promote the selection of waste even from the household, at school, at work, and we follow the correct management of them. We increase the level of information and awareness on the problem of selective collection and recycling of waste among students and their responsibility through active involvement in a positive competition.
City Industry Dialogue on Clean Construction moves forward during C40 Summit During the C40 Summit in Copenhagen, Bellona has joined and contributed to the first Pan-European Master Class on Clean Construction and zero emission non-road mobile machinery (NRMMs) and Market Dialogue.
A scenario 5 years from now: Two people walking through the city centre, one says to the other: “Can you imagine there was a time when it was allowed to use a diesel engine in the middle of a city?”. These are the words of Heidi Sørensen, Director of the Oslo Climate Agency. Does this sound too good to be true? Eventually, this could soon become reality for some cities which are working on eliminating their emissions from construction sites. During the C40 Summit in Copenhagen, Bellona has joined and contributed to the first Pan-European Master Class on Clean Construction and zero emission non-road mobile machinery (NRMMs) and Market Dialogue. The event offered cities' representatives the opportunity to discuss and learn best practices on
how to counter emissions from construction, no matter the city's level of experience. All stakeholders involved in the construction sector were able to find a common ground and discuss how to move forward in implementing greener practices within the field. Most input on the topic came from the current, very advanced work done by the Norwegian capital. The Oslo Climate Agency has adopted a new climate strategy, aiming to bring emissions from all municipal construction sites to zero by 2030 and eliminating all emissions from the city's construction sites by 2025. In this context, Oslo initiated the world's first zero emission construction site which plans to pedestrianise a section of one of the city's most used streets. In her experience, Heidi Sørensen stated that ''the project proved not to be too difficult and that an early engagement with industry and innovative procurement initiatives were key for its
success in moving forward''. Head of Zero Carbon Development at C40, Helene Chartier, referred to the pilot project in Oslo as a good example, creating a precedent as ''the financial viability of the project opens the pathway for other similar projects.'' As host of the World Mayor Summit, Copenhagen presented its climate plan as well as the main challenges. The new climate strategy aims to make the city become climate neutral by 2025, committing to build all new municipality buildings and to renovate existing buildings according to low energy principles. According to Jørgen Abildgaard ''getting emissions from 80% down to 100% is the most difficult step,'' and the construction sector is part of these 20%. However, Maria Matzen, Legal Advisor at Bird&Bird, presented a cross border project for NRMMs between Copenhagen and Oslo aiming to align procurement practices and to find the best way to make procurement for construction easier and scalable.
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contractors. The city council has recently agreed to change the criteria, providing additional weighting on environmental criteria, to a minimum of 20%, with the recommended weight set to 30%. Francien Bouwmeister from the City of Amsterdam said the city's strategy is ''to set minimum criteria for contractors and then to predictably increase targets throughout the contract length,''. The environmental cost calculator that the city uses is based on life-cycle analysis, however, Amsterdam still has to agree on who will pay initial investments needed to kick-start zero emission construction projects. Procurement opportunities and challenges were also discussed by other stakeholders. Panellists representing the suppliers' side highlighted the need for buyers to engage with the market early in tender processes in order to influence a project's design, which can help minimise emissions during the construction project.
Through this project an open pool of all machinery was developed, which fulfils the criteria and can therefore be used in construction projects. The public procurement conversations have been a chicken or the egg dilemma: does or doesn't it come first? From a banking perspective, Bosman Didier from EIB said that in times when there's a lack of EU regulations or political commitment at local level the market's role becomes even more important in kick starting innovative, sustainable projects. Andrew Waugh, from Waugh Architects although positive on public procurement policy development, addressed the fact that waiting for policy to implement regulations is not a luxury that we can afford at this stage, hence the need to
speed up the process and act now. The City of Paris found it necessary to challenge the market by shifting set priorities and criteria for the project–selection process. In fact, the French capital has started to only sell land to the best projects in terms of sustainability, and not to the highest bidder. Paris' Marion Waller said that since “land areas are so valuable, cities are in the position to demand clean construction – and markets are responding”. Of course, Waller said, this makes construction projects more expensive, but setting criteria sends the right signal to the market and will lower costs in the long run. Espen Nicolaysen from the City of Oslo introduced Oslo's procurement criteria for evaluating construction
Richard Lively from Cummins gave insight into the company's work on electrification which includes investing in electric machinery and road vehicles. Cummins, one of the largest diesel and gas engine producers, plans to develop electric and hydrogen solutions in order to support the transition to clean transport and construction. However, he mentioned that the barriers the company is facing are infrastructure and energy supply as well as a joint approach between policy regulations and market incentives. The panels sprang out questions that participants could address during eight working groups: Bellona's Christian Eriksen and Mark Preston Aragonès led conversations on machinery development and machinery criteria for public procurement. In this context, we introduced our latest report “Zero Emission Construction Sites: Status 2019” which presents current policy gaps, the challenges and the solution in countering emissions from construction sites.
The Nobel laureate economist William Nordhaus believes that global warming should be limited to 3.5°C, which is much higher than the 2°C targeted by the Paris climate agreement. But Nordhaus's approach represents a misguided application of sophisticated modeling to decisionmaking under extreme uncertainty.
The Dangerous Delusion of Ella Dobre
The United Kingdom is now legally committed to reduce net greenhousegas emissions to zero by 2050. Opponents in Parliament argued for more cost-benefit analysis before making such a commitment; and Nobel laureate economist William Nordhaus argues that such analysis shows a much slower optimal pace of reduction. The 2015 Paris climate agreement seeks to limit global warming to “well below 2°C” above preindustrial levels, while the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommended in 2018 that the increase be capped at 1.5°C. By contrast, Nordhaus's model suggests limiting warming to 3.5°C by 2100. If that were the objective, net zero emissions would be acceptable far later than 2050. But Nordhaus's approach represents a misguided application of sophisticated modeling to decision-making under extreme uncertainty. All models depend on input assumptions, and Nordhaus's conclusions rely crucially on assumptions about the additional harm of accepting 3.5°C rather than 2°C of global warming. For some types of climate impact, quantitative estimates can be attempted. As the Earth warms, crop yields will increase in some colder parts of the world and decrease in hotter regions. Any estimate of the net economic impact is subject to wide margins of error, and it would be absurd to imagine that benefits in one region will be transferred to others that have been harmed, but at least modeling can help us to think through the possible scale of these effects. But it is impossible to model many of
the most important risks. Global warming will produce major changes in hydrological cycles, with both more extreme rainfall and longer more severe droughts. This will have severe adverse effects on agriculture and livelihoods in specific locations, but climate models cannot tell us in advance precisely where regional effects will be most severe. Adverse initial effects in turn could produce self-reinforcing political instability and large-scale attempted migration. To pretend that we can model these first - and second-round effects with any precision is a delusion. Nor can empirical evidence from human history provide any useful guidance for how to cope with a world that warmed to Nordhaus's supposedly optimal level. After all, 3.5°C warming above
preindustrial levels would take us to global temperatures not seen for over two million years, long before modern human beings had evolved. Modeled estimates of adverse impacts are also incapable of capturing the risk that global warming could be selfreinforcing, creating a nontrivial risk of catastrophic threats to human life on Earth. Recent Arctic temperature trends confirm climate model predictions that warming will be greatest at high latitudes. If this produces large-scale melting of the permafrost, huge amounts of trapped methane gas will be released, causing climate change to accelerate. The higher the temperature attained, the greater the probability of rapid and uncontrollable further warming. Models always struggle to capture such strongly endogenous and
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hours to as much as 90,000 TW hours by mid-century. Delivering this in a zero-carbon fashion will require enormous investments, but as the Energy Transitions Commission has shown, it is technically, physically, and economically feasible. Even if all those 90,000 TW hours were provided from
Optimal Global Warming
non-linear effects, but Nordhaus's 3.5°C point of optimality could be a hugely unstable equilibrium. Before the 2008 financial crisis many economists, including some Nobel laureates, believed that sophisticated “value at risk” (VaR) models had made the global financial system safer. ThenUS Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan was among them. In 2005, he reassuringly observed that the “application of more sophisticated approaches to measuring and managing risk” was one of the “key factors underpinning the greater resilience of our largest financial institutions.” But those models provided no warning at all of impending disaster. On the contrary, they deluded bank managers, central bankers, and regulators into the
dangerous belief that risks could be precisely foreseen, measured, and managed. VaR models could not capture the danger of catastrophic collapse resulting from endogenous self-reinforcing feedback loops within a complex and potentially fragile system. The same is true of supposedly sophisticated models purporting to discern the optimal level of global warming. The economic costs of achieving carbon neutrality by mid-century are also uncertain. But we can estimate their maximum order of magnitude with far greater confidence than is possible when assessing the costs of adverse effects of climate change. Achieving a zero-carbon economy will require a massive increase in global electricity use, from today's 23,000 TW
solar resources, the total space requirement would be only 1% of Earth's land surface area. And in realworld competitive energy auctions, solar and wind providers are already committing to deliver electricity at prices close to and sometimes below the cost of fossil fuel generation. Total cost estimates must also account for the energy storage or backup capacity needed to cover periods when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine, and for the complex challenge of decarbonizing heavy industrial sectors, such as steel, cement, and petrochemicals. Added up across all economic sectors, however, it's clear that the total cost of decarbonizing the global economy cannot possibly exceed 1-2% of world GDP. In fact, the actual costs will almost certainly be far lower, because most such estimates cautiously ignore the possibility of fundamental technological breakthroughs, and maintain conservative estimates of how long and how fast cost reductions in key technologies will occur. In 2010, the International Energy Agency projected a 70% fall in solar photovoltaic equipment costs by 2030. It happened by 2017. Rather than relying on apparently sophisticated models, climate-change policy must reflect judgment amid uncertainty. Current trends threaten major but inherently unpredictable adverse impacts. Limiting global warming to well below 2°C will cost at most 1-2% of GDP, and those costs will come down if strong commitments to reduce emissions unleash technological progress and learning-curve effects. Given these realities, zero by 2050 is an economically rational target.
15 Top Tourist Attractions in Romania Ella Dobre
If you think Romania is just about vampires lurking in dark castles, just waiting to pounce on unsuspecting tourists, think again. Transylvanian vampires loom large, of course, but Romania is so much more than Bram Stoker's Count Dracula and his Brukenthal Palace. Romania does have its share of medieval castles, but it also has pretty alpine scenery hat offers skiing in winter and hiking in summer. It's got quaint villages and painted churches that are awesome. Just as awesome are the millions of birds that can be found in the Danube Delta where the river empties into the Black Sea. An overview of the top tourist attractions in Romania: Wooden Churches of Maramures When foreign rulers of Maramures refused to let the people build long-lasting stone churches, they turned to wood instead. They built about 300 wood churches over a 200-year period; only about 100 of these churches remain in use today. These Gothic structures are mostly Orthodox but there are a few Greek Catholic churches. The churches, usually with tall, slim bell towers, reflect an advanced degree of carpentry. They are both simple and elegant at the same time. Hand painted murals decorate the inside of many churches.
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Vaser Valley Forestry Railway Take a trip back in time as you ride through the forests of the Carpathian Mountains on a steam-powered train. Running along the Vaser River, the Vaser Valley Forestry Railway has been in operation since 1932 when it was used to haul logs from the forest to the mill. Today, it also hauls tourists who like the romance of old, narrow gauge trains traveling through pretty, tree-filled landscapes. The ride stops at Paltin where you have two hours to enjoy the scenery and a picnic lunch.
Danube Delta If you're a nature lover, indulge yourself at the Danube Delta, the largest preserved river delta in Europe; the largest part is in Romania. Be sure to bring binoculars with you, as this is a paradise for watching wildlife, especially birds. Birds flock here from as far away as Egypt and China to breed or winter over. The willow-lined canals offer a great environment for the 300 bird species found here. You'll also find wildlife such as wildcats, wolves and the occasional boar.
Poiana Brasov When you get tired of seeking out vampires, consider Poiana Brasov for a change of pace. It's the most popular ski resort in Romania that also draws skiers from all over Europe. Located in the Carpathian Mountains, the ski resort has seven slopes that offer a combined 25 km (15 miles) of skiing. The resort also hosts competitive alpine skiing and figure skating events. After a day on the slopes, warm yourself up with a traditional mulled wine or try some tuicÄƒ, a plum based pepper-spiced drink.
Corvin Castle Corvin Castle is an imposing medieval, Gothic structure, considered the most impressive medieval castle in Romania. It also is known as Hunyad Castle after the high-ranking official who built it. Corvin Castle is a fairytale castle that is accessed by a wooden bridge that bears a statue of St. John of Nepomuk, the patron saint of bridges. A raven wearing a gold ring is a symbol of the 15th century castle. See, too, the bear pit and the dungeon where people were tortured.
Sucevita Monastery The Sucevita Monastery is architecturally unique, no doubt about that. Somehow the blend of the Gothic and Byzantine styles, plus Moldavia's painted churches comes together in a spectacular building. The front is cylindrical, topped with a conical roof while the back is rectangular and topped with a small tower. Inside, you'll find painted murals from the early 1600s and tomb covers embroidered with silver thread. The monastery, located in northeast Romania, is considered one of the most important painted churches in Moldavia.
Salina Turda If you feel like you're working in a salt mine at home, then you should feel comfortable at Salina Turda. The salt mine, which dates as far back as the 17th century, was used for everything from a cheese storage center to a bomb shelter in WWII after excavations stopped in 1932. Today, it has been transformed into an incredible sci-fi theme park. Located in Ciuj County, Salina Turda has been called one of the coolest underground places in the world. When you visit, you'll head down about 120 meters (400 feet) before reaching the submerged wonderland. Once inside, you'll find an amphitheater, a bowling alley, an underground lake with prow boats, and even a Ferris wheel.
Transylvanian Alps The Transylvanian Alps, also known as the Southern Carpathians, aren't as high as the Rockies or the Himalayas, usually under 2,000 meters in elevation. The exception is Mount Moldoveanu, at 2,544 meters (8,346 feet), the highest point in Romania. The rugged mountains, dotted with sheep-filled meadows with wildflowers, offer some pretty good hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter. Couch potatoes can visit a mist-shrouded Gothic castle instead as they hunt for legendary vampires on their own turf.
Biertan Fortified Church Biertan Fortified Church stands head and shoulders above the other buildings in Biertan, It was originally a Catholic church built when the region belonged to Hungary. It became a Lutheran church after the Reformation. Rather than build a fortress to defend against Ottoman invaders, townspeople fortified the church. Built in Late Gothic style, it is one of the largest fortified churches in Romania. The church is noted for its towers, including one used to store food during sieges and another to imprison husbands who wanted a divorce.
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Piata Mare Sibiu Surrounded by medieval buildings, the Piata Mare, or Big Square as it's known in English, is a must-see sight in the Transylvanian city of Sibiu. The square had its beginning as a cereal market in the early 15th century. A few decades later, the Tailors' Guild building went up. It was followed by houses, a Jesuit church and Brukenthal Palace. Big Square was a place for public gatherings, including festivals and beheadings. It was place to see troublemakers as they were displayed in the â€œlunatic's cage.â€?
Merry Cemetery Merry Cemetery in the town of Sapanta isn't your ordinary run-of-themill cemetery. It's more like a folk art gallery, with colorful tombstones, crosses and statuary celebrating the lives of the deceased. This colorful tradition began with a 14-year-old boy who began carving crosses in 1908. He added poems and painted a portrait of the deceased on the cross; sometimes he even painted how they died. And thus a tradition was born. The background on everything is deep blue, with other colors symbolizing life, death and fertility.
Peles Castle Peles Castle doesn't have a history of sieges and warfare but it does have something other European castles don't: spectacular beauty, sitting as it does on a Carpathian hillside. This Neo-Renaissance castle was built by King Carol I who vacationed here in the 1860s. Fairytale-like in appearance, it's considered one of the most stunning castles in Europe. A 4,000-piece weapons collection reflects the king's military interests, while a movie room decorated with frescoes reflects the queen's artistic interests. The first movie shown in Romania aired here.
Palace of Parliament In a country where medieval buildings abound, there's nothing medieval about the Palace of Parliament in the capital Bucharest. It is a thoroughly modern complex that is considered the largest administrative building in the world. It took 20,000 workers, working around the clock, 13 years to build it. It is an architectural wonder involving 700 architects and design specialists. The palace is a popular tourist attraction with foreigners, but not so much with the locals since it was built by Romania's hated leader, Nicolae CeauČ™escu.
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Sighisoara Historic Center If you have preconceived notions of what medieval life was like, Sighisoara Historic Center will certainly fulfill them. Old Town Sighisoara is definitely medieval at its finest. Found by 12th century Transylvanian Saxons, Sighisoara is a great example of a fortified medieval town. It has the traditional narrow streets flanked by colorful stone buildings. It is the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula. Sighisoara celebrates its medievalness every July with a festival that includes rock bands.
Bran Castle Bran Castle is often associated with Dracula as his home, though there's no indication that author Bram Stoker even knew of this medieval castle. The castle, a Romanian landmark, has a fairy tale quality, peeking out from forested a hillside near Brasov in Transylvania. With roots dating to the 13th century, this medieval castle today is a museum showcasing art and furniture collected by Queen Maria. It also is home to an open-air museum featuring Romanian peasant buildings from around the country.
Sadly, the primacy of anti-nuclear sentiment over empirical fact has been a consistent feature of Europe's nuclear-power debate since the 1980s. And the alarmist rhetoric surrounding today's emerging nuclear technology is yet another example of this contradictory and self-defeating approach.
Europe needs a serious
Last month, the Akademik Lomonosov, Russia's first floating nuclear power plant, arrived in the remote town of Pevek in the country's Siberian Arctic region. Russian staterun nuclear energy company Rosatom sees this as a pilot project, and hopes eventually to deploy a fleet of such units in Russia and elsewhere – including in developing countries in Asia and Africa that urgently need affordable electricity. The Lomonosov builds on a long tradition of nuclear-powered icebreakers in the Arctic Ocean. But, as I explain in my book on energy geopolitics, it also is a cutting-edge example of how small modular reactors (SMRs) can be deployed more easily, flexibly, and costeffectively than traditional nuclear facilities. SMRs hold out the promise of clean energy production not only in remote areas, but also in developing countries that are not equipped to build bespoke nuclear power plants on land. Floating SMR technologies also could potentially be used in commercial shipping in the thawing Arctic: nuclear-powered container ships would be far cleaner than those powered by heavy fuel oil, which produces emissions of sulfur and heavy metals. Furthermore, growing economic activity throughout the Arctic makes it increasingly important for remote areas like Pevek to have
low-carbon energy sources. Although the Lomonosov will be the world's smallest and most northerly nuclear plant when it comes online, it may soon have competition. Researchers in the United States, South Korea, Russia, France, China, Argentina, Japan, and India are currently working on about 50 different SMR designs. Furthermore, the rapid changes in the Arctic, and the global push to replace fossil fuels with low-carbon energy sources, have led Chinese, French, and American researchers to join their Russian counterparts in assessing the prospects for sea-based nuclear power. Unfortunately, Western media have failed to recognize the importance of the Lomonosov. Instead, inflammatory and misleading language from Greenpeace and other environmental groups has led to breathless reporting on the launch of a “nuclear Titanic” and “Chernobyl on ice.” Greenpeace, which has always opposed nuclear energy because of its supposed risks to the environment and humans, has highlighted the remote location of the Lomonosov and the unpredictable Arctic climate. As with many other nuclear projects in recent decades, the group has again succeeded in framing the terms of debate. But those with actual nuclear expertise have made it clear that
Greenpeace's scare tactics have “no basis in science.” As industry experts have repeatedly pointed out, seaborne nuclear reactors are hardly a new concept. The US used an ex-World War II cargo ship equipped with a nuclear reactor to generate power for the Panama Canal from 1968 to 1976, and Russia's fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers uses the same type of reactor as the Lomonosov. These reactors already meet International Atomic Energy Agency requirements, with safety measures including double containment and passive reactor vessel cooldown systems. In fact, offshore nuclear reactors could even be safer than those on land, because cold water facilitates the rapid cooling of the unit in case of emergencies. Sadly, the primacy of anti-nuclear sentiment over empirical fact has been a consistent feature of Europe's nuclear-power debate since the 1980s. In 1997, for example, France abandoned its own advanced Superphénix “breeder reactor” project because incoming Prime Minister Lionel Jospin required the support of the Green Party to form a government. Two decades later, France still has not successfully developed the technology. And just last month, the country's Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission decided to abandon the fourth-generation
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advanced sodium technological reactor for industrial demonstration (ASTRID) that had been launched in 2006 to replace SuperphĂŠnix. By succumbing to anti-nuclear pressure from groups such as Greenpeace, Western policymakers have failed to keep pace with Russia and China. Russia's Rosatom, for example, is already a global leader in marketing nuclear energy to emerging economies, and has over a hundred projects in countries including India, China, and Belarus. The alarmist rhetoric surrounding today's emerging nuclear technology is unfortunately par for the course. And it again highlights the contradictory and self-defeating approach of some Western policymakers to the world's largest
and most reliable source of lowcarbon energy. According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, nuclear power generation is second only to onshore wind in terms of carbon neutrality, with median carbon dioxide emissions of just 12 grams per kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity generation. Those concerned about CO2 emissions should therefore prefer nuclear energy to fossil fuels such as coal (820 grams/kWh) and natural gas (490 grams/kWh). Nuclear also outperforms biomass (230 grams/kWh), solar energy (48 grams/kWh), and hydropower (24 grams/kWh). In addition, nuclear power has none of the intermittency problems that plague wind and solar
energy, causing ongoing price increases for consumers. These differences come into sharp focus when we consider the effect of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Energiewende policy, which aims to increase the country's renewable energy capacity while phasing out nuclear power. The Energiewende is often lauded as one of Europe's leading sustainability initiatives. Yet, in Germany's rush to move away from nuclear power following the 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan, the country's energy sector has had to rely on coal for baseload power. Pressure from German environmentalists helped drive this decision â€“ but using nuclear energy instead of coal would have resulted in Germany releasing approximately 220 million fewer tons of CO2 per year. In fact, since 1990, Germany has managed to achieve only a slow, uneven decline in CO2 emissions, despite a manifold increase in renewable energy capacity. While Germany continues to phase out its nuclear industry, the Akademik Lomonosov highlights the potential for nuclear-power generation in the Arctic. What Europe in particular needs now is a sensible nuclearenergy debate based on facts rather than fear.
A Geoengineering Trojan Horse Emma Crețu
For fossil-fuel companies, the promise of geoengineering is the ideal excuse to continue with business as usual. Rather than allow the industry to continue to act in its own interest, the world must establish a strong, democratic regulatory mechanism, which includes the option to ban certain technologies outright. Although the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, the progress toward reducing greenhouse-gas emissions remains as disappointing as ever, leading some to tout new technological solutions that could supposedly save the day. Harvard University's David Keith, for example, would have us consider geoengineering – that is, deliberate, large-scale, and highly risky interventions in the Earth's climate system. This past March at the United Nations environmental conference in Nairobi, Kenya, the United States and Saudi Arabia blocked an effort to scrutinize geoengineering and its implications for international governance. Meanwhile, Keith's Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment (SCoPEx) in the US – which aims to test a form of geoengineering known as Solar
Radiation Management (SRM) – seems to be moving forward. SRM depends on so-called Stratospheric Aerosol Injection, whereby a high-altitude balloon sprays large quantities of inorganic particles into the stratosphere with the goal of reflecting some sunlight back into space. SCoPEx would send a balloon equipped with scientific instruments some 12 miles (20 kilometers) above the ground to test the reflectivity of various substances. But these technical aspects of the experiment are far less important than its political, social, and geopolitical implications. After all, the risks of geoengineering could not be more serious. If deployed at scale, SRM could disrupt the monsoons in Asia and cause droughts in Africa, affecting the food and water supplies of two billion people. The use of sulfuric acid – the most studied option, and the one SCoPEx initially intended to test – could further deplete the ozone layer. (More recently, SCoPEx has been mentioning only carbonates.)
The recent launch of an independent advisory committee for SCoPEx seems to be aimed at lending legitimacy to a kind of experiment that the rest of the world has agreed is too dangerous to allow. Moreover, the panel's membership is exclusively US-based, and mostly linked to elite institutions, which raises questions about whose interests are really being served. These concerns are reinforced by the fact that the SCoPEx pitch is fundamentally manipulative. The results from a “small-scale” experiment would not amount to a credible assessment of the effects of deploying SRM at the scale needed for geoengineering. As climate scientists have made clear, the only way to know how SRM (or any other geoengineering technique) would affect the climate is to deploy it over several decades on a massive scale. Otherwise, its effects could not be distinguished from other climate variables and “climate noise.” Given that geoengineering is, by nature, not testable, all experiments like SCoPEx can do is create momentum
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for larger and longer experiments. Once millions of dollars have been sunk into creating the relevant institutions and employing large numbers of people, it becomes easier to argue that even more data should be collected and, finally, that the technology should be deployed. In this sense, projects like SCoPEx set a new and dangerous precedent for the unilateral implementation of geoengineering technologies by billionaires and vested interests. Indeed, as the Center for International Environmental Law and the Heinrich Böll Foundation's recent report, Fuel to Fire, points out, fossil-fuel companies have been investing in geoengineering for decades. For them, the promise of a technological get-out-of-jail-free card is an ideal pretext for continuing their highly profitable, destructive activities. In fact, Keith's own company, Carbon Engineering, recently received $68 million from Occidental Petroleum, Chevron, and the coal giant BHP (Billiton) to develop another potentially dangerous geoengineering approach –
Direct Air Capture, which takes CO2 from the atmosphere, to be used or stored. Among the company's original funders is the oil sands financier N. Murray Edwards (as well as Bill Gates). Allowing such projects to move forward with no political mandate or institutional oversight could entrench a system of self-regulation that is grossly inadequate for technologies as consequential as geoengineering. That is why the UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) has asked governments not to allow any geoengineering activities to be carried out until “a global, transparent, and effective control and regulatory mechanism” is put in place – a mechanism that adheres to the socalled precautionary approach.The CBD decision made an exception for small-scale experiments, but only under certain conditions, which SCoPEx doesn't meet: among them, carrying out experiments in “controlled settings” and acquiring the free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous peoples and local communities that
may be affected. Furthermore, in the case of SCoPEx, no critical voices from civil society or developing-country governments seem to have been considered. SCoPEx's promoters appear determined to take advantage of the US's failure to ratify the CBD. The fact that the SCoPEx advisory committee is chaired by a California government official, Louise Bedsworth, also raises the question of whether a state that has positioned itself as a climate leader is now embracing the most controversial form of geoengineering. Rather than allow fossil-fuel companies that have ravaged our planet for profit to continue to act in their own interest, the world must establish a strong, multilateral democratic regulatory mechanism, which includes the option to ban certain technologies outright. Until such an international system is in place, experiments like SCoPEx – which threaten to act as a Trojan horse for deploying dangerous technologies at scale – must not be allowed to move forward.
Improving Nutrition Can Save Lives - and the Planet Stere CreČ›u
Investing in better nutrition can yield significant health and economic benefits and help to tackle climate change. Nutrition, agriculture, and climate experts must collaborate to seize that opportunity and build a future in which people consume the food they need while preserving the planet. When world leaders, activists, campaigners, and chief executives gathered last month at the United Nations in New York City to discuss the world's most pressing challenges, the climate crisis dominated the headlines. By contrast, nutrition - one of the cornerstones of human, economic, and environmental progress - received surprisingly little attention. True, world leaders began the week of UN General Assembly meetings by signing a landmark political declaration on universal health coverage. But although the declaration recognized nutrition as a contributing factor to good health, it did not single it out as a priority. That was not unusual: policymakers often cite inadequate diet as a key barrier to progress, but only rarely make better nutrition the focus of action. By taking this approach, the
world is missing a huge opportunity. World Food Day (October 16) and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17) offer an opportunity to address some of the misconceptions regarding nutrition. This is a vitally important effort, because each of us can play a role in helping to end all forms of malnutrition by 2030 - one of the targets of UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2. Many people associate malnutrition exclusively with undernourishment in the world's poorest countries. But, as the Global Nutrition Report has repeatedly stated, malnutrition can take multiple forms and is a universal issue that no country can afford to overlook â€“ including leading advanced economies such as the United States. According to the 2018 Global Nutrition Report, the US is off track on all its nutrition targets except under-five stunting and wasting, and also is one of seven countries where more than one million children are overweight. Rates of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease in the US have
reached alarming levels. Moreover, poor nutrition is not just harming people's health; it is also the most serious threat to the country's public health-care system. Nutrition is one of the smartest investments a country can make. According to the World Bank, a stronger focus on nutrition within health services could save 3.7 million lives globally by 2025. Nutrition investments also make economic sense: every $1 spent on basic nutrition programs results in an estimated $16 returning to the local economy. Given these benefits, the world must push nutrition much higher up the agenda. As with many global challenges, policymakers often take an outdated, silo-based approach to nutrition. Yet, at least 12 of the 17 SDGs contain targets and indicators that are relevant to nutrition. That means there is a clear, mutually reinforcing benefit in increasing collaboration across different areas of development â€“ in particular between nutrition and climate change.
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In that regard, I was pleased to hear food systems being mentioned during last month's UN Climate Summit. Furthermore, various expert reports, including by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, have started to warn about the negative links between food systems, diets, and the climate crisis. These connections are significant. A paper published by the Global Nutrition Report shows that food production uses 70% of the world's freshwater supply, agriculture produces 13% of all greenhouse-gas emissions, and livestock uses 77% of the world's agricultural land. And climate change, in turn, affects food systems and diets. The American Association for the Advancement of Science has found that increasingly frequent droughts and floods are reducing agricultural productivity, while rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are robbing plants of the nutrients and vitamins we need to survive. Given this knowledge, those of us tackling nutrition and climate challenges cannot simply keep fighting in our respective corners. Over the next few years, we have the chance to turn these two global crises into one great opportunity: to reshape the world's agriculture and food systems, while ensuring that everyone has access to nutritious food. But nutrition, agriculture, and climate experts must collaborate to seize that opportunity and build a future in which people consume the food they need while preserving the planet. Finally, the private sector needs a bigger seat at the table. After all, a single global food company can reach over one billion people every day through its products. If such a firm chooses to make nutritious foods more accessible and affordable, the impact on consumers' diets and health could be huge. Some businesses have already made positive moves, such as introducing more transparent content labeling or reducing the amount of sugar in their products. But, given the private sector's capacity and reach, progress is simply too slow. Following pressure from civil-society
organizations, governments have turned to regulations to compel businesses to do more. Denmark, for example, introduced a virtual ban on the sale of products containing trans fats, while South Africa was the first country to legislate maximum salt levels in processed foods. Food companies must choose: they can either wait for governments to impose tougher regulations, or they can get ahead of the curve, work with the nutrition community, and show their consumers and stakeholders that they care about what people eat. Good nutrition can also be good business. It would be easy simply to blame governments or the private sector for the lack of action so far. But if nutrition is simultaneously everywhere and nowhere, that is partly because we
have failed to make the issue visible and relevant to those actors that can bring about change. The nutrition community must therefore leave its comfort zone and engage with decision-makers focusing on health, agriculture, climate change, and other big global issues. At the 2020 Global Nutrition Summit in Japan, key players from around the world are expected to renew their commitments to end malnutrition. Part of our duty will be to ensure there is space for a wider range of stakeholders to help meet this goal. Malnutrition is one of the greatest challenges facing the world, but it is solvable. We already know how to protect our planet while improving the diets and health of millions of people. Now we must start doing it.
Food for Sustainable Development All companies in the food sector, both producers and distributors, should adopt clear guidelines, metrics, and reporting standards to align with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate agreement. Specifically, each company must address four critical questions. Emma Crețu
Feeding a planet of 7.7 billion people is no easy matter. Every person on the planet needs, expects, and has the right to a healthy diet. Every farmer needs, expects, and has the right to a decent livelihood. The roughly ten million other species on the planet need a habitat in which they can survive. And every business that produces, processes, and transports food needs and expects to earn a profit. It's a tall order – and it's not being fulfilled. Over 820 million people are chronically hungry. Another two billion or so suffer from micronutrient deficiencies, such as a lack of vitamins or proteins. Around 650 million adults are obese, an epidemic caused in part by ultra-processed foods that are stuffed with sugar, saturated fats, and other chemical additives. But the problems go far beyond hunger and diet. Today's agroindustrial practices are the main cause of deforestation, freshwater depletion and pollution, soil erosion, and the collapse of biodiversity. To top it off, human-induced climate change, partly caused by the food sector, is wreaking havoc on crop production. With more warming and population growth ahead, the crisis will worsen unless decisive changes are made. The food industry is a powerhouse of the global economy and includes some of the best-known brand names,
because we connect with them every day. Solving the many intersecting food crises will be impossible unless the food industry changes its ways. Fortunately, there is an important glimmer of hope. A growing number of food companies understand the challenge and want to forge a new direction that is consistent with human health and planetary survival. We have been asked by some of these industry leaders, convened by the Barilla Foundation, to help identify the steps needed to align the food sector with sustainable development. Our starting point is another source of hope. In 2015, all 193 members of the United Nations agreed unanimously to two vital agreements. The first, called Agenda 2030, adopts 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a roadmap to human wellbeing and planetary safety. The second, the Paris climate agreement, commits the world's governments to taking decisive action to keep global warming to less than 1.5º Celsius. Both the SDGs and the Paris agreement require decisive changes in practices by the food industry. In our report, we call on all companies in the food sector, both producers and distributors, to adopt clear guidelines, metrics, and reporting standards to align with the global goals. Specifically, each company must address four critical questions.
First, do the companies' products and strategies contribute to healthy and sustainable diets? We know that the fast-food culture is literally killing us. The industry has to change, urgently, to promote healthy diets. Second, are the company's production practices sustainable? Too many companies are engaged in chemical pollution, massive waste from packaging, deforestation, excessive and poorly targeted fertilizer use, and other environmental ills. Third, are the company's upstream suppliers sustainable? No consumer food company should use products from farms that contribute to deforestation. The destruction of forests in the Amazon and Indonesia – literally a scorched-earth process – underscore the need to barcode all
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food products to ensure that they are sourced from sustainable farms. Lastly, is the company a good corporate citizen? For example, aggressive tax practices that seek to exploit legal loopholes or weak enforcement processes should be avoided, as they deprive governments of the revenues needed to promote public services and thereby achieve the SDGs. As part of our work, we examined the food industry's current reporting practices. While many companies purport to pursue sustainable development, too few report on the healthfulness of their product lines or how their products contribute to healthy and sustainable dietary patterns. Too few recognize that they are part of the environmental crisis,
either directly in their own production, or as buyers of products produced in environmental hotspots such as the Amazon or Indonesia. And companies don't report in detail on their tax practices. In short, the food industry's commitment to sustainability is still too often more high-minded sentiment than actual reporting and monitoring to ensure alignment with the SDGs and the Paris accord. But we are not pessimistic. Around the world, young people are demanding a sustainable and safe way of living and doing business. We believe that companies, too, will change. After all, companies need customers who are satisfied, workers who are motivated, and the respect of society as a tacit “license to do business.” Some of the cases we analyzed give us hope that
change is possible. As our project continues in the coming year, with the aim of working with the industry to ensure that performance, reporting, and monitoring are aligned with sustainable development, we will keep the public informed of what we see and learn. The food sector is a key part of a larger picture. World leaders gathered at the UN this week to review progress – or lack thereof – on the SDGs and the Paris agreement. They must keep in mind one crucial fact: the world's people are demanding change. We have the know-how and wealth to achieve a prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable world. The business sector must urgently recognize, acknowledge, and act upon its global responsibilities.
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Revista ECOPEDIA - ECOMONDO Noiembrie 2019