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Showing posts from June, 2012

The Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC)

Weaving New Tithes Photographs and text by Heidi Jane M. Smith
On the Avenida del Sol, just a few blocks from Cusco’s marvelous Plaza de Armas, the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC) plans to recreate the lost Incan way of life. It was here that the Spanish constructed Catholic cathedrals and imported celestial painters to rewrite Incan history. Weaving is a way of life for many, but how does one make it a livelihood?
CTTC is a non-governmental organization working to open a sales outlet and museum in Cusco, to set up a functional Web site, to computerize inventory and accounting systems, and to bring greater appreciation for indigenous textiles within the region. Pictured are weavers from Chincheros which means “birth place of the rainbow” in Quecha, the indigenous language of Peru. When the Spanish invaded, the villagers lit the buildings on fire, afraid of being conqueror. The villagres did not want their positions to be in the hands of the invaders, so they were willin…

Rio+20 Results for Cities

Local and Regional Governments role in the Rio Outcome Document
Despite the discouraging results of the Rio+20 Summit in terms of lacking multilateral agreements and commitments, there is a bright side to the Outcome Document when it comes to the acknowledgement of the role that local and regional governments play and need to play in the sustainable development agenda.

Seldom before, has there been an international policy document which is as far-reaching in both the recognition of the role of local and sub-national governance and as comprehensive in the thematic areas described of influence for these spheres of governments. The explicit recognition of the Habitat Agenda is also a important achievement

On the shortcomings it is worth mentioning the very few references to culture as crucial pillar for development and the lack of clear inclusive governance mechanisms for future policy development.

Summary of key issues:

1.    Acknowledgment of the work done paying tribute to prog…

Goodnews for Public Debt--the US Bond Maket

US Bond Market In general, there are three types of bonds in the U.S system[1]. The following outlines the thee broad types:
a. General obligationbonds finance government projects like parks, streets, schools and public buildings. They usually use a full government guarantee, exempting them from taxes. They must be approved by referendum.
b. Revenue bonds are issued for special purpose projects or facilities for specific usage like development or improvement of sewer and water systems, public airports, toll roads, hospitals, housing and public parking facilities. They require repayment from usage fees or charges or sale of a project generated from the financed project. The government unit that issues the reserve bond is obligated to pay for the debt services from the revenue. The revenue bonds with government guarantees are called “double-barreled” bonds.  (These are the types that were used for the BABs and PACE).
c. Industrial development bonds are purposed to promote economic deve…

How can we use Pension Funds for Urban Progress?

Pension Funds First, cities do not access pension funds, they have employees who invest into their pension systems. Some cities have their employees’ accounts on their books others have contracted out this service for larger firms to manage. Large portions of government expenditures for a city are funds to pay employees for their retirements (wage bill is one of the largest classes of expenditures for a city). For example, the City of North Miami has a Pension Trust Fund. These specific funds are used for the sole purpose to account for the accumulation of resources that are used for retirement benefits of city employees. The employee retirement plan are located under the Public Employee Retirement Systems (PERS) which include the Clair T. Singerman Employees Retirement System, also known as the CTS, and the North Miami Police Fund. These two pension plans provide employees and their beneficiaries with pension, disability, and death benefits. Second, pension funds can serve as a source…

What are green bonds?

Green Bonds "The concept of green bonds as a financial vehicle has floated around for years. The idea comes in different forms. The World Bank has encouraged the use of green bonds as an innovative way to finance low-emissions energy technology. The U.S. Treasury Department has green bonds as a pithy name for low-interest loans to clean energy companies. Investment banks have proposed creating green bonds that can be traded for profit, just as credit default swaps and other mortgage-backed securities had been before the housing bubble popped."  NYTimes 2/7/2011

Green bonds may be used for any project that strengthens energy efficiency, green technology or climate related programs. Just as the New York Times quote above indicates, there is a wide range of projects that government, personal or pension funds can contribute to in the green economy.
Among the global leaders in pension funds are the Norwegian Government Pension Fund-Global; ABP, along with the Dutch government pensio…

What's Additionality for Anyway?

Additionality Banks like the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) can provide partial loan guarantees or credit enhancers for green projects. The GIB is capitalized with £3 billion and seeks to address market failures affecting green infrastructure projects in order to stimulate a step up in private investment. Given the volatility of financial markets and bonds, which are a lower-risk option for investors, yet have been few investment-grade green bond choices. Many of which have little or lacked liquidity, which keeps institutional investors away. Therefore development banks offer investors a way to scale green by providing institutional backing and a source of liquidity, if necessary, for the market to flourish. Work is based on the “additionality” given for projects. These include non-financial and financial benefits. For example in the financial aspect, if a loan is rated AB, the development bank may assist to lengthen the tenor to 15 years from what the10 to12 offered by a private sector…

Greening 3Ps

Public Private Partnerships Whereas adaptation is defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as “adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities,” mitigation is “an intervention to reduce the causes of changes in climate, such as through reducing emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.”[1] Most global reports highlight the role for cities as the center for green, but they are also important location leverage private investments for public infrastructure where much of this work takes place (i.e. transport, waste management, power, and so on).
Financing is fundamental for future progress, yet city halls might not have the direct authority to manage all projects, therefore PPP’s become ever more important.  For example, many green PPPs are public enterprises (i.e. highways, roads, electric companies, waste water treatment plants and other water manage…

Green Urban Investment Needs

Green Urban Investment Needs
Although it is almost impossible to calculate the future needs of greening urbanization, because of the wide variation of projects, cities and levels of urban decay and renewal which is needed for each one. Kennedy et al. (2009) has suggested that cities major areas of GHG are attributable to first, transportation and land use; second, buildings and the built environment; third, energy supply and emissions from electricity consumption; fourth, waste and municipal water services; and finally, from landfill waste. Therefore in order to gain zero waste, we calculate the estimate total of these projects for one city (taking into account previous expenditures). The below chart aims to capture the massive costs of an average mega city with the intention that these figures can be multiplied by the number of mega cities in order to derive the future global costs of green infrastructure.

Sample Mega City Capital Costs ($ million US) Annual GHG Savings (kt CO2e) Estimated…

Italian cooking Class+4

Class 4 Risotto alla Milanese Ingredients ·2 ½ lt of beef broth ·600 gr Italian rice (Arborio or Carnaroli) ·large onion ·.5 gr Safran ·1 cup of dry white wine ·150 gr butter ·100 gr Parmesan cheese
First, but 3 tbs of butter with finely chopped rice, cook until rice is golden brown.Add white whine and cook until the alcohol is gone. Next cook and add the hot beef broth (use 4 squares of beef bullion). Keep this process going using small amounts of the broth until its absorbed into the rice.