Croatia Negatively Affected By Climate Change

World leaders at Paris Climate Change Summit 30 November - 11 December 2015 Photo: AFP

World leaders at Paris Climate Change Summit
30 November – 11 December 2015
Photo: AFP

 

Chiefs of the World – government leaders of 195 countries – have converged into Paris, France, this week with one main goal in mind to achieve from this major UN Summit on Climate Change: to attempt to agree (secure) a new universal deal to tackle climate change by cutting greenhouse gas emissions. In total up to 40,000 people will take part in this 2-week summit.
The UN wants to secure a truly universal global deal/agreement on tackling climate change for the first time, as part of efforts to prevent the temperature rising by more than 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels this century.
Scientists agree that above that level the world is likely to see the most severe effects of climate change, including heatwaves, droughts and flooding.
Although there were previous summits on climate change, the Copenhagen summit in 2009 was the last time that world leaders met with the intention of agreeing on a binding global deal, which they hoped would cover emissions cuts from 2012. However, that summit ended in acrimony.
Although Croatia’s footprint on the total global CO2 emissions is a minute 0.06% one, the negative effects of climate change are felt in Croatia in the same way as they are felt across the rest of the world,” says in the Press release dated 30 November, Ministry for the Protection Of Environment and Nature, Croatia.

Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic at Paris UN summit on climate change Photo: HINA

Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic
at Paris UN summit on
climate change
Photo: HINA

Indeed, Croatia’s Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, reiterated the words of the above Press release at the Paris summit where he led a Croatian delegation. Croatia, of course, will not be making any strides or new policy directions or statements that would make a difference to the goals set out for the summit, however Croatia is set to follow EU’s direction and directives in the climate change arena. Nevertheless Croatia’s Prime Minister did briefly address the summit in Paris on Monday 30 November.

“…the responsibilities and obligations should be allocated to parties not only on the basis of their greenhouse gas emissions but also considering their capacities of their GDP. Countries that largely contribute to emissions and have the economic strength to take measures must take on more responsibilities…,” said Milanovic.

 

In other words, according to the Croatian Prime Minister: those that have more should pay more!

 

Droughts, floods like the catastrophic recent ones of Eastern Slavonia or extreme temperatures have been seen as threats to the environment, to health and security of citizens and to the Croatian national economy. Croatian government’s plans to fall into the world efforts to battle climate change include strategies of low-carbon developments.
The Framework for the Low-emission Development Strategy of Croatia, prepared in cooperation with UNDP (UN Development Program), has been used as the basis for the development of the Low-Carbon Development Strategy (click here for PDF version), with defined sectoral aims to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Croatia had committed to develop the Low-emission Development Strategy as part of duty towards the European Union and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which fosters countries to prepare low-carbon development strategies and indicates that climate change requires developing long-term strategies in accordance with sustainable development. The development strategy aims at separating economic development from the exploitation of limited natural resources. While the emphasis is on reducing the greenhouse gas emissions, the more far-reaching goal is to make development plans that take into consideration mutual dependency between humans and nature.

Extract from presentation by Energy Institute Hrvoje Pozar - Croatia Photo: Screenshot

Extract from presentation by
Energy Institute Hrvoje Pozar – Croatia
Photo: Screenshot

Low-carbon development was/is also a part of the solution for the most important economic problem in Croatia: unemployment. UNDP’s research pointed out that a balanced focus on the energy efficiency and renewable energy sources could lead to the creation of 80 000 new “green” jobs and help Croatia fulfill the obligations connected to climate change. A lack of funds is not an excuse as Croatia spends 5-6 per cent of its GDP on the import of fossil fuels at the moment. These funds could be relocated to foster the development of renewables – stated UNDP on its website.
Zoran Milanovic’s government has been very slack, slow and ineffective in truly making positive and significant inroads in the creation of enough new “green” jobs to make a visible positive difference in unemployment figures; any green job created seems to get eaten up by another job lost or another company gone bankrupt. Perhaps the 2015 Paris summit on climate change may provide stepping-stones for Croatia to advance in the low-carbon development process.

 

Extract from presentation by Energy Institute Hrvoje Pozar - Croatia Photo: Screenshot

Extract from presentation by
Energy Institute Hrvoje Pozar – Croatia
Photo: Screenshot

Generally, the message coming out loudly so far from the Paris summit on climate change is that the leading countries of the world recognise for the first time in history the opportunities that come with taking action and that if they don’t take action their prosperity will suffer! Furthermore, it would seem that the consensus in Paris is, so far, that actions to be taken to combat climate change are not once-off actions or single actions as the Kyoto protocol might have suggested and promoted but that effective actions are in effect a process, even a long-term one.

If a universal deal or agreement is reached in Paris it, alone, most likely will not be enough to stop dangerous climate change. The process of actions will need to be heavily studded with determination, creativity, funds to invest in renewable energy sources etc. According to the UN, various national pledges to cut emissions made ahead of the 2015 Paris summit are likely to leave the world on course for warming of at least 2.7C. That will make a significant “dent” in the warming that might otherwise be seen, but not enough to prevent dangerous warming.

The aim of the Paris Summit is to also agree on a framework that will make countries improve their formerly expressed pledges of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as setting a long-term goal that will help limit warming to 2C.

paris climate change conference 2015
All countries will need to curb their emissions if dangerous effects of climate change are to be stopped in their tracks. One senses, though, that the developing countries do not want to miss out on the economic growth that developed nations have enjoyed on the back of fossil fuels and will seek greater leeway over actions they are to take in battling climate change. They will also want financial help to do all this and if one reads between the lines of Croatian Prime Minister’s words money is central to the success whichever way one looks at it. Money indeed seems to present as a major stumbling block and barrier to “ideal” speed of progress in battling dangerous effects of climate change and Croatian like several other EU countries, will depend on the size of the EU purse unless it lifts its governance game and injects more local knowledge, effort and resources into the low-carbon development plan realisation in order to pursue a truly greener path. Perhaps in days that come Croatia will soon have a new government that may turn a greener leaf in Croatia’s renewable energy source development and industry growth.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi while acknowledging the reality that conventional energy sources such as coal would continue to be used at present said that funds were necessary to clean up coal-based generation. This could be done using the Green Climate Fund, which needs scaling up, he said.

Show me the money!” (if you want action) is likely THE mantra to come out of the Paris summit on climate change, sadly making the summit into a spectacular fizz.  But 11 December 2015 – when summit ends – is still a fair way away and chances of an easier deal, a not-so-slippery one as the one dependent on cold-hard-cash tends to be, may yet crop up. One reality remains though – all policies that limit the use of fossil or conventional fuels seem to make everyone poorer and the poor nations suffer the most unless money is guaranteed and in supply to prop-up clean energy sources.  Some poorer nations of the world, grossly and negatively affected by climate change, are lobbying and urging the Paris summit for a 1.5C target instead of the 2C warming above pre-industrial era levels. This latest target is indeed ambitious vis-à-vis the will and the might we have seen “the world” display so far and it could well prove to be an another lever raising the “Show me the money!” dependency any notable success of widespread curbing of greenhouse gas emissions has. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A.,M.A.Ps.(Syd)

Four Amazing Croatians Make it To New Europe 100 Outstanding Innovators List

European top 100 innovators

 

The most outstanding innovation leaders in Central and Eastern Europe were announced on 26 November 2015 and four Croats are among them. A proud moment for Croatia – indeed! Matija Kopic, Jan Jilek, Valent Turkovic and Miroslav Vrankic have all made the list of the Top 100 innovators from Central and Eastern Europe who are changing the world and improving people’s lives with ideas that scale up in the digital world.
The Warsaw-based journal Res Publica, Google, the Visegrad Fund, and the Financial Times selected the top 100 list of these superb professionals and thus recognised their courage for innovation, expertise in emerging technologies, unique skills and social outreach that are having a global impact in today’s world.

 

Here is a bit about the Croats who made the list
Jan Jilek Photo: forbes.com

Jan Jilek
Photo: forbes.com

Jan Jilek – is a pioneer of online advertising in Adria region. He started his online advertising career in 2002 in Httpool – the first online advertising network in Croatia. After a year of learning about online advertising and in cooperation with biggest Slovenian search engine Najdi.si he started full-text search engine in Croatia Pogodak.hr, later sold to Slovenian Telekom. After Pogodak.hr he started first Croatian contextual intext advertising network Xclaim.hr and in 2008 sold it to biggest Polish Internet Company Internet Group S.A. He also started online advertising network ad-net and adOps company Adserver.hr which he sold to Austrian adOps Company in 2015.
His newest adventure is big data internet audience measurement startup Dotmetrics.net. Few months ago Dotmetrics started operations in Croatia and it is already present in Serbian and Bosnia and Hercegovina, but also some bigger CEE countries are in a pipeline. Because of the need for funding of his newest startup adventure, which lacks in Croatia, he started the 1000startupsEU movement. He is trying to understand growth problems which European startups are facing in EU. The goal of the project is to gather more than 1000 EU startups who will together push for structural reforms and building of pan-EU startup infrastructure.
He is also president of IAB Croatia and a member of IAB Europe brand advertising committee and research committee. AB Europe’s mission is to protect, prove, promote and professionalise Europe’s online advertising, media, market research and analytics industries. As IAB Croatia president, Jan assembled and managing Croatia’s leading Internet media and digital agencies and rendered the association the leading body in the field of interactive marketing in Croatia.

 

Matija Kopic Photo:Marko Likunic/Pixsell

Matija Kopic
Photo:Marko Likunic/Pixsell

Matija Kopic– is CEO of Farmeron, a web data service that farmers can use to aggregate information about their animals: diet, health, reproduction, milk production and medicine or drug dosage. Matija created a single, unified database that they can use. By bringing farmers and their production data online, Farmeron is rethinking how agriculture must meet the newest global challenges – of feeding more and more people with more than ever scarce resources.

Miroslav Vrankic – is a professor of electrical engineering at University of Rijeka and founder and a CEO of E-GLAS.
When still at University studying engineering, he once read a poster that said “Merge your skills with your ideals”. Instantly reaching his heart, those words became his life’s motto. After completing his PhD in Engineering in 2008, he decided it was time to put his life’s motto into practice. Finding his life’s mission in helping people, he founded E-Glass, a university-based start-up company. Its main product is Servus, a voice-controlled assistant that helps people with special needs to perform simple home-based tasks, that are otherwise out of their control. The little silver box, about the size of an external harddrive, allows its users to put on the lights, open the doors, turn of the radio or log on the internet. Servus is designed to be speaker independent, which is why Miro and his team are traveling and recording hundreds of voices – so even if the user has a cold, the system will recognize the voice and execute the demands. The device is multi-language, operating in English, German, Italian, Dutch, Croatian and Slovenian.

Miroslav Vrankic Photo: Pixsell

Miroslav Vrankic
Photo: Pixsell

The idea of Servus came to Miroslav while he was doing his first volunteer assignment, helping a person in a wheelchair. Seeing how challenging simple tasks like turning on the lights or operating a computer can be for people with disabilities, he set his heart on developing an electronic system, which would allow them to regain at least a little bit of their independence, improving not only their lives, but the lives of their families as well. “Seeing the happiness in their eyes makes everything worth it,” says Mr. Vrankic.

 

Valent Turkovic Photo: pozeska-kronika.hr

Valent Turkovic
Photo: pozeska-kronika.hr

Valent Turkovic –  launched Projekt Otvorena mreža (Project Open Net) in Croatia in 2009 to promote the ideas of independent internet infrastructure and the internet as a public good. Based in Osijek, Croatia, Mr. Turkovic has a degree in electrotechnical engineering. He volunteered for Multimedia Open Laboratory in Osijek and for Multimedia Institute (Multimedijalni Institut) in Zagreb. He also blogs at kernelreloaded.com.
In the autumn of 2015, Otvorena mreža answered to the wave of refugees entering Croatia in a remarkable way. The activists set up human WiFi beacons, mobile hot spots carried in backpacks to small border towns where refugees lack internet access. The initiative has since then expanded to Slovenia, and an interactive map allows for keeping track on its development. Otvorena mreža provides internet access also to refugee camps, and have recently installed 12 hostpots in Slavonski Brod refugee camp under the auspices of the Minister of Interior Affairs of Croatia and Croatian Army Forces.

 

September 2015 Valent Turkovic makes Free WiFi for hundreds of thousands of refugees passing through Croatia possible Photo: Otvorena Mreza

September 2015
Valent Turkovic makes Free WiFi for hundreds of thousands
of refugees passing through Croatia possible
Photo: Otvorena Mreza

Congratulations to Jan, Matija, Miroslav and Valent – love your work and dedication to advancements for the betterment of the human race and its life. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatia: Rebutting Accusations Against Blessed Aloysius Stepinac

Zagreb Croatia 24 November 2015 From Right: Zeljko Reiner, Croatian parliamentarian, dr Esther Gitman, historian and author, Archbishop Zelimir Puljic, Croatian Bishops' Conference, Cardinal Josip Bozanic and Zeljko Tanjic, Rector Croatian Catholic University Photo: B. Covic

Zagreb Croatia 24 November 2015
From Right: Zeljko Reiner, Croatian parliamentarian,
dr Esther Gitman, historian and author,
Archbishop Zelimir Puljic, Croatian Bishops’ Conference,
Cardinal Josip Bozanic and
Zeljko Tanjic, Rector Croatian Catholic University
Photo: B. Covic

Beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1998, Croatia’s WWII Archbishop Aloysius Stepinac – falsely and wrongfully accused and condemned as Nazi collaborator by Josip Broz Tito and his Yugoslav communists – still awaits canonisation. In this day and age of political correctness getting in the way of truth, a new element has been introduced – it seems – in the Catholic Church’s canonisation decision-making and that element has to do with what Serb and Serbia (who are predominantly of Orthodox Church) think about Stepinac being proclaimed a Saint of the Catholic Church. What an outrage! One finds it most difficult to comprehend why opinions are sought from Tito’s communists or their descendants who wrongfully accused Stepinac as Nazi collaborator were Serbs in many cases, as well as some communist Jews, and are not likely to admit today that they and/or their political predecessors were wrong and lied!
Hence the need to defend the innocent and good Blessed Aloysius Stepinac from lies, mud and concocted history – a sad fact of today’s mad political correctness by which one permits the propagation of falsehoods so that one avoids possibly insulting the emotions of the propagator of falsehoods. The Catholic Church, with his beatification, had examined thousands of documents and testimony, and had no doubts – (see Vatican insider) – today some Serbs and some Jews (all former communists or their allies as far as I can see) have made it their business to try and stop or obstruct Stepinac’s canonisation. The latest pathetic line of “criticism” is that although Stepinac did save Jews and others from peril during WWII he could have done more!

 

 

A world leader in historical research of the truth pertaining to the rescue of Jews in WWII Croatia, Dr Esther Gitman held a lecture in Zagreb, Croatia on Monday 23 November 2015 – ” Dr. Alojzije Stepinac, Archbishop of Zagreb in the trial organised by Tito’s regime, historians and current Serbian government” – as introduction to the one day conference held on 24 November 2015: “Archbishop Stepinac and Serbs in Croatia in the context of World War II and post-war period“. The conference was organised jointly by the Archdiocese of Zagreb and the Croatian Catholic University.

 

Introducing dr. Gitman, the Croatian Catholic University Rector, dr. Zeljko Tanjic, briefly talked about her 2011 book “When courage Prevailed – the Rescue and Survival of Jews in the Independent State of Croatia 1941-1945“, after which dr. Gitman has regularly addressed issues pertaining to Jews in Croatia during World War II and the matter of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac’s innocence. She was a visiting professor at the University during the 2013/2014 academic year where she held courses on rescuing Jews, and last summer published a notable study of rescuing Jews.
Dr. Gitman proceeded to say that her presentation, based on facts and scientific research, would defend Stepinac as the man who made great efforts in alleviating human suffering and, thus, refute the allegations made against him during the last seven decades. As the guiding foundation of her lecture she used Archbishop Stepinac;’s 1941 memorandum to the Catholic priests and parishes in Croatia in response to the Croatian government’s attempts to force conversions of Orthodox and Jewish people to Catholicism:

When you are visited by people of the Jewish or Eastern Orthodox faith, whose lives are in danger and who express the wish to convert to Catholicism, accept them in order to save human lives. Do not require any special religious knowledge from them, because the Eastern Orthodox are Christians like ourselves, and the Jewish faith is the faith from which Christianity draws its roots. The role and duty of Christians is, in the first place to save people. When this time of madness and of savagery passes, those who would convert out of conviction will remain in our church, while the others, after the danger passes, will return to their church.”

Dr Esther Gitman Screenshot 24 November 2015 Croatian HRT TV

Dr Esther Gitman
Screenshot 24 November 2015 Croatian HRT TV

Dr Gitman made a point of saying that the foundation of anti-Semitism in the region that includes Serbia between the two World Wars does not lie in the Croatian Ustashe movement as some would want us to believe but in the media organisations and publishers that published and promoted books such as “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion“. Brochures were published in Serbia, despite a court ban. She reminded the audience at the conference that in 1938 Anton Korosec, Yugoslav minister of interior affairs, stated that in (Kingdom of) Yugoslavia (which by the way was under Serbian King rule) the Jewish question does not exist but pronounced the fleeing Jews as undesirables. In contrast to Korosec, Archbishop Stepinac in 1939 appealed to the faithful to help Jews, because it is a Christian duty to do so. In 1938 Stepinac hoped that Germany’s interest in Russia would keep war away from the South Slavs, and that Croats will have the opportunity to fight for their own state ruled by law and justice. In a meeting with students he said: “The love of man towards his people should not turn him into a wild animal that crashes all and acts in revenge, but rather enrich him so that he may obtain respect and love for his people from others.

Sarcophagus of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac in Zagreb, Croatia

Sarcophagus of
Blessed Alojzije Stepinac
in Zagreb, Croatia

 

Dr Gitman pointed out that some historians have criticized Stepinac’s behavior during the Ustasha regime. Their claim was that a person in his position could do and could have done much more (to save Jews and others from death…). Such statements do not prove or support the facts. Can any historian today point to any concrete action that could have been implemented then and have resulted in positive outcome? I say no, Dr Gitman was resolute and concluded: “My goal today was to portray Stepinac in his role as Archbishop of Zagreb during WWII. His position was unenviable because he found himself between ‘a hammer and an anvil’, between the Nazis and the Communists. He acted as a loyal servant of the Roman Catholic Church and humanity, never abandoning his faith, moral law as his guidance. He condemned the inhumane behaviour of the Ustashe regime at every occasion“.

She concluded her lecture with the word of the Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg: “the Churches, once with powerful presence in Europe, reached the lowest point of their influence during WWII, incapable of retaining their independence against secular regimes. Despite that, during the War years, Stepinac followed only one maxim, and that was: only one race exists, and that is God’s race“.

 

Other participants in the conference on 24 November 2014 were: dr Ivica Sute (Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb), dr Tomislav Anic (Croatian Catholic University) dr. Mario Jareb (Croatian Institute of history), dr. Milan Koljanin (The Institute of Modern History, Belgrade, Serbia), dr. Radmila Radic (Institute for Newer History of Serbia, Belgrade), dr. Miroslav Akmadza (Croatian History Institute), dr. sc. Jure Kristo (Croatian History Institute and Croatian Catholic University), dr. Mario Kevo (Croatian Catholic University), dr. Robin Harris (journalist and author, Centre for culture restoration, Zagreb/ former member of UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher policy unit), mons. Juraj Batelja (head of cause of beatification of Alojzije Stepinac).

Celebrating the wonderful truth of Blessed Aloysius Stepinac and his work on saving and rescuing the Jews should not be this difficult but it is. It is difficult because others tied to Tito and Yugoslav communists – lied; the lies stick. Truth does prevail in the end, though, and that is comforting. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps.(Syd)

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