Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Canada is a World Leader in GHG Emissions

Canada has the dubious distinction of being one the world's leading greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting nations.

Canada has a long history of leadership on critical environmental issues, but you would never know it if you were to take a look at the policies of the ruling Conservative party.

The Conservatives may not be leading the struggle to combat climate change but they should win an award for eschewing domestic and international opinion.

A recent analysis by Climate Action Network revealed that Canada is among the world's leading sources of GHGs. Canada is a global leader in historical emissions, absolute emissions and per capita emissions.

As the leader of the Conservatives, Harper appears oblivious to messages coming in from from all quarters. Harper has ignored messages to focus on a green economic recovery from international leaders in the UN, EU, as well as Nobel Peace Prize laureates and scientists. Most recently, as the host nation for the G20, Canada did not respond to member states repeated requests to discuss climate change.

Rather than showing the leadership required to make the necessary changes to lower GHGs, the ruling Conservatives have opted to ignore it and hope it wll go away. It won't.

Canada is a great nation, but Canada's greatness is undermined by a federal government that does not appear interested in the emerging green economy.
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Canadians Disappointed with Conservative's Lack of leadership at the Toronto G20 Summit

According to recent poll results, 78 percent of Canadians wanted Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government to use the G8 and G20 summits ''to signal that Canada wants to be a leader in the global fight against climate change.''

Two thirds of Canadians wanted the Harper government to show leadership at the G8 and G20 summits. The same number wanted to see the Conservative government announce plans to eliminate subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.

The poll also indicated that 70 percent of respondents said they would somewhat support or strongly support government action to reduce those subsidies in Canada, estimated to cost taxpayers about $2 billion per year.

The survey, was commissioned for Climate Action Network. The poll was conducted by the Gandalf Group between June 17-22. The poll surveyed 1,158 Canadians and is considered accurate within 2.88 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

In a separate question, 65 per cent of respondents said they opposed the Harper government's strategy of waiting for the U.S. and other nations ''to develop their plans for climate change before it implements further measures to address climate change.''
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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

UN Climate Change Initiatives Post Toronto

As part of the Millennium Development Goals, Ban Ki-moon, the UN’s secretary general, urged leaders of the G20 to increase their investments in clean energy and the green economy.

"The risks -- and costs -- of inaction on climate change grow each year. The more we delay, the more we will pay," he told leaders at the recent G20 Summit in Toronto.

Korea’s newly established global think tank on green growth strategies will play a key role in the launch of a U.N. high-level panel on global sustainability. The Global Green Growth Institute will operate in liaison with the global climate change summit in Rio De Janeiro scheduled for 2012.

The U.N. has also launched a high-level panel on climate change and will operate an advocacy group for the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals.

Leaders of the world's largest economies will meet again at the next G20 meeting, which is scheduled for November in South Korea.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP 16 will be held in Cancún, Mexico, from 29 November to 10 December 2010.
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G20 Summit in Toronto Ends with Little Action on Climate Change

The G20 summit in Toronto ended with a general agreement on bank capitalization and recycled statements about the green economy and putting an end to fossil fuel subsidies.

Leaders of the world’s largest economies did manage to adopt new rules that will force banks to hold significantly more capital. However, countries unable to meet the original deadline of late 2012 will now have flexibility based on their own circumstances. The group also excluded Japan from a plan to cut national deficits in half by 2013, after Japanese leaders argued they would not be able to meet that target.

The communiqué released at the end of the talks made references to a green recovery and reiterated the pledge made at the last G20 summit in Pittsburgh to phase out "inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption." It added that the G20 would focus on continued implementation of country-specific strategies to phase out or rationalize subsidies. These statements reflect a disappointing lack of follow-through on the already vague promises of previous proclamations.

The G20 statement also said, “To sustain recovery, we need to follow through on delivering existing stimulus plans, while working to create the conditions for robust private demand.”

The highlight of the summit would have be be India's announcement that it will phase-out subsidies on petrol and review subsidies on diesel and other fossil fuels. The most unhelpful country at the G20 would have to be the host nation. Canada consistently ignored calls from world leaders to allocate time for climate change related discussions. Canada also refused to show leadership in eliminating fossil fuel subsidies.

The group of 20 leaders have established deficit-reduction targets and agreed to pursue higher capital requirements for banks. However, G20 leaders failed to work out the details of much-needed reforms to avert future financial and economic crises. G20 leaders also failed to advance climate change control or reduce subsidies for unsustainable fossil fuels. The Toronto G20 Summit is yet another missed opportunity in the fight against climate change.

In the past the G20 aimed too high and promised too much, at the Toronto 2010 summit the G20 aimed too low and promised too little.
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Monday, June 28, 2010

G20 Must Cooperate for a Sustainable Recovery

The cooperation of G20 member states is the key to a sustainable recovery. Although the global financial crisis revealed the interconnectedness of the modern economy, it also underscored the importance of cooperation.

The Toronto G20 meeting was billed as a final checkup to ensure agreements reached in Pittsburgh would be finalized at a November gathering in Korea, where leaders would then plan for a post-crisis world.

"Our highest priority in Toronto must be to safeguard and strengthen the recovery," President Barack Obama wrote in a letter to his G20 colleagues. "We worked exceptionally hard to restore growth; we cannot let it falter or lose strength now."

"This crisis proved, and events continue to affirm, that our national economies are inextricably linked," Obama said. "And just as economic turmoil in one place can quickly spread to another, safeguards in each of our nations can help protect all nations."

In 2009, despite disagreements between wealthier and developing nations, the financial and climate change crises spurred unprecedented levels of global cooperation.

In 2010, although we are in recovery, a slowdown has been signaled by the Economic Cycle Research Institute's weekly leading index.

Issues that threaten the recovery include Europe's debt difficulites, slow US job growth, and an unstable US housing market. With interest rates near zero, the most powerful policy tool remaining is resuming asset purchases, but printing money will cause inflation.

Economic uncertainty is highlighting disagreements between the United States, Europe and China.

Jose Vinals, director of the IMF's monetary and capital markets department, said G20 unity was one of the biggest positive economic developments in recent years, but disunity would damage the recovery. "It's fundamental that you keep your house in order, but it's also fundamental that when the going gets rough, you cooperate," he said at a conference in Washington.
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G20 and Central Bank Governors Joint Communique

The economy is in recovery and a sustainable economy is the best way to preserve that recovery. On June 5, G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors issued a “joint communiqué” which indicated that despite regional and national imbalances, the world economy is recovering faster than expected.

However, the recent sovereign debt crisis in Europe and international financial market volatility demonstrate that their are still serious challenges ahead.

Financial reform and sustainable finance are important, but we need to see balanced growth and a mechanism for shared medium-term goals.

We need specific policy actions by governments, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. The government needs to take measures to improve hedge funds, credit rating companies, subsidies, financial derivatives and transparency. The banks also need to increase capital flow, and reduce the need for moral hazard.

We also need to see international accounting standards. Above all we need to see national, bilateral and multilateral efforts to deal with the capital markets to limit the spread of instability and crisis.

Ultimately it comes down to a sustainable framework for cooperation between member states.
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Sunday, June 27, 2010

End Fossil Fuel Subsidies

The G20 has been discussing plans to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies for a while now. According to estimates the fossil fuel industry currently receives subsidies of between $300-$500 billion a year. Fossil fuels are not only destructive sources of pollution, subsidies make cleaner sources of energy less competitive.

US President Barack Obama is calling on the world to end massive government subsidies that encourage the use of fossil fuels blamed for global warming.

In 2009 G20 leaders issued a statement recognizing that fossil-fuel subsidies “encourage wasteful consumption, distort markets, impede investment in clean energy sources and undermine efforts to deal with climate change.”

According to a Greenpeace, a leaked copy of the Toronto 2010 draft G20 declaration calls for “voluntary, member-specific approaches,” to ending fossil-fuel subsidies, a major softening of last year's commitment "to phase out and rationalize over the medium term inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies while providing targeted support for the poorest."

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) hopes that as chair of the G20 summit, Canada will make a solid commitment on fossil fuel subsidy reform.

According to IISD CEO and president Franz Tattenbach, “Canada’s promotion of fossil fuel subsidy reform at the G20 level can greatly assist the international movement towards cleaner energy and make a significant reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions.”

Canada’s deputy minister of Finance Michael Horgan indicated that phasing out federal tax preferences to the fossil-fuel industry would have significant benefits for Canada, notably maintaining the nation’s image as a clean energy superpower and improving its reputation with respect to oil sands.

“Fossil fuel subsidies have encouraged wasteful spending and harmful greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mark Halle, Geneva-based director of IISD’s investment and trade program. “The removal of fossil fuel subsidies will level the playing field for the development of clean energy alternatives.”

The IISD’s Global Subsidies Initiative's initial findings show that the Canadian oil industry currently benefits from more than 40 different subsidy programs, mostly in the form of preferential tax treatment and investment incentives for exploration and drilling.

Frank O'Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, a Washington environmental group, said there is "no greater cause of climate change than fossil fuels. There's no greater cause of that than artificial subsidies. It's a great idea to eliminate those subsidies and let the marketplace work."

If the G20 is serious about a green recovery and sustainable global growth, ending fossil fuel subsidies is an important initial step.
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Saturday, June 26, 2010

G20 Disagreements and Global Economic Reforms

There are a number of disagreements between G20 member nations. Although the passage of a US financial reform bill was an important step for the recovering world economy, diverging national assessments threaten a coordinated global strategy.

The UN would like to see the developed world assume a greater share of its responsibilities for the green economy. Americans and Europeans disagree on whether to maintain or withdraw stimulus. The US warns against choking off nascent growth, while European countries are imposing austerity measures to manage rising levels of debt.

Canada disagrees with key European nations on taxing banks. Canada has argued against taxing banks to guard against future financial crises, while Britain, France and Germany want to see a tax on the banking sector.

China's recent announcement of renewed flexibility in its currency, the yuan, will probably succeed in deflecting attention away from new protectionist measures.

There appears to be agreement that the global system is under-capitalized and a there is a broad consensus on the need to invest more capital. Although there is agreement on the broader issue, there is disagreement on implementation time frames. Europe wants to move slowly to give its banks time to adjust, while the U.S. would prefer to see a faster pace.

The G20 has a pivotal role to play, decisions made by economic leaders in Toronto will not only determine the future of the economy, they will decide the future of our environment. While there seems to be agreement on the need for sustainable growth, charting a strategy to get there is proving difficult.

We need international economic reforms that will help maintain stability. We also need a strategy that positions green as the engine that will drive the global economy.
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Competing National Priorities

The members of the G8, G20 and other nations all have their own interests, the way these competing interests come together will ultimately determine the strategic direction of the global economy. Here is a simplified summary of the national priorities of eight key players:

Canada: Sustainable global growth, avoiding a bank tax, and the stabilization of government debt particularly in Europe.

The United States: Slow the global removal of fiscal stimulus to protect the recovery.

The European Union: Financial reform regulation, (bank tax and IMF reforms), fiscal sustainability and growth.

China: Ward off protectionism.

Japan: Avoid a bank tax, and free trade.

Russia: Medium-term European fiscal sustainability and preserving the recovery.

Brazil: More rights within the IMF.

India: Greater representation in the IMF and opposition to a bank tax.

Competing national interests will make it difficult to find agreement. The need for economic stewardship demands that our leaders look beyond local and regional interests to forge the basis of a consensus.
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Program and Plans for G8 and G20 Summits in Canada

The G8 Huntsville Summit Plans

Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville
Muskoka, Canada.

Friday, June 25 2010

Besides factors affecting the health of women and children in poor countries, the G8 was scheduled to discuss a new legal framework for a UN led deal to combat climate change. G8 members were also expected to discuss a post-2012 agreement that includes a robust system of emissions reductions monitoring and reporting.

Although limiting the rise in temperatures to below 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial times was part of earlier drafts, the G8's "Muskoka Accountability Report" doesn't even mention progress towards limiting warming.

The G20 Toronto Summit Program

Metro Toronto Convention Centre,
Toronto, Canada

Saturday, June 26 2010

G20 leaders arrive at the Toronto Airport Infield Terminal at the Lester B. Pearson Airport in Toronto. Over the course of the two day summit, global economic leaders are expected to discuss the recovery, finanical reforms, European instability, Chinese currency initiatives, free trade and the reduction of global imbalances. While sustainable growth is a dominant theme, details on managing climate change may not get the attention they deserve.

18:30 Official welcome and reception of G20 leaders and spouses by Stephen Harper, prime minister of Canada, and Laureen Harper, at the Royal York Hotel.

Sunday, June 27 2010

09:00 Opening plenary session.

12:30 Family photograph.

17:00 Chair's press conference.
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The G20 and the Green Economy

The green economy can provide a very real return for people and economies and the G20 can play a pivotal role in sustainable development.

The Executive Director of UNEP, Achim Steiner, said that green spending offers "a very real return for people and economies, north and south...The G20 particularly has huge potential in energy, mobility, buildings, agriculture, forestry, [and] water."

Last year, ahead of the April, 2009 G20 summit, over 50 of the world's largest businesses joined forces to call for sustainable stimulus packages. An open letter to the British Prime Minister asked for a coordinated global recovery package with private sector incentives to stimulate the low carbon economy.

This year, it is becoming increasingly clear that we are in recovery and green projects have helped to stimulate the sagging world economy. Although $500 billion has been earmarked for green initiatives, UNEP has a $750 billion dollar goal. It is worth noting that developed nations are responsible for the majority of the 250 billion dollar shortfall. In contrast, China is responsible for almost 40 percent of funds earmarked green

Unlike many in the developed world, China is investing massively in cleantech and this has effectively positioned it as a world leader in renewable energy. This sector now employs 1.5 million people with 300,000 new workers added in 2009 alone. India has been successful in its efforts to improve water security.

China and India may have received considerable attention for their growing emissions, however they are also showing leadership. It is the developed world that is falling behind and must step up its efforts.

"The green economy is not a luxury, but a 21st century imperative on a planet of six billion, rising to 9 billion in just 40 years," Steiner and Pavan Sukhdev, head of UNEP's Green Economy initiative, wrote in a pre-G20 comment.

There is a shift to greener economic growth, and this includes a higher value on nature, but the developed world must assume greater responsibility. Steiner has indicated that the G20 summit is an opportunity for developed nations to contribute their share to the green economy.
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Friday, June 25, 2010

UN Chief Asks G20 to Focus on a Sustainable Recovery

Leaders of the group of 20 developing countries (G20) are scheduled to meet in Toronto, Canada, June 26-27, to discuss the recovery of the world economy and the reform of the international financial system in the aftermath of the global crisis.

According to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, G20 leaders should focus on environment-friendly measures to promote global economic recovery.

In an open letter to the G20 leaders, Mr Ban said,“Based on our collective experience, the best way to enhance the framework for strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth is to put development front and centre, and to invest in a green economic recovery for all.”

“Now, more than ever, investments for the world’s poorest are necessary to recover lost ground in pursuit of development objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” Xinhua quoted Mr. Ban as saying.

The UN chief welcomed the G20’s intention to include development in its agenda during this week’s summit and at the Seoul Summit in November 2010. “Such an approach can help address food security and climate change, while ensuring job creation,” Mr. Ban said.

The UN is amongst a growing number of organizations that see the green economy as a means of consolidating the recovery, as Mr. Ban said, “Going forward, I encourage support for initiatives that will sustain recovery efforts while enhancing global economic stability, environmental sustainability and achievement of the MDGs.”
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The Clean Energy Manufacturing Summit

The Clean Energy Manufacturing Summit (CEMS) is scheduled for June 25, 2010, it is a special feature of The 5th Annual Michigan Energy Fair. The CEMS is hosted by The Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (GLREA), a non-profit organization that educates, advocates, promotes, and publicly demonstrates renewable energy technologies. The Mission of GLREA is to increase the mainstream use of renewable energy technologies and sustainable energy practices

Featured speakers include Obama administration energy expert Matt Rogers, ‘Senior Advisor’ to Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and US Senator Debbie Stabenow will also address the summit.

The CEMS will host a pannel of experts who will discuss topics of interest for businesses. The event will also be of interest to professionals, local governments, students, and all citizens interested in the latest successes and visions of Michigan’s Clean Energy Sector.

Summary Agenda Friday, June 25th

11:00am Opening Address by Governor Jennifer Granholm
11:30am Address by Matt Rogers, Senior Advisor to US Department of Energy Secretary
11:30am Battery Manufacturing Panel
1:00pm Address by US Senator Debbie Stabenow
1:15pm Solar Manufacturing Panel
2:00pm Wind Energy Manufacturing Panel
3:00pm Energy Efficiency Programs, Incentives and Business Opportunities
4:00pm Review of Incentives and Policies

The Michigan Energy Fair runs Friday, June 25th- Sunday June 27th and is Michigan's largest 'Energy Event', with over 80 exhibitors, 60 workshops.
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

G20 Security Concerns Force Cancellation of Sustainable Supply Chain Event

Although the UN chief has voiced his support for the green economy, security concerns for the G20 meetings in Toronto have forced the cancellation of the "Greening the Supply Chain" event.

More than 5,000 police officers will be on the streets of Toronto during the G20 summit meetings June 26-27.

The security presence is not only to ensure that foreign terrorists cannot use the event to attack the world's economic leaders, it is also in place to protect against domestic militants whose tactics have earned them the name Black Bloc. The self-described anarchists have declared war against capitalism and they seek violent confrontation with the authorities.

They are called the Black Bloc because they are commonly clad in black clothing. These 'confrontation junkies' often wear masks to conceal their identity. Black Bloc members will typically insert themselves into a large, peaceful protest march. In such large groups, acts of violence by masked troublemakers make it hard for police to identify individual culprits.

Police barricades will deny motor vehicle traffic and a 9 ft. high fence has also been constructed to defend the entire G20 perimeter. The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE), the CN Tower, the University of Toronto and the Art Gallery of Ontario, will all be closed during the G20. So will banks and grocery stores, even Via's train service has been interrupted.

Events were being cancelled days before the start of the G20. On Tuesday June 22, 2010, Green Enterprise Ontario and Live Green Toronto were prepared to present an event titled "Greening the supply chain - an eco-opportunity." However, instead of discussing ways of developing a green purchasing strategy, Toronto is closed for business.

Protecting infrastructure from vandals is an expensive proposition. According to Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty security for the G20 meeting in Toronto will cost Canada over $1 billion dollars. “In today’s climate, it’s unfortunately necessary to spend substantially in order to have good security,” Flaherty said.

The Black Bloc are amongst the reasons why we need to close public buildings, board up businesses and employ expensive security measures.

The vandalism of these masked militants drains valuable resources and interferes with the important work of developing a green economy.
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The Growth of the Green Market

Puma's Sustainable Supply Chain

Supply chain sustainability reporting is a key feature of Puma’s overall sustainability strategy. At the GRI Global Conference in Amsterdam, sporting goods manufacturer Puma, in cooperation with the Global Reporting Initiative, announced its intention to expand environmental considerations and improve working conditions throughout their strategic supplier network.

Those responsible for more than two-thirds of all Puma products will receive GRI certified training on transparent measurement and reporting on their sustainability performance using the GRI G3 Guidelines – the world’s most widely-used framework for sustainability reporting. These twenty Puma suppliers are based in China, Vietnam, Cambodia and other countries. The first sustainability reports are expected to be released in 2011/2012.

Reiner Hengstmann, Puma’s Global Head of Social and Environmental Affairs said, “Without sustainable suppliers, we will not be able to produce sustainable products or credibly report about Puma’s own sustainability initiatives.”

Puma originally joined a GRI pilot project called “Transparency in the Supply Chain” back in 2006. Under this project three South African Puma suppliers were trained on issuing sustainability reports. Managers learned how to measure sustainability concepts such as waste diversion, energy efficiency, and other performance indicators.

As the result of this training Impahla Clothing, a Puma supplier in Capetown, was the first carbon-neutral garment supplier on the African continent in 2009. Impalah's 2009 Sustainability Reports reveals a 40% increase in production, a doubling of its permanent staff, and a 10% drop in absenteeism. The company's bottom line improved through the cost savings gained.

Similar projects are underway in China, South Asia, Turkey, and Portugal. By engaging with its vendors and offering them further resources, PUMA has empowered these companies to proactively address the weak points in their operations, while also giving them the tools to find those improvements independently.

Many companies can learn from PUMA's leadership. PUMA has added value to its offering by changing its corporate mission from the most 'desirable' sporting brand, to 'desirable AND sustainable.' Once accused of having low labor standards, Puma is now emphasizing transparency and using supply chain reporting as a central part of its strategy to become the most sustainable sport-lifestyle company in the world.
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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Walmart and HP's Sustainable Supply Chains

Walmart and HP are two examples of companies that are leveraging their buying power to increase sustainability throughout their supply chains.

Wal-Mart has launched a number of sustainable supply chain programs, including its Sustainability Value Network which directly involves its suppliers in a number of green initiatives. Wal-mart also implemented a supplier packaging scorecard, that formally rates suppliers on their progress toward developing sustainable packaging, as well as their ability to help Wal-Mart reach the company's sustainability goals to reduce waste, use renewable energy and sell sustainable products.

In 2008, HP published a set of guidelines to make their supply chain more sustainable. The guidelines help multinationals to better equip their suppliers. This initiative focuses on assisting small and medium-sized business to effectively compete in the global market while improving environmental standards.

Although there are barriers that need to be overcome, sustainable supply chains are part of a trend that is sure to continue.
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IT Sector Should Leverage Their Supply Chains
Sustainable Supply Chains
Best Practices for Communicating Sustainability
Best Practices for Engaging Employees in Sustainability
Best Practices for Sustainable Businesses
Innovation and the Development of Sustainable Products or Processes
An Integrative Approach to Eco-Innovation
10 Steps to Sustainability-Driven Innovation
Sustainability is a Catalyst for Innovation
Sustainable Brands 2010
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Sustainable Successes and Failures
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Sustainability is an Unstoppable Megatrend
The Overwhelming Logic of Sustainable Business
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Consumers Continue to Embrace the Burgeoning Green Market
The 2010 World Energy Technologies Summit
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