Massive wildfires transform Siberian paradise into disaster area Mashable, Andrew Freeman 25 Aug 15 Dozens of large wildfires are burning out of control around Lake Baikal in Siberia, which is the world’s largest freshwater lake by volume and the deepest lake, at more than 5,300 feet deep. The Lake Baikal area is a popular recreational area during the summer, with campgrounds and cottages surrounding the shoreline.
Because of the composition of the soil in this part of the world, these fires are spewing unusually high amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to global warming.
The region has seen drier and milder than average weather this year, and a combination of natural and manmade fires have led to a cataclysmic scene, with thick smoke seen from space and orange-tinted skies on the ground.
In July, the Lake Baikal area was one of the most unusually mild areas on Earth, according to NASA data as well as information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Fires have been burning off and on in this area since April, when farmers traditionally burn dried grass to help fertilize the soil. However, this year, many agricultural fires in this region got out of control, killing at least two dozen people and destroying several villages.
The smoke even made it across the Pacific Ocean, making for red sunsets in the Pacific Northwest, which is now suffering through it’s own wildfire calamity………http://mashable.com/2015/08/24/massive-fires-are-surrounding-the-worlds-deepest-lake-in-siberia/
Youth Sue Obama Administration For Allowing Climate Change, Violating Constitutional Rights
“We have a moral obligation to leave a healthy planet for future generations.” Huffington Post, 08/12/2015
Twenty-one young people from around the country filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration on Tuesday accusing the federal government of violating their rights by contributing to climate change through the promotion of fossil fuels.
The plaintiffs, who range in age from 8 to 19, filed their complaint in U.S. District Court in Oregon. The complaint lists numerous defendants, including President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, the Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Defendants have for decades ignored their own plans for stopping the dangerous destabilization of our nation’s climate system,” the plaintiffs said in their complaint, which was filed with the help of the Oregon-based nonprofit Our Children’s Trust. “Defendants have known of the unusually dangerous risk of harm to human life, liberty, and property that would be caused by continued fossil fuel use and increase [carbon dioxide] emissions.”
While setting new policies to reduce carbon emissions, the Obama administration has often touted an “all of the above” approach to energy policy that includes oil, natural gas, coal and renewable energy, the complaint continues. By continuing to promote the development and use of fossil fuels, the federal government violated their constitutional rights, the young plaintiffs allege.
“What we are providing is an opportunity for them to participate in the civic democratic process and go to the branch of government that can most protect their rights,” said Julia Olson, the lead counsel on the case………
In early August, Obama called climate change “one of the key challenges of our lifetime.”
“We’re the first generation to feel the effects of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it,” the president told an audience at an event in the White House’s East Room, where he unveiled new regulations on emissions from power plants.
But in the eyes of Olson and the plaintiffs, that’s not enough. They are asking for a court orderto force Obama to immediately implement a national plan to decrease atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide to 350 parts per million — a level many scientists agree is thehighest safe concentration permissible — by the end of this century. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has already hit 400 parts per million.
“It’s really important that the court step in and do their jobs when there’s such intense violation of constitutional rights happening,” Olson said.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/youth-obama-climate-change-lawsuit_55cbc451e4b064d5910a7183
To cool its reactors, Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station draws up to 500 million gallons of saltwater a day from Cape Cod Bay through an inlet created by two breakwaters. Merrily Cassidy/Cape Cod Times File By Christine Legere email@example.com
PLYMOUTH — The owner of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station had been planning to ask for a license adjustment that would allow the plant to draw warmer water from Cape Cod Bay than is currently allowed.But the request was not made soon enough.Pilgrim operators were forced to begin preparation for a shutdown late Sunday afternoon, when the temperature of the seawater used to cool the reactor edged above the 75-degree limit set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission…….
Millstone Nuclear Power Plant in Connecticut, which draws water from Long Island Sound, was the first in the Northeast to shut down because of rising water temperatures, which have become an issue in this region within the past five years. The plant has since secured a maximum intake temperature of 80 degrees on its operating license.“Pilgrim is still looking to increase the maximum saltwater temperature to a higher value, but the supporting analysis is not yet complete,” Lauren Burm, spokeswoman for Entergy Corp., the plant’s owner-operator, said.Last week’s hot spell likely contributed to the rise in the bay’s water temperature, but a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the plant’s discharge of hot water into the bay also may have been a contributing factor.
“The ballpark estimate on water discharge temperatures at Pilgrim (Sunday) would be about 95 degrees Fahrenheit,” Neil Sheehan said in an email.Under its license, water discharged from the plant may be no hotter than 102 degrees, a level set by the Environmental Protection Agency as part of a water discharge permit…….
Pilgrim draws up to 500 million gallons of saltwater daily from Cape Cod Bay through an inlet created by two breakwaters. The water is circulated through the plant’s condenser via a network of thousands of tubes, cooling down the steam from the reactor and returning it to its water form, Sheehan said.“The higher water temperature affects the efficiency of the heat removal,” Sheehan said.http://www.capecodtimes.com/article/20150811/NEWS/150819916
Typhoon Soudelor toll rises to 17 in China: state media http://news.yahoo.com/typhoon-downgraded-china-killing-five-taiwan-030301544.htmlShanghai (AFP) – The number of people killed by Typhoon Soudelor in China rose to 17, state media reported on Monday, with five more missing.
Three people were killed by a mudslide and one was missing after being swept away by floods in Ningde, in the eastern province of Fujian, the Fujian Daily reported.
In neighbouring Zhejiang province 14 were killed and four were missing, the official news agency Xinhua said earlier, quoting local officials as saying that the dead and missing may have been washed away by floods or buried under ruined homes.
The total direct economic losses in the two provinces were estimated at around eight billion yuan ($1.31 billion), figures from state media showed.
Billed as the biggest typhoon of the year last week with winds of up to 230 kilometres (140 miles) an hour, Soudelor — named for a Micronesian chief — has since weakened.
It made landfall in Fujian on Saturday night after leaving six people dead in Taiwan — including two twin sisters and their mother, who had all been swept out to sea.
It also knocked out power to a record four million households on the island. [Taiwan’s nukes in danger from typhoon,too]
Some 379 people were injured by the storm in Taiwan, which saw rivers break their banks under torrential rain and towering waves pound the coastline.
The China Meteorological Administration lifted its typhoon warning Monday as the storm weakened and moved further inland.
Chernobyl exclusion zone on fire again http://www.rt.com/news/311976-chernobyl-exclusion-
zone-fire/ 9 Aug, 2015 As many as 32 hectares of new wildfires have been registered in the exclusion zone close to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, report Ukraine’s emergency services report. Firefighters are battling new fires that have flared up in the Kiev region.
The fires started in three locations close to the villages of Zamostye and Kovshilovka in the Ivankovsky area. As of 7am on Sunday, the fires have been reportedly localized, with firefighters continuing to extinguish burning dry grass and forest cover.
Shortly afterwards, Ukraine’s Ministry of Emergency Situations reported that another forested area, known as Chernobylskaya Pushcha, had caught fire.
“The fire has spread to the abandoned villages of Kovshilovka and Buda Varovichi, located in the exclusion and unconditional (mandatory) resettlement zones,” the ministry said on their website.
The situation has now been brought under control.
Forest fires in Chernobyl’s exclusion zone began in April this year. The head of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine Nikolay Chechetkin said that up to 70 percent of all the wildfires in Chernobyl exclusion zone are due to arson.
Experts warned that radioactive nuclides absorbed by the foliage around Chernobyl nuclear power plant from the soil contaminated as a result of the 1986 disaster can easily be released into the air and have a cumulative negative effect on the health of those who breathe in particles.
While firefighters were dealing with wildfires near Chernobyl from April through to July, the Kiev authorities gave assurances that there was no radiation threat. Territory engulfed by fires in the exclusion zone had reached 400 hectares by the beginning of May.
However, locals recalling the 1986 catastrophe fear that just as then officials are concealing the truth.
If the trees, which have been absorbing radioactivity for almost 30 years, are on fire, then radioactive elements “may spread with wind over long distances,” Yury Bandazhevsky, a scientist working on the sanitary consequences of the Chernobyl disaster, said in May.
Record summer heat is bringing fire danger to nuclear stations in the Northern Hemisphere. That’s bad enough, and already is placing pressure on precious water supplies, as near Chernobyl, and in California, fire-fighting goes on.
Shortage of water means that uranium and nuclear facilities are taking much needed water away from agriculture and town supplies. In South Australia, BHP’s massive Olympic Dam uranium mine is the biggest water guzzler in the State.
Extremely hot weather means that rivers and marine areas risk heat pollution from nuclear cooling water. When this happens, nuclear reactors must close down.
China, for example, with its plan for inland nuclear reactors, is faced with this problem.
But China also shares with other nuclear countries,the climate change problem of its many reactors located on the coast. That’s the threatening problem of rising sea levels, storm surges, typhoons, even tsunamis.
Japan in Hot Water — Longest Heatwave on Record for Tokyo, Tens of Thousands Hospitalizedhttp://robertscribbler.com/2015/08/06/japan-in-hot-water-longest-heatwave-on-record-for-tokyo-tens-of-thousands-hospitalized/
This morning, at 10:53 AM local time in Tokyo, the temperature was a sweltering 95.2 F (35.1 C) and climbing…
For six days running thermometers in that city have been above 95 degrees F (35 C). That’sthe longest unbroken string of 95 degree + highs Japan’s capital has experienced since record-keeping began 140 years ago in 1875. In other words, parts of Japan are experiencing never-seen-before heat.
All told, recent days have seen fully 25 percent of Japan’s cities and towns hit temperatures above 95 F. It’s a heat that sinks bone deep. That gets into the blood. That makes it hard to keep going outdoors. A heat that causes injury and, sometimes, death. And over this summermore than 35,000 people have been hospitalized throughout Japan due to heat injury. Of those, more than 850 have remained hospitalized for three weeks or more. And from this grim tally 55 have now lost their lives.
Hot Ocean Waters Breed Heat Domes
The record hot air temperatures have come on due to a combination of factors. First, the ocean around Japan is abnormally warm. Recently, near-Japan sea surface temperatures have ranged from 2-5 degrees Celsius above established averages. That’s excessively hot water, especially when one considers that El Nino will typically draw the warm waters south and eastward. But this year is not at all typical with unusual-to-record heat now ranging much of the Pacific Ocean basin.
(Extreme sea surface temperatures and a heat dome high pressure system are setting the stage for record heatwaves and tragic heat injuries in Japan. Ocean temperatures in the region have ranged up to 5-6 C above average for this time of year. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)
Near Japan, the added ocean warmth lends both heat and humidity to the air about the archipelago land mass. A combination that can push wet bulb readings into ranges that are ever more difficult for human bodies to manage.
Concordant with the exceptionally hot waters surrounding Japan is a heavy heat dome high pressure system dominating the atmosphere above it. This heat dome, as with many weather systems under the regime of human-caused climate change, has been doggedly persistent. Setting up an excessively long-lasting period of record heat that has now continued off and on for weeks.
Multiple Heatwave Mass Casualty Events for Record Hot 2015
Japan joins India, Pakistan, and the Persian Gulf Region as locations experiencing heat capable of producing mass casualty events this year. In India, more than 3,000 lost their lives due to high heat and humidity during late May and early June. In Pakistan, more than 1,500 died due to the heat even as hospitals were overwhelmed by related injuries. And in Iran last week, wet bulb temperatures rocketed to a stunning 34.7 C.
Under human-forced climate change it’s a sad fact that heatwaves proliferate. We are now four times more likely to experience a heatwave on any part of the globe than we were back during the 1880s. Before our fossil fuel burning warmed the global climate by 1 degree Celsius. And as maximum temperatures and humidity push toward and past the wet bulb limit of 35 C, we are unfortunately likely to see more and more of these heatwave mass casualty events.
The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here
The worst predicted impacts of climate change are starting to happen — and much faster than climate scientists expected, Rolling Stone, By Eric Holthaus August 5, 2015 Historians may look to 2015 as the year when shit really started hitting the fan. Some snapshots: In just the past few months, record-setting heat waves in Pakistan and India each killed more than 1,000 people. In Washington state’s Olympic National Park, the rainforest caught fire for the first time in living memory. London reached 98 degrees Fahrenheit during the hottest July day ever recorded in the U.K.; The Guardian briefly had to pause its live blog of the heat wave because its computer servers overheated. In California, suffering from its worst drought in a millennium, a 50-acre brush fire swelled seventyfold in a matter of hours, jumping across the I-15 freeway during rush-hour traffic. Then, a few days later, the region was pounded by intense, virtually unheard-of summer rains. Puerto Rico is under its strictest water rationing in history as a monster El Niño forms in the tropical Pacific Ocean, shifting weather patterns worldwide.
On July 20th, James Hansen, the former NASA climatologist who brought climate change to the public’s attention in the summer of 1988, issued a bombshell: He and a team of climate scientists had identified a newly important feedback mechanism off the coast of Antarctica that suggests mean sea levels could rise 10 times faster than previously predicted: 10 feet by 2065. The authors included this chilling warning: If emissions aren’t cut, “We conclude that multi-meter sea-level rise would become practically unavoidable. Social disruption and economic consequences of such large sea-level rise could be devastating. It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilization.”
Eric Rignot, a climate scientist at NASA and the University of California-Irvine and a co-author on Hansen’s study, said their new research doesn’t necessarily change the worst-case scenario on sea-level rise, it just makes it much more pressing to think about and discuss, especially among world leaders. In particular, says Rignot, the new research shows a two-degree Celsius rise in global temperature — the previously agreed upon “safe” level of climate change — “would be a catastrophe for sea-level rise.”
Hansen’s new study also shows how complicated and unpredictable climate change can be. Even as global ocean temperatures rise to their highest levels in recorded history, some parts of the ocean, near where ice is melting exceptionally fast, are actually cooling, slowing ocean circulation currents and sending weather patterns into a frenzy. Sure enough, a persistently cold patch of ocean is starting to show up just south of Greenland, exactly where previous experimental predictions of a sudden surge of freshwater from melting ice expected it to be. Michael Mann, another prominent climate scientist, recently said of the unexpectedly sudden Atlantic slowdown, “This is yet another example of where observations suggest that climate model predictions may be too conservative when it comes to the pace at which certain aspects of climate change are proceeding.”
Since storm systems and jet streams in the United States and Europe partially draw their energy from the difference in ocean temperatures, the implication of one patch of ocean cooling while the rest of the ocean warms is profound. Storms will get stronger, and sea-level rise will accelerate. Scientists like Hansen only expect extreme weather to get worse in the years to come, though Mann said it was still “unclear” whether recent severe winters on the East Coast are connected to the phenomenon.
For that, you have to look not at the rising sea levels but to what is actually happening within the oceans themselves.
Water temperatures this year in the North Pacific have never been this high for this long over such a large area — and it is already having a profound effect on marine life………http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-point-of-no-return-climate-change-nightmares-are-already-here-20150805?page=7
For starters, nuclear energy isn’t clean. Although nuclear fission is itself a low-carbon process, the lifecycle carbon cost of nuclear energy production is anything but, with greenhouse gas emissions stemming from uranium mining, milling, processing, enrichment, and transportation, not to mention the years-long—sometimes decades-long—process of actually constructing nuclear reactors.
Rather than prop-up a struggling industry, the Obama administration, and whichever administration follows, should eliminate nuclear from its all-of-the-above energy arsenal, relegating it to the category of dirty energies that, if we don’t curtail now, will leave future generations cleaning up our environmental mess.
Obama Sells Out Human Health and the Environment By Making Nuclear Energy a Centerpiece of Climate Policy http://www.globalresearch.ca/obama-sells-out-human-health-and-the-environment-by-making-nuclear-energy-a-centerpiece-of-climate-policy/5467030By Washington’s Blog Global Research, August 04, 2015
Mark Jacobson – the head of Stanford University’s Atmosphere and Energy Program, who has written numerous books and hundreds of scientific papers on climate and energy, and testified before Congress numerous times on those issues – notes that nuclear puts out much more pollution (including much more CO2) than windpower, and 1.5% of all the nuclear plants built have melted down. Jacobson alsopoints out that it takes at least 11 years to permit and build a nuclear plant, whereas it takes less than half that time to fire up a wind or solar farm. Between the application for a nuclear plant and flipping the switch, power is provided by conventional energy sources … currently 55-65% coal.
No wonder a former Commissioner for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says that building nuclear plants to fight global warming is like trying to fight global hunger by serving everyone caviar. More information here, here and here.
Zoe Loftus-Farren explained in the New Republic in January
The EPA’s proposed power-plant regulation provides a carbon credit to states for maintaining nuclear energy production at current levels: in other words, a carbon subsidy for maintaining the nuclear status quo. Following the release of the draft rules, EPA administrator Gina McCarthy made clear that the credit is meant, in part, to help the struggling nuclear industry. “There are a handful of nuclear facilities that, because they are having trouble remaining competitive, they haven’t yet looked at re-licensing,” she said at a roundtable discussion with business leaders in Chicago. If nuclear energy plants begin closing, she warned, “It’s a lot of carbon reduction that needs to be made up for a long period of time.”
Maintaining nuclear power production at current levels isn’t the EPA’s only goal. “Nuclear power is part of an all-of-the-above, diverse energy mix and provides reliable baseload power without contributing to carbon pollution,” the EPA said in a emailed statement. “Nuclear power from current and future plants can help the U.S. meet its goals.”
Why is this worrying? In the fight against climate change, anything is better than dirty coal, right?
For starters, nuclear energy isn’t clean. Although nuclear fission is itself a low-carbon process, the lifecycle carbon cost of nuclear energy production is anything but, with greenhouse gas emissions stemming from uranium mining, milling, processing, enrichment, and transportation, not to mention the years-long—sometimes decades-long—process of actually constructing nuclear reactors. “From our perspective, the longstanding problems with nuclear waste, nuclear nonproliferation [and] safety really set nuclear apart from other low carbon energy sources,” says Matthew McKinzie, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Nuclear Program.
Rather than prop-up a struggling industry, the Obama administration, and whichever administration follows, should eliminate nuclear from its all-of-the-above energy arsenal, relegating it to the category of dirty energies that, if we don’t curtail now, will leave future generations cleaning up our environmental mess.
The odds of a melt-down at a U.S. nuclear power plant are higher than you might assume.
Postscript: The Onion parodies Obama’s climate plan by pretending that it:
Creates $500 tax credit for homeowners who install rooftop nuclear reactors
Final Clean Power Plan Drops Support For Existing Nuclear Plants, Forbes, Jeff McMahon, 3 Aug 15 vThe final version of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan does not include aid to existing nuclear power plants at risk of closing because they can’t compete with cheaper natural gas and renewables—a list that includes some of the nation’s most controversial reactors, including Indian Point and Three Mile Island.
In the draft version, EPA had proposed allowing states to count 6 percent of existing nuclear generation toward their clean energy goals, a provision designed to rescue the 6 percent of nuclear capacity considered at risk.
“On further consideration, we believe it is inappropriate to base the BSER (Best System of Emission Reduction) on elements that will not reduce CO2 emissions from affected electric generating units below current levels,” EPA states in the final rule.
“Existing nuclear generation helps make existing CO2 emissions lower than they would otherwise be, but will not further lower CO2 emissions below current levels. Accordingly… the EPA is not finalizing preservation of generation from existing nuclear capacity as a component of the BSER.”
In 2013, Morningstar identified six nuclear plants that could be next to shut down because of economic conditions:
2. Ginna, NY, Exelon
3. Fitzpatrick, NY, Entergy
4. Three Mile Island, PA, Exelon
5. Davis Beese, OH, FirstEnergy
6. Pilgrim, MA, Entergy
Exelon has also identified its Byron, Quad Cities, and Clinton plants in Illinois as at risk and has campaigned against tax credits for wind energy.
The nuclear industry had campaigned for stronger support for nuclear power in the Clean Power Plan…..http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2015/08/03/final-clean-power-plan-drops-support-for-existing-nuclear-plants/
In Light of Fast Moving Wildfires; Evacuations, US Senators call on NRC to Stop Waiving Emergency Response Measures at Decommissioned Nuclear Sites (to no avail) miningawareness51 July 15
Despite calls by Senators in 2014 to stop elimination of emergency response measures at decommissioning nuclear reactors: “In June 2015, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved elimination of off-site emergency planning for San Onofre, even though they know the waste is extremely dangerous. This means fewer emergency planning staff, reduced funding and less radiation monitoring. … The San Onofre fire staff has been reduced. The nuclear plant’s fire and rescue vehicles will be donated to new homes soon, according to Patrick Baughman, San Onofre fire marshal. San Onofre now has an agreement that makes the Camp Pendleton Fire Department the primary firefighting force for the nuclear plant. No details were provided about how this may affect ratepayers and local emergency services in this Southern California Edison July 9, 2015…” Read the rest here: http://sanonofresafety.org/emergency-planning-resources/ Learn more here: Sanonofresafety.org
Unfortunately, the Dry Cask Storage is not the miracle solution which the Senators and many others wish for. (See more at post bottom. [in original] )…..
Unfortunately, the Dry Cask Storage is not the miracle solution which the Senators and many others wish for. This is especially true due to the thin, flimsy nature of the inner, unvented, casks, which are also of questionable quality, and are set out unprotected on parking lots. Furthermore, Holtec requests NRC exemptions which impact safety and quality on a routine basis! For more info, do a search for Holtec within our blog, and consult Sanonofresafety.org Although most of the focus has been Holtec, the other licensed dry casks do not appear better. A Manhattan-like project for nuclear waste is needed. In the meanwhile, there appears need for adding more spent fuel pools to reduce crowding, and reinforcement of the existing ones, and somehow covering them (vented) against earthquake seiche. The spent fuel must spend some time in the pools anyway. A solution must be quickly implemented. https://wordpress.com/read/post/feed/4410547/767161082
U.S. nuclear operators try to save plants with carbon emission rule, Reuters, WASHINGTON | BY VALERIE VOLCOVICI , 31 July 15, The U.S. nuclear industry has made a last-minute push to urge the Obama administration to protect the country’s 100 nuclear units in its forthcoming carbon rule and prevent the early retirement of several plants.
Representatives of the Nuclear Energy Institute met on July 21 with White House officials who are currently reviewing the final version of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. The industry contends the original version of the plan, released in mid-2014, fails to encourage states to keep some “at risk” plants from closing.
NEI and other industry officials said the final plan, which is expected as soon as Monday, should provide incentives for states to renew operating licenses and ramp up generation at nuclear plants.
The industry said eight plants – producing about 8,000 MW of generation – struggle to compete in competitive electricity markets. The lobby group argued that the loss of even one of these zero-carbon emission plants would be “a major blow to carbon reduction efforts.”
The details were posted on the White House Office of Management and Budget website.
The Clean Power Plan is the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s climate change strategy, which seeks to slash power plant carbon emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030……..
The technology trap Could new types of nuclear power station solve the problem? “Fast breeder reactors” produce more nuclear fuel than they use and so would theoretically have much lower life-cycle CO2 emissions than existing “burner” reactors. But in practice breeders are even more complex, dangerous and expensive than burners. As a result they have been stuck at the demonstration stage for decades and even some nuclear proponents admit that breeders are unlikely to be commercialized for at least another two decades, if ever.
The government’s issues paper mentions the possibility of nuclear reactors based on the thorium fuel cycle, but these are also more complex than uranium-based nuclear energy and there are no commercial systems operating as yet.
To sum up, based on existing commercial technology, nuclear energy is not a solution to the global climate crisis, because it will soon become too emissions-intensive. It is also not a short-term solution, because it is a very slow technology to plan and construct. It is dangerous and very expensive.
Sure, let’s debate nuclear power – just don’t call it “low-emission”,
miningawareness Mark Diesendorf, UNSW Australia, 31 July 15 Nuclear power is back on Australia’s radar. In its recent issues paper released as a preface to September’s Energy White Paper, the Abbott government reopened the debate thus:
With environmental considerations constraining the further development of hydro-electric sources, nuclear technologies continue to present an option for future reliable energy that can be readily dispatched into the market.
This sentence appears in a passage dealing with the “move to low-emissions energy”, and although nuclear is not explicitly described as a low-emission option, it certainly looks as if the government is prepared to consider embracing nuclear power as part of an alleged move away from fossil fuels.
Is nuclear energy really low-emission?
Unfortunately, the notion that nuclear energy is a low-emission technology doesn’t really stack up when the whole nuclear fuel life cycle is considered.
In reality, the only CO2-free link in the chain is the reactor’s operation. All of the other steps – mining, milling, fuel fabrication, enrichment, reactor construction, decommissioning and waste management – use fossil fuels and hence emit carbon dioxide.
Several analyses by researchers who are independent of the nuclear industry have found that total CO2 emissions depend sensitively on the grade of uranium ore mined and milled. The lower the grade, the more fossil fuels are used, and so the higher the resulting emissions. Continue reading
Pricing carbon: the simpler, the better..….. If we are to reduce carbon-emitting activities, the prices of those activities must be increased. Appropriate prices are the key here, and one way to make people happier about paying them is to make them as simple and transparent as possible. That’s what a carbon tax does
Politics aside, a simple carbon tax makes more sense than a convoluted emissions trading scheme, The Conversation, David Hodgkinson Associate Professor at University of Western Australia Rebecca Johnston Adjunct Lecturer, Law School at University of Notre Dame Australia July 31, 2015 Writing recently on The Conversation, Clive Hamilton correctly pointed out that an emissions trading scheme (ETS) can in no sense be called a tax – the two are fundamentally different. Under an ETS, the amount of emissions is fixed by the government and the market then sets the price; under a carbon tax, the price of emissions is fixed and polluters decide how much to emit.
In this sense, Hamilton is right to opine that “emissions trading is the opposite of a carbon tax”. But during Australia’s fractious debate about climate policy in recent years, the two have often been conflated together, and we have generally been starved of sober analysis of the contrasting merits of different policy instruments.
To put it more succinctly, what are the actual merits of a carbon tax, specifically as opposed to an ETS?
A carbon tax could begin at a relatively low level, to avoid economic disruption, and then could increase steadily and predictably over time. This would encourage affected companies to cut their emissions and to use energy more efficiently, in turn encouraging a move to lower-emission technology. As a result, companies that made better progress in cutting their emissions would have fewer costs to pass on to their consumers, leading to more competitive prices.
A carbon tax would provide government revenue which could then be used to reduce or offset other taxes, such as corporate and personal income tax. A carbon tax could be “revenue-neutral”, either through offsetting other taxes or by using the proceeds to subsidise alternative fuel industries and projects.
Taxes are relatively easy to understand, having been around for centuries in one form or another. For Yale University economist William Nordhaus, the advantages are even clearer when compared to the operation of an international ETS. He recently proposed redesigning climate treaties to adopt a “club model” in which participating states enact carbon taxes in concert with one another, which Nordhaus describes as “the easiest way” to deliver costly emissions reductions.
Price-based taxes capture revenue more cheaply and easily than quantitative instruments such as an ETS, not least because tax-collection infrastructure is already in place. Taxation has lower administrative and compliance costs than carbon trading.
Taxation is arguably more direct and transparent than emissions trading, and affords less opportunity for gaming, speculation or corruption; money moves from polluters directly to the government.
A carbon tax provides price certainty and stability (as opposed to the volatility of prices for tradable carbon permits) and a fixed price for carbon emissions across all economic sectors and markets. This price certainty allows corporations more easily to determine the viability of new, clean technology investments.
Finally, the argument for carbon taxation is concisely made by Harvard economist Richard Cooper:
Decisions to consume goods and services made with fossil fuels are made by over a billion households and firms in the world. The best and indeed only way to reach all these decision makers is through the prices they must pay. If we are to reduce CO2-emitting activities, we must raise the prices of those activities. Levying a [tax] … does that directly.
Was carbon taxation ever given a fair go?……..
Pricing carbon: the simpler, the better..….. If we are to reduce carbon-emitting activities, the prices of those activities must be increased. Appropriate prices are the key here, and one way to make people happier about paying them is to make them as simple and transparent as possible. That’s what a carbon tax does. https://theconversation.com/politics-aside-a-simple-carbon-tax-makes-more-sense-than-a-convoluted-emissions-trading-scheme-45433
Vanishing Paradise Kiribati – A Case of Ecomigration : Dr Abe V Rotor http://avrotor2.blogspot.com.au/ 31 July 15 Kiribati main island is formerly Atoll Christmas, named by Captain Cook when he arrived on Christmas Eve in 1777. The island, like most islands in the region, faces irreversible submergence and sea water intrusion as a result of rising sea level brought about by global warming. The island was used as nuclear testing ground by the United States in the fifties and sixties.
Aerial view of the Kiribati group of islands. Rising sea level is forcing inhabitants to leave permanently their home islands, a classical example of modern day exodus – ecomigration. Displaced inhabitants are being settled mainly in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
Kiribati (pronounced /ˈkɪrɨbæs/ ( listen) KIRR-i-bas; Gilbertese: [ˈkiɾibas]), composed of 32 atolls and one raised coral island, dispersed over 3.5 million square kilometres, (1,351,000 square miles) straddling the equator, and bordering the International Date Line at its easternmost point. Kiribati is the only country in the world located on both hemispheres and lying on both sides of the 180th meridian.
The groups of islands are:
* Banaba: an isolated island between Nauru and the Gilbert Islands
* Gilbert Islands: 16 atolls located some 930 miles (1,500 km) north of Fiji
* Phoenix Islands: 8 atolls and coral islands located some 1,100 miles (1,800 km) southeast of the Gilberts
* Line Islands: 8 atolls and one reef, located about 2,050 miles (3,300 km) east of the Gilberts.
Caroline Atoll channel between west side of Long Island and Nake Island.
Used for nuclear testing in the 1950s and 1960s, the island is now valued for its marine and wildlife resources. It is particularly important as a seabird nesting site—with an estimated 6 million birds using or breeding on the island, including several million Sooty Terns.
According to the South Pacific Regional Environment Program, two small uninhabited Kiribati islets, Tebua Tarawa and Abanuea, disappeared underwater in 1999. The islet of Tepuka Savilivili no longer has any coconut trees due to salination. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that sea levels will rise by about half a metre (20 in) by 2100 due to global warming and a further rise would be inevitable. It is thus likely that within a century the nation’s arable land will become subject to increased soil salination and will be largely submerged.
Rising level level is also being felt in many countries, particularly island-countries like the Philippines.
- 1 NUCLEAR ISSUES
- business and costs
- climate change
- indigenous issues
- marketing of nuclear
- opposition to nuclear
- politics international
- Religion and ethics
- secrets,lies and civil liberties
- weapons and war
- 2 WORLD
- MIDDLE EAST
- NORTH AMERICA
- SOUTH AMERICA
- Christina's notes
- Christina's themes
- RARE EARTHS
- resources – print
- Resources -audiovicual