James Hansen resigned from his position as director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in April to devote more time to campaigning to cut global carbon emissions.
In addition to his scientific research on climate change, Hansen has been arrested several times in recent years at protests against coal mining and tar sands mining.
Bravo James Hansen — precious few scientists and academics live and breathe their politics as he does.
But when it comes to proposing solutions, Hansen is on less solid ground. A loose parallel can be drawn with Tim Flannery, described by Clive Hamilton as a “talented science populariser” but a “policy flake”.
I met Hansen at an IQ2 debate in front of 1200 people at the Melbourne Town Hall in September 2010.
He was on the pro-nuclear side of the debate, I was on the other side. The audience was polled before and after the debate and many were deeply unimpressed by Hansen’s nuclear advocacy — 32% of the audience switched from pro-nuclear or undecided to anti-nuclear over the course of the debate, with the final poll showing 34% in favour of nuclear power, 58% against. Read more »
“It’s what in Washington we call an iron triangle,” ” you have an alliance between the private sector, the defence contractors, the executive branch, in this case the Pentagon, and the legislative branch.”Everyone benefits from expensive procurement projects – the Pentagon gets weapons, defence companies get to make profits, and politicians get re-elected by funding armaments that generate jobs for constituents and campaign contributions from defence companies.
The result… is a defence budget “that is packed to the gills with weapons we don’t need, with weapons that are underestimated in their future costs”.
America’s War Games How the Obama administration is redefining the US military’s strategic priorities with far-reaching consequences, Aljazeera, 27 April 13 The United States’ military expenditures today account for about 40 percent of the world total. In 2012, the US spent some $682bn on its military – an amount more than what was spent by the next 13 countries combined.
Now that the war in Iraq is over and the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan will be complete in 2014, the stage might therefore appear to be set for a decrease in US defence spending. Even in Washington DC, many have argued that the defence budget can be cut substantially and the resulting “peace dividend” could be diverted to more pressing domestic concerns, such as dealing with the nation’s continuing economic problems.However, a battle to ward off cuts to the Pentagon’s budget has begun and the way things are going, it seems likely that the US will have the smallest drawdown or reduction of the military budget after a period of conflict since World War II – in comparative terms, smaller than after Vietnam, Korea and the end of the Cold War. Read more »
The Oil And Gas Industry’s Assault On Renewable Energy, Environmental Defense Fund Jim Marston April 26, 2013 “………So far, 29 states have implemented Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) programs that require increased production of energy from renewable sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass. They’ve been adopted in red states and blue – from California to Texas to Maine – through democratic processes and with popular support. RPS programs have helped jumpstart an industry that is spurring economic development, creating American jobs, boosting energy independence and cutting our carbon footprint.
A Bloomberg article released Tuesday details how the oil and gas industry, through some self-described free market organizations that they fund, are trying to engineer a legislative massacre of these policies in more than a dozen states.
The groups may sound familiar: American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is currently pushing legislation around the country that would mandate the teaching of climate change denial in public school systems, and The Heartland Institute, which ran a billboard campaignlast year comparing global warming “admitters” to Osama bin Laden and Charles Manson. Both have long opposed sensible energy policies. And their funders will sound familiar, too: the oil, gas and coal industries and their owners like the Koch Brothers.
With this new campaign, though, they are not influencing legislation to fill young minds with false propaganda or attacking climate legislation. They’re attacking renewable energy. Why? Apparently, an industry that the naysayers loved to call a loser is now threatening fossil fuel profits….. http://www.edf.org/blog/2013/04/26/oil-and-gas-industry%E2%80%99s-assault-renewable-energy
“Fear of a Contaminated Homeland” becomes “Radio Phobia” http://nuclearhistory.wordpress.com/2013/04/23/fear-of-a-contaminated-homeland-becomes-radio-phobia/ 23 April 13,
Translation: The witnesses to the world’s nuclear disasters, living in the affected lands, have a rational and experiential basis for fearing and not wanting the radiological contamination their homelands suffer.
This accurate awareness, experience and opinion is translated by nuclear industry and its authorities as an illness caused bygroundless fear. Love of health and homeland, the basis of the perception of homeland degradation, becomes not a sign of mourning for one’s nation, people and self, but a sign of weakness within the narrative of the nuclear industry. Hence “Radiophobia” as a term of abuse by nuclear authorities. These persons and organisations who claim authority to dictate safety in an attempt to shut up the patriots of the contaminated lands.
No farmer would want to plough cesium laced land, no consumer would want to eat the resulting food. Contaminated homelands mean no or little choice. The devaluing of the wants and needs of people lie at the basis of the nuclear industry narrative. The alleged imperative of nuclear industry demonstrates, by its defensive reactions, the priority of its own needs – to continue – over the valid needs of lands and populations who once hosted the industry.
The use of the term reveals more about nuclear authorities than it does about their victims.
It is self evident that nuclear authorities act to minimize the perception of contaminated homelands.
This is not homeland security; it is a manipulative lie.
Fewer and fewer people are able to believe the lie without dissonance.
The entire dynamic is not new. It has been repeated for decades.
— time. It is going to take many decades to get the thorium fuel cycle happening. The global nuclear industry has the twin goals of prolonging the life of currently operating nuclear reactors, and of building new ones. Their rationale for this is often that, eventually, the energy solution will be nuclear fusion. So in the meantime, the world needs nuclear power — or so they argue.
The thorium advocates usually promote thorium reactors as a solution to both climate change and energy needs. But in reality, thorium nuclear energy is irrelevant to both.
Again, the first reason is time. Although there are current designs that could be established in 10 to 15 years, the most favoured design – the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) – is estimated to have, for a significant deployment, a lead time of 40 to 70 years.
Don’t believe thorium nuclear reactor hype, Independent Austtralia 28 Jan 13, Thorium reactors are the latest big thing in nuclear spin. Noel Wauchope says: don’t believe the hype.
The explanation becomes clearer, when you consider that the nuclear industry has sunk $billions into new (uranium or plutonium fuelled) large nuclear technologies, as well as into lobbying governments and media. Would big corporations like Hitachi, EDF Westinghouse, Toshiba, Areva, Rosatom be willing, or indeed able, to withdraw from the giant international operations that they already have underway? Would they, could they, tolerate a mass uptake of the new thorium nuclear reactors — which is what would be needed, to make the thorium market economical?…. Read more »
The only reasonable and logical solution is to stop making more. But this “Waste Confidence” decision isn’t based on reason or logic. It’s based on keeping the reactors OPERATING for the next hundred years.
So why are we burdening our future generations with an ever-growing, unsolvable problem?
The Eternal Problem - Nuclear Waste Confidence, Counter Punch by RUSSELL D. HOFFMAN, JANUARY 03, 2013“………The pro-nuker preferred to call it “spent fuel confidence.” I, on the other hand, didn’t like the word “confidence” since there’s nothing that warrants ANY confidence in this discussion, whatsoever. ”Waste Failure” would be more appropriate. Or “Waste Impasse” might be even better. Or better yet: ”The Intractable, Unsolvable, Filthy, Disgusting Mess We’ve Made” but I guess that would just be too accurate to a group where a “rapid disassembly” is the term for a core explosion that spews radioactive crud for miles around.
But one way or another, it’s obvious that “Waste Confidence” is a misnomer from start to finish…… …… Nuclear waste storage is a huge unsolved problem in every nuclear country. Read more »
Lynas’ waste plans a toxic pipe dream Aliran, 19 December 2012 Scientists and community leaders are concerned about radioactive waste from Lynas’ Malaysian plant but the company representative who took Wendy Bacon’s questions brushed off the criticism. ”……Discrediting sources is a familiar public relations tactic used by companies to protect themselves against journalists relying on their critics as sources. So NM asked if the company had prepared a response to the NTN report. The spokesperson said it had but it was “unfortunately contained material before a [Malaysian] court and I can’t share that with you”.
The NTN report deals with Lamp waste steams which include non radioactive fluoride, dust particulates, gas, acidic waste water as well as more than 22000 tonnes of low level Water Leach Purification (WLP) radioactive waste which a year. The most critical issue is the control and disposal of the WLP wastes — which for radioactive material may mean for many hundreds of years.
On the basis of specific criticisms, NTN has two main recommendations. First, that the temporary licence issued by the AELB should be revoked until the issue of long term waste disposal is resolved and second, that the plant should not be allowed to operate until the release of millions of litres of effluent into the Balok River that runs past the site has been “further modelled and assessed”.
“The lack of data on these issues (the impact on the river) means the Lynas EIA is well below international standards and insufficient for granting of operational licences,” theNTN says; the Lamp temporary licence would never have been granted in Australia…….http://aliran.com/11018.html
Nuclear Giant Exelon Back to Bullying Wind Energy, The Green Miles, by Miles Grant, 3 Dec 12 Nuclear power giant Exelon is once again complaining that wind power makes electricity prices too low. On page 21 of Exelon’s new report slamming government support for wind energy:
[S]ubsidized wind generation also exacerbates artificially low electric prices, thus imposing economic harm.
on competitive generators that are needed to maintain system reliability.
Aw, poor little Exelon! Considering the company brought in $19 billion in revenue last year while dumping vast amounts of carbon pollution into the air at no charge, I bet that cheap wind power had Exelon executives crying in their Johnnie Walker Blue.
Exelon isn’t poor or little – it’s a big, powerful bully that has no problem putting its best interests ahead of your family’s best interests. Exelon spent $9.2 million on lobbying last year, just one of many electric utilities fighting to protect our dirty, expensive energy status quo. The entire alternative energy industry – from wind to solar to biofuels – spent $28.6 million. Read more »
The Canadian Nuclear Association and the Ontario Power Workers Union have recently been vocal in promoting nuclear power, labelling renewables such as wind and solar as “intermittent” and expensive, and encouraging more investment in nuclear.
Solar industry urged to push back against nuclear ‘attack’ RICHARD BLACKWELL Toronto — The Globe and Mail, Dec. 03 2012, Canada’s solar power industry needs to market itself more aggressively to counter “misinformation” spread by the nuclear power business, the head of the country’s solar association said Monday.
Claims by the nuclear industry that it is more economical and just as clean as renewable energy sources are essentially an “attack” on solar and need to be countered, said John Gorman, president of the Canadian Solar Industries Association.
“Make no mistake about it, renewable energy, and increasingly solar energy, is under attack,” he told delegates to a solar energy conference in Toronto. Misinformation “is being spread by a small number of short-sighted politicians and by competing industries that see the writing on the wall.” Read more »
In Post-Fukushima Japan, Civil Society Turns up Heat on Officials Global Issues, by Kim-Jenna Jurriaans (United Nations), November 27, 2012
Inter Press Service
- For the former industrial engineer Yastel Yamada, retirement has not meant he can finally stop working. Instead, the 73-year-old and about 700 other skilled seniors across Japan have volunteered to tackle the most dangerous part of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant cleanup and spare a younger generation from the effects of extreme radiation.
Yamada and his army of radiation Samaritans are among a growing number of civil society groups across Japan that are taking measures to inform the public about the lingering dangers of radiation and advocate for a stronger government response to the biggest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. Read more »
UPDATE 1-UK energy deal triples renewable subsidy by 2020,
* Increase to 7.6 bln stg a year in real terms
* To spur 40 bln stg of private investment, create jobs
* Renewables to provide 30 pct of energy mix by 2020
By Oleg Vukmanovic and Karolin Schaps LONDON, Nov 23 (Reuters) - British government support for low-carbon electricity generation will triple by 2020 after the energy and finance ministries reached a deal to end months of wrangling over costly reforms.
The move is expected to boost the share of renewables in Britain’s energy mix to 30 percent by 2020, outpacing European Union targets of 20 percent, while creating tens of thousands of new jobs. Under the agreed Levy Control Framework, spending on renewable power generation will increase to 7.6 billion pounds ($12.12 billion) a year in real terms by 2020, from the current 2.35 billion pounds, to reduce dependence on gas.
The renewable spending plans will be funded through further rises in household energy bills which are increasingly unaffordable for many consumers….
The spending increase will also help to support new nuclear power and the commercial use of untested carbon capture and storage technologies, the government said…..
The ocean, food chain, and Japan’s fishing industry have all been irreparably damaged by the Fukushima crisis, and that damage is still ongoing. The Japanese government and TEPCO’s excuses are only wasting time that should be put towards finding a solution.
TEPCO, Japanese government denying Fukushima radiation reaching ocean
fish http://japandailypress.com/tepco-japanese-government-denying-fukushima-radiation-reaching-ocean-fish-2018691 By Adam Westlake / November 20, 2012 In what must the most dumbfounding state of denial seen in modern times, both the Japanese government and utility Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) are disputing the recent study that showed radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant is leaking into the ocean.
18 months after the March 2011 nuclear disaster, the U.S.’s Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a respected research group, reported that 40% of the fish caught off the
coast of Fukushima were still testing positive for radioactive contamination above the government’s safety own limits. Read more »
(A subsidy is a subsidy is a subsidy – even if other forms of energy get one, too)
U.K. Will Reject EDF Nuclear Deal That Puts Burden on Consumers, Bloomberg By Sally Bakewell – Nov 6, 2012 The U.K. government is prepared to walk away from a deal with Electricite de France SA over plans to build the first nuclear plant in the country since the 1980s if the power price demanded by the utility is too high.
The government would “absolutely” refuse a deal that placed too great a burden on consumers, Energy Minister John Hayes said today in London . He held talks yesterday with Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive officer of EDF’s local unit.
Britain and EDF are negotiating the terms of a contract that would guarantee the price of power generated at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Read more »
Nuclear Perceptions Fight Reality OpEd News, By William Boardman, 22 Oct 12, FUKUSHIMA FREAKOUT OBSCURES REAL ACCIDENT THAT GOES ON AND ON An early morning flurry of internet reports carried scary – but false – headlines aboutFukushima nuclear power plant’s fuel pools exploding and burning, and releasing massive amounts of radiation on October 22. Many readers expressed skepticism, as the reports seemed to come from a single, unconfirmed source and by later the same afternoon more responsible websites were labeling the story a hoax .
The Fukushima accident in Japan continues nonetheless, at a slower pace for now, even though one of the more dangerous damaged units has cracks in its walls and is sinking into the ground, as affirmed by nuclear engineer Arnie Gunderson in his October 21 podcast .
Unit 4 at Fukushima is perhaps the most threatening part of the damaged plant because the unit’s fuel rods are outside the containment where further mishap could lead to the release massive amounts of radiation directly into the environment.
At the time of the earthquake in March 2011, about 100 miles of Japan’s coastline, including the area around Fukushima, dropped about three feet, increasing the impact of the tsunami that destroyed the nuclear power plant, which continues to deteriorate.
In recent weeks it’s become increasingly clear that Fukushima Unit 4, with its unprotected fuel rods is continuing to sink into the ground, and is sinking asymmetrically, creating the possibility that the building will begin to tilt. The unit sank about 36 inches in March 2011 and has sunk another 30 inches since then, as confirmed by Gunderson.
How Safe Is a Buckled, Sinking Building?…….. http://www.opednews.com/articles/Nuclear-Perceptions-Fight-by-William-Boardman-121022-931.html
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