Climate-threatened Solomon Islanders prepare for evacuation, trust.org, Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation – Mon, 25 Nov 2013 Catherine Wilson AUKI, MALAITA PROVINCE, Solomon Islands – In the Solomon Islands, where the sea level rise of 8 millimetres per year is almost three times the global average, survival of communities on the low-lying atoll of Ontong Java is already threatened.
But identifying a new home for those who are eventually displaced will be difficult, even in this sprawling nation of more than 900 islands located northwest of Fiji, in the southwest Pacific region. “The number one obstacle will be access to land,” said Hudson Kauhiona, deputy director of the government’s climate change division, in the capital, Honiara. “It is going to be a very big challenge when moving people.”…….
Resettlement is the last option for atoll communities impacted by climate change. But the situation is becoming critical as the encroaching sea erodes Ontong Java, which is an average of 2-3 metres (6-10 feet) above sea level and has just 12 square kilometres (4.6 square miles) of land area.
Adaptation activities, including an atoll agriculture project and installation of rainwater tanks to provide salt-free drinking water, are currently being implemented by the Anglican Church of Melanesia’s mission programme………
The Solomon Islands is not only on the frontline of climate change, but also a pioneer in developing new strategies to deal with climate-related displacement. The European Union is currently assisting the Solomon Islands government in developing its first climate change relocation policy, which is expected to be finalised by the end of 2014.
“According to scientific projections, the climate change situation is not going to get better,” Kauhiona said. “Cases such as Ontong Java, where people have to move to other islands, will only increase. So we might as well put ourselves in a better position now, rather than in 30 or 50 years time when things are happening and we aren’t prepared.” According to the Pacific Climate Change Science Program, ocean acidification, extreme rainfall and temperatures will steadily increase in the Solomon Islands, while the sea could rise by up to 15 centimetres (6 inches) by 2030. Looking ahead is vital given that an estimated 1.7 million people in the Pacific Islands could be displaced due to climate change by mid-century, programme officials say.Catherine Wilson is a journalist based in Sydney, Australia. http://www.trust.org/item/20131125112530-1wkla
Tiny islands with big climate change problems http://www.enn.com/wildlife/article/46672 Tiny island states that speck the vast swathe of the Pacific Ocean have a far greater importance in understanding global climate change than their tiny populations would suggest. This was the message given to delegates during a side event of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 19th annual meeting in Warsaw today
The delegates from Fiji and Samoa believe their nations do not get the support they need to conduct vital climate observations in the region.
“In terms of climate change, up to 90 per cent of heat is absorbed by oceans, so understanding how the oceans behave is critical to understanding how the atmosphere will change,” says Neville Koop, a climatology advisor with the Samoan delegation.
Considering the huge marine areas that Pacific nations cover — Kiribati consists of 800 square kilometres of coral atolls spread over an area half the size of Europe — the poor observational capacity of island states creates a large gap in the global climate data set, he says.
Better oceanic and high altitude measurements, as well as more rudimentary metrics such as rainfall and atmospheric pressure are vital for producing more accurate climate models, Koop adds.
Furthermore, as the birthplace of the El Niño Southern Oscillation weather system that periodically warms the waters of the Pacific Ocean, this patch of ocean influences climates across Asia, Africa and the Americas, and so accurate observations are necessary to predict future changes, he says.
But with populations often in the tens of thousands, these states’ meteorological agencies can never hope to fulfill this vital task alone, Koop says.
Some governments, such as the United Kingdom’s, are already working to increase the observational capacity in the Pacific, but a concerted international effort is needed to fully plug the data gaps, he says.
(Also, as pointed out previously – it’s lucky that the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was never fully activated. )
“It’s time to stop this madness” – Philippines plea at UN climate talks RTCC 11 November 2013, Yeb Sano tells UN summit in Warsaw “colossal devastation” from Typhoon Haiyan should serve as warning to planet Philippines lead negotiator Yeb Sano has just addressed the opening session of the UN climate summit in Warsaw – calling for urgent action to prevent a repeat of the devastating storm that hit parts of his country at the weekend. A full transcript of his speech is below………
The science has given us a picture that has become much more in focus. The IPCC report on climate change and extreme events underscored the risks associated with changes in the patterns as well as frequency of extreme weather events. Science tells us that simply, climate change will mean more intense tropical storms. As the Earth warms up, that would include the oceans. The energy that is stored in the waters off the Philippines will increase the intensity of typhoons and the trend we now see is that more destructive storms will be the new norm.
This will have profound implications on many of our communities, especially who struggle against the twin challenges of the development crisis and the climate change crisis. Typhoons such as Yolanda (Haiyan) and its impacts represent a sobering reminder to the international community that we cannot afford to procrastinate on climate action. Warsaw must deliver on enhancing ambition and should muster the political will to address climate change…..
What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness. The climate crisis is madness. ………. :http://www.rtcc.org/2013/11/11/its-time-to-stop-this-madness-philippines-plea-at-un-climate-talks/#sthash.XNwbM2xW.OYYJsoyC.dpuf
Paris Urged To Release Information On Moruroa Atoll http://pidp.eastwestcenter.org/pireport/2013/October/10-25-08.htm
French Polynesia Greens want to know about risks of collapse WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 24, 2013) – The Greens in French Polynesia are urging Paris to give information about the risks of Moruroa atoll collapsing.
The former nuclear weapons test site is a no-go zone, which France has kept despite promising to return it to French Polynesia after the end of the testing regime in 1996.
France is refusing access to independent monitors while saying the chance of a collapse is practically nil.
A spokesperson for the Greens in Tahiti, Olivier Champion, says France has a record of lying about the tests and their effects, and many fear a Fukushima-like disaster is possible.”Transparency, of course, and another thing, a plan what to do in case of… if the reef barrier of Moruroa and Fangataufa is collapsing, what is the plan? What can we do? How can we react?”
Olivier Champion says the chain of command via France is so long that a possible tsunami would hit nearby atolls before a local warning is issued.
He says nuclear contamination could imperil the livelihood of vast areas of the Pacific. Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com
NZ’s nuclear-free legislation wins top disarmament award, Scoop, 24 October 2013, World Future Council, New Zealand’s ground-breaking nuclear-free legislation wins top disarmament award
Hamburg/Geneva/New York – 23 October 2013: In 1987, against the backdrop of rising Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, New Zealand passed its ground-breaking Nuclear-Free Act, which banned nuclear weapons and meant US nuclear-armed and nuclear-powered ships were no longer allowed in New Zealand ports.
Today, more than 25 years later, the policy has been announced by the World Future Council as winner of the Silver Future Policy Award. This year’s award seeks to highlight disarmament policies that contribute to the achievement of peace, sustainable development and human security. This evening, a formal awards ceremony will be convened at UN Headquarters……
New Zealand’s policy started as a radical and utopian gesture, and has become part of our national identity – our DNA,” says New Zealander Alyn Ware, winner of the 2009 Right Livelihood Award for his work on nuclear disarmament, and a participant in the Future Policy Award ceremony at the United Nations on 23 October. “It inspires other countries, and empowers us kiwis to take nuclear abolition global.’
The Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco) won the 2013 Future Policy Gold Award, while Argentina’s “National Programme for the Voluntary Surrender of Firearms” also received Silver. Four additional disarmament policies from Belgium, Costa Rica, Mongolia and Mozambique/South Africa were recognized as Honourable Mentions.
The Future Policy Award is the only award that honours policies rather than people on an international level. The World Future Council convened this year’s Award in partnership with the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1310/S00241/nzs-nuclear-free-legislation-wins-top-disarmament-award.htm
China assures ships are nuclear free New Zealand Herald, By Audrey Young @audreyNZH Oct 11, 2013 China has given a guarantee to the Government that its three ships visiting Auckland today comply with New Zealand anti-nuclear law, Prime Minister John Key says.
He said he signed off the paper work – required under New Zealand’s anti nuclear legislation – a week or 10 days ago that says he is satisified it complies.
He also reiterated that the United States would be welcome if its ships met the criteria of being neither nuclear powered or armed.
A Chinese destroyer, a frigate and a supply ship are due to arrive in Auckland today……..
The United States policy has long had a policy of neither confirming nor denying nuclear weaponry or capability and China’s willingness to vouch for its ships is in stark contrast.
New Zealand’s anti-nuclear policy first promoted by the Labour Government in 1984 eventually led to a suspension of the Anzus security alliance that New Zealand had with the United States and Australia. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11138519
Fritch Wants To Revisit Moruroa Nuclear Testing Issues http://pidp.eastwestcenter.org/pireport/2013/October/10-09-10.htm Pacific Islands Report Territorial assembly president: compensation laws don’t work WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 8, 2013) – The president of French Polynesia’s territorial assembly says the 2010 French nuclear test compensation law is not working, echoing the findings of a fresh French senate report on the issue.
Speaking on local television, Edouard Fritch says the issue needs to be revisited because too few people claiming to have suffered poor health and seeking compensation have their application recognised.
Mr. Fritch says the president, Gaston Flosse, turned to the French president, Francois Hollande, last week to point to the territory’s difficulties in dealing with cancer sufferers.
He says at the time of the weapons tests, the French Polynesian leaders like him and Mr. Flosse were assured by France that the tests were clean, but he says now they know that they were mistaken.
Last week, Mr. Flosse visited the Moruroa test site and said he was assured there was no problem with radioactivity nor any risk of the atoll collapsing.
Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com
Pacific Islands Forum supports Marshall Islanders call for justice about climate change, and nuclear bomb tests
VIDEO Marshall Islands gains Pacific Islands Forum support for US nuclear legacy http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-06/an-marshall-islands-gains-pacific-islands-forum-support-for-us-/4942154 By Pacific correspondent Sean Dorney 6 Sep 2013, The annual Pacific Islands Forum has wrapped up in the Marshall Islands with relations between the host nation and two of its largest aid donors, the US and Taiwan, under some strain.
Along with keynote support for the Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership which commits the countries to increasing their efforts to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions by turning to alternative, sustainable energy resources, the US announced a new aid injection for the region.
“We’re announcing today a new Pacific American Climate Fund that’s going to be administered through the USAid where support will be provided to the Small Island Developing States with a focus on adaptation,” said Sally Jewell, the United States Secretary for the Interior. Meanwhile, the official forum communique stated its support for the Marshall Islands in its dispute with the United States over more compensation for nuclear contamination.
In a joint news conference with the US interior secretary, Marshall Islands’ President Christopher Loeak restated the sensitivities around the issue.
“The Republic of the Marshall Islands and the United States have a unique and deep friendship even though we may have our differences including on high sensitive, highly sensitive issues,” he said.
So highly sensitive, the interior secretary referred the nuclear contamination issue to the US Ambassador to the Marshall Islands, Tom Armbruster…….. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-06/an-marshall-islands-gains-pacific-islands-forum-support-for-us-/4942154
Pacific Church Body Pushes For Nuclear-Free Region Call comes as Japan reveals nuclear waste leaking into Pacific WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, August 8, 2013) – The Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) says regional leaders must urgently revive calls for a nuclear-free Pacific.
The PCC call comes amid revelations by the Japanese government that radioactive waste from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has been leaking into the Pacific Ocean for two years.
The PCC’s general secretary, the Reverend Francois Pihaatae, says Pacific churches have for nearly four decades consistently called for a nuclear-free Pacific and they renew this call today.
He says Japan has a moral responsibility to keep the region informed of what is happening with the waste and what is being done to contain the seepage.
The Reverend Pihaatae, who is from French Polynesia, draws parallels with the French territory’s failure to properly deal with the impact of nuclear tests there.
“That issue has not been really been taken seriously by our local government, but the impacts and the damage that the nuclear waste will do upon our people in the Pacific, because it is leaking and it will be spreading all over our ocean.” Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com
the MoD’s position is further evidence of a “cover-up” to protect the civilian nuclear industry.
Fife nuclear veteran denied information on radiation The Courier UK, By Michael Alexander, 30 July 2013 A Christmas Island veteran from Fife has been denied access to information about the levels of radiation received by New Zealand research ships during nuclear testing in the 1950s because it “may harm international relations” between the UK and New Zealand.
Dave Whyte, 76, of Kirkcaldy, recently placed a freedom of information question on the level of radiation the New Zealand Royal Naval ships Pukaki and Rotoiti received whilst patrolling Christmas Island during the British nuclear tests.
A scientific study carried out for the New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans Association in 2007 concluded that the crews of these ships received three times the normal level of “chromosomal translocation”, leading to long term genetic damage.
However, the Ministry of Defence has now told him that while it does hold the exposure information, it is to be withheld because the request “requires consultation with a foreign government and disclosure would prejudice international relations”. Read more »
The Fallout from Nuclear Secrecy , Consortium News, July 23, 2013 During the Cold War’s early years, the U.S. government detonated dozens of nuclear explosions on Pacific atolls, spreading nuclear fallout around the globe and making some areas uninhabitable, a grim legacy captured in secret documents finally being shared with the Marshall Islands’ government, reports Beverly Deepe Keever.
More than a half century after U.S. nuclear tests shattered the tranquility of Pacific Ocean atolls — rendering parts of them uninhabitable – the U.S. government has quietly released secret fallout results from 49 Pacific hydrogen-bomb blasts with an explosive force equal to 3,200 Hiroshima-size bombs. Read more »
The Fallout from Nuclear Secrecy , Consortium News, July 23, 2013 “……….As the Redwing tests continued, radiation badges were handed out, which Harris described as “small rectangular plastic discs three inches by an inch and a half.” Even with these, Harris wondered about the future impact of the radiation: “Had our genetic code been compromised? Would we get leukemia or some other form of cancer?”
His answer came decades later. Those present at Operations Redwing or Hardtack or for six months afterward who succumb to one of 19 primary cancers are eligible for $75,000 compensation made available by Congress.
At the time of Operation Redwing in 1956, the U.S. government under President Dwight Eisenhower released very little information. This secrecy was politically significant because it kept voters in the dark during the presidential election campaign in which Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson advocated stopping the H-bomb tests being conducted by the Eisenhower administration.
During the election year, U.S. officials announced only two of the 17 blasts in the Redwing series. This virtual blackout hid from U.S. voters over 77 summertime days during the presidential election campaign Redwing’s 20,820 kilotons of explosive force — or the equivalent of 1,388 Hiroshima-size bombs. That tonnage is the equivalent of 18 Hiroshima-size bombs per day over 77 days.
Seven Redwing tests received no public notice and the remaining eight blasts were disclosed by Japanese scientists in news articles datelined Tokyo. Thus the fastest and most accurate information about U.S. Redwing testing was disclosed from Tokyo by Japanese, an immense irony given that only a decade earlier, U.S. atomic bombs had contributed to Japan’s surrender by destroying two of its cities. Eisenhower handily won re-election.
The more powerful 32 detonations in Operation Hardtack were launched in 1958 as the U.S. and the Soviets raced toward declaring a moratorium on such experiments and the U.S. accelerated testing missile warheads. Washington disclosed only nine of the 32 blasts that produced a total yield of 28,026 kilotons, or the equivalent of 1,868 Hiroshima-size bombs – an average of 35 per week in 1958 or five per day. That was the lowest disclosure rate of any U.S. Pacific testing operation.
Even more ironic than the Japanese disclosures in 1956 were the Soviet ones about the 1958 Hardtack detonations. The Soviets charged that the U.S. had concealed most of the tests being conducted, which even U.S. officials deemed accurate.
In doing so, the Soviets made huge propaganda gains as they announced their initiative of stopping their nuclear testing that year. Surprisingly, New York Times columnist James Reston wrote that “the United States, which pamphleteered its way to independence and elevated advertising and other arts of persuasion into a national cult, should be unable to hold its own in the battle for the headlines of the world.”
Samples made during several Hardtack tests showed that fractions of the radioactive elements of strontium and cesium were dispersed over distances of more than 4,000 miles, according to a report titled “Operation Hardtack: Fallout Measurements by Aircraft and Rocket Sampling” dated 1961 and declassified in 1985. The U.S. gave a newly declassified version of this report to RMI officials.
That 4,000-miles range means the radioactive elements could have descended on San Francisco and other West Coast areas. Both radioactive elements pose serious health problems.
The decades-long delay in receiving a full accounting of these fallout results helps to substantiate the contention of the RMI that its negotiators were denied vital information when they agreed in 1986 with President Ronald Reagan to form an independent nation, thus ending the American administration of the U.N.-sanctioned trust territory established in 1947.
Kept in the dark about the fallout results, the Marshallese agreed to terms so insufficient that a U.S.-financed $150 million nuclear-claims trust fund is now penniless, unable to compensate fully Marshallese for health and property damages presumed to have resulted from the tests. RMI’s appeals to Congress, the U.S. courts and the Bush administration have been turned back and the Obama administration has yet to help them.
Last September, Special Rapporteur Calin Georgescu of the United Nations reported to its Human Rights Council that the U.S. government should:
–Remedy and compensate Marshall Islanders for its nuclear weapons testing that has caused “immediate and lasting effects” on their human rights,
–Open up still-secret information and records regarding the environmental and human health effects of past and current U.S. military use of the islands,
–Grant Marshallese full access to their medical and other records, and
–Consider issuing a presidential acknowledgment and apology to victims adversely affected by the 66 weapons tests it conducted when it administered the Marshall Islands as a U.N. strategic trust territory.
Over the decades, the Marshallese have not been alone in wanting more information about the nuclear tests. In 1954, the Association of State Health Officials voted to ask the federal government to give health officials with security clearances access to classified atomic energy information so as to prevent health hazards.
From 1945 to 1992, the United States carried out 1,054 nuclear tests worldwide. Beverly Deepe Keever is the author of News Zero: The New York Times and The Bomb and the newly released Death Zones and Darling Spies: Seven Years of Vietnam War Reporting. http://consortiumnews.com/2013/07/23/the-fallout-from-nuclear-secrecy/
Veterans to gather for Mururoa nuclear testing http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/veterans-gather-mururoa-nuclear-testing-5515297 July 20, 2013 The men who watched the French Polynesia nuclear testing from New Zealand navy boats will be gathering at the 40th anniversary reunion today.
A New Zealand Labour Government sent two warships, HMNZS Canterbury and HMNZS Otago, to monitor the nuclear tests in Mururoa and Fangataufa in French Polynesia between 1966 and 1974.
It was not believed, at the time, that they may have received nuclear dusting.
However newly declassified French military documents released this month detail the 46 atmospheric nuclear tests, revealing that warships near the tests were hit by higher levels of radioactivity than known.
A 1974 test, code named Centaur, dumped 500 times the maximum allowed level of plutonium fallout on Tahiti, 1250 kilometres away, the documents show.
There were also 140 more incidents of nuclear fallout above the 209 incidents already known. Tahiti, home to around 178,000 people, was hit 37 times by fallout.
Radiation levels frequently rose in New Zealand 4700 kilometres away following each test.The reunion will be held at the Tauranga RSA.
In April 2006, the Herald reported Dr Rowland saying a small but statistically significant level of genetic damage had been found.
“Taking all confounding factors [like smoking, alcohol and medical x-rays] into account, we are left with only one other interpretation of what it is about this group that’s different to the control group: they went to Operation Grapple.”
His work on chromosome damage – the first step in the formation of cancer – gave hope of compensation to thousands of men from Britain, Australia, Fiji and New Zealand.
The research was commissioned by Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association chairman Roy Sefton, who sought Government acknowledgment that men were harmed in their teens and had no choice on whether they went to Mururoa.
Tony Cox, who was on HMNZS Otago and heads the Rimpac veterans’ rights organisations, said an attempt was being made to convert Dr Rowland’s findings to apply to the Mururoa veterans.
“Just because the Government did not accept the Rowland study does not mean that it can’t come up for a review.”
Mr Cox said he had cancer of a type that was contracted only through exposure to ionised radiation…
Mururoa – our darker legacy New Zealand Herald By Wayne Thompson Jul 19, 2013 A band of men who “drove the taxis” – the naval frigates carrying the official New Zealand protesters against French nuclear testing in the air of the Pacific Ocean – will be in a sombre and angry mood at their 40th anniversary reunion in Tauranga tomorrow.
“Our feeling in 1973 was there was one protester, Government minister Fraser Colman,” said one of the former crew members of HMNZS Canterbury, Wayne O’Donnell.
“We were there just to keep the ship going and do what we were employed to do.
“By the time the blast was observed we were glad to head home.
“We did not expect any major radiation fallout, which has been proven wrong.” Read more »
AUDIO Fijian grandmothers educating locals on solar panel installation http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-17/fiji-grandmothers-educating-younger-generation-on-solar-pane/4826594 Jul 17, 2013 A group of grandmothers in Fiji are educating the younger generation on solar panel installation to generate electricity in their villages.
The elderly women underwent training at the Barefoot College in India, an NGO that provides rural communities with training and education. Fiji’s Womens Minister, Dr Jiko Luveni, has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program the training programme was specifically for grandmothers.
“The idea behind it is that these women are already established in the villages,” Dr Luveni said.
“They have their homes and they are not likely to leave the village as soon as they come back with their skill. Dr Luveni says the elderly women are now celebrated as solar experts and are supervising their young trainees as they install the solar equipment.
“After the training, it was these young people who actually installed the equipment in each house,” she said.
“The grandmothers were merely supervising what they did.
She says the initiative is bringing about various other social benefits to the villages.
“In this particular village that I went into, I could see that the moral of the villagers were boosted as they have a product that is an evidence of development in their villages,” Dr Luveni said.
“That village has gone into some income generating activity…They are more development oriented in their thinking.
“That particular village now has established a canteen and he young people are being recruited to help in the assemblage and installation of the solar equipment in those villages. Thereby, gaining an income,” she said.
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