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Fukushima Five Years After: Health Researchers Turn Blind Eye to Casualties

Last month made five years since the nuclear plant at Fukushima, Japan suffered meltdowns. The release of highly toxic radiation from the reactors was enormous, on the level of the Chernobyl disaster a generation earlier. But Fukushima is arguably worse than Chernobyl. There were four reactors that melted down, vs. just one at Chernobyl. And the Chernobyl reactor was buried in a matter of weeks, while Fukushima is still not controlled, and radioactive contaminants continue to leak into the Pacific. In time, this may prove to be the worst environmental catastrophe ever.

Japan, which had 54 reactors in operation, closed them all to improve safety features. But the nation’s people, who had suffered from the two atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, are adamantly against nuclear power. As a result, despite strong efforts of government and industry, only three (3) reactors have been brought back on line.

While the people struggle against leaders to determine the nuclear future of Japan, many questions remain. The most crucial question is, without doubt, how many casualties occurred from the 2011 disaster?

Public health leaders have addressed the topic with ignorance and deception. A search of the medical literature shows only two studies in Japan that review actual changes in disease and death rates. One showed that 127 Fukushima-area children have developed thyroid cancer since the meltdown; a typical number of cases for a similar sized population of children would be about 5-10. The other study showed a number of ectopic intrathyroidal problems in local children – a disorder that is extremely rare. No other studies looking at changes in infant deaths, premature births, child cancers, or other radiation-sensitive diseases are available.

But the literature also shows that researchers have been pouring out articles on mental health and psychological impacts on local residents. Journals from Japan and other nations have printed research on stress, behavioral changes, fears, and even changes in average blood pressure (blaming it on concerns about the meltdown). At least 51 of these articles are listed on the National Library of Medicine web site.

The same pattern occurred after prior meltdowns. The 1979 meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania was followed by a total denial that anyone had been harmed. The first journal article on changes in cancer cases didn’t appear until nearly 12 years after the meltdown; it showed a 64% rise in cancer cases within 10 miles of the plant during the first five years after the accident. The authors, from Columbia University, blamed this increase on stress and psychological reactions to the disaster.

After Chernobyl, the same corruption of scientific investigation occurred. The 31 emergency workers who helped bury the red-hot reactor and died from high exposures became almost a mantra (“Chernobyl caused only 31 deaths”) despite the massive amount of fallout it dispersed across the globe. A 2009 compendium of 5,000 articles, published by the New York Academy of Sciences, estimated about 1 million deaths from the meltdown occurred in the following 20 years. Unfortunately, nuclear supporters have made the assumption that nobody died from Fukushima, while churning out study after study on how a meltdown affects mental status – and no other part of the body.

But the truth is that Fukushima radiation, a mix of over 100 chemicals found only in atomic reactors and bombs, has caused considerable harm. University of South Carolina biology professor Timothy Mousseau has made multiple trips to Japan, collecting specimens of plants and animals. He and colleagues have published numerous journal articles showing DNA damage and actual disease near the plant. So if plants and animals are affected, it is logical that humans are as well.

And while the damage is worst in Japan, the harm spread for long distances. Right after the meltdown, prevailing winds drove Fukushima fallout across the Pacific, reaching the U.S. West Coast in 5 days, and moving through the air across the nation. EPA data showed that the West Coast, had the highest levels of fallout in the weeks following the accident, up to 200 times normal. In the years since, the slower-moving radiation in the Pacific has moved steadily eastward, reaching the U.S. West Coast, and contaminating fish and aquatic plant life along the way.

We published three journal articles showing that babies born in the West Coast in the nine months after Fukushima had a 16% jump in defective thyroids, compared to little change in the rest of the country. It’s time that health researchers stop its corrupt approach to Fukushima, and produce some actual statistics on changes in disease and death rates among affected populations – in Japan and in other countries. Not coming to grips with the truth will only raise the chance of another catastrophic meltdown in the future, raising the already-enormous number of casualties from nuclear power.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/04/12/fukushima-five-years-after-health-researchers-turn-blind-eye-to-casualties/

April 13, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Under the radar. Japan’s nuclear development pushed along by USA think tank

13a47-corruptionFlag-USAflag-japanUS Think Tank Urging Japan Keep Nuclear Funded By Japanese Govt & Nuclear Industry, Simply Info April 12th, 2016 |  A report by The Intercept this week provided a missing piece of the puzzle from 2012 and Japan’s attempted nuclear exit. Back in 2012 then PM Noda established a policy for Japan to phase out nuclear power by 2030. This of course brought protest from Japan’s nuclear industry but more curiously brought protest by various parties claiming to represent the US. One of these was a series of eyebrow raising public statements by John Hamre who showed up in Japan weeks after the new policy was announced.

Hamre is the president of a Washington DC think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). While in Japan he made a series of claims about Japan’s need for nuclear power, the US stance on the issue and readily debunked claims about renewable energy. Hamre does not hold any authority to speak on behalf of the US but gave the impression he was sharing US official views on the issue. News reports described him as “a former deputy US defense secretary”. What was not known in 2012 was who bankrolled Hamre’s Japanese speaking tour or his opinions on the issue.

The Intercept’s new report on foreign government funding of TPP promotion within the US provides that missing piece. Hamre’s Center for Strategic and International Studies is heavily funded by the Japanese government and a long list of US and Japanese nuclear industry companies. The Intercept cites a 2014 investigative report by the New York Times that looked into foreign influence on DC think tanks and how that goes on to skew US policy, laws and spending. The New York Times investigation pressured the CSIS to publish their corporate and government donors list for the first time in 2014. The New York Times also explains that these lobbying activities on behalf of foreign governments masquerading as impartial scholarship are likely illegal in the US. The Foreign Agents Registration Act requires such arrangement to be disclosed to the US government………..http://www.fukuleaks.org/web/?p=15416

April 13, 2016 Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Bribery allegations result in resignation of Japanese economy minister Akira Amari

bribery handshakeflag-japanJapanese economy minister Akira Amari quits over bribery claims, BBC News, 28 January 2016 Japan’s Economy Minister Akira Amari has said he is resigning amid corruption allegations. Mr Amari unexpectedly made the announcement at a press conference in Tokyo on Thursday. But he again denied personally receiving bribes from a construction company, as had been alleged by a Japanese magazine.

The development will be seen as a significant blow for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Mr Amari, who has been minister of state for economic and fiscal policy since late 2012, has been widely described as one of Mr Abe’s most trusted members of parliament.

As Japan’s lead negotiator for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, Mr Amari was expected to travel to New Zealand next week to sign the agreement.

He was also regarded as the architect of Abenomics – Mr Abe’s plan to pull the world’s third largest economy out of deflation.

“This is possibly the biggest scandal the Abe administration has faced,” said the BBC’s Mariko Oi.

“His resignation will probably raise even more questions over Mr Abe’s economic policies – or Abenomics,” our correspondent added. “It may also raise further opposition within Japan to the TPP.” Mr Amari will be replaced by Nobuteru Ishihara, formerly the country’s environment minister……

Mr Amari is the fourth member of Mr Abe’s cabinet to resign amid allegations of bribery, among other issues.

Mr Abe has apologised for the latest resignation. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35427563

April 13, 2016 Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s evacuees have radiation-caused illnesses, but this is covered up in Japan

radiation-warningNuclear Expert in Fukushima: People’s feet turned black for years because radiation so high — Every time I turned around I saw someone who had radiation damage — Hair falling out, caughing up blood, bodies covered with boils… Officials keeping doctors from telling truth… Public being brainwashed (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/nuclear-expert-fukushima-peoples-feet-turned-black-years-because-radiation-levels-high-every-time-turned-around-radiation-damage-hair-fell-bloody-noses-bodies-covered-boils-officials-covering-pu?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29


CCTV, Apr 5, 2016 (emphasis added) — Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen: [During my recent trip to Japan] I met in one of the resettlement areas… The unofficial mayor of this group – a real dynamo of a woman – she experienced hair loss, bloody nose, speckles on her skin and the doctors told her it was stress and not to worry about it. That’s not stress. It was radiation damage. But again, that’s this inhumanity that I was experiencing… Every time I turned around, I saw people that definitely experienced radiation damage. We had one woman who ran from her house to evacuate carrying her dog. About a day after the accident, they realized that she needed to be evacuated. And so she runs barefoot to her car, gets in her car, drives to the resettlement community. She’s highly radioactive. They make her – especially her feet – they make her take her socks off and take showers, wash her down before they let her in. And her feet were black for three years from radiation damage. And that’s not being spoken about in any of the medical journals… [The government wants] to get these other nuclear plants up and running. And if the population is getting ill from radiation effects, it’s a lot harder. So they have… banded together with the medical community.

We had numerous doctors say that they were going to lose hospital privileges and things like that. And the people that are keeping track of deaths in Fukushima Prefecture aren’t publishing the data. So the entire government infrastructure, from the people in Tokyo to the underlings in the Prefecture, are all singing the same song: that this is stress, there’s no radiation. And it sure isn’t what I found, I’ll tell you… Were it not for the internet, they would have won. And I think the difference between the disaster at Fukushima and the disaster at Chernobyl and TMI is that now we have the internet. It still is an unlevel playing field. There’s still so much money on the other side of it that people are being brainwashed. Oh, that bloody nose you’ve had for the last 3 weeks is stress. So they are being brainwashed.

Fairewinds Japan Speaking Tour Series No. 3, Feb 24, 2016 – Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen: Today I went to a resettlement community… their unofficial mayor, the woman who sort of runs all the groups… she told us that after the disaster at Fukushima, her hair fell out, she got a bloody nose and her body was speckled with hives and boils and the doctor told her it was stress and she believes him. It was absolutely amazing.

Fairewinds Japan Speaking Tour Series No. 4, Mar 3, 2016 — Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen: The Japanese government’s position is when your hair falls out and your nose starts to bleed and you’re hacking up blood, that that’s all stress related… We had a woman back my first week that was there, the radiation levels were so high, her feet turned black for four years. And I was at the Hiroshima Museum and I saw the same thing. I saw pictures of the Hiroshima victims with their feet blackened from radiation. The government has done a very successful job of covering this up.

The Guardian, Apr 11, 2016: At first they thought it was just a fire, then the chickens started to turn black… Soviet authorities neglected to tell the people the extent of the danger they were in [from Chernobyl], for fear of causing mass panic, tell-tale symptoms soon followed. Dark marks appeared on the skin. The wattles of the local chickens turned from crimson to black.

Watch the CCTV broadcast here

April 13, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016, health, Japan | Leave a comment

Luxembourg would pay France to shut down all too near nuclear power station

safety-symbol-SmLuxembourg offers France money to close nuclear plant  http://en.rfi.fr/france/20160412-luxembourg-offers-france-money-close-nuclear-plant  By RFI Luxembourg offered on Monday to chip in financing to close an ageing French nuclear power plant near its border, saying the tiny nation could be obliterated if the station malfunctioned.

During a press conference with his French counterpart Manuel Valls, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said a problem at the Cattenom plant could “wipe the duchy off the map”.

“The Cattenom site scares us, there’s no point in hiding it,” he said of the plant that has been in operation since the mid-1980s. “Our greatest wish is that Cattenom close.”

Luxembourg “would be prepared to make a financial commitment to a project, which would have to be cross-border… at Cattenom that is not nuclear in nature.”

Valls — who was on a one-day visit to the nation of about 500,000 — said France has pledged to cut its reliance on nuclear energy from more than 75 percent to 50 percent by shutting 24 reactors by 2025.
“Message received,” he added.

   France has several ageing nuclear power plants that are unsettling its neighbours. Germany demanded last month Paris shutter its oldest station, Fessenheim, which sits near the German and Swiss borders.

Fessenheim houses two 900-megawatt reactors and has been running since 1977. Due to its age activists have long called for it to be permanently closed.

French President Francois Hollande has pledged to shut down the Fessenheim plant by the end of his five-year term in 2017.

 

April 13, 2016 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

Disagreements in the nuclear shill camp – Patrick Moore versus Australia’s Ben Heard

Climate Science Denier Patrick Moore Under Attack From Fellow Nuclear Energy Advocates, DESMOG, Moore,Patrick-11 By Graham Readfearn • Thursday, April 7, 2016 Climate science
denialist Patrick Moore is all about “consensus building.” We know this because it says so on his biography at the think tank Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

And so, fresh from delivering a coal-funded talk in Brussels where he told the audience to “celebrate CO2”, the Canadian has been out doing a bit of that “consensus building” in his own unique way.
In recent days, Moore has accused respected climate scientist Ken Caldeira of “fakery”, called him a “jerk” and then told a fellow nuclear power advocate to “GFY”.

The nuclear advocate in question was Australian energy and climate consultant Ben Heard, who Heard, Benhad engaged Moore on social media. He’s written a blog about the exchange.

British environmentalist and author Mark Lynas, who is also pro-nuclear energy, weighed in too, describing Moore as “just a predictable right-wing anti-green contrarian”.

When DeSmog UK gave Moore the chance to respond to a story showing he had been paid by coal lobbyists to deliver a talk, his response was “bugger off”.

Who is Patrick Moore?

For those that don’t know, Patrick Moore is often described as a former senior member of Greenpeace, even though he left that organisation 30 years ago.

Since then, he has spent his time being an advocate for nuclear power, GM crops, forestry and, apparently, burning as much coal as you can get your hands on.

In a French television interview last year, Moore told a journalist that the pesticide glyphosate was not a carcinogen and was so safe, “you could drink a whole quart of it and it won’t hurt you”.

Moore was then immediately offered the chance to drink a glass by the interviewer, which he declined. “I’m not an idiot,” he said.

Moore is a long-time climate science denialist and claims, against all credible scientific institutions, that there is “no proof” that the extra CO2 in the atmosphere (about 40 per cent more than there was before the industrial revolution) is causing any global warming.

Acidification denial ……..http://www.desmogblog.com/2016/04/07/climate-science-denier-patrick-moore-under-attack-fellow-nuclear-energy-advocates

April 13, 2016 Posted by | spinbuster | Leave a comment

Russia Rejects N.Korea’s Claim to Status of Nuclear Power – Lavrov

   http://sputniknews.com/politics/20160412/1037880348/status-korea-nuclear.html#ixzz45eBZxtUV Moscow rejects Pyongyang’s claim to the status of a nuclear power possessing atomic weapons and means of their delivery.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Moscow recognizes North Korea’s right to develop a peaceful nuclear program, but rejects Pyongyang’s claim to the status of a nuclear power possessing atomic weapons and means of their delivery, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.”We are very concerned about the situation on the Korean Peninsula and we consider it necessary to make all possible efforts to prevent the unwinding of a negative spiral, when actions by one side lead to additional counter-action by another side, making it a ‘vicious circle,’ Lavrov said in an interview with Mongolian, Chinese and Japanese media.

“We, as well as China, reject North Korea’s nuclear-missile ambitions,” Lavrov stressed

April 13, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

$Billions being spent on research for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, that are unlikely to be viable

smaller ones generate less power than large ones, and therefore more are required to meet the same energy needs. Multiple SMRs may actually present a higher risk than a single large reactor, especially if plant owners try to cut costs by reducing support staff or safety equipment per reactor.’

text-SMRsTheir report concludes:

‘Unless a number of optimistic assumptions are realised, SMRs are not likely to be a viable solution to the economic and safety problems faced by nuclear power.’  

Big Nuke in big push for small nuclear reactors near towns https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/big-nuke-in-big-push-for-small-nuclear-reactors,8873 Climate News Network 13 April 2016  Global nuclear companies are meeting this week to discuss licensing the controversial small modular reactors that would be sited near towns. Paul Brown reports.

CONCERNS ARE being raised about the billions of dollars being spent on research to design and build small nuclear reactors for electricity production The world’s big powers are in a race to build a new series of small reactors, which they believe will combine with renewables to create a low-carbon future for the planet.

Small modular reactors (SMRs) have hardly been heard of by the public, but many billions of dollars are being spent in the U.S., China, Russia, the UK and France on research and development.

The nuclear industry believes the first reactors can be deployed as early as 2025 and the plan is for them to be sited close to towns to produce the local electricity supply.

This week, leaders of companies from across the globe are meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, to assess progress on prototypes and to address the all-important question of licensing these new designs for safety.

The U.S. government has already put $217 million into one commercial design and is offering billions of dollars in loan guarantees for others.

Preferred designs  The UK government has just announced a competition to get the best design, and has put £250 million into a fund to pay for research and development over the next five years.

Preferred designs will be picked later this year and the UK plans to be a world leader in the technology, exporting small reactors across the world, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

The industry says the smallest reactors could be produced on a factory production line and transported by large lorry, and the larger ones could be produced as prefabricated components to be assembled on site. This would vastly reduce both building costs and construction time.

In an editorial, the Nuclear Energy Insider newspaper expresses its enthusiasm for the strategy, but calls for

‘… more resources to accelerate the development and approval of SMR designs so that consumers can benefit from lower costs and the UK’s nuclear renaissance can be cemented.’

The newspaper claims that the new designs will produce power at one-third of the cost of the planned Hinkley Point reactors in southwest England, where the 3,200 megawatt output will cost double the current market price of electricity.

So far, there has been no reaction from the British public to this commitment to a new generation of nuclear reactors, but that will no doubt come later this year when the Government names the sites where it plans to build the SMRs.

Most likely locations for the first prototypes will be at existing nuclear sites where old reactors have been shut down or nuclear fuel is made. Another alternative is the land owned by the military, where no planning permission will be required — although this might not go down well with the public.

The new reactors can have an output of anything from 10 to 300 megawatts. This ranges from the needs of a small town to a very large one.

To be cost-effective, they need to be placed near towns, producing electricity where it is needed. What the local population will say to having a nuclear power station in their midst is hard to say; wind farms in Britain have raised such opposition that the government has allowed people to veto them.

The alternative is to group a whole series of these small reactors together so that they produce the same power as a large reactor, but critics wonder how this will keep down costs and are concerned about safety. Would a group of reactors need to be under a concrete shield to contain any accidental release of radioactivity?

Enthusiasts for the technology point out that small reactors are not new, with hundreds in operation across the world as power plants for submarines and icebreakers.

Critics accept that while the technology is known to work, the costs are unknown. Small reactors are for military use and so economic considerations do not apply in the same way.

Efficiency and cost

British members of parliament on the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee were keen on the idea. Their report enthused that SMRs are designed in a way that allows them to be manufactured at a plant, brought to site fully constructed, and installed module by module, thereby potentially improving manufacturing efficiency and cost, while reducing construction time and financing costs.

The U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists points out the difficulties of placing small reactors close to centres of population and doubts that they can produce power more cheaply than larger ones. It points out that existing commercial reactors originally got bigger and bigger to produce economies of scale.

The scientists accept industry claims that smaller reactors are inherently less dangerous than larger ones, but argue:

‘While this is true it is misleading, because smaller ones generate less power than large ones, and therefore more are required to meet the same energy needs. Multiple SMRs may actually present a higher risk than a single large reactor, especially if plant owners try to cut costs by reducing support staff or safety equipment per reactor.’

Their report concludes:

‘Unless a number of optimistic assumptions are realised, SMRs are not likely to be a viable solution to the economic and safety problems faced by nuclear power.’  

https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/big-nuke-in-big-push-for-small-nuclear-reactors,8873

April 13, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, technology | Leave a comment

Dangerous state of aging nuclear reactors in Ukraine

Chernobyl nuclear disaster marks 30-year anniversary… ABC News By freelance correspondent Elle Hardy in the Ukrainian town of Pripyat, 12 Apr 16 “………Olexi Pasyuk, from environmental advocacy group Bankwatch, said neglect extends beyond the human tragedy of the disaster.

“Twelve out of 15 nuclear reactors in Ukraine will have passed their 30-year lifespan between 2010 and 2020 and the Government now has to extend them,” he said.

“The Government commissioned a paper which outlined all of the problems with their policy [of extending reactor life spans], so they dismissed the paper and had a new, more favourable one written.

“It’s a political issue — they don’t want to be seen to be buying gas from the Russians.”

Mr Usatenko sees a more sinister side to the ongoing regional tensions and conflict with Russia.

“The state of the Ukrainian nuclear power plants, thanks to government corruption, are considered by the Russian military as well-located nuclear bombs in enemy territory,” he said……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-12/chernobyl-nuclear-disaster-marks-30-years-with-extreme-tours/7317678

April 13, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Florida drinking water wells threatened by nuclear plant leak

Nuclear Plant Leak Threatens Drinking Water Wells in Florida, NYT By LIZETTE ALVAREZ MARCH 22, 2016 MIAMI — When Florida’s largest power company added two nuclear reactors to an existing plant that sat between two national parks — Biscayne Bay and the Everglades — the decision raised the concerns of environmentalists and some government officials about the possible effects on water quality and marine life.

Now more than four decades later, Florida Power & Light’s reactors atTurkey Point, built to satisfy the power needs of a booming Miami, are facing their greatest crisis. A recent study commissioned by the countyconcluded that Turkey Point’s old cooling canal system was leaking polluted water into Biscayne Bay.

This has raised alarm among county officials and environmentalists that the plant, which sits on the coastline, is polluting the bay’s surface waters and its fragile ecosystem. In the past two years, bay waters near the plant have had a large saltwater plume that is slowly moving toward wells several miles away that supply drinking water to millions of residents in Miami and the Florida Keys.

Samples of the water at various depths and sites around the power plant showed elevated levels of salt, ammonia, phosphorous and tritium……

last month, a Florida administrative judge, Bram Canter, chastised the state and Florida Power & Light, finding that the cooling canal system is “the major contributing cause” for the growth of the large underground saltwater plume and for its westerly move toward the drinking water well fields. He ordered the state and the company to clean up the cooling canals, which it had started to do under an October consent decree with the county.

The Biscayne Aquifer, the judge noted in his ruling, is an “important natural resource.” It is the main source of drinking water in the county and is vital to irrigation and the marsh wetland communities, he added. Judge Canter made his ruling after a Florida rock mining company sued the company over the saltwater plume. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/23/us/nuclear-plant-leak-threatens-drinking-water-wells-in-florida.html?ref=energy-environment&_r=1

April 13, 2016 Posted by | USA, water | Leave a comment

Paris climate negotiations ahead of schedule

Paris Climate Deal Seen Taking Effect Two Years Ahead of Plan http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-11/paris-climate-deal-seen-taking-effect-two-years-ahead-of-plan     AlexJFMorales April 12, 2016

  • Figueres, ChristianaAgreement will take effect when ratified by 55 nations
  • `We will have a Paris agreement in effect by 2018′: Figueres
 The global climate change agreement brokered in Paris in December by 195 nations will come into effect two years earlier than originally planned, the top United Nations climate diplomat predicted.

“You heard it here first: I think that we will have a Paris Agreement in effect by 2018,” Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said during a question-and-answer session after delivering a lecture Monday at Imperial College London.

The prediction suggests that countries may initiate efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions earlier than expected, and increases the chances of meeting the pact’s ultimate goal of limiting the increase in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since industrialization began.

 Negotiators agreed in 2011 to pursue a global climate deal that would take effect in 2020, when commitments under the current agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, expire.

“At some point the decision was made to remove that sentence,” Figueres said. That means the Paris deal will go into effect when it’s ratified by at least 55 nations representing at least 55 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, she said.Signing Ceremony Figueres said that at least 130 nations have pledged to sign the Paris Agreement at a ceremony at the United Nations in New York on April 22. That would eclipse the current record for the opening day of signing for a treaty of 119, held by the Law of the Sea, she said. Ten of those nations are also expected to ratify the deal at the same time.

Even so, she said the deal had come “10 years too late,” and that the world is now at “two minutes to midnight.”

 For the world to get to “net zero” emissions in the second half of the century, “we would have to peak by 2020,” Figueres said, referring to the point at which annual emissions reach a maximum and begin to fall. The UN’s business-as-usual scenario “would have us peaking somewhere between 2025 and 2035.”

April 13, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

In Australia, and everywhere else, oil and gas lobbies pay shills to obstruct action on climate change

13a47-corruptionAustralian oil and gas lobby spent millions advocating against climate action: report  Environment editor, The Age April 12, 2016

Australia’s peak oil and gas industry lobby group spent almost $4 million last year trying to “obstruct” more ambitious climate change policy, according to British research group InfluenceMap.

It was part of an overall $150 million spent globally in 2015 by five major oil companies and lobby groups.

The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) represents the domestic oil and gas industry and counts among its 70 members giant companies such as Woodside, Shell Australia and Chevron Australia.

According to the analysis, InfluenceMap estimated that APPEA spent about $5.5 million on climate-related advocacy in 2015 though expenditure on staff, public campaigns, advertising and other external public relations.

InfluenceMap then made an assessment of the position, tone and transparency of this work. They determined about $3.9 million of it went towards what they described as “obstructive spending”.

InfluenceMap took its definition of advocacy from a 2013 United Nations report that included activities beyond direct approaches to government, such as advertising, public relations, political contributions and industry group memberships.

The report cited APPEA’s support for less-stringent emissions targets, lobbying to remove Australia’s renewable energy target and its argument that the Turnbull government’s greenhouse gas “safeguard mechanism” should apply only to emissions above business as usual levels, as examples of its opposition to climate policies.

The report also points to consultation, messaging and two publicity campaigns by APPEA “to put pressure on policy makers to support unrestricted conventional & unconventional oil and gas production”. …….

The negative climate advocacy by APPEA calculated by InfluenceMap is a tiny fraction of the estimates it has produced for other major oil players that are assessed in the report.

It says ExxonMobil may have spent $35 million in 2015, while Shell may have spent $29 million.

Alongside APPEA, the report also looked at the spending of two United States industry bodies, the American Petroleum Institute and the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), finding negative climate advocacy spending of $85 million and $8 million respectively.

Charlotte Wood, campaigns director of anti-fossil fuels group 350.org Australia, said: “It is astounding that in the 21st century, when we know the scientific consequences of burning fossil fuels, that Australian oil and gas companies have still spent almost $4 million dollars to undermine consensus on climate change.” http://www.theage.com.au/national/australian-oil-and-gas-lobby-spent-millions-advocating-against-climate-action-report-20160412-go47ok.html#ixzz45es17jN8

April 13, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, AUSTRALIA, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

The TPP was negotiated in secret, and now one of the chief negotiators is accused of taking bribes

Break the Silence on TPP Canadians.org, CC BY-NC-SA 3.0sign-this https://cms.fightforthefuture.org/japan/

The top official involved has now RESIGNED due to the seriousness of these allegations. Read more.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a massive, legally binding deal between 12 countries that was negotiated in complete secrecy by industry lobbyists and government bureaucrats. It has sparked international outcry, and expert’s analysis of the text show it poses a grave threat to the economy, theenvironment, the Internet, national sovereignty, and freedom of expression.

Japan’s economic and fiscal policy minister, a top official involved in negotiating the TPP, has been accused of taking major bribes from a Japanese construction company amounting to at least $148,000. It’s not clear yet whether the bribe was related to the TPP itself, but it underscores the danger of these shadowy, corrupt, agreements.

This is exactly why decisions that affect billions of people should never be made in secret. This is exactly why the TPP is such a threat. President Obama is expected to sign the agreement on February 4th, but this bribery scandal could derail that if enough people speak out right away.

Sign the petition to tell Obama not to sign the TPP amidst public outcry and scandalous corruption. Then share it with as many people as you can!

April 13, 2016 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

India: Gujarat’s government increases solar energy incentives, with rooftop subsidy

solar-jobIndia’s Gujarat introduces rooftop solar subsidy, PV Tech By Tom Kenning Apr 11, 2016   The Indian state of Gujarat has introduced a subsidy for residential grid-connected rooftop solar systems on top of any benefits provided by India’s Central government.

The subsidy amounts to INR10,000 per kW of installed PV (US$151) with a maximum of INR20,000 per consumer. This financial support will be dispersed by the Gujarat Energy Development Agency (GEDA) after installation and commissioning of each rooftop system.

Gujarat’s government plans an initial target of 100,000 consumers, after which, based on a review, the scheme will be continued, modified or discontinued. The scheme is planned to encourage and promote setting up rooftop solar across the state.

This subsidy will be in addition to any benefit received from the Central government, which announced a return to 30% subsidy for residential rooftop systems last November

As part of India’s overall 100GW target by 2022, Gujarat was given a goal of 8,024MW solar by 2021/22, of which 3,200MW is to come from rooftop solar…….http://www.pv-tech.org/news/indias-gujarat-introduces-rooftop-solar-subsidy

April 13, 2016 Posted by | decentralised, India | Leave a comment

Jobs boom in USA States with wind power development

green-collarThe job growth in 2015 is primarily attributable to more wind project development and construction, requiring more than 38,000 employees.

Texas leads the nation with over 24,000 wind energy employees.

US wind power jobs hit record, up 20 percent in 2016 ‘Wind rush’ fuels hiring boom, delivers more consumer savings AWEA,  DENVER, April 12, 2016 — American wind power supported a record 88,000 jobs at the start of 2016—an increase of 20 percent in a year—according to the U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report, Year Ending 2015, released today by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Strong job growth coincided with wind ranking number one as America’s leading source of new generating capacity last year, outpacing solar and natural gas.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper joined in the release at a Vestas wind turbine component factory near Denver, saying “In 2015, Colorado ranked fifth in the nation for wind power capacity additions. An investment in the wind power industry and in wind projects generates new jobs, economic development in rural counties and clean air benefits to all Coloradans.”

“Wind power benefits more American families than ever before,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “We’re helping young people in rural America find a job close to home. Others are getting a fresh chance to rebuild their careers by landing a job in the booming clean energy sector. With long-term, stable policy in place, and a broader range of customers now buying low-cost wind-generated electricity, our workforce can grow to 380,000 well-paying jobs by 2030.”

Congress passed a long-term extension of the wind energy Production Tax Credit and alternative Investment Tax Credit with bipartisan support late last year. With the extension in place and the recent industry growth, wind energy is on track to meet the Department of Energy’s Wind Vision scenario of supplying 20 percent of U.S. electricity by 2030.“Made-in-the-USA wind power will help keep our economy competitive and our air clean for generations,” Kiernan said. “Our wind energy will never run out.”……

 State-by-state job, economic benefits rankings
The job growth in 2015 is primarily attributable to more wind project development and construction, requiring more than 38,000 employees. The industry also experienced a stabilization of its manufacturing sector, which now supports over 21,000 well-paying jobs across 43 states, up over 10 percent in a year. And more than 8,800 jobs are held by wind turbine technicians, the fastest growing profession in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (growing more than twice as fast as the next fastest-growing job of occupational therapy assistant).Texas leads the nation with over 24,000 wind energy employees. Wind project construction propelled Oklahoma to second place with more than 7,000 jobs. Rounding out the top five are Iowa and Colorado with over 6,000 jobs, and after moving up 11 spots, Kansas ranks fifth with over 5,000 wind workers. Maine gained the most in the state wind employment rankings, rising 16 spots……….

Each new wind turbine typically avoids over 4,200 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) a year, (equal to nearly 900 cars’ worth). U.S. wind energy avoided 132 million metric tons in total CO2 emissions last year, equal to eliminating all electric power sector emissions from Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Colorado.

Wind energy also greatly reduces a variety of health-harming air pollutants, including smog-causing sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), which helps reduce asthma attacks and other respiratory issues. That displaced an estimated 176,000 metric tons of SO2 and 106,000 metric tons of NOx in 2015, representing $7.3 billion in avoided health costs last year alone.

The AWEA U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report Year Ending 2015 provides a comprehensive look at the entire U.S. wind energy landscape, offering industry trends, statistics, company rankings and the market picture through 2015. A comprehensive press kit here includes more detailed releases on specific findings, videos, infographics, and up-to-date photos of wind turbines across America……..   http://www.awea.org/MediaCenter/pressrelease.aspx?ItemNumber=8736

April 13, 2016 Posted by | employment, renewable | Leave a comment