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Concerns over the Marshall Islands nuclear case handling by RMI – Critique by Dan Joyner

“….Even though the lawyers knew or should have known that there was absolutely no chance of most of those cases succeeding…… they nevertheless took the small, developing state’s money to bring them. They didn’t use that money to hire real experts …… this looks like a case of exploitation of a small, developing country and its tragic history by a small group of lawyers for their own personal and professional gain. ….. I have to say that I am ultimately glad that the RMI’s cases against the U.K., India, and Pakistan were dismissed today. ….. my biggest fear about these cases was that they would in fact proceed to the merits and that the bad lawyering of the legal team would lead the court to adopt a judgment on the merits that provided a weak interpretation of the Article VI disarmament obligations …..”

milan-loeak-marshall-islands-ii

Image source ; https://engagedbuddhism.net/2014/10/13/climate-warriors-in-marshall-islands-go-after-coal-port-in-aus/

Article post;

Well, as I’ve been predicting for some time now, the ICJ has today dismissed the Marshall Islands’ cases against the United Kingdom, India and Pakistan. These were the only states left in the dock from the RMI’s initial announcement of cases against all nine nuclear weapons possessing states.  Readers of this blog will know that I’ve been writing about these cases occasionally since their announcement in April 2014.

Pretty early on, I became concerned by the work I saw coming from the lawyers that were representing the RMI, both in the cases at the ICJ and also in the still enigmatic, and quickly dismissed, case against the U.S. in domestic federal court.

And particularly when, in March of 2016, we finally got a look at the written pleadings of both the RMI and the three remaining respondents in the ICJ cases for the jurisdictional phase of the proceedings, my concerns about the quality of the RMI’s legal team began to be borne out in earnest. You can read my thoughts on those written pleadings here and here.

So to be clear, what happened today is that the ICJ decided that in all three of the remaining cases – those against the U.K., India, and Pakistan – the court lacked jurisdiction to proceed to the merits of the case. In all three judgments the court found that the RMI had failed to establish that there was a legal dispute between the parties that gave rise to a case over which the court could exercise jurisdiction.  In none of the three judgments announced today did the court actually proceed to consider the merits of the cases, i.e. the court did not consider or pass any judgment about the NPT law questions raised by the RMI’s complaints, focusing on NPT Article VI. Because each of the cases was dismissed purely on jurisdictional grounds, these cases tell us nothing about the correct legal interpretation or application of NPT Article VI.

Link to source;

https://armscontrollaw.com/2016/10/05/my-reaction-to-the-dismissal-of-the-marshall-islands-cases-by-the-icj/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=oupintlaw&utm_campaign=oupintlaw

Well, as I’ve been predicting for some time now, the ICJ has today dismissed the Marshall Islands’ cases against the United Kingdom, India and Pakistan. These were the only states left in the dock from the RMI’s initial announcement of cases against all nine nuclear weapons possessing states.  Readers of this blog will know that I’ve been writing about these cases occasionally since their announcement in April 2014.

Pretty early on, I became concerned by the work I saw coming from the lawyers that were representing the RMI, both in the cases at the ICJ and also in the still enigmatic, and quickly dismissed, case against the U.S. in domestic federal court.

And particularly when, in March of 2016, we finally got a look at the written pleadings of both the RMI and the three remaining respondents in the ICJ cases for the jurisdictional phase of the proceedings, my concerns about the quality of the RMI’s legal team began to be borne out in earnest. You can read my thoughts on those written pleadings here and here.

So to be clear, what happened today is that the ICJ decided that in all three of the remaining cases – those against the U.K., India, and Pakistan – the court lacked jurisdiction to proceed to the merits of the case. In all three judgments the court found that the RMI had failed to establish that there was a legal dispute between the parties that gave rise to a case over which the court could exercise jurisdiction.  In none of the three judgments announced today did the court actually proceed to consider the merits of the cases, i.e. the court did not consider or pass any judgment about the NPT law questions raised by the RMI’s complaints, focusing on NPT Article VI. Because each of the cases was dismissed purely on jurisdictional grounds, these cases tell us nothing about the correct legal interpretation or application of NPT Article VI.

I’m still reading through the various separate opinions lodged by individual judges, both concurring with and dissenting to the court’s judgments in the three cases. But I would like to go ahead offer a few points of commentary on the these cases generally and on their ultimate disposition, which we now know.

1. First, these cases, as well as the other six that were dismissed even earlier in the process, should never have been brought to the ICJ on a contentious basis. The RMI’s legal team should have known better. They should have known from the beginning that six of the nine cases filed would never see the inside of a courtroom because of an undisputed lack of jurisdiction in the ICJ to hear them.  These cases included the ones against the U.S. and Russia, which are of course by far and away the countries that matter most when considering the issue of nuclear disarmament, and which are the best examples of parties to the NPT that have not acted in compliance with Article VI.  So from the very beginning, the RMI team must have known, or at least should have, that they were not going to have their “day in court” with the states against whom the RMI should have been most interested in bringing these cases.  This is particularly true of the U.S., whose March 1954 Bravo nuclear test at the Bikini Atoll was witnessed first hand by the country’s foreign minister, Tony de Brum – an experience which he has poignantly shared as a formative one in his desire to bring these cases.  I hope that the lawyers who ended up representing the RMI told him early on that there was zero chance of his country’s suit against the U.S. even proceeding to trial. One wonders if that was made sufficiently clear to him.

So going down the contentious route meant that six of the nine original cases were dead on arrival for clear and undisputed jurisdictional reasons, leaving as a meaningful possibility only the cases against the U.K., India, and Pakistan, all of which had accepted the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ.  Knowing this as they must have done, or at least should have done if they were adequately counseled by their lawyers, one wonders what the RMI thought the point was of lodging the six D.O.A. cases? It makes me wonder if perhaps their legal counsel wasn’t as forthcoming as they should have been about the likelihood of success of those cases.

With regard to the three remaining respondents, while the U.K. is a party to the NPT, India and Pakistan are not, so from the very beginning the RMI’s legal team knew or should have known that trying to establish that these countries were in violation of the principles contained in NPT Article VI would require an additional uphill battle to convince the court that those principles had also passed into customary law.  This is an argument that I happen to agree with, but that I know would take a good deal of convincing for the court. This is not to mention the various reservations which India and Pakistan both attached to their statement of accession to the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction – reservations that would take a very high level of professionalism and legal expertise to counter.  The same was true of the U.K. and its reservations to the ICJ’s jurisdiction.  These jurisdictional hurdles made the success of even these three remaining cases unlikely from the beginning. Again, I hope the RMI was made aware of this.

At the time the RMI’s cases were filed I was certainly not opposed to the idea of going back to the ICJ to get a judgment specifically about NPT Article VI and the compliance of the NPT NWS therewith particularly.  Far from it.  But from as far back as my first book in 2009, I have argued that such a case should be brought on the basis of the court’s advisory jurisdiction, presenting the court with a much more clearly justiciable question than the one which led to its infamous 1996 advisory opinion.  Were I to have been asked early on to advise the RMI, I would have advised them against going down the contentious jurisdiction route in these cases, and would have advised them rather to work within the U.N. General Assembly to fashion the right question on Article VI to send to the court for its advisory jurisdiction.  This would have removed all of the jurisdictional hurdles that ultimately were the doom of its contentious cases, and would have allowed the court to give its opinion on the merits of the case with regard to all of the nine nuclear weapons possessing states, including the U.S.

And just for the sake of full disclosure, I was never approached by the RMI or by their legal team for my advice or participation in the cases. I was completely blindsided by the announcement of the cases in April 2014.  I subsequently did, however, reach out to Phon van den Biessen who was acting as agent for the RMI, and offered to advise the RMI on a pro bono basis as the cases progressed from that point. However, my offer was summarily declined.  To this day I still don’t know why my assistance was declined, when on an objective basis I have written more on the interpretation of the NPT than any of the lawyers involved, and have taken positions in those writings sympathetic to the substantive arguments the RMI wanted to make in these cases. My only sense is that I was not in the little clique of friends that had decided to convince the RMI to bring these cases, and who now wanted to handle all of the legal arguments themselves.  I guess we now know how that turned out.

2. This brings me to my next point of commentary.  As you can read in my previous blog posts on these cases, my review of the written work of the RMI’s lawyers, both in their case against the U.S. in federal court and in the cases before the ICJ, produced the conclusion that the clique of friends was simply not professionally up to the task of making the required legal arguments at the level of quality that was necessary in the uphill procedural and substantive battle that they had chosen to fight by themselves. Others can view the documents and make up their own minds, but in my opinion the lawyering by the RMI’s legal team in these cases was of poor quality.  Just looking, as I did in one of my posts, at the juxtaposition between the RMI’s brief and the U.K.’s brief  on the issues of jurisdiction, it’s easy to see the difference in the quality of lawyering between the sides.

I think the fact that the RMI cases were ultimately dismissed because the RMI’s lawyers failed to establish the most basic, necessary legal fact – i.e. the existence of a dispute between the parties – is evidence supporting my conclusion about the quality of their work.  Having decided to go down the contentious case route, how hard would it have been to counsel the RMI to take some time, prior to the filing of the cases, to clearly and directly communicate the existence of a dispute to the three respondents, and then engage in attempts to resolve the dispute directly with the respondents for a reasonable time before filing, so that once the cases had been filed the knowledge of the dispute could not be denied by the respondents?  Pretty basic stuff.

3. I am not privy to the communications or the details of the relationship between the RMI and its legal team.  So all I can say is what the narrative of these cases appears to me to be from the outside, and I give the following as my opinion and not as a statement of fact. What the overall narrative of these cases suggests to me is that a small group of NGO-based lawyers who are passionate about nuclear disarmament law convinced a small, developing country to leverage its tragic history with nuclear weapons testing in order to bring cases against nine states, in addition to a case in the domestic courts of one of those states, so that this small group of lawyers and a few of their close friends could live out their dream of standing in front of the ICJ making legal arguments against the evil nuclear weapons possessing states.  Even though the lawyers knew or should have known that there was absolutely no chance of most of those cases succeeding, and only a slim chance of a few of those cases succeeding, they nevertheless took the small, developing state’s money to bring them. They didn’t use that money to hire real experts in both procedure and substance of the issues that they would be arguing. Instead, they decided they could handle all the issues all by themselves.  I have no idea what they told their client about the likelihood of success of these various cases, or whether they built themselves up as being more capable lawyers than they actually were. But just from what I can see from the outside, this looks like a case of exploitation of a small, developing country and its tragic history by a small group of lawyers for their own personal and professional gain.

4. I have to say that I am ultimately glad that the RMI’s cases against the U.K., India, and Pakistan were dismissed today. From the moment I began to be concerned about the quality of the RMI’s legal team, my biggest fear about these cases was that they would in fact proceed to the merits and that the bad lawyering of the legal team would lead the court to adopt a judgment on the merits that provided a weak interpretation of the Article VI disarmament obligations.  This would have been a real blow to the ongoing diplomatic effort to force the nuclear weapon states to take their Article VI obligation seriously. This effort has now been added to by the humanitarian initiative, but Article VI is of course still important as the only multilateral treaty obligation in existence relative to nuclear disarmament. So I am glad that we have avoided that result with today’s rulings.

October 6, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fukushima FAQ: Are Fukushima Radionuclides Causing Super Storms in the Pacific and Atlantic?

MattEye1a.gif

Hurricane Matthew spins in the Caribbean. Storms are fueled by energy which ultimately comes from the sun.

Short answer is absolutely not.

This post is part of an ongoing series dedicated to science education and to relate scientific findings about the impact of the Fukushima nuclear disaster on environmental and public health.  I am frequently (more than you might think) asked if or told that the decay energy from radionuclides released from Fukushima Daiichi are fueling some of the massive cyclones in the Pacific in Atlantic Oceans.  This is nonsense of course but highlights some of the logic used and how misinformation can fuel incorrect conclusions with respect to Fukushima and its environmental and public health impacts.

The thought process that brings one to link Fukushima contamination to hurricanes and typhoons goes something like this:

  • Fukushima released radionuclides to the environment with much of the contamination ending up in the Pacific Ocean
  • Radioisotopes generate heat when they decay
  • Tropical cyclones feed off of ocean heat
  • Fukushima is causing or causing more intense tropical cyclones

It is likely that increasing sea surface temperatures have the potential to influence the number and intensity of tropical cyclones. However, when we examine the reasoning linking Fukushima to cyclones and add a bit of numeracy we see how this reasoning is flawed.

One of the highest activity isotopes from Fukushima remaining in open ocean surface water is Cesium-137 (half-life = ~30 years, 137Cs). Much of this contamination remains in the North Pacific rather than in the tropics where typhoons form and far away from the tropical Atlantic where hurricanes form but lets ignore this fact for the purpose of our calculation.  Maximum 137Cs activities measured by the Fukushima InFORM project in the northeast Pacific are ~ 10 Bq m-3 (cubic meter = 1000 L or ~1000 kg) of seawater.

By knowing this activity and the half-life of the isotope we can calculate the mass of 137Cs in one ton of seawater to be equal to be 0.0000000000031 grams or 3.1 x 10-12 g or 3.1 picograms.  This highlights why detecting such low levels of contamination in the ocean is such an analytical challenge.

Now that we know how much 137Cs we have we can look up the decay energy of this isotope as well. This energy corresponds to the difference in mass between the parent and daughter isotope and for 137Cs is equal to 0.6 Watts per gram or 0.6 W g-1 (where a Watt is equal to 1 Joule per second).

So to a first order the power added to one ton (1000 kg) of seawater from Fukushima contamination is about:

(3.1 x 10-12 g) x (0.6 W g-1) = 0.000000000002 Watts or 2 picoW

This is a very small amount of power indeed.  We can compare this to the Watts added to a square meter of the ocean surface. Erring on the low side in order to be conservative lets say that the Sun adds about 100 W per square meter (W m-2) at the ocean surface (but see this link from NASA for actual data).

The ratio of the power contributed by the Sun at the ocean surface to Fukushima decay energy is 50,000,000,000,000.

Suggesting that Fukushima energy is fueling cyclone activity is, scientifically speaking, silly.  Friends don’t let friends do it.

Please see the NASA website for a useful summary of how tropical cyclones are formed.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/10/5/1578291/-Fukushima-FAQ-Are-Fukushima-Radionuclides-Causing-Super-Storms-in-the-Pacific-and-Atlantic

 

October 6, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

October 6 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

¶ “The future belongs to clean energy” • As we close out a summer marked by uncertainty in news and events, one trend for which analysts voice increasing certainty is the accelerating pace of the clean-energy transformation reshaping how the world generates electricity. One reason is that renewable energy is inexpensive. [The Guardian]

A Masaai herdsman looking after cattle (Photo: Thomas Mukoya / Reuters/REUTERS) A Masaai herdsman looking after cattle
(Photo: Thomas Mukoya / Reuters/REUTERS)

¶ “ExxonMobil Says Its Shale Oil Assets Are Not Threatened, While COP21 Paris Agreement Ratified: Something Has To
Give” • The COP21 agreement is now law, and yet oil majors are still contending that the price of oil will recover. Peabody Energy has a similar view about its prospects for expanding production of coal. [Seeking Alpha]

Science and Technology:

¶ With the climate warming and the sea level rising, conditions are ripe for storms even deadlier and more devastating than Sandy…

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October 6, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Donald Trump vacillates about nuclear waste dumping, and Yucca Mt plan

USA election 2016Trump punts on Yucca nuclear waste site, The Hill,   By Timothy Cama – 10/06/16 Donald Trump isn’t taking a position for the time being on the highly contentious, decades-old proposal to build a federal nuclear waste repository in Nevada.

Speaking late Wednesday with Las Vegas television station KSNV, the Republican presidential nominee acknowledged the controversial nature of the Yucca Mountain proposal, and said he would eventually stake out a position on it.

“I’m going to take a look at it, because so many people are talking about it. I came into town and everyone’s talking about it. So I will take a very strong look at it, and the next time you interview me, we’ll talk about it for five minutes,” Trump said in an interview………

Clinton told the Las Vegas Sun in January that Yucca should be permanently “off the table” as a nuclear dump……..http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/299575-trump-punts-on-yucca-nuclear-waste-site

October 6, 2016 Posted by | USA elections 2016 | Leave a comment

Much higher methane emissions from fossil fuels – previously were underestimated

fossil-fuel-industryFossil fuel industry’s methane emissions far higher than thought https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/05/fossil-fuel-industrys-methane-emissions-far-higher-than-thought

Emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas from coal, oil and gas are up to 60% greater than previously estimated, meaning current climate prediction models should be revised, research shows, Guardian, , 6 Oct 16, The fossil fuel industry’s emissions of a powerful greenhouse gas are dramatically higher than previously thought.

Researchers who pulled together the biggest database yet of worldwide methane emissions found that, after natural sources were discounted, emissions from gas, oil and coal production were 20-60% greater than existing estimates.

Methane makes up just 16% of global greenhouse gases and is shorter-lived than the CO2 which accounts for three quarters, but has a much more powerful warming effect.

The extra methane estimated by the study is 300 times larger than the amount leaked in California’s Aliso Canyon last year, which was the worst gas leak in US history. While bad news for efforts to tackle climate change, the new study published in Nature also found that methane emissions had fallen as a fraction of industry’s production.

Lead author Stefan Schwietzke, of the University of Colorado and US science agency Noaa, said that methane from fossil fuels had played a significant role in global warming, but the gas’s short lifetime meant acting on it now could pay quick dividends.

“The good news is that reducing methane emissions now will reduce climate forcing in only a few years – it takes much longer for CO2. And since fossil fuel methane emissions are higher than previously thought, the potential to reduce climate forcing from this specific source is also greater,” he told the Guardian.

Experts said the study meant scientists should reconsider their climate models. “Emissions scenarios currently used for climate prediction need to be reassessed taking into account revised values for anthropogenic methane emissions,” wrote Dr Grant Allen of the University of Manchester in a commentary in Nature.

Other studies have suggested the huge growth in the US shale gas industry is to blame for a spike in methane emissions since the mid-noughties. But the new work found methane emissions from natural gas production had declined as a fraction of production from 8% in the mid-1980s to around 2% in the late 2000s and early 2010s.

“There has been anecdotal evidence for a while that the oil and gas industry improved their efficiency. Our data confirms this anecdotal evidence on a global scale,” said Schwietzke.

Methane emissions have been rising since the industrial revolution but paused between 1996 and 2006 – believed by some to be because of decreased fossil fuel emissions in former Soviet Union countries – before marching upwards again. Most is from natural sources, such as wetlands and geological seepage, but humanity’s share is estimated to account for 30-45% of the total.

The study published on Wednesday examined the isotopic “fingerprints” of methane sources, compiling thousands of measurements from public sources and peer-reviewed papers. Allen said it was the largest database of its kind.

Schwietzke said that such models on methane were very sensitive to the data that informed them. “A key message is that the number and comprehensiveness of measurements matter.”

October 6, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Fermi 1 nuclear accident remembered in protest rally- ‘We almost lost Detroit’

Anti-nuclear activists mark Fermi 1 incident It was a half-century ago that plant had a partial meltdown  MONROE — Anti-nuclear activists marked the 50th anniversary of Fermi 1’s partial meltdown Wednesday with a peaceful rally at downtown Monroe’s Loranger Square Pavilion, during which they called for America to embrace more renewable energy and support efforts to safeguard the public from radiation exposure…….

October 6, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA | 1 Comment

Watts Bar 2: Winning a Battle While Losing the War

GreenWorld

New Electrical Generation From Wind & Solar Is 21 Times Greater Than That Expected from Watts Bar 2

(prepared by the SUN DAY Campaign, October 2016)

[Editor’s Note: GreenWorld is pleased to publish this guest post by Ken Bossong, of the SUN DAY Campaign. Ken puts the startup of the first U.S. nuclear reactor in 20 years in perspective with the growth of renewable energy sources. To say that renewables are growing faster than nuclear is an understatement.

Yet the nuclear industry is likely to trumpet Watts Bar 2 coming online as a big triumph, and even turn it into a big PR offensive about the miracles nuclear power can weave for fighting climate change. That is, once the reactor gets past the series of equipment failures that has repeatedly delayed the startup since June.

Ken’s piece puts the whole nuclear vs. renewables debate in clear perspective. The Tennessee Valley…

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October 6, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fracking Sellafield?

New Exclusion Zone for Sellafield Accident Lake Disctrict Nuclear Park

Sometime in the next day or so The Communities Secretary is going to make a decision whether to overrule Councillors and communities who have said no to fracking in Lancashire.  The risk of seismic activity brought on by fracking has been well highlighted.  But missing in the risk analysis is the cluster  of nuclear installations in the North.  Capenhurst in Cheshire enriches uranium, producing highly dangerous  uranium Hexaflouride gas.  Springfields inbetween Blackpool and Preston then turns this gas into fuel rods, they supply countries worldwide. Once the fuel has been spent in nuclear power plants,  it gets loaded onto the railway on its tortuous trip up the dilapidated railroads of the West Coast of Cumbria  to Sellafield.   At Sellafield the fuel ends up in nitric acids and cooling ponds where it sits for decades.  There is “a plan” to dump intermediate and high level wastes…

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October 6, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

No country on Earth is taking the 2 degree climate target seriously. #Auspol 

jpratt27

One of the morbidly fascinating aspects of climate change is how much cognitive dissonance it generates, in individuals and nations alike.
The more you understand the brutal logic of climate change — what it could mean, the effort necessary to forestall it — the more the intensity of the situation seems out of whack with the workaday routines of day-to-day life. It’s a species-level emergency, but almost no one is acting like it is. And it’s very, very difficult to be the only one acting like there’s an emergency, especially when the emergency is abstract and science-derived, grasped primarily by the intellect.

This psychological schism is true for individuals, and it’s true for nations.

Take the Paris climate agreement.
In Paris, in 2015, the countries of the world agreed (again) on the moral imperative to hold the rise in global average temperature to under 2 degrees Celsius, and to pursue…

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October 6, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

October 5 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

¶ “New 600 MW Colorado Wind Farm Blows Past ALEC Roadblock” • The powerful lobbying organization ALEC has been trying to trip up the US wind industry for years. Even so, despite objections from at least one organization linked to ALEC, Colorado officials have just approved a massive new 600-MW wind farm. [CleanTechnica]

Rush Creek Wind Farm (Photo courtesy of Xcel Energy) Rush Creek Wind Farm (Photo courtesy of Xcel Energy)

¶ “Coalition’s stunning hypocrisy – and ignorance – on renewable energy” • Australia’s Coalition Government, dropping all pretended support for renewable energy, contradicted the grid owner, the market operator, and the biggest generator, saying a coal plant would have kept the lights on when the power lines were blown down. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ The regions of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, an area with over four million people, have created an initiative to get 70% of its energy from green sources by 2025, going fully…

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October 6, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Coalition of New York groups call on state to scrap upstate nuclear subsidies

taxpayer bailoutGreen groups call on state to scrap upstate nuclear subsidies,Times Union  

A coalition of environmental groups including Food & Water Watch and the New York Public Interest Research Group have united to oppose what they estimate as an almost $8 billion effort to subsidize three upstate nuclear power plants: the James A. Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant and Nine Mile Point Nuclear Generating Station outside Oswego and the R.E. Ginna plant east of Rochester.

The state Public Service Commission voted in early August to approve a rate increase for the power generated by the plants to pay for the subsidies. Since then, a group of downstate lawmakers have called for the PSC to reconsider that action and be more transparent in its analysis, noting that the majority of the cost of keeping the plants on line will be borne by downstate rate-payers.

On Wednesday, the environmental coalition made the same economic argument, estimating that residential consumers will be on the hook for an estimated $2.3 billion over the 12-year life of the deal. Con Ed ($705.8 million) and Long Island Power Authority ($501.4 million) would bear the largest proportionate share of the cost based on their number of customers.

Blair Horner of NYPIRG said that keeping the plants in operation was like “subsidizing the horse-and-buggy industry while Henry Ford is rolling cars off the Assembly line.”

The coalition plans to mount a grassroots effort to kill the subsidies in much the same way that the natural gas drilling technique known as hydrofracking was blocked…….http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/268142/green-groups-call-on-state-to-scrap-upstate-nuclear-subsidies/

October 6, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment

Renewable energy racing ahead, nuclear energy falling behind

sun-championNuclear Power Rapidly Losing Race With Renewable Energy, http://www.ecowatch.com/nuclear-power-renewable-energy-2031607650.html, by Sun Day Campaign, Oct. 05, 2016 Two new reports from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) confirm that nuclear power is rapidly losing the race with renewable energy sources.
EIA’s latest “Monthly Energy Review” notes that during the first six months of this year, renewable sources—i.e., biofuelsbiomassgeothermalhydropowersolar and wind—accounted for 5.242 quadrillion Btus (quads) of domestic energy production. This includes thermal, liquid and electrical forms of energy. By comparison, nuclear power provided only 4.188 quads. That is, renewablesoutpaced nuclear by more than 25 percent.

Meanwhile, FERC’s latest “Energy Infrastructure Update” states that the total available installed generating capacity in the U.S. from the combination of utility-scale (i.e., greater than 1-MW) hydropower, wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal has grown to 215.82 gigawatts (GW) or 18.39 percent of total generating capacity. Nuclear power’s installed capacity is only107.06 GW or 9.12 percent of the total. Thus, renewable energy generating capacity is now more than double that of nuclear.

However, actual electrical generation by nuclear plants for the first seven months of 2016 is 19.9 percent of total generation. That is still higher than that provided by renewable sources whichcontributed 15.8 percent—a figure which does not include electricity produced by distributed renewables such as rooftop solar.

But while nuclear power’s share of net electrical generation has remained essentially flat over the past decade—e.g., it was 19.4 percent in 2006, renewable energy’s share is growing rapidly, increasing from 9.5 percent 10 years ago to 15.8 percent today with EIA forecasting continuedstrong growth in the years ahead.

“If renewable sources maintain their current growth rates, they could fully eclipse nuclear in the trifecta of not only energy supply and generating capacity but also electricity production within the next five or six years … or less,” Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign, concluded.

October 6, 2016 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Russia has suspended its nuclear and energy research agreement with the United States

Russia suspends its nuclear agreement with the United States http://www.smh.com.au/world/russia-suspends-its-nuclear-agreement-with-the-united-states-20161005-grvw7t.html Lidia Kelly 

Moscow: Russia has suspended its nuclear and energy research agreement with the United States as a countermeasure against Washington for imposing sanctions on Russia over Ukraine.

The Russian government also said on Wednesday it was terminating an agreement between its nuclear corporation Rosatom and the US Department of Energy on feasibility studies into conversion of Russian research reactors to low enriched uranium.

On Monday, President Vladimir Putin suspended a treaty with Washington on cleaning up weapons-grade plutonium, signalling he was willing to use nuclear disarmament as a new bargaining chip in disputes with the United States over Ukraine and Syria.

“The regular renewal of sanctions against Russia, which include the suspension of Russian-American cooperation in the field of nuclear energy demands the adoption of countermeasures against the US side,” the Russian government said on its website.

The agreement on co-operation in nuclear- and energy-related scientific research, signed in 2013, provided the legal framework necessary to expand work between US and Russian nuclear research laboratories and institutes in nuclear technology and nonproliferation, among others.

The uranium agreement, signed in 2010, provided for feasibility studies into the conversion of six Russian research reactors from dangerous highly enriched uranium to more secure low enriched uranium.

The West imposed economic sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014, followed by a pro-Russian insurrection in the east of the country. The breakdown of a ceasefire in Syria, where Russia backs government forces and the West supports rebel groups, has added to tensions.

October 6, 2016 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA | Leave a comment

UN court rejects Marshall Islands nuclear arms lawsuit

legal actionMarshall Islands nuclear arms lawsuit thrown out by UN’s top court, Guardian, 6 Oct 16 
Pacific atoll took India, Pakistan and Britain to international court of justice arguing they had failed to honour non-proliferation treaty 
The UN’s highest court has narrowly thrown out landmark cases brought by theMarshall Islands against India, Pakistan and Britain for allegedly failing to halt the nuclear arms race.

In majority and sharply divided decisions a 16-judge bench at the international court of justice (ICJ) ruled there was no evidence that the islands’ government had a prior dispute with any of the three nuclear powers or had sought negotiations on the issue.

“The court upholds the objection to jurisdiction” raised by each of the countries, presiding judge Ronny Abraham said in separate rulings, and therefore the tribunal “cannot proceed to the merits of the case”.

The Pacific island republic, population 55,000, was ground zero for a string of devastating nuclear tests on its pristine atolls between 1946-58, carried out by the United States as the cold war arms race gathered pace.

After the hearings the Marshalls government said it would “study the ruling”, which is final and without avenue of appeal……..https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/06/marshall-islands-nuclear-arms-lawsuit-thrown-out-by-uns-top-court

October 6, 2016 Posted by | Legal, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

Next month, Paris climate agreement will enter into force

logo Paris climate1PARIS AGREEMENT TO ENTER INTO FORCE IN A MONTH   Historic climate treaty passes both thresholds The Climate Group 6 Oct 16      LONDON: Today, the Paris Agreement has officially passed the necessary threshold to begin the process for its official entry into force – meaning the Agreement will officially enter into force globally in a month’s time. In doing so, it will become the first comprehensive climate agreement that commits all countries to taking climate action with the goal of keeping global warming “well below” the 2 degrees Celsius limit.

“Much like the adoption of the Paris Agreement itself in December last year, the entry into force of the treaty is a truly historic moment,” comments Damian Ryanacting CEOThe Climate Group. “Few international agreements have entered into force at such speed and arguably none have been so important to our common future as the Paris Agreement.

“The decision by many world leaders to act quickly and boldly over the past 10 months is to be applauded. Thanks should also go to the business leaders as well as politicians in state and regional governments whose actions and policies, such as committing to 100% renewable power, have helped create the momentum and political belief that a better, safer and more prosperous world can be created through bold climate action.”

A LONG JOURNEY

The first paragraph of article 21 in the Agreement states that it will enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date on which it passes its twin thresholds – namely, when at least 55 parties to the UNFCCC, accounting for at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions, have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the UN. Or in less technical terms, when more than half of the world has ratified the climate deal.

In April, 175 political leaders signed the Agreement in a record-breaking signing ceremony organized in New York. The event built on the climate momentum generated by Paris, but many underlined that signing was just the first step of a much longer journey: there was still the more complicated ratification process, where countries discuss the issue internally and then formally commit to the agreement with a document presented to the UN.

However, just last month, US and China – the two biggest emitters in the world, accounting for about 40% of global carbon emissions – officially ratified the Paris climate agreement, spurring an unstoppable momentum toward the goal of 55% of world’s emissions. Last Sunday, India – the world’s fourth biggest emitter, responsible for 4% of emissions – also ratified the climate deal.

“This is a momentous occasion,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “What once seemed unthinkable, is now unstoppable. Strong international support for the Paris Agreement entering into force is a testament to the urgency for action, and reflects the consensus of governments that robust global cooperation, grounded in national action, is essential to meet the climate challenge.”

Patricia EspinosaExecutive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, commented: “Above all, entry into force bodes well for the urgent, accelerated implementation of climate action that is now needed to realize a better, more secure world and to support also the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The Paris Agreement will entry into force on November 4, just before the Conference of the Parties in Marrakech (COP22), where political leaders will discuss how to implement the ambitious goals set in Paris………https://www.theclimategroup.org/news/paris-agreement-enter-force-month

October 6, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Legal | Leave a comment