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About the Incineration of Fukushima Decontaminated Soil and Debris

From 2011 to 2014, decontaminated soil and debris were incinerated all over Japan. Informations about the quantity incinerated nationwide during those years in various locations are hard to get. As of today incineration is still ongoing in Eastern Japan, but we do no know if it is still ongoing or not in other parts of Japan as somehow nothing is being published about it.

Incineration is never a solution for  radiation contaminated waste, it reduces the volume of the contaminated waste but at the same time redistributes its contained radionuclides into the nearby environment, thus endangering the health of the people living there.

However, this article from September 2014 gives a list of the incineratition locations and of the disposal companies involved, among those Japan Environmental Safety Corporation (JESCO) was the most prominent, as JESCO was the company already handling most of the PCB waste disposal.

JESCO Hokkaido Office (Muroran City) JESCO北海道事業所(室蘭市)
Ecosystem Akita (Odate city)
Kureha environment (Iwaki City, Fukushima prefecture)
Tokyo Seaside Recycle Power (Koto Ward)
JESCO Tokyo Office (Koto Ward)
Toyama Environment Improvement (Toyama City)
JESCO Toyota Plant (Toyota City, Aichi) J
JESCO Osaka Plant (Osaka City)
KEIO GEORE (Amagasaki City, Hyogo)
Kobe Environment Creation (Kobe City)
Ecosystem Sanyo (Misaki Town, Okayama Prefecture)
Sanko (Sakaiminato City, Tottori Prefecture)
Fuji Clean (Ayagawa Town, Aya Gun, Kagawa Prefecture)
Ehime Prefecture Waste Treatment Center Toyo Works (Niihama City)
Lightwork refining tobata manufacturing plant (Kitakyushu city, Fukuoka prefecture)
JESCO Kitakyushu Office$



November 14, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Anti-nuclear scientist group aims to boost influence amid growing defense research fears



Japanese scientists are trying to make Pugwash Japan, the domestic arm of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs — an international organization working toward the abolition of nuclear arms and war — more active and influential amid concerns that the defense industry and scientific community are growing increasingly closer.

The Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs held its first world meeting in the small fishing village of Pugwash, Canada, in 1957 during the nuclear arms race of the Cold War, and has since worked on and advocated for the elimination of nuclear arms and weapons of mass destruction. Japanese physicist and 1949 Nobel Prize laureate Hideki Yukawa had actively participated in Pugwash meetings, including the first session, and Japan has hosted international Pugwash conferences, but the number of Japanese scientists involved in the movement has been dropping in recent years.

Since individual scientists join the conference based on their own qualifications, Japanese scientists who took part in past international meetings launched Pugwash Japan to spread the message. The Japan group decided in September to relaunch a better-organized Pugwash Japan with a code of conduct and membership system after an international Pugwash general conference was held in the city of Nagasaki in November last year. The group’s aim is to open the door wider to those who are interested in the group’s activities and strengthen its influence in policy making.

The newly reformed Pugwash Japan, headed by nuclear engineering professor Tatsujiro Suzuki at Nagasaki University, will hold its first general meeting in Tokyo on Nov. 27. It will have some 40 members, with Keio University professor emeritus Michiji Konuma — who worked with Yukawa — on the steering committee, and 16 advisers such as engineer Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, a special adviser to the Japan Science and Technology Agency and former chairman of the Science Council of Japan, and University of Tokyo professor emeritus Seigo Hirowatari.

Member scientists are set to discuss concerns regarding defense research in Japan and the challenges to nuclear disarmament that remain following U.S. President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Hiroshima. To ensure unrestrained discussion, the meeting will be closed to the public, but results of the debate will be incorporated into the statements it releases to the public. The organization is also considering holding symposiums for the general public.

Pugwash Japan chairman Suzuki said he hopes that the group provides scientists with an opportunity for open-minded discussion based on the two pillars of the Pugwash Conference — social responsibility of scientists and dialogue across divides. He added, “We’re concerned about the current tendency for everything to lean toward national security and hope that our discussions that will lead to policy proposals.”

November 14, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

VOX POPULI: Nuclear disaster surely taught us not to export this technology

nov 13 2016.jpg



The town of Futaba, which co-hosts the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, used to boast signage promoting nuclear power generation.

One sign proclaimed, “Genshiryoku–Akarui Mirai no Enerugii,” which translates literally as “Nuclear power: The energy of a bright future.”

This and other signs were removed in the aftermath of the March 2011 nuclear disaster. They were relocated last month to the Fukushima Museum in the city of Aizuwakamatsu, according to the Fukushima edition of The Asahi Shimbun.

The museum is said to be considering an eventual exhibition of these acquisitions, which include a panel bearing the slogan, “Genshiryoku Tadashii Rikai de Yutakana Kurashi” (Proper understanding of nuclear energy enriches life).

These upbeat messages convey the hope, once held by the town of Futaba, that hosting the nuclear power plant will bring prosperity to the community.

But now, the reality gap is all too stark. Completely evacuated in the aftermath of the disaster, Futaba remains a dead town.

Is nuclear power still “the energy of a bright future”?

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed a Japan-India nuclear deal on Nov. 11 during his summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, opening the way for Japan to export nuclear reactors to India.

This bilateral treaty came about at India’s request for Japanese technological cooperation.

In the vicinity of the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, more than 50,000 citizens are still living as forced evacuees, while work continues on the dismantling of the plant’s disabled reactors.

How could any country that let this happen have no qualms about providing its nuclear technology to another country? This is simply beyond comprehension.

While campaigning for India’s general election two years ago, Modi stressed that the nation could not hope for industrial or agricultural progress without electricity.

Of India’s population of 1.3 billion, about 300 million are still living without electricity. Correcting this power deficiency is obviously an urgent task, but is providing nuclear technology to India the only help that Japan can offer?

With evacuation orders still in effect for Futaba citizens, there is still nothing to indicate that the town will be habitable again.

And we, the Japanese people, know at first hand how difficult it is to rebuild people’s lives that were destroyed by a nuclear accident.



November 14, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

US Republicans now seek a quick way to get out of Paris climate agreement

trump-worldTrump seeking quickest way to quit Paris climate agreement, says report, Guardian, 13 Nov 16 
The president-elect wants to bypass the theoretical four-year procedure to exit the accord, according to a Reuters source, 
Donald Trump is looking at quick ways of withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement in defiance of widening international backing for the plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions, Reuters has reported.

Since the US president-elect was chosen, governments ranging from China to small island states have reaffirmed support for the 2015 Paris agreement at 200-nation climate talks running until 18 November in Marrakesh, Morocco.

But, according to Reuters, a source in the Trump transition team said the victorious Republican, who has called global warming a hoax, was considering ways to bypass a theoretical four-year procedure for leaving the accord.

“It was reckless for the Paris agreement to enter into force before the election,” said the source, who works on Trump’s transition team for international energy and climate policy, speaking on condition of anonymity. The Paris agreement went into force on 4 November, four days before last Tuesday’s election.

Alternatives were to send a letter withdrawing from a 1992 convention that is the parent treaty of the Paris agreement, voiding US involvement in both in a year’s time, or to issue a presidential order simply deleting the US signature from the Paris accord, the source told Reuters.

Many nations have expressed hopes the United States will stay. Morocco, the host for the talks, said the agreement that seeks to phase out greenhouse gases in the second half of the century was strong enough to survive a pullout.

“If one party decides to withdraw that it doesn’t call the agreement into question,” foreign minister Salaheddine Mezouar told a news conference.

Despite the threat of a US withdrawal, US secretary of state John Kerry said on Sunday that he would continue his efforts to implement the Paris agreement until Barack Obama leaves office on 20 January.

Speaking in New Zealand following a trip to Antarctica, Kerry appeared to take a swipe at Trump when he listed some of the ways in which global warming could already be seen. He said that there were more fires, floods and damaging storms around the world, and sea levels were rising.

“The evidence is mounting in ways that people in public life should not dare to avoid accepting as a mandate for action,” Kerry said…..

November 14, 2016 Posted by | climate change, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby renews its pretense that it is “clean and green”

Todd Allen, senior visiting fellow for a Washington think tank called Third Way, said the industry logo Third Way
needs to remake itself because “nuclear energy stands at a crossroads.”

In a separate event last week, Tim Judson, Nuclear Information and Resource Service executive director, discussed findings of a report he authored called “Too Big to Bail Out,” in which he argued that subsidizing the nuclear industry will have deep consequences.

Peter Bradford, a former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission board member and a former state utility regulator in Maine and New York, said New York’s bailout is “the clearest example of a state capitulating” to the industry.

Nuclear industry looks to reshape image  The Blade  the U.S. nuclear industry is trying harder than ever to market itself as an irreplaceable ally in the war against climate change.


Nuclear magicianIt is eager to get going on a new generation of plants that are smaller, leaner, faster, easier to manage,
and more attractive to private investors.

At stake could be the degree to which electricity ratepayers in Ohio and other states end up subsidizing the nuclear industry.

“There’s an important and continuing role for nuclear power in achieving these goals,” Kenneth N. Luongo, president of the Washington-based Partnership for Global Security, said at the start of a recent discussion between his group and the nuclear industry’s chief lobbying group on Capitol Hill, the Nuclear Energy Institute.

The Partnership for Global Security, originally incorporated in 1997 as the Russian-American Nuclear Security Advisory Council, is a think tank that promotes the convergence of 21st-century security, technology, and economic issues that affect the global nuclear industry. It has been working with the NEI on an effort called the Global Nexus Initiative, which promotes stronger public-private collaboration on nuclear issues.

“This is not a one-country issue,” Mr. Luongo said.

The NEI wants the public to reconsider how it views nuclear power ……

The NEI’s marketing campaign, though, took another hit in late October when Omaha Public Power announced it is giving up on its Fort Calhoun nuclear plant.

It is the seventh site in three years where a utility said it can no longer justify high operation costs.

Chicago-based Exelon, which owns the most nuclear plants, announced in June it will shut its single-unit Clinton and its twin-unit Quad Cities plants in Illinois in 2017 and 2018, respectively, because of poor economics.

Although Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. has said repeatedly that its Davis-Besse and Perry plants in Ohio are safe from early closure, Davis-Besse appeared on another list of at-risk plants in a Nov. 3 report issued by the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, an anti-nuclear group in Takoma Park, Md.

Three years ago, Davis-Besse was one of several plants cited at-risk for early closure in a Vermont Law School study. FirstEnergy’s chief executive officer, Charles “Chuck” Jones, said in a conference call with analysts earlier this month that the utility giant is undertaking a 12 to 18-month “strategic review” of its competitive generation business that could lead to selling off as many as 13 power plants, including Davis-Besse and plants at its other two nuclear complexes. The latter are the Perry nuclear plant east of Cleveland, and the twin-reactor Beaver Valley nuclear complex west of Pittsburgh.

“The fact is, competitive generation is weighing down the rest of the company,” Mr. Jones said. “We do not think competitive generation is a good fit.”

Though showing a profit for its third quarter, FirstEnergy lost millions of dollars during the first nine months of 2016 and expects to end the year with a loss as well.

“We are at a crossroads,” Mr. Jones said. “We have to make some tough decisions.”

Rate request

In a highly contentious rate request argued for months before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, FirstEnergy originally sought a guaranteed cash flow of up to 15 years to ensure the viability of Davis-Besse and the utility’s massive coal-fired Sammis plant in southern Ohio.

Last month, after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission struck down a modified plan, state regulators unanimously agreed to let FirstEnergy impose $132.5 million a year in new surcharges on its 1.9 million customers over the next three years. That comes to about $3 more a month for a typical residential customer. The deal is substantially less than FirstEnergy’s attempted compromise for an eight-year deal at $558 million per year for a total of $4.5 billion.

Critics have decried each proposal as a bailout, while the utility argued the money is necessary to help stabilize it.

But Ohio’s handling of FirstEnergy requests has been watched closely by other states which are undecided about the degree to which they should support nuclear power.

California, Mr. Luongo noted, has taken the position of gradually phasing out its nuclear plants, while New York decided late this summer to spend $7.6 billion over 12 years to ensure continued operation of three upstate nuclear plants……

There isn’t any uniformity regarding this issue at the moment,” Mr. Luongo said. “The market seems to be distorted, in that it is disincentivizing nuclear power.”

The discussion focused on the mix of old and new: How an investment in advanced nuclear reactors that are smaller but more efficient than today’s existing fleet could bring back the nuclear industry …..

The hope is to achieve better economies of scale with advanced nuclear reactors, standardized designs, greater involvement from private investors, and global partners.

“They’re unlikely to be wholly government financed,” Everett Redmond, NEI fuel cycle and technology policy senior director, said. “It’s key to be able to export this technology.”

Todd Allen, senior visiting fellow for a Washington think tank called Third Way, said the industry needs to remake itself because “nuclear energy stands at a crossroads.”

“Nuclear energy must evolve to keep up with changes in the energy sector,” he said……

In a separate event last week, Tim Judson, Nuclear Information and Resource Service executive director, discussed findings of a report he authored called “Too Big to Bail Out,” in which he argued that subsidizing the nuclear industry will have deep consequences.

He said his research shows half of the current fleet of nuclear plants could be uneconomical as early as 2020.

The nation should invest in other technologies instead of “obsolete infrastructure,” Mr. Judson said.

“Renewable energy and efficiency can be done for less,” he said.

Peter Bradford, a former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission board member and a former state utility regulator in Maine and New York, said New York’s bailout is “the clearest example of a state capitulating” to the industry.

Contact Tom Henry at:, 419-724-6079, or via Twitter @ecowriterohio.

November 14, 2016 Posted by | marketing, spinbuster, USA | 3 Comments

Donald Trump goes back on his previous statements, attacks media

liarDonald Trump Conveniently Forgets The Time He Said More Countries Should Have Nukes   The president-elect on Sunday railed about the “dishonest” media.
 14/11/2016 Donald Trump on Sunday continued to walk back some of his most controversial campaign rhetoric.

The president-elect went on a mini-tirade against The New York Times on Twitter, taking issue with the way the newspaper described his past statements about nuclear proliferation.

In fact, Trump did say he was open to more countries getting nuclear weapons ― in an interview with the very same newspaper back in March.

 “Well I think maybe it’s not so bad to have Japan — if Japan had that nuclear threat, I’m not sure that would be a bad thing for us,” he said.

Nor would it be so bad, Trump has said, if countries like South Korea and Saudi Arabia had nukes, too.

 “It’s going to happen, anyway,” he said in an interview with CNN. “It’s going to happen anyway. It’s only a question of time. They’re going to start having them or we have to get rid of them entirely. But you have so many countries already, China, Pakistan, you have so many countries, Russia, you have so many countries right now that have them.”

November 14, 2016 Posted by | USA elections 2016 | 1 Comment

Despite Trump, the shift to a low-carbon economy already has its own momentum

climate-changeDonald Trump presidency a ‘disaster for the planet’, warn climate scientists, Guardian, , 13 Nov 16 “………The shift to a low-carbon economy already has its own momentum, however, with the cost of solar and wind power tumbling in recent years. Nearly 100 coal power plants were retired in 2015, with renewables accounting for two-thirds of all new electricity generation.

New York and California both have their own ambitious emission reduction plans, conservative states such as Iowa are embracing wind energy, and innovations from companies such as Tesla, in solar panels and battery storage, are being snapped up by homeowners.

Trumpian interference can only do so much to slow this trend, although plodding progress isn’t enough to stave off climate catastrophe. The UN has warned that global emissions must peak by 2020 and then be sharply reduced in order to avoid the worst. This shrinking window risks being clouded entirely if the US is to choke itself, and the rest of the world, on its fumes.

Stunned environment groups, faced with triumphant climate denialism in all branches of government, are trying to muster defiance. “This could be devastating for our climate and our future,” admitted Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “But Trump must choose wisely or we guarantee him the hardest fight of his political life. We won’t be in a defensive crouch for the next four years, licking our wounds.

“If he tries to go backwards on climate change he’ll run headlong into an organized mass of people who will fight him in the courts, in Congress and on the streets.”

Others are more conciliatory, with former vice president Al Gore proffering an olive branch along with an enormous dollop of optimism. “Last night President-elect Trump said he wanted to be a president for all Americans,” Gore said on Wednesday. “In that spirit, I hope that he will work with the overwhelming majority of us who believe that the climate crisis is the greatest threat we face as a nation.”

Whether or not Trump becomes a belated convert to the reality of climate change, the physics of global warming remain unchanged.

2016 will be the warmest year on record, beating a mark set only last year. These extremes, where India experiences a temperature of 51C (123F) and the Arctic is robbed of almost all of its winter snowfall, are set to become the norm within a decade. American citizens, from Alaska to Louisiana, are already being uprooted due to the rising seas, a situation that will become commonplace.

Trump knows enough of the gargantuan shifts underway to build a seawall for his golf course in County Clare, Ireland. His Mar-a-Lago club in Florida may have to be next. Whether he extends his concern from beyond his own business interests to the rest of the world remains to be seen.

November 14, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Donald Trump and the road to fascism

We must remember how quickly economic collapse and recession can breed totalitarian movements, especially in countries where privileged segments of the population are used to higher standards of living and special advantages in relation to the rest of the world. Europe and the US, with their long histories of both real and mythological prosperity, may be ticking time bombs. As we enter these next years, those forces aligned with social and economic justice principles must take very seriously the potential for another economic crisis.

fascismRising European Fascists Welcome Trump Victory Saturday, 12 November 2016 00:00By Ryan Harvey, Truthout | Report “Today the United States, tomorrow France,” former National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen tweeted late Tuesday night, referencing the prophetic quote attributed to Adolph Hitler. This was as Donald Trump’s victory swept through the world’s headlines, exciting many a far-right activist within and outside of the United States.

Unfortunately, Le Pen is no lone Twitter-fascist, but a popular figure whose daughter and fellow far-right leader Marine Le Pen is expected to win the first round of French national elections in April. In the last elections, Le Pen swept large areas of the country in the first round before being defeated by large margins in the second.

But this is the year of Brexit and Donald Trump, and France (and Europe) need not wait until 2017 to anticipate their future. As many have pointed out, the French primaries, only two weeks away, may well determine the outcome in the spring. If Alain Juppe succeeds in clinching the Republican Party’s nomination, he stands to beat Marine Le Pen. Any other scenario opens the gate of possibility for the fascist-right she represents.

France, the target of a number of attacks by Islamic State copycats and a battleground in the humanitarian crisis facing refugees in Europe, is not alone in the predicament of having far-right parties poised to make big gains in fast-approaching elections. Austria, the first EU state to close its borders to refugees, votes December 4 in a highly contested race that saw election results from May — which placed the leftist Alexander Van der Bellen barely in front — invalidated due to fraud. Norbert Hofer, who represents the far-right Freedom Party, lost by a very small margin of just over 30,000 votes and is expected to win next month.

In the Netherlands, holding its next election in March, the far-right Geert Wilders is placed for a possible victory as well, representing the anti-Muslim, anti-EU Party for Freedom. In an echo of Trump’s situation, criminal charges Wilders is facing for hate speech may actually increase his likelihood to win.

“We are witnessing the same uprising on both sides of the Atlantic,” Wilders wrote Wednesday morning in the conspiracy-site-turned-news-blog Breitbart. “The Patriotic Spring is sweeping the Western world.”…….

On the topic of Putin, Trump’s respect for strongmen leaders and his embracing of conspiratorial ideas about who runs the world will likely trickle down to the grassroots. We can expect an alliance with the Le Pens and Hofers of Europe, one that places xenophobic nationalist rhetoric at the center of its policies, as well as a tighter embrace of the Putinsphere across Eastern and now Western Europe………

We can also expect strange approaches to strongmen like Rodrigo Duterte, “the Trump of the East,” who recently appointed Trump’s business partner in the Philippines, Century Properties Group chairman Jose Antonio, as a special envoy to Washington for trade, investment and economic affairs………

We must remember how quickly economic collapse and recession can breed totalitarian movements, especially in countries where privileged segments of the population are used to higher standards of living and special advantages in relation to the rest of the world. Europe and the US, with their long histories of both real and mythological prosperity, may be ticking time bombs. As we enter these next years, those forces aligned with social and economic justice principles must take very seriously the potential for another economic crisis.

November 14, 2016 Posted by | EUROPE, politics | Leave a comment

Donald Trump and his relationship with Russia

Nuclear weapons: how foreign hotspots could test Trump’s finger on the trigger, Guardian, , 13 Nov 16, “……….Trump has claimed he could improve relations with Russia, and in particular with Vladimir Putin personally, that would defuse the high tensions over Ukraine and Syria. Such deals could well be at the expense of the people of those countries, but could conceivably lessen the chances of a complete end to arms control and the return to an expensive and dangerous nuclear arms race. Hans Kristensen, a nuclear expert at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), points out that the deepest cuts in nuclear arsenals have been achieved by Republican administrations.

“Republicans love nuclear weapons reductions, as long as they’re not proposed by a Democratic president,” Kristensen wrote on an FAS blog

“That is the lesson from decades of US nuclear weapons and arms control management. If that trend continues, then we can expect the new Donald Trump administration to reduce the US nuclear weapons arsenal more than the Obama administration did.”

The current arms treaty limiting the strategic arsenals of both countries, New Start, expires in 2021. A decision will have to be made whether to replace it or let arms control wither. Both Putin and Trump could save tens of billions of dollars by cutting arsenals. As part of any deal, however, Putin would ask for the scrapping of the US missile defence system currently being erected in eastern Europe. Any concessions on the US trillion-dollar nuclear weapon modernisation programme, which Trump endorses in his transition website, would bring him in direct conflict with the Republican establishment.

“I could imagine Trump personally being more flexible,” Acton said. “But it would set up a huge fight with Congress. Congress loves missile defence.”

November 14, 2016 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

India does not regard the “Termination” clause as binding – nuclear deal with Japan

hypocrisy-scaleflag-indiaTermination clause in nuclear deal with Japan not binding
on India, insists govt, First Post, 13 Nov 16 
New Delhi: The just-signed historic civil nuclear deal with Japan has a “termination” clause which the government here insists is not binding on India but merely records the “views” of the Japanese side considering its “special sensitivities”.

The government insisted that India has made “no additional commitments” over the similar agreements signed with the US and other countries.

In the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on Friday, there is a note on ‘Views and Understanding’ wherein the Japanese side has cited India’s September 2008 declaration of unilateral moratorium on atomic tests and said if this commitment is violated, the deal will terminate.

Indian government holds that this is merely recording of the views of the two sides.

“The termination clause is there in other NCAs (nuclear cooperation agreements) we have signed, including with the US (Article 14). However the circumstances triggering a possible termination are never sharply defined. Consideration also has to be given to mitigating factors,” a source here said.

“That note is simply a record by the negotiators of respective views on certain issues. It is not the NCA which is what is binding,” the source said.

The sources added that given Japan’s special sensitivities as the only nation to have suffered a nuclear attack, “it was felt that their views should be recorded in a separate Note. The Note is a record by the negotiators of respective views on certain issues.

“The termination clause is there in other NCAs (nuclear cooperation agreements) we have signed, including with the US (Article 14). However the circumstances triggering a possible termination are never sharply defined. Consideration also has to be given to mitigating factors,” a source here said.

“That note is simply a record by the negotiators of respective views on certain issues. It is not the NCA which is what is binding,” the source said.

The sources added that given Japan’s special sensitivities as the only nation to have suffered a nuclear attack, “it was felt that their views should be recorded in a separate Note. The Note is a record by the negotiators of respective views on certain issues………

Japan has made a major exception by signing the atomic cooperation agreement with India, despite it being non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)……..

November 14, 2016 Posted by | India, politics, politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Keep it in the ground: What President Trump means for climate change

climate SOS

Donald Trump’s win could be catastrophic for the world’s climate, as well as international diplomacy, as American leadership is transformed This November is likely to have profound implications for climate change – but not in the way that was anticipated just a week ago. The Paris climate deal came into force on 4 November but Tuesday’s election of Donald Trump as US president casts an ominous shadow over the agreement and the chances of avoiding dangerous global warming.

Trump is a highly erratic figure, so predicting his actions can be problematic. But we do know that he wants to withdraw the US from the Paris accord, which aims to keep the global temperature increase below a 2C threshold, that he believes climate change to be a “hoax” and that Barack Obama’s warning that global warming is a threat on a par with terrorism was “one of the dumbest statements I’ve ever heard in politics.”

Obama’s climate legacy, and the tools he used to force down emissions, are set to be torn apart by Trump once he enters the White House. Contentious oil pipelines such as Keystone and Dakota Access will likely be approved. Clean energy funding will be slashed. The world’s second largest greenhouse gas emitter will look to prop up coal, rather than renewables, to power its future. Read my report today for the full story.

This could prove catastrophic for the world’s climate, as well as international diplomacy, as American leadership is transformed into an excuse to slack off in cutting emissions. Already, the 2C threshold looks in severe peril. 8 November could be the day when tens of millions of people were condemned to an unlivable environment. A Trump u-turn on this matter, at least, would be welcomed by those most at risk.

Oliver Milman, US environment correspondent

November 14, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Drought is destabilising Africa

drought1HotSpots H2O: Africa’s Water Challenges Global HotSpots H2O, 13 Nov 16 

From the Syrian conflict, to protests in Zimbabwe, Tunisia and India, to a deep drought destabilizing South Africa, water is playing a significant role in global civil unrest.

HotSpots H2O from Circle of Blue’s award-winning team of journalists examines regions, populations, and countries that are most at risk from water-related unrest and conflict. It reveals the challenges individuals confront — and the solutions they discover — as they strive to build resilient communities.

Africa’s Water Challenges The worst drought in 35 years continues to grip southern Africa, even as the El Nino season that caused it comes to an end. The drought, which began in 2015, has left 21.3 million people in need of food assistance,according the American aid agency USAID. Officials say the food crisis will continue to get worse.

“The crisis has yet to peak,” United Nation’s Special Envoy Macharia Kamau told journalists in Mozambique after a four day tour of that nation where he witnessed the desperation of the hungry. “For many children, women and the elderly, the next few months will be about looking at survival straight in the face,” he continued.

The fifteen-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) has been scrabbling to find aid for the food crisis and has recently launched a call for $US 2.9 billion in food aid from the international community. The call for assistance comes as the wet season returns to southern Africa with the onset of La Nina.

Despite the upcoming rains, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe have all declared a state of emergency, due to the upcoming “lean season.” From January to March famers will wait for their crops to grow before they can begin to harvest.

The severity of the effects of the drought in the region stem in part from the fragile nature of the water systems and the economic structures prevalent in the region, according to visiting Oxford Professor David Grey.

“Unsustainable livelihoods as a consequence of the hydrological complexity and variability are fairly widespread across the continent,” Grey told Circle of Blue. “And the consequences of this is that as populations grow, people find it harder and harder to feed themselves.”

Water Security: Freedom from Intolerable Water-Related Risks | PODCAST |

Large-scale drought in southern Africa. Floods in North Korea and Haiti. Rumblings of water-related conflicts in Pakistan and India. In Circle of Blue’s latest HotSpots H2O podcast, Dr. David Grey, a visiting professor of Water Policy from Oxford University, argues that water security is closely linked to migration, climate change risk, and economic development. In an interview with J. Carl Ganter, Circle of Blue’s director, Dr. Grey also offers solutions to alleviating the world’s water-related risks.

Dr. Grey also is a former member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Water Security. J. Carl Ganter reports from Washington D.C. at the International Dialogue on the Global Commons.

Madagascar in Focus: Food Shortages Affects 1.4 Million People

 Three years of extended drought in southern Madagascar have left 1.4 million people without food as a hunger crisis emerges in the southeast African island nation.

“These are people living on the very brink – many have nothing but wild fruits to eat,” United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) regional Director Chris Nikoi told reporters in late October.

The drought forced many subsistence farmers to begin eating their own seed stocks and selling their land to get by, meaning they will have nothing to plant and nowhere to plant it when the rain returns. Next year, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, at least 840,000 people risk severe malnutrition, and nearly 1.4 million will be food insecure.

Children have been the hardest hit. According to UNICEF, some 10,500 kids have been treated for a hunger-related illness known as severe acute malnutrition or SAM since January of this year. Children suffering from SAM typically have a mortality rate of around 30 to 50 percent.

The return of La Nina this winter may bring some relief. But strong rain could cause flash flooding, washing away fragile topsoil and newly planted crops.

November 14, 2016 Posted by | AFRICA, climate change | Leave a comment

Trans Pacific Partnership – just about ready for burial?

texy-TPPTPP: Trans-Pacific Partnership dead, before Trump even takes office, Age,  Peter Martin , 14 Nov 16,  Eight years in the making, the giant Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal between Australia, the US and 10 other regional powers is as good as dead after the Obama administration walked away from its plan to put it before the “lame duck” Congress ahead of Donald Trump’s inauguration as president.

Controversial in Australia because it would allow US-headquartered corporations to sue Australian governments in extraterritorial tribunals and entrench pharmaceutical monopolies and copyright rules, the TPP was the subject of a last-minute plea by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to president-elect Donald Trump in their 15-minute phone conversation on Thursday.

It has been signed by each of the member countries – Australia, the US, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam – but ratified by none.

Other members including Australia were waiting for a decision from the US because the rules require ratification by members accounting for 85 per cent of the the agreement’s gross domestic product, meaning it can’t come into force without the US as the other members combined have only 43 per cent.

Over the weekend the Senate’s top Democrat Charles Schumer told union leaders the deal would not be ratified. House of Representatives Republican speaker Paul Ryan, who has in the past supported the TPP, said the “votes aren’t there” to pass it.

Mr Trump made opposing the TPP a key part of his campaign, saying America did “not need to enter into another massive international agreement that ties us up and binds us down”. Democrats members of Congress were never keen, opposing by a wide margin President Barack Obama’s negotiating mandate which only passed into law with the support of Republicans.

On Sunday Australia’s trade minister Steven Ciobo questioned whether it would be worthwhile concluding the agreement without the US, even if it was possible.

“In theory, yes,” he told the ABC’s Insiders. “but is there enough merit to look at a trade deal among the 11 of us? It changes the metrics substantially.”

Mr Ciobo will hold discussions about the future of the agreement at the APEC leaders summit in Lima, Peru on Thursday which will be attended by Mr Turnbull on Sunday.

The US decision leaves two Australian parliamentary inquiries in limbo. The joint standing committee on treaties finished hearing evidence just before Mr Trump’s election and has not yet produced a report. The Senate inquiry has yet to call witnesses.

November 14, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Trump translates into climate confusion at Marrakesh

Jennifer Hewett, 13 Nov 16 A Trump White House ensures the mood at the international climate change conference in Marrakesh this week is dominated by confusion and apprehension about US intentions…. (subscribers only)

November 14, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Massive safety exercises as Japanese nuclear plants, in volcanic and earthquake areas

safety-symbol-SmJapanese nuclear plant holds tsunami & meltdown drills  13 Nov, 2016 A major anti-disaster drill has been held at a nuclear plant in Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s main islands. The exercise followed a similar drill in Shikoku, and was based on the scenario of a powerful earthquake and tsunami striking the region.

Hokkaido is the second largest island of Japan which is home to the Tomari Nuclear Power Plant Unit 3 reactor. Due to over a dozen volcanoes it is prone to seismic activity. …… in Hokkaido, local residents joined officials from 40 organizations, including central and local governments to polish their emergency response.

In particular, the training trained people in how to reach safety should the main roads around Tomari be affected by a tsunami.
The drill even rehearsed the erection of an emergency response center some ten kilometers from the power station.

Meanwhile, locals practiced survival mode skills at a local school in case they are faced with a radiation leak situation. A massive evacuation of civilians using buses has also been organized.  READ MORE: Volcano near Japanese nuclear plant to see major eruption within 25 years, scientists warn

A similar drill was held at the Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture on Friday, and involved about 23,000 people. There, local residents joined officials from 90 organizations in a massive exercise organized by the Shikoku Electric Power Company.

November 14, 2016 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment