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Climate change: warnings have been given by scientists since 1880 or earlier

A 1912 news article ominously forecasted the catastrophic effects of fossil fuels on climate change Akshat Rathi  24 Oct 16, A short news clip from a New Zealand paper published in 1912 has gone viral as an example of an early news story to make the connection between burning fossil fuels and climate change.

It wasn’t, however, the first article to suggest that our love for coal was wreaking destruction on our environment that would lead to climate change. The theory—now widely accepted as scientific reality—was mentioned in the news media as early as 1883, and was discussed in scientific circles much earlier than that.

The French physicist Joseph Fourier had made the observation in 1824 that the composition of the atmosphere is likely to affect the climate. But Svante Arrhenius’s 1896 study titled, “On the influence of carbonic acid in the air upon the temperature on the ground” was the first to quantify how carbon dioxide (or anhydrous carbonic acid, by another name) affects global temperature. Though the study does not explicitly say that the burning of fossil fuels would cause global warming, there were scientists before him who had made such a forecast.

The earliest such mention that Quartz could find was in the journal Nature in December of 1882. The author HA Phillips writes:

According to Prof Tyndall’s research, hydrogen, marsh gas, and ethylene have the property to a very high degree of absorbing and radiating heat, and so much that a very small proportion, of say one thousandth part, had very great effect. From this we may conclude that the increasing pollution of the atmosphere will have a marked influence on the climate of the world.

Phillips was relying on the work of John Tyndall, who in the 1860s had shown how various gases in the atmosphere absorb heat from the sun in the form of infrared radiation. Now we know that Phillips was wrong about a few scientific details: He ignored carbon dioxide from burning coal and focused more on the by-products of mining. Still, he was drawing the right conclusion about what our demand for fossil fuels might do to the climate.

Newspapers around the world took those words published in a prestigious scientific journal quite seriously. ……..

Nichols found many examples between 1883 and 1912, where newspapers, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, Kansas City Star, and York Daily, wrote articles about what rising carbon dioxide levels would do the climate.

All through the 19th century, the increasing use of coal was hard to miss. Towns and cities across the world were becoming noticeably polluted because of factories, and later steam trains. In this light, it’s not surprising that a tiny New Zealand newspaper carried an article in 1912 about how the ever-increasing use of fossil fuels might change Earth’s climate.

December 26, 2016 Posted by | climate change, history, Reference | Leave a comment

“Fake story” prompted Pakistan to issue a nuclear warning to Israel

flag-pakistanPakistan issues nuclear warning to Israel in response to ‘fake news’ story Israeli Ministry of Defence forced to point out initial story ‘completely fictitious’, The Independent Matt Broomfield  @hashtagbroom  25 Dec 16, The Defence Minister of Pakistan has issued a reminder to Israel of his country’s nuclear capability, in apparent response to a false news story.
Khawaja Muhammad Asif said in a tweet: “Israeli [Defence Minister] threatens nuclear retaliation presuming [Pakistani] role in Syria against Daesh. Israel forgets Pakistan is a Nuclear state too.”

Pakistan has remained relatively neutral in the Syrian civil war, though they have placed themselves on the side of the Assad regime, with their Foreign Secretary saying the world’s sixth-largest country is “against foreign military intervention in Syria.”

But a fake story published on the website AWDnews falsely suggested that Pakistan planned to “send ground troops to Syria as part of an international coalition to fight against Islamic State”.

The anonymously-authored story then features an apparently invented quote from former Israeli defence minister Moshe Yaalon, who resigned in May this year, sayig: “If, by misfortune, they arrive in Syria… we will destroy them with a nuclear attack.”

It is this story, which also includes a fabricated quote from the Pakistani Foreign Minister, which seemingly prompted Mr Asif’s tweet. The Israeli Ministry of Defence replied with a tweet of its own, pointing out the story was “completely fictitious”……. 


December 26, 2016 Posted by | Pakistan, politics international | Leave a comment

Scientists now consider geoengineering, as well as curbing greenhouse gas emissions

geoengineeringWhat’s Next for Climate Action?Prominent scientists say researchers and policy makers need to focus more on adapting to warming and on controversial geoengineering techniques to limit it  By Annie Sneed on December 16, 2016 , Scientific American,  SAN FRANCISCO—Despite President-elect Donald Trump’s distaste for the Paris climate agreement, countries around the world are already working to ensure that the global temperature rise stays below 2 degrees Celsius. This week at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference here, several prominent scientists discussed the critical steps researchers and decision makers need to take now. They said reducing carbon emissions is important, of course, but countries worldwide must also put more energy into adapting to changing weather that even moderate warming will bring, as well as consider the potential of controversial geoengineering techniques to keep warming in check.

One of the primary goals of the Paris accord is mitigation—cutting or preventing greenhouse gas emissions. To help countries meet their emissions pledges, the international community needs to analyze how it can achieve “deep decarbonization,” according to Margaret Leinen, director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and president of the AGU. This means determining what emissions-reducing technologies and strategies will work best for a given country. As Leinen explained at a conference panel session, “We need to be able to evaluate these technologies quantitatively in order to understand which ones work, which ones are scalable and for what countries and energy economies they work for.”

Another major detail that still needs to be sorted out: how to track nations’ emissions, to make sure they’re sticking to their reduction targets. “We need to start asking, ‘Okay, how will you prove that you actually did what you pledged to do?’” Leinen told Scientific American after the panel. To do that, countries will have to have some kind of monitoring system, and the international community has yet to agree on the guidelines for how that system will work.

It is up to scientists and engineers to design effective monitoring systems, or strengthen existing ones. ………..

Scientists should thoroughly assess geoengineering techniques and understand what their impact on the Earth’s systems might be, including any unintended consequences. They also need to consider logistical challenges—how to actually make geoengineering techniques work, in case the world decides to use them. Then there are political and governance issues, such as how countries should respond if, say, a nation starts injecting sulfate aerosols into the atmosphere on its own to cool the planet. Despite people’s general unease with geoengineering because of its potential for major unintended consequences, it is another tool countries may eventually need to use to combat climate change. “At this point, we need to keep all options open,” Busalacchi said. “We need to have a solid and robust understanding of what geoengineering can and can’t do, in case mitigation and adaptation fall short.”

December 26, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

“Frightening news” says Noam Chomsky, about Donald Trump’s tweet on nuclear expansion

Donald Trump’s nuclear expansion tweet ‘one of the most frightening things’, says Noam Chomsky The US and Russia already own more than 93 per cent of nuclear warheads in the world, The Independent, Rachael Revesz  @RachaelRevesz  Friday 23 December 2016 One of the world’s most famous scholars said he was “frightened” by Donald Trump’s tweet on “strengthening and expanding” nuclear capabilities in the US.

Noam Chomsky, professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said Mr Trump’s tweet was “one of the most frightening things I’ve seen recently”. “Putin’s is bad enough,” Mr Chomsky told the Huffington Post, “but at least it has a defensive cast. It’s about Russia’s borders, not Mexico’s.”……..

Mr Trump’s tweet, limited to 140 characters, did not give national security experts and advisers much reassurance for anything other than his preference for heated rhetoric…….

John Noonan, a Republican national security expert who advised presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney, wrote on twitter: “But imagine having to turn launch keys not knowing if we were under attack or it if was b/c foreign leaders said a mean thing on twitter.”Mr Trump has done little to assure his critics that he has the presence of mind and the steadiness to make a quick decision regarding an imminent nuclear threat……..

December 26, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Even without subsidies Wind & Solar Are Cheaper Than Dirty Energy

Low Costs of Solar Power & Wind Power Crush Coal, Crush Nuclear, & Beat Natural Gas [this article on original is full of excellent charts and maps], Clean Technica, December 25th, 2016 by  “……..

 Wind & Solar Are Cheaper (Without Subsidies) Than Dirty Energy

The first point is the very basic fact that new wind power and/or solar power plants are typically cheaper than new coal, natural gas, or nuclear power plants — even without any governmental support for solar or wind.

Not only are they typically cheaper — they’re much cheaper in many cases.  [good charts on original]

……..A study led by the former head of the Harvard Medical School found that coal cost the US $500 billion per year in extra health and environmental costs — approximately 9¢/kWh ($90/MWh) to 27¢/kWh ($270/MWh) more than the price we pay directly. To fool yourself into thinking these are not real costs is to assume that cancer, heart disease, asthma, and early death are not real.

The air, water, and climate effects of natural gas are not pretty either. On the nuclear front, the decommissioning and insurance costs of nuclear power — unaccounted for above — would also put nuclear off the chart.

On the renewable front, costs to overcome intermittency of renewable energy sources (basically, presuming a very high penetration of renewables on the grid) are also not included. Once that is a significant issue (at which point solar and wind will be even cheaper), low-cost demand response solutions, greater grid integration, and storage will be key solutions to integrating these lower-cost renewable sources to a high degree.

Back to Lazard’s assumptions, note that the IGCC and coal cost estimates do not include the costs of transportation and storage.

Given these assumptions unrealistically favoring fossil fuels and nuclear energy, including subsidies for solar and wind is actually an even better way to look at costs of these electricity options. However, if you included historical subsidies as well — coal, natural gas, and nuclear have received a ton (well, many, many tons of subsidies) — dirty energy options would again look worse. In any case, here’s Lazard’s cost comparisons with current subsidies: [chart on original]………

 People Can Get Lower Prices But More Jobs With Solar & Wind

Whether American, British, Canadian, Australian, Indian, German, Dutch, French, Spanish, or [fill in the blank], solar and wind power don’t just mean lower prices — they also typically mean more jobs. Much of the price of dirty energy power plants is in the fossil fuel — the physical resource. When we buy that fuel, much of the money goes to the billionaires and multimillionaires who “own” the fuel — the coal mines and the natural gas wells.

Sunshine and wind, of course, are free, but distributed solar and wind power plants have to get built and installed — those are things humans do. When we pay for solar and wind power plants, we pay for human labor, and often help create or support local jobs.

We don’t actually have to choose between low prices or jobs or protecting our air, water, and climate — we get all of those things with renewable energy options like solar and wind energy…….

December 26, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Trump attacks NBC News: he claims that it purposely misquoted him

trump-angry-toddlerTrump claims NBC ‘purposely’ misquoted nuclear comments, Politico, By 12/24/16 
President-elect Donald Trump claimed Saturday that NBC News “purposely” misquoted his call for an expansion of the U.S. nuclear program earlier this week, despite reports to the contrary.

Trump on Thursday said the United States “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” Saturday he accused NBC of intentionally leaving out the latter, more measure portion of his statements……..

NBC News’ initial report covering Trump’s comments on nuclear expansion, however, cited his comments in full. And the Thursday broadcast of NBC’s “Nightly News with Lester Holt” displayed his comments in their entirety.

Trump’s claim of dishonesty in media coverage has been a calling card of his ascendance to the White House. Since winning the presidency, Trump has repeatedly attacked the media, broadly accusing them of inciting violence against him, singling out individual reporters and blasting the press as “crooked.”……

December 26, 2016 Posted by | media, politics, USA | 1 Comment

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich backs Donald Trump’s aim to build up nuclear weapons

Flag-USAGingrich endorses Trump’s nuclear arms buildup By POLITICO STAFF 12/25/16
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Sunday supported President-elect Donald Trump’s remarks about a buildup of nuclear weapons, saying the strategy “is exactly right.”……..

Wallace also asked Gingrich if he thought that making foreign policy pronouncements on Twitter was a good thing for a president-elect to be doing.

“We might as well get used to it,” Gingrich said. “This is who he is, this is how he’s going to operate, whether it’s brilliant or stupid. He beat 16 rivals, then he beats Hillary Clinton and he beat the elite media. He ain’t giving it up.”

December 26, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Australia’s Lucas Height’s nuclear reactor security boss arrested for unauthorised documents and illegal gun

secret-agent-AustSMH, 24 Dec 16, Eamon Duff. A security consultant who held a “top secret” government clearance inside Australia’s only nuclear facility has been arrested and charged with the
illegal possession of “official secrets” and an unauthorised weapon.

Until February last year, Anthony Rami Haddad was manager of security and operations at the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, safeguarding the site against theft, diversion and sabotage.

However, following  a stint in the Middle easrt where he worked on another nuclear security project, he returned hom eto Sydney, and last month became entangled in an unrelated investigation being run by the Australian Federal Police’s fraud and anti-corruption team.

A fortnight ago, Haddad appeared before Sydney’s Downi8ng Centre Local court, where he pleaded guilty to unauthorised receipt of official secrets under the Commonwealth crimes Act.

He has yet to enter a plea for a second charge, ppossessing an unauthorised prohibited firearm. His barrister, Nikolaos Siafakas, will apply to have the outstanding matter dealt with under section 32 of teh Mental Health Act……..

According to ANSTO documents, Haddad’s many responsibilities at Lucas Heights included the “mamagement of security operations” at the onsite Little Forest radioactive waste dump and its “seamless integration” into the facility’s “wider” protective security systems.

Haddad will reappear in court on February 7

December 26, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, incidents, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Nuclear Regulatory Commission keeping mum on the situation at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station

Flag-USALawmakers concerned with Nuclear Regulatory Commission by Amid a week-long shutdown of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, legislators from Plymouth say their greatest frustration is not with the plant’s latest closure but in trying to get the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to be more forthcoming about the aging nuclear plant and problems identified by their own inspectors.

On Thursday, Dec. 15, after conducting scheduled testing at the plant, a Pilgrim operator found a “small main steam line leak” and the plant’s “operators made the conservative, best practice decision to shut down the plant and repair the leak,” Patrick O’Brien, a spokesman for the plant’s owner Entergy, said in an email.

The plant remained offline Wednesday, O’Brien said, as plant workers took “the time/opportunity to do maintenance that can’t be done otherwise when we are at full-power.” The steam line repairs have been completed, he said, and there was no threat to the safety of the plant’s staff or the public.

But Sen. Vinny deMacedo and Rep. Mathew Muratore, both Republicans from Plymouth, said they are more concerned about the NRC’s apparent unwillingness to answer questions raised after the Cape Cod Times and other media outlets obtained an internal NRC emaildocumenting safety concerns found at the plant during an NRC inspection earlier this month.

The email details problems such as “poor maintenance, poor engineering practices, and equipment reliability problems” at the plant, which can produce 680 megawatts of power using its boiling water reactor……..

a former Plymouth selectman, said the email contained “some alarming information” and the NRC has “not at all” done enough to allay the concerns the email brought to the forefront…….

Sen. Dan Wolf of Harwich told the News Service this month that the email “validates” concerns that he said should be taken seriously by those in authority.

“What is it going to take for this administration and for public safety officials in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to understand that this is the biggest public safety threat that the citizens of the Commonwealth face?” asked Wolf, a Democrat and possible candidate for governor in 2018.

Pilgrim opponents who favor its immediate shutdown have repeatedly called on Gov. Charlie Baker to recommend a shutdown. In turn, Baker has deferred to the federal government given its role as the chief regulator of the nuclear power industry.

December 26, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment