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A Washington State judge uses doubt on climate change as legal cause to block a climate activist’s defense



Would  any judge question a  medical expert’s evidence in the way that this judge doubts the evidence of the world’s climate scientists? Then again – they do say that “the law is an ass”

Judge in environmental activist’s trial says climate change is matter of debate
Controversial statements angered environmentalists who insist courts have an obligation to recognize the science about manmade climate change,
Guardian,   31 Jan 17, A Washington state judge has sparked outrage for remarks questioning the existence of climate change and the role of humans in global warming.

During the high-profile trial of Ken Ward, a climate activist facing 30 years in prison for shutting down an oil pipeline, Judge Michael E Rickert said: “I don’t know what everybody’s beliefs are on [climate change], but I know that there’s tremendous controversy over the fact whether it even exists. And even if people believe that it does or it doesn’t, the extent of what we’re doing to ourselves and our climate and our planet, there’s great controversy over that.”

The Skagit County judge made the comments on 24 January while addressing Ward’s request to present a “necessity defense” in court, meaning he would argue that the grave threat of climate change justified civil disobedience.

Rickert’s controversial statements, along with his decision to block Ward from arguing that his pipeline protest was necessary to prevent harm to the planet, angered environmentalists who insist that American courts have an obligation to recognize the science and consensus among researchers about man-made climate change.

“I thought it was shocking and deeply worrisome for my case,” said Ward, 60, of Corbett, Oregon, who temporarily shut off the safety valve of the TransMountain pipeline in Skagit County. “We are in the late stages of global collapse, and to have someone who is presumably as knowledgeable and aware as a judge should be blithely dismissing the biggest problem facing the world is chilling.”

Ward, whose trial began on Monday, is part of a group of activists that targeted oil sands pipelines in Washington, Oregon, North Dakota, Montana and Minnesota on 11 October 2016. The coordinated #ShutItDown actions – which have led to a dozen criminal cases and threats of hefty prison sentences against activists and journalists – was aimed at stopping 15% of US crude oil imports for a day.

He later added that with climate change, there’s “great controversy” with “over half of our political leaders”. (Critics have slammed the GOP as the “only major party in the advanced world” to deny climate change)…….

February 1, 2017 Posted by | climate change, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

The link between “peaceful” nuclear power and nuclear weapons

peaceful-nukeWhat is the Relationship of Nuclear Energy Plants and Nuclear Weapons?  Finding the Missing Link January 28, 2017 Scott Jones, Ph.D.

Setting aside the classical tenderness of the phrase, they are Mother and Child. Within the science community and the business of commercial nuclear energy this reality is a given. However, the “Atoms for Peace” commercial slogan may have introduced some ambiguity about this reality. This is quickly cleared up for the lay person by a January 1983 article published in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

“An even more specific confirmation of the economic advantage 
of the commercial-power route to bombs is available in a most 
distressing form: the admission by the U.S. government, in late 1981,
 that it is considering turning to commercial-reactor fuel as the
 source of plutonium for a new round of nuclear warheads. Would 
the United States even consider paying the political costs of such a 
move unless the economic attractiveness were compelling?”

The family relationship is the basic and fundamental link between nuclear energy production and nuclear weapons. However, it leads to other important relationships.

Nuclear weapons are the result of willful national security political decisions. After the development and use of nuclear weapons by the Unites States, every country that followed in the club of nuclear weapon owners made that decision because of an assessment that it gave them security that they otherwise would not have. It was claimed to be a defensive move to deter all potential enemies from use of nuclear weapons against them……

What we can say with certainty is that a nuclear power plant nominates itself as a potential target. What cannot easily be predicted is who or what may be the aggressor. While progress is being made in predicting threats from nature, it will always remain to a significant degree a capricious force.

In the human realm, current and traditional enemies most certainly will be on target and threat lists. But the threat may be from a terrorist group that selects one of the world’s existing 450 operating nuclear power plants in 31 countries, or later, one the 60 new plants under construction in 16 countries. Which plant to attack may be decided because it is assessed to be the most vulnerable target for their capability to attack.

There is no shortage of targets now and the number is increasing. Success will not be measured by the amount of radiation released. That will almost be immaterial.

The global nuclear power plant network shares a nervous system that is highly tuned to every nuclear event. Deserved or not an accident or an attack will be perceived by much of the world through a memory lens of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Chernobyl, and Fukushima.

February 1, 2017 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

America’s EPA head announces pullout from a global pact to cut emissions

U.S. will change course on climate policy, says former EPA transition head Reuters, By Nina Chestney |30 JAN 17  LONDON The United States will switch course on climate change and pull out of a global pact to cut emissions, said Myron Ebell, who headed U.S. President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team until his inauguration.

Ebell is the director of global warming and international environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a U.S. conservative think tank, and helped to guide the EPA’s transition after Trump was elected in November until he was sworn in on Jan. 20.

Trump, a climate skeptic, campaigned on a pledge to boost the U.S. oil and gas drilling and coal mining industries by reducing regulation.

He alarmed nations that backed the 2015 Paris agreement to cut greenhouse gases by pledging to pull the United States out of the global deal agreed by nearly 200 countries. However, Trump told the New York Times in November that he had an “open mind” on the agreement.

Trump’s administration has asked the EPA to halt all contracts, grants and interagency agreements pending a review, sources said.

“The U.S. will clearly change its course on climate policy. Trump has made it clear he will withdraw from the Paris Agreement. He could do it by executive order tomorrow or he could do it as part of a larger package,” Ebell told reporters in London on Monday.

The top energy official for the European Union, meanwhile, said he hoped that Trump would stick to the Paris deal……..

February 1, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Fire in building in France’s Cattenom nuclear plant

Fire contained at building in France’s Cattenom nuclear plant -EDF 1 February 2017 PARIS,  French state-controlled utility EDF said on Tuesday that a fire in a building at its Cattenom nuclear plant in the northeast of the country has had no impact on the industrial section of the installation and has been contained.

EDF said the fire broke out around 2100 GMT in a temporary administrative building and fire services promptly intervened.

“The fire had no impact on the safety of the personnel of the plant or to the safety of the installations,” EDF said in the statement.

“This structure is located away from the industrial and the nuclear part of the installations,” EDF said.

The Cattenom plant has four nuclear reactors with a capacity of 1,300 megawatts each.

EDF said it had informed officials in France and neighbouring countries. Cattenom is near the border with Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. (Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Toni Reinhold)

February 1, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Global and regional sea level rise scenarios for the United States NOAA Technical Report NOS CO -OPS 083

27 January 2017

Executive summary

The Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flood Hazard Scenarios and Tools Interagency Task Force, jointly convened by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) and the National Ocean Council (NOC), began its work in August 2015. The Task Force has focused its efforts on three primary tasks: updating scenarios of global mean sea level (GMSL) rise, 2) integrating the global scenarios with regional factors contributing to sea level change for the entire U.S. coastline, and 3) incorporating these regionally appropriate scenarios within coastal risk management tools and capabilities deployed by individual agencies in support of the needs of specific stakeholder groups and user communities. This technical report focuses on the first two of these tasks and reports on the production of gridded relative sea level (RSL, which includes both ocean-level change and vertical land motion) projections for the United States associated with an updated set of GMSL scenarios. In addition to supporting the longer-term Task Force effort, this new product will be an important input into the USGCRP Sustained Assessment process and upcoming Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) due in 2018. This report also serves as a key technical input into the in-progress USGCRP Climate Science Special Report (CSSR).

Publication Details

Resource Type: Text  Report
Peer reviewed (if applicable):
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February 1, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment