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Melting Permafrost Threatens To Unleash Dangerous Climate Feedback #auspol


Earth’s melting permafrost threatens to unleash a dangerous climate feedback loopNew permafrost study underscores the critical importance of ambitious climate targets, like the Paris agreement.

By Dr Joe Romm

In this so-called “drunken forest,” in Alaska, the trees tilt because the once-frozen ground (permafrost) is thawing. CREDIT: NSIDC.

Global warming will defrost much more permafrost than we thought, a new study finds. Every 1°C (1.8°F) of additional warming would thaw one-quarter of the earth’s frozen tundra area — releasing staggering amounts of heat-trapping greenhouse gases (GHGs).

Those GHGs would in turn warm the planet more, melting more permafrost, releasing more GHGs, and so on. This is perhaps the most dangerous amplifying carbon-cycle feedback humanity faces — considering permafrost contains twice as much carbon as the atmosphere does today.

That’s why it’s so vital the U.S. adheres to its commitments in the 2015 Paris climate agreement — a landmark accord in which the world unanimously committed to…

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April 11, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Global Warming Could Thaw Far More Permafrost Than Expected

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

GR: Here’s your daily dose of bad news for climate change. This study doesn’t consider the effect of the increased permafrost thaw. However, we know that thawed permafrost releases methane and other gasses. Expect new global-warming projections soon. (Link to recent post concerned with extent of permafrost thaw.)

Thawing permafrost has communities like Newtok, Alaska literally losing the ground under their feet. Credit: Getty Images

“More than 40 percent of the world’s permafrost—landscape covered in frozen soil—is at risk of thawing even if the world succeeds in limiting global warming to the international goal of 2 degrees Celsius, according to a new study.

“Currently, permafrost covers about nearly 5.8 million square miles, and scientists found as much as 2.5 million square miles of that could thaw—about twice the area of Alaska, California and Texas combined—in a 2 degree Celsius scenario. Thawing would be more limited if warming can be held…

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Trump Notified Russia Before Attacking Syria; Trump Formally Notified the US Congress on Saturday; 100 years Ago US President Wilson Asked Congress Before Entering WWI

Mining Awareness +

April 2, 1917, US President Woodrow Wilson asking Congress for a declaration of war before entering World War I on April 6, 1917

Trump’s dangerous theatre of the absurd: He had Russia notified (or notified them) before air strikes against Syria on the 100th anniversity of US entry into World War I: “Russian forces were notified in advance of the strike using the established deconfliction line. U.S. military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield“(See entire DoD Statement at the bottom of this blog post.)

Unlike Trump, Woodrow Wilson asked Congress for permission on April 2nd before entering World War I on April 6th. Trump, on the other hand, waited until the US House went home for Easter to attack Syria!

The US had had its ships sunk without warning many times prior to entry into World War I, including…

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April 11 Energy News


Science and Technology:

¶ E.ON is collaborating with Dutch company Ampyx Power to develop the latter’s airborne wind energy system. The agreement aims to further development of the system towards commercial deployment. Ampyx is moving toward building and operating a demonstration site for the airborne wind energy concept in County Mayo in Ireland. [reNews]

Ampyx Power system (image: Ampyx Power)


¶ The BBC has seen evidence that top executives at Shell knew money paid to the Nigerian government for a vast oil field would be passed to a convicted money-launderer and had reason to believe the money would be used to pay political bribes. The deal happened while Shell was operating under a probation order for separate Nigerian corruption. [BBC]

¶ Electricity generated at Barrow’s Walney Wind Farm will help to power one of the UK’s biggest building materials companies. Its owner, Dong Energy, has…

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2017’s Warming Climate Produces Unprecedented Floods Across the Globe


“A robust result, consistent across climate model projections, is that higher precipitation extremes in warmer climates are very likely to occur.” — IPCC

“As the climate has warmed… heat waves are longer and hotter. Heavy rains and flooding are more frequent. In a wide swing between extremes, drought, too, is more intense and more widespread.” — Climate Communications


It’s a tough fact to get one’s head around. But a warming climate means that many regions will both experience more extreme droughts and more extreme floods. The cause for this new weather severity is that a warming planet produces higher rates of evaporation together with more intense atmospheric convection. Warmer air over land means that the moisture gets baked out of terrain, lakes and rivers faster. And this warming effect causes droughts to settle in more rapidly, to become more intense than we are used to, and to often…

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No Need for Nuclear – the Renewables are Here! CND Conference


No Need for Nuclear - CNDCND are actively opposing Nuclear Power.  We hope that as is happening in China,South Korea, Germany,France and elsewhere,  the UK’s NGOs and citizen groups will  join CND and others in the UK’s tenacious Nuclear Resistance.

Report from Cumbria and Lancashire Area Group reproduced with permission:

The Cumbria and Lancashire Area is comprised of just three local CND affiliated groups. The Lancaster and District group sits close to the Heysham nuclear power stations, the North Cumbria group sits close to Sellafield and the East Lancashire group is the nearest group to Springfields Nuclear Factory so we are particularly concerned about developments in the nuclear power industry. Resolution 7 “Nuclear Power” was carried overwhelmingly at CND AGM 2016.

This report has been prepared by Irene Sanderson of North Cumbria CND. I submit it to CND National Council, particularly for the information of those who are taking forward part…

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Glaciers Melting in Glacier National Park

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

GR: Scientists have used repeated photographs to study glaciers for more than a century (Rogers et al. 1984). Arthur Johnson published the earliest photographic study of glacier change in Glacier National Park in 1980 (U. S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1180, 29 pp.). By 1980, the glaciers had already begun melting and shrinking. The photos in this article show that all the glaciers in Glacier National Park will soon be gone. As pointed out elsewhere, mountain glaciers store winter precipitation and release it during summer months. With more precipitation falling in winter as rain instead of snow, less water is stored in glacial ice, and this leads to shortages during summer.

“As the National Park Service turns 100, we’re looking at how climate change affects our shared heritage and what the agency is doing about it. This is our fourth story in a series.

“National Parks have…

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Director killed by terrorist lives on through 3/11 victims’ film: “Abandoned Land”


Gilles Laurent shoots a scene in Fukushima Prefecture.

The resilience of victims of the 2011 nuclear disaster inspired a Belgian sound engineer to direct his own film on them, but his chance to finish the documentary was stolen by a terrorist.

Gilles Laurent shot “La Terre Abandonnee” (Abandoned Land) in Fukushima Prefecture while he lived in Japan, and the film, which was completed posthumously, is now on show here. Sadly, the director is no longer with us, as he perished at age 46 in one of the terrorist attacks in Brussels on March 22, 2016.

Laurent’s family and people who appear in “La Terre Abandonnee” are hoping that many others will get the opportunity to watch the film, which has become part of Laurent’s lasting legacy.

The attacks on an airport and a subway station in Brussels resulted in 370 people killed or wounded. Laurent happened to be near a suicide attacker in the subway system and lost his life. He had been en route to a film-editing studio.

I could never have imagined in the least that he would get caught in a terrorist attack,” said Toshiko Sato, 64, a resident of Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, who appears in the film. Sato was undergoing practical training as a guide-interpreter when she met Laurent.

Laurent had two daughters with Reiko Udo, his Japanese wife, and came to live in Japan in 2013. He decided to direct his film after he learned about the tough spirit of the residents of Fukushima Prefecture, who remained rooted in their own areas even after the nuclear disaster, and developed a desire to chronicle all that he saw on film.

Following the nuclear disaster, the central government issued an evacuation order to Minami-Soma’s Odaka district, where Sato lives. Sato met Laurent while she was preparing to return to her home.

Media organizations overseas often report on areas of Fukushima Prefecture that are empty of people, but I want people to also learn about disaster survivors who are trying to be positive,” she said she told Laurent when she talked to him.

Laurent then asked to interview Sato. He went on to film her and her husband as they returned to their hometown to visit their family grave and had a gathering with friends at their home for the first time in quite a while.

I sensed in him a will to report on the current state of Fukushima instead of making vocal calls of some sort or the other,” Sato said.

Laurent’s film crew took over the editing of footage after the director’s death and completed the film that would eventually be titled “La Terre Abandonnee.”

Alice, Laurent’s 42-year-old sister, who lives in Belgium, said she thinks about the feelings of nuclear disaster survivors through the prism of her own sorrow over the loss of her brother to terrorism.

Sylvie, 52, another sister of Laurent, said the film betrays the affectionate sensibilities of Gilles, who was a great nature lover, and added she wants the movie to be watched by many Japanese viewers.

La Terre Abandonnee” is expected to be released to theaters across Japan.

April 11, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima-linked bullying survey reveals hundreds more cases


Survey on Fukushima-linked bullying reveals hundreds more cases

TOKYO (Kyodo) — A government survey prompted by the bullying of a boy from Fukushima Prefecture has unveiled hundreds more cases in which evacuees from areas hit by the nuclear crisis were targeted, data released Tuesday showed.

The first nationwide survey on bullying of children who evacuated Fukushima Prefecture due to meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in 2011 showed there were 129 cases in fiscal 2016 ended this March and 199 more cases in previous years.

Among the total, 13 had apparent links to the nuclear disaster or the major earthquake and tsunami that triggered it.

Education minister Hirokazu Matsuno indicated there could be other cases that may have gone undetected, saying, “It is difficult to conduct a survey that covers them all.”

“We will consider our response in light of the possibility that (some) bullying has not surfaced,” said Matsuno.

The latest survey targeting roughly 12,000 evacuees showed some of those who were bullied in relation to the nuclear crisis were told to go back to Fukushima or stay away, as they would contaminate others with radiation.

The incidents included the highlighted case in which classmates of a boy who relocated to Yokohama in Kanagawa Prefecture demanded he give them cash, and called him a “germ.”

After the case in Yokohama surfaced in November, a slew of similar incidents were brought to light in other parts of the country, prompting the government to request schools that accept evacuees check whether they have been bullied or not through interviews and other means.


Survey: 204 bullying cases of Fukushima evacuees

A survey by Japan’s education ministry has found more than 200 cases of bullying involving children who fled Fukushima Prefecture after the nuclear disaster in March 2011. But the survey attributes fewer than 10 percent of these cases to the accident, prompting the education minister to admit the need for further studies.

The ministry surveyed more than 11,800 school-age evacuees through regional education boards in March.

The results show 204 cases of bullying occurred since April 2011. One pupil was told to go back to Fukushima soon after entering elementary school. Classmates also told a junior high school student to stay away because radiation is contagious. But the ministry’s survey linked only 13 of the bullying cases to the nuclear accident.

In comparison, a recent NHK survey of more than 740 families showed that at least 54 children were bullied because they were “nuclear accident evacuees.”

Education Minister Hirokazu Matsuno said on Tuesday that the ministry will consider additional studies to bring hidden cases to light. He said that if children were bullied because they were nuclear evacuees, they might have found it difficult to respond to the survey.

Professor Naoki Ogi of Hosei University said the failure of teachers to take the effect of the nuclear accident sufficiently into account has resulted in an extremely superficial appraisal of the problem.

April 11, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Japan’s nuclear technology faces extinction

Evaporating demand and few new projects spell trouble for technical know-how


A semicylindrical structure has been built to cover a reactor containment vessel at J-Power’s Oma nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture, where construction work has been suspended since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

TOKYO — Japan’s nuclear power industry is at the most critical juncture in its history. Demand for new reactors has dried up at home following the Fukushima nuclear disaster and dismal prospects for export are dual menaces threatening the fate of the country’s nuclear technology. 

No domestic construction on a new reactor has begun for the past eight years. The catastrophic accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011 blew a hole in the industry’s plans. The picture for exports of Japanese nuclear power technology looks just as gloomy. 

Japanese reactor manufacturers and suppliers of key components are now facing the possible loss of their technological viability.


Warning signs for the nation’s nuclear power industry are visible in many parts of the country, including Oma, a fishing town in Aomori Prefecture on the northernmost tip of the main island of Honshu. 

In that coastal town, Electric Power Development, a wholesale electric utility known as J-Power, has been building a new nuclear power plant.

At the construction site stands a huge semicylindrical-shaped structure bearing the Hitachi logo. It is actually a cover to protect what is inside: a reactor containment vessel, the core equipment of a nuclear plant, from the salty sea winds. 

The humidity inside the structure is kept at 50% to prevent pipes and other parts of the vessel from rusting, according to an official in charge of the construction.

J-Power started construction of its first nuclear power plant in Oma in 2008. By the time the devastating earthquakes and tsunami in 2011 triggered reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima plant, 38% of the Oma project had been completed. 

But the disaster brought construction to a halt as new, stricter safety standards have been introduced, forcing the company to make necessary adjustments to the plan and design of the plant. The plant was originally envisioned to start operation in 2014, but there is no prospect for quick resumption of full-scale construction.

April 11, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

“Half Life in Fukushima” documents life in the red zone five years after the nuclear disaster


Half-life in Fukushima” is a documentary feature in competition at the 60th San Francisco International Film Festival. It represents a Switzerland and France collaboration, with co-directors Mark Olexa and Francesca Scalisi at the helm. While the production represents a European origin, the subject matter had gained world-wide attention no less than Chernobyl in 1986.

The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan directly set off the Fukushima Nuclear Plant disaster. The town surrounding the Plant was evacuated due to radioactive fallout. Filmmakers Olexa and Scalisi entered the Fukushima red zone five years later and documented a resident still living there, a farmer named Naoto Matsumura.

How Naoto was given permission to stay there is not explained in the film. Actually, Naoto was not alone. He remains in Fukushima with his elderly father, the two striving on a life of self-sufficiency. There is no water from the tap, and radioactive fallouts render everything poisonous, including the mushrooms Naoto had been picking for years in the forest at the back of his home. Only the boisterous ocean remains a powerful reminder of what life was like before disaster hit.

The directors capture their subject with quiet sensitivity and empathy. At first devastated by the loss of everything, but now five years later Naoto is resigned to accept a solitary existence in the ghost town. There are nuclear cleanup crews still working during the day, but all in protective suits and masks. We see Naoto wearing ordinary clothes, feeding his cattle, wandering the streets alone, reminiscing by the ocean, or going into the forest just to look at the trees.

In the opening shot, we see the definition of the term “half-life”. It refers to the time it takes for one-half of the atoms of a radioactive material to disintegrate. It is also an apt metaphor describing the remnants of a life in Naoto. In many scenes, a stationary camera allows us to experience Naoto’s coming and going in real time. One of such moments is when the camera stays with Naoto from a distance as he stops his truck at an intersection when the traffic lights turn red. We stop with him, the scene motionless and silent for about a minute until the green lights come on. Such a vicarious moment into a life on hold is eerily poignant.

One might be surprised to see traffic lights still function and Naoto still obeys them when he is the only one driving in town. It is heart-wrenching to see one man try to maintain normalcy despite all loss, attempting to carve out a life in the midst of desolation. What more, we see Naoto playing a round of golf in an abandoned driving range and singing Karaoke on his own. The film ends with this scene. We hear Naoto sing a song of lost love, a life he can never go back to. After that, we hear the ocean roar as the screen fades to black.



April 11, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment