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The past week in climate and nuclear news

People are experiencing “nuclear brink fatigue”. It’s only human, as right now, most of the world is unable to do anything about the impending showdown between USA and North Korea. It’s all too possible that both the North Korean and American regimes are now pondering just how many lives can be blown up while still assuring the leaders of staying in power. Brown and yellow lives are the risked ones, as North Korea can’t or wouldn’t attack USA. Meanwhile Donald Trump has assured that “If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to die over here — and he’s told me that to my face.” –  Senator Lindsey Graham

Climate and nuclear concerns merge in Florida. With our news media focusing on Hurricane Irma, you’d hardly know that 40 million people are impacted by floods in India, Bangladesh and Nepal.  International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is being urged to get strong participation of women in climate change discussions and decisions.

International security must be part of the discussion on nuclear weapons ban treaty.  The world now reaches a nuclear weapons stalemate.  Militant groups can use drones as weapons.

Promising development in non nuclear production of medical isotope technetium-99m (Tc-99m).

Climate change did not cause hurricanes, but made them more destructive.

Very few scientific papers dispute climate change – and they all turn out to be flawed.

Fighting climate change: chocolate company Mars to spend $1 billion on this cause.

GREENLAND. Global effects of rapid thaw of Greenland’s permafrost.

USA.

ANTIGUA and BARBUDA. Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda says mighty hurricanes are ‘living consequences of climate change’

NORTH KOREA.  Kim Jong Un’s nuclear aim is to save his regime, not to attack Los Angeles. North Korea’s latest threats against USA.  North Korea claims to have successfully tested hydrogen bomb.  Danger: Plutonium nuclear fuel being transported by sea in the North Korean missile influence area.  Underground complex of tunnels ready for Kim Jung Un’s escape, if nuclear war occurs. Satellites show landslides and land disturbances at North Korea’s nuclear site.

SOUTH KOREARadioactive particles from North Korea nuclear tests now found in South Korea’s air, land and water.

GUAM, OKINAWA. American military bases have made Okinawa, Guam, nuclear ‘targets’

JAPAN. Despite earthquake risks, Japan’s Kashiwasaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant might be restarted.  Japan’s Rokkasho nuclear reprocessing plant runs into trouble yet again  Tokyo Metropolitan Area is Widely Radioactively Contaminated. Ice wall at crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant damaged by typhoon rain.- Battling nuclear demons: Mental health issues haunt those who were the first line of defense after 3/11.

UK.

SWITZERLAND. More money in nuclear decommissioning than in running nuclear power?

EUROPE European Parliament members to raise alarm on Fukushima food imports

CANADA. Canada’s Environment Minister strong on including climate change in revamped North American Free Trade Agreement.

September 9, 2017 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Hurricane Irma tests U.S. Nuclear Industry

Hurricane Irma Poses Toughest Test for U.S. Nuclear Industry Since Fukushima, US News, Sept. 8, 2017 By Scott DiSavino and Timothy Gardner (Reuters) – Hurricane Irma will pose the toughest test yet for U.S. nuclear power plants since reactors strengthened their defenses against natural disasters following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in Japan in 2011.

Irma was on course to hit South Florida early on Sunday as a Category 4 storm, packing winds of up to 145 miles (233 kilometers) per hour and bringing a storm surge of as much as 12 feet to a state that is home to four coastal nuclear reactors.

The National Hurricane Center’s forecast track shows Irma making landfall on the southwest side of the Florida Peninsula, west of the two nuclear reactors at the Turkey Point plant.

The operator, Florida Power & Light (FPL), has said it will shut Turkey Point well before hurricane-strength winds reach the plant. The reactors are about 30 miles (42 kilometers) south of Miami.  FPL said it will also shut the other nuclear plant in Florida at St Lucie, which also has two reactors on a barrier island on the state’s east coast, about 120 miles (193 km) north of Miami. “We will shut the reactors down 24 hours before Category 1 force winds are forecast to hit,” FPL Chief Executive Eric Silagy told a news conference.

FPL said both Turkey Point and St Lucie were designed to withstand storms stronger than any ever recorded in the region and both plants are elevated 20 feet (6 meters) above sea level to protect against flooding and extreme storm surges.

But South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard said he was concerned about the potential for floods to damage power generators at Turkey Point, which in turn might threaten the ability of the plant to keep spent nuclear fuel rods cool. At Fukushima in Japan, an earthquake and tsunami disrupted power supplies and caused the fuel in some units to meltdown.

 “The whole site is pretty well able to handle dangerous wind, the real problem from my perspective is water,” Stoddard said. He said he was more worried about the nuclear waste than the reactors.

September 9, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

International security must be part of the discussion on nuclear weapons ban treaty

A stimulating and worthwhile article. It raises questions on how to address the reasons why States rely on nuclear weapons, and therefore be able to move them to reduce this reliance, without giving moral or legal legitimacy to nuclear deterrence.
Including international security in future disarmament conversations is the next step to making disarmament a commonly shared goal, rather than a divisive and politically fueled controversy.

Disarmament divided: resolving disagreements about international security http://thebulletin.org/disarmament-divided-resolving-disagreements-about-international-security11054  5 SEPTEMBER 2017 Jessica Margolis,  In the eight weeks since the historic vote to approve a United Nations treaty formally prohibiting nuclear weapons, attention has turned from treaty negotiations to the ban’s future impact. In anticipation of the treaty opening for signature on September 20, both advocates and opponents have been speculating about what comes next. Much of the discussion has focused on ensuring that delegations sign and ratify the treaty, determining how the prohibition will fit into existing nonproliferation regimes, and debating whether nuclear weapon states can or should participate in these next steps. However, little has been said about resolving underlying disagreements regarding international security concerns in the disarmament process.

Moving forward, it will be important to address the way in which international security was dealt with during the treaty debate and written into the treaty text—and not just because it has implications for the treaty’s impact, political messaging, and potential for universality. The international security issue showcases more general divisions about whether disarmament measures should be viewed through a deterrence-based lens. In planning next steps for the treaty, non-nuclear weapon states should establish comprehensive dialogues on the role that deterrence-based security dynamics should play in the disarmament process.

International security in the framework of disarmament. During the negotiations that culminated in the July 7 vote by 122 nations in favor of a ban treaty, it was clear that the role of international security in disarmament initiatives had become increasingly controversial. Indeed, this is a primary reason that the five nuclear weapon states recognized by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty refused to partake in treaty negotiations, and cite regional security concerns as an obstacle to disarmament.

Nuclear weapon states and many of their allies claim that a decision to rely on nuclear deterrence theory—to prevent hostilities between world powers from boiling over into large-scale war—has contributed to international stability. They worry that hasty disarmament of nuclear weapons and disregard for nuclear deterrence will have negative ramifications for the defense policies of alliances, current disarmament agreements, and world peace.

Specifically, the United States, United Kingdom, and France maintain that the ban is incompatible with nuclear deterrence, because it ignores “the realities of the international security environment.” In their view, the treaty doesn’t solve the North Korea problem, implement the Iran deal, or keep contentious world powers from waging war. Because the treaty fails to address regional security, these three nations argue, it could create instability, exacerbate regional tensions, and leave all states feeling more vulnerable and less secure.

Many non-nuclear weapon states are frustrated with the decades-old idea that nuclear weapons provide a stability that enhances security and preserves peace—an idea that has kept the disarmament debate rooted in discussions of security doctrine and balance of forces. They blame it for stalled progress on multilateral disarmament measures, and see it as a distraction from the moral imperative of protecting civilization from any use of nuclear weapons.

This frustration motivated the “humanitarian movement,” which aimed to redirect nuclear weapons rhetoric to focus on their devastating potential to destroy, rather than on their function as deterrents and stabilizers. The movement eventually turned into calls for a prohibition, but it also brought to the forefront disagreements over the role of security concerns in disarmament and how they should be incorporated into the treaty.

A divide among negotiators. The first round of negotiations exposed a division between the states that wanted to engage nuclear weapon states on security concerns while working toward disarmament, and those that questioned the general validity of nuclear deterrence and accused nuclear weapon states of using it as an excuse to expand their arsenals. The vast majority of states wanted to frame the treaty in the context of the destruction that nuclear weapons can inflict, by strongly rooting the preamble in humanitarian and international law. These countries wanted the focus of the treaty to be the devastating potential of these weapons, rather than the theory-based security situations that they’ve created. This is summarized well in a statement from Nigeria: “We remain resolute in our conviction that national security doctrines should not serve to justify the proliferation and the existence of the staggering aggregate of nuclear weapons in the arsenals of [nuclear weapon states].” And in Antigua and Barbados’ statement on behalf of the Caribbean Community, “nuclear weapons have no utility in today’s world. They are not useful deterrents but rather cultivate a state of insecurity and false defensiveness that only increases the chances of proliferation.” These states aimed to not only create a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons, but also to delegitimize nuclear deterrence and the theories it is based on.

In contrast, a smaller group of non-nuclear weapon states addressed the potential of the ban to affect strategic stability and the nuclear order. Prominent members of this group were mostly European. During the debate on the preamble, these states promoted working with nuclear weapon states to solve regional security threats and advance disarmament. For example, Switzerland’s stated aim was to create a treaty that contributed to disarmament, but that was also “mindful of security challenges” and would “open the door for practical disarmament steps at a later stage.” The Marshall Islands also seemed sympathetic to the security concerns of nuclear weapon states, asserting “disarmament does not occur in a vacuum or on moral principles alone . . . there are complex security issues which are a political reality in disarmament efforts.” Austria and Sweden made similar statements. These states recognize that regional security disputes are an impediment to disarmament, and were hesitant to entirely discount the structures that have been built around deterrence theory.

Why the divide? Why do non-nuclear weapon states that are universally in favor of a nuclear weapons prohibition disagree on the role of international security in this process? The answer is that some of these states could be more affected by larger strategic conflict than others, so they are trying to address security more pragmatically to protect their interests. Despite a true belief in the merits of the treaty, they give weight to the contention of nuclear weapon states that deterrence has maintained a relatively peaceful status quo between major powers since World War II.

This is obviously a concern for the Netherlands, the only NATO member that took part in the negotiations and the only state that voted against the treaty. However, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden and Liechtenstein could also be caught in the cross-hairs of a nuclear conflict between major powers, given their location between NATO and Russia. This is likely why all of them, except Liechtenstein, are members of the Partnership for Peace program, which allows non-NATO states to form bilateral security and defense relationships with the alliance. Though it does not mean they are protected under US extended deterrence, the partnership arrangement has allowed these countries to foster closer coordination with NATO and reap some security benefits. Participation in Partnership for Peace indicates that security concerns and the deterrence posture of NATO are important considerations for these countries; they see value in maintaining these stabilizing ties and the potential to expand them in case of future threats.

Interestingly, the divide on international security correlates to a debate during the negotiations on whether the treaty should include a specific prohibition on the threat of use of nuclear weapons. States in favor of this stipulation argued that an explicit prohibition on the threat of use creates a more comprehensive treaty, reinforces the 1996 International Court of Justice ruling on the threat of use, and delegitimizes deterrence in general. Those states that opposed it, such as Austria, argued that the prohibition was redundant, vague, and potentially damaging to a more general norm set by the UN Charter. Although the final treaty text did include the prohibition, many of the states opposed to it were also those cognizant of international security concerns. They include Austria, Switzerland, and Mexico, which actively spoke against a prohibition on the threat of use; and Ireland, Sweden, and Liechtenstein, which notably left if off their lists of desired prohibitions.

Though it is unclear exactly which states the prohibition is intended to target, it will prevent countries involved in extended deterrence agreements from joining the treaty, and further erode the acceptability and utility of nuclear deterrence. This limits options by NATO states and security-conscious European nations, which is likely why they opposed it. Even states that do not have nuclear weapons stationed on their soil, and are not involved in the sharing of command and control for nuclear weapons stationed elsewhere, will be unable to join the treaty. This closes a potential pathway for NATO members to more easily accede to the treaty, and likely prevents the involvement of states from the Asia-Pacific umbrella or the post-Soviet Collective Security Treaty Organization.

Additionally, this prohibition prevents any states that sign the treaty from joining an extended deterrence arrangement in the future. Naturally, states concerned with the security implications of disarmament may be worried that they could find themselves in the middle of a future dispute between world powers, and may have wanted to maintain the option to join a nuclear umbrella in some form.

Why the divide matters. Many non-nuclear weapon states want to detach any forward motion on disarmament from a framework steeped in international security arrangements. A small, but important, group of non-nuclear weapon states are hesitant to do this. These nations are strategically located, historically involved in disarmament initiatives, and could fund a large portion of the treaty structure. It is not that they are uncommitted to the treaty’s moral underpinnings, but that they are more sympathetic—and some may say more realistic—in acknowledging that there are vital security concerns here that must be addressed.

This division is about more than the language of a preamble, or a prohibition on the threat of use; it is about an increasingly large schism in the international community over the role that security arguments should play in disarmament. For nuclear weapon states, security, balance of forces, military doctrine, deterrence, and disarmament have been intertwined for decades. Treaty supporters are frustrated that multilateral disarmament has become prisoner to this. But the reality is that deterrence will probably continue to be present in international politics until all weapons are dismantled and “general and complete disarmament” is fully achieved.

For this reason, there need to be productive and pragmatic discussions about the degree to which deterrence-based security dynamics should be considered, prior to and during the process of disarmament. These discussions should begin with groups that support the new treaty, as there is still broad disagreement within pro-treaty camps on the validity of nuclear deterrence in maintaining stability.

By systematically analyzing how general disarmament and the ban treaty will affect international security, non-nuclear weapon states can begin to bridge their differences on deterrence. Ideally, this could result in a common understanding among non-nuclear weapon states of how they intend for the new treaty to be integrated into the broader security landscape.

Consensus will not be quick or easy. Simply determining the proper forum and agenda for such a conversation could be difficult. However, without a full assessment of the implications of disarmament for international security concerns, disagreement among non-nuclear weapon states will continue. Only with a united and comprehensive agreement on this issue can non-nuclear weapon states hope to constructively engage nuclear weapon states with this treaty. And without a pathway that can eventually aspire to involve nuclear weapon states, the impact of the treaty as a multilateral approach to disarmament will be limited. Including international security in future disarmament conversations is the next step to making disarmament a commonly shared goal, rather than a divisive and politically fueled controversy.

September 9, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Urgent need to revive the anti-nuclear protest movement

No more nukes? Why anti-nuclear protests need an urgent revival Before the end of the cold war, nuclear apocalypse was a frightening possibility that overshadowed everyone’s lives. With tensions rising between the US and North Korea, we can learn valuable lessons from CND and Greenham Common Guardian, by Zoe Williams , 7 Sept 17,  “…….. For those of us who reached majority with the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, the coming of age is indivisible from the relief of an existential threat lifted, so that worrying about nuclear annihilation is filed as part of childhood, a monster in the wardrobe. It was real, until suddenly it wasn’t.

A lacuna followed, a gap that remains. Where once we had a thriving peace movement – a muscular response to nuclear weapons, articulated by ordinary people with agency and resilience – suddenly, for the most part, the arguments went quiet.

British anti-nuclear campaigns came in two waves, says David Fairhall, author of Common Ground: The Story of Greenham. The first big Aldermaston march took place at Easter 1958, demonstrators walking between London and the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston, in Berkshire. These were calls for disarmament, “against a background of nuclear confrontation,” says Fairhall, “that had frightened people into thinking there might be a nuclear war next week”. This was quintessential cold war stuff, against the background of the establishment view that Russian ambitions to take western Europe as they had the east were real, and the US had to be kept onside at all costs. “Aldermaston was effectively a bomb-making factory,” says Fairhall. “That’s what people came out in duffel coats to protest against. Then that died down a bit.”

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, CND, was born in this era, and was at the root of the campaigns in the 80s; in that sense, this is all one peace movement. ….

The government’s own public-information initiative, chilling in the recollection, was called Protect and Survive and imparted asinine advice from the early 60s until the 80s – for instance, remove your door from its hinges and lean it against a table in order to create a makeshift bomb shelter. This eventually spawned a playful citizenly response: Protest and Survive. But if the descriptions of nuclear war sometimes seemed lurid in a slightly gleeful way, they underpinned a real and trenchant moral case; that weapons capable of the indiscriminate massacre of hundreds of thousands of people were wrong in and of themselves, regardless of who was holding them and what their intentions were. This is the change that really shocks Mary Kaldor, professor of global governance at the London School of Economics; that you are now “not allowed to be a politician unless you can say you would use a nuclear weapon. There’s even a problem with Jeremy Corbyn saying he would be extremely cautious about pressing the button. Somehow, you have to be part of the lie to be part of the establishment.”……..

The movement had distinct political impact, nationally and internationally. First, Fairhall says, the Greenham women “dragged discussion of nuclear weapons out of the dark world of SS20s and CTBTs [comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaties], all those acronyms and technical details, and forced people to discuss them in plain language. And that meant they had to be discussed in the House of Commons. There was a very important secondary issue of who would control these weapons: up until then, the Americans had just been landing wherever they fancied and putting up bomb sites ready to use in retaliation to a Soviet attack. We had no control, and that was a scandal.”……..

A seismic cultural shift started only tangentially with CND; in 1980, Kaldor, Thompson and Ken Coates launched the call for European Nuclear Disarmament……..

What worries Fairhall today is that while we used to worry about the arms race, it is now not a race so much as a pub brawl between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un – “an idiot and a lunatic” threatening one another with “fire and fury”, a reckless bravado never seen during the cold war, or since. Fairhall uses those terms not as insults, but almost as a technical military analysis. “Nuclear capability is relatively stable, so long as it’s a game of deterrence and diplomacy. They used to be a military insurance policy, or a status symbol. They have never before been in the hands of anyone who would actually use them – even with John F Kennedy, that was never the threat. So it does feel that we have drifted across a barrier.”

Fairhall says this with an understatement not typical of the peace movement, but it does underline the message: we need a revival more than ever. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/06/no-more-nukes-anti-nuclear-protests-cnd-greenham-common

September 9, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Women must play a greater part in climate change discussions and decisions

Too much mansplaining in climate conversations? http://www.nationalobserver.com/2017/09/07/news/too-much-mansplaining-climate-conversations ,  September 7th 2017 #710 of 711 articles from the Special Report: Race Against Climate Change In the catastrophic 2004 Boxing Day Asian tsunami, four times more women died than men. In the worst affected village, Indonesia’s Kuala Cangkoy, 80 per cent of the victims were female, according to Oxfam International. The number was so disproportionate, reported the humanitarian agency, because men were generally fishing or away from home, and many were able to flee while women at home tried to save children.

It’s an imbalance that disturbs the World Meteorological Organization’s Elena Manaenkova, who addressed the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Montreal earlier this week.

“Women couldn’t run because of their long clothes and they didn’t know how to swim,” she toldNational Observer in an interview.

The 56th session of the IPCC, which is tasked with providing sound climate science assessments to governments and policy makers, began in Montreal on Wednesday. At a closed-door workshop on Tuesday night however — held between the IPCC and Environment Canada — Manaenkova emphasized the importance of including more women in the world’s response to climate change.

She and a team of other climate experts are urging organizations and governments to recruit for women scientists to help improve sensitivity to gender issues in climate-related policy. Natural disasters, she explained, are just one example of how a warming world can have different impacts on women and men.

Women have to walk further for water

As temperatures rise and droughts become more frequent, for instance, women in some countries who are traditionally tasked with fetching water face more problems, including sexual violence.

According to the United Nations, women in Africa and Asia walk an average of six kilometres to get water but the distance can be much longer with droughts.

The delegate for Kenya, Patricia Nying’uro, has made note of that situation in her own country.

“If there’s a drought, (women) have to find water and in some areas they have to walk really far,” she said in an interview. “Even though everyone feels (climate change), these women feel it a bit more.”

As a senior meteorologist at the Kenyan Meteorological Department, she said whenever there are new seasonal forecasts for rain, they hold information forums and women are particularly interested.

“You will find that’s it’s mainly women who attend, one because they have the time and two, because they’re the most impacted,” she said.

To her, it’s important that more women participate in the climate change conversation because she feels not enough is being done to look at the impact on women.

“Women would be sensitive in general to things that happen to fellow women and the impacts on them,” she said.

In the catastrophic 2004 Boxing Day Asian tsunami, four times more women died than men.

 In the worst affected village, Indonesia’s Kuala Cangkoy, 80 per cent of the victims were female, according to Oxfam International. The number was so disproportionate, reported the humanitarian agency, because men were generally fishing or away from home, and many were able to flee while women at home tried to save children.

It’s an imbalance that disturbs the World Meteorological Organization’s Elena Manaenkova, who addressed the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Montreal earlier this week.

“Women couldn’t run because of their long clothes and they didn’t know how to swim,” she toldNational Observer in an interview.

The 56th session of the IPCC, which is tasked with providing sound climate science assessments to governments and policy makers, began in Montreal on Wednesday. At a closed-door workshop on Tuesday night however — held between the IPCC and Environment Canada — Manaenkova emphasized the importance of including more women in the world’s response to climate change.

She and a team of other climate experts are urging organizations and governments to recruit for women scientists to help improve sensitivity to gender issues in climate-related policy. Natural disasters, she explained, are just one example of how a warming world can have different impacts on women and men.

Women have to walk further for water

As temperatures rise and droughts become more frequent, for instance, women in some countries who are traditionally tasked with fetching water face more problems, including sexual violence. According to the United Nations, women in Africa and Asia walk an average of six kilometres to get water but the distance can be much longer with droughts.

The delegate for Kenya, Patricia Nying’uro, has made note of that situation in her own country.

“If there’s a drought, (women) have to find water and in some areas they have to walk really far,” she said in an interview. “Even though everyone feels (climate change), these women feel it a bit more.”

As a senior meteorologist at the Kenyan Meteorological Department, she said whenever there are new seasonal forecasts for rain, they hold information forums and women are particularly interested.

“You will find that’s it’s mainly women who attend, one because they have the time and two, because they’re the most impacted,” she said.

To her, it’s important that more women participate in the climate change conversation because she feels not enough is being done to look at the impact on women.

“Women would be sensitive in general to things that happen to fellow women and the impacts on them,” she said.

IPCC aims to increase female participation

Manaenkova, the climate expert leading the World Meteorological Organization, shares Nying’uro’s position that more women experts need to participate in the conversation. During the gender workshop on Tuesday night, Manaenkova and other leaders working with IPCC gathered to discuss the situation and see how more women scientists could be included in IPCC’s work.

As a major organization assessing climate change to guide scientists and policy makers, the IPCC is trying to be more gender balanced, said Fatima Driouech, who spoke at the evening meeting. She is vice-chair of the IPCC Working Group 1, which deals with the physical science basis of climate change.

 “Within IPCC, there’s good will to improve (gender balance) for the future. In this cycle, we feel there’s an improvement compared to the previous one,” Driouech told National Observer.

The Moroccan scientist is one of 10 women of the IPCC’s 34-member bureau, which includes chairs and vice-chairs of the organization and its working groups and task force. She was also a lead author of the IPCC’s previous climate change assessment report.

“It’s important to include (women) in climate research and in science because there’s a need for different viewpoints, different visions and different ideas,” she said.

According to numbers released at the workshop and confirmed by IPCC, there are more female authors of special reports currently in the works than in previous years. The IPCC is nearly 30 years old, and was first established by the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization to “provide a scientific basis for governments at all levels to develop climate-related policies.”

Thirty-eight per cent of the 86 authors of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 per cent — scheduled for publication next year — are women, compared with 21.5 per cent of 1,001 authors who participated in the IPCC’s fifth Assessment Report released in 2014. In a subreport of the fifth Assessment Report, all 33 authors from African countries were men.

In two other reports underway that are due in 2019, just under a third of the authors are women. That’s out of 101 authors for a report on climate change and oceans, the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, and 103 authors for the Special Report on Climate Change and Land.

While there’s some global improvement, Driouech said some countries are still struggling to be more gender-balanced: “There are some regions where there’s a little imbalance to fix for everyone’s good.”

For that reason, at the opening of the IPCC session on Wednesday morning, where representatives of member countries were present, Manaenkova mentioned the need for “active debate on the gender sensitivity of the issues” reflected in the IPCC reports.

Despite growing understanding that gender balance can inform better research and decision-making in climate science, she said organizations like the World Meteorological Organization, as well as the IPCC and other UN bodies, have had to put a lot of effort to convince “skeptics” who didn’t understand why more women need to be included. That persuasion effort is still underway.

Countries must nominate more women scientists

At IPCC, she said, some countries do not nominate enough women scientists to be authors.

“In some cases, (IPCC) has to positively discriminate, they prefer a woman to maybe ten men because she was the only one nominated,” she said.

At her own organization, she said they are thinking about enforcing nominations of women. As it stands, female nominations are encouraged and welcomed, rather than enforced.

Manaenkova believes that because IPCC focuses not just on physical climate change, but also socio-economic impacts and adaptation, it is even more important to have input from women. She said it would even be better to have reports with statistics separated by gender.

“(IPCC) says there’s some women nominated who could be lead authors and their competence is very high, and high enough to be coordinating author,” said Manaenkova. “We need to look for these women, find them, and pull them in.”

The IPCC will be in Montreal until Sunday to discuss their reports on the impacts of global warming, and to develop the outline for their main and sixth publication on the topic, which scheduled for release in 2022.

September 9, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics international, Women | Leave a comment

Climate change did not cause hurricanes, but made them more destructive

Independent 7th Sept 2017, Hurricane Irma, like Hurricane Harvey, was not caused by climate change.
But the horrifying destruction it has sent across the Atlantic might have
been. Scientists say that asking whether global warming was the reason for
the extreme weather is the wrong question. Instead, we should be focusing
on how global warming has helped turn the hurricanes into even more
destructive forces than they ever would have been before.
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/irma-climate-change-what-cause-hurricane-global-warming-caribbean-florida-a7933721.html

September 9, 2017 Posted by | climate change, general | Leave a comment

Radioactive particles from North Korea nuclear tests now found in South Korea’s air, land and water

South Korea detects radioactive material following North Korean nuclear test, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/09/08/south-korea-detects-radioactive-material-following-north-korean-nuclear-test.html, September 08, 2017 Traces of radioactive material were detected in South Korea by the nation’s nuclear safety agency Friday, less than a week after North Korea conducted its most powerful nuclear test.

South Korea’s Nuclear Safety and Security Commission discovered trace amounts of xenon gas, a radionuclide, in an analysis of samples from the air, ground and water collected following North Korea’s nuclear test, according to Yonhap News Agency.

North Korea defied international warnings Sunday, conducting its sixth and most powerful nuclear test. The country said it detonated a hydrogen bomb that can fit on an intercontinental ballistic missile. South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said Thursday he expects its neighbor to launch a missile Saturday while celebrating its founding day. North Korea has already fired 21 missiles this year.

The radioactive material’s inflow is still being tracked to determine definitively if it came from the nuclear test, according to the agency.

The agency added the level of radioactive material detected in the analysis is not enough to cause any effects on South Koreans’ health.

September 9, 2017 Posted by | radiation, South Korea | 1 Comment

Underground complex of tunnels ready for Kim Jung Un’s escape, if nuclear war occurs

How Kim Jong-un would escape in caves if a nuclear war occurs A NORTH Korea expert has revealed how Kim Jong-un could flee, warning he could be harder to find than Osama bin Laden. news.com.au 8 Set 17  Sam Webb, Grant Rollings and Martin Phillips, The Sun NORTH Korean dictator Kim Jong-un will escape to a vast complex of underground tunnels if a nuclear war breaks out — with a huge supply of his favourite cheese.

And a military expert says that if the brutal leader of the Stalinist regime does go underground he will be harder to take out than 9/11 terror mastermind Osama bin Laden………
Yesterday it emerged that the elite US Navy Seal team that killed Osama bin Laden is training the South Korean military to assassinate Kim Jong un. Seal Team Six, the group sent to Pakistan in 2011 to kill Bin Laden, is taking part in secretive drills alongside South Korean commandos to take out the North Korean leader in the event of a war. http://www.news.com.au/world/how-kim-jongun-would-escape-in-caves-if-a-nuclear-war-occurs/news-story/1989aa26af2ab67c2fc2d7535fae454d

September 9, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics | 1 Comment

Former Nevada nuclear site experiencing wildfire

“It’s being fought by security site fire crews, with help from a helicopter able to detect any aerial release of radiation.” Like monitoring is going to help or they’re going to share their data. Not a peep about the radiation numbers during the fires in and around Los Alamos even though they were “monitoring” – comment by  Helen Helen Mary Caldicott and Henry Peters

Wildfire burning in former Nevada nuclear site, Daily Mail UK By Associated Press 1 September 2017 RENO, Nev. (AP) – The Latest on wildfires burning across the western United States
An official says firefighters are battling a lightning-sparked wildfire in a remote part of the vast former national nuclear proving ground north of Las Vegas. Nevada National Security Site spokeswoman Tracy Bower said Thursday that the fire covers almost 4 square miles (10 square kilometers) in the western part of what used to be the Nevada Test Site.

More than 1,000 nuclear detonations occurred at the 1,360-square-mile (3522-square-kilometer) secure federal reservation from 1951 to 1992. It now hosts non-nuclear experiments and safety training.

Bower didn’t have immediate information about the exact location of the fire or what tests may have taken place in the burn area in the past.

She says the fire started Monday and isn’t considered a threat to people or buildings.

It’s being fought by security site fire crews, with help from a helicopter able to detect any aerial release of radiation. : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-4842050/The-Latest-Wildfire-burning-former-Nevada-nuclear-site.html#ixzz4s81RPn00

September 9, 2017 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Shutdown of Florida’s nuclear power stations in advance of Hurricane Irma

Nuclear plants in Hurricane Irma’s path are shutting down http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/07/investing/nuclear-plants-shutdown-florida-irma/index.html,   @CNNMoneyInvest September 7, 2017 

Two Florida nuclear power plants in the path of Hurricane Irma are shutting down to brace for the Category 5 storm’s devastating wind and rain.

Florida Power & Light announced on Thursday it will shut down the Turkey Point and St. Lucie nuclear plants ahead of Irma’s expected arrival this weekend. The two facilities are Florida’s only operating nuclear power plants. Both are on Florida’s Atlantic Coast, which is bracing to get hit very hard by Irma’s ferocious winds.

 “This is an extremely dangerous storm,” Rob Gould, chief communications officer at Florida Power & Light, told reporters. Gould said the nuclear sites are among the strongest in the United States and are designed to withstand heavy wind and storm surge. Turkey Point’s nuclear reactors are enclosed in six feet of steel-reinforced concrete and sit 20 feet above sea level, the Miami Herald reported.Nuclear plants also have significant redundancies that serve as back-ups to back-ups.

Turkey Point, located just south of Miami in Homestead, survived a direct hit from Hurricane Andrew in 1992. However, the facility did suffer $90 million in damage from that Category 5 storm, according to press reports.

“This storm has the potential to eclipse Hurricane Andrew,” Gould said.

September 9, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Trump’s devious sabotage of the Iran nuclear deal

A Devious Threat to a Nuclear Deal, NYT, Nikki Haley laid the Trump administration’s cards on the table this week with a new proposal aimed at sabotaging one of the Obama administration’s most important diplomatic initiatives — the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. President Trump promised during his campaign to kill the deal, despite its clear benefits to American security. Ms. Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, has set forth a scheme that could not only allow Mr. Trump to carry out his threat, but also shift final responsibility to Congress.

September 9, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Satellites show landslides and land disturbances at North Korea’s nuclear site

North Korea nuclear test site experiencing landslides: researchers, https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/world/north-korea-nuclear-test-site-experiencing-landslides-researchers-20170907-gycjvb.html, By William Broad, New York: Analysts peering at satellite images of North Korea after the latest nuclear test on Sunday, report they have spotted many landslides and wide disturbances at the country’s test site, in the North’s mountainous wilds. Tunnels for the nuclear blasts are deep inside Mount Mantap, a mile-high peak.

“These disturbances are more numerous and widespread than what we have seen from any of the five tests North Korea previously conducted,” three experts wrote in an analysis for 38 North, a website run by the US-Korea Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Early readings from global networks that monitor shock waves suggest that the nuclear blast on Sunday had a destructive power equal to 120,000 tons of high explosives. If correct, that is roughly six times more powerful than the North’s test of September 2016, and eight times larger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

The new satellite images of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site were taken Monday, the day after the nuclear detonation. Planet, a company in San Francisco that owns swarms of tiny satellites, reconnoitered the secretive nuclear test site.

The three analysts, Frank Pabian, Joseph Bermudez jnr and Jack Liu, said the wide disturbances appeared to include numerous landslides throughout the rugged site “and beyond”.

They added that they could find no evidence of a surface crater that would have formed if the cavern carved out within the mountain by the blast’s violence and high temperatures had suddenly collapsed.

Sunday’s underground test resulted in two earthquakes, with other analysts suggesting the second could have been a tunnel collapse.

t comes as a nuclear scientist said the mountain could collapse due to the impact of five underground nuclear tests at the same Punggye-ri site, on the southern side of Mount Mantap. China Institute of Atomic Energy’s Wang Naiyan said it could cause an environmental disaster as “many bad things” could leak out.

September 9, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, safety | Leave a comment

American military bases have made Okinawa, Guam, nuclear ‘targets’

Why US bases make Okinawa, Guam nuclear ‘targets’ Amid North Korea-US tensions, Asia-Pacific communities hosting US bases see military presence as making them a target. AlJazeera, by Jon Letman , 8 Sept 17, Jon Letman is an independent journalist in Hawaii, covering wildlife conservation, and the politics of the Pacific Rim.

Lihue, Hawaii – The frequency of activity has increased but the pattern remains predictable: a defiant North Korean missile test followed by provocative war games, then another missile launch, more angry threats and warnings, followed by counter-threats and new sanctions, and now a sixth nuclear test and more severe warnings and accusations.

In this geopolitical tit-for-tat, Asia-Pacific communities that host US military bases watch cautiously as fiery rhetoric pushes the two nuclear-armed adversaries ever-closer to what would be a catastrophic war.

The island of Guam came into sharp focus in August when North Korea announced plans to fire four Hwasong-12 ballistic missiles near the US territory following President Donald Trump‘s threat to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” against North Korea.

Guam’s Pacific Daily News reported that a missile launched from North Korea could reach Guam and its more than 160,000 US citizens in just 14 minutes.

As Guam residents were being advised how to prepare for a possible nuclear strike, President Trump cheerfully assured Guam’s governor that the extra media attention would boost the island’s tourism industry.

“You’ve become extremely famous all over the world,” Trump said, promising the US territory’s governor that tourism would increase “tenfold with the expenditure of no money.”

“Like a spear into battle”

But on an island labelled with the tagline “Where America’s Day Begins,” many of its residents long for the day when American militarism ends.

“The US military likes to couch their activities in solely defensive metaphors,” says Michael Lujan Bevacqua, a Chamorro studies professor at the University of Guam. “The reference to Guam as ‘the tip of the spear’,” he says, “offers a sliver of truth.”

Bevacqua argues that like other empires, the US describes its foreign presence as a source of order and safety, “never the destabilising force … even if it takes land and resources, even if it poisons the earth, even if it depresses or constricts the local economy.”

The US military presence can be characterised as a shield with a giant target on it, Bevacqua suggests. In Guam, it is “really the source of the danger just as much as a source of defence”.

As a US possession (non-self governing territory) without voting rights, Guam will be “dragged along like a spear into battle,” Bevacqua notes. “Whether the spear loves battle or would prefer peace is irrelevant, as our purpose is to be something used in a fight and little more.”…….

A short drive from the University of Guam, Andersen Air Force Base is the staging grounds for a continuous bomber presence that includes B1-B bombers and B2 Spirit bombers which are capable of carrying B61 tactical nuclear weapons and the B83, a thermonuclear weapon 60 times more destructive than the bomb dropped on Nagasaki.

Increasingly, bombers based at Andersen conduct precision strike exercises and in July the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron deployed to Guam from South Dakota, arming the island with a pre-emptive attack force capable of an offensive attack.

Guam also has a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) antimissile battery, Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station and an 18,000 acre Naval Ordnance Annex. Naval Base Guam is the home port for fast attack nuclear and non-nuclear submarines.

Guam is not the only place

From the US military’s perspective, Guam is essential to maintaining a “ready to fight tonight” capability, but to North Korea, this much firepower from a hostile adversary represents a lethal threat.

In August, as tensions threatened to boil over, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Guam where he said: “The North Korean missile capability can point in many directions. So, Guam is not the only place that would be under threat.”

This stark reality is all too well known across the Asia-Pacific region where many communities host US bases. Between Guam and North Korea, the US has over 180 military bases, installations and more than 90,000 troops who train alongside their allies Japan and South Korea which represent the eighth and 10th largest global military expenditures.

In South Korea, the US is consolidating its bases but will also soon claim the largest overseas US military base in Pyeongtaek, 64km south of Seoul. Although South Koreaarguably faces the most imminent threat from North Korea, many South Koreans await the day when the US will finally leave. More than six decades after an armistice halted the 1950-53 Korean War, longtime peace activist retired Catholic priest Father Mun Jeong-hyeon asks: “Why Korea was divided? Why is the USA stationed in this country for a long time?”

Satoko Norimatsu, an editor at Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus and co-author of Resistant Islands: Okinawa Confronts Japan and the United States, says: “Of course, US bases in Japan pose a threat to people and the environment around them.”

She’s referring to a nationwide network of more than 100 US bases that run the length of the country, with the greatest concentration in Okinawa. “North Korea understandably declared US bases in Japan would be their target,” she says.

Norimatsu stresses the importance of viewing local demilitarisation movements like those in Okinawa, Guam and elsewhere in a larger context and says there’s a need for multinational, multilingual efforts against US militarism across the region.

Okinawa – ‘Keystone of the Pacific’……..

Besides the threat of living among dozens of military bases, Okinawans face the danger of external attack in the event of war. Hideki Yoshikawa, director of Okinawa Environmental Justice Project, insists US bases don’t protect his home island.

“With the large concentration of US military bases, Okinawa is a perfect target for foreign military aggression,” he says. Yoshikawa points out that because US installations built surrounded by densely populated Okinawan cities, “any aggression directed at US military bases in Okinawa would have spillover effects on our civilian population.”

Living in a state of ‘strategic denial’

The danger of being used by the US military is tragically familiar to the people of the Marshall Islands where the US tested 67 nuclear bombs between 1946-1958, leaving behind a legacy of sickness, death and forced displacement. Today, the US continues to test offensive weapons in the Marshall Islands, using Kwajalein Atoll as a target for unarmed Minuteman III ICBMs……..

Pearl Harbor is still armed………University of Hawaii, says Hawaii’s large military presence makes the islands more vulnerable and, because of their proximity to Asia, a more plausible target than the continental US.

Compoc rejects the argument that Hawaii must rely on the military. “The notion that small island nations have no choice but to stay dependent on the US military for economic survival is the same logic of an abuser telling a woman she has no choice but to say in a violent relationship,” she says.

In June, Compoc was part of a delegation from Hawaii which travelled to Okinawa for the ninth gathering of the International Women’s Network Against Militarism to counter preparations for war and build solidarity. “It was very moving to speak about Hawaiian sovereignty there and have Okinawans hold their fists up in solidarity,” Compoc says.

Building this kind of solidarity across cultures, languages and national identities is at the heart of Kyle Kajihiro’s work as a board member of Hawaii Peace and Justice. “The protection of our islands, whether Hawaii, Guam, or Okinawa, is not the primary purpose of US bases. The US uses our islands as military platforms and command centres to launch attacks and wage wars in other parts of the world,” Kajihiro says.

Kajihiro points out that prior to the 1893 US overthrow of what had been the independent Kingdom of Hawaii, its leaders had anticipated the danger of being drawn into a war if Hawaii was allied with a large military power. The creation of an alliance of Pacific Island states that those leaders sought lives on today in the desire for a pan-Pacific alliance as the threat of war looms large across the region.

Recalling historical attacks and battles from Guam and Okinawa to Kwajalein and Pearl Harbor, Kajihiro says, “when the US militarises our islands … we become targets.”http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/09/bases-okinawa-guam-nuclear-targets-170906121731012.html

September 9, 2017 Posted by | OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Concerns over growing number of live bombs found near Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Plant

Somerset Live 5th Sept 2017, Concerns are growing after numerous Second World War explosives are being
discovered near Bridgwater’s Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Plant. But
according to Watchet Coastguard in a Twitter exchange, the site is being
searched by Hinkley Point C contractors to clear the coastline ahead of the
Nuclear Power Plant developments. Explaining the procedure, contractors
report any ordnances to Royal Navy and Maritime and Coastguard Agency. A
1,000 metre exclusion zone is then set up around the discovered bomb before
a specialised Royal Navy team safely detonate the explosive.  http://www.somersetlive.co.uk/news/many-second-world-war-bombs-426055

September 9, 2017 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Again, President Trump threatens force against North Korea

Trump renews threat of force against North Korea over nuclear weapons, WP.   September 7  President Trump renewed a threat Thursday to use military force against North Korea and raised doubts about whether negotiations could succeed in resolving the brewing crisis over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons.

“Military action would certainly be an option. Is it inevitable? Nothing’s inevitable,” Trump said during a news conference. “It would be great if something else could be worked out. We would have to look at all of the details, all of the facts.”

U.S. officials said an offer to negotiate with North Korea remains on the table, but Trump has repeatedly discounted the value of beginning another effort to talk North Korea out of its arsenal.

All previous efforts have failed, and North Korea now possesses both a stockpile of weapons and missiles capable of threatening U.S. shores……

The United States is seeking the toughest-yet U.N. sanctions against North Korea in response to its latest nuclear test, according to a draft resolution circulated Wednesday. The sanctions would stop all oil and natural gas exports and freeze the government’s foreign financial assets.

North Korea greeted the proposal with a threat. “We will respond to the barbaric plotting around sanctions and pressure by the United States with powerful counter measures of our own,” read a statement delivered at an Asian economic summit in Russia on Thursday.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Thursday that Beijing would support further U.N.-imposed “measures” against North Korea following its latest nuclear test Sunday but stopped short of saying whether China would back crippling economic sanctions such as a halt to fuel shipments…….https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/china-will-back-fresh-un-sanctions-on-north-korea-over-nuclear-tests/2017/09/07/afc6ac52-93a9-11e7-b9bc-b2f7903bab0d_story.html?utm_term=.4cbde97d45e5

September 9, 2017 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment