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The biosphere is being dramatically changed by human activities

Thanks to Climate Disruption, Earth Is Already Losing Critical Biosphere Components Monday, April 02, 2018By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report    

Two weeks ago, I gave a keynote presentation about anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) at a large sustainability conference in Chico, California. During the question-and-answer session following my talk, a student asked me what I thought the world would look like by 2050. His question stopped me in my tracks. I had to pause and take a deep breath, to prepare myself emotionally for what I had to tell him.

Here is the gist of what I said: Based on years of research for my forthcoming book, The End of Ice, along with my work compiling these monthly climate disruption dispatches for four years now, I know that by 2050, we will be inhabiting a dramatically different planet. I believe we will already have tens — if not hundreds — of millions of climate refugees from sea-level rise and conflicts born of lack of food and water. What we currently call extreme weather events (massive floods, droughts, hurricanes) will have long since become the norm. In the US, growing food in the Midwest and the central valley of California will be extremely difficult, if not largely impossible, due to shifting weather patterns of rainfall and drought. Some swaths of the world, including the Gulf states in the Middle East and parts of the US Southwest, will be largely uninhabitable due to simply being too hot. Greenland and the Antarctic will both be experiencing dramatically advanced melting, and most of the glaciers in the contiguous 48 US states will have long since ceased to exist. And given that we are officially already amidst the Sixth Mass Extinction Event of the planet, which humans triggered, the biological annihilation that comes with this is happening apace.

This portrait might seem far-fetched to some. But to understand that this is our future, all we need to do is look at what is already happening around the planet.

In early March, Arctic sea ice hit record lows for that time of year. Along with stunningly warm temperatures for the region (which scientists called “crazy, crazy stuff”), researchers there are continuing to scratch their heads about the dramatic ACD-fueled changes besetting the Arctic.

The biosphere is convulsing.

Unchecked ACD — which appears likely to continue, since governments (particularly that of the United States) are not preparing to undertake the kinds of drastic mitigation measures that might have any impact — will dramatically degrade global fish catch over the coming centuries, and may well reduce total oceanic plant life for a millennium, according to a recent study. The study also noted that these changes cannot be reversed until the climate cools.

The amount of warming humans have already caused on Earth is, according to a recent study, likely already enough to melt more than one-third of all the world’s glaciers outside of Antarctica and Greenland, regardless of ongoing efforts to reduce fossil fuel emissions. The study analyzed the lag between global temperature increases and the retreat of glaciers and found a relatively slow response of glaciers to planetary warming. Researchers noted that it will take until 2100, at least, to see any benefits from serious mitigation efforts over the next decades — assuming those efforts actually happen. One of the scientists involved in the study told Carbon Brief that this glacier loss is already “baked in” to the system and has been overlooked, which essentially means “we really are on course to obliterate many of these mountain landscapes.”

Meanwhile, a recently published World Wildlife Fund report has predicted catastrophic losses in the world’s forests: As much as 60 percent of the plants and half of all the animals are predicted to disappear by 2100. if temperatures rise by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (1.5°C). The scientific consensus states that a 1.5°C rise is a given; in fact, some prominent scientists believe an increase of 3.2°C by 2100 is most likely, given current national commitments. If emissions remain unchanged, which is the current actual trajectory, a 4.5°C rise is the forecast. It is worth noting that oil giants BP and Shell are planning on 5°C of planetary warming by 2050.

Taking all this information in is necessary if we are to see the world clearly and live our lives accordingly.


The World Bank recently warned that if dramatic intervention doesn’t occur on the ACD front, 140 million people across three regions (sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Latin America) of the Earth will become refugees between now and 2050.

An example of one of the factors driving such mass movement of people can be found in California, where a recent report citing nearly 90 different studies found that warming temperatures could alter where key crops grow across that state. Bearing in mind that California produces roughly two-thirds of all the produce in the US, the report notes that ACD could decrease the yield of some of the crops grown in California by as much as 40 percent by 2050.

In Vermont, warming temperatures, particularly during the winter, are causing extreme weather events and unpredictable rainfall, which experts recently warned was making forests across that state particularly vulnerable to ACD. Boreal forests and moose populations will be the hardest hit, warned the study.

The world’s northernmost regions have not escaped extreme weather. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, known as the Doomsday Vault, was created to protect the world’s seeds in the event of cataclysmic ACD impacts or nuclear war, whichever comes first. Disturbingly, it is now in need of an upgrade, thanks to ACD. Norway, which built and maintains the vault, is having to invest $13 million to upgrade the vault to make room for more seeds and make it more resilient, given a recent flooding event there. Last year, flooding at the entrance of the vault prompted the Norwegian government to begin looking into the upgrade, which is now going to move forward.

Bad news also abounds for Earth’s animal species. A recently published study in the journal Nature Climate Change showed that Antarctica’s king penguins could be extinct by 2100, due primarily to ACD impacts and overfishing.

In Florida, research revealed recently that nearly all the sea turtles being born there are female, due to higher temperatures. Obviously, if this trend continues, which it almost assuredly will, there will be no more sea turtles in Florida.

Meanwhile over in Europe, the authors of a recent report out of France’s National Museum of Natural History and the National Centre for Scientific Research showed a “catastrophic” decline in France’s bird populations. The trend signals the possibility of Europe’s farmland turning into desert, a situation that would ultimately threaten all human beings. The scientists warned of a wider crisis of biodiversity — or lack thereof — across that continent, with ACD impacts and pesticides to blame. This comes on the heels of concerning news of a 76 percent decline in the abundance of flying insects in Germany over the last 27 years.


As is often the case in the spring, the watery realms of the planet are where the ACD impacts are most evident.

Widespread ongoing winter drought across the US, from Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri to the Dakotas, Texas and California, have many farmers worried about this year being a repeat of 2012, the worst drought in the US since the Dust Bowl. At present, the winter drought is worse than it was in 2012.

The problem extends beyond those states. In Colorado, at the time of this writing, snow would need to fall at 200 percent of the state’s average through the end of April for its snowpack to catch up to normal. Water managers there are keeping a leery eye on reservoirs as summer looms on the horizon.

Colorado is not an anomaly. Snowpack across the Western US has been dramatically lower than it was a century ago. A recent study showed the average snowpack in the west has dropped by nearly one-third since 1915. That is equivalent to the decrease we’d see from permanently draining Nevada’s Lake Mead, the single largest man-made reservoir in the US.

Changing weather patterns and warmer year-round temperatures have scientists in Western Canada — a place you wouldn’t think needs to worry about water issues — worried about running out of water in the future. For example, in 2017 there was a record amount of snowfall in one region, but even all that snow was still not enough to prevent a drought on the southern part of the prairies below it. The changing climate there also means the snowpack is melting faster and earlier than usual, which means that water is moving through river basins faster and leaving them dry before the end of summer.

On the other side of the world, New Zealand is experiencing similar concerns. Its alps have become incredibly barren, as a recent aerial survey shows how the loss of snow there is now being called “extreme.”

recently released UN report on the state of the world’s water warned that more than 5 billion people could suffer water shortages by 2050 due largely to ACD and increasing demand.

Furthermore, extreme weather events like major floods and extreme rainfall events have surged more than 50 percent this decade alone, and are now happening four times more often than they were in just 1980, according to a recent paper.

Meanwhile, seas continue to rise. A recent NOAA report warned that sea level rise will rapidly worsen flooding that is already happening in coastal communities around the US. The report warned that some cities will see flooding on a daily basis by 2100.

Adding to this, another recent study showed that lakes on the Greenland Ice Sheet are now forming further inland, meaning they are now potentially threatening to speed up ice flow once they drain to the glacial floor.

In Antarctica the news is no better. The absence of sea ice near that continent over the past six weeks (as of the time of this writing) has deeply concerned scientists conducting research there.

In addition to paying attention to large, continental changes, it’s important to take note of ACD-driven shifts on the level of microorganisms. A recent report showed that excessive rates of carbon dioxide (CO2) affect the health of critical microorganisms in the oceans, which could potentially undermine the base of vital marine food chains. This is happening largely due to ocean acidification, a result of ACD.


Given the low snowpack levels across much of the Western US, this summer is already expected to be another above-average wildfire season for much of that part of the country. Since snowpack functions as a water source through much of the summer, when warmer temperatures cause it to melt off faster than normal, drier conditions ensue.

Meanwhile in Australia, more than 70 homes and buildings have been destroyed in a fast-moving bushfire in New South Wales, while separate fires destroyed 18 properties in Victoria. Local authorities there described the fires as the worst of Australia’s summer season thus far.

As is always the case with extreme weather events, none of these fires can be solely attributed to ACD. However, climate disruption’s impacts are a key contributing factor to how often they occur, as well as to their intensity.


In Australia, a new study reveals that the country’s record-setting 2012 heat wave was responsible for the destruction of roughly 1,000 square kilometers of seagrass meadows. which had acted as a repository for CO2. When the meadows were destroyed, the disaster released as much as 9 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Meanwhile, nearby New Zealand experienced its hottest summer on record last year. It definitively broke with normal temperatures, clocking in at a shocking 2.1°C above the past 35-year average temperature.

Back in the US, USGS data has revealed how spring has arrived much earlier than normal for much of the country, a clear indicator of how ACD is continuing to shift overall climate patterns.

In the Arctic, in fact, spring is beginning an average of 16 days earlier now than it did just one decade ago. A study in the journal Scientific Reports noted an increase in the number of warm temperature records in the spring, along with changes to the timing of bird migrations, flowers blooming and other seasonal indicators.

What makes this even more disconcerting is the fact that scientists have found a direct and strong link between warmer Arctic temperatures and abnormally high snowfall amounts and frigid temperatures further south of that region. So, for example, the severe weather that has been impacting the northeastern US this spring, is linked directly to the ACD-related warm wave happening across the Arctic region.

Lastly in this section, but perhaps most importantly, thawing Arctic permafrost is now likely to release more methane than previously expected. Methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, as it is 100 times stronger over a 10-year time scale. The new study found that waterlogged wetland soils will produce considerably more methane than previously predicted.

Denial and Reality

There is never a dull moment in the Trump administration’s land of ACD-denial.

A recent and excellent article published at The Conversation outlined the four primary methods used by this administration to deny or hide the reality of ACD. These methods are, according to the article: making documents more difficult to find on government websites, burying web pages, altering language, and silencing the science. Truthout’s Mike Ludwig also detailed how ACD, as a threat to the US, has literally “gone missing” under Trump.

Meanwhile, the cabinet continues to be filled with ACD deniers. One of the more recent additions has been hardline climate denier Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State, who along with having longstanding close ties to the Koch brothers, in 2013 said during a C-SPAN interview: “There are scientists who think lots of different things about climate change. There’s some who think we’re warming, there’s some who think that the last 16 years have shown a pretty stable climate environment.”

A Trump administration official even went so far recently as to say that USGS scientists went “outside their wheelhouse” by writing that ACD has “dramatically reduced” glaciers in Montana. One of the scientists who bore this attack responded, “This is what we do…. It is our wheelhouse.”

Trump administration US Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, who thinks wearing thick-framed glasses makes him appear more intelligent, recently said that international efforts to reduce fossil fuel use were “immoral.”

Meanwhile, EPA head Scott Pruitt, already an avid ACD denier, recently disputed evolution.

On the reality front, thousands of scientists from the 22 Commonwealth countries have urged that stronger government action on ACD needs to be taken if there is hope to keep planetary warming lower than 2°C.

Underscoring that urgency, global demand for energy increased by 2.1 percent in 2017 — more than twice the previous year’s rate, according to the International Energy Agency. According to the same agency, energy-related CO2 emissions also increased by 1.4 percent during 2017, reaching a historic high of 32.5 gigatons.

Despite glaring warning signs from around the planet, governments around the world are not taking dramatic measures to mitigate ACD impacts. In fact, the US government continues to refuse to even acknowledge that those impacts exist. The world’s most powerful forces are taking a business-as-usual approach, as we are hurtled deeper into the Sixth Mass Extinction event.

Dahr Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan (Haymarket Books, 2009), and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last 10 years, and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards.

His third book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with William Rivers Pitt, is available now on Amazon.

Dahr Jamail is also the author of the book, The End of Ice, forthcoming from The New Press. He lives and works in Washington State.

For his Truthout work on climate change and militarism, Dahr Jamail is a 2018 winner of the Izzy Award for excellence in independent journalism.

April 4, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, environment | Leave a comment

Donald Trump does not know what he’s doing, in lead-up to North Korea summit

Does Trump Even Know What He Wants From Kim Jong-un?
The president has shown no indication that he has any plan for next month’s all-important North Korea summit. 
Slate, By 

April 4, 2018 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Japanese Foreign Minister’s Reports of Tunneling at Punggye-ri:  not supported by Commercial Satellite Imagery 

Japanese Foreign Minister’s Reports of Tunneling at Punggye-ri: What Commercial Satellite Imagery Shows  [excellent photos] BY: 38 NORTH, APRIL 2, 2018A  Analysis by Frank V. Pabian, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., and Jack Liu.

On March 31, 2018, Japan’s Foreign Minister, Taro Kono, in a lecture in Kochi city, is reported to have said that North Korea appears to be “working hard to get ready for the next nuclear test,” and the associated reporting claims that he had added that soil had been “removed from the tunnel at the nuclear test site where past tests were conducted.” The reporting also suggested that his remarks “may be based on satellite imagery provided by the United States.”

While it is unclear whether the Foreign Minister was referring to activity observed over the last few days or from earlier work conducted after North Korea’s September 2017 nuclear test, commercial satellite imagery from March 23 shows quite a different picture: namely, that activity at the test site has been significantly reduced compared to previous months. Tunneling at the West Portal, a site not associated with any of North Korea’s previous tests, had been active earlier this year but has slowed down significantly as has other personnel and vehicular movement around the site. (It appears that only a small amount of new spoil has been excavated from the tunnel recently).[1]

Nevertheless, it is highly likely that the North Koreans continue to maintain the readiness of the nuclear test facility—one indication is recent roadwork—to allow nuclear testing in the future should Pyongyang decide to do so.

1. Precise determination of the extent of new spoil accumulation is made difficult from March 17 to 23 due to variations in the imagery deriving from different sensors on different satellites from different vendors having different look angles and slightly different amounts of melted snow together with vegetative shadowing.


April 4, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Resurrected nuclear company Orano (formerly Areva) – still losing money

Nasdaq 29th March 2018, French uranium mining and nuclear fuel group Orano, formerly called Areva, said its 2017 revenue fell 11 percent to 3.9 billion euros ($4.80 billion) and core earnings fell 30 percent to 946 million euros as demand for nuclear fuel remains low.

Orano’s order book, while still representing nearly eight years of revenue, fell to 30.8 billion euros at the end of 2017 from 33.6 billion euros at the end of 2016 and the company expects revenue will fall again this year. The company continued to burn cash, with a negative cash flow of 1.06 billion euros compared to minus 915 million euros in 2016, but Orano said it targets positive net cash flow from company operations this year.

April 4, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

Sergei V. Skripal poisoned by nerve agent on door handle – sophisticated attack, but no proof of the perprtrator

Poisoned Door Handle Hints at High-Level Plot to Kill Spy, U.K. Officials Say, NYT, By ELLEN BARRY and DAVID E. SANGERAPRIL 1, 2018 LONDON — British officials investigating the poisoning of Sergei V. Skripal, a former Russian double agent, believe it is likely that an assassin smeared a nerve agent on the door handle at his home. This operation is seen as so risky and sensitive that it is unlikely to have been undertaken without approval from the Kremlin, according to officials who have been briefed on the early findings of the inquiry……..

Because the nerve agent is so potent, the officials said, the task could have been carried out only by trained professionals familiar with chemical weapons. British and American officials are skeptical that independent actors could have carried out such a risky operation or obtained the agent without approval at the highest levels of the Russian government  .
…… Four weeks after the assassination attempt, British and American officials are turning to the question of whether President Vladimir V. Putin himself was aware of, or ordered, the attack.

They say there is no evidence so far of his direct participation, but the Russian president, a former K.G.B. officer, is skilled at hiding his communications.

Russia has denied involvement in the poisoning, and in the election hack.

……. Some experts have expressed caution about assuming that

Mr. Putin approved the attack. Its timing was awkward, coming too late to help him much in last month’s election, and casting a diplomatic shadow over Russia’s hosting of the 2018 World Cup.

And the Kremlin’s embrace of proxy forces in recent years has opened the door to freelancing from other power centers, like security agencies or the country’s military intelligence, which may not share their plans in detail.

………Russia on Saturday also released a list of questions addressed to Britain, France and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which will hold a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the Skripal poisoning.

The questions scrutinize the British claim that the nerve agent originated in Russia, noting that an antidote was provided to the Skripals within hours of their poisoning, and questioning whether British scientists had produced Novichok nerve agents in their own laboratories.

April 4, 2018 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

The carbon footprint of huge digital data centres

Energy Hogs: Can World’s Huge Data Centers Be Made More Efficient?
The gigantic data centers that power the internet consume vast amounts of electricity and emit 3 percent of global CO2 emissions. To change that, data companies need to turn to clean energy sources and dramatically improve energy efficiency.
 Yale  Environment 360   

The cloud is coming back to Earth with a bump. That ethereal place where we store our data, stream our movies, and email the world has a physical presence – in hundreds of giant data centers that are taking a growing toll on the planet.

Data centers are the factories of the digital age. These mostly windowless, featureless boxes are scattered across the globe – from Las Vegas to Bangalore, and Des Moines to Reykjavik. They run the planet’s digital services. Their construction alone costs around $20 billion a year worldwide.

The biggest, covering a million square feet or more, consume as much power as a city of a million people. In total, they eat up more than 2 percent of the world’s electricity and produce 3 percent of CO2 emissions, as much as the airline industry. And with global data traffic more than doubling every four years, they are growing fast.

Yet if there is a data center near you, the chances are you don’t know about it. And you still have no way of knowing which center delivers your Netflix download, nor whether it runs on renewable energy using processors cooled by Arctic air, or runs on coal power and sits in desert heat, cooled by gigantically inefficient banks of refrigerators.

We are often told that the world’s economy is dematerializing – that physical analog stuff is being replaced by digital data, and that this data has minimal ecological footprint. But not so fast. If the global IT industry were a country, only China and the United States would contribute more to climate change, according to a Greenpeace report investigating “the race to build a green internet,” published last year.

Storing, moving, processing, and analyzing data all require energy. Lots of it. The processors in the biggest data centers hum with as much energy as can be delivered by a large power station, 1,000 megawatts or more. And it can take as much energy again to keep the servers and surrounding buildings from overheating.

Almost every keystroke adds to this. Google estimates that a typical searchusing its services requires as much energy as illuminating a 60-watt light bulb for 17 seconds and typically is responsible for emitting 0.2 grams of CO2. Which doesn’t sound a lot until you begin to think about how many searches you might make in a year.

And these days, Google is data-lite. Streaming video through the internet is what really racks up the data count. IT company Cisco, which tracks these things, reckons video will make up 82 percent of internet traffic by 2021, up from 73 percent in 2016. Around a third of internet traffic in North America is already dedicated to streaming Netflix services alone.

Two things matter if we are to tame these runaway beasts: One is making them use renewable or other low-carbon energy sources; the other is ramping up their energy efficiency. On both fronts, there is some good news to report. Even Greenpeace says so. “We are seeing a significant increase in the prioritization of renewables among some of the largest internet companies,” last year’s report concluded.

More and more IT companies are boasting of their commitment to achieving 100 percent reliance on renewable energy. To fulfil such pledges, some of the biggest are building their own energy campuses. In February, cloud giant Switch, which runs three of the world’s top 10 data centers, announced plansfor a solar-powered hub in central Nevada that will be the largest anywhere outside China.

More often, the data titans sign contracts to receive dedicated supply from existing wind and solar farms. In the U.S., those can still be hard to come by. The availability of renewable energy is one reason Google and Microsoft have recently built hubs in Finland, and Facebook in Denmark and Sweden. Google last year also signed a deal to buy all the energy from the Netherlands’ largest solar energy park, to power one of its four European data centers.

Of the mainstream data crunchers for consumers, Greenpeace singled out Netflix for criticism. It does not have its own data centers. Instead, it uses contractors such as Amazon Web Services, the world’s largest cloud-computing company, which Greenpeace charged with being “almost completely non-transparent about the energy footprint of its massive operations.” Amazon Web Services contested this. A spokesperson told Yale Environment 360 that the company had a “long-term commitment to 100 percent renewable energy” and had launched a series of wind and solar farm projects now able to deliver around 40 percent of its energy. Netflix did not respond to requests for comment.

Amazon Web Services has some of its largest operations in Northern Virginia, an area just over the Potomac River from Washington D.C. that has the largest concentration of data centers in the world. Virginia gets less than 3 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, plus 33 percent from nuclear, according to Greenpeace.

Some industry insiders detect an element of smoke and mirrors in the green claims of the internet giants. “When most data center companies talk about renewable energy, they are referring to renewable energy certificates,” Phillip Sandino, vice-president of data centers at RagingWire, which has centers in Virginia, California, and Texas, claimed in an online trade journal recently. In the U.S. and some other countries, renewable energy certificates are issued to companies generating renewable energy for a grid, according to the amount generated. The certificates can then be traded and used by purchasers to claim their electricity is from a renewable source, regardless of exactly where their electricity comes from. “In fact,” Sandino said, “the energy [the data centers] buy from the power utility is not renewable.”

Others, including Microsoft, help sustain their claims to carbon neutrality through carbon offsetting projects, such as investing in forests to soak up the CO2 from their continued emissions.

All this matters because the differences in carbon emissions between data centers with different energy sources can be dramatic, says Geoff Fox, innovation chief at DigiPlex, which builds and operates centers in Scandinavia. Using data compiled by Swedish state-owned energy giant Vattenfall, he claims that in Norway, where most of the energy comes from hydroelectricity, generating a kilowatt-hour of electricity emits only 3 grams of CO2. By comparison, in France it is 100 grams, in California 300 grams, in Virginia almost 600 grams, in New Mexico more than 800 grams.

Meanwhile, there is growing concern about the carbon footprint of centers being built for Asian internet giants such as Tencent, Baidu, and Alibaba in China; Naver in South Korea; and Tulip Telecom in India. Asia is where the fastest global growth in data traffic is now taking place. These corporations have been tight-lipped about their energy performance, claims Greenpeace. But with most of the region’s energy coming from coal-fired power stations, their carbon footprint cannot be anything but large.

Vattenfall estimates the carbon emissions in Bangalore, home of Tulip’s giant Indian data center, at 900 grams per kilowatt-hour. Even more troubling, the world’s largest center is currently the Range International Information Hub, a cloud-data store at Langfang near the megacity of Tianjin in northeast China, where it takes more than 1,000 grams of CO2 for every kilowatt-hour.

Almost as important as switching data centers to low-carbon energy sources is improving their energy efficiency. Much of this comes down to the energy needed to keep the processors cool. Insanely, most of the world’s largest centers are in hot or temperate climates, where vast amounts of energy are used to keep them from overheating. Of the world’s 10 largest, two are in the desert heat of Nevada, and others are in Georgia, Virginia, and Bangalore.

Most would dramatically reduce their energy requirements if they relocated to a cool climate like Scandinavia or Iceland. One fast-emerging data hub is Iceland, where Verne Global, a London company, set up its main operation.

…….. Greenpeace says the very size of the internet business, and its exposure to criticism for its contribution to climate change, has the potential to turn it from being part of the problem to part of the solution. Data centers have the resources to change rapidly. And pressure is growing for them to do so.The hope is that they will bring many other giant corporations with them. “The leadership by major internet companies has been an important catalyst among a much broader range of corporations to adopt 100 percent renewable goals,” says Gary Cook, the lead author of the Greenpeace report. “Their actions send an important market signal.”

But the biggest signal, says Fox, will come from us, the digital consumers. Increasingly, he says, “they understand that every cloud lives inside a data center. And each has a different footprint.” We will, he believes, soon all demand to know the carbon footprint of our video streams and internet searches. The more far-sighted of the big data companies are gearing up for that day. “I fully expect we may see green labelling for digital sources as routine within five years.”

April 4, 2018 Posted by | climate change, Reference, Women | Leave a comment

20 years ago Australian indigenous land owners stopped Jabiluka uranium mine

Guardian 2nd April 2018, One of Australia’s proudest land rights struggles is passing an important
anniversary: it is 20 years since the establishment of the blockade camp at
Jabiluka in Kakadu national park.

This was the moment at which push would
come to shove at one of the world’s largest high-grade uranium deposits.
The industry would push, and people power would shove right back.

The blockade set up a confrontation between two very different kinds of power:
on the one side, the campaign was grounded in the desire for
self-determination by the Mirarr traditional Aboriginal owners,
particularly the formidable senior traditional owner Yvonne Margarula. They
were supported by a tiny handful of experienced paid staff and backed by an
international network of environment advocates, volunteer activists and

April 4, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, indigenous issues, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Warm water underneath Antarctica’s great ice sheet is eroding it

Antarctica retreating across the sea floor, EurekAlert , UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS , 3 April 18  Antarctica’s great ice sheet is losing ground as it is eroded by warm ocean water circulating beneath its floating edge, a new study has found.

Research by the UK Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM) at the University of Leeds has produced the first complete map of how the ice sheet’s submarine edge, or “grounding line”, is shifting. Most Antarctic glaciers flow straight into the ocean in deep submarine troughs, the grounding line is the place where their base leaves the sea floor and begins to float.

Their study, published today in Nature Geoscience, shows that the Southern Ocean melted 1,463 km2 of Antarctica’s underwater ice between 2010 and 2016 – an area the size of Greater London.

The team, led by Dr Hannes Konrad from the University of Leeds, found that grounding line retreat has been extreme at eight of the ice sheet’s 65 biggest glaciers. The pace of deglaciation since the last ice age is roughly 25 metres per year. The retreat of the grounding line at these glaciers is more than five times that rate.

The biggest changes were seen in West Antarctica, where more than a fifth of the ice sheet has retreated across the sea floor faster than the pace of deglaciation……….

April 4, 2018 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Tepco facing huge costs in Fukushima disaster, but still plans to help fund restart of Tokai nuclear power station.

TEPCO, Tohoku Electric to give Japan Atomic financial boost to help restart reactor,  (Mainichi Japan)  Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (TEPCO) and Tohoku Electric Power Co. have decided to help Japan Atomic Power Co. cover the some 174 billion yen needed to finance preparations to restart its Tokai No. 2 nuclear power station.

April 4, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Submarines with nuclear weapons bring nuclear war closer for India and Pakistan

India and Pakistan are quietly making nuclear war more likely, Both countries are arming their submarines with nukes. Vox, 
By Tom Hundley  Apr 2, 2018 “……….
The audacity of a bloody attack inside one of the most heavily secured naval facilities in Pakistan was jarring enough. Even more jarring was the source of the attack: al-Qaeda, which claimed responsibility for the strike and praised the dead men as “martyrs.” Five more naval officers implicated in the plot were later arrested, charged with mutiny, and sentenced to death.

The Zulfiqar incident is the most serious in a long string of deadly security breaches at Pakistani military installations, from multiple attacks on nuclear facilities near Dera Ghazi Khan (2003 and 2006) and on the air force bases at Sargodha and Kamra (2007 and 2012) to the the gruesome 2014 attack on a school for the children of military officers in Peshawar that left more than 140 people dead, including 132 children.

But even if Pakistani bases have been hit before, the Zulfiqar strike is particularly alarming. That’s because Pakistan is preparing to arm its submarines and possibly some of its surface ships with nuclear weapons — which means terrorists who successfully fight their way into a Pakistani naval base in the future could potentially get their hands on some of the most dangerous weapons on earth.

The Pakistan navy is likely to soon place nuclear-tipped cruise missiles on up to three of its five French-built diesel-electric submarines. It has also reached a deal with China to buy eight more diesel-electric attack submarines that can be equipped with nuclear weapons. These are scheduled for delivery in 2028. Even more disturbing, Pakistani military authorities say they are considering the possibility of putting nuclear-tipped cruise missiles on surface vessels like the Zulfiqar.

Pakistan says its decision to add nuclear weapons to its navy is a direct response to India’s August 2016 deployment of its first nuclear submarine, the Arihant. A second, even more advanced Indian nuclear submarine, the Arighat, began sea trials last November, and four more boats are scheduled to join the fleet by 2025. That will give India a complete “nuclear triad,” which means the country will have the ability to deliver a nuclear strike by land-based missiles, by warplanes, and by submarines.

The submarine is the key component. It’s considered the most “survivable” in the event of a devastating first strike by an enemy, and thus able to deliver a retaliatory second strike. In the theology of nuclear deterrence, the point of this unholy trinity is to make nuclear war unwinnable and, therefore, pointless.

When it comes to India and Pakistan, by contrast, the new generation of nuclear submarines could increase the risk of a devastating war between the two longstanding enemies, not make it less likely. ……..

……. India and Pakistan are mortal enemies that have dozens of nuclear warheads aimed at each other. That was scary when those nukes were only on land. It’s a much scarier situation now that those nukes have been put onto submarines that move deep underwater, holding the deadliest payloads imaginable.

Tom Hundley is a senior editor at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.


April 4, 2018 Posted by | India, Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Putin to launch Turkey’s first nuclear power plant

Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan to launch Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, ABC News, 3 Apr 18 The leaders of Russia and Turkey are scheduled to launch the start of the construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant as ties between the countries deepen.

Russia’s Vladimir Putin, on his first foreign visit since re-election on March 18, arrived in Ankara on Tuesday for talks with Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The two will remotely launch the construction of the Russian-made Akkuyu nuclear plant on the Mediterranean coast.

The $20 billion ($26 billion) project is to be built by Russian state nuclear energy agency Rosatom……


April 4, 2018 Posted by | marketing, Russia, Turkey | Leave a comment

The world should be outraged at the silencing of Julian Assange

Daniel Ellsberg’s decision to release the Pentagon Papers was an act of valor—his actions saved countless lives. He was a whistleblower who changed the course of history and curtailed an ongoing genocide which ended up preventing the needless dissolution of American soldiers and Vietnamese civilians alike. The publishing of the Pentagon Papers is a prime example of the critical part a free press plays in keeping governments in check and exposing the corrosive nature of consolidated power. This is why the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights enshrines the rights to free speech and of a free press in the United States Constitution. 

Tyrants throughout history have targeted journalists and reporters for a reason.

On Wednesday afternoon, Julian Assange, who has been forced into self-imprisonment at the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012 to ward off prosecution from the United Kingdom and the United States, had his internet access cut off. Assange is our generation’s Daniel Ellsberg; WikiLeaks—the online publication he started—has been invaluable in letting the public know about the malfeasance of their elected officials and highlighting the duplicity of governments throughout the world. In an era where mainstream journalists have been turned into a corporate-state propagandists, WikiLeaks stands out in their dogged pursuit of truth and exposing deep-seated corruption and graft.

Where Is the Outrage About Julian Assange’s Silencing? 3 April 18, Teodrose Fikre / The Ghion Journal 

On October 12, 1969, Daniel Ellsberg copied a secret dossier with the intention of disclosing the truth about the Vietnam War. The Pentagon Papers were a chronicle of events that recorded the scope of operations in Vietnam and beyond—details which were being withheld from the American public. The Vietnam War was built on the foundation of lies; we were rushed into the war using the Gulf of Tonkin as a false flag and defending freedom as a pretext to further the interests of the defense-financial complex. The truth eventually caught up to the lies of politicians and bureaucrats; Defense Secretary Robert McNamara later admitted the Gulf of Tonkin attack never took place.

The Gulf of Tonkin set the stage for a decade of continuous half-truths and outright lies as the US government suppressed information from the citizenry and kept falsifying records. This coordinated campaign of governmental disinformation prolonged a war that led to the deaths of 58,200 Americans and snuffed the lives of over 2 million Vietnamese people. It was this pernicious operation of deceit—intent on keeping the public in the dark—that prodded Ellsberg to act. After presenting the findings of the Pentagon Papers to authorities in government only to be met with a wall of silence, he decided to inform the press. The firestorm of controversy that was created after The New York Times published the Pentagon Papers and the ensuing outcry from the public played a large part in bringing an end to the Vietnam War.

Daniel Ellsberg’s decision to release the Pentagon Papers was an act of valor—his actions saved countless lives. He was a whistleblower who changed the course of history and curtailed an ongoing genocide which ended up preventing the needless dissolution of American soldiers and Vietnamese civilians alike. The publishing of the Pentagon Papers is a prime example of the critical part a free press plays in keeping governments in check and exposing the corrosive nature of consolidated power. This is why the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights enshrines the rights to free speech and of a free press in the United States Constitution.

Tyrants throughout history have targeted journalists and reporters for a reason. Napoleon Bonaparte, a savage dictator, once noted that four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets. He said this because he knew that journalists can awaken a slumbering public from sleep and rally them against repressive regimes. A free press is the last line of defense between liberty and despotism. The founders of our republic, in the hopes of preventing America from traveling down the path of authoritarianism, made the rights of a free press sacrosanct for this exact reason. Sadly, our nation is living proof that all revolutions eventually devolve to the very tyranny that gave birth to them.

Bureaucrats and elected officials in government learned the wrong lessons from the Pentagon Papers. Instead of being transparent and reducing corruption in governance, authorities decided to cloak themselves in darkness, methodically target whistleblowers for prosecution and intimidate journalists in order to prevent them from doing their jobs. All this is taking place in a backdrop where corporations have initiated a hostile takeover of government; by weaponizing their wealth, globalist oligarchs have effectively turned public servants and technocrats into their enforcers and security guards.

In an environment where billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Rupert Murdoch own more than 90 percent of the media content and the way it is disseminated to the public, reporters and journalists in corporate media have to be mindful of keeping their checks as much as they are fearful of getting a knock on the door from subpoena bearers. This systematic war against free press metastasized after the heinous attacks of 9/11; the US government—yet again using national security as a pretext—made it a priority to silence dissent within government and neutralize aggressive reporting against its excesses. As western powers piously preach about freedom and democracy throughout the globe, they are steadily dismantling both domestically.

On Wednesday afternoon, Julian Assange, who has been forced into self-imprisonment at the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012 to ward off prosecution from the United Kingdom and the United States, had his internet access cut off. Assange is our generation’s Daniel Ellsberg; WikiLeaks—the online publication he started—has been invaluable in letting the public know about the malfeasance of their elected officials and highlighting the duplicity of governments throughout the world. In an era where mainstream journalists have been turned into a corporate-state propagandists, WikiLeaks stands out in their dogged pursuit of truth and exposing deep-seated corruption and graft.

It is this defiance in seeking truth and bringing light to criminality that has earned WikiLeaks in general, and Julian Assange specifically, scorn and contempt from autocrats in D.C. and throughout European capitals. It is at once amusing and vexing to hear public officials take to the podium to lecture tinpot dictators about good governance and respecting a free press while they target whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and harass reporters like Julian Assange and Glenn Greenwald who dare give voice to them. This quest to silence free speech and neuter a free press is a bipartisan campaign and a bilateral initiative. Both sides of the aisle in D.C. and a multitude of supposedly “democratic” governments throughout the world are stepping up efforts to eradicate the rights of journalists and truth-tellers alike.

April 4, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, civil liberties | 1 Comment

Belgium’s nuclear power to be ended by 2025

Belgium pledges to ditch nuclear power by 2025, By Sam Morgan |,  Apr 3, 2018 

April 4, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, politics | Leave a comment

Global nuclear decommissioning services to be valued at USD 8.90 billion by 2025


The global nuclear decommissioning services market size is expected to be valued at USD 8.90 billion by 2025
Nuclear Decommissioning Services Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Reactor Type (PWR, BWR, PHWR, GCR), By Strategy (Immediate and Deferred Dismantling, Entombment), And Segment Forecasts, 2018 – 2025   
 BY Sarah Smith Research Advisor at Email:  ReportBuyer   LONDONApril 3, 2018 /PRNewswire/ –According to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc., exhibiting a 6.8% CAGR during the forecast period. Global nuclear phase out and rising support from governments post nuclear accidents are among major factors expected to fuel market growth over the years to come.

Rise in public safety concerns due to hazardous consequences of nuclear accidents is set to actuate market demand over the coming years.In addition, increasing sustainability concerns are likely to positively impact market growth.

The transitioning trend toward renewable energy thanks to various government initiatives and regulations is also projected to promote nuclear decommissioning services over the forecast period.

With extensive research and development underway, various novel decommissioning technologies to enable efficient dismantling of nuclear facilities have been developed. Furthermore, in order to enable sustainable development, government authorities are providing various incentives and support schemes for efficient dismantling of nuclear plants. …….

The global nuclear decommissioning services market size is expected to be valued at USD 8.90 billion by 2025, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc., exhibiting a 6.8% CAGR during the forecast period. Global nuclear phase out and rising support from governments post nuclear accidents are among major factors expected to fuel market growth over the years to come.

Rise in public safety concerns due to hazardous consequences of nuclear accidents is set to actuate market demand over the coming years.In addition, increasing sustainability concerns are likely to positively impact market growth.

The transitioning trend toward renewable energy thanks to various government initiatives and regulations is also projected to promote nuclear decommissioning services over the forecast period.

With extensive research and development underway, various novel decommissioning technologies to enable efficient dismantling of nuclear facilities have been developed. Furthermore, in order to enable sustainable development, government authorities are providing various incentives and support schemes for efficient dismantling of nuclear plants.

Key market players include Orano Group; Babcock International Group PLC; Westinghouse Electric Company LLC; AECOM Group; Studsvik AB; Bechtel Group Inc.; GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy; and Magnox Ltd. These companies mainly focus on innovation to improve service quality and meet global demand.

Download the full report:

April 4, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, decommission reactor | Leave a comment

Iran nuclear deal under threat, with Donald Trump’s new national security team

Trump’s new national security team likely spells disaster for the Iran nuclear deal, What happens next? Brookings, 
Suzanne Maloney, Monday, April 2, 2018  “…….. 
Tehran now faces powerful resistance to its expanded regional posture—from Israel, which has launched attacks on Iranian positions in Syria, and from its traditional rival Saudi Arabia, whose brash young crown prince appears determined to contest Iran’s reach at any price. Across a tense and unsettled region, Iran remains the 800-pound gorilla, but Iranian commanders are wary about the prospect of new pushback, promising that “we won’t be blindsided by the enemies.”


The most imminent threat, however, emanates from Washington, where the Trump administration is poised to upend the 2015 nuclear deal, a move that would reinstate harsh economic sanctions on Iran and intensify frictions between the two old adversaries.

Last week’s announcement that former Bush administration official John Bolton will join the White House on April 9 as Trump’s third national security advisor casts an even more ominous pall over the start of the new year for Tehran. Bolton has consistently and vociferously campaigned against the nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA), insisting that “Trump can and should free America from this execrable deal at the earliest opportunity” and outlining a step-by-step plan for doing so. He proposes to replace diplomacy with military strikes to destroy Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, coupled with “vigorous support for Iran’s opposition, aimed at regime change in Tehran.” Even more unfortunately, Bolton has depicted a deranged, discredited cult of Iranian expatriates as a legitimate opposition movement—a ludicrous embrace that defies explanation, except perhaps the group’s lavish kickbacks.

With Bolton managing the interagency decisionmaking process—and another opponent of the agreement, Mike Pompeo, taking the helm at the State Department—Iranians and the world are already beginning to brace for America’s retreat from the Iran nuclear deal.    The appointments added a note of fatalism to an already fitful dialogue between Washington and Europe, aimed at heading off President Trump’s ultimatum to address the agreement’s perceived shortcomings before the May 12 deadline for extending U.S. sanctions waivers on Iran.

April 4, 2018 Posted by | USA | Leave a comment