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French police smash Nantes eco-camp with armed vehicles as clashes enter 3rd day

RT Published on 11 Apr 2018

Police have used armoured vehicles to demolish structures at an eco-camp in Western France. Activists gathered again on Wednesday to try and prevent police from entering the site near the city of Nantes. They clashed with officers, throwing stones and bottles

Over 2,000 French police officers took part on Monday in the expulsion of the last holdouts from an anti-capitalist camp at the site of an abandoned airport project near the western city of Nantes.

Officers swarmed the site at Notre-Dame-des-Landes before dawn to evict around 100 of the protesters who had occupied it to prevent the construction of a controversial airport and then refused to leave after the project was ditched.

The police fired tear gas to disperse the protesters, who hurled petrol bombs at the security forces and tried to block their advance with burning barricades of tyres and wooden pallets.

One officer was injured in the eye, the interior ministry said, while security sources said one person was arrested.

In January, the government scrapped the decades-old plans for a new airport to serve the Atlantic coast and told the protesters to clear out by spring.

But some of the motley group of eco-warriors, farmers and anti-capitalists, who had turned the area into a utopian experiment in autonomous living, had demanded the right to stay put.

In a statement, the protesters expressed anger over the destruction of their huts and shelters, vowing that “We will not leave”.

The activists moved onto the site in 2008 and have since built up a community that they bill as a model of sustainable farming and political debate.

A first attempt to evacuate them in 2012 failed.

In January, President Emmanuel Macron buried plans for the airport, ending years of dithering by successive governments.

Supporters had argued that it would boost the local economy but environmentalists countered that the area had unique flora and fauna and that a new facility costing 730 million euros was unnecessary given relatively light traffic at the existing Nantes airport.

(with AFP)



April 11, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Protected bird colonies threatened by nuclear power station planned for Wales

Plans for Welsh nuclear power plant delayed by concerns over seabirdsNext stage of planning process for Anglesey site postponed as effect on tern colonies is assessed, Guardian,  Adam Vaughan, 9 Apr 18

Plans for a nuclear power station on the Welsh island of Anglesey have been delayed by concerns over the plant’s impact on colonies of protected seabirds.

The proposed twin reactors at Wylfa were given the green light by the UK’s nuclear regulator in December, with backers hoping to win financial support from the government.

The Welsh plant would have a capacity of 3GW, similar to the 3.2GW of the nuclear power station being built at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Horizon Nuclear Power, a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Hitachi, told planning authorities it would submit its planning application for the Wylfa plant by the end of March, which it called a “major milestone”.

But the company postponed submitting the development consent order because it needs to thrash out the impact building the power station will have on colonies of sandwich, Arctic and common terns.

The species are protected under the EU birds and habitats directive.

Nearby Cemlyn nature reserve is home to thousands of sandwich terns, which account for about fifth of the birds’ UK population and is the biggest on the country’s west coast.

Wildlife groups are concerned about the effect of noise and light from the power station’s construction, as well as a reduction in food for the birds to forage on. Land clearance for the vast site is also expected to displace potential predators, such as rats and foxes.

Chris Wynne, a senior reserve officer at North Wales Wildlife Trust, said: “We are looking at a range of ecological impacts at one of the most significant tern colonies in the UK.”


April 11, 2018 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia’s disturbing plans for dumping nuclear waste on the Qatari border


April 11, 2018 Posted by | politics international, Saudi Arabia, wastes | Leave a comment

A USA-Saudi agreement – the path to Saudi Arabia’s nuclear weapons?

Facing reality in the US-Saudi nuclear agreement: South Korea, Victor Gilinsky, Henry Sokolski, 10 Apr 18   The Trump administrations is on the verge of signing a nuclear agreement with Saudi Arabia that is reportedly “flexible” on Saudi acquisition of centrifuge technology to enrich uranium—the technology that can provide material for nuclear weapons and that was the central concern in regard to Iran’s nuclear program. This flexibility is necessary, the administration argues, to ensure the Saudis choose Westinghouse as their nuclear power reactor supplier. But Westinghouse, which performed abysmally on its last two US projects and is in bankruptcy as a result, is far less likely to win the bid than the South Korean construction firm whose work force is coming off successful completion of a large nuclear project nearby in the United Arab Emirates. This increases the importance of striking a tight US-Saudi agreement to ensure the Saudis don’t get to enrich under their nuclear cooperative agreement with Seoul.

The administration’s pitch that Congress should go along with “flexibility” pulls out all the usual bogeymen. Energy Secretary Rick Perry told the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 22 that, “Either Russia or China is going to be a partner in building civil nuclear capability in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, or the United States.” The Saudis, guided by several Washington lobbying firms, have been pushing this line, which much of the Washington establishment has swallowed, adding that allowing Moscow to gain a nuclear foothold in Saudi Arabia would deal a serious blow to US regional influence and prestige.

But the Saudis are not so foolish as to choose Russia or China. Moscow is nuclear supplier to Saudi Arabia’s foe, Iran, and Beijing has yet to bring a power reactor online outside of China. The Saudis already have a significant history of nuclear involvement with South Korea. They signed an agreement for “cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy” in 2011 and a memorandum of understanding in 2015, with a view to buying two smaller, so-called small modular (SMART) Korean reactors. Dozens of Saudis have gone to South Korea for nuclear training.

In these circumstances, the enrichment provision in the 2011 Saudi-South Korean agreement is of vital concern. It reads as follows: “Uranium transferred pursuant to this Agreement or used in any equipment so transferred shall not be enriched to twenty (20) percent or more in the isotope U-235 unless the Parties otherwise agree.” In other words, the 2011 agreement permits installation of Saudi enrichment facilities generally, and in particular the enrichment to 20 percent of uranium supplied under the agreement. A reason this is worrying—and was worrying in the case of Iran—is that, although it may seem counter intuitive, to further enrich the 20 percent product to a bomb explosive level takes only an additional one-tenth of the work it took to get to 20 percent. It becomes especially worrying when coupled with the Saudi Crown Prince’s hair-trigger promise (see this 60 Minutes interview) that if Iran got a bomb, the Kingdom would, too, “as soon as possible.”

This means that if we intend to bar Saudi Arabia’s path to nuclear weapons, and we absolutely should, we have to insist on a provision in our agreement with Saudi Arabia like that included in the agreement with its UAE neighbor: that the country will not engage in its territory in activities related to enrichment or reprocessing (extracting plutonium from spent nuclear fuel—the other path to a bomb). And we need to make sure South Korea agrees to hold off on moving forward on Saudi reactors until such a provision is in place.

Why would Saudi Arabia agree to such a restrictive provision? And why would South Korea agree to cooperate in ensuring it is in place. The short answer is that both countries depend on our protection. If we can pressure countries on trade terms—something the administrations brags about—surely, we can do so in the interest of security. As US Sen. Jack Reed, ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, said in response to Perry’s testimony, “The proliferation dangers are so great that we should be able to wield all of the influence we have, which goes way beyond just this one transaction, to insist [on the] same standards we applied to the Emirates.” And as President Gerald Ford said many years ago, “nonproliferation objectives must take precedence over economic and energy benefits if a choice must be made.”

This of course assumes the administration adheres to the traditional US policy objective of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, even among friends. An especially worrying aspect of this entire affair is that there seems to be a sense, born of hostility to Iran, that a Saudi nuclear weapon option might not be such a bad thing—in fact that it might even be useful to frighten Iran. All that can be said about such thinking is: This way lies chaos. We should move in the opposite direction, starting with barring Saudi Arabia from getting nuclear weapons.

April 11, 2018 Posted by | politics international, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

Kim Jong-un will not give up North Korea’s nuclear weapons Evans J.R. Revere, Monday, April 9, 2018  

Editor’s Note:If President Trump insists on meeting Kim Jong-un, he must be prepared either to agree to a long negotiating process that will play into Kim’s hands, or to walk away from the table, writes Evans Revers. Faced with these options, the prudent choice might be to press the “pause” button. This piece originally appeared on Newsweek.

President Donald J. Trump’s upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will be an historic encounter between two supremely self-confident, headstrong, and mercurial men, each seeking the other’s surrender.

The irresistible force of Donald Trump, whose administration has declared it will never accept, allow, or tolerate a North Korean nuclear threat to America, will soon meet the immovable object of a North Korean regime that has declared it will never give up its nuclear weapons “even in a dream.” What could possibly go wrong?

President Trump agreed to the summit on a whim, surprising his advisers and the South Korean envoys who conveyed Kim Jong-un’s invitation. Had he discussed the invitation with his advisers first, he would have heard that Kim’s reported interest in a deal on “denuclearization of the whole Korean Peninsula” is nothing of the kind.

Those who have negotiated nuclear matters with Pyongyang know that Kim’s words were a familiar North Korean demand to end the “threat” posed by the U.S.-South Korea alliance, the presence of U.S. troops in Korea, and the nuclear umbrella that defends South Korea and Japan.

A senior North Korean official once explained to a group of American experts, “If you remove those threats, we will feel more secure and in ten or twenty years’ time we may be able to consider denuclearization. In the meantime,” he continued, “we are prepared to meet with you as one nuclear weapon state with another to discuss arms control.”

That is North Korea’s concept of “denuclearization.” It bears no resemblance to the American definition.

April 11, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

In 2017 Solar Power Investment Outstripped Coal, Gas And Nuclear Combined

Solar Power Investment Outstripped Coal, Gas And Nuclear Combined In 2017

  • More money was invested in solar power in 2017 than in coal, gas and nuclear power combined, according to a new report for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

    The report says that global investment in solar rose 18% to $160.8 billion, driven by the Chinese market, which was responsible for more than half of the world’s 98GW of new solar capacity.

    Solar power made up 57% of last year’s total for all renewables (excluding large hydro) of $279.8 billion, and it towered above new investment in coal and gas generation capacity, at an estimated $103 billion.

    A record 157GW of renewable power were commissioned last year, up from 143GW in 2016 and far higher than the net 70GW of fossil-fuel generating capacity added (after adjusting for the closure of some existing plants) during the same period.

    The Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018 report, released by UNEP and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, finds that falling costs for solar electricity, and to some extent wind power, are continuing to drive deployment of renewable technologies.

    A separate report from the International Renewable Energy Agency said that renewable capacity including large hydro grew 167GW, or 8.3%.

     The world added more solar capacity than coal, gas, and nuclear plants combined ,” said Nils Stieglitz, President of Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. “This shows where we are heading, although the fact that renewables altogether are still far from providing the majority of electricity means that we still have a long way to go.” In addition to the rapid growth of the solar PV market, the amount of wind power capacity grew by 10%, IRENA said.

    Last year was the eighth in a row in which global investment in renewables, excluding large hydropower, exceeded $200 billion – and since 2004, the world has invested $2.9 trillion in these green energy sources, the study found.

    “This latest data confirms that the global energy transition continues to move forward at a fast pace, thanks to rapidly falling prices, technology improvements and an increasingly favourable policy environment, said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “Renewable energy is now the solution for countries looking to support economic growth and job creation, just as it is for those seeking to limit carbon emissions, expand energy access, reduce air pollution and improve energy security.”

    Chinese investment in solar jumped by 58% to $86.5 billion, leading to the addition of 53GW of capacity. China, the world’s biggest emitter, has set itself the target of sourcing a fifth of its electricity by 2030. Its investment in all renewable technologies was a record $126.6 billion, 31% higher than the year before.

    Asia as a whole accounted for almost two thirds of new capacity, with a tenth of the global total coming from India, mostly in solar and wind.

    The burgeoning renewable power market came in spite of the anti-clean energy sentiment of the administration of President Donald Trump and significant falls in investment in markets such as the UK. US investment fell 6% to $40.5 billion while European funding slipped by 36% to $40.9 billion, mainly because of a 65% drop-off in the U.K. to $7.6 billion and a 35% decline to $10.4 billion in Germany. Japan followed a similar trend in Japan, which dropped off 28% to $13.4 billion.

    As well as the Chinese surge, this was compensated for by sharp increases in investment in Australia (up 147% to $8.5 billion), Mexico (up 810% to $6 billion), and in Sweden (up 127 per cent to $3.7 billion).

    Angus McCrone, Chief Editor of Bloomberg New Energy Finance and lead author of the UNEP report, said: “In countries that saw lower investment, it generally reflected a mixture of changes in policy support, the timing of large project financings, such as in offshore wind, and lower capital costs per megawatt.”

    The $2.7 trillion invested in clean energy from 2007 to 2017 have increased the proportion of electricity generated by wind, solar, biomass and waste-to-energy, geothermal, marine and small hydro globally to more than 12%, from 5.2% in 2007, BNEF said, and has avoided the emission of about 1.8 gigatonnes of CO2, about the same as is emitted by the entire US transportation system.

    UN Environment head Erik Solheim said that “the extraordinary surge in solar investment shows how the global energy map is changing and, more importantly, what the economic benefits are of such a shift. Investments in renewables bring more people into the economy, they deliver more jobs, better quality jobs and better paid jobs. Clean energy also means less pollution, which means healthier, happier development.”

    However, IRENA’s Amin added that “despite this clear evidence of strength in the power generation sector, a complete energy transformation goes beyond electricity to include the end-use sectors of heating, cooling and transportation, where there is substantial opportunity for growth of renewables


April 11, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

14 April Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) Welsh Forum conference gathers anti-nuclear groups

Powys County Times 8th April 2018, ANTI-NUCLEAR campaigners from all across the UK will be descending on
Machynlleth next week to take part in a one day conference. The Nuclear
Free Local Authorities (NFLA) Welsh Forum is holding a special one day
conference with four other groups (WANA, PAWB, CADNO, CND Cymru) and three
supporting environmental / Welsh language NGOs on Saturday, April 14, in
the Owain Glyndwr Parliament House Centre from 11am to 3.30pm. By the close
of the conference, the groups are expected to make a “Powys
Declaration” against Nuclear Energy outlining the next steps in their

April 11, 2018 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

EDF warns of delays to Flamanville nuclear plant – it doesn’t augur well for Hinkley nuclear

EDF warns of delays at Flamanville nuclear power station in France
Experts fear UK’s planned Hinkley plant will face similar budget and deadline problems,
Guardian,  Adam Vaughan, 10 Apr 18, EDF Energy has warned that a flagship nuclear power station it is building in France could run further behind schedule and over budget, after it detected faults at the €10.5bn ( £9.2bn) plant.

The French state-owned firm said inspections last month had uncovered problems with welding on pipes at the Flamanville plant in north-west France.

Flamanville’s reactor design is the same as the one being used at a delayed plant in Finland and at Hinkley Point in Somerset, where EDF is building the UK’s first new nuclear power station in decades.

The company said that it had discovered “quality deviations” on 150 welds in a system used to transport steam to turbines used for electricity generation.

EDF said it was performing further checks to see what works would be needed to satisfy the safety requirements of the French nuclear regulator, ASN, and would report back in May.

In a statement, the firm said: “Following the current checks and the licensing process by the ASN, EDF will be able to specify whether the project requires an adjustment to its timetable and its costs.”

The plant is already three times over its original estimates and several years late.

Nuclear industry experts said the announcement cast doubt over whether Flamanville unit three would be operational by the end of 2019, as planned………..

April 11, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, France, UK | Leave a comment

Fraught with problems – relationships between small and large nuclear adversaries

Relationships between highly asymmetric nuclear powers, The Strategist , 10 Apr 2018|Rod Lyon  The current tensions between Washington and Pyongyang aren’t just about history. Nor are they simply the result of personal frictions between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. At their core, they reflect the difficulties that typically attend adversarial relationships between two highly asymmetric nuclear powers……..

… If Brodie’s right, a North Korea equipped with ‘a relatively modest number’ of thermonuclear-tipped ICBMs can be almost as effective in deterring the much more amply-equipped US as the US is in deterring the much smaller North Korea. ………
A relationship of mutual nuclear vulnerability between one country with almost no equity in the international order and another with deep equity in the same order wouldn’t be stabilising. Diplomacy might yet find a solution to that problem. But if it doesn’t, we shouldn’t assume that a comfortable, long-term nuclear deterrence relationship will miraculously unfold as a simple, benign alternative.

April 11, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Bechtel companies hoping to build nuclear power in Saudi Arabia

Bechtel in Talks Over Potential Role in Saudi Nuclear Program, Bloomberg, By Vivian Nereim, April 11, 2018,

  • Company also interested in futuristic planned city Neom
  • ‘This kind of work is right in our sweet spot’: Bechtel CEO

Bechtel Group Inc. is “very interested” in Saudi Arabia’s plans for a civilian nuclear program and is discussing potential roles for the company.

“This kind of work is right in our sweet spot,” Chief Executive Officer Brendan Bechtel said Tuesday in an interview in Riyadh, where the San Francisco-based engineering and construction company is celebrating its 75th anniversary of doing business in Saudi Arabia. “It’s going to be highly competitive and there are multiple solutions from different nation-states competing. The U.S. is going to need to be competitive to secure a role.”

…….One potential wrinkle is whether any agreement with Saudi Arabia would include a so-called gold-standard clause, which permits power generation but would bar the enrichment and reprocessing of nuclear fuel and waste. The United Arab Emirates has made such a concession, but the Trump administration has considered potential deals with the kingdom that don’t include the prohibition. The issue was further muddied in March when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the kingdom would develop a nuclear weapon if Iran did.

Bechtel is in discussions with the Saudi government’s King Abdullah  City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, and the tender process is “moving pretty fast,” Bechtel said. Saudi officials have said they expect to sign contracts to build the first two reactors by the end of 2018…..

April 11, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Despite the media hype, Thorium Power still a poor investment

Favorable Media Coverage Somewhat Unlikely to Impact Thorium Power (NASDAQ:LTBR) Stock Price, Weekly Herald, by Samantha Guadardo on Apr 10th, 2018 

News articles about Thorium Power (NASDAQ:LTBR) have been trending positive this week, according to Accern Sentiment. The research group identifies negative and positive press coverage by reviewing more than twenty million news and blog sources. Accern ranks coverage of publicly-traded companies on a scale of -1 to 1, with scores nearest to one being the most favorable. Thorium Power earned a media sentiment score of 0.25 on Accern’s scale. Accern also assigned news coverage about the energy company an impact score of 45.422705335828 out of 100, meaning that recent press coverage is somewhat unlikely to have an effect on the stock’s share price in the next several days.

LTBR stock opened at $1.15 on Tuesday. Thorium Power has a 12-month low of $0.94 and a 12-month high of $4.80.

April 11, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, thorium | Leave a comment

The Mechanism of DNA Damage by UV Radiation

  News Medical Life Sciences, 

Solar ultraviolet radiation (UV) exposure triggers DNA damage, a preliminary step in the process of carcinogenesis. 

The stability of DNA is extremely important for the proper functioning of all cellular processes. Exposure to UV radiation alters the structure of DNA, affecting the physiological processes of all living systems ranging from bacteria to humans.

Ultraviolet Radiation

Natural sunlight stimulates the production of vitamin D, an important nutrient for the formation of healthy bones. However, sunlight is also a major source of UV radiation. Individuals who get excessive UV exposure are at a great risk of developing skin cancers. There are three types of UV rays: UVA, UVB and UVC.

  • UVC rays (100-280 nm) are the most energetic and damaging of the three rays. Fortunately, UVC is absorbed by the ozone layer before reaching the earth’s surface.
  • UVA rays (315-400 nm) possess the lowest energy and is able to penetrate deep into the skin. Prolonged exposure has been linked to ageing and wrinkling of the skin. UVA is also the main cause of melanomas.
  • UVB rays (280-315 nm) possess higher energy than UVA rays and affect the outer layer of the skin leading to sunburns and tans. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are caused by UVB radiation.

DNA Damage by UV Radiation

DNA is composed of two complementary strands that are wound into a double helix. The hereditary message is chemically coded and made up of the four nucleotides adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G) and cytosine (C).  UVB light interferes directly with the bonding between the nucleotides in the DNA. ……….

April 11, 2018 Posted by | radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

EPA Letter Reveals New Problems with Hunters Point Radiation Data

 NBC NewsAgency finds nearly all of the radiation data that it reviewed is ‘suspect.’   By By Liz Wagner and Mark Villarreal, Apr 9, 2018  According to the Environmental Protection Agency, nearly all of the radiation data collected on two large parcels of land at the Hunters Point Shipyard is problematic.

The data was collected by Navy contractor Tetra Tech over a 12-year period. The Navy hired the company to clean up radiation at the superfund site in San Francisco.

In January, Navy officials found nearly 50 percent of the company’s data may have been falsified. But the new information from the EPA shows the extent of the potential fraud is actually much worse.

A December 2017 letter sent by the EPA to the Navy – and obtained by a Washington D.C. advocacy group called Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) – explains that on about 40 percent of the shipyard, the EPA found between 90 percent and 97 percent of Tetra Tech’s radiation data looked “suspect.”

That number is much higher than what the Navy reported publicly earlier this year.

“Hunters Point is unfolding into the biggest case of eco-fraud in U.S. history,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, who obtained the EPA document under the Freedom of Information Act. “What makes these findings so remarkable is that the Navy was on notice for years that it had a major data meltdown on its hands yet is still trying to cook the books.”

Officials are working on a plan to re-test the shipyard to make sure it’s safe, but that process has taken months.

The superfund site is slated to be developed into parks, offices and homes, including a considerable amount of affordable housing. Dr. Veronica Hunnicutt, chair of Hunters Point Citizens Advisory Committee, the group appointed to oversee development at the shipyard, says she’s fed up.

“The Navy and the EPA are not moving this along figuring out what they need to do,” she said. “Get the land cleaned up and get it back to the developer. Nothing has happened.”…….

April 11, 2018 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Former Prime Minister of Japan ,Naoto Kan draws crowds in France, speaking against nuclear power

Beyond Nuclear 8th April 2018, The former Japanese PM visits Flamanville and La Hague, and draws 400
locals to an inspiring evening event in Normandy, France.

Most of the time you don’t see former leaders of major world powers trudging along windy
clifftops as they listen to anti-nuclear activists hold forth. That is why
I find the odyssey of former Japanese Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, ever more
extraordinary. For a handful of years now he has been traveling around the
world speaking out in favor of an end to the use of nuclear power.

And he has been talking to us. Kan was in Normandy, France at the same time that
its president, Emmanuel Macron, was promoting his country’s deeply flawed
EPR reactors in India, an irony that was not lost on his audience. His
visit was hosted by two of the leading anti-nuclear organizations in the
region — CRILAN and Collectif anti-nucléaire Ouest. Kan came right to
Flamanville, the site of the French “flagship” EPR, the very one Macron
was flogging in India. Flamanville 3, now fast approaching hot testing, has
become a disaster of epic proportions in which nothing has gone right, from
a faulty concrete pour for the foundation to the flawed forging of
essential safety components. It is massively over-budget and years behind

April 11, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Fighting back against Big Lies on climate change and the environment — and winning

Despite the firehose of disinformation, activists are winning by insisting on facts, evidence and science, Salon, AMANDA MARCOTTE, 04.09.2018 

In the age of Donald Trump, one could be forgiven for believing that truth has lost all value. As of March 1, Trump had reportedly told 2,436 public lies, an average of six a day during his 13 months in office. That number doesn’t even encompass the firehose of misinformation coming out of his administration, much less the right-wing media network that’s geared towards propagandizing on behalf of Dear Leader. It’s easy to despair, because it frequently seems there are no consequences for all this lying and that huge percentages of Americans have flatly decided they don’t care about facts any longer.

But when it comes to the issue of the environment, there’s reason to believe — at least for now — that there’s still some value to having the facts on your side. There are at least two reasons for this. Environmental laws, as written, still have high evidentiary standards that conservatives simply cannot ignore. Secondly, attorneys general in blue states are ready to put huge amounts of resources to make it difficult for corporate interests and their friends in the Trump administration to hide, deny or distort the facts to support their pro-pollution agenda.

At the end of March, environmentalists quietly scored another victory against efforts to conceal the truth about climate change, when a federal judge ruled against ExxonMobil in a transparency case. In 2016, in response to reporting that found ExxonMobil executives had hidden the truth about climate change from investors and customers for decades, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey opened investigations into the oil giant to find out whether the pattern of deceit was legally actionable. Exxon sued in retaliation, claiming the investigation was politically biased, and lost.

Exxon has run a scorched earth campaign to avoid answering our basic questions about the company’s awareness of climate change,” Healey told Salon in an emailed statement. “Massachusetts customers and investors deserve answers from Exxonabout what it has known about the impact of burning fossil fuels on its business and the planet, and whether it hid this information from the public.”

Attorneys general have been using a similar strategy against Scott Pruitt, Trump’s head of the Environmental Protection Agency, who has been notoriously secretive about his behavior, even installing a soundproof phone booth so he can talk to persons unknown without being overheard. But what he can’t do, said David Hayes, the executive director of the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center at NYU School of Law, is run away from scientific facts when he’s confronted with them in court……..

Litigation against tobacco companies in the ’90s successfully drew public attention not just to the science, but to the industry’s efforts to hide it. The result was a rapid drop-off in rates of young people beginning to smoke. That rate started to fall in the ’90s and has since hit an all-time low.

 Right now, it seems there’s a similar situation brewing on the topic of climate change. It’s not just that environmentalists have the facts on their side, but they are also going to be able to show, as the lawsuits and investigations go down, that the Pruitt EPA and companies like ExxonMobil have actively been trying to hide the truth. Trying to cover something up often tends to backfire, making the public more interested in learning what facts were so alarming that someone felt the need to hide it in the first place.

Pruitt’s efforts at a cover-up stink of desperation. He’s trying to push scientists off the EPA’s advisory boards, which of course has resulted in a lawsuit, backed by the Union of Concerned Scientists.  Working with Republican allies in Congress, he’s trying to limit the amount of scientific research the EPA is allowed to consider when crafting clean air regulations. Researchers are now afraid to use the phrase “climate change” when seeking government grants, for fear of triggering the censorious impulses of Pruitt and other Trump administration officials who are eager to keep the scientific truths from being known.

Trump officials and ExxonMobil executives wouldn’t be so afraid of the evidence on climate change unless they believed that truth still has the power to move the needle in both law and in public opinion. In the age of misinformation, it’s even more important to keep pushing to get the facts into the light.

April 11, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment