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The thorium nuclear dream: 50 years later – still as far away as ever

Thorium nuclear power? go Green instead  https://www.westerntelegraph.co.uk/news/17600300.letter-thorium-nuclear-power-go-green-instead/  By Bruce Sinclair Reporter,Western Telegraph April 17CHRISTOPHER JESSOP, F Harbud wrote: “With all the letters on green energy appearing in the press, I wonder why there is no mention of the thorium reactors under development?”

When I was reading for my Energy Studies degree at University College Swansea in the late 1970s, the consensus within the nuclear power industry was that the thorium cycle could prove of interest, but a lot of investment would be required to develop a competitive and safe reactor design.

Forty years later, the nuclear power industry appears to be still saying this.

Meanwhile, onshore wind and solar PV are the cheapest means of generating electricity, and they are available NOW.

The climate emergency is so severe, we can’t wait for the future promise of any ‘long-haul’ energy technology, and that includes fusion: when I was a student, fusion was 50 years away from commercialisation, and more than 40 years later it is still 50 years away from commercialisation!

 

April 30, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Political leaders in Britain are not strong enough to tackle the climate change crisis- Lord Stern

Times 29th April 2019 , Political leaders in Britain are not strong enough to tackle the climate
change crisis, according to one of the country’s leading authorities on the
subject. Lord Stern of Brentford, author of the Stern Review on the cost of
tackling global warming, said that politicians were holding the country
back from making progress on the issue.

“Has the political leadership been
strong enough? No, I don’t think so,” he said. He added that protests by
campaigners such as Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from
Sweden, and Extinction Rebellion, a group that caused disruption in the
capital last week, would help to build awareness and spur politicians into
action.

“Leadership is absolutely fundamental, but that doesn’t come out of
nowhere, it comes as these pressures build,” he said. Lord Stern, a former
chief economist at the Treasury and the World Bank, is among Britain’s most
respected thinkers on the environmental crisis. In 2006 he published The
Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change, which described global
warming as the “greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen”.

He told The Times that policymakers needed to act to avert a catastrophic rise
in global temperatures. If they waited an additional ten to fifteen years
before taking radical steps to reduce carbon emissions, it would be too
late, he said.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/c233cb30-69e1-11e9-95be-9353feb218cd

April 30, 2019 Posted by | climate change, politics, UK | Leave a comment

The eloquence of Greta Thunberg

 https://thebulletin.org/2019/04/greta-thunberg-climate-change-eloquence/?utm_source=Bulletin%20Newsletter&utm_medium=iContact%20email&utm_campaign=GretaThunberg_04252019

By Thomas Gaulkin, April 25, 2019  Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old student whose school strikes have inspired a global youth movement on climate change, has emerged as a chief orator of her generation, enthralling her Instagram peers and world political leaders alike while taking on new and more specific opponents.

That includes the members of Parliament she met with this week in London. Her speech Tuesday to a gathering of British MPs was remarkable, not only for the incongruity of a young Swedish woman giving the UK’s top politicians what for, but also for her focused targeting of the nation’s energy policies. Longer than her usual talks—at some 1,750 words it’s more than double the length of speeches she presented at Davos and the UN climate conference in the fall—the speech eschewed the finely tuned repertoire of scolding that propelled her into newscasts worldwide with persuasive and provocative headline-fodder like “I want you to panic,” “the house is on fire,” “I don’t want your hope,” and so on.

Instead, for her House of Commons speech, as with her address to the EU parliament a week earlier, Thunberg tailored her words to the climate-related failures of the adults in the room. “The UK is … very special,” she told the British MPs. “Not only for its mind-blowing historical carbon debt, but also for its current, very creative carbon accounting.” She then detailed how the UK’s carbon emissions reductions have fallen short (by neglecting emissions from aviation and shipping in estimates, for example). Lambasting the nation’s continued support for fossil fuels, Thunberg does not mince words: “This ongoing irresponsible behavior will no doubt be remembered in history as one of the greatest failures of humankind.”

Thunberg has adjusted her rhetoric to respond to criticism from prominent figures like Theresa May (who was a no-show at a meeting between Thunberg and other UK party leaders), who think the school strikes “waste lesson time.” As for those winning metaphors like the “house on fire,” Thunberg seems confident moving beyond them (“I have said those words before,” she told the EU) to newly relevant and bigger metaphors: “Avoiding climate breakdown will require cathedral thinking. We must lay the foundation while we may not know exactly how to build the ceiling.”

It’s worth reading Thunberg’s entire speech, to appreciate both her crisp eloquence on the world’s most complex environmental problem and her satisfying rejection of grown-ups who praise her actions without committing to any themselves.

“Did you hear what I just said?” she asked a few times. “Is my English OK? Is the microphone on? Because I’m beginning to wonder.”

April 30, 2019 Posted by | climate change, PERSONAL STORIES, UK | Leave a comment

Subsidies to nuclear industry – legislation “anti-competitive” and “anti-consumer.”

Free-market advocate chastises nuclear energy subsidies in committee hearing, Ohio Watchdog, By Tyler Arnold | Watchdog.org, Apr 24, 2019, 

    • A representative of an Ohio-based free-market think tank cautioned state lawmakers during a Wednesday committee hearing about adopting a measure that would subsidize two nuclear power plants that are no longer viable on their own.

“The Buckeye Institute opposes government subsidies, pure and simple,” institute Research Fellow Greg Lawson said in his testimony to the Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy Generation. “Any subsidy given to one entity puts other competitors at a disadvantage. And using the power of government to disadvantage market competitors makes for bad public policy.”

House Bill 6, sponsored by state Reps. Jamie Callender, R-Concord Township, and Shane Wilkin, R-Hillsboro, is designed to boost the state’s investment in clean energy and incentivize the building and maintenance in facilities that produce few carbon emissions and reduce energy bills.

Critics of the bill have classified the legislation as a bailout aimed at saving two FirstEnergy Solutions nuclear power plants – the Davis-Besse and Perry plants. The company, which has lobbied for legislative help, has said that the plants will be shut down without financial aid from taxpayers.

If passed, the legislation would impose a $2.50 monthly fee for every residential customer, a $250 fee for industrial customers and a $2,500 fee for large users. This would generate about $170 million to keep the plants open……

Lawson’s testimony criticized the subsidies further.

“Although described as incentives, the policies … are classic examples of government subsidies being used to prop-up declining businesses…,” Lawson testified. “[The bill] deals more broadly than just FirstEnergy Solutions, leaving leftover funds for other utilities to draw down, but everyone understands that FirstEnergy Solutions, or whoever eventually buys the two nuclear power plants, will be the bill’s primary beneficiary.”…….

Several other organizations testified in the committee hearing, touching on how the legislation would affect competition as well as jobs and workers.

Luke Harms, who testified on behalf of the Ohio Manufacturer’s Association, said that the legislation would put an unfair cost on industrial consumers for the purpose of propping up two nonviable plants. He called the legislation “anti-competitive” and “anti-consumer.”

Bill Siderewicz, who testified on behalf of Clean Energy Future, said that it is inconsistent to label the bill a clean energy bill because it replaces a cheaper form of clean energy with a more expensive form through a bailout and a regressive tax…….https://www.watchdog.org/ohio/free-market-advocate-chastises-nuclear-energy-subsidies-in-committee-hearing/article_a0208772-66cb-11e9-abed-c3d999e15c7f.html?fbclid=IwAR3z3zHqrFMqarwjugRTeXRnDFjymsM7S0LU2nf-43IIyaR9XOEtWj8lbjI

April 30, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

The Last Time There Was This Much CO2, Trees Grew at the South Pole

   Dahr Jamail, Truthout , 29  April 19,   It is palpable now. Even the most ardent deniers of human-caused climate disruption can feel the convulsions wracking the planet…..


This anxiety that increases by the day, this curious dread of what our climate-disrupted future will bring, is difficult to bear. Even those who have not already lost homes or loved ones to climate disruption-fueled extreme weather events have to live with the burden of this daily tension.

The signs of our overheated planet abound, and another collection of recent reports and studies shows things are only continuing to accelerate as human-caused climate disruption progresses.

A recently published study showed that Earth’s glaciers are now melting five times more rapidly than they were in the 1960s.“The glaciers shrinking fastest are in central Europe, the Caucasus region, western Canada, the U.S. Lower 48 states, New Zealand and near the tropics,” lead author Michael Zemp, director of the World Glacier Monitoring Service at the University of Zurich told Time Magazine. Glaciers in those places are losing an average of more than 1 percent of their mass each year, according to the study. “In these regions, at the current glacier loss rate, the glaciers will not survive the century,” added Zemp.

Meanwhile, the World Meteorological Organization announced that extreme weather events impacted 62 million people across the world last year. In 2018, 35 million people were struck by flooding, and Hurricanes Florence and Michael were just two of 14 “billion-dollar disasters” in 2018 in the U.S. More than 1,600 deaths were linked to heat waves and wildfires in Europe, Japan and the U.S. The report also noted the last four years were the warmest on record.As an example of this last statistic, another report revealed that Canada is warming at twice the global rate. “We are already seeing the effects of widespread warming in Canada,” Elizabeth Bush, a climate science adviser at Environment Canada, told The Guardian. “It’s clear, the science supports the fact that adapting to climate change is an imperative.”

Another recent report showed that the last time there was this much CO2 in the atmosphere (412 ppm), in the Pliocene Epoch 5.3 to 2.6 million years ago, sea levels were 20 meters higher than they are right now, trees were growing at the South Pole, and average global temperatures were 3 to 4 degrees Centigrade (3°-4° C) warmer, and even 10°C warmer in some areas. NASA echoed the report’s findings.

And if business as usual continues, emissions will only accelerate. The International Energy Agency announced that global carbon emissions set a record in 2018, rising 1.7 percent to a record 33.1 billion tons……….. https://truthout.org/articles/the-last-time-there-was-this-much-co2-trees-grew-at-the-south-pole/

April 30, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Concerns Raised About Three Mile Island Steam Generator Tube Defects; Could Rupture Leading To LOCA-Meltdown — Mining Awareness +

The Three Mile Island (TMI) Nuclear Power Station Unit 1 is still operating and owner Exelon is pressuring Pennsylvania to approve subsidies to keep it open. The TMI replacement steam generators (by Areva-Le Creusot) apparently have a design defect, but may have material defects, as well. These could lead to another partial, or full, Three […]

via Concerns Raised About Three Mile Island Steam Generator Tube Defects; Could Rupture Leading To LOCA-Meltdown — Mining Awareness +

April 30, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Biodiversity Loss and Human Extinction — GarryRogers Nature Conservation

“The numbers are staggering,” says the former Romanian environment minister. “I hope we aren’t the first species to document our own extinction.”

via Biodiversity Loss and Human Extinction — GarryRogers Nature Conservation

April 30, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

April 29 Energy News — geoharvey

Video: ¶ “Finland’s New Generation Of Climate Heroes” • The town of Ii in northern Finland wants to be the world’s first zero-waste community. They stopped using fossil fuels, and the community is reducing CO₂ emissions faster than any other in Finland. Their target is to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2020, 30 years ahead […]

via April 29 Energy News — geoharvey

April 30, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

David Attenborough’s strong defence of the school children who strike for climate action

Outrage is justified’: David Attenborough backs school climate strikers:  broadcaster says older generations have done terrible things and should listen to young,  Guardian, Damian Carrington, Environment editor @dpcarrington, 26 Apr 2019

  The outrage of the students striking from school over climate change inaction is “certainly justified”, according to Sir David Attenborough, who said older generations had done terrible damage to the planet.In an interview with the former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, the broadcaster and naturalist dismissed critics of the widely praised global movement of school strikes as cynics.

“[Young people] understand the simple discoveries of science about our dependence upon the natural world,” he said. “My generation is no great example for understanding – we have done terrible things.”

The protests by young people were enormously encouraging, Attenborough said. “That is the one big reason I have for feeling we are making progress. If we were not making progress with young people, we are done.”

The outrage of the students striking from school over climate change inaction is “certainly justified”, according to Sir David Attenborough, who said older generations had done terrible damage to the planet.

In an interview with the former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, the broadcaster and naturalist dismissed critics of the widely praised global movement of school strikes as cynics.

“[Young people] understand the simple discoveries of science about our dependence upon the natural world,” he said. “My generation is no great example for understanding – we have done terrible things.”

The protests by young people were enormously encouraging, Attenborough said. “That is the one big reason I have for feeling we are making progress. If we were not making progress with young people, we are done.”……

The outrage of the students striking from school over climate change inaction is “certainly justified”, according to Sir David Attenborough, who said older generations had done terrible damage to the planet.

In an interview with the former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, the broadcaster and naturalist dismissed critics of the widely praised global movement of school strikes as cynics.

“[Young people] understand the simple discoveries of science about our dependence upon the natural world,” he said. “My generation is no great example for understanding – we have done terrible things.”

The protests by young people were enormously encouraging, Attenborough said. “That is the one big reason I have for feeling we are making progress. If we were not making progress with young people, we are done.”……https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/26/david-attenborough-backs-school-climate-strikes-outrage-greta-thunberg

April 29, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

No to nuclear power: Taiwan’s president reaffirms anti-nuclear stance

Taiwan’s president reaffirms anti-nuclear stance at march  https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190428/p2g/00m/0in/056000c, April 28, 2019 (Mainichi Japan) TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Saturday reaffirmed her opposition to nuclear power before marching with anti-nuclear protesters, reviving an issue that has proven politically divisive in the past.

April 29, 2019 Posted by | politics, Taiwan | Leave a comment

United Nations’ Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu offers optimism, in the cause of nuclear disarmament

Hopes for Nuclear Disarmament from Tokyo,  https://allthingsnuclear.org/gkulacki/hopes-for-nuclear-disarmament-from-tokyo, GREGORY KULACKI, CHINA PROJECT MANAGER AND SENIOR ANALYST | APRIL 27, 2019The so-called “great powers” are not so great when it comes to nuclear disarmament. Forty-nine years ago they entered into a legally binding commitment, known as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to “pursue negotiations in good faith … on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.” It’s hard to argue, though the great powers try to do so, that spending trillions to maintain and modernize their nuclear arsenals is an act of good faith.

Optimism in the face of that kind of hypocrisy can be hard to find, but it made an appearance this week on the campus of the United Nations University in Tokyo. Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, spoke convincingly to a conference room packed with concerned academics, students and activists about improving prospects for progress in nuclear disarmament.

International Norms Still Matter

One prerequisite for progress is a high level of commitment among UN member states to international law and organization. Nakamitsu said that although politicians from the United States and other nations are mobilizing nationalist resentments against the accelerating social and economic developments knitting the planet together, public officials in the rest of the world are responding with “a renewed commitment to multilateralism.” She emphasized, repeatedly, that the United Nations cannot force the nuclear weapons states to disarm. But it can help create the conditions for progress.

An important bellwether is the NPT itself.  The third meeting of the preparatory committee for the NPT review conference in 2020 is being held in New York. In advance of the meeting even President Trump, who revels in undermining the United Nations, is talking about the need for nuclear arms control. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo opened the door to deep nuclear cuts by suggesting that the United States and Russia should join China, which has a small nuclear arsenal of several hundred weapons that it keeps off alert, in the negotiation of a new strategic arms limitation treaty.

Despite these public statements–and time will tell if they are sincere–the Trump administration is asking Congress for new funds to rapidly modernize and expand the US nuclear arsenal. It also refused to endorse President Reagan’s statement that “A nuclear war cannot be won and should never be fought.” But even Trump and his assemblage of nuclear hawks feel the need to at least pretend, at a moment when the world is gathering to sure up the NPT, that international nuclear arms control is a solemn US obligation.

Looking Forward

Nakamitsu was enthusiastic about the new UN Agenda for Disarmament launched by UN Secretary General António Guterres last May. She reminded her audience the very first UN General Assembly resolution established the international community’s right and responsibility to “enquire into” and “make recommendations” that would lead to “the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons.” She said one of the most exciting initiatives on the agenda is to engage new constituencies that can support the United Nations in the fulfillment of that mandate.

The most consequential may be the global scientific community, which is much larger, more diverse and more capable than it was in 1946. Nakamitsu spends a lot of time with scientific groups all over the world and notes that many scientists never thought about nuclear disarmament, much less how they might participate in the process. At first blush that may seem discouraging but it is actually a cause for hope. The global discussion of nuclear disarmament is currently dominated by a small clique of experts closely associated with the nuclear weapons states. Expanding that discussion to include more diverse and scientifically competent voices is a task ideally suited for the United Nations. Nakamitsu’s outreach is already leading to some interesting conversations.

For example, she recalled a meeting with IT engineers at a major global corporation where she sought advice on the potential impact of artificial intelligence on nuclear weapons command and control systems. The discussion started with a recitation of familiar concerns about machinesdeciding to launch nuclear weapons with no human oversight. But it ended with the speculation that it might be possible to encode all modern weapons systems with an algorithm that allowed the machines to understand, interpret and apply international humanitarian law. As I sat there listening to the undersecretary I imagined a pilot about to launch a missile strike getting a warning stating, “System analytics have determined your action will result in the commission of a war crime. This incident will be recorded and filed with the United Nations War Crimes Commission.”

This is just one of the many thought-provoking encounters Nakamitsu experienced after the new agenda was launched. She believes they’re creating greater global interest in advancing nuclear disarmament.

Power to the People

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the undersecretary emphasized history suggests greater public engagement forces national decision-makers to pursue international nuclear arms control. She recalled the role of the Japanese women who helped ignite the worldwide public campaign that led to the signing of the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT), which prohibited the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, outer space and under water.

The UN’s new disarmament agenda also calls for the unprecedented use of the offices and resources of the United Nations to reach out to women and other constituencies sidelined by the male-dominated conversations about nuclear disarmament that occur between officials and experts from the nuclear weapons states. Nakamitsu related her own efforts to engage much younger audiences, and patiently fielded questions from the students and educators who attended her presentation. She reminded the older members of the audience, like me, that while complete and total nuclear disbarment is unlikely to occur in our lifetimes, the hope for our future lies in engaging young people and arming them with the information they need to carry on the struggle.

April 29, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Across the world. Extinction Rebellion climate activists stage “die-in”

Extinction Rebellion activists stage die-in protests across globe https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/27/extinction-rebellion-activists-stage-die-in-protests-across-globe      Mattha Busby @matthabusby, 28 Apr 2019
Environmental protesters lay on the ground at transport hubs, venues and shopping centres
Extinction Rebellion supporters around the world have held a series of mass die-ins to highlight the risk of the human race becoming extinct asa result of climate change.
Protesters in France, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Italy, The Netherlands, the UK and other countries lay across the ground on Saturday at transport hubs, cultural centres and shopping centres to demand drastic action to avert environmental collapse.

At the Kelvingrove art gallery and museum in Glasgow, about 300 activists lay down beneath Dippy, the famous copy of a diplodocus skeleton which is currently touring the UK, for 20 minutes on the sound of a violin.

Many held handwritten signs with the question “Are we next?”, while children held pictures they had drawn of their favourite at-risk animals as part of the event organised by Wee Rebellion, a climate-change protest group for young people in Glasgow associated with Extinction Rebellion.

Twelve-year-old Lida said: “We want to raise awareness about climate change. If we keep carrying on the way we are humans may become extinct, like Dippy.” Aoibhìn, 7, said: “Lots of animals are dying out because of climate change.”

Organisers of the die-in said Wee Rebellion would continue to hold protests until local and central governments committed to zero greenhouse gas emissions within 11 years and established climate citizens assemblies to oversee the changes.

The group said industrial agriculture, overfishing and deforestation could lead to food shortages in the UK and serious flooding in parts of Glasgow.

In Lund, a number of people took to the cobbled streets of the southern Swedish city in the rain, urging people to take greater notice of what they called a looming climate catastrophe.

Meanwhile, in Oslo, about 30 people occupied the floor of a shopping centre. Extinction Rebellion Norway tweeted: “Full stoppage at Oslo City while we campaigned against the clothing industry’s wild environmental degradation. It is the world’s second largest polluter after the oil industry.”

Earlier, in Melbourne, protesters held placards saying, “You are never too small to make a difference” and “Species go extinct every day” as they lay on the pavement outside Flinders Street station.

The actions were part of worldwide celebration at 12.05pm called by Extinction Rebellion Berlin following the protests that began in London in November 2018, which have since spawned a mass movement.

A spokesperson for the group said in a statement: “Our ecosystem is threatened by collapse, which will not only lead to mass extinction of countless species, the loss of soil fertility and more extreme weather but will also bring with it the social crises of famine, war and migration.

“The small efforts we are doing each and every day, [such as] using less packaging, buying organic food and clothes, stopping drinking with plastic straws are clearly not enough. We need our governments to take their responsibilities seriously in order to ensure a future worth living to the inhabitants of our world.”

April 29, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Anglican Church angry about ‘Thanksgiving’ service for nuclear weapons at Westminster Abbey

International outcry at ‘Thanksgiving’ service for nuclear weapons at Westminster Abbey ww.ekklesia.co.uk/node/28146, By agency reporter. APRIL 28, 2019, The international Anglican Communion has expressed widespread concern about the upcoming ‘National Service of Thanksgiving’ for nuclear weapons, which is being held at Westminster Abbey on Friday 3 May 2019.

More than 175 Anglican clergy members have signed a statement, coordinated by the Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (Christian CND), calling for the service to be stopped. The signatories to the statement come from the United Kingdom, the United States, Brazil, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. They include eight current or former bishops.Christian CND commended the Church of England for overwhelmingly passing a motion at General Synod in 2018 which noted that nuclear weapons have “indiscriminate and destructive potential” which urges Anglicans to “work tirelessly for their elimination across the world”.

Martin Tiller, Co-Chair of Christian CND said, “Christians around the world will find this service, described by the Royal Navy as a ‘celebration’, to be completely inappropriate. For centuries, Christians have been praying for peace, and we simply do not accept that a so-called ‘nuclear deterrent’ is God’s answer to that prayer. The huge support for our The international Anglican Communion has expressed widespread concern about the upcoming ‘National Service of Thanksgiving’ for nuclear weapons, which is being held at Westminster Abbey on Friday 3 May 2019.

More than 175 Anglican clergy members have signed a statement, coordinated by the Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (Christian CND), calling for the service to be stopped. The signatories to the statement come from the United Kingdom, the United States, Brazil, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. They include eight current or former bishops.Christian CND commended the Church of England for overwhelmingly passing a motion at General Synod in 2018 which noted that nuclear weapons have “indiscriminate and destructive potential” which urges Anglicans to “work tirelessly for their elimination across the world”.

Martin Tiller, Co-Chair of Christian CND said, “Christians around the world will find this service, described by the Royal Navy as a ‘celebration’, to be completely inappropriate. For centuries, Christians have been praying for peace, and we simply do not accept that a so-called ‘nuclear deterrent’ is God’s answer to that prayer. The huge support for our petition and clergy statement demonstrates that many, many other Christians agree with us.”

The Rt Rev Andrew Hedge, Bishop of Waipu, New Zealand said,”New Zealand has a proud record of being opposed to nuclear weapons and has already ratified the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. I welcome the motion passed by Church of England General Synod in support of the Treaty, and believe that the witness of the church needs to be invested in working to bring about a nuclear weapons-free world. Recognition of the long-standing commitment of the naval submariners to vigilant patrol is laudable; however, the idea of aligning that celebration with the threat of potential indiscriminate destruction through the use of nuclear weapons is completely counter to the witness of the Church in the proclamation of the gospel.”

Christian CND will be taking part in an alternative witness outside Westminster Abbey on Friday 3 May, gathering at 11:30 for reflection and prayer before the witness begins at 12 noon. The witness will be inter-denominational with Methodist, Quaker, Catholic and Anglican representation. The witness is being supported by the Network of Christian Peace Organisations, Pax Christi, the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship, the National Peace and Justice Network, Church and Peace and the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

* Read the statement and a full list of signatories here

* Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament http://christiancnd.org.uk/

April 29, 2019 Posted by | Religion and ethics, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear power to fix climate change? As likely as catching a unicron

Alberta nuclear energy just a unicorn, EDMONTON JOURNAL 

Re. “Fear not, new nuclear reactors can solve Canada’s climate change crises,” David Staples, April 26

David Staples argues nuclear means we don’t have to fear climate change. There are a few assumptions behind his suggestions that I take issue with.

First, is that a consensus on nuclear is politically achievable. It’s as if Fukushima, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, et cetera, haven’t happened or that we’ll just forget about them and agree to build something better this time. I suggest approval of nuclear is as likely as finding Sasquatch. If you think it’s tough to build a pipeline, just try to sell something with toxic waste that lasts forever but can make terrible weapons.

Nuclear would take years of lobbying, and if successful, be followed by years of construction. The technical complexity, political controversy and financial uncertainty guarantee these projects are always way behind schedule. Reactor projects in the UK and Germany have been cancelled.

The second assumption is that business as usual is fine in the meantime. The Calgary flood, Fort McMurray fire, et cetera, have shown Albertans and Canadians that we are in an emergency.

We do not have time to waste chasing unicorns; carbon capture and storage has certainly taught us that. Time is more valuable than money now.    https://edmontonjournal.com/opinion/letters/saturdays-letters-alberta-nuclear-energy-just-a-unicorn

 

April 29, 2019 Posted by | Canada, climate change | Leave a comment

More evidence that US may seek to prosecute Julian Asssange under the Espionage Act 

https://www.thecanary.co/global/world-analysis/2019/04/28/more-evidence-that-us-may-seek-to-prosecute-julian-asssnge-under-the-espionage-act/  Tom Coburg , 28th April 2019  More evidence has emerged that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could be prosecuted for offences under the US Espionage Act. Although testimony provided by a digital forensics expert raises questions about the prosecution.

Threat to former WikiLeaks staff/volunteers

A copy of a letter has been released, indicating that charges relating to the US Espionage Act maybe under consideration against one former WikiLeaks staffer, if not more. The letter is from the US Attorney’s Office, Department of Justice (DoJ), to former WikiLeaks employee and spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg.

Here is a translation by Netzpolitik.

In the letter, the DoJ admits it is also investigating WikiLeaks for the “unauthorized receipt and dissemination of secret information“, which reportedly can be charged under the Espionage Act. The letter offers Domscheit-Berg immunity from prosecution, providing he fully co-operates. However, when Domscheit-Berg’s lawyers requested access to the proceedings, the DoJ prosecutors responded by withdrawing their offer of immunity.

WikiLeaks staffer Jacob Appelbaum was also requested to testify, but he reportedly refused. David House, a computer programmer and campaigner for Chelsea Manning ,was subpoenaed by the Grand Jury in May 2018. According to one media outlet, he’s reportedly co-operating with the DoJ in exchange for immunity.

Faulty indictment

So far, Assange has been formally indicted for offences relating to computer misuse. Basically, he is charged with assisting Manning in the hacking of US government computers. A guilty verdict could mean up to five years imprisonment.

deconstruction of that indictment indicates the validity of the charges listed can be challenged. Indeed, the so-called offences merely equate to practices conducted by journalists worldwide (communicating with a source, respecting a source’s anonymity, etc), though the technologies have changed.

But with regard to the alleged cracking of a password, in an affidavit provided to the WikiLeaks Grand Jury, an FBI agent admitted:

there is no other evidence as to what Assange did, if anything, with respect to the password”.

Espionage charge

There has long been suspicion that once in the US, Assange could face more serious charges under the Espionage Act. That act carries the death penalty. However, under UK law an extradition request can be rejected if the destination country (e.g. the US) uses such a penalty, and offers no assurance it will not be applied. An extradition request can also be rejected if charges raised are seen as ‘political’.

But that means life inside the US gulag would still be on the cards:

23 hour daily confinement in a concrete box cell with one window four inches wide, six bed checks a day with a seventh at weekends, one hour of exercise in an outdoor cage, showers spraying water in one-minute spurts and “shakedowns” at the discretion of prison staff..

The late Michael Ratner, Assange’s US lawyer, was certain such a charge was planned all along:

[T]he Grand Jury’s number is 10, standing for the year it began, GJ which is Grand Jury and then 3793. Three is the Conspiracy Statute in the United States. 793 is the Espionage Statute. So what they’re investigating is 3793: conspiracy to commit espionage.

A December 2010 New York Times article argued that Assange could be prosecuted with offences beyond those under the Espionage Act, if it’s shown he provided technical assistance to Manning.

And journalist Chris Hedges believes that the theft of classified documents may end up as a charge:

f Manning, a former Army private, admits she was instructed by WikiLeaks and Assange in how to obtain and pass on the leaked material, which exposed US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, the publisher could be tried for the theft of classified documents.

Evidence in doubt

However, not all is cut and dry.

At the trial of whistleblower Chelsea ManningMark Johnson, a digital forensics contractor for ManTech International and who also works for the Army’s Computer Crime Investigative Unit, was called to provide testimony. Reportedly, Johnson testified he had not seen any evidence that Nathaniel Frank, also known as ‘@pressassociation’ – both of whom the US authorities believe was Assange – encouraged Manning to seek or provide documents.

The prosecution then reportedly argued that evidence was likely deleted by Manning. That might partly explain why she has been subpoenaed to testify to the WikiLeaks Grand Jury.

And, again, this is why Manning is key to what happens next in the US prosecution of Assange.

April 29, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment