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Millions of people displaced by floods – India, Nepal and Bangladesh

Floods across subcontinent displace millions in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, Millions of people have been displaced across India, Nepal and Bangladesh after monsoon rains triggered flash floods and landslides over the past week. ABC News, 15 July 19 

Key points:

  • Monsoon rains have triggered widespread flooding and landslides across three countries
  • Over two million people have been displaced as a result of the floods
  • Nepal has recorded the most fatalities, with 55 people confirmed dead

India’s north-eastern state of Assam has been hit hard by the floods brought by the monsoon, with at least 1.5 million people displaced and 10 dead.

In the Chittagong division of Bangladesh, there have been 10 deaths and about 500,000 displaced as 200 villages have been flooded.

The disaster’s death toll has been highest in Nepal, which recorded 55 fatalities on Sunday, with 30 missing and 33 injured, the Government said.

Ten thousand people have been displaced from their homes as incessant monsoon rains pounded many areas in the country since Thursday, submerging large swathes of land, inundating homes and destroying bridges and roads across the country.

Nepalese cabinet spokesman Gokul Banskota said, “the disaster has caused a big loss to the economy”……..https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-15/floods-on-indian-subcontinent-displace-over-a-million/11308502

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July 15, 2019 Posted by | ASIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Climate change taking its toll on mental health

Feeling Anxious About Climate Change? Therapists Say You’re Not Alone

There’s no official clinical diagnosis, but the psychiatric and psychological communities have names for the phenomenon of worrying about the Earth’s fate: “climate distress,” “climate grief,” “climate anxiety” or “eco-anxiety”, People, By Victoria Knight , July 15, 2019 

Therapist Andrew Bryant says the landmark United Nations climate reportlast October brought a new mental health concern to his patients.

“I remember being in sessions with folks the next day. They had never mentioned climate change before, and they were like, ‘I keep hearing about this report,’” Bryant said. “Some of them expressed anxious feelings, and we kept talking about it over our next sessions.”

The study, conducted by the world’s leading climate scientists, said that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, by 2040 the Earth will warm by 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius). Predictions say that increase in temperature will cause extreme weather events, rising sea levels, species extinction and reduced capacity to produce food.

Bryant works at North Seattle Therapy & Counseling in Washington state. Recently, he said, he has been seeing patients with anxiety or depression related to climate change and the Earth’s future.

Often these patients want to do something to reduce global warming but are overwhelmed and depressed by the scope of the problem and difficulty in finding solutions. And they’re anxious about how the Earth will change over the rest of their or their children’s lifetimes.

Although it is not an official clinical diagnosis, the psychiatric and psychological communities have names for the phenomenon: “climate distress,” “climate grief,” “climate anxiety” or “eco-anxiety.”

The concept also is gradually making its way into the public consciousness.

In a June 23 episode of the HBO series Big Little Lies, one of the main character’s young daughters has a panic attack after hearing about climate change in school. And other recently released TV shows and movies have addressed the idea.

An April survey by Yale and George Mason universities found that 62% of Americans were at least “somewhat worried” about climate change. Of those, 23% were “very worried.”

Both younger and older generations express worry, although younger Americans generally seem more concerned: A 2019 Gallup poll reported that 54% of those ages 18 to 34, 38% of those 35 to 54 and 44% of those 55 or older worry a “great deal” about global warming.

There is no epidemiological data yet to show how common distress or anxiety related to climate change is. But, people say these feelings are real and affect their life decisions.

Los Angeles residents Mary Dacuma, 33, and her husband decided not to have children because they worry about how difficult the world might be for the next generation. ……..https://people.com/health/climate-change-anxiety-affecting-americans-mental-health/

July 15, 2019 Posted by | climate change, psychology - mental health, World | Leave a comment

Maine Bill for grants to local governments to offset costs of STRANDED nuclear wastes

Bill would help Maine town offset cost of storing nuclear waste https://wgme.com/news/local/bill-would-help-maine-town-offset-cost-of-storing-nuclear-waste by The Associated Press Monday, July 15th   WISCASSET, Maine (AP) — A proposal before the U.S. Senate would seek to help communities around the country that face the expensive problem of storing spent nuclear fuel.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois are calling the proposal “the STRANDED Act.”

That stands for “Sensible, Timely, Relief for America’s Nuclear Districts’ Economic Development.”

The proposal calls for economic impact grants to local governments to offset the impacts of stranded waste. Communities would be eligible for $15 per kilogram of spent nuclear fuel stored.

Collins says the town of Wiscasset has endorsed the proposal. Wiscasset is the location of decommissioned Maine Yankee nuclear plant.

Collins says a permanent solution for the waste is also needed.

The co-sponsors of the bill include Maine’s other senator, independent Sen. Angus King.

July 15, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Private Notes Show How Big Oil Spread Climate Science Denial

The ‘Historical Jigsaw of Climate Deception’: Private Notes Show How Big Oil Spread Climate Science Denial DeSmogBlog, By Mat Hope • Thursday, July 11, 2019 We’ve all heard the dodgy arguments: ‘the science is uncertain’, ‘climate change is natural, not down to humans’, ‘science has been hijacked by politics’… Now a new cache of documents sheds light on the origins of the disinformation.

In another verse of a now familiar refrain, a fossil fuel industry group in the 1990s publicly promoted arguments to undermine confidence in climate science while internally acknowledging their products were driving up temperatures.

A cache of meeting minutes, briefings, and emails uncovered by the Climate Investigations Center shows how industry group the Global Climate Coalition (GCC) used its financial clout and political connections to cast doubt on mainstream climate science until its disbandment in 2002. The GCC would for decades cast doubt on the veracity of climate science and strategically spread the message that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was a politicised body, to discourage regulatory reform that would hit coalition members’ profits.

The documents show that the group, which counted fossil fuel giants Exxon, Shell, and Peabody among its members, knowingly pushed misinformation on climate change even as the GCC internally acknowledged humans’ impact on the climate “cannot be denied”. Some of those same companies have been the recent targets of lawsuits seeking damages for climate change impacts.

These documents are another stain on the fossil fuel industry’s track-record as a disingenuous rogue agent in climate science and politics,” Geoffrey Supran, a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University researching climate science denial, told DeSmog. “They further illustrate the sophisticated combination of inside- and outside-lobbying used by the fossil fuel industry to protect their status quo business operations.”

Peddling Denial

Within the GCC, the Science and Technology Assessment Committee (STAC) took responsibility for assessing contemporary climate science and formulating strategic arguments to undermine it. The STAC was chaired by Mobil Oil’s Lenny Bernstein. Mobil, Exxon, and Texaco (now part of Chevron) all contributed five staffers to the committee.

An internal 1994 document outlining “issues and options” for the GCC to consider regarding “potential global climate change” shows the group’s outright climate science denial.

The document concludes that “the claim that serious impacts from climate change have occurred or will occur in the future has not been proven” and “consequently, there is no basis for the design of effective policy action that would eliminate the potential for climate change.”

In the same document, the GCC cites the work of infamous academics known for spreading climate science denial including Richard LinzenPatrick Michaels, and Robert Balling. The document asserts that these academics’ arguments disputing mainstream climate science  “have received far less attention than they deserve”. ……….

Politicisation

The GCC’s disinformation strategy extended beyond casting aspersions on the science to the process of gathering evidence for the major IPCC reports, the documents show.

Porter Womeldorff, an Illinois Power Company employee and co-chair of the STAC, suggested the group focus on the politicisation of the IPCC process.

And that’s exactly what the GCC did. In an internal document from 1996, the GCC boasted that its criticism of the IPCC’s processes had been picked up more widely by the mainstream media:

Publications which have joined in questioning the IPCC approach to conforming technical reports to summaries include the NYTimes, Wall St. Journal, Energy Daily, and Nature.”

This followed a 1995 report that noted with glee a Nature editorial taking aim at the IPCC for a press-release that the erstwhile journal considered to be needlessly attention seeking.

Harvard’s Supran, who recently testified to the European Parliament about Exxon’s history of climate science denial, told DeSmog that the documents “help fill in pieces of the historical jigsaw of climate deception by the fossil fuel industry”.

History teaches us that when it comes to the fossil fuel industry’s rhetoric on climate change and energy, we take them at face value at our peril.” https://www.desmogblog.com/2019/07/11/historical-deception-global-climate-coalition-science-denial?utm_source=desmog%20%20weekly%20newsletter

July 15, 2019 Posted by | climate change, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Iran says reducing nuclear deal commitments to save it from ‘total collapse

Iran says reducing nuclear deal commitments to save it from ‘total collapse’, Press TV,  Jul 5, 2019 Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Tehran’s decision to scale down its commitments under the JCPOA is indeed aimed at protecting the multilateral deal, not killing it.

Back on May 8, Iran notified its remaining partners in the 2015 nuclear deal that it would suspend the implementation of some of its commitments in reaction to the US’ unilateral withdrawal and Europe’s failure to live up to its commitments.

Speaking in an exclusive email interview with The New York Times published on Thursday night, Zarif said Iran made the decision as it “can indeed prevent the deal from total collapse.”

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) “was and remains the best POSSIBLE agreement on the nuclear issue,” Zarif said, adding that its total collapse “will be detrimental to the interests of all, including the US.”

He said Iran “will remain committed to the deal as long as the remaining participants (EU, France, Germany, UK, Russia and China) observe the deal.”

“Survival or collapse of the JCPOA depends on the ability and willingness of all parties to invest in this undertaking. In a nutshell, a multilateral agreement cannot be implemented unilaterally,” Zarif said.

He also said that Iran’s decision to reduce its commitments was taken in line with its legal rights under paragraphs 26 and 36 of the nuclear deal, saying, “Paragraph 36 of JCPOA is a clear example that we negotiated this deal with the full understanding that we could not trust the commitment of the West.

As part of the first phase of scaling down its commitments, Iran exceeded the 300-kilogram limit set by the JCPOA on its low-enriched uranium stockpiles……….

The JCPOA obliges the European partners to prove their commitment to the nuclear deal in action, Zarif said, adding that the Islamic Republic would commit to the agreement in exactly the same way as those countries would.https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/07/05/600190/Iran-Zarif-JCPOA-nuclear-deal-commitments

July 15, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New research – climate change is exacerbating wildfires

Climate change is worsening wildfires, new study highlights
Research shows that warming temperatures are likely fueling more deadly and devastating fires.
Think Progress

July 15, 2019 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

U.S., Russia to discuss nuclear arms limits in Geneva on Wednesday –officials

U.S., Russia to discuss nuclear arms limits in Geneva on Wednesday –officials https://news.yahoo.com/u-russia-discuss-nuclear-arms-185425751.html

WASHINGTON, July 15 (Reuters) – Representatives from the United States and Russia are set to meet in Geneva on Wednesday to explore the idea of a new accord limiting nuclear arms that could eventually include China, U.S. senior administration officials said on Monday.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said that he would like to see a new type of arms control deal with Russia and China to cover all types of nuclear weapons, a topic that he has discussed individually with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

China is not currently a party to nuclear arms pacts between the United States and Russia.

The U.S. delegation will be led by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and will include Tim Morrison, a top aide at the White House National Security Council, as well as representatives from the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Agency, said the U.S. officials, who spoke to reporters on condition on anonymity.

Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, will lead the Russian delegation, the U.S. officials said.

“We actually feel that – touch wood – we’ve actually got to a point where we can try to start this again,” one of the officials said, listing off a long series of incidents that have soured relations between the United States and Russia during the past year.

“I say touch wood because we’re always just one incident away from unfortunately things getting derailed,” the official said. (Reporting by Roberta Rampton Editing by Marguerita Choy)

July 15, 2019 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Prioritise growth, or prioritise life. We can’t do both

Climate change: Why aren’t we changing our lives to combat it? The National, Scotland, By Mairi McFadyen, –  WHETHER we want to admit it or not, climate breakdown is already upon us: there are record-breaking heat waves, flash floods, wildfires. Climate change does not cause all of these things to happen, it amplifies them. This is not happening in some far-off place, it is the weather where you are.

If we read the science and we acknowledge climate breakdown to be true, what is our response? What does it really mean to face up to our climate reality?…….

The reality is that “normal life” – a privilege we in the West have enjoyed for the past 70 years or so – cannot continue……..

CLIMATE ACTION

IN the course of my adult lifetime, we could have stopped this. More than half of the carbon emitted through burning fossil fuels has happened in the past………

OVER the past year I have been working with a collective of activists called Enough!, a Scottish response to our global social, economic and ecological crises. We see that our current economic system and climate crisis are fundamentally linked. We see that inequality, oppression, injustice, power and ecological breakdown are all connected by the same story: that the economy must keep growing – no what matter what the cost.

The deep logic of capitalism is to grow more capital, achieved through the processes of exploitation, accumulation and extraction:

“We’re already taking far more than can be replaced and we can see the consequences all around us: climate change, deforestation, soil depletion, perpetual war, mass extinction of species. It has got so bad that we are threatening the very basis of all of life itself … We have a choice to make: prioritise growth, or prioritise life. We can’t do both.”

(TheRules.org)

Any climate action must therefore challenge and prefigure alternatives to economic growth. If we don’t, our economy will be our endgame.

Mainstream approaches to climate solutions, however, have been based on maintaining current economic systems.

Policymakers have responded by advocating “sustainable growth” or “green growth” – the idea that we can somehow keep growing our economy while simultaneously reducing our impact by “decoupling” GDP from the use of natural resources.

A new report published this month by Make EuropeSustainable for All (MESA) concludes that there is no empirical basis for this approach. It is impossible.

If we are serious about the climate, our only option now is to degrow. We need to explore new economic models that undercut the drivers of growth and find new ways of measuring progress and wellbeing. We need to discuss caps on resource use, tradable energy quotas and targeted downscaling of specific industries.

The kind of transformation that is called for is much more radical than a large-scale decarbonisation and conversion to renewable energy, as many imagine. It’s about radically relocalising, drastically reducing the amount of transportation of goods and people around the world, changing our approach to agriculture and much, much more………..
https://www.thenational.scot/news/17769134.climate-change-aren-39-t-changing-lives-combat/

July 15, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Cuban Missile Crisis 1962 – how close we came to World War 3

World War 3: How ‘Armageddon Letter’ brought world within minutes of nuclear conflict  https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1153499/world-war-3-cold-war-us-soviet-union-kennedy-khrushchev-cuban-missile-crisis-spt 

WORLD WAR 3 would have almost certainly started had it not been for the bold decisions of world leaders on what would come to be known as Black Saturday.

By CALLUM HOARE, Jul 15, 2019 Most historians agree the Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest the world has come to full-scale nuclear war. The two-week standoff in 1962 erupted when the Soviet Union responded to a US missile deployment in Turkey and Italy a year earlier by sending their own weapons to Cuba – just miles from the US state of Florida. US President John F. Kennedy sent U-2 spy planes to the Caribbean island, which produced clear photographic evidence of the arrival of medium-range (SS-4) and intimidate-range (R-14) ballistic missiles.

He immediately announced the US would not permit offensive weapons to be delivered and created a blockade in the surrounding waters until the missiles were dismantled and returned to the Soviet Union.

The tense situation then snowballed out of control as the Kremlin traded words with the White House and the prospect of war looked increasingly likely.

“The United States may find it necessary within a very short time in its interest and that of its fellow nations in the Western Hemisphere to take whatever military action may be necessary.”

On October 27 – remembered as Black Saturday by the White House – Khrushchev received a letter from Castro known as the Armageddon Letter, which was interpreted as urging the use of nuclear force in the event of an attack on Cuba.

It read: “I believe the imperialists’ aggressiveness is extremely dangerous and if they actually carry out the brutal act of invading Cuba in violation of international law and morality, that would be the moment to eliminate such danger forever through an act of clear legitimate defence, however harsh and terrible the solution would be.”

Later that day, the US Navy dropped a series of “signalling depth charges” on a Soviet B-59 submarine unaware it was armed with a nuclear-tipped torpedo.

As the submarine was too deep to monitor any radio traffic,  the captain, Valentin Grigorievitch Savitsky, decided that a war might have already started and wanted to launch a nuclear torpedo.

The decision to launch these required the agreement of all three officers on board, but one of them – Vasily Arkhipov –  objected and so the nuclear launch was narrowly averted.

On the same day, a US Air Force U-2 spy plane was struck by an S-75 Dvina surface-to-air missile launched from Cuba, downing the jet and killing the pilot.

Kennedy had earlier claimed he would order an attack on such sites if fired upon, but he decided not to act unless another attack was made.

It was later learned discovered the move was spearheaded by Raul Castro, brother to the communist leader.

Kennedy finally decided to bring the situation to an end by secretly agreeing to remove all missiles in Turkey and possibly Italy too, in exchange for Khrushchev removing all missiles in Cuba.

However, at this point, Khrushchev knew things the US did not.

First, that the shooting down of the U-2 by a Soviet missile violated direct orders from Moscow, and Cuban antiaircraft fire against other US reconnaissance aircraft also violated direct orders from Khrushchev to Castro.

Second, the Soviets already had 162 nuclear warheads on Cuba that the US did not then believe were there as well as scores of nuclear-tipped subs.

Third, the Soviets and Cubans on the island would almost certainly have responded to an invasion by using those nuclear weapons.

The Soviet leader knew he was losing control and came out of the incident with his pride in check.

July 15, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, history, Reference | Leave a comment

Russia’s new Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier? Just all talk?

Russian Navy to Get Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier? The Answer Is Nyet.  No way.

National Interest, by David Axe  15 July 19, The Russian navy has revealed a scale model of a possible, nuclear-powered replacement for its sole aircraft carrier, the conventional Admiral Kuzentsov.

But the Kremlin for years has celebrated scale models of future flattops, all without spending any money to actually design or build the vessels.The longer the Russian navy waits, the less likely it is that a new carrier directly will replace Kuznetsov when the aging, unreliable ship finally decommissions.

A defense-industry source said the Kremlin had begun a technical assignment for a future nuclear-powered carrier under program name Project 11430E Lamantin, TASS reported in July 2019.

But the Russian navy’s own commander-in-chief, Nikolai Yevmenov, told reporters there was no firm deadline for funding or construction. “There will be, of course, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier but not in the short-term perspective,” Yevmenov said.

……..Russia’s entire annual military budget rarely exceeds $70 billion. Only a small fraction of that typically pays for ships.

The high cost of a replacement vessel perhaps explains why the Kremlin is determined to keep Kuznetsov in service as long as possible. The Russian navy plans to dry-dock Kuznetsov starting in 2020 and conduct extensive repairs on the 1980s-vintage vessel………https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/russian-navy-get-nuclear-powered-aircraft-carrier-answer-nyet-67022

July 15, 2019 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Illegal transport of thorium at Georgia’s border with Armenia

Georgia intercepts radioactive substance at border with Armenia  http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-07/15/c_138229300.htm  Source: Xinhua Editor: yan TBILISI, July 15  – Georgia on Monday detained an Armenian citizen who was charged with illegally transporting the radioactive substance Thorium at the border with Armenia.

According to the Georgian State Security Service, the radioactive substance was intercepted at the Sadakhlo checkpoint when the suspect in a mini-bus was inspected.

The total weight of the packages carried by the suspect was 71.63 kg, and they contained radioactive isotope Thorium 232, which is a nuclear material and poses a threat to life and health.

The mini-bus was moving from Armenia to Russia through Georgia.

If convicted, the detainee will face 5 to 10 years in prison.

July 15, 2019 Posted by | EUROPE, secrets,lies and civil liberties, thorium | Leave a comment

UK’s Sizewell C nuclear project not likely to provide many local jobs

East Anglian Daily Times 14th July 2019 Anti-nuclear campaigners have disputed the number of jobs that a new power
station on the Suffolk coast will create – and say it will not provide
enough long-term opportunities. EDF Energy says the Sizewell C nuclear
plant is expected to provide 25,000 jobs over the 10-year construction
period with 5,600 workers on site at its peak, and says it is “absolutely
committed” to creating local jobs, skills and training opportunities. It
says the project will provide up to £200million a year to boost the
county’s economy, and create 900 full-time jobs once operational.

But Together Against Sizewell C (TASC) has cast doubt on the job numbers. EDF
has already said that £14billion Sizewell C will be 20% cheaper to build
because Hinkley construction techniques will be mirrored, grid connections
are already available and it will use different finance models. However,
TASC fears this could mean a transfer of skills, with possibly a large part
of Hinkley C’s experienced workforce moving to Sizewell.

https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/sizewell-c-edf-energy-tasc-1-6159158

July 15, 2019 Posted by | employment, UK | Leave a comment

Army Corps to test groundwater at nuclear waste dump

Army Corps to test groundwater at nuclear waste dump

https://triblive.com/local/valley-news-dispatch/army-corps-to-test-groundwater-at-nuclear-waste-dump-in-parks-township/    | Monday, July 15, 2019  The Army Corps of Engineers will be on site to conduct routine groundwater sampling at the nuclear waste dump along Route 66 in Parks Township from July 22 to 25, and maybe later.

The 44-acre dump, officially known as the Shallow Land Disposal Area, was used primarily in the 1960s by the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp. (NUMEC), which had plants in Apollo and Parks Township. NUMEC and its successors, the Atlantic Richfield Co. and Babcock & Wilcox, produced nuclear fuels and other nuclear products for the U.S. government, commercial power plants and others.

The Army Corps of Engineers is in the process of resuming a cleanup of the dump, which is expected to cost more than $500 million.

The Corps has been monitoring the groundwater annually at the site since 2003.

The agency has found levels of radioactive contaminants in the groundwater below the federal and state drinking water quality standards. Residents who live near the dump have access to public water.

There has been no evidence of any off-site migration of radionuclides, according to the Corps.

Corps contractor Jacobs Field Services is developing a work plan for the cleanup with excavation planned to start in 2021, according to the Corps.

July 15, 2019 Posted by | USA, water | Leave a comment

As Cost of Climate Crisis Grows, Climate Movement Escalates — Rise Up Times

“We cannot be radical enough in dealing with the issues that face us at the moment. The question is: what is practically possible? How can we take the electorate with us in dealing with these things?” in testimony to British lawmakers this week, famed scientist and environmental advocate Sir David Attenborough said,

via As Cost of Climate Crisis Grows, Climate Movement Escalates — Rise Up Times

July 15, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

July 15 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “A Pathway To 350 PPM Part 2: Carbon Farming Can Deliver” • Inefficiencies in how we obtain the energy to power the human body provide a lifeline for us to get out of the climate crisis. We have the land we need; we just have to use it better. By reducing the amount […]

via July 15 Energy News — geoharvey

July 15, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment