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Climate Action summit: Greta Thunberg rips into leaders over ‘mass extinction’

Climate Action summit: Greta Thunberg rips into leaders over ‘mass extinction’   https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/climate-change/climate-action-summit-greta-thunberg-rips-into-leaders-over-mass-extinction/news-story/2c8d4aac13cb60507a41b48c2ef3d8f2

A teen has ripped into world leaders at a UN summit and stared down US President Donald Trump as they crossed paths in a surprise encounter.

Megan Palin@megan_palinA schoolgirl has stared down Donald Trump during a chance encounter in New York before she went on to give the world’s most powerful leaders a sensational serve.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg, 16, crossed paths with the US President in the United Nations foyer on Monday. She was there to speak at the Climate Action Summit.

Mr Trump – who has denied climate change, called it a Chinese hoax and repealed US carbon-reduction policies – was not scheduled to attend but made the surprise visit before leaving to attend a religious freedoms meeting.

Video footage of the frosty exchange shows Mr Trump appearing to ignore Ms Thunberg as he walks straight past her with his entourage. She can be seen with her eyes fixed on him, holding her steely gaze as he moves through the corridor.

Later, Ms Thunberg made an emotional appeal at the summit in which she chided the leaders with the repeated phrase, “How dare you”.Heads of state from around the world, including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have descended on the Big Apple this week to make new pledges to curb global-warming emissions.

Ms Thunberg accused them of ignoring 30 years of “crystal clear” science behind the climate crisis, saying: “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth — how dare you.”

The Swedish schoolgirl, who travelled from Europe to New York for the summit on a zero-emissions sailboat, first came to worldwide attention when she started a lone protest outside her country’s parliament more than a year ago. It was that very decision which culminated in Friday’s global climate strikes.

“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here,” she told the international heads of state.

“I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean.

“Yet you have come to us young people for hope. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words, and yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing.

“You say you hear us, and that you understand the urgency…I do not want to believe that. “Because if you really understood the situation, and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe.”

She told the UN that even the strictest emission cuts being talked about only gives the world a 50 per cent chance of limiting future warming to another 0.4C from now, which is a global goal. Those odds are not good enough, she said.

“We will not let you get away with this,” Ms Thunberg continued. “Right now is where we draw the line.”

Following Ms Thunberg’s speech, she and 15 other children filed a complaint with the UN alleging that five of the world’s major economies have violated their human rights by not taking adequate action to stop the unfolding climate crisis.

The 2019 Climate Action Summit kicked off at the UN on Monday, where world leaders gathered to discuss serious strategies to mitigate climate change. Representatives of participating nations were told by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to come up with “concrete, realistic plans” to further their commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and get to net zero emissions by 2050.

Leader after leader told the UN that they will do more to prevent a warming world from reaching even more dangerous levels. But as they made their pledges, they conceded it was not enough.

Sixty-six countries have promised to have more ambitious climate goals and 30 swore to be carbon neutral by midcentury, said Chilean President Sebastian Pinera Echenique, who is hosting the next climate negotiations later this year. Heads of nations such as Finland and Germany promised to ban coal within a decade. Several also mentioned goals of climate neutrality — when a country is not adding more heat-trapping carbon to the air than is being removed by plants and perhaps technology — by 2050.

Mr Trump dropped by, listened to German Chancellor Angela Merkel make detailed pledges, including going coal-free, and left without saying anything.

The US did not ask to have someone speak at the summit, UN officials said. And the UN Secretary-General had told countries they couldn’t be on the agenda without making bold new proposals. Even though there was no speech by Mr Trump, he was repeatedly referenced.

In a none-too-subtle gibe at Mr Trump’s plans to withdraw the US from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, Chinese state councillor Wang Yi said countries “must honour our commitments and follow through on the Paris Agreement”.

“The withdrawal of certain parties will not shake the collective goal of the world community,” Mr Wang said to applause.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the UN’s special climate envoy, thanked Mr Trump for stopping by, adding that it might prove useful “when you formulate climate policy”, drawing laughter and applause on the floor of the General Assembly.

Hilda Heine, president of the Marshall Islands, said she represented “the most climate vulnerable people on Earth”.

Her tiny country has increased its emission cut proposals in a way that would limit warming to that tight goal of 1.5C since pre-industrial times. “We are now calling on others to join us,” Ms Heine said.

UN Secretary-general Antonio Guterres opened the summit Monday by saying: “Earth is issuing a chilling cry: Stop.” “Time is running out,” Mr Guterres said. “But it is not too late.    megan.palin@news.com.au | @Megan_Palin

September 24, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Climate change makes nuclear waste even more of a deadly threat

Can Nuclear Power’s Deadly Waste Be Contained in a Warming World?  PART OF THE SERIES  Covering Climate Now, Truthout. Karen Charman 23 Sept 19, ‘…………Nuclear Energy Is Not “Clean”

Ever since the nuclear industry became a global pariah following Three Mile Island and the much more severe accident at Chernobyl in 1986, it has been desperately trying to make a comeback.

In the late 1980s, then-chairman of the International Atomic Energy Agency Hans Blix began touting the idea that nuclear power should play a significant role in combating climate change because it does not release carbon while generating electricity, a position he continues to promote.

Several prominent advocates for addressing the climate crisis have taken up this call, some of the latest being Democratic presidential hopefuls Cory Booker and Andrew Yang.

……… Because of the huge volume of deadly poisons that the nuclear fission process creates, nuclear reactors need an uninterrupted electricity supply to run the cooling systems that keep the reactors from melting down, a requirement that may be increasingly difficult to guarantee in a world of climate-fueled megastorms and other disasters.

The ongoing accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan following the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 demonstrates the vulnerability of nuclear power plants to such disasters.

Nuclear boosters have been remarkably successful in ignoring and erasing the health effects of radiation exposure, enabling them to downplay the impacts of serious accidents. In truth, reactor meltdowns, depending on where they occur, can kill and injure enormous numbers of people and contaminate the air, water, land and food supply over thousands of miles with radiation. A 1982 study by the Sandia National Laboratory, one of the labs run by the U.S. Department of Energy, calculated deaths and injuries within a year of a core meltdown and subsequent cancer deaths at 76 different nuclear power plant sites, many of which were only proposed at that time. According to this study, the Salem nuclear plant outside Philadelphia could kill 100,000 people within a year, result in 40,000 subsequent cancer deaths and give another 70,000-75,000 people a range of radiation-related injuries. A 1997 report by Brookhaven National Laboratory on the potential consequences of a spent fuel accident also forecasted large numbers of fatalities.

Fission 101

The risks of radiation exposure are downplayed and easily dismissed as “irrational fear” because the physics and chemistry of the fission process and the radioactive elements it produces are complex and not understood by the general public and also because, except in cases of acute radiation poisoning, radiation is invisible.

Radioactive fission products are “variant forms of the ordinary chemicals which are the building blocks of all material and living things,” explains Dr. Rosalie Bertell in her book, No Immediate Danger: Prognosis for a Radioactive Earth. The difference is that stable, non-radioactive atoms have an equal number of protons and electrons.

Nuclear fission creates an imbalance between protons and electrons, producing enormous quantities of hundreds of different radioactive elements — the high-level waste and activation products — all of which seek to return to a stable state. These unstable atoms become stable by knocking out the extra particles fission created, a process she says takes hundreds of thousands of years.

“Every such release of energy is an explosion on the microscopic level,” Bertell says. Radiation exposure is particularly damaging to the structure of cells, which is why it is necessary to keep these radioactive elements, known as radionuclides or radioisotopes, out of the bodies of humans, other living beings and the environment.

As climate models have long predicted, our warming world is now experiencing much larger and stronger storms with significantly more rainfall in the Earth’s wetter areas and more sustained and severe drought and wildfires in the drier regions. In 2019, the hottest June on record triggered an unprecedented fire season in the Arctic, with over 100 intense fires. The summer of 2019 also saw 55 billion tons of water melt off Greenland’s ice sheet in just five days, a rate scientists hadn’t expected for 50 years.

A month before the massive ice loss in Greenland, scientists predicted sea levels could rise 6.5 feet by the end of the century, submerging nearly 700,000 square miles of land.

Most nuclear power plants are located beside rivers, lakes, dams or oceans because they need a continuous source of water to cool the reactors. In August 2018, Ensia reported that at least 100 nuclear power plants built a few meters above sea level in the U.S., Europe and Asia would likely experience flooding due to sea level rise and storm surges.

Though nuclear reactors vary in generating capacity, 1,000 megawatts is common. A reactor of that size contains 100 metric tons of enriched uranium fuel, roughly a third of which needs to be replaced with fresh fuel each year. According to radioactive waste expert Dr. Marvin Resnikoff, the spent fuel, also known as high-level waste, becomes 2.5 million times more radioactive after undergoing nuclear fission in the reactor core.

In a May 2011 report, Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) senior scholar Robert Alvarez, a top official at the U.S. Department of Energy from 1993 to 1999, described the danger of high-level waste this way: “Spent fuel rods give off about 1 million rems (10,000 sieverts) of radiation per hour at a distance of one foot — enough radiation to kill people in a matter of seconds.”

The intense radioactivity the fission process creates is why reactor cores are surrounded by five-feet thick reinforced concrete containment structures and spent fuel must be shielded by at least 20 feet of water in pools for several years after it leaves the reactor.

As of September 2019, 444 nuclear reactors are operating in the world, with 54 under construction, 111 planned and 330 more proposed.https://truthout.org/articles/can-nuclear-powers-deadly-waste-be-contained-in-a-warming-world/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=a5fbaf3b-857d-46f7-9571-6774775ad709

September 24, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Iran prepared to make a new nuclear agreement with Trump

Iran’s Zarif raises the prospect of a new nuclear agreement with Trump  https://edition.cnn.com/2019/09/23/middleeast/zarif-us-talks-intl/index.html, By Tamara Qiblawi,  September 23, 2019  Iran’s foreign minister outlines proposal for a new deal.   New York (CNN)Iran’s foreign minister has raised the prospect of a new agreement with the United States that would see permanent sanctions relief exchanged for Tehran’s permanent denuclearization.
In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif outlined a proposal for an agreement that would augment the 2015 nuclear deal, from which President Donald Trump withdrew in May 2018.
Iran would be prepared to sign an additional protocol, allowing for more intrusive inspections of the country’s nuclear facilities at an earlier date than that set out in the 2015 deal. The country’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, would also enshrine a ban on nuclear weapons in law, said Zarif.
Such a move could potentially address one of Trump’s main objections to the existing deal: Sunset clauses that allow Iran to resume higher levels of uranium enrichment.
In return, Trump would need to lift sanctions on Iran, and have the step ratified by Congress, said Zarif.
“We are prepared, if President Trump is serious about permanent for permanent. Permanent — Iran was never a nuclear weapons state, but permanent denuclearization as they like to hear it,” said Zarif.
Taking steps to tighten controls on Iran’s uranium enrichment program would need to happen “in return for what (Trump) has said he’s prepared to do and that is to go to Congress and have this ratified, which would mean Congress lifting the sanctions.”
Under the 2015 agreement, Iranian sanctions relief would be sent to Congress for ratification in 2023.
A lifting of US sanctions by Congress could allay Iranian hardliners’ fears that a new agreement with a US administration could be canceled after the next US election. Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 agreement dealt a heavy blow to the multilateral agreement that was clinched during the tenure of President Barack Obama.
Zarif also would not rule out the possibility of a meeting between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly this week.
Asked if the two Presidents would meet, Zarif said, “Provided that President Trump is ready to do what’s necessary.”
Responding to Zarif’s comments, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said, “Foreign Minister Zarif does a very good job of misrepresenting the true nature of the Iranian regime. They are very committed to their campaign of exporting violence and exporting revolution, undermining the sovereignty of other countries.”
“We continue to leave the door open for diplomacy. In the meantime our campaign of economic pressure will continue.”
Trump has previously said he “no intention” to meet Rouhani in New York. Last month, the President floated the possibility of direct talks with his Iranian counterpart. The meeting would mark the highest-level talks between Washington and Tehran since Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979.
During his address at the UN General Assembly, Rouhani is expected to elaborate on plans for “de-escalation” in the region. “We believe we need to start working together for peace, for confidence-building, for de-escalation, for exchanges, and even for a non-aggression pact,” said Zarif.
“The olive branch has always been on the table, but we are showing it again,” he added.
In an interview with CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh last week, Zarif threatened “all-out war” in the event of a US or Saudi military strike on Iran.
Zarif told CNN that Iran hoped to avoid conflict, adding that the country was willing to talk to its regional rivals Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. But Iran would not hold talks with the US unless Washington provided full relief from sanctions as promised under the 2015 nuclear deal, Tehran’s top diplomat said.
He again denied that Iran was involved in attacks this month on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities, which dramatically ratcheted up tensions in the region.
The US, Saudi Arabia and the UK have blamed Iran for the attacks, which knocked out half of the kingdom’s energy production.
On Friday, the US announced it would send additional troops along with enhanced air and missile defense systems to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in response to the attack.
“As the President has made clear, the United States does not seek conflict with Iran,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said. “That said, we have many other military options available should they be necessary.”

September 24, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international | 1 Comment

A rude concrete sign indicates a deadly truth about nuclear radiation and cancer

 

September 24, 2019 Posted by | health, OCEANIA, USA, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Leaders of world’s largest emitting economies do not have real plans to meet goal of net zero emissions

The UN asked for climate plans. Major economies failed to answer    Climate Change News, 24/09/2019,  Delivering on a goal of net zero emissions is a ‘daunting’, ‘civilisational’ task, which a summit on Monday showed leaders do not have plans to meet, By Chloé Farand

World leaders were asked to come to the UN with concrete plans to cut emissions to net zero.

But on Monday, the presidents and prime ministers of the world’s largest emitting economies stumbled. Signalling just how difficult the work of removing CO2 will be compared to setting targets.

The tougher 1.5C goal of the Paris Agreement, backed by UN chief António Guterres and the majority of the world’s nations, requires achieving net zero global emissions by 2050.

Guterres asked leaders to come to UN headquarters in New York and tell the world how they would meet that goal.

A coalition of 77 smaller countries said they were committed to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and 70 countries expressed their intention to set a more ambitious climate plan next year, evidence of “a boost of momentum and ambition,” Guterres said in his closing remarks.

While there were “inspiring signs of progress”, with “the private sector and subnational actors moving faster than national governments”, “most of the major economies fell woefully short” of enhancing their ambition, said Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute.

“Much more it still needed to reach carbon neutrality by 2050,” Guterres warned.

The “how” of the question, which requires countries to integrate climate action into economy-wide policies, was left unanswered. Fully decarbonising the world economy is a gargantuan task, even for the world’s richest countries.

The path to net zero emissions “is something we are just discovering,” former French climate ambassador and CEO of the European Climate Foundation Laurence Tubiana told CHN. But the top levels of government are not yet engaged.

“I haven’t met any leaders who know… how to get there. Most [countries] haven’t started really seriously” and most leaders “don’t have a clue” how they will meet a 1.5C compatible target.

According to Elina Bardram, head of unit for climate action at the EU Commission, while “numbers and slogans are very easy to go by but the hard work of actually implementing is what drives the process forward”.

Both the UK and France, which have already legislated to become carbon neutral by 2050, have been warned by their climate advisors that without new and robust carbon-cutting measures, they won’t be on track to meet the 2050 goal……….https://www.climatechangenews.com/2019/09/24/un-asked-climate-plans-major-economies-failed-answer/

September 24, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, politics international | Leave a comment

Nuclear power is on the skids: it’s really not going to help address climate change

some of the groups advocating for strong action to address climate change question whether more nuclear energy is necessary. Over the past 20 years, as nuclear power generation has declined, renewable sources have expanded by some 580 GW—more than the output of all the world’s nuclear power plants—to make up the difference.
Overreliance on nuclear might in fact stall development and installation of technologies needed for a transition to a low-carbon future
question whether nuclear energy can even be called low carbon if greenhouse gas emissions are considered for the full energy cycle, including plant construction, uranium mining and enrichment, fuel processing, plant decommissioning, and radioactive waste deposition
Can nuclear power help save us from climate change?   The technology’s slide must be reversed, the International Energy Agency says, but significant barriers exist by Jeff Johnson, special to C&EN  SEPTEMBER 23, 2019 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 97, ISSUE 37  

Globally, nuclear power is on the skids. Its contribution to electricity generation is in a free fall, dropping from a mid-1990s peak of about 18% of worldwide electricity capacity to 10% today, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The agency expects the downward spiral to continue, hitting 5% by 2040 unless governments around the world intervene…….
steep barriers to a nuclear energy renaissance exist, among them aging reactors, high costs to build new ones, safety concerns, and questions about how much nuclear is needed in the world’s energy mix. …….

 In the US, the European Union, and Russia, plants average 35 years or more in age, nearing their designed lifetimes of 40 years.

Building new nuclear power plants based on traditional designs will be nearly impossible in developed economies, IEA analysts say. The challenges include high costs and long construction times, as well as time needed to recoup costs once plants start running, plus ongoing issues with radioactive waste disposal. In addition, the competitive electricity marketplace in the US makes it hard to sell nuclear energy against that generated more cheaply through natural gas, wind, or solar. Right now, only 11 nuclear plants are under construction in developed economies—4 in South Korea and 1 each in seven other countries.

There is more potential for nuclear energy expansion in developing nations with state-controlled, centralized economies. China is the world’s third-largest nuclear generator, with 45 reactors capable of producing 46 GW of electricity. China also has the biggest plans for new power plants, with 11 at various stages of construction, the IEA says. India is building 7; Russia, 6; and the United Arab Emirates, 4, with a sprinkling of other new plants coming throughout the rest of the world. All will be state owned, the IEA says.

The nuclear industry’s main hope for future expansion lies in a new generation of small, modular reactors that generate less than 300 MW each and are amenable to assembly-line construction. These are still under development, however, with none licensed or under construction. ……

In the US, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has already renewed and extended the operating licenses from 40 to 60 years for 90 of the 98 operating reactors. The industry is now focusing on renewals to operate for up to 80 years. Similarly, other countries are considering extending existing reactor operations but for shorter periods, the IEA reports.

These extensions present what the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) terms a “nuclear power dilemma.” The nonprofit organization, which advocates scientific solutions to global problems, has been a frequent nuclear industry critic.

Aging nuclear plants

Many nuclear power plants in the US, the European Union, and Russia are reaching the end of their design lifetime, while those elsewhere in Asia are much younger. …….
 Scenarios and mathematical models run by the UCS show nuclear is very unlikely to grow beyond providing at most 16% of the world’s electricity generation capacity by 2050 even with aid, far short of the 85% or more of the low- or noncarbon generation needed to address global warming.

Underlying the debates about power plant costs and operating lifetimes are questions of safety and risks—real and perceived—of nuclear reactors and radioactivity. These concerns have made nuclear power unpopular in the US, Germany, Japan, and elsewhere.

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), resting on the US West Coast north of San Diego, provides an example of why. Seven million people live within 80 km of the plant.

A stormy relationship between SONGS and its surrounding community goes back decades. Most recently, the facility was completely shut down in 2013 after two nearly new steam generators failed. The replacements were part of a $670 million overhaul that was supposed to provide 20 more years of life for the plant.

Then, during decommissioning operations last year, contractor Holtec International mishandled and nearly dropped a 50-metric-ton spent fuel canister. Neither Holtec nor plant owner Southern California Edison reported the incident. Instead, the NRC and the public learned about the slipup from a whistle-blower speaking at a community meeting. As a result, the NRC froze cleanup operations that are just now restarting. ……..

some of the groups advocating for strong action to address climate change question whether more nuclear energy is necessary. Over the past 20 years, as nuclear power generation has declined, renewable sources have expanded by some 580 GW—more than the output of all the world’s nuclear power plants—to make up the difference. Consequently, the overall share of low-carbon electricity sources—hydropower, nuclear, solar, and wind—has stayed even at about 36%…….

energy researchers at the World Resources Institute and the UCS, speaking at a recent US congressional hearing, say renewable sources will continue to expand, and major increases in energy efficiency are on the horizon. In addition, the researchers expect that as more renewable energy facilities come on line, new technologies will be developed to address the challenge of variable output from renewable energy sources, such as with solar on an overcast day.

Overreliance on nuclear might in fact stall development and installation of technologies needed for a transition to a low-carbon future, Cleetus argues. Her modeling shows that capital investment needed for renewable energy development—building high-voltage power lines, advanced batteries and other storage systems, and of course, renewable resources themselves—could be funneled off to build and retrofit more nuclear power plants. And then there are those who question whether nuclear energy can even be called low carbon if greenhouse gas emissions are considered for the full energy cycle, including plant construction, uranium mining and enrichment, fuel processing, plant decommissioning, and radioactive waste deposition……. https://cen.acs.org/energy/nuclear-power/nuclear-power-help-save-us/97/i37

September 24, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Exasperation in South Korea as US-North Korea nuclear talks are failing

US-North Korea nuclear talks are sputtering. South Korea is furious.  “The US position has been really harmful,” said a senior adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in.  Vox, By Alex Ward@AlexWardVoxalex.ward@vox.com  Sep 23, 2019,  SEOUL — The Trump administration likes to say that all is going well with its effort to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons. As long as Pyongyang doesn’t test long-range missiles or the bomb, negotiations remain mostly on track, President Donald Trump consistently claims.

But one country is clearly bristling at America’s management of the North Korea problem: South Korea.

That became immediately clear during my trip to Seoul this week, just days before South Korean President Moon Jae-in plans to meet with Trump at the United Nations. After chats with multiple government officials and experts, the sense in the capital is that the US proceeded with its own North Korea agenda without much thought for its staunch ally’s positions.

“We’re not at the negotiating table,” a top South Korean official told me on the condition of anonymity. “That bothers me.”

That’s not only making it harder for Washington to strike a nuclear deal with Pyongyang, these people say, but could also potentially doom Moon’s top project: improving inter-Korean ties……… https://www.vox.com/2019/9/23/20875380/south-korea-north-korea-usa-nuclear-negotiations-moon-unga

September 24, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, South Korea, USA | Leave a comment

Shadowy sources, dark money, funding Chinese conspiracy ads against Ohio’s nuclear referendum

Who’s behind the Chinese conspiracy ads against Ohio’s nuclear referendum?  Ohio law lets political action groups keep funders secret during drive to let voters get a say on nuclear subsidies. Energy News Network,  Kathiann M. Kowalski -23 Sept 19   The video ad starts like a horror film trailer.

“They” are “coming for our energy jobs. The Chinese government is quietly invading our American electric grid.” 

Troops march in Tiananmen Square and Chinese President Xi Jinping appears as the announcer’s deep voice speaks. 

“Don’t sign the petition allowing China to control Ohio’s power.”

The ads have circulated in recent weeks along with a massive print and mail campaign, all attempting to undercut a potential referendum on FirstEnergy power plant subsidies.

The ads imply that signing the petition would give voters’ personal information to the Chinese government — a conspiracy theory that has been substantially debunked.

Yet questions remain about where the money is coming from to fund both the petition drive for a public vote on FirstEnergy’s subsidies and the inflammatory campaign against it by a group called Ohioans for Energy Security.

“The group operates largely in the shadows in terms of their funding,” Dave Anderson, policy and communications manager for the Energy and Policy Institute, said of Ohioans for Energy Security.

Here’s what’s known so far — and what’s not known.

Ohioans for Energy Security is aggressively campaigning against a petition effort to put the state’s nuclear bailout law to a public vote.

The ads aim to prevent a referendum on a new law, House Bill 6, which will add charges to electric customers’ bills to subsidize nuclear and coal plants while gutting the state’s clean energy standards.

Ohio lawmakers passed the law in July, and a group called Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts began working on a referendum initiative soon after. Ohioans’ right to seek a referendum on legislation is guaranteed by Article II of the state’s Constitution.

On Aug. 30, the group got a go-ahead from the Ohio secretary of state to start collecting signatures for the referendum petition. Supporters need to collect approximately 266,000 signatures to get the issue on the ballot next year.

Even before that approval came, Ohioans for Energy Security began its aggressive ads aiming to keep voters from getting a say on the bill’s coal and nuclear bailouts.

And less than a week later, FirstEnergy’s bankrupt generation subsidiary, FirstEnergy Solutions, filed a lawsuit asking the Ohio Supreme Court to stop the referendum petition effort. FirstEnergy Solutions stands to lose roughly $900 million in subsidies for its nuclear plants if voters eventually reject HB 6.

Ohio campaign finance laws let Ohioans for Energy Security keep its funding sources secret during the petition drive.

It’s not clear who’s behind Ohioans for Energy Security, and the group isn’t required to disclose the funders for any of its anti-referendum ads during the petition drive. The group has filed incorporation papers with the Ohio Secretary of State, which serve to limit its legal liability under state law.

Those papers, filed on July 30, show attorney Donald Brey as the sole “authorized representative.” Patrick Pickett signed on behalf of statutory agent IW Agent, LLC. Pickett and Brey are both partners at the Isaac Wiles law firm in Columbus, which shares its business address with IW Agent.

The group’s lawyers won’t answer questions about its funding.

Brey, Pickett and their partner Mark Weaver did not answer the Energy News Network’s questions about who pays for the firm’s services for Ohioans for Energy Security. The lawyers likewise declined to identify the officers, directors and shareholders of the corporation.

The firm’s lawyers “cannot ethically discuss information within the attorney-client privilege,” Weaver replied via email……..

Public records reveal associations between the anti-referendum group’s spokesperson and another group with connections to FirstEnergy Solutions.

Public relations for Ohioans for Energy Security are being handled by Carlo LoParo at LoParo Public Relations in Columbus. LoParo did not respond to questions from Energy News Network about the identity of the funders for Ohioans for Energy Security and his client contacts for that organization.

LoParo has also acted as spokesperson for the Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance. The group’s website describes it as a “coalition of Ohio community leaders and organizations committed to preserving the jobs, economic benefits, carbon-free energy and electricity grid reliability” of nuclear energy. The group ran ads in favor of the nuclear and coal subsidy bill, House Bill 6, when it was pending in the legislature.

“Powered by FirstEnergy Solutions,” says a note at the bottom of the alliance’s home page, though it does not provide details about what that means.

LoParo has told the Energy and Policy Institute that the Dewey Square Group lobbying firm had acted “on behalf of FES [FirstEnergy Solutions] and the Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance to advocate for keeping the state’s nuclear plants open.” And bankruptcy case filings show charges by consultants for FirstEnergy Solutions supporting the launch of the alliance and coordinating with it………

FirstEnergy Solutions won’t say if it’s funding Ohioans for Energy Security………
Ohioans for Energy Security used one of the same contractors that Generation Now used for its ads pushing for passage of the nuclear subsidy bill………

Generation Now is also reported to have made substantial “dark money” contributions to elect Ohio Speaker of the House Larry Householder and others sympathetic to nuclear subsidies. At least one donor to that group is the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 18, based in Cleveland. Some of the union’s members likely work at FirstEnergy Solutions plants.

It’s unclear who else is funding Generation Now The union’s $295,000 in 2019 spending for the group is less than a sixth of the more than $1.9 million the group reportedly spent on ads supporting HB 6. The group is not required to disclose its funders.

The group has been paying people to hover near folks seeking to collect signatures for the referendum petition. Those “field staffers” are sometimes referred to as “blockers,” because their presence can discourage voters from listening to those who seek to explain a referendum.

Referendum supporters’ funding is also a secret, but may be revealed later…….
“I expect voters will see that our donors,” Pierce said, “reflect a wide range of residential and commercial interests who are all negatively impacted by this legislation.” https://energynews.us/2019/09/23/midwest/whos-behind-the-chinese-conspiracy-ads-against-ohios-nuclear-referendum/

September 24, 2019 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | 1 Comment

Sizewell C nuclear plan puts iconic British nature reserve in danger

The battle of nature versus nuclear: will Sizewell C destroy Minsmere nature reserve?    Sophie Atherton   Telegraph 22nd Sept 2019  Almost anywhere you walk at the RSPB’s Minsmere nature reserve, you get a view of the Sizewell nuclear power stations. They are a curiously ambivalent landmark, a somewhat menacing presence on the skyline, but also lending a moody, sci-fi edge to the landscape – especially on grey days when the dome of Sizewell B seems to appear and disappear depending on the passing clouds. It’s impossible not to notice the industrial behemoths, but because Minsmere is such a carnival of wildlife, you can, to a degree, ignore them. For now.

However, French energy company EDF and partner China General Nuclear Power Corporation want to build a nuclear power station to the north of the two already there.

Almost anywhere you walk at the RSPB’s Minsmere nature reserve, you get a  view of the Sizewell nuclear power stations. EDF and partner China General  Nuclear Power Corporation want to build a nuclear power station to the north of the two already there. Construction is due to start in 2021 and
going on for 10 to 12 years. “The plans EDF have shared have tried to indicate that the visual impact won’t be that great because of this bank of woodland,” says Rowlands, gesturing to a line of trees beyond the water overlooked by the Island Mere bird hide. “We’re trying to ascertain what
that means in reality.

I think at Hinkley – which they are modelling this station on – it’s something like 56 cranes at the peak of the construction but what does that look like – and even if the visual is somewhat obscured,
how does the noise travel? How does that affect the wildlife if it becomes more noisy?” The RSPB feels that EDF’s plans for Sizewell C throw up as many questions as answers and is concerned about the lack of information on the environmental impact of such a huge construction project so close to sites that are internationally renowned for their wildlife importance.

As well as the power station itself, building it requires new roads (for the daily journeys of hundreds of HGV lorries), a new rail link, a double-deck car park for 1,500 vehicles and several three and four-storey accommodation blocks providing 2,400 bed spaces for workers.

That’s merely a flavour, rather than an exhaustive list, of what will happen to this Area of
Outstanding Natural Beauty – on supposedly protected land – if Sizewell C goes ahead. One of the things that makes Minsmere so remarkable is that it has such a variety of different habitats. Some nature reserves are predominantly one type of landscape, but Minsmere has everything. The fate
of its reed beds, wet grassland, scrapes and lagoons, woodland, heath, vegetated shingle and beyond that the sea, along with all the thousands of species that live there, are all inextricably interconnected.

It is like a microcosm of the whole of the UK’s ecology. If one part is damaged, the whole will be affected as creatures and plants lose the conditions and then the food they need to survive.

Nuclear power is supposed to be a part of the UK’s plans for phasing out fossil fuels and moving to sustainable, eco-friendly, renewable energy sources. But if a new power station threatens to destroy the very things we are trying to protect, we have to consider carefully where to put it.

The latest stage of the Sizewell C public consultation closes on Sept 27. Details of how to respond can be found at sizewellc.co.uk

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/family/life/battle-nature-versus-nuclear-will-sizewell-c-destroy-minsmere/

September 24, 2019 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment