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Earth Day 2020: Climate change would be small fry compared to nuclear war  

Earth Day 2020: Climate change would be small fry compared to nuclear war   https://www.pressenza.com/2020/04/earth-day-2020-climate-change-would-be-small-fry-compared-to-nuclear-war/  

21.04.2020 – Abolition 2000, On this Earth Day 2020, members of the Abolition 2000 coodinating committee and others have written a statement in support of the need to address the triple threats facing humanity today: climate change, global pandemics and nuclear devastation.  The statement is open for signatories by anyone who would like to endorse it.  It highlights the fact that although climate change is a huge threat to human civilization given that a tipping point could be reached at any time, and covid-19 is killing thousands of people every day, a nuclear war has the capability to destroy civilization in a matter of days.

Addressing the threats to Planetary Survival

Earth Day 2020 sign on statement from members of the Abolition 2000 global network to eliminate nuclear weapons

The year 2020 marks the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day[i] and finds the planet facing existential threats like never before in human history.

The threat from climate change is manifesting itself more and more strongly as the years go by through extreme weather events, forest fires on a vast scale, the bleaching of coral reefs, and receding glaciers, among others.  This year also sees the world facing a pandemic which, as we speak, is costing thousands of lives every day and seems likely to have an impact on our civilization for years, if not decades to come.

Alongside these threats to human existence, however, is the lesser-considered, but more dangerous threat from nuclear disaster, and in this context we recall that the year 2020 also marks the 75th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing an estimated 500,000 people either through immediate incineration by the blast or subsequent death over the following months and years from agonising radiation poisoning[ii]. 2020 also marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,” by putting in place the common security mechanisms to achieve this. Unfortunately, the end of the 2nd World War also kicked off a race for nations to develop nuclear technology that has the possibility to inflict a more devastating blow to the planet in 10 days than climate change will have in 100 years.

Today, some 14,000 nuclear weapons – most of which are vastly more powerful than the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki – continue to pose an intolerable threat to humanity as identified by Atomic Scientists who judge the planet to be a symbolic 100 seconds to midnight on their doomsday clock[iii]. These weapons, thousands of which can be launched within minutes of the order being given, are in the hands of sometimes erratic leaders who cannot be trusted to put the wellbeing of the planet ahead of their own domestic agendas.  Research published in 2013 by International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War concludes that up to 2 billion people would be at risk of starvation in a nuclear conflict consisting of the use of only 100 nuclear warheads[iv], and evidence from the ICRC showed that there is no capacity to provide humanitarian assistance in the case of nuclear bombs used in populated areas[v], either.

In addition, the over 400 nuclear power stations distributed all over the planet are capable of poisoning the entire planet with toxic radioactive waste that needs to be stored safely for 250,000 years.  Each one of these stations is an accident waiting to happen and a potential terrorist threat.  Over the last 50 years in which Earth Day has been marked, we have seen dramatic accidents at reactors in Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima.  At the time of writing, forest fires around Chernobyl are cause for concern as they approach the reactor location, and the fires themselves are re-releasing into the atmosphere the radioactive material previously absorbed by trees and other plants since the reactor exploded[vi].

Colonised and indigenous peoples have, in the large part, borne the brunt of nuclear devastation – from the mining of uranium and the testing of nuclear weapons on indigenous peoples land, to the dumping, storage and transport of plutonium and nuclear wastes, and the theft of land for nuclear infrastructure.[vii]

On this Earth Day, as the world faces the triple threats of climate change, virus pandemic and nuclear oblivion, we call on all people of good faith around the world to come together and construct the foundations of a new world: a world without nuclear weapons and nuclear energy, a sustainable world in which the land, oceans, atmosphere, glaciers, wildernesses, flora and fauna in all its diversity can recover, and an equitable world with an economic system that provides a dignified life for all the planet’s inhabitants.

An essential part of this new world will be better implementation of the UN Charter prohibition on war and the utilisation of diplomacy and law to resolve international disputes. It will also require redirection of military spending towards human security, the elimination of nuclear weapons, the rapid phasing out of nuclear power, and a turn to clean, safe renewable energy sources.[viii][ix]

As a species, we have the capability of doing this, and the current global crisis is the wake-up call we need in order to make a better world for all.

We, the undersigned, are ready to do our part.  Who is with us?

Click here to add your name to the list of signatories

Click here to view the full list of signatories

[i] https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2020/
[ii] https://www.pressenza.com/2019/07/interview-with-kathleen-lawand-international-committee-of-the-red-cross/
[iii] https://thebulletin.org/2020/01/press-release-it-is-now-100-seconds-to-midnight/
[iv] https://www.ippnw.org/pdf/nuclear-famine-two-billion-at-risk-2013.pdf
[v] https://www.regjeringen.no/globalassets/upload/ud/vedlegg/hum/hum_malich.pdf
[vi] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-52274242
[vii] http://www.abolition2000.org/en/resources/newsreleasesstatements/moorea-declaration/
[viii] http://www.abolition2000.org/a2000-files/sustainable-now.pdf
[ix] https://www.irena.org/newsroom/pressreleases/2020/Apr/Renewable-energy-can-support-resilient-and-equitable-recovery

 The original article can be found on our partner’s website here

April 23, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment | Leave a comment

U.S. Environmental and Labor Groups Team Up to Demand COVID-19 Relief

Environmental and Labor Groups Team Up to Demand COVID-19 Relief, Candice Bernd, Truthout, 22Apr 20

 This story is published as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate the U.S. economy, national environmental organizations are stepping up to support labor unions and frontline workers across the country in their push for personal protective equipment, sick and hazard pay, safe working conditions, and other forms of relief as the crisis intensifies.

The Labor Network for Sustainability (LNS), which partners labor and environmental groups, is facilitating a loose coalition of more than 100 unions and environmental organizations working to pressure the Trump administration to do more to protect frontline workers. The groups are also supporting nine days of action from Earth Day to May Day to demonstrate the interconnection of climate justice and worker justice……… This story is published as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate the U.S. economy, national environmental organizations are stepping up to support labor unions and frontline workers across the country in their push for personal protective equipment, sick and hazard pay, safe working conditions, and other forms of relief as the crisis intensifies.

The Labor Network for Sustainability (LNS), which partners labor and environmental groups, is facilitating a loose coalition of more than 100 unions and environmental organizations working to pressure the Trump administration to do more to protect frontline workers. The groups are also supporting nine days of action from Earth Day to May Day to demonstrate the interconnection of climate justice and worker justice…… https://truthout.org/articles/environmental-and-labor-groups-team-up-to-demand-covid-19-relief/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=de9b2e7e-e70c-405a-830f-e0ea3203ca88

April 23, 2020 Posted by | climate change, employment, health, politics | Leave a comment

EDF nuclear power company looks to a profitable future in small-scale, distributed RENEWABLE energy

Can EDF Make Big Money in Small-Scale Renewables?, Greentech Media

The world’s leading nuclear power generator is betting big on a future of small-scale, distributed energy.

KARL-ERIK STROMSTA APRIL 22, 2020 THE WORLD’S LEADING NUCLEAR POWER GENERATOR IS BETTING BIG ON A FUTURE OF SMALL-SCALE, DISTRIBUTED ENERGY.

Électricité de France operates 58 nuclear reactors in its home country and owns stakes in several U.S. nuclear plants that it’s now moving to sell. But EDF’s biggest stamp on the American power market has come in large-scale renewables: Its San Diego-based EDF Renewables North America subsidiary has developed and now operates gigawatts of wind and solar farms across the country.

Now, EDF Renewables is trying to replicate that success on a much smaller scale. How it fares in the distributed space will be of great interest to other 20th-century energy giants feeling their way toward a transformed, low-carbon future.

Over the past few years, and largely through acquisitions, EDF Renewables has amassed one of the most comprehensive U.S. distributed energy businesses, covering solar, energy storage, microgrids and electric vehicle chargers.

The coronavirus crisis may open the door to more dealmaking, said Raphael Declercq, who runs the Distributed Solutions unit at EDF Renewables North America. “There will be some casualties in our sector: Assets seemed overpriced up to a month ago; that may change and we may be able to grow through acquisitions,” Declercq told GTM.

Several European energy giants have been on a recent shopping spree for distributed energy companies in the startup-rich U.S. — notably Shell, EDF and Enel. Without their own U.S.-based utilities to worry about taking business from, they can roll up fleets of behind-the-meter energy assets and deliver power to customers in new ways, while learning lessons that can be applied in other markets.

“It’s a grab game right now, getting as much of that value chain as possible,” said Elta Kolo, content lead for grid edge research at Wood Mackenzie. “In a way, you’re almost seeing a new type of utility emerging in the market,” she said.

It’s a hazardous moment for the energy industry, oil companies and utilities alike. State-controlled EDF last week pulled its financial guidance for 2020 and 2021, saying it expects a sharp drop in its French nuclear output this year as the coronavirus outbreak depresses power demand…….

The rising importance of corporate renewables…….

A common thread runs through EDF Renewables’ businesses these days: the growing importance of corporate customers. In many markets around the world, and nowhere more so than the U.S., corporations are increasingly going around traditional utilities to buy clean power and energy services directly. ……..https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/can-edf-make-big-money-in-small-scale-renewables

April 23, 2020 Posted by | decentralised, France, USA | Leave a comment

16 hour days, 86 hour weeks for nuclear workers, amid pandemic panic?

Nuclear agency clears way for long days, weeks for Palo Verde employees, azfamily.comMorgan Loew 22 Apr 20,  PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has given the operator of the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station permission to work its employees 16 hours per day and as many as 86 hours in a week, according to a letter from the NRC obtained by CBS 5 Investigates.

“Palo Verde Generating Station requested and received this exemption from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission early and proactively so that the option to modify work hours is immediately available in response to an extreme circumstance. Work schedules are not changing at this time, nor is a change imminent,” stated Jill Hanks in an email. She is a senior communications consultant at APS…..

environmentalists, like Steve Brittle from Don’t Waste Arizona, say they don’t think exemptions like these are a good idea. “All of the money this industry has, this is the best they can do?” said Brittle.

He said he only found out about the changes because of a standing records request he has on file with the NRC. “Government agencies as well as potential polluters – they all need to have somebody watching over them,” said Brittle.

The NRC has granted similar exemptions to other nuclear reactors across the country and allowed some facilities to postpone scheduled maintenance. Environmental groups warn that reducing maintenance, worker’s protections, and oversight could lead to accidents.

Morgan Loew’s hard-hitting investigations can be seen weekdays on CBS 5 News at 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.https://www.azfamily.com/news/investigations/cbs_5_investigates/nuclear-agency-clears-way-for-long-days-weeks-for-palo-verde-employees/article_116ace1e-844a-11ea-890d-b3c0d57fab8c.html 

April 23, 2020 Posted by | employment, health, USA | Leave a comment

Tsunami could overtake Fukushima Daiichi’s seawall

Tsunami could overtake Fukushima Daiichi’s seawall,  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200422_03/

An estimate by a Japanese government panel suggests that tsunami could overwhelm a new seawall at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, if a mega-quake occurs in a deep-sea trench off northeastern Japan.

The panel of experts on Tuesday released its projection of the scale of tsunami that could be triggered by a massive quake along the Japan Trench.

The panel expects that waves as high as 13.7 meters could hit Futaba Town, Fukushima Prefecture, where the plant is located.

That is higher than the 11-meter-high seawall being built on the ocean side of the compound. The wall is one of the anti-tsunami measures taken by Tokyo Electric Power Company as it decommissions the plant.

Other measures include blocking the openings of the reactor buildings and deploying power supply vehicles on higher ground to continue cooling spent nuclear fuel.

TEPCO says it will examine the estimate and consider what measures to take.

    Nearly 1,000 tanks of radioactive wastewater are stored in the compound. The operator says the projected tsunami won’t reach the higher ground where they are located

 

April 23, 2020 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

A dire need  to closely scrutinize  Indian procurement and export practices in defense and nuclear deals. 

South Asian Nuclear Muddle – OpEd, April 22, 2020  Rabia Javed,

Indeed, the origin of nuclear episode in South Asia occurred when India detonated its first plutonium device characterizing it as a “peaceful nuclear explosive”. While scratching around some pages from the history, one comes to the conclusion that the nuclear arms race in South Asia is intensifying, thanks, amply, to New Delhi’s designs to be a hegemonic regional power. Over the past decade, South Asia has increasingly become alarmed by Indian ability to wage conventional war and their ambitious nuclear weapon capabilities are also a threat to peace.

According to a report published by financial times titled “India raise nuclear stakes” re-counted that India can now build nuclear weapons with the same destructive power as those in the arsenals of the world’s major nuclear powers according to New Delhi’s senior atomic officials.

Similarly, a statement published in The Hindu  by Indian Atomic Energy Chairman R.K. Sinha mentioned, “India will continue its nuclear programme without any interruption, irrespective of decisions taken by other countries and there is no reason to follow Germany, Japan which are cutting down on nuclear energy.” Has the international community accepted India as a determined proliferator which can’t be stopped?

Similarly, a report shows India’s dependence on nuclear weapons is increasing miles after every passing year and will be devastating in near future. Some newspapers also published this report with a label of China being a sole reason for such development.  However, Zachary Keck once argued that India’s nuclear development was just a mistake to be remembered because it has not served the purpose of what India has aimed for (deterring China).

India has long sought to carve out a special exception for itself in the nuclear sphere. Brig. Naeem Salik in his book titled, The Genesis of South Asian Nuclear Deterrence: Pakistan’s Perspective, traces the origin of India’s nuclear programme and the aspects of its nuclear double standards. He provides a comparative study of the dynamics of the South Asian nuclearization which concludes that Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and father of the Indian bomb, Dr. Homi Bhabha recognized the dual nature of nuclear technology, and believed it could be beneficial for India.

During New Delhi’s early period in nuclear history, it achieved nuclear technology to utilize it for peaceful purposes but the demonstration in 1974 evoked a totally different situation. Isn’t it a mischief that India tested its first nuclear device in May 1974 and now has full capabilities of nuclear fuel cycle under the cover of civilian nuclear technology? How did this come to pass when there were strict safeguards in place to prevent misuse of the peaceful atom? The further depressing dilemma is that India’s nuclear programme is moving forward, steadily, without any hindrance from great powers. It secretly pursued nuclear weapons, declared in the late 1990s, whereas, the International community engaged with New Delhi, constantly extending a hand of friendship exemplified by different diplomatic measures such as the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal.

That being said, New Delhi continues to sign nuclear deals without being hindered by any of the so-called nuclear non-proliferation purists. Despite not signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty, India has also assigned the uranium deal with Australia   which has raised various important questions regarding the use of Australian uranium in India. As of now, India has signed civil nuclear agreements with more than a dozen countries which include; Argentina, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Namibia, Russia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam. Has India succeeded enough to bury her proliferation record over decades and shove it under the carpet? Isn’t it a lethal hoax?

Under these circumstances, it is also astonishing that there is even a possibility to grant India, the membership of Nuclear Supply Group (NSG), which is, in turn, a reactionary measure to India’s own disconcerting pursuit of nuclear weapons. Interestingly, India has been building its case for international recognition as a (Normal) nuclear weapon state for years, seeking admission to the Group, where, permitting an NPT-outlier like India will create the domino effect, when it will become a compulsion for states like Pakistan to opt for strategies commanded by their security concerns.  While, on the other hand, it was also revealed that India has been busy in developing a secret nuclear city.  Henceforth, it is important for NSG to abide by the criteria established by their own policies and must consider that its decision will also affect strategic stability in the region of South Asia.

As the world seeks to shrink global stockpiles of nuclear weapons, India continues to modernise its arsenal which increases Pakistan’s security dilemmas, compelling it to give a befitting yet restrained response. North Korean and Iranian nuclear programmes must not be the only concern, the concern should be regarding the rate of proliferation everywhere. Nuclear sales may benefit the corporate bottom-line, however, the spread of nuclear technology and ultimately nuclear weapons undermines the security of the planet.

Last but not the least, there is a dire need  to closely scrutinize  Indian procurement and export practices in defense and nuclear deal.  AT TOP https://www.eurasiareview.com/22042020-south-asian-nuclear-muddle-oped/

 

April 23, 2020 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Nuclear Plants Allowed to Extend Workers’ Hours, Delay Inspections

April 23, 2020 Posted by | health, safety | Leave a comment

Arctic marine life threatened as a result of Alaskan sea ice disappearing

Disappearing Alaskan sea ice is significant for Arctic marine ecosystem, Science Daily , April 22, 2020, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Summary:
A new study shows that plant materials originating in Arctic sea ice are significantly incorporated into marine food webs that are used for subsistence in local communities of the greater Bering Strait region. The research has the potential to demonstrate the importance of sea ice ecosystems as a source of food in Arctic waters in Alaska and beyond.

A new study shows that plant materials originating in Arctic sea ice are significantly incorporated into marine food webs that are used for subsistence in local communities of the greater Bering Strait region.

The study led by scientists from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science traced persistent biological compounds that are uniquely generated by microscopic plants in sea ice and found that the compounds are present throughout the base of the food web. The research has the potential to demonstrate the importance of sea ice ecosystems as a source of food in Arctic waters in Alaska and beyond.

“It is widely thought that the loss of sea ice habitat will have far-reaching implications for Arctic ecosystems,” said lead author Chelsea Wegner Koch, a graduate research assistant and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

“As sea ice breakup occurs earlier and forms later each year, the open water period is expanding and the sources of food are shifting away from sea ice and towards greater proportions of open water production. This production in the absence of sea ice differs in the quality, quantity, and timing of delivery to the seafloor,” she said.

Efforts to account for the proportional shifts in contributions of ice algae have been incomplete due to the lack of a specific tracer that can be definitively assigned to ice algae rather than open-water phytoplankton. The compounds reaching the seafloor that were studied are associated with food for a range of seafloor animals that in turn provide food for ecologically and culturally important organisms, such as the bearded seal, Pacific walrus, gray whale and spectacled eider that forage on the shallow sea floor. …… https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/04/200422151134.htm
 

April 23, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, environment | Leave a comment

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s health speculation raises question over nuclear weapons future

April 23, 2020 Posted by | North Korea, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Some Grand Gulf Nuclear Station employees impacted by COVID-19

Some Grand Gulf Nuclear Station employees impacted by COVID-19,   PORT GIBSON, Miss. (WJTV)22 Apr 20 Entergy confirmed some of its team members at the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station in Claiborne County tested positive for the coronavirus…..  https://www.wjtv.com/health/coronavirus/some-grand-gulf-nuclear-station-employees-impacted-by-covid-19/

April 23, 2020 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Japanese government panel warns on risk that tsunami could overwhelm Fukushima nuclear plant in future Japan earthquake

Tsunami could overwhelm Fukushima nuclear plant in future Japan earthquake, government panel says,  By Travis Fedschun | Fox News 22  Apr 20, Towering waves could overwhelm the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan if another mega-earthquake struck the deep-sea trenches off the country’s Pacific coast, a government panel said Tuesday.The Japanese panel said in a report that if an earthquake of magnitude 9.0 or greater struck in the deep-sea trenches, tsunami waves as high as 44 feet could hit the area around the Fukushima plant.

“A massive earthquake of this class (shown in the simulation) would be difficult to deal with by developing hard infrastructure (such as coast levees),” seismologist Kenji Satake, a University of Tokyo professor and head of the panel said Tuesday. “To save people’s lives, the basic policy would be evacuation.”A future mega-quake in the Japan Trench, which extends off Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s main islands, to Boso Peninsula east of Tokyo, or in the Kuril Trench, which goes from Hokkaido to Russia’s Kuri Island, could yield disastrous results.

Waves as high as 98 feet could strike thThe latest government projection suggests a 36-foot seawall planned by the owner of the wrecked nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) would also be overwhelmed if tsunami waves are unleashed, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK. The panel expected waves of at least 44-feet could strike Futaba Town, where the plant is located.
A magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck off Japan’s east coast in March 2011 spawned a devastating tsunami that struck the nuclear facility. Three reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant then had meltdowns, causing radioactive water to leak from the reactors and mix with the groundwater and rainwater at the plant. The water is being treated but is still slightly radioactive and is stored in 1,000 large tanks, which hold 1 million tons of water.e northernmost island of Hokkaido, while other tsunamis may strike in areas along the Sea of Japan, according to Kyodo News.

TEPCO currently stores about 1.2 million tons of radioactive water and only has space to hold up to 1.37 million tons, or until the summer of 2022. The water — leakage of contaminated cooling water from damaged reactors mixed with groundwater — has accumulated since the accident. It is constantly pumped up, treated and stored in tanks, while part of it is recycled as coolant.

The company said Wednesday it’s assessing the new government report……..  https://www.foxnews.com/world/tsunami-fukushina-nuclear-plant-japan-wrecked-future-earthquake-government-report-disaster

April 23, 2020 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Russia dumps its plans for costly huge Nuclear Destroyer and supersized Frigate Programs

Russia Has Abandoned Its Massive Nuclear Destroyer And Supersized Frigate Programs, The Drive BY JOSEPH TREVITHICK APRIL 21, 2020  The state-run shipbuilding company responsible for both programs now has concerns about its long-term finances

Eussia’s Severnoye Design Bureau has stopped development entirely of its Project 23560 destroyers, also known as the Lider class, and the Project 22350M frigate, an expanded derivative of the Project 22350 Admiral Gorshkov class. The company has said these ships are among its most promising future offerings and the halting of the two programs has raised quThe Lider destroyer, also referred to at times as the Shkval, was clearly an extremely ambitious project, perhaps overly so, from the very beginning. Though originally intended to be a conventionally powered warship, plans subsequently shifted to a nuclear-powered design. Its expected displacement also grew from already massive 12,000 to 13,000 tons to 19,000 tons, stretching its classification as a “destroyer.” estions about its long-term financial stability.

Russian newspaper Interfax reported the new developments at Severnoye, which is part of the country’s state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation, on Apr. 18. The information was reportedly contained in an annual review of the shipbuilder’s activities in 2019, which the outlet had obtained……

The Lider destroyer, also referred to at times as the Shkval, was clearly an extremely ambitious project, perhaps overly so, from the very beginning. Though originally intended to be a conventionally powered warship, plans subsequently shifted to a nuclear-powered design. Its expected displacement also grew from already massive 12,000 to 13,000 tons to 19,000 tons, stretching its classification as a “destroyer.”  …… HTTPS://WWW.THEDRIVE.COM/THE-WAR-ZONE/33099/RUSSIA-HAS-ABANDONED-ITS-MASSIVE-NUCLEAR-DESTROYER-AND-SUPERSIZED-FRIGATE-PROGRAMS

April 23, 2020 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Fitch downgrades EDF’s Outlook to Negative

Fitch Revises EDF’s Outlook to Negative; Affirms IDR at ‘A-‘22 Apr, 2020
Fitch Ratings – Milan – 22 Apr 2020: Fitch Ratings has revised Electricite de France’s (EDF) Outlook to Negative from Stable, affirming the utilities group’s Long Term Issuer Default Rating at ‘A-‘. A full list of rating actions is below.

The Outlook revision mainly reflects a large production cut in nuclear generation in France related to the coronavirus pandemic, and ongoing problems with new nuclear, adding to an expected increase in leverage to slightly above our rating sensitivity on average for 2020-2022. It also reflects growing uncertainties about the nuclear-market reform in France – which we still expect to be finally implemented – in terms of timing and final impact.

KEY RATING DRIVERS

Production Cuts due to Pandemic: The pandemic and the lockdown have caused daily electricity demand to fall up to 20% yoy and depressed both spot and forward electricity prices. EDF has announced a cut of French nuclear production to 300TWh in 2020 and to 330TWh-360TWh for 2021-2022 (from our earlier assumption of 385TWh annually for the whole period), due mainly to the operational impact of the pandemic on the outages scheduled for these years and, to a lesser extent, to the drop in demand. While the announcement led to a rebound of forward prices 2021-2022 to around 45EUR/MWh, we do not expect EDF to fully benefit from it due to the ARENH reference price of 42EUR/MWh. For 2020, EDF is largely protected from the low price environment through hedging.

Large Working Capital Outflows: Another immediate consequence of the pandemic has been an increase in the number of end-customers struggling to pay their bills. In this respect, EDF will continue to supply power to households and small companies with overdue bills without penalties. ,……..

Company’s Reaction Uncertain: EDF has not yet communicated revised financial targets to the market, and we do not know what actions it will focus on to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.  …….

Problems with New Nuclear: At Flamanville, fuel loading would occur at best at end-2022 (compared with the previously estimated late-2019), implying an increase of construction costs by EUR1.5 billion (in 2015 real terms and excluding interests during construction) compared with previous estimates. HPC – the other key nuclear project of EDF – following another cost review in September 2019, sees an increase in construction costs of GBP1.9 billion-GBP2.9 billion (2015 real terms) compared with previous estimates. It remains to be seen if the pandemic will further increase the delay and cost overrun for these projects…….. https://www.fitchratings.com/research/corporate-finance/fitch-revises-edf-outlook-to-negative-affirms-idr-at-a-22-04-2020

April 23, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

Renewables could add $A160 trillion to post Covid-19 economic recovery — RenewEconomy

Clean energy stimulus could help meet net zero emissions goals of Paris Agreement and generate more than $A159 trillion in benefits to global GDP above business-as-usual. The post Renewables could add $A160 trillion to post Covid-19 economic recovery appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Renewables could add $A160 trillion to post Covid-19 economic recovery — RenewEconomy

April 23, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pandemic side-effects offer glimpse of alternative future on Earth Day 2020

Pandemic side-effects offer glimpse of alternative future on Earth Day 2020 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/22/environment-pandemic-side-effects-earth-day-coronavirus  

Coronavirus has led to reduced pollution, re-emerging wildlife and plunging oil prices and shown the size of the task facing humanity   Oliver Milman@olliemilman, Wed 22 Apr 2020 The skies are clearing of pollution, wildlife is returning to newly clear waters, a host of flights have been scrapped and crude oil is so worthless that the industry would have to pay you to take it off their hands – a few months ago, environmentalists could only dream of such a scenario as the 50th anniversary of Earth Day hove into view.

But this disorientingly green new reality is causing little cheer given the cause is the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged much of the world.

“This isn’t the way we would’ve wanted things to happen, God no,” said Gina McCarthy, former head of the US Environmental Protection Agency in the Obama administration. “This is just a disaster that pointed out the underlying challenges we face. It’s not something to celebrate.”

Wednesday’s annual Earth Day event, this year largely taking place online, comes as public health restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 have resulted in a sharp dip in air pollution across China, Europe and the US, with carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels heading for a record 5% annual drop.

The waters of Venice are now clear, lions lounge on roads normally frequented by safari-goers in South Africa and bears and coyotes wander around empty accommodation in Yosemite national park in California.

Meanwhile, nearly eight in 10 flights globally have been canceled, with many planes in the US carrying just a handful of people. The oil industry, a key driver of the climate crisis and direct environmental disaster, is in turmoil, with a barrel of crude hitting an unprecedented minus-$40 on Monday.

These would perhaps be the sort of outcomes seen had stringent environmental policies been put in place in the wake of the first Earth Day in 1970, which saw 20 million Americans rally in support of anti-pollution measures.

Instead, the pain of the Covid-19 shutdown has highlighted how ponderous the world’s response has been – the expected cut in emissions, for example, is still less than what scientists say is needed every year this decade to avoid disastrous climate impacts for much of the world.

“It’s the worst possible way to experience environment improvement and it has also shown us the size of the task,” said Michael Gerrard, an environmental law expert at Columbia University.

How people react to the return of normalcy after the pandemic will help define the crises racking the environment, according to Gerrard. “A key question will be do we have a green recovery, do we seize the opportunity to create jobs in renewable energy and in making coastlines more resilient to climate change?” he said. “The current US president clearly has no inclination to do this.”

McCarthy, now head of the Natural Resources Defense Council, noted that some Indian people were seeing the Himalayas for the first time due to the veil of air pollution lifting.

“You wonder if people will want to go back to what it was like before,” she said. “The pandemic has shown people will change their behavior if it’s for the health of their families. This has been the lost message on climate, that it’s a human problem, not a planetary problem. We have to show you can have a stable environment and your job, too.”

The problems in the natural world haven’t suddenly vanished – this week various researchers found that the Arctic is very likely to be free of sea ice in summers before 2050, that the bushfires that torched Australia earlier this year released more carbon than the country’s annual CO2 output and that the first quarter of 2020 was the second-warmest on record.

Donald Trump has signaled that he will try to provide a bailout to the US oil and gas industry, with $25bn already handed out by the US government to prop up airlines. In China, it’s not certain that the wildlife-packed “wet markets” where Covid-19 is believed to have originated will be shut down.

Conservationists warn that returning the world to its pre-pandemic settings will quickly wipe out any environmental benefits of the shutdown.

“It’s a serious wake-up call,” said Thomas Lovejoy, an ecologist who coined the term “biological diversity”. “We bulldoze into the last remaining places in nature and then are surprised when something like this happens. We have done this to ourselves by our continual intrusion into nature. We have to re-chart our course.”

This story is a part of Covering Climate Now’s week of coverage focused on Climate Solutions, to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. The Guardian is the lead partner in Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration committed to strengthening coverage of the climate story.

April 23, 2020 Posted by | climate change | 1 Comment