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In 2020, a new radioological danger in Chernobyl

Chernobyl Is Again Close To A Disaster! What Happened There In 2020?  http://www.thesentrybugle.com/2020/07/chernobyl-is-again-close-to-disaster.html#.XwZuet3J6Vg.twitter    Ukrainian officials have sought calm after forest fires in the restricted zone around Chernobyl, scene of the world’s worst nuclear accident, led to a rise in radiation levels.

Firefighters said they had managed to put out the smaller of two forest fires that began at the weekend, apparently after someone began a grass fire, and had deployed more than 100 firefighters backed by planes and helicopters to extinguish the remaining blaze.
The fire had caused radiation fears in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, which is located about 60 miles south of the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Government specialists on Monday sent to monitor the situation reported that there was no rise in radiation levels in Kyiv or the city suburbs.
“You don’t have to be afraid of opening your windows and airing out your home during the quarantine,” wrote Yegor Firsov, head of Ukraine’s state ecological inspection service, in a Facebook post about the results of the radiation tests.
As of Monday afternoon, the country’s emergency ministry said that the remaining fire in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone covered about 20 hectares and was still being extinguished. Footage released by the ministry showed firefighters dousing flames on the forest floor, and clouds of smoke rising.
Police have arrested a suspect believed to have caused the blaze, a 27-year-old man from the area who reportedly told police he had set grass and rubbish on fire in three places “for fun”. After he had lit the fires, he said, the wind had picked up and he had been unable to extinguish them.
An earlier post by Firsov had warned about heightened radiation levels at the site of the fire, which he said had been caused by the “barbaric” practice of local grass fires often started in the spring and autumn. “There is bad news – radiation is above normal in the fire’s center,” Firsov wrote on Sunday.
The post included a video with a Geiger counter showing radiation at 16 times above normal. The fire had spread to about 100 hectares of forest, Firsov wrote.
The country’s emergency ministry put out a warning for Kyiv on Monday about poor air quality but said it was related to meteorological conditions, and not to the fire.
The service had said on Saturday that increased radiation in some areas had led to “difficulties” in fighting the fire while stressing that people living nearby were not in danger. On Monday, it said that gamma radiation levels had not risen near the fire.
Chernobyl polluted a large area of Europe when its fourth reactor exploded in April 1986, with the region immediately around the power plant the worst affected. People are not allowed to live within 30km of the power station.
The three other reactors at Chernobyl continued to generate electricity until the power station finally closed in 2000. A giant protective dome was put in place over the fourth reactor in 2016.
Fires are common in the forests near the disused power plant.

July 9, 2020 Posted by | climate change, safety, Ukraine | 1 Comment

Climate change’s big problem – there’s no quick fix

July 9, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Reducing radioactive waste in processes to dismantle nuclear facilities

Reducing radioactive waste in processes to dismantle nuclear facilities
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/uotb-rrw070820.phpThe University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) has produced a methodological guide of in situ measurements for the purpose of optimizing waste management in nuclear dismantling processesUNIVERSITY OF THE BASQUE COUNTRY  Recent years have seen a move into a phase to decommission and dismantle nuclear power stations and facilities, above all in Europe. By 2015, 156 reactors at nuclear facilities across the world had been shut down or were being decommissioned, and by 2050 over half of the current nuclear capacity of 400 GW across the world is programmed to be decommissioned so that it can be dismantled. “In Europe this will result in an increase in radioactive waste while current storage facilities have limited capacity. Optimizing this management is crucial,” said the UPV/EHU professor Margarita Herranz.

The European H2020 INSIDER project –with funding of nearly five million euros over four years– is tackling the specification of the best strategy to optimize the production of radioactive waste during the dismantling of nuclear facilities; it is focussing on the characterization strategy and on improving the methodology, above all in constrained environments, by working to propose new and better solutions for dismantling nuclear and radioactive facilities, including power stations that produce electrical power, and for environment remediation, taking post-accident situations into consideration as well.

In situ measurements in constrained environments.

“The dismantling of facilities of this type is a very costly process, the waste takes up a huge amount of space and, what is more, people do not like having repositories of this type on their doorstep. And if we also talk about dismantling many nuclear facilities, it is crucial to specify what has to be regarded as radioactive waste inside a nuclear power station and what does not; this is because the cost of managing this waste increases significantly in terms of its level of activity, and the dismantling of a nuclear power station may result in the extracting of tonnes upon tonnes of waste,” explained the researcher in the UPV/EHU’s Department of Nuclear Engineering and Fluid Mechanics. Although the dismantling conducted so far has exhaustively complied with the regulations in force, “a considerable part of what has been regarded as nuclear and radioactive waste does not in fact fit into that category”, she said. “Erring too much on the side of caution has occurred in this respect.”

Margarita Herranz, who leads the working group responsible for organising and implementing measures in situ and conducting the subsequent analysis of the results, said that “it is essential to optimize the in situ measurements of radioactivity in walls, partition walls, machinery, metal shields, etc. owing to the impossibility of moving them in their entirety to the lab”. It is worth highlighting that these are difficult measurements “because you have to see what equipment has been adapted for this purpose and obtain good results in terms of the atmosphere existing in each environment: radiation, temperature, pressure, humidity, etc.”. In this context “we have specified the constrained environments from the standpoint of in situ measurements in nuclear and radioactive facilities, how these constraints affect the type of equipment that is going to be used, and how these constraints may end up affecting the results or the assessment of the results that are going to be obtained,” she said. They are also working to describe the different zones of a nuclear/radioactive facility and the problems that may be present in them, and also to recommend the types of instruments to be used in each of these zones.

Herranz pointed out that this project “is contributing towards optimizing the dismantling processes and towards improving the public perception of these processes. In other words, to show that they are being monitored and that work is being done in this respect. A lot of technology has been placed at the service of this aim. Basically, it is a social aim”. Within the framework of the European INSIDER project, many scientific articles are being published and are being used to compile an extensive methodological guide which can be accessed via the INSIDER website. The project is hoping to improve EU policy: “We hope this work will end up influencing the drawing up of international regulations,” concluded the researcher.

Additional information

This study was conducted in collaboration with Raquel Idoeta, lecturer in the UPV/EHU’s Department of Nuclear Engineering and Fluid Mechanics. It also had the participation of Frederic Aspe and Gregoire Auge of the French company Onet Technologies, which is involved in taking measurements at French nuclear facilities.

July 9, 2020 Posted by | EUROPE, wastes | Leave a comment

Evacuation of a tiny Russian village, – in preparation for a nuclear missile test?

Russian Village in ‘Danger Zone’ of Possible Nuclear Missile Test, Nenoksa is once again the crosshairs after a radioactive accident last year. AT TOP  https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/research/a33219749/nenoksa-nuclear-missile/   BY KYLE MIZOKAMIJUL 6, 2020    

  • The tiny Russian village of Nenoksa will face voluntary evacuations due to an “unspecified test.”
  • The test could well be of the Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile.
  • A nearby incident in 2019 involving Burevestnik killed five and triggered radiation warnings throughout the region.
A tiny village in northern Russia is back in the global spotlight again after its residents were warned they were in the “danger zone” for an upcoming military activity. The Russian government is offering to temporarily evacuate the 500 or so residents of the village of Nenoksa for the duration of the activity. The village became famous in 2019 after an incident involving a nuclear-powered cruise missile.
Nenoksa lies just south of the Arctic Circle, in Arkangelsk Oblast, Russia. According to the Barents Observer, the nearby city of Severodvinsk posted a warning on its website that Nenoksa is “inside the danger zone during work by the 1st scientific center of military unit 09703.” The advisory runs from 6 a.m. July 7 to 6 p.m. July 8th.

The Russian government is providing five buses for those that wish to evacuate, and evacuation is voluntary. Considering the village has a population of 500, it obviously expects not everyone to want to leave. The village has been evacuated several times in the last few years, each time due to military activity. In 2015, an errant cruise missile crashed into a building in Nenoksa housing a kindergarten. No casualties were reported.
Four years later, an accident off the coast of Nenoksa killed five and resulted in a brief spike of radiation levels. Russian state energy company Rosatom said the accident took place during testing of a “isotopic sources of fuel on a liquid propulsion unit,” while the research institute the five workers belonged to later said they had been working on “the creation of small-scale sources of energy using radioactive fissile materials.” Two of those killed reportedly died of radiation poisoning and Russia’s state nuclear agency said that the two explosions at the accident site released four different radioactive isotopes.
Western sources believe the accident involved the Burevestnik (“Storm Petrel”) nuclear-powered cruise missile. Known to NATO as the SSC-X-9 “Skyfall,” Burevestnik is a first-of- its-kind very long range cruise missile powered by a miniature nuclear reactor. The use of nuclear power instead of a turbine engine should give Burevestnik the ability to fly thousands of miles—and perhaps even for days—to skirt U.S. missile defense systems. Although nuclear-powered missiles were first proposed in the 1960s, work on them never advanced beyond the early stages due to the radioactive contamination such a missile would spew during testing.

The missile test comes just days after Scandinavian countries bordering Russia detected a mysterious release of radiation. An investigation pointed to northern Russia as a source, but Moscow insisted that nearby nuclear plants were running normally. An alternate theory was that there had been a second accident involving the new nuclear cruise missile, but with what looks like a Burevestnik test coming up that too now seems unlikely.

July 9, 2020 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Carolina nuclear worker dies of Covid-19

Nuclear worker with COVID-19 dies, SC plant officials say, The State,  BY NOAH FEIT, JULY 07, 2020 An employee at a nuclear plant in South Carolina has died after testing positive for the coronavirus, according to Savannah River Nuclear Solutions.

The employee, who was not publicly identified, got sick last week and died soon after, SRNS President and CEO Stuart MacVean said in a news release.

“I regret to inform you that we have lost a member of the SRNS team to a COVID-related death,” ” MacVean said in the statement. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the individual’s family and friends during this time.”

Grief counseling is being provided to employees in the wake of their colleague’s death at the Savannah River Site atomic weapons and nuclear waste complex near Aiken……..

Through Monday, Savannah River Site officials confirmed 70 staff members tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, 45 have recovered from the virus and been cleared to return to work, it said in the release.

Approximately 11,000 people work at Savannah River Site, the Aiken Standard reported.

On Tuesday, Savannah River Site announced plans to safely resume operations that were reduced as part of the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic…….

As of Tuesday, there are 47,214 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Carolina, and 838 coronavirus-related deaths, according to the Department of Health and Environmental Control. https://www.thestate.com/news/local/article244058147.html

July 9, 2020 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Looks like the end of nuclear-promotional, climate change-denying “Ecomodernism”

The end of ecomodernism , John Quiggin, 9 July 20,“…..  The most important group of nuclear power advocates who have consistently promoted concerns about climate change as the main reason for their advocacy have been the self-described ‘eco-modernists’. The main organizational focus of ecomodernism is the Breakthrough Institute, established by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus in 2003.


Recently, Shellenberger has issued what he describes as ‘an apology on behalf of environmentalists everywhere’ in which he repudiates previous concerns about catastrophic climate change and indicates that he never sincerely shared these concerns. Other ecomodernists have demurred at some of his claims, but have not indicated fundamental disagreement. The result is that, as a movement combining a pro-nuclear position with a commitment to a serious response to climate change, ecomodernism has ceased to exist…..  https://johnquiggin.com/2020/07/09/the-end-of-ecomodernism/  

 

The tragic thing about “Ecomodernism” is that it sucked in a whole heap of very well -intentioned people. It’s prime focus was to promote the nuclear industry – “new’ nuclear in particular. (Fossil fuel promotion has become a secondary aim). But, if you read the 7 page Ecomodernist Manifesto, http://www.ecomodernism.org/manifesto-english , nuclear power gets only ONE short paragraph, low down on page 4.   It is all touchy-feeling lovely, seemingly pro environment stuff.  It gently and subtly rubbishes any concept of energy conservation, and of renewable energy.
This is the genius of the nuclear propagandists. Like Dr Joseph Goebbels, they know how to pitch their sales talk to which audience. They’ll come up with important sounding technical and economic jargon, to put it over politicians and other “important people.  I do think that Australia’s Ben Heard deserves an acknowledgement for his sales pitching skills. He wouldn’t muck up his message, as Shellenberger has recently done, in revealing climate denialism

July 9, 2020 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Climate change is seriously hitting women, right now

Climate woes growing for women, hit worst by displacement and migration

by Megan Rowling | @meganrowling | Thomson Reuters Foundation, Tuesday, 7 July 2020 

Extreme weather and rising seas are increasing the burden of work, ill-health and violence faced by women who are forced to leave home or left behind as menfolk seek jobs elsewhere

BARCELONA, – From sexual violence in displacement camps to extra farm work and greater risk of illness, women shoulder a bigger burden from worsening extreme weather and other climate pressures pushing people to move for survival, a global aid group said on Tuesday.

Scientists expect forced displacement to be one of the most common and damaging effects on vulnerable people if global warming is not limited to an internationally agreed aim of 1.5 degrees Celsius, CARE International noted in a new report.

“This report shows us that climate change exacerbates existing gender inequalities, with women displaced on the frontlines of its impacts bearing the heaviest consequences,” said CARE Secretary General Sofia Sprechmann Sineiro.

For example, women and girls uprooted by Cyclone Idai, which hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi in 2019, are still facing serious health threats due to poor access to basic services and sanitary products, the report said.

And in Ethiopia, where about 200,000 people were forced from their homes last year by drought and floods, women living in overcrowded shelters face higher levels of sexual violence there and on longer, more frequent trips to fetch water and firewood.

Sven Harmeling, CARE’s global policy lead on climate change and resilience, said displacement linked to climate stresses was already “a harsh reality for millions of people today”.

If global warming continues at its current pace towards 3C or more above pre-industrial times, “the situation may irrevocably escalate and evict hundreds of millions more from their homes”, he added.

Climate change impacts are likely to strengthen and “unfold over the next couple of years, and not only in the distant future”, he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Failure to prepare for them will lead to more suffering and people having to abandon their land, he said. Many places already are affected by multiple climate shocks and rising seas, making it harder for those displaced to return, he added.

“(Climate extremes) may mean more men are leaving to try to find income elsewhere, and that puts additional burden on the women who stay back and have to try to earn (money) while taking care of the family,” he said. ……….

In most countries, climate measures supported by public finance do not adequately prioritise women, CARE noted, calling for at least 85% of funding for adaptation projects to target gender equality as an explicit objective by 2023 at the latest.

But some projects are making women a priority, it said……… https://news.trust.org/item/20200707051425-a5d5v/

July 9, 2020 Posted by | climate change, Women | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear waste decision also a human rights issue

Fukushima nuclear waste decision also a human rights issue   https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/07/1145e5b3970f-opinion-fukushima-nuclear-waste-decision-also-a-human-rights-issue.html

 By Baskut Tuncak, KYODO NEWS – In a matter of weeks, the government of Japan will have the opportunity to demonstrate to the world how much it values protecting human rights and the environment and to meet its international obligations.

In the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, myself and other U.N. special rapporteurs consistently raised concerns about the approaches taken by the government of Japan. We have been concerned that raising of “acceptable limits” of radiation exposure to urge resettlement violated the government’s human rights obligations to children.

We have been concerned of the possible exploitation of migrants and the poor for radioactive decontamination work. Our most recent concern is how the government used the COVID-19 crisis to dramatically accelerate its timeline for deciding whether to dump radioactive wastewater accumulating at Fukushima Daiichi in the ocean.

Setting aside the duties incumbent on Japan to consult and protect under international law, it saddens me to think that a country that has suffered the horrors of being the only country on which not one but two nuclear bombs were dropped during war, would continue on a such a path in dealing with the radioactive aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.

Releasing the toxic wastewater collected from the Fukushima nuclear plant would be, without question, a terrible blow to the livelihood of local fishermen. Regardless of the health and environmental risks, the reputational damage would be irreparable, an invisible and permanent scar upon local seafood. No amount of money can replace the loss of culture and dignity that accompany this traditional way of life for these communities.

The communities of Fukushima, so devastated by the tragic events of March 11, 2011, have in recent weeks expressed their concerns and opposition to the discharge of the contaminated water into their environment. It is their human right to an environment that allows for living a life in dignity, to enjoy their culture, and to not be exposed deliberately to additional radioactive contamination. Those rights should be fully respected and not be disregarded by the government in Tokyo.

The discharge of nuclear waste to the ocean could damage Japan’s international relations. Neighboring countries are already concerned about the release of large volumes of radioactive tritium and other contaminants in the wastewater.

Japan has a duty under international law to prevent transboundary environmental harm. More specifically, under the London Convention, Japan has an obligation to take precaution with the respect to the dumping of waste in the ocean. Given the scientific uncertainty of the health and environmental impacts of exposure to low-level radiation, the disposal of this wastewater would be completely inconsistent with the spirit, if not the letter, of this law.

ndigenous peoples have an internationally recognized right to free, prior and informed consent. This includes the disposal of waste in their waters and actions that may contaminate their food. No matter how small the Japanese government believes this contamination will be of their water and food, there is an unquestionable obligation to consult with potentially affected indigenous peoples that it has not met.

The Japanese government has not, and cannot, assure itself of meaningful consultations as required under international human rights law during the current pandemic. There is no justification for such a dramatically accelerated timeline for decision making during the covid-19 crisis. Japan has the physical space to store wastewater for many years.

I have reported annually to the U.N. Human Rights Council for the past six years. Whether the topic was on child rights or worker’s rights, in nearly each and every one of those discussion at the United Nations, the situation of Fukushima Daiichi is raised by concerned observers for the world to hear. Intervening organizations have pleaded year-after-year for the Japanese government to extend an invitation to visit so I can offer recommendations to improve the situation. I regret that my mandate is coming to an end without such an opportunity despite my repeated requests to visit and assess the situation.

The disaster of 2011 cannot be undone. However, Japan still has an opportunity to minimize the damage. In my view, there are grave risks to the livelihoods of fishermen in Japan and also to its international reputation. Again, I urge the Japanese government to think twice about its legacy: as a true champion of human rights and the environment, or not.

(Baskut Tuncak has served as U.N. special rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes since 2014.)

July 9, 2020 Posted by | civil liberties, Japan, wastes | Leave a comment

Britain’s nuclear future in trouble, aging reactors, and not enough money without China’s help

Britain’s Nuclear Future Uncertain as Relations With China Fray,  https://business.financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/britains-nuclear-future-uncertain-as-relations-with-china-fray    Rachel Morison and William Mathis, Bloomberg) 8 July 20, — Britain’s fraying relationship with China has the potential to undo a decade of mixed efforts to keep nuclear power flowing as an aging generation of plants drop out of service.

Once the heart of the U.K.’s energy plans, nuclear has been sidelined by spiraling costs and cheaper renewables. It also finds itself at the center of a diplomatic row spanning trade and human rights that threatens to undermine how the sector is financed.

Relations between China and the U.K. have been strained as the row over Huawei Technologies Co. intensified. When sweeping new national security laws were introduced in Hong Kong Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered its citizens the right to live and work in Britain.

China warned the U.K. Monday it’ll face “consequences” if it chooses to be a “hostile partner” after it emerged the government is planning to phase out the company’s equipment in the U.K.’s 5G telecommunications networks.

For nuclear, the sticking point has become the once-feted relationship with China General Nuclear Power Corp. that’s supposed to deliver the next generation of large nuclear plants. That link has come into sharp focus as the U.K. scrambles to find a funding model for projects that aren’t getting any cheaper.

Without CGN, its money and its technology, the U.K. will be left with a huge funding gap that other investors don’t seem willing to fill. It’ll also leave the country’s nuclear plans in disarray.

Equity funding for nuclear power stations is very difficult for private actors,” said Rob Gross, director of the U.K. Energy Research Centre. The risks are significant, timescales long and individual projects are very large. That’s why governments have always played a role in nuclear power, he said.

CGN’s involvement in Britain’s nuclear industry started in 2016 when a deal was signed with Electricite de France SA to cooperate on a trio of reactors totaling 8.7 gigawatts starting with Hinkley Point C in southwest England.

Nuclear remains important for the British government but it’s becoming increasingly pushed to the margins of energy policy as cheaper wind and solar have taken center stage.

Nuclear power has traditionally been seen as a low-carbon way of supplementing renewables — and as such a key part of the future energy mix envisioned in a net zero world.

Losing nuclear power probably wouldn’t pose a threat to the U.K.’s ability to generate enough power. The gap could be filled by gas, batteries or small modular reactors that can provide back-up to renewable energy and keep the lights on.

The sector is also important to the country as a way of building a large, skilled workforce and creating a supply chain using British companies.

False Starts  

In 2017, ministers envisioned building 18 gigawatts of new projects but one by one each project folded, unable to negotiate the financing, leaving just EDF and CGN.

The government’s offer in 2018 to Hitachi to take a third of the equity at the Wylfa nuclear project wasn’t enough to keep the company interested.

How best to finance the technology, which costs billions, has become the latest hump in the road for policymakers. The Hinkley Point reactors – expected to start producing power by 2025 – have been hit by delays and cost overruns.

“The precise funding model for nuclear is up to the government to decide,” an EDF spokesman said.

That project will now cost as much as 22.5 billion pounds ($28.1 billion), taking into account inflation, and the guaranteed price of power is significantly higher than the latest round of offshore wind projects. Sizewell-C, still in the planning process, is slated to cost 20 billion pounds.

EDF is struggling and can’t afford to finance Sizewell on its own. The utility has cut costs and jobs, and pared investments setting out a plan to divest at least 10 billion euros of assets from 2015 to 2020 to help fund its share of Hinkley Point.

* CGN’s investment is in the planning and development stage only for Sizewell whereas it is involved in the construction of Hinkley.

The industry favors paying for the massive projects through a Regulated Asset Base model, a proven success on other infrastructure projects. The previous Conservative government was thought to back the financing option but the idea looks to be losing traction.

“If the Chinese pull out, then Sizewell will still go ahead but EDF will be unable to take on another major project,” Elchin Mammadov, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst, said “So, Bradwell will be dead or put on hold for another decade.”

The debate has gone quiet following a consultation on the RAB model which closed in October.

RAB likely wouldn’t transfer enough risk from the project’s backers — EDF and CGN. The government would have to offer some kinds of guarantee on the project in order to get private investors to finance it.

One option would be for the government to take either a majority or minority stake in Sizewell C..

I wouldn’t be surprised if what is adopted is either a model with many of the characteristics of RAB, or potentially consideration of a more direct stake. This is about reducing the cost of capital.” said Tom Greatrex, chief executive officer of the Nuclear Industry Association.

But despite the long delays, there’s no indication that the government’s made up its mind how it will proceed.

“We are currently considering responses to inform the best approach to the financing of future nuclear projects,” a spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy said.

As much as 80% of electricity will be produced from low carbon sources by 2030, according to scenarios modeled by the U.K.’s Committee on Climate Change.

“With all but one of the nuclear fleet set to retire by 2030, and uncertainty over the scale of the new build program, it is likely that more electricity from renewable sources will be needed,” said Jonathan Marshall, head of analysis at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit.

July 9, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, China, politics, UK | Leave a comment

U.S. Rep. Ben McAdams announces opposition to nuclear testing, hopes to extend compensation for downwinders

July 9, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

EU lawmakers ban nuclear from green transition fund, leave loophole for gas

EU lawmakers ban nuclear from green transition fund, leave loophole for gas   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-eu-transitionfund/eu-lawmakers-ban-nuclear-from-green-transition-fund-leave-loophole-for-gas-idUSKBN2472HN
By Kate Abnett and Marine Strauss, 8 July 20, 

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union leaders are split over which fuels deserve support from the bloc’s flagship green energy fund, after lawmakers on Monday called for rules that could allow the money to be spent on some fossil gas projects.

The European Commission wants to launch a 40 billion euro ($45 billion) Just Transition Fund using cash from the bloc’s coronavirus recovery fund and its budget for 2021-27, to help carbon-intensive regions launch green industries and retrain workers currently in polluting sectors.

All EU member states agreed last week that the new fund should exclude nuclear and fossil fuels projects, including natural gas projects – a position also shared by the EU Commission.

But on Monday a committee of lawmakers leading talks on the issue in the European Parliament broke ranks. They said that while nuclear energy projects should not be eligible, some fossil gas projects could get just transition funding.

The committee voted in favour of requiring green finance rules to be applied to funding of gas projects – which would effectively exclude such projects. But they also said the EU Commission could make exemptions to this rule and approve some gas projects that don’t meet the green criteria.

The full legislative assembly will vote in September on whether or not to approve the rules. Once the assembly has agreed its position, talks will start with the EU Commission and national governments in the EU Council on the final terms of the funding.

Gas emits roughly 50% less CO2 than coal when burned in power plants, but it is not a “zero-carbon” fuel and is associated with leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

July 9, 2020 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE, politics | Leave a comment

Australia becomes world’s biggest exporter of fossil fuels

Passing the pollution: Australia becomes world’s biggest exporter of fossil fuels, https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2020/07/09/australia-export-fossil-fuels/    Cait KellyAustralia is now the  biggest exporter of climate change, leading the world in selling fossil fuels, a new report reveals.Emissions from nations which bought our gas, coal and oil increased by 4.4 per cent between 2018 and 2019, with Australia now the world’s biggest fossil fuel producing country, the report from UNSW says.

Our exported emissions are now greater than the domestic pollution of Germany, Canada, Turkey and the UK.

“Not only is Australia a laggard in meeting its UN Paris emission reduction targets, but it is also now the world’s largest exporter of coal and gas,” the authors wrote.

“In fact, the emissions from Australia’s exported fossil fuels are now greater than Germany’s domestic emissions.”

Australia has been on track to become the world’s bigger carbon dioxide polluter for a while, with a report from The Australian Conservation Foundation last year warning we would hit the milestone soon.

Russia and Saudi Arabia were both above Australia as recently as August last year.

Using new data from the Office of the Chief Economist, emissions from exported fossil fuels were 1.2 times greater than global aviation emissions in 2018 and 1.4 times greater than all the CO2 emissions produced by the summer bushfires in 2019.

When Australian fossil fuels are burned overseas, the amount of carbon dioxide they produce is higher than the exported emissions of the world’s biggest oil and gas-producing nations, like Iraq and Kuwait.

“Despite Federal Government claims that our national emissions have only a minimal impact on the global climate, Australia is, in fact, a major contributor to global climate change.”

“The massive emissions that result from our fossil fuel exports are not counted in Australia’s national carbon budget under our UN climate obligations, nor do we take responsibility for the impact these emissions are having globally.” 

Australia is the world’s biggest exporter of coal and our exported emissions should be counted towards our overall emissions footprint, said lead researcher and professor of political philosophy Jeremy Moss.

“We’re the Saudi Arabia of coal and gas. That’s not a good situation to be in,” he told The New Daily.

“People say we’re not responsible for exports, the government spends a billion dollar to recycle our waste which otherwise would have gone to other countries. These emissions are also our problem.

“Responsibility doesn’t stop at the border. We have the same view about plastic waste, uranium and live sheep exports.”

The report calls for fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty, removal of the $47 billion worth of subsidies for the fossil fuel industry and phasing out production constant with climate goals,” Professor Moss said.

“At least two-thirds of the known reserves of fossil fuels must be left in the ground if climate targets are to be met (IEA, 2012).

“Production of fossil fuels must, therefore, be phased out rapidly. Countries such as Australia should not get a free pass to produce and export as much fossil fuels as they are able to.”

The report follows the announcement that the COVID-19 economic recovery committee has made recommendations that the government underwrite a massive gas industry expansion.

Australia’s Energy Minister, Angus Taylor, is proposing a gas led recovery out of the pandemic-induced recession.

But a report from the Australia Institute revealed last week that fossil fuel was the worst-performing sector in the ASX 300 over the last decade.

“The poor performance of fossil fuel companies is probably surprising to most Australians, who are routinely told by industry and political leaders that coal is the “bedrock” of Australia’s prosperity, or that gas will “fire” the recovery from COVID19,” it read. 

July 9, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Rapid coal phase-out could drive European green recovery: Bloomberg — RenewEconomy

Decarbonising Europe’s remaining coal-reliant countries could pave the way for a vital green recovery from the global COVID-19 pandemic. The post Rapid coal phase-out could drive European green recovery: Bloomberg appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Rapid coal phase-out could drive European green recovery: Bloomberg — RenewEconomy

July 9, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment